September 30, 2007

Hmmm...

In a small mid-western conservative town, a new bar/tavern started a building to open up their business. The local Baptist church started a campaign to block the bar from opening with petitions and prayers. Work progressed, however right up until the week before opening, when a lightning strike hit the bar and it burned to the ground. The church folks were rather smug in their outlook after that, until the bar owner sued the church on the grounds that the church was ultimately responsible for the demise of his building, either through direct or indirect actions or means. The church vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection to the buildings demise in its reply to the court. As the case made it's way into court, the judge looked over the paperwork at the hearing and commented, "I don't know how I'm going to decide this, but as it appears from the paperwork, we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer, and an entire church congregation that doesn't."

Hmmm...

Dreams And Divine Guidance


The subjects of coincidence, dreams, and divine guidance are interesting to me, and I know that there are many who have had things happen to them, which had no logical explanation. I honestly believe in divine guidance, in our personal lives, and I believe that can come through dreams at times. I certainly have a deep, and abiding faith in God, but there are certain things which are way beyond my understanding of them.

I've seen the programs on television about psychics, and how some of them help solve difficult cases for the police, and yet, I've always been taught that such things are of the devil. For as long as I can remember, I have had dreams that came true, and I've just "known" things that were about to happen, and I refuse to contribute that to the devil, because I know that I want no part of that sort of thing in my life.

One nice neighbor suggested that I should pray that I stop having the dreams, but I believe that many of my dreams are spiritual in nature. If the dreams cause no one harm, or bring about no evil, then who has the right to say that they are from the devil, and not from God? I think that God, sometimes, will use dreams as a "warning" of some impending danger.

For instance, I had a dream that someone had died, and was buried. I knew that it was one of my two sons. In my dream, I was underground, right next to the coffin. I could see through the side of it, and I knew that I was trying to see the feet of the one lying there.

There is a slight difference in the shapes of my sons' feet, and I knew that if I saw which one it was, that I would know how to pray. I saw that it was my younger son. I woke up, suddenly, with great apprehension, which is what happens when I have that kind of dream. I began to pray immediately against anything happening to him.

The next couple of days he wasn't feeling well, and he came home from work sick, which he never did. I kept asking him if he needed to go to the emergency room, because I had a gut feeling that it was serious. He finally consented, and as it turned out, he was having a major heart attack...in his twenties. He now has two stents in his heart, but he is alive.

I firmly believe that it was the fervent prayer, as a result of the dream, that kept it from being the tragedy that it could have been. I could go on and on, but I won't. If others find the subject interesting, I will write more about it in another post.

I guess I said all of that to say this: In this world there is good and evil, and we need God's guidance in every aspect of our lives to help us to realize which is which, because it is not always obvious.

September 29, 2007

Coincidences


Concidence:
The occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection.

I have read that there is no such thing as a coincidence, that there is nothing that happens by accident. Having experienced a few of my own, I have wondered about that.

I know that most everyone has experienced thinking of a particular person, and suddenly the phone rings, and it's the one you were thinking about -- or you pick up the phone to call someone, and that person is calling you at the same time. That happened just today. I called my husband on his cell phone, but as soon as I entered his number, without hearing his phone ring, I heard the sound of the cd playing in his car -- he had just called me, and we connected at the same time. The thing with the telephones is probably very common, and maybe not too much of a mystery -- but there are some coincidences that don't occur that often, and can be quite interesting.

Many years ago, we were living in California and made a trip back home to Alabama to pick up my mother who was planning to live with us for awhile. We were driving across the desert, and had some minor problem with the car. We were pulled over onto the side of the highway to check it out, and we all got out of the car, because it was so hot. As we stood there, a trucker pulled over and asked if we needed help. We stood there talking for awhile, and he told us that he was from Florida. He looked at my mother and said, "You know, you look just like my best friend. You look enough alike to be brother and sister. My mother told him that she didn't live in Florida, and had never even been there. He laughed, and said, "He's not from there, either, I think Amos is from somewhere in Georgia." My mother said, "That's my brother's name!" He asked her his last name, and when she told him, he could hardly believe it. They were talking about the same man! What are the odds that my uncle's sister, and his best friend would meet for the first time going across the desert, both headed to California?

Here's another weird one: A couple of months after I was first married, my husband and I had gone into a drugstore to buy greeting cards, and to get a sandwich at the lunch counter. After eating, we looked at cards, and on the way up to the cash register, I spotted a table with puzzles and games, and one game, in particular, caught my eye. I had an overwhelming urge to look at that game! I started toward it, and my husband said, "Come on, let's go." I said, "No, I want to see this game," and reached out and pulled him quickly toward me. Just as I did that, a huge fan dropped from the ceiling, right onto the spot where he had been standing! The name of the game? A HOLE IN THE HEAD!

Now, how about the coincidences in your life?

September 28, 2007

Be Careful What You Say

Someone sent this to me today, and I think it is worth sharing. I know that it has been around a long time, and has made the rounds, but the message is a good one, and worth reading again.


There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily, gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say "I'm sorry," the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one."
Once, after someone hurt me very much with words, I wrote this little verse:
A word is such a powerful thing,
Can lift a heart, or break it.
Be very careful what you say,
Once said, you can't retake it.

