Happy Birthday USA, 238 yrs. Young.


With the World Cup focus and among all of the flag showings, I still think Old Glory is the most awesome: bold, balanced, and beautiful.


On 9/12/2001 I posted our flag in front of my home.  I had always posted it on Flag Day, the 4th of Jul, Memorial Day and Pearl Harbor Day.  But I vowed to leave my flag up until the 9/11 bad guys were brought to justice. That time has long past and she’s still out there.  Actually, we’re on our 4th or 5th flag.  It has just become part of our home.

Aside from the shear beauty of our flag I love all of it’s symbolism and the ideals it represents.  Yes, the USA is not perfect.  We’re reminded of that all too often.  But you do have to ask yourself – ‘self, if the US is all that bad, why are so many people sacrificing so much to get here, often at the peril of their very lives?’

True, I do love travelling.  It seems that wherever we go we find something to like about that place: the beaches, the water, the native foods, the weather…But as awesome as these places are, “there’s no place like home“.  We’ve got it all AND, it’s for everyone, which is the greatest attribute our USofA offers: “…ONE nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all“.

And of all of the renditions of our National Anthem, Whitney Houston’s is hands down the best.  Give it a listen here.

What does our flag mean to you?

Nation’s Happiest Employees: Right Here

Not only is San Jose, CA the highest home-value-appreciation area in the US (see 2/10/11 post below), it is also the city with the happiest employees in the country.  This Forbes article puts San Jose on top and San Francisco right behind it.

And, since the majority of those who live in Hollister, Gilroy, and Morgan Hill drive to the San Jose area for work we can safely assume that we are also the happiest employees in the US.  Right?

After all, we have 2 of our own In-N-Out restaurants, the Gilroy Premium Outlets and 3 lakes.

Now if we could just get Hwy. 101 widened from Hwy. 152 in Gilroy to Hwy. 85 in San Jose we would all be a lot happier.

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Hollister Band Going to New York

Texas Tech University's Goin' Band from Raider...
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Little ole Hollister’s marching band will represent CA in a 10th Anniversary of 911.

The marching band from San Benito High School will be one of only two schools from California to march in the 2011 New York Veterans Day Parade. 

The Free Lance Newspaper article provides some of the basic information but is lacking one, very important angle: when and where are the fund raisers going to be? 

Sending all of the band members, their instruments and leaders to New York will not be an inexpensive event.

A recent change in the typical fund raising events, however, is going to cause some interesting challenges.  It seems that band member families and supporting friends will not be allowed to have bake sales.  No more homemade cookies, pies and cakes.  Something to do with health code issues?  Could it be that the First Lady’s influence has already affect our little community?  Or, is it local bakeries complaining about competition?

Are we going to have to devise a different slogan?  It’s always been: “Good old mom and apple pie”.  Will we have to say: “Cellophane-wrapped, expiration date stamped, virtual pie”?

We are thrilled about our home town band being selected!   There is nothing like the sound of horns and drums blaring down Main Street USA.  Couldn’t we keep some of the same emotional foundations like home made goodies?  And, by the way, who says my wife’s killer homemade fudge can’t help the tuba player go to New York?

What are your thoughts?

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Study & Go VOTE

TODAY – Please study the “General Election” pamphlet; carefully consider each office’s best candidate and decide for yourself. Encourage everyone in your family, your neighbors and co-workers to do the same.
TOMORROW – schedule time to go and vote at your precinct (if you haven’t already voted by mail). Offer to drive neighbors, or whomever needs a ride to their precinct.
THIS election is one of the most important elections in our life time. YOUR VOTE DOES COUNT!
God Bless America.

“Small World” – No, Just a Big Family

We live in a remarkable time!

I was attending an out of state conference and before a meeting got started I began speaking with the lady next to me.  Eventually, we talked about where we were from.  When I mentioned where I lived this lady began to ask a question then looked away as she convinced herself that the question was silly.  When I pressed for the question she said, “Well, would you happen to know so-and-so?”  I quickly responded that I knew them well and that they lived a couple of blocks away.  “Wow”, I exclaimed, “what a small world”, to which she taught, “No, just a big family”.

When the 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti yesterday almost instantly the world family knew about it and, more importantly, began responding to the anticipated need.  Quake victims were able to call extended family members to assure them that they were okay.  In one case, a woman, buried under rubble, was able to talk her own husband right to her potential tomb and he rescued her – thanks to their cell phones.

Now, through a newer vehicle we can effortlessly send money just by texting.  You can text: “Haiti” to 90999 and $10 will be sent to the Red Cross for the Haitian Relief.  Our phone company will add the $10 to our next billOver $200,000 per hour is currently rushing in from all over the world through these text messages!

The true nature of mankind is good and once again we are seeing the outpouring of goodwill from every corner of this small world.  I, for one, am a proud member of this big family.

Gilroy Garlic Festival Time Again

As I hear the familiar sounds of the pickers in my apricot orchard I’m reminded that it is that time of the year for the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

31 years ago Dr. Rudy Melone decided that Gilroyans shouldn’t be embarrassed or apologetic about our prolific crop of garlic but be proud of it.  Dr. Melone also thought that the “Stinky Rose” could be a fund raising source and activity for his beloved community.  So he cornered the local garlic farmers and convinced them to hold such an  event and earn some funds for the local Rotary club.  A media luncheon was held and they were also convinced.  Reluctant city leaders were pulled into the fray and 7 months later, in 1979, the first G arlic Festival arrived.

That 1st festival netted $19,000.  In the 30 years since then, more than $8 million has been given back to the community!

But what I really like is the cheerful community involvement where hundreds of charity and non-profit groups work side by side as volunteers and vendors earning funds for their group.  The Gilroy Gators Swim Teams earns over $6,000 during the 3 day event.  Hope Rehabilitation earns more than $3,000.  Even the $400 earned by Sunset 4-H club is much more than they could earn selling cookies in front of the market.  My son-in-law is a Scout Master of a local Boy Scout troop.  They will earn all of their entire year’s operating funds from selling lemon aid at the Festival.

When we say it is “tons of fun” for the visitors we mean that, literally: approximately 11 tons of beef, 5 tons of pasta, 5 tons of calamari, 3 tons of scampi and 3 tons of fresh Christopher Ranch garlic is expected to be consumed by the 100,000 patrons.  Additionally, there are live bands, events for the kids, and all of the normal fun activities you would expect as such a world class event.

Why not plan on coming out for good food, lots of fun and helping so many good organizations.  This year’s Festival will be held on Friday – Sunday, 7/24 -25-26.  Gates open at 10:00 AM.  For more information go to:  gilroygarlicfestival.com