January 2001

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January 21, 2001:  Well, I just got back from Holloman AFB (located in Alamagordo, NM) visting my friend Scott.  He's stationed out there doing work with the group which works with the F-117 Stealth Fighters.  It was really cool to see him and to hang out in his current 'home town' :)

And so, sadly, we say good-bye to former President Bill Clinton and welcome in the devil incarnate, Bush.  Yech!!!  Here is a pretty good article which sums up the late president's term.  I think it does him justice:

"Bill Press is co-host of CNN's Crossfire. He is providing exclusive analysis to CNN 
allpolitics.com. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Bill Press: Clinton walks off the stage 
By Bill Press/CNN 

January 20, 2001 
Web posted at: 6:58 a.m. EST (1158 GMT) 

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- It's hard to believe Elvis is actually going to walk off the stage. But he will, this weekend. And, in terms of accomplishment, he's going to be a hard act to follow. 

It's almost fitting that one of Clinton's last acts was to make a deal with Independent Counsel Robert Ray. Indeed, if you ask most Americans what they remember most of Bill Clinton, they will get red-faced, wag their finger and declare: "I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." 

Well, that certainly was a memorable, and shameful, moment. But his adolescent romp with Monica Lewinsky -- and the absurd Congressional witchhunt it spurred -- does not sum up the Clinton presidency. 

History is kinder to former presidents than contemporary political reporters. President Eisenhower, for example, is no longer seen as a jovial bumbler, but as a pioneer in civil rights. President Reagan, no longer the world-record napper, but the man who ended the Cold War. 

And history will be equally kind to Bill Clinton. He will be remembered, not as the man -- and hardly the first president -- who broke his marriage vows, but as the president who kept his office vows to the American people. And then some. 

Clinton will be credited, most of all, for delivering a strong economy on the heels of the Bush recession. If nothing else, he was smart enough to keep Alan Greenspan at the Fed, place Robert Rubin at Treasury, and stay out of their way. The result:  the longest period of economic expansion in American history. 

We've come so far, it's hard to remember how far back we started. In 1993, unemployment hovered at a dangerous 7.3 percent; today, it's a record low 4 percent. The Dow-Jones was stuck in the 2000's; even with today's slowdown, it's soaring in the mid-10,000's. 

Wall Street didn't act alone. Its market confidence was inspired by rare fiscal discipline in Washington. Reagan and Bush promised to cut the federal deficit, but did not. Clinton promised, and did. He not only cut the deficit, he eliminated it - and replaced it with a record $455 billion surplus. 

Clinton's other great contribution to the economy was pioneering leadership in global trade. NAFTA, GATT and other trade agreements, which Clinton negotiated over the objections of Democratic union leaders, solidified the United States as the #1 global economic power and helped create 22 million new jobs. 

On the domestic front, Clinton stole a feather from the Republicans' cap. Once again, Reagan and Bush talked about welfare reform; Clinton delivered it. Welfare is now a temporary refuge, not a lifetime sinecure. Since 1996, when Clinton signed the welfare reform legislation, caseloads have been cut in half. Millions of former welfare recipients now hold fulltime jobs. Under Clinton, the overall crime rate has also declined for 8 consecutive years. 

In one other area has Clinton governed like a Republican, at least an old-time Republican. Acting by executive order, he has designated more than 5.6 million acres as national monuments, thereby placing more land under federal protection than any president since Theodore Roosevelt. 

But it's not just prosperity and progress at home that mark the Clinton presidency, it's also peace around the world. He brought Catholics and Protestants together to stop the killing in Northern Ireland. He used American military power and peacekeeping troops to stop the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Kosovo. He hammered Saddam Hussein  out of mischief. And, even if he didn't achieve a peace agreement in the Middle East, he brought the parties closer than ever before and left a roadmap to peace for the next administration to follow. 

Topping it all off were Clinton's unique personal skills. He's the best communicator and campaigner we've seen. He's one of the smartest presidents ever. He's a fighter and a survivor. Given his problems in Monicagate, many a lesser man would have thrown in the towel. But Clinton plowed on and not only survived, but emerged stronger than ever. 

This is not meant as an early Valentine to Bill Clinton. Nor to suggest that Clinton's mug be added to Mt. Rushmore. Indeed, his administration may be remembered less for "what was accomplished" than for "what might have been". 

It is simply to state the facts. Clinton has been a very effective president. He can leave office proudly, having led the United States into the 21st. Century. His legacy is a robust economy, a better life and greater opportunities for all Americans  and peace in the world.

Not bad. 

Compared to Clinton's accomplishments, Monica Lewinsky is nothing but an asterisk."

And that is all for now :)

~Penz

January 16, 2001:  Quick update.  Just got a note from James Canders.  Here is a picture of his new bike!!