September 27, 2007

Full Moon


Here are some typical Native American names for the full moon throughout the calendar year:
January: Old Moon, Wolf Moon
February: Snow Moon
March: Sap Moon, Worm Moon, Crow Moon, Crust Moon
April: Grass Moon, Pink Moon, Moon of the Red Grass Appearing
May: Milk Moon, Flower Moon
June: Rose Moon, Strawberry Moon
July: Thunder Moon, Buck Moon
August: Green Corn Moon, Corn Moon, Sturgeon Moon
September: Fruit Moon, Harvest Moon
October: Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon
November: Frost Moon, Beaver Moon
December: Long Night Moon, Cold Moon

The growing and dying of the moon reminds us of our ignorance, which comes and goes. But when the moon is full it is as if the Great Spirit were upon the whole world.
- Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

Image: Native American Vision of the Full Moon.

Thank You, Claudia!


This award was given to me by Claudia, of Claudia's Place, and I appreciate it very much!
I may not be deserving of it really, but thanks again, Claudia, for passing it on to me!
Later, I will pass it on to a few others, too!

September 26, 2007

If A Brother Or A Sister


"If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,' and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled, notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body, what doth it profit?" James 2:15-16 KJV


No, I'm not trying to get preachy, but there is one who is in need right now. Maybe she's not destitute, in the sense that one thinks of destitution, but she is in dire need of some immediate relief.

Our friend, Karen, of ksquest, has a real need, and I, for one, want to do what I can to help. She thinks she is undeserving of it, but I couldn't disagree more. She is a good, caring person, who thinks nothing of giving her all to help others in need.
I've been in tight spots before, without the slightest idea of what to do, and nowhere to turn. It's not a pleasant thing to go through, and sometimes just too humiliating to ask for help, but there are those on here, I know, with hearts big enough to want to do so. Go here to My Garden Spot to find one of them, and to find out more about k's plight.
We love you, k!


September 25, 2007

Truckers


I don't know why, but lately my uncles have been on my mind a lot.

My mom had five brothers. They were all so different in personality, and character, too, but I loved them all. Only one of them became a success as the world defines that. He owned a service station, and little cafe there in that Georgia town where they all were born, and grew to adulthood. He, also, raised hogs, and owned a poultry farm, at one time supplying chickens to all of the area grocery chains, and other states as well. He made his first million sometime in the mid-to-late 1960s, I think. He and his wife had no children, and most of their wealth went to charity. They owned a lot of property, and that was left to the Baptist Children's Home there. Two of my uncles were roofers, and two were truckdrivers. Three of those uncles had an abundance of children, but Uncle Amos -- a truck driver had none.


I don't know what it is about truck drivers, but it seems to be in their blood, so to speak. No matter what other kind of work my two truck driving uncles tried, they always went back to that. Especially Uncle Amos. He hauled missles back and forth between California and Florida for a long time. He was always so careful to follow all the rules and regulations, taking great pride in what he did. He used to entertain me with all the stories of his close calls, and the closeness, and comaraderie of his fellow drivers. He drove a truck, in some capacity, right up to only a few weeks before he died, stopping only when he became so weak from his chemo that he felt it was no longer safe for him, or for others on the road.


That's it, I think. The reason that he's been on my mind lately --the fact that he loved his job, took so much pride in it, and followed all the rules, and at the very end, was concerned about the welfare of others.

I received an email from a friend, who also has a truck-driving-relative. Here's what she said: "My brother-in-law is a trucker by trade. He works for a local grocery chain, but he also takes some long haul runs across country for a friend of his. A couple of weeks ago he told us that the government opened up the borders to let Mexican trucks start coming into the U.S.


U.S. truckers are under all kinds of rules and regulations and restrictions and are always having to stop at weigh stations (when they're open). A friend of his pulled into a station the other day and they had a Mexican truck pulled over for being overweight. However, the guy just kept saying he didn't speak English. Finally, in frustration, the officials LET HIM GO... then fined the guy behind him for some minor infraction in his log book.

This is the problem. You have to be 21 in the U.S. to drive a semi between states, but a Mexican can get a license at 15. They don't have to keep their trucks maintained and inspected, like we do... they don't have the rules we do. Can you imagine a 15-year-old Mexican trucker in a poorly maintained truck driving through the mountain snows in winter? Yeah... I know I'm scared!

Lastly, like my BIL says, if there is an accident they'll never say it was a Mexican driver... just that it was a truck driver at fault. Giving truckers a bad name."

I guess I was thinking about what my uncle would think about that -- giving truckers a bad name. There is just something really wrong with this picture.

September 23, 2007

Letter From Home


DEAR SON,
I'm writing this real slow 'cause I know you can't read very fast.

We don't live where we did when you left. Your daddy read in the paper that most accidents happen within twenty miles of your house. So we moved.

I won't be able to send you the address because the last family that lived here took the numbers off the house with them so they wouldn't have to change their address.

This place has a washing machine.The first day I put four shirts in, pulled the chain and ain't seen them since.

It only rained twice last week, three days the first time, four days the second time.

You know the coat you wanted me to send you? Well, Aunt Sue said it would be too heavy to mail with the buttons on it. So we cut them off and put them in the pockets.

We got a letter from the funeral home. They said if we don't make the last payment on Grandma's funeral bill...up she comes!

Your sister had a baby this morning. I ain't heard if it's a boy or a girl, so I don't know if you're an aunt or an uncle.

