Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Local is the key

Many studies have said that newspapers need to cover more local news. But which local?
It’s becoming a truism these days that “local” is the core value proposition for newspapers.
The reasoning goes like this: With tons of national and international news and other non-local content available free online, “local” is the one thing a local newspaper can do better than anyone else.
Which is true – but newspaper circulation keeps dropping, so apparently we’re not doing it well enough. Either we aren’t doing enough “local” or we’re not doing the right “local,” because more and more people are getting along fine without it.
So the multi-billion-dollar question for the newspaper industry seems to be, “What’s the right local content?”

Arrival of new Harmsen

My cousin Brian and his wife Carrie welcomed Kathryn Grace Harmsen in the world this week.
She was born May 29th at 1:45 pm. 8 lbs, 7 oz. 20" tall.
Congrats to mom and dad.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Update on Jolie-Pitt

NAMIBIA: After the birth of their daughter, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have donated $US300,000 ($NZ480,000) to two state hospitals in Namibia to buy medical equipment.
Officials in the southern African desert country announced the contribution by the Hollywood glamour couple yesterday.
The funds will be used to refurbish hospitals in Walvis Bay – the district where Jolie gave birth at the weekend – and another facility Swakopmund, Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism Leon Jooste said.
The couple also pledged $US15,000 ($NZ24,000) to help a school and community centre.
"We want to contribute to Namibia and the people who have been so gracious to us at this time," they said.
Authorities in Namibia have gone to great lengths to secure the privacy of Pitt and Jolie since they arrived in April.

Baby Jolie-Pitt born

From the AP:
NEW YORK - Nothing was normal about the birth of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s child, so naturally, neither was their baby’s name.
The child — whose pending arrival created a frenzy of hyperbole making it for some the most awaited baby since Jesus — was named Shiloh, which fittingly means “Messiah” or “Peaceful One.”
Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt was born Saturday evening — via Caesarean section, according to People magazine — in Namibia where her famous parents had withdrawn for the birth, aided by considerable protection from the African country’s government.
The article goes on to say the couple have two adopted children. Did I miss them getting married? I knew Jolie had two adopted children, but when did Pitt become the father?

Friedman admits mistake

Friedman admits mistake in calling for Perry and Strayhorn to return dirty money

Independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman apologized late last week after he demanded that two of his opponents return more than $75,000 they received in 2000 and 2001 from the Enron Corp. Political Action Committee and from former Enron chief Kenneth Lay.
Lay was found guilty last week for his role in Enron’s bankruptcy in 2001.
According to Friedman, Gov. Rick Perry received $10,000 in March 2000 and $25,000 in June 2001 from Lay.
Comptroller Carole Strayhorn received $25,000 in June 2001 from Lay.
The Enron Corp. PAC gave an additional $5,000 to Perry in 2001 and $10,750 to Strayhorn in 2000 and 2001.
Lay also contributed $90,000 to the Harris County Republican Party between 2000 and 2001 and $10,000 to the Republican Party of Texas in 2000.
The Republican Party of Texas gave $143,000 to Rick Perry in 2002.
Freidman called on both Strayhorn and Perry to return the money, before releasing an updated press release noting that both candidates had returned the campaign contributions.
According to the Strayhorn campaign, Strayhorn gave the Enron Ex-Employees Foundation $34,500 and later gave the Greater Houston Community Foundation $51,750 in February 2002.
Perry donated $85,000 to the Texas Tomorrow Fund in May 2002.
“We salute both candidates for donating these contributions and regret the oversight,” Laura Stromberg, a Friedman spokesman said. “It remains unclear whether Perry returned all or only a portion of the contributions he received from Enron-related sources. The Friedman campaign encourages a swift donation of any remaining Enron-related dollars to organizations benefiting those affected.”
Democratic candidate Chris Bell used the incident for his campaign as well.
“If Texans want a governor who wouldn't have taken Enron money in the first place and knows enough to check his facts before making a political attack, there is only one choice, and his name is Chris Bell,” Jason Stanford, a spokesman for Democratic candidate Chris Bell told the Waxahachie Daily Light Monday.

A Christian Saloon

A Christian Saloon
Originally uploaded by watsonsinelgin.

Thought this deserved sharing. Click on the pic to get the story behind it.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day challenge

How many states can you name in 5 minutes?
Eric got 48
I got 44.

Row row row your boat

Row row row your boat
Originally uploaded by Jdblundell.

Surprisingly Amelia and remained dry during our enter adventure.


Originally uploaded by Jdblundell.