James writes:  "Well, here it is.  I've been waiting a long time to get one of these and this is the year.  I picked it up yesterday and right now it is sitting in a heated storage unit a few miles away.  I have to wait a couple months before I can ride it unfortunately.  I am already getting impatient.  I am planning to take a lot of road trips this summer, so don't be surprised if I end up on someone's doorstep.  I don't have a shot of the odometer right now, but I can tell you it reads 00000.0.  The Limited Edition plate on the handlebars reads 476/1000.  So, there are only 999 other people in the world with a bike like mine.  Well, right now, anyway.  I've already got parts on order to help trick it out a little bit."

James has been talking about getting a bike for quite a while now, so it is great to see his dreams become a reality!  Congrats!!

~Penz

January 15, 2001:  Well today is a holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., so in memory of this visionary, I'll start off with one of my favorite quotes from him:

""I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other centered can build up." 

Not a bad thought, eh?  Be nice if more heads of state and government officials put these words into actions.

Ok, well, moving along :-)  Last week was a good week.  On Wednesday, Justin and I went to see Marilyn Manson.  Hahaha, unreal.  I've seen Manson play 3 times over the last 4 years, which is almost as many times as I've seen Jimmy Buffett play!  Hahaha, well, no quite as many, but still, talk about 2 different ends of the musical spectrum!  It was, as usual, an interesting show.  The opening act, Godhead, was pretty good.  They got the crowd pumped up and put on a good show while doing it.  Of course, the night belonged to Manson, and he did not disappoint the crowd.  Leather, fishnets, deathly pale complexion and plenty of shots of him playing with his ass and trying to hump his basssist, filled the night.  Hahah, oh yeah, he also played some pretty kick as songs!  The show lasted until 11:00 p.m. and the crowd certainly got their moneys worth.

On Saturday, Justin and I got up and around 8:30 am, left on a road trip to Los Angeles.  We originally planned to take the Pacific Coast Highway down, and on our way to Route 1, from 101, Justin changed his mind, so we took a 2.5 hour detour through the desert back to Rt. 5.  It was actually a really nice ride and I was glad we took it.  I'd never seen the desert and some of the scenery was beautiful.  We hit LA around 3:30 and spent the next 5 hours cruising around Beverly Hills (checking out the houses), going up and down Santa Monica and Sunset Blvd. and just seeing the sights.  Oh yeah, we stopped at one point and watched the filming of Bruce Willis's newest film "Bandit".  They LA police (SWAT) and fire department were part of the scene and it was really cool to watch!.  We had dinner at an American/Thai place (it was ok), grabbed some coffee at Starbucks and then decided to head back home!  We left LA at 7:45 pm and arrived back home at 12:15, with Justin driving (and me snoring most of the way), we made good time :-)

On Sunday morning, we got up late and headed into San Francisco for breakfast at Savor, in Noe Valley.  After a scrumptious meal (a real fag would have said 'fabulous meal'! :-), we headed up to Twin Peaks where we got an awesome view of the Bay.  I had never been to this vantage point before and I'll definitely be back!  It was awesome!  Ok, after that, we stopped off at the Honda dealership (Justin is trying to find a Honda del Sol, manual, VTEC, blah , blah, blah), and then headed back home.  Last night, we just stayed in and chilled out.  Hahaha, I put over 1K miles on my car this weekend, brining it to 44550 miles!  Damn, and to think the dealership wanted me to lease it (yeah, I'm averaging about 27K per year, and a lease gives you 12K.  Haha, NOT!).

Let's see, I made some major updates to the Cellar Dwellars section of my web site.  I got a lot of updates from the boyz, so check it out for the latest on who's doing what.

Adam "Skinny Daug" Arnold has moved from MA to CA over the past week. Due to his wife, Ginny, having some issues, their marriage is most likely going to end.  It greatly pains me to think of what she has done to my brother, and because of her actions, at this time, I have little sympathy for her.  Maybe in time, this will change, but for now, I digress to the bible for a moment:

"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who in the name of charity and goodwill shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and a finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee." 

- Jules' version of Ezekiel 25:17 from Pulp Fiction

Ok, now that I feel a bit better (yes, I'm bitter...).... my brother, being the survivor he is, he has packed up his bags and moved out to LA where he is now living with his brother Michael.  Needless to say, I'm happy to have my brother so close to me now (only a 5 hour drive), but I'm sad to see him out here for the reasons he is.  Well, ever cloud has a silver lining and everything happens for a reason, and Adam is one person who can make the best of a bad situation... 

Heard from James Canders yesterday.  He dropped me a line.  He's doing well and adjusting to civilian life quite nicely.  He just bought a Yamaha YZF R1 limited edition bike and plans on enjoying it this spring.  He's begun flying again and is looking to move to either FL or CA sometime over the next year or so (basically wants to go where it's warm!).