Your Uncle John fell in the whiskey vat. Some men tried to pull him out. He fought them off, so he drowned. We cremated him. He burned for three days!

Three of your friends went off the bridge in a pick-up truck. One was driving; the other two was in the back. The driver got out. He rolled down the window and swam to safety. The other two drowned. They couldn't get the tailgate down.

There's not much news this time, nothing much happened.
Love, Mom

September 22, 2007

Freedom




When posed the question of what freedom meant, a 10-year-old student's entry to the Weekly Reader's Operation Tribute to Freedom essay contest gave a thoughtful response, uncharacteristic of a mind that might ordinarily turn to skateboards, baseball and video games.



Text of Kevin Young's Winning Essay, "Freedom"


I am a ten-year-old boy living in the United States of America — a country that stands for freedom. Today, I woke to the chirping of birds. On the other side of the world, another boy is waking up to the frightening sound of blasting bomb.


It was a time to go to school so I chose to wear a T-shirt and shorts because I could make that decision. On the other side of the world, a young girl had a choice, too. She could wear a veil or get whipped.


Then I went to school to learn about our world, including math, English, history and science and technology. I was learning how to make the world a better place. On the other side of the world, a boy was learning how to fight in combat and survive or be killed. For the girl, school was not allowed. But she wanted to learn. So she went to school in secret, but was taking a big risk.


After school, I went to play soccer and visited with all of my friends. On the other side of the world, the boy and girl went and tried to earn some money or went to look for food and water for their family.


At night, as I slept in my nice, warm bed, I dreamed of a world filled with freedom for the little boy and girl on the other side of the world.

* I thought that this essay was worth sharing. It makes me realize, once again, that we must never take for granted the freedom that we have in this country.

September 21, 2007

The Price Of A Desk


I know that we find humor in a lot of things when it comes to kids, and the things they've learned, (or not) but I know that they are capable of learning valuable lessons, especially when they are blessed with teachers like the one in this story. A friend shared it with me, and I think that it is worth sharing with you.


Back in September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies school teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock , did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she took all of the desks out of the classroom.

The kids came into first period, they walked in, there were no desks. They obviously looked around and said, "Ms. Cothren, where's our desk?"

Ms. Cothren said, "You can't have a desk until you tell me how you earn them."

They thought, "Well, maybe it's our grades."

"No," she said. "Maybe it's our behavior." And she told them, "No, it's not even your behavior."

And so they came and went in the first period, still no desks in the classroom. Second period, same thing, third period, no desks. By early afternoon television news crews had gathered in Ms. Cothren's class to find out about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of the classroom.

The last period of the day, Martha Cothren gathered her class. They were at this time sitting on the floor around the sides of the room. She said, "Throughout the day no one has really understood how you earn the desks that sit in this classroom, ordinarily." She said, "Now I'm going to tell you."

Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it, and as she did, 27 U.S. veterans, wearing their uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. And they placed those school desks in rows, and then they stood along the wall.

And by the time they had finished placing the desks, those kids for the first time, I think perhaps in their lives, understood how they earned those desks.

Martha said, "You don't have to earn those desks. These guys did it for you. They put them out there for you, but it's up to you to sit here responsibly to learn, to be good students and good citizens, because they paid a price for you to have that desk, and don't ever forget it."


I think that was a pretty valuable lesson taught by Martha Cothren, don't you?

September 19, 2007

This Land Is Our Land





I talked to my Aunt Polly on the phone today. She is one of my few remaining relatives, and that is by marriage. She is in her seventies, and has been diagnosed with a very serious kind of cancer, and is undergoing chemo. I'm not sure that it is going to be successful, but I pray that it will be. I call her all the time, just to tell her that I love her, and to talk, and to just allow her to talk. She and my uncle had seven children, and she has lost three of them, tragically, over the years, and sometimes that is what she wants to talk about.

Today, we somehow got on the subject of the different places she's lived--the different houses, and the times that I visited her, and spent weeks with her, while I was growing up, and afterwards. She misses her old house--she is now living with a son and daughter-in-law. She said that she wishes that she hadn't had to sell her old house, but that she knew she couldn't stay there anymore, the way things were. She was not talking about her cancer--she was speaking of what her old neighborhood has become.

She has lived her whole life there, in that town in Georgia that I've mentioned in my other stories on here. Her parents lived in a little house in the mill village, from the time that Aunt Polly was a little girl, and long years afterwards, too. During the latter years, while her mother was ailing, and until she died, Aunt Polly and Uncle Bo lived there with her in that same house. After my uncle died, she remained there, until about four years ago. She had always felt safe there, never locking her doors--not even at night.

But something happened to that little mill village. Gradually, over the past few years, every single dwelling there has been purchased by Hispanics. It is no longer the quiet, peaceful little community it once was where you could sit out on the porch-swing, any hour of the day or night, and feel safe. Now, at any hour there are cars racing up and down the street, loud shouting, crowds of people walking up and down the sidewalk, music blaring out of the passing cars, and adjoining houses. Once, while I was spending some time with her, there was a drive-by shooting, very close to her house. Only a few of the yards are still well-kept--most of them now have large stalks of corn, or something else, growing up the sides of the houses. The last time that I was there, a year ago, we drove by Aunt Polly's old place, and driving up the street, and around the neighborhood, I was reminded of the times, years ago, that I visited Tiajuana, Mexico.