Posted some pictures of the Wilson-ator and others at Hidden Acres last night. (Hint: Click Wilson's picture and then you can scroll through my photo stream.)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Finding the perfect produce

Just thought I'd share the quick draft of the feature I wrote to go along with the pictures below:
Finding the perfect produce
Jonathan Blundell
Staff writer
Ask any vender or buyer at the Downtown Waxahachie Farmer’s Market on how to pick the perfect produce and you’re sure to get any number of answers.
Nancy Edwards, who traveled to the Saturday morning market from southern Ellis County, said her decisions are based primarily on feel.
“I feel all my fruits and vegetables to find the best one,” Edwards said. “The only thing I’ve ever found to shake is a honeydew melon. A produce man told me that once. He said you should shake it and if you hear the seeds rattle, you’ve found a good melon.”
“There’s probably five different ways people will say you should use to pick out the perfect cantaloupe or other produce,” Richard Davis, a vender from Venus said.
Davis has been selling his home grown produce at the weekly market for the past two years.
He started selling his produce from his home and at a similar market in Mansfield three years ago.
“My garden has grown from three-quarters of an acre, to one acre, to two acres,” Davis said. “And I plan on adding more and expanding it sometime in the future.”
Davis brings his bell peppers, banana peppers, greens, onions, cucumbers and other produce from his home and has a second vender selling at other farmer markets in the area.
Davis also buys some of his produce from other local farmers.
“Growing fruits and vegetables is just in my blood,” Davis said. “I just love growing stuff. We’ve had enough produce that we’ve even sold some of our produce to wholesalers in Dallas as well.”
For Tommy Jones of Waxahachie, the Farmers’ Market has been something he and his wife have enjoyed doing for fun.
The couple owns 22 acres on Youngblood, a well as a small garden in Palmer.
By noon on Saturday, the couple had already sold nearly two truckloads of fruits and vegetables.
“We’re plum of plums,” Jones said as he took inventory of the few baskets of fruits and vegetables remaining.
Jones and his wife Shirley have been growing their own produce for a number of years and started selling their goods at the Farmers’ Market three years ago.
“It’s just something fun to do,” Jones said. “We grow so much that our family can’t eat it all and this is a great place to sell the leftovers.”
Jones brings zucchini, squash, peaches, greens, plums and more to keep a variety of fresh goods available for buyers.
And as for that perfect peach, Jones said it’s all about the smell.
“I look for a certain smell when I’m picking a perfect peach,” Jones said. “It’s got to have that perfect smell and no blemishes.”
The Downtown Waxahachie Farmers’ Market is open to the public every Saturday, now through October 29 on the downtown square.
Venders begin arriving at 7 a.m. for check-in and the sale is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine.
More information and a venders’ application is available on the city’s website at

The colors of Texas

Fresh Produce
Originally uploaded by Jdblundell.

The colors of these vegetables really pop out at you.

Colors of the farm

Colors of the farm
Originally uploaded by Jdblundell.

Snapped a couple pics at the Waxahachie Farmers' Market this weekend. I love all the colors of the fresh fruit and veggies.

Into the wind

Into the wind
Originally uploaded by killercorn.

I really love this photo. It's from the Texas tag on Flickr. Beautiful black and white photo.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Shots fired at Capital - maybe

Common Sense reports:
Gunfire at the Capitol
Not since Rep. Roger Griswold attacked Rep. Mathew Lyons on the floor of the House of Representatives with his hickory cane has there been such a ruckus on Capitol Hill.
Half an hour ago, someone reported what they thought were gunshots in the parking garage of the Sam Rayburn office building for members of Congress. The scene is now loaded with ambulances and SWAT teams and the Capitol Police are investigating. No one appears to be injured and no one appears to be in custody.
Indeed, no one is sure if a gun was actually fired. On the bright side, these are known unknowns.
Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Michigan, was conducting a House Intelligence Committee hearing at the time.
Hoekstra interrupted a witness to tell those at the hearing to remain in the room and said doors must be closed.
“It’s a little unsettling to get a Blackberry message put in front of you that says there’s gunfire in the building,” he said.
He’s just rubbing it in our faces that he has a Blackberry and we don’t. I will continue to make light of this situation until reports come in that there was actually an incident.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Perry used to jumping fences

From the WDL:
The Daily Life
Thursday, May 25, 2006 3:07 PM CDT
EDITOR’S NOTE: “The Daily Life,” compiled by staff writers Eric Lidji and Jonathan Blundell appears each Tuesday and Thursday sharing observations of everyday life in Waxahachie.
As Congress debates constructing a fence across the U.S. Mexico border, they might need to be mindful of this bit from Gov. Rick Perry’s history.
While campaigning for state Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, nearly 15 years ago, Perry, then agricultural commissioner, landed his personal plane at O’Brien Airpark in Lancaster.
After a long day of campaigning, Pitts and Perry returned to find the airport had closed for the evening, with the airplane left sitting on the runway.
To get to his plane, Perry jumped the fence and had Pitts shine his headlights to light the runway for take-off.
“This just goes to show you how hard this governor works for Texas and the people of Texas,” Pitts said to a Waxahachie crowd gathered Tuesday for the signing of House Bill 2.
Halfway through the story, Pitts, a Waxahachie-based attorney, was interrupted by Perry who jokingly asked whether or not there was a statute of limitations involved.
The question should be whether Perry’s hair - long noticed for its impeccable appearance - remained in perfect form as he jumped the fence and took off into the night sky.
Have a tale from daily life around Waxahachie? E-mail:

The Paper

Threw this together in about 15 minutes this afternoon to try out a new camcorder...

Get this video and more at

Caption this

Originally uploaded by osbock.

