Less than six degrees

Two days ago I was just about to walk out the door to leave for work when my wife told me that our neighbor called to tell us there was a police officer in front of our house with a gun.

I looked out our kitchen window to see the officer walking up my driveway pointing an assault rifle in front of him. I saw another one on the other side of the street. When he looked satisfied that no one was hiding in our carport, my wife opened the door. He told us they were looking for two fleeing felons and to call 911.

We found out later that police had made a traffic stop and an man and woman. When the officer got out of his car, the suspects took off. A chase ensued ending in a crash a few blocks from my house. The two suspects fled on foot but the woman was captured later (after the search on our street) two blocks away from us.

The man has still not been caught. The news reported his name as James Herrera.

This is where it gets weird. “Jimmy” has a brother named Jason (not me). Jason has a good friend named Kevin. Kevin works with me. Unsurprisingly, Kevin tells me that Jimmy seems to have a drug problem. I believe he used the word “loser”.

Drinking straws rated

Drinking straws are an important aspect of the fast-food beverage experience. Here is how I see them stack up.

5. Taco Bell – horrible straws. Too narrow. Who can drink through these things? Also I’ve found that I frequently have to get a replacement because of a split in the straw or a manufacturing defect at one end hampering the suction.
4. Subway – Acceptable diameter but their plastic wrapping can be annoying to remove (no one-handed pound on the counter to expose the top of the straw). The covering is also hard to crumple to throw away; again, not a one handed job.
3. Wendy’s – A good all-around straw. Not flashy, but serviceable. A little narrow for my taste but not nearly as bad as Taco Bell.
2. Arby’s – Good diameter for suction but see-through plastic can leave unsightly residue visible iin the straw.

And the best fast-food drinking straw is:

1. McDonald’s – The McDonald’s drinking straw is the gold-standard for all drinking straws. It is sturdy with enough width to get a good draw on any drink including a thick milkshake. The white and red color hides any residue in the straw and goes well with their cup designs. The McDonald’s straw streamlines the drinking experience. No other straw comes close.

Is it the economy stupid?

The price of oil hit $134/barrel today. Labor figures show 5.5% unemployment. The Democrats have decided to exploit this situation for their political advantage. They want to press Republican presidential nominee John McCain by bringing up legislation to extend unemployment benefits (how this benefits the 94.5% employed, I don’t know), give federal assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure, and promote and undefinded plan to address soaring gas prices.

Unemployment is still near historic lows. Most homeowners are not in foreclosure. Our economic woes are due to energy prices, not low unemployment or home foreclosure.

Democrats need to stop blocking energy development here at home. You can’t legislate low energy prices. You can take the restrictions off and let industry produce it though. Now is not the time to exploit bad news for political gain.

We are not in an economic crisis, we are in an energy crisis. It’s the energy stupid. Take off the chains of beauracracy and let us develop our own resources to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.
That is how we will solve the energy crisis.

Strangers who pray

Julie at Happy Catholic linked to Patrick at The Paragraph Farmer about his encounter in a post office parking lot when an evangelical woman he never met before stopped to pray for him. Patrick asked if others had a similar experience.

A few weeks ago I took my daughter Bailey to the Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden. The main feature of the shrine is a 22 foot tall statue of Jesus on top of a hill. The 373 step “Stairway of Prayer” leads up the hill to the statue. With a little help to prop her up, Bailey climbed all 373 steps.

There were quite a few people at the top when we got there. Bailey wasted no time in introducing herself to some older children in her signature jabber. No one understood her but they responded back to her and played with her for a while.

After about 15 minutes most of the other people had left. Two other men, a young boy, and Bailey and I were all that remained. At that point, one of the men took off his cap, got down on his knees facing the statue, and began praying silently. Something about his actions attracted Bailey. She stood a few feet behind the man watching him. He prayed for a couple of minutes. She didn’t take her eyes off him the whole time.

When the man finished, he stood up, replaced his hat, and turned around. He looked down and saw my daughter staring up at him intently. The man looked over at me and said, “what a beautiful girl.” He then extended his right hand to the top of her head and prayed, “The Lord bless you.”

That part is my most vivid memory. I don’t have the words to explain how it moved me to see this stranger pray for God’s blessing on my child. I could only respond with an inaudible “thank you” I mouthed. I didn’t even find out his name. He left with his friend and the boy a minute later.

The entire scene lasted less than 5 minutes but it is burned in my memory. The prayers of strangers offered in charity are powerful indeed.