All up and down the streets, going into town, the stores' windows are filled with signs in Spanish, and when you go into some of them, it is all Hispanic, and you hear only Spanish being spoken. It is almost surreal, making you feel like you took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in another country. And the icing on the cake to this whole thing, is that her daughter-in-law who had worked for several years at a convenience store, was "let go" a few months ago. The new owners are Hispanic, and they hired only other Hispanics, and I'm sure, members of their own family. And it isn't only that store--it is happening all over the place , including many towns in the adjoining state of Alabama. Like it or not, that's the way it is now and we are expected to just accept it.

After all, we mustn't offend anyone. Not even if they are trying to change everything that was once dear, and familiar, to us all.

From A Kid's Perspective





Kids just have the most unique way of expressing themselves. They view things from an entirely different perspective, and are most candid in their observations. Below are the answers of second graders, to questions asked by their teacher.


Why did God make mothers?
1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of ?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you Your mother and not some other mom?
1. We're related!
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of little girl was your mom?
1. My Mom has always been my Mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did Mom need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your Mom marry your dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world And my Mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between Moms and dads?
1. Moms work at work and work at home & dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller & stronger, but Moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.
4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your Mom do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don't do spare time.
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your Mom perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your Mom, what would it be?

1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my Mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

********

I had a few funny moments with my own sons, too.

Mike, who was in kindergarten at the time, was lying on the floor, pencil in hand, toiling away at his "homework."

"Mama, how do you make an elamento?"

"Huh?"

"How do you make an elamento?"

"A what?"

"An elamento. You know, a b c d e f g...h i j k...elamento p."

It still makes me laugh!

September 17, 2007

Threads Of The Flag

Today, on the local news, I watched a young wife, with her children, and her mother-in-law, sitting on the front pew of their church, as their husband, father, and son, lay in the flag-draped coffin before them. Another brave warrior, so young, whose life is no more. A life given in service to his country. Another installment for the price of freedom--because you see, freedom really isn't free. No matter how you may feel about current events, whether we should have, or shouldn't have gone to war, we must give the honor which is due, not only to our troops, but to their families, who pay a price, too. Like it or not, we are all in this together.

The following was sent to me some time ago, and I thought that this would be the most appropriate time to share it.

A MILITARY WIFE SPEAKS

You probably didn't realize who was sitting next to you. You rattled on about how silly this anti-terrorist war is, and that it's just a political ploy. You complained about America being the world's police. You said you'd never let your son run off to fight, and you'd throw a fit if they just sent your husband off. At this point, I almost turned around and told you who I am.

I am a military spouse.

Life in the military has never been easy. It means low pay with no overtime, watching your husband go to work with a fever because the doctor didn't deem him sick enough for the day off. It means years of protocol that wear on you like a dripping faucet late at night.

We live with terms like, "Exercise," which means 12-18 hour shifts. And TDY, which means your spouse is gone for up to 180 days. And "Remotes," which means your spouse is gone for longer than 180 days. And finally, "PCS," which means your whole family is going on this ride. Don't get me wrong, whining is not my intent here.

While the road we've been down in the military has not been paved, it's been a good life. My kids know you don't want to make friends, because you never know how long they'll be here. We know how precious good friends are, even when the miles separate us. We go to live in other countries where the locals despise us. It wasn't always in Vogue to be patriotic. Sept.11 helped turn that tide, but flags are fading around here, again.

My husband is TDY right now. I'm not allowed to tell you where. I'm 26 days into a 109-day TDY. There have been too many times I've needed him here. Forget the running of the home fort--there are kisses and hugs that should be taking place.
I lie in bed, and try to recall how his breathing sounds, next to me--or I hear the door open, and try to envision him walking in from work. What I would give to hear his clear voice without the static, and wondering how much the phone call will cost us. Then the deep fear--what if this separation becomes permanent? Distance is a horrible thief of what is precious, because it only reminds us of how precious it is.

You kept talking for awhile. Then I realized I was picking up your tab. You could sit there freely, and give your opinion because of the military families like ours. We are paying the price for your freedom. I've heard it said that soldiers past, present, and future pay for the flag. Nah, we're the threads it's woven with.

September 16, 2007

Let's Talk Politics


Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself. Mark Twain


I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. Winston Churchill


A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. George Bernard Shaw


A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which he proposes to pay off with your money. G. Gordon Liddy


Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. James Bovard


Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from the poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries. Douglas Casey, classmate of Bill Clinton


Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. P.J. O’Rourke


Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. Ronald Reagan


I don’t make jokes; I just watch government and report the facts. Will Rogers


If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free. P.J. O’Rourke


In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
Voltaire (1764)


Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you. Pericles (430 B.C. )


No man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session. Mark Twain


Talk is cheap except when Congress does it. Unknown


The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. Ronald Reagan


The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery. Winston Churchill


The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. Mark Twain


There is no distinctly Native American criminal class… save Congress. Mark Twain


What this country needs are more unemployed politicians. Edward Langley, artist


A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have. Thomas Jefferson


A History Lesson

The following is a "history" of the world from certifiably genuine student bloopers collected by teachers throughout the United States, from eighth grade through college level. They are enough to make you laugh and perhaps cry. All original spelling and grammar remain intacked...I mean intact!