Von Erics documentary to be released

From the email files:
The time is FINALLY here!
This one of a kind documentary is NOT available in stores.
Based on the overwhelming response of the release of HEROES OF WORLD CLASS it is entirely possible that the first run will sell out.
Orders placed will be shipped on the day HEROES OF WORLD CLASS is released: June 15th
Don't wait any longer! Go to and order your copy of HEROES OF WORLD CLASS today!!
I don't know what holiday it might be, but I'm sure someone can find an excuse to buy this for me. Just be sure to let me know if you do, so I don't order my own copy.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Originally uploaded by Jdblundell.

A farm outside Waxahachie, Texas. This picture was used for the Spring Ellis County Visitor's Guide cover. I wish the grass had been a little greener to give a better feeling of Spring, but I guess that's what happens when you build the guide at the end of Winter.


Got inspired to make a new banner for today.

Want the banner for your page?
Just cut and paste this code onto your page.
<a href="">
<img src="" border=0></a>

School districts propose Walking Bus

According to USA Today, a district in Kansas is proposing a Walking School Bus, in which parents would accompany students as they walk to school.
The planners hope to cut down on fuel costs and help improve child obesity problems as well.
It's really a no-brainer when you see how well this program works," one parent coordinator says, citing almost doubled participation.
In other related transportation news, the DMN ran an article today in the Metro section about the increase in scooter sales.
It can get 80 mpg, costs dimes a day to insure and draws stares almost anywhere you drive it.
So why aren't we all speeding to the dealership to get one?
Well, some people are, but only those who don't mind rolling into the office on a motor scooter.
I think I would need something that got more that 40 MPH to make my 3 mile treck to work. I wouldn't mind going 40 MPH, but the drivers along Highway 77 might not be too happy with me. But in anycase - if anyone wants to donate one to the cause, I'll be glad to put it to use.

Graphic designer needed

The other Conn. Senator plans to run

Chris Dodd, D-Conn., announced yesterday that he was preparing to run for President in 2008.
From Dallasblog:
One day after Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2008, reportedly "bombed" in a Washington speech on energy at the National Press Club Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut announced that he was preparing to run for the Democratic nomination for President. The Financial Times reports today that Mrs. Clinton "faces intense scrutiny from within the Democratic party." Some Democratic leaders are worried that "she is such a polarising figure...that, they fear, she stands no chance of winning the general election. And still others worry about what could be called Clinton fatigue and a hesitancy to return to the scandals that plagued Mr. Clinton's tenure. The New York Times provided a reminder of that yesterday with a front-page story about the state of the Clinton marriage," reports the Financial Times.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Pirates who don't do anything

I just heard a cover of the VeggieTales song "Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" by Reliant K. I guess I missed that somewhere in the past. But not only did I hear the song, I hunted down the funny video the band made with Legos.

Verse reference

From the email files:
I was on my way to a Chruch session meeting where I was supposed to lead the devotional. I was looking for the chapter and verse in the NT for (roughly translated) "Now we see in a glass dimly, but then face to face." I searched my concordance and couldn't find it. I was in a hurry and thought you might know off the top of your head what book in the New Testement it is in.
Anyone know where this might be found. I can't think of anything.

Steps for eating your fist

B Skaggs, with the help of his daughter Sydney has put together instructional guidelines for eating your fist...
Always funny B... always funny...

Caption This

Where the Streets Have no Name

MSNBC is posting pretty extensive coverage about Bono and Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams' trip to Africa.
“What about sexual behavior, do you teach on this subject?” he asks the teachers. “Do you teach people about HIV?"
Bono asks the questions like any investor would. And that's what he's doing here — he's checking up on the investment he's made — in time, and in the massive amount of money he's raised.
A teacher at the school told me they need classrooms most. They have just nine rooms for 700 students ages 5 to 16.
As Bono sees it, the message being taught here is also important.
“They love America in there,” he says. “They love the United Kingdom, they love the Irish people, they love democracy. In there they have classes about democracy. Not far from here there are madrassas, where they are teaching people to hate us. This is a smart thing for us to be involved in, as well as a wonderful thing.”

Kinky on NBC Nightly News

Kinky was on the NBC Nightly News this week.
Watch the video here.

Lloyd Bentsen dead at 85

From NPR:
Lloyd Bentsen, a courtly Texan who represented the state in Congress for 28 years and served as President Clinton's first treasury secretary, died Tuesday morning, his family said. He was 85.
Bentsen, also the Democratic 1988 vice presidential nominee, died at his home in Houston.
About Lloyd Bentsen
Born: February 11, 1921 in Mission Texas.
Education: University of Texas Law School, graduated 1942.
Military: U.S. Army, 1942-1945
Political Career:
-- U.S. House of Representatives from 1949-1955,
-- A four-term United States senator from Texas, from 1970-1993.
-- Unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976.
-- Democratic Party nominee for vice president in 1988.
-- Treasury Secretary under President Clinton, 1993-1994.
Sources: The Associated Press, Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Dem's have faith too?