Jimmy Buffett has announced that he'll be in CA in March.  Needless to say, I'm psyched!  Haha, I'm trying to convince Paul to come out and see him with me, but we'll just have to wait and see on that one :)

Spidey is planning a visit out to see me in February.  He'll be here the weekend of the 24th and it's possible that Alex McCabe will be here the same weekend.  That will be a lot of fun!

And so, in a little ol' coconut shell, that's what's been going on!  Drop me a line and let me know what's going on in your part of the world :-)  I leave you with this sweet quote Lisa Cragan sent me:

"A smile costs nothing, but gives much. 
It enriches those who give it. It takes but a moment,
but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.
None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it,
and none is so poor that he cannot be made richer by it.
A smile creates happiness in the home,
promotes good will in business, and is the cornerstone of friendship.
It can perk up the weary, bring cheer to the discouraged,
sunshine to the sad, and is nature's best antidote for trouble.
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen,
for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away.
When people are too tired to give you a smile, give them one of yours.
No one needs a smile so much as he who has none to give."

~Penz 

January 8, 2001:  All is going pretty well.  Last Friday Justin and I took the morning and went flying over the Bay area!  One of his customers, of whom has been getting free triple venti cappuccino's for the last year, made the offer to take anyone from his store up flying.  So, at 9:30, we arrived at the Palo Alto Flight Club and met up with Mike (the pilot).  He took us up in a Piper Warrior for a wonderful one hour tour of the area.  We headed up over Stanford University and then out to Half Moon Bay, then up the coast.  At one point, Mike let Justin take the controls and Justin did a great job executing a 15' left hand 360' turn over the water. Hahaha, he was a little scared over the whole thing, but I think he enjoyed it in the end (especially when we told him his ground speed was 120 MPH.  After that is was up and over the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and then  the city.  We saw some awesome sights, got a fresh perspective on the area, and had a thoroughly enjoyable morning.  Mike is a great pilot and a hell of a nice guy. 

After landing and bidding our farewells, we headed down to San Jose for a bit and then up to IKEA to check out what was new in the store.  $100 later, we emerged with some new pillows for the couch, new lamps for the bedroom and a few other nick nacks we could've lived without :-).  Hehehe, oh well.

Over the weekend, we got to see Rob and Susan on Saturday.  They just returned from Kauai, where they had a wonderful time.  On Sunday, we just sorta took it easy and enjoyed the day.

I just got an email from Eric "E" Larson, and this is a picture of the Coast Guards latest toy!  He writes "This is the latest in Coast Guard technology, my new 47' motor lifeboat. We are receiving ours mid January."  Hahah, I'm hoping that I can get a ride on this sweet looking boat during my next trip out!  Pretty sweet boat E!

And all in all, that's about it for now.  I hope that all is well in your neck of the woods.  :-)

~Penz
 
 

January 1, 2001:

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Hahaha, well, we made it into the next millennium with out a hitch!  All the signs of the apocalypse failed to occur.  There was no fire and brimstone, no end of the world, no return of Columbo for another season... yep, we're gonna be all right :-)

Last night was a very cool night.  At 9:00 PT, Justin and I went to the movies where we saw "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"  This movie was AWESOME and I highly recommend it.  It makes my top 20 best movies of all times list.  Superb acting, action, and cinematography... the only thing that you have to deal with are the sub-titles (unless you speak Japanese), but it is worth it.  Go see it :)

The movie got out at 11:05, and we jumped in the Civic and sped towards Half Moon Bay  We arrived at HMB at 11:45 and the unbelievably, no one else was at my favorite little hideaway which overlooks the Mavericks (Macky, Tab, Porky and Dubbah all know where this is).  This was most cool, so at the stroke of midnight, we toasted in the New Year with a superb bottle of Mumm Cuvee' Champagne while standing upon a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean on one side and Half Moon Bay on the other.  As I gave Justin a BIG smooch, church bells began ringing, fire alarms and fireworks went off and cheers could be heard from afar.  Welcome 2001! 

Hahaha, as we stood on the cliff and looked out West over the Pacific Ocean, we did wave to Kevin Barnes who is out on the island of Kwjalaein.  Hehehe, he celebrated the New Year YESTERDAY!  Hahaha, gotta love those time zones, eh?

And today is another very special day, as it is my sisters 21st birthday!! Happy Birthday Gini!  Hahah, I hear she spent last night up in Montreal, Canada partying it up with her friends.  I'm sure she had a blast and rocked in the New Year properly :)

Well, I'm going to run out and enjoy this beautiful CA day.  Hope your day is going well :)

All the best!! ~Penz


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