The inhabitants of Egypt were called mummies. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation.
The Egyptians built the Pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube.
The Pramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain.

The Bible is full of interesting caricatures. In the first book of the Bible, Guinesses, Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. One of their children, Cain, asked "Am I my brother's son?" God asked Abraham to sacrifice Issac on Mount Montezuma. Jacob, son of Issac, stole his brother's birthmark. Jacob was a partiarch who brought up his twelve sons to be partiarchs, but they did not take to it. One of Jacob's sons, Joseph, gave refuse to the Israelites. Pharaoh forced the Hebrew slaves to make bread without straw. Moses led them to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments. David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He fougth with the Philatelists, a race of people who lived in Biblical times. Solomon, one of David's sons, had 500 wives and 500 porcupines.

Without the Greeks, we wouldn't have history. The Greeks invented three kinds of columns - Corinthian, Doric and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intolerable. Achilles appears in "The Illiad", by Homer. Homer also wrote the "Oddity", in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name.

Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock.

In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the coral wreath because the people took the law into their own hands. There were no wars in Greece, as the mountains were so high that they couldn't climb over to see what their neighbors were doing. When they fought the Parisians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men.
Eventually, the Ramons conquered the Geeks. History call people Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long. At Roman banquets, the guests wore garlic in their hair. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March killed him because they thought he was going to be made king. Nero was a cruel tyrany who would torture his poor subjects by playing the fiddle to them.

Then came the Middle Ages. King Alfred conquered the Dames, King Arthur lived in the Age of Shivery, King Harlod mustarded his troops before the Battle of Hastings, Joan of Arc was cannonized by George Bernard Shaw, and the victims of the Black Death grew boobs on their necks. Finally, the Magna Carta provided that no free man should be hanged twice for the same offense.

In midevil times most of the people were alliterate. The poems and verse and also wrote literature. Another tale tells of William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son's head.

The Renaissance was an age in which more individuals felt the value of their human being. Martin Luther was nailed to the church door at Wittenberg for selling papal indulgences. He died a horrible death, being excommunicated by a bull. It was the painter Donatello's interest in the female nude that made him the father of the Renaissance. It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented the Bible. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes. Another important invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100-foot clipper.

The government of England was a limited mockery. Henry VIII found walking difficult because he had an abbess on his knee. Queen Elizabeth was the "Virgin Queen." As a queen she was a success. When Elizabeth exposed herself before her troops, they all shouted "hurrah." Then her navy went out and defeated the Spanish Armadillo.

The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespear. Shakespear never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He lived in Windsor with his of Shakespear's famous plays, Hamlet rations out his situation by relieving himself in a long soliloquy. In another, Lady Macbeth tries to convince Macbeth to kill the King by attacking his manhood. Romeo and Juliet are an example of a heroic couplet. Writing at the same time as Shakespear was Miquel Cervantes. He wrote "Donkey Hote". The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote "Paradise Lost." Then his wife died and he wrote "Paradise Regained."

During the Renaissance America began. Christopher Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America while cursing about the Atlantic. His ships were called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Fe. Later the Pilgrims crossed the Ocean, and the was called the Pilgrim's Progress. When they landed at Plymouth Rock, they were greeted by Indians, who came down the hill rolling their war hoops before them. The Indian squabs carried porposies on their back. Many of the Indian heroes were killed, along with their cabooses, which proved very fatal to them. The winter of 1620 was a hard one for the settlers. Many people died and many babies were born. Captain John Smith was responsible for all this.

One of the causes of the Revolutionary Wars was the English put tacks in their tea. Also, the colonists would send their pacels through the post without stamps. During the War, Red Coats and Paul Revere was throwing balls over stone walls. The dogs were barking and the peacocks crowing. Finally, the colonists won the War and no longer had to pay for taxis.

Delegates from the original thirteen states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin had gone to Boston carrying all his clothes in his pocket and a loaf of bread under each arm. He invented electricity by rubbing cats backwards and declared "a horse divided against itself cannot stand." Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.

Under the Constitution the people enjoyed the right to keep bare arms.
Abraham Lincoln became America's greatest Precedent. Lincoln's mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. When Lincoln was President, he wore only a tall silk hat. He said, "In onion there is strength." Abraham Lincoln write the Gettysburg address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope. He also signed the Emasculation Proclamation, and the Fourteenth Amendment gave the ex-Negroes citizenship. But the Clue Clux Clan would torcher and lynch the ex-Negroes and other innocent victims. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. The believed assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposedly insane actor. This ruined Booth's career. Meanwhile in Europe, the enlightenment was a reasonable time. Voltare invented electricity and also wrote a book called "Candy". Gravity was invented by Issac Walton. It is chiefly noticeable in the Autumn, when the apples are falling off the trees.

Bach was the most famous composer in the world, and so was Handel. Handel was half German, half Italian and half English. He was very large. Bach died from 1750 to the present. Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling for him. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.

France was in a very serious state. The French Revolution was accomplished before it happened. The Marseillaise was the theme song of the French Revolution, and it catapulted into Napoleon. During the Napoleonic Wars, the crowned heads of Europe were trembling in their shoes. Then the Spanish gorrilas came down from the hills and nipped at Napoleon's flanks. Napoleon became ill with bladder problems and was very tense and unrestrained. He wanted an heir to inheret his power, but since Josephine was a baroness, she couldn't bear him any children.

The sun never set on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the East and the sun sets in the West. Queen Victoria was the longest queen. She sat on a thorn for 63 years. He reclining years and finally the end of her life were exemplatory of a great personality. Her death was the final event which ended her reign.

The nineteenth century was a time of many great inventions and thoughts. The invention of the steamboat caused a network of rivers to spring up. Cyrus McCormick invented the McCormick Raper, which did the work of a hundred men. Samuel Morse invented a code for telepathy. Louis Pastuer discovered a cure for rabbis. Charles Darwin was a naturailst who wrote the "Organ of the Species". Madman Curie discovered radium. And Karl Marx became one of the Marx Brothers.

The First World War, cause by the assignation of the Arch-Duck by a surf, ushered in a new error in the anals of human history.

September 14, 2007

Thoughts On Friendship


I have been thinking a lot about friendship, lately. Thinking of some friends that I've lost, in the past, and some that I've acquired, recently. I know that it is said that you should choose your friends carefully, but sometimes that is easier said than done. Sometimes, they just happen along, and things either work out, or they don't. I've had a few that I thought were genuine, but found out that it was not so. I have never been one to choose, or keep a friend based on looks, age, education, or wealth. I've never chosen a friend based on how sophisticated they happen to be, or how enlightened. Prestige, fame, and fortune, have never impressed me in the least. I've been poor--just about as poor as you can imagine--and I've been fairly well-off. I've had--and still have some of them--friends who were doctors, lawyers, college professors, politicians, pharmacists, an engineer, a physicist, a theologian, and a celebrity or two. I've, also, had friends who were common laborers, who worked their fingers to the bone, so to speak. Each and every one of those friendships have been based on things held in common--the only things of any real importance in a friendship --honesty, integrity, respect, and genuine affection.
I've been treated badly when I was very poor--in my growing-up years--and I've been kow-towed to, a few times, just because of my particular strata of society at the time. I guess I should be thankful for each and every one of those friendships, because I'm sure that I learned something valuable from each one. One thing that I have learned for sure--people are just people. Some are users, and some are losers, and some are the cream of the crop. Treat each one with kindness and respect, as much as it is possible, and most of the time, they will do the same. If not, then it is time to move on.


The following was written by an unknown author, as much as I can determine. Many have claimed authorship, but it is disputed.


"People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person. When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.


Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.


LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant."

September 13, 2007

A Woman Should Have


A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …
enough money within her control to move out
and rent a place of her own,
even if she never wants to or needs to …
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE…
something perfect to wear if the employer,
or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour..
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE…
a youth she’s content to leave behind…
a past juicy enough that she’s looking forward to
re-telling it in her old age…
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE…
a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra…
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE…
one friend who always makes her laugh
and one who lets her cry…
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE…
a good piece of furniture not previously owned
by anyone else in her family
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE…
eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems,
and a recipe for a meal.
that will make her guests feel honored…
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE…
a feeling of control over her destiny…
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
how to quit a job,
break up with a lover,
and confront a friend without
ruining the friendship…
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW
when to try harder..
and WHEN TO WALK AWAY…
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
that she can’t change the length of her calves,
the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents…
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
that her childhood may not have been perfect… but it’s over…
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
what she would or wouldn’t do for love or more…
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
how to live alone… even if she doesn’t like it…
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
whom she can trust,
whom she can’t,
and why she shouldn’t take it personally…
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
where to go…
be it to her best friend’s kitchen table…
or a charming Inn in the woods…
when her soul needs soothing…
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
why she can and can’t accomplish in a day…
a month or a year.
~Maya Angelou was thought to have written this poem, but it was actually written by Pamela Redmond Satran~

September 12, 2007

What's The World Coming To?


What's the world coming to? I am thoroughly disgusted at the news of the young black woman in West Virginia, who was held captive for a week, while being physically, sexually, and verbally abused. This poor woman was tortured, stabbed, and beaten, made to eat feces -- rat, and dog --and forced to drink water from the toilet. No doubt, she would have been murdered, and dumped somewhere like an animal, if she had not been rescued in time.

The fact that it happened at all is disgusting, but the people involved made it even more disgusting, if that is at all possible. They were a mother and her son, a mother and her daughter, and two others, men, all white. Does the fact that they were white, and she was black, make it more heinous? Could it be more heinous? It is being called a hate crime, but isn't it always hatred that causes someone to inflict such harm on another human being? Perhaps, it is not always hatred of the person, but misdirected hatred of something else, that drives a person to such cruelty. The fact that they kept calling her a racially offensive name does indicate that it could have been a racially motivated crime.

Back in January of this year, in Knoxville, Tennessee, a young white couple were hijacked by three black men, and a black woman. They were brutally raped, and murdered --she was strangled, and he was shot, and his body burned, and left by the side of a railroad track. She was discovered inside the house where they were taken, inside a garbage bag. Was this a hate crime? I don't know. According to some reports, it was a random crime, and had nothing to do with race. The crime didn't receive a lot of media coverage, for some reason.

In the case of the young black woman who was tortured, it has been reported that she met one of the men involved through the Internet, so perhaps, it, too, was a random crime. She denies this, so until it is proven otherwise, she must be given the benefit of the doubt.