Pink Dome gives a review of The Da Vinci Code.
He said the movie was more like taking a vacation through Europe, rather than a faith shaking mystery-novel-cum-movie.
The movie did not shake my faith, did not throw me into a crisis, did not make me re-think my beliefs or cause me to start believing in conspiracies. That's why it's called "faith" retards.
I'll let you read the last bit of his review on his site.

Eric gets dewberry love

"I've got a fever for dewberry"
Eric's getting some love from the AP with his dewberry story he wrote last week - which is very funny because some local folks tried to rip on our paper because they said we only covered things like picking berries.
Anyways, its a great story... be sure to read and enjoy.

Monday, May 22, 2006

In the eyes of others...

Michael has posted a picture that someone in his church drew of him. I would guess it was a child, but I can't be certain.
It's interesting though to think of how others view us.
What distinguishing features would someone (especially a child) remember or draw of us.
Would they draw us in a tie, or with sunglasses on?
Would they draw us with a Bible in our hand?
Or maybe they'd draw us handing out candy, offering a helping hand or yelling at the driver that just cut us off on I-35.
How do others see us? And is it the same as how we see ourselves?
And what would we change if we saw how others saw us?

Found - great CC music

I love Creative Commons and the idea of people sharing their creative works.
And per my last post, I did some more digging and found that has a great collection of CC music to listen to, use and enjoy. Jazz, Rock, Ambient, Drum and Bass and more. Check it out...
What's starfrosch? Starfrosch is a user driven music blog with high-traffic podcasts. At starfrosch, users submit Creative Commons music or videos. Yet a moderator team keeps care of the quality.

40 Days in the desert

I caught Andrew's suggestions on the "40" illustrations by Simon Smith today. I thought the music selection of Jap-Jap's "Blue Shimmery Fall" was great, so I threw a video together in Windows Movie Maker - yes that's right Thomas, you can do video with Windows XP :-).
Anyways, I thought it made for a great story and backing track.
I'd like to try it with Third Day's "King of Glory" as well - but that will have to come at a later time, as I only have it on my Mp3 player and not on my Lappy 486.
Check out the video and let me know what you think. Any other musical suggestions?

U2 on Conan

Late breaking news:
Conan will re-air his episode dedicated entirely to U2 tonight on the NBC tonight. The show was filmed back in October and featured several songs from the band as well as an interview and Bono and Edge helping with "In the Year 2000."
Also, Bono's trip to Africa is expected to be featured tomorrow night on the NBC Nightly News.

Stuck in a Moment

Stuck in a Moment
Originally uploaded by Jdblundell.

Here's one more pic from this weekend in Sulphur, Oklahoma.

Escape Route

Escape Route
Originally uploaded by Jdblundell.

Just posted a few new pics from this weekend's trip to Sulphur, Oklahoma. Check out my Flickr stream for more.

Great report on darfur on 90.1 F.M. - KERA


Mobile Email from a Cingular Wireless Customer

Somebody going to emergency somebody's going to jail

Couldn't resist the Eagle's reference on this one...
Dallasblog points to an AP story in which a Fort Worth man killed his brother over a piece of chicken.
Oh brother.

Point and Shoot Video

Just got a trail version of the Pure Digital Point and Shoot Camcorder. It is definately Point and Shoot. Within a minute of opening the package I had the camcorder recording and a minute later copied the file to my computer. It's MSRP is under $130 and it will record 30 minutes of AVI video.
You can plug it into your TV or VCR and/or take the camera to CVS or Walgreens to transfer the video to DVD.
The camera also uses USB connections to connect to your computer. The only downside to that is that the USB connection pops out from the side of the camera - which is cool, but my laptop USB plugs are oriented in a way that makes it impossible to plug into my laptop without a USB extension.
Anyways, not a bad way to get short video clips and do it very easily.
I'll post more later as I get to play with it more.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Going to Nigeria

Well, I'm going to Nigeria.
It's settled (again).
Rob and I will go with a group from Lakepoint Sept. 26 - Oct. 11 to scout out information for the CWF trip in March.
In case you missed the previous post, due to logistics, it was decided that the team trip would be pushed back to March 2007. Rob and Tim were planning to take the trip in Oct. to scout out some of the logistical information, but complications arose with Tim's job and I was asked to go in his place.
I'm pumped. Of course this means I'll need to raise funds for both trips now, but I have no doubt that God will provide.
I've raised between $600 - $700 now and will be re-sending and sending out new letters soon to update everyone.
I need to raise $1,300 by June 26, $1,800 by July 26 and $2,200 by August 26. And I'll need the remaining $500 or so before we leave Sept. 26.
So any financial support and prayers will be greatly appreciated.
If you'd like to make a donation, please contact me by e-mail or you can donate online with a check or debit card. Just click on the button on the right hand corner.
Thanks again for all your support.
I look forward to keeping you all posted on what God does on this trip.

Rolly in College

Rolly in College
Originally uploaded by Jdblundell.

I don't remember what I did this for, but it was for some publicity thing. Just found it and thought it was funny and wanted to share.
The shirt and body is from John Belushi (of course), the head is of Rolly Martinez my college roommate and the building behind him is the chapel on our campus at UMHB.

'And they're huge'

I caught the tail end of an opinion piece on KERA, our local NPR affiliate this morning. The author was talking about the release of the Dixie Chick's new single and how no country stations in the metroplex (or state) are playing the song.
Most stations say it's still in backlash from Natalie Maines' comment during 2003 that she was not proud that President George Bush was from Texas.
The commentator said maybe one of the funniest things I've heard on radio in a while, "The Dixie Chicks have parts of the male anatomy that I can't mention on radio. And they're huge."
Like them or not, they are standing by their convictions and not backing down to pressure.
Lyrics to their latest single, "Not Ready to Make Nice"
Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting

I’m through with doubt
There’s nothing left for me to figure out
I’ve paid a price
And I’ll keep paying

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

I know you said
Can’t you just get over it
It turned my whole world around
And I kind of like it

I made my bed and I sleep like a baby
With no regrets and I don’t mind sayin’
It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her
Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Sayin’ that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting
So what about you? Still mad at the Dixie Chicks for their comments? Did you burn their CD's?

One Game Changes Everything

Photo from: miedo
According to, U2 will be a part of a major initiative by ESPN and ABC in America to increase awareness and interest in the 2006 World Cup.
"It’s a simple thing – just a ball and a goal," explains Bono. "Every four years in June," adds Edge. "Sick days increase by 300 percent."
The band’s songs, live performance and voiceovers are all part of the "One Game Changes Everything" campaign while City of Blinding Lights is to become ESPN’s official World Cup Song.
"Our goal is to make World Cup soccer meaningful and relevant to American sports fans," said Katie Lacey at ESPN. "We show the passion that fans around the world have through compelling stories that are set to the music of U2."
As Bono puts it in one of the spots, "If history means anything, the world
as we know it, is about to change!" has four of the ads available for viewing. They're really good.
"Once every four years that simple thing drastically changes the world. It closes the schools, it closes the shops, it stops a war. A simple ball fuels the passion and pride of nations... It achieves more than the politicians ever could."

Nebraska wants love

From the Dallas Business Journal:
Nebraska wants some Love.
Several Nebraska congressman are backing a bill for Nebraska to become the 10th state to be exempted from Wright Amendment restrictions that limit flights from Dallas' Love Field to short-haul flights to a few surrounding states, said a spokeswoman for the congressman. Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV), which flies out of Dallas Love Field, has been battling for repeal of the 1979 federal law since last year.
On Thursday, Reps. Lee Terry, R-Neb., Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., and Tom Osborne, R-Neb., introduced legislation to amend the Wright Amendment to allow certain air carriers serving Omaha's Eppley Airfield to provide service between Love Field and the greater Omaha area.
KERA reported this morning that Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, TX, has said any ammendments to the Wright Amendment would not pass. Any changes must pass through his committee.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Walls don't work either

Common Sense has commented on the House and Senate's plan to build a wall.
He sights the Great Wall of China and the Berlin wall as proof that walls don't work.
Nate suggests we let Norm Abram build it - he'll get the job done.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Spanish zucchini

This one came from a Rachel Ray show with an added twist.
It's a great side, or if you're like me and cooking alone it can be a great meal in and of itself.

2 zucchini
1 cup of pecans
3 cups of Pico de Gallo
1 tab vegetable/cooking oil

Just as a note, my measurements are never really exact, I usually eyeball everything and add to taste or to work with the recipe.

Crunch the pecans and layer them in the bottom of a skillet. Let the pecans heat up and toast slightly. You can also cook them on a sheet in the oven at 450 for 5 or 10 minutes. Slice the zucchini and add to the skillet. Add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, olive oil or vegetable oil. Add Pico de Gallo. I use the pre-packaged Pico de Gallo from HEB - my supermarket, but you can make it up fresh if you'd like, with your favorite recipe. HEB has several different options, including a mango Pico de Gallo and variations of spiciness. Let everything cook until the zucchini is tender. Plate up and serve. For a complete meal, plate on a bed of rice and/or add a chicken breast on the side.


New Category - Casa de Blundell

I think I've been inspired to start a new category for the blog. Not sure why, but I decided that rather than e-mailing or calling my friends to tell them about new recipes I've discovered, I might as well just blog them and share them with everyone interested (or not).
So, look for Casa de Blundell for any random recipes I try out or come up with - and feel free to share your own.

From Ted Kennedy

I sent a quick e-mail to the congressmen who voted against the fence along the border and actually have gotten several responses so far. Maybe it's because of who it is, but I thought it was cool that I got an (automated) e-mail from Sen. Kennedy, D-Mass.
Thank you for your message. Hearing your views is important to me, because it allows me to better understand the constituents that I serve in the United States Senate. It makes me proud to know that my constituents take an active role in our government by corresponding with me, and I look forward to responding to your concerns in greater detail.
As you can imagine, my office receives a great number of messages every day regarding a variety of issues – this is particularly true of e-mails. In the meantime, I just wanted to let you know that your e-mail has been received, and to ask for your patience until I send you a more detailed response.
Again, thank you for writing. Please feel free to visit my website to follow my work in the Senate and to learn more about the services my office can provide to you.
Warmest regards
Ted Kennedy
Doubt I'll see anything else, but you never know.

Updates on Sudan

From the e-mail files:
Thanks to your efforts and the efforts of many others working to create a lasting peace in Darfur, I am pleased to report we have seen significant progress in recent weeks.
On May 5, the Sudanese government and Darfur’s largest rebel faction signed the Darfur Peace Agreement, laying out a plan to end three years of violence and raising hopes for a lasting peace in Darfur. There is a much more to do, however, before that hope is realized.
In the next two weeks, the Sudanese government and the two remaining rebel factions must come to terms in order to ensure a strong building block for a lasting peace. With or without additional signers, it is imperative that the parties live up to their commitments to end the genocide and rebuild Darfur.
Another significant step forward was taken just yesterday, as the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution demanding strict observance of the peace agreement, and calling for a quick transition from the current African Union peacekeeping force to a stronger UN force. Prior to the signing of the peace agreement, Sudanese President Bashir opposed a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur by saying that there was no peace to keep. With this peace agreement, however, that argument has been rendered moot.
Soon there will be a joint UN-African Union assessment mission dispatched to Darfur to assess the situation. Following their return, the stage will be set for UN Security Council consideration of a second resolution to actually authorize the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force.
These are real, substantive steps forward, and you helped make them happen.
In fact, just one day after over 50,000 rallied on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and thousands more rallied at events across the country, President Bush dispatched Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick to the peace talks to make sure that an agreement was reached.
Upon his return, Deputy Secretary Zoellick personally called the Save Darfur Coalition to express his thanks for the level of U.S. activism which helped make the peace deal possible. In an interview last week, he said that “of all I've dealt with in foreign policy over some 20 years that I'm not sure I've ever seen as much broad support from churches, from communities and universities.”
Your collective voices have helped accomplish amazing results thus far!
But much more still remains to be done. Work at the UN is far from over, funding for humanitarian aid and peacekeeping falls short and puts millions of lives at risk. And above all, the people of Darfur still must contend with the dual threats of violence and starvation every day.
As we continue the fight, there will be many more opportunities for you take action and help make a difference.
Best regards,
David Rubenstein
Save Darfur Coalition

We're building a fence?

So the Senate passed a bill today that will build a 370 foot fence along the U.S./Mexico border.
The House has already approved a bill that would build a 700 foot fence.
Are we serious?
I think it was a congressman who said, "A 10 foot fence will only make the man with the 11 foot ladder very rich."
Eric suggested that maybe it will be a white picket fence to help people understand the Amerian dream and increase property values along the border.
Some stretches of the 2,000-mile border are already marked by fencing, most notably a 14-mile segment dividing San Diego from Tijuana. The Senate measure calls for triple-layered fencing but does not specify a location.
No Republican voted against the fence measure, which attracted wide support from Democrats. The 15 Democrats who voted against it (as did the independent James Jeffords of Vermont) were Daniel Akaka and Daniel K. Inouye, both of Hawaii; Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico; Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, both of Washington; Christopher Dodd and Joseph I. Lieberman, both of Connecticut; Richard J. Durbin and Barack Obama, both of Illinois; Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin; Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts; Frank R. Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, both of New Jersey; Jack Reed of Rhode Island, and Paul Sarbanes of Maryland.
No word yet on how much it will cost - or how tall the ladders will need to be to let people climb over.
Here's a picture of our current fence apparently (doesn't look too menacing):

BTW - I did all the work finding contact pages and info, so you don't have to.

CWF in the news

The Minneapolis paper Star Tribune has a new story on the CWF...
Preaching doesn't have to come from a pulpit, and pro wrestling doesn't have to glorify a life of excess and drugs. Using those two wildly disparate notions, Rob Vaughn founded the suburban Dallas-based Christian Wrestling Federation.

Dang - This is good

One of our interns, Jessica, brought in a homemade cherry pie today. I'm not used to cherry pie for breakfast, but it's amazing with my morning cup of coffee. All I need now is some homemade vanilla ice cream to top it off with.
Dang - this is good.

Charity run for charity

Anyone want to do a charity run for people who walk for charity? Phil and Matt should understand. Ha.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Devil is a Gentleman update

Just got an e-mail from the author of The Devil is a Gentleman.
He basically said "A lot of folks like what I did about the CWF. I hope you do too."
Hopefully Hastings or our other bookstore (wait nevermind on that last part) will have a copy in the next day or so.

RED phone bills

Motorola has announced they will take part in Bono's RED campaign, a campaign designed to encourage corporate participation in fighting AIDS and debt in Africa.
Motorola (NYSE:MOT) today unveils, with the unanimous support of the UK Mobile Industry, (MOTO)RED – the first in a brand new portfolio of mobile handsets created to help eliminate AIDS in Africa.
Launched by co-founders Bono and Bobby Shriver at the World Economic Forum last January, (PRODUCT) RED is designed to deliver a sustainable flow of private sector money to the Global Fund to fight AIDS.
In an unprecedented demonstration of support, mobile operators and retailers from across the UK (BT Mobile, Carphone Warehouse, Fresh, O2, Orange, Tesco Mobile, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone) have all united behind this initiative.
The first product in Motorola’s new (MOTO)RED portfolio was revealed as the ultra slim, ultra chic red MOTOSLVR.
"RED is a 21st century idea. It's an amazing thing that these companies are doing - lending their creativity and financial firepower to the Global Fund's fight against AIDS in Africa, the greatest health crisis in 600 years. I think doing the RED thing, doing good, will turn out to be good business for them," said Bono, co-creator of RED.
The phone is a cool SLVR phone, which has flash memory and plays MP3's or ACC files. It's estimated that $18 of every phone purchase will go towards fighting AIDS in Africa as well as 5% of your monthly phone bill.
How's do you like that? Humanitarian work while you call your mom.
Unfortunately it looks as if the phone will only be available in the UK - but hopefully a US version will appear soon.

Sweep it under the carpet

Originally uploaded by Simon Crubellier.

This is just a great graphic. Thanks Thomas.

Al Gore on SNL

Crooks and Liars has posted the opening clip of Saturday Night Live this week with former VP and presidential candidate Al Gore.
"Saturday Night Live," opened their show tonight with Al Gore addressing the nation as if he was the President of the United States. Gore was focused and quite funny in this entertaining spoof of the current administration and their long range of failures. He also struck back at the media (update: when they claimed he said he invented the 'internets') by saying that he invented an "Anti-Hurricane and Tornado Machine."

Creative Commons

Atariboy has posted a flash video with more info on Creative Commons.

Matthew McConaughey honored by Texas House

The AP is reporting that Matthew McConaughey was honored by the Texas State Legislature yesterday for being People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive." Boy - good thing there was nothing else important to do.

Genesis 1:27

Thomas has posted a thought on Genesis 1:27 - which appears on the cover of today's Independent.
God created human beings; he created them godlike, reflecting God's nature. He created them male and female.
Genesis 1:27 ((The Message))
Why is this verse on the top of the front page of the Independent?
Think about it... If everyone is created in God's image then we are all precious to Him. If everyone is precious to Him then they should be to us too. Preventable disease should be prevented. We should love people because they are and not for what/ who/ why they are. Simple... but sadly still radical today.

The Front Poarch

Edward is starting a new blog, "The Front Poarch" and will cover Texas music and Texas artists.
Check him out.
He's just getting start but give him a visit and enjoy a sit on the front porch.

Stories in the Red Edition of The Independent

I haven't had a chance to read all of these, but I will and you should too.
* Aids and a lost generation
* Bono: I am a witness. What can I do?
* Nelson Mandela: We are grateful for (RED)'s work
* EU subsidies harm Africa's farmers
Blair and Brown: Still optimistic on G8
* (RED) phone in battle against Aids
* Bodies of African immigrants pile up
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
* Climate change will be catastrophe for Africa
Africa's medicine man
Banksy takes to streets
Live8 and Gleneagles - what did they achieve?
* Can rock stars change the world?
* Bob Geldof: Aid isn't the answer
Niall Fitzgerald: Not a burden
Jeremy Laurance: Why RED can boost Global Fund and its war on HIV
The wisdom of Giorgio
Eddie Izzard
* The Edge
* American Life, by Elvis Costello
John Walsh: Tales of the City
Play our RED game
Buy RED print edition
External RED links
Hilary Benn in Uganda

The Ten Best Musical works - chosen by Condoleezza Rice

Also from The Independent:
The Ten Best Musical works - chosen by Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State
Published: 16 May 2006
1 Mozart
Piano Concerto in D minor
2 Cream
'Sunshine of Your Love'
3 Aretha Franklin
4 Kool and the Gang
5 Brahms
Piano Concerto No 2
6 Brahms
Piano Quintet in F minor
7 U2
8 Elton John
'Rocket Man'
9 Beethoven
Symphony No 7
10 Mussorgsky
Boris Godunov
Get the full article

I am a witness. What can I do?

From the May 16 issue of The Independent:
Bono, Guest Editor: I am a witness. What can I do?
Published: 16 May 2006
May I say without guile, I am as sick of messianic rock stars as the next man, woman and child. I am also tired of average work being given extra weight because it's attached to something with real gravitas, like the Aids emergency. So I truly try to tread carefully as I walk over the dreams of dignity under my feet in our work for the terrible beauty that is the continent of Africa. I'm used to the custard pies. I've even learnt to like the taste of them. But before you are tempted to let fly with your understandable invective, allow me to contextualise. Not for the sake of my vanity, but for the sake of people who are depending on you - the reader - to respond to the precariousness of their lives. Picture this: a village where the disappearance of a whole generation has left children to bring up children (the Lord of the Flies syndrome).
I'm a witness to this. What can I do?
Or this: my new friend Prudence, who even if she had access to anti-retroviral therapies would not have shared them with her now dead sister or best friend Janny, because her fellow activists were more important to keep alive.
Why? Because picture this: most activists and trained nurses cannot afford the drugs available to us in any corner chemist.
I am a witness to this. I have watched these brave and beautiful souls who are fighting a forest fire of a pandemic with watering cans, knowing they will not see the light of a day when their work will be honoured. I have been a witness to their conversations around canteen tables, deciding who will live or die, because they do not have enough pills to go round. I've seen Zackie Achmat refuse his medications until he won his action against the South African government, forcing their hand on universal access. What a witness he was. And so I testify.
These firefighters deserve fire engines with sirens and low-flying aircraft with bellies full of of rain. At the very least, they deserve their situation to merit the classification of an emergency. Code Red, like Hurricane Katrina or the tsunami in south Asia, which swept away a hundred and fifty thousand lives. These were natural catastrophes. Africa loses a hundred and fifty thousand men, women, and children every month to Aids, a wholly avoidable disaster, a preventable, treatable disease.
Colin Powell describes the tiny little virus HIV as the most lethal weapon of mass destruction on the planet. So forgive us if we expand our strategy to reach the high street, where so many of you live and work.
We need to meet you where you are as you shop, as you phone, as you lead your busy, businessy lives. Those of us who campaign on these issues feel we have made a dent on the pop consciousness with Live Aid and 8, Red Nose Day, Comic Relief and Make Poverty History. But we are still losing the battle: 9,000 new infections every day across the developing world.
There will be those that think that RED is the worst idea they've ever heard.
On the far right, we will hear the usual carping about it being Africa's own fault (the same warped logic that would pass by a drunk driver's car accident). This despite the fact that the largest increasing group of HIV-positive people are monogamous married women. We'll hear the "Africans can't take pills because they don't have watches to tell the time" line. Even though Africans have the best record of us all at sticking to their drug regimens.
On the far left, we will meet "better dead than RED", a reaction to big business that is not wholly unjustified. But given the emergency that is Aids, I don't see this as selling out. I see this as ganging up on the problem. This emergency demands a radical centre, as well as a radical edge. Creeping up on the everyday. Making the difficult easy.
Product RED cannot replace activism. For anyone who thinks this means I'm going to retire to the boardroom and stop banging my fist on the door of No. 10, I'm sorry to disappoint you. We have to keep our marching boots on and hold our leaders to account for the promises they have made to Africa - and get them to promise more. The incredible movement we saw gathering around last year's G8 is what will, in the end, win the day. But for too many people, that day will be too late. Right now, people you will never meet, who will never be able to thank you, are depending on you for the life-saving drugs which buying this paper will buy. For those people, my motivation or our (RED) motivation is irrelevant.

The Independent, por Bono

The Independent, por Bono
Originally uploaded by Algo que hacer.

Bono was guest editor of The Independent this week. I'm going to try and find some of the copy from it. Proceeds of the paper go to AIDS projects in Africa.

Monday, May 15, 2006

DMN now blogging

The DMN Metro staff is now blogging. Thanks to Frontburner for the link. And thanks for the humor today with Frontburner readers and writers ripping the new blog.
Apart from the really scary photos of its Metro bloggers, the latest persuasive evidence that the DMN is completely losing it is the blog itself. Read any entry. Better yet, don't. Tragic, I tell you. Not even that. Just lame.
I don’t know why anyone expected much of the DMN’s new blog. They don’t write anything interesting or original in print, so I’m not sure why it would be any different online.

Speaking of Football

Emmitt Smith turns 37 today and almost didnt make it, according to a reporter from
Emmitt Smith, who turns 37 today, almost never had a chance to become the NFL's leading rusher ... because I nearly killed him one day back in 1988 in Gainesville, Fla.
The following year, I was driving through campus trying to race back to my job at the student newspaper. Classes ended hours earlier and the streets were empty, so I took my eyes off the road to fiddle with the radio. Suddenly, I looked up and noticed the entire Florida Gator football team running across the street from the stadium to the practice field. I slammed on the brakes and skidded to a stop. The closest player was inches in front of me. He reached out, puts his hands on the hood of my Mustang and glared at me.
Yup, it was Emmitt.

Update on Romonce

According to the Houston Chronicle, Taylor was released on $5,000 bond today and ordered to take a drug test every other week.
He was released and expected to return to Austin to take a final.
Best quote of the story:
“He’s not playing hide the ball,” Taylor’s attorney Buck Harris said. “If he’s carrying five pounds of marijuana, he’s either the stupidest man alive or he thinks he’s bulletproof. If you have five pounds, you’re sure not going to call 911 and give them two permissions to search for vehicle. A man that does that doesn’t know what’s in there.”
It will be interesting to see what the Belton Journal prints about it.

First National Bank of Omaha

So I'm curious, I've been getting a hit from someone(s) at First National Bank of Omaha in Nebraska. Considering that it's Nebraska, I would assume it's a relative but my dad and I don't know who it would be. So, whoever you are feel free to drop me a line and let me know how you found my blog.
And that's an open invitation to everyone. Drop me an email or a comment and let me know how you came across this Stranger in a Strange Land - and why you keep coming back.

Worship slide

Worship slide, originally uploaded by Jdblundell.

Found a new group on FlickR. It's all about church marketing and sharing ideas for church marketing.
Check it out. There's some good work here and ideas if you're interested. BTW, this was a PowerPoint slide I made for an event at Immanuel Baptist Church in Temple.