There will always be some kind of hatred in the world, as long as the world stands. Either because of race, or religion, a sense of injustice, or perceived injustices. When it comes to the victims mentioned here, and the senseless, and perverse, horror inflicted on them, in my mind, it comes down to one thing: pure, unadulterated, evil.

Friendship


It has seemed to me lately more possible than I knew, to carry a friendship greatly, on one side, without due correspondence on the other. Why should I cumber myself with regrets that the receiver is not capacious? It never troubles the sun that some of his rays fall wide and vain into ungrateful space, and only a small part on the reflecting planet. Let your greatness educate the crude and cold companion. If he is unequal, he will presently pass away; but thou art enlarged by thy own shining, and, no longer a mate for frogs and worms, dost soar and burn with the gods of the empyrean. It is thought a disgrace to love unrequited. But the great will see that true love cannot be unrequited. True love transcends the unworthy object, and dwells and broods on the eternal, and when the poor interposed mask crumbles, it is not sad, but feels rid of so much earth, and feels its independency the surer. Yet these things may hardly be said without a sort of treachery to the relation. The essence of friendship is entireness, a total magnanimity and trust. It must not surmise or provide for infirmity. It treats its object as a god, that it may deify both.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803-1882

September 11, 2007

Where Were You?

Where were you on September 11, 2001, when one of the greatest tragedies in U.S. history occurred? I think I read somewhere, that almost everyone remembers where they were, and what they were doing when they heard, or saw, the news. It was an event that changed the lives, and the direction of our country. Never was our country more united as a people, in those tragic days, and never has our country been more divideded, subsequently. There have been so many theories concerning that event, and so much blame placed on those undeserving of it. The fact is, that many precious lives were lost on that day. Many dreams died along with them. Dreams of those left behind, individually, and collectively, as a country. It is a day that will never be forgotten, and shouldn't be. It is a another reminder of man's inhumanity to man. It is a reminder that life can change in a nano-second, never to be the same again. It could happen again. Pray that it never does.

A Blogger's Dilemma


You know, this blogging stuff can get tedious at times. You want so much to write about something of interest, but you know that not everything that you write is going to be interesting to everyone. You know that some things you write about will be considered ridiculous by some, while at the same time, others may find them amusing. Some posts which include statistics, etc,. just bore the living daylights out of some people, and sometimes you post something that you think will not be all that interesting to a lot of readers, and it turns out to be one of the most read posts on the blog. I suppose what I should do is just what I started out to do, which is to post about something that has come to mind...a memory that has stirred from somewhere deep within, or perhaps, something that was mentioned on the news, and caught my attention enough to make me try to find out something about it. And then, there are those things which cause me to ponder, which I do a lot. So, I go round and round in my head, trying to decide whether or not to post a particular thing, and even when I do suddenly make the decision, as soon as I hit "pubish," I am filled with fear and trepidation! Am I doing this to please myself, or to please the ones who might venture by to read what I have written? A little of both, maybe, because it pleases me very much when I know that someone has read it, and I certainly want them to like what I have written. As I was writing the last sentence, I was reminded of a quote by Abraham Lincoln, which I thought would go along with this post, but when I looked it up, I saw that there are two versions of the quote, one of which is authentic. I was thinking that he said "You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time." But that's not what he said. He said you can "'fool' some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't 'fool' all of the people all of the time." So, I guess it would depend on perspective, which quote would be more appropriate for my blogs. But one thing that you may be assured of--I will never try to fool you about anything. I will try to be fair in my assessment, and honest in my report.

Strangely enough, while looking up Lincoln's quote, I found another one which I had never heard before, and it is rather ironic.

"A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall. So with men, if you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey which captures his heart, which, say what he will, is the highroad to his reason." ~Abraham Lincoln

September 09, 2007

Charity Begins At Home?



In the February 13,2007, dislosure of the Bank of America, the largest retail banking chain in the U.S., it was revealed that they have been quietly providing credit cards to customers who may not have social security numbers.

Bank of America says that their program complies with U.S. banking and anti-terrorism laws, but critics say that it will enable illegal immigrants to more easily settle into the United States, and provide tax breaks to which they are not entitled.

Considering the above, here's a fitting scenario involving a customer and the Bank of America:


The Bank: Bank of America, can I help you?

Customer: Yes, I want to cancel my account. I don't want to do business with you any longer.

The Bank: Why?

Customer: You're giving credit to illegal immigrants and I don't think it's right. I'm taking my business elsewhere.

The Bank: Well, Mr. Customer, we don't want to see you do that, but we can't stop you. I'll help you close the account. What is your account number?

Customer: (gives account number)

The Bank: For security purposes and for your protection, can you please give me the last four digits of your social security number?

Customer: No?

The Bank: Mr. Customer, I need to verify your information, but in order to help you, I'll need verification of who you are.

Customer: Why should I give you my social security number? The reason I'm closing my account is that your bank is issuing credit cards to illegal immigrants who don't have social security numbers. You are targeting that audience and want their business. Let's say I'm an illegal immigrant and you've given me a credit card. I have a question about it and call for assistance. You wouldn't be asking me for a Social Security number, would you?

The Bank: No sir, I wouldn't.

Customer: Why not?

The Bank: Because you would have pressed '2' to speak in Spanish. We don't ask for that information when calling in on the Spanish line.


Now, if you're not disgusted enough, already, here are a few facts to ponder:


1. $11 Billion to $22 billion is spent on welfare to illegal aliens each year.
2. $2.2 Billion dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches for illegal aliens.
3. $2.5 Billion dollars a year is spent on Medicaid for illegal aliens.
4. $12 Billion dollars a year is spent on primary and secondary school education for children here illegally and they cannot speak a word of English!
5. $17 Billion dollars a year is spent for education for the American-born children of illegal aliens, known as anchor babies.
6. $3 Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens.
7. 30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens.
8. $90 Billion Dollars a year is spent on illegal aliens for Welfare & social services by the American taxpayers.
9. $200 Billion Dollars a year in suppressed American wages arecaused by the illegal aliens.
10. The illegal aliens in the United States have a crime rate that's two and a half times that of white non-illegal aliens. In particular, their children, are going to make a huge additional crime problem in the U.S.
11. During the year of 2005 there were 4 to 10 MILLION illegal aliens that crossed our Southern Border also, as many as 19,500 illegal aliens from Terrorist Countries. Millions of pounds of drugs, cocaine, meth, heroine and marijuana, crossed into the U. S from the Southern border.
12. The National Policy Institute, "estimated that the total cost of mass deportation would be between $206 and $230 billion or an average cost of between $41 and $46 billion annually over a five year period."
13. In 2006 illegal aliens sent home $45 BILLION in remittances back to their countries of origin.
14. "The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Nearly One Million Sex Crimes Committed by Illegal Immigrants In The United States. "

The total cost? $338.3 Billion dollars per year.

Now, lest any of you think that I'm heartless, I will tell you that I feel very sorry for the poor people who are fleeing their own countries to get into this one. Most of them are wanting a better life for themselves, and/or their families. But what about the poor in this country? What about the sad, and sorry state of our own educational system, as a result of lack of funding? What about the homeless in this country, which happens to be their homeland? How about the lack of medical care afforded to our poor? I could go on and on, but I think you get my point. That three-hundred-thirty-eight-point-three billion dollars could be put to pretty good use in helping the poor and under-privilieged citizens of this country.

I've always heard the old saying, that charity begins at home, but I'm beginning to wonder.

Postscript:

If anyone would like the links to the above stated statistics, send me an email, and I will send them to you.

Church Bulletin Bloopers


Don't let worry kill you. Let the Church help.

Thursday night-Potluck Supper. Prayer and medication to follow.

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.

For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev and Mrs. Julius Belzer.

This afternoon there will be a meeting in the south and north ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.

Tuesday at 4PM there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk will please come early.

Wednesday, the Ladies Liturgy Society will meet. Mrs. Jones will sing "Put Me In My Little Bed" accompanied by the pastor.

Thursday at 5PM there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All wishing to become Little Mothers, please see the minister in his private study.

This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.

The service will close with "Little Drops of Water". One of the ladies will start (quietly) and the rest of the congregation will join in.

Next Sunday, a special collection will be taken to defray the cost of the new carpet. All those wishing to do something on the new carpet will come forward and get a piece of paper.

The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind and they may be seen in the church basement Friday.

A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

The 1991 Spring Council Retreat will be hell May 10 and 11.
Pastor is on vacation. Massages can be given to church secretary.

8 new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

Mrs. Johnson will be entering the hospital this week for testes.

The Senior Choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.

Please join us as we show our support for Amy and Alan who is preparing for the girth of their first child.

Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles, and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

The Lutheran Men's group will meet at 6 PM. Steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread and dessert will be served for a nominal feel.

The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: "I Upped My Pledge--Up Yours."

September 07, 2007

Special Times


Rain, and thunderstorms, are predicted here for the next few days. I don't mind, at all. I love it when it rains. The weather is still pretty warm here, but the nights are beginning to be a little cooler, and before you know it, it will be Autumn, which happens to be one of my favorite times of the year. When Autumn is approaching, it is apparent, to me anyway, in the way the light looks, especially in the afternoon--rather hazy, or something--and I begin to look forward to seeing the leaves changing colors. Sometimes, while out driving, certain areas look as if someone took a giant paintbrush, and flipped it at random, with colors landing helter-skelter upon the trees.

Then suddenly, it's wintertime, and then, depending upon where you happen to live, comes the snow! That's when I love the coziness of being inside, with the smell of something good cooking, like soup, or stew, or cornbread, or blueberry muffins. That's also when I realize how much I appreciate my nice, warm home, with plenty to eat, because it was not always so.

If you've read my other posts, then you have read a few things about my early life, and background. A lot of it sounded dismal, I know, but it was not all that way. Even in the midst of the hardest of times, there were times which created special memories. In the sharecropper's shack, with the large cracks in the floors, and the walls, I remember how Mama tried to make things cozy for us. We didn't have a lot--certainly not anything special, at all, but there were special times.

Sometimes, on rainy days, Mama would open a jar of blackberries which she had canned during the summer, and we would sit around the shabby old kitchen table, where she would allow us to put a big dollop of sugar into our bowls of blackberries. It doesn't sound like much, but it was for us kids. It was wonderful--cozy and comforting--sitting there eating our treat, and listening to the rain on the tin roof of the kitchen.

I don't know--maybe that is why I love the rain so much, now. I love hearing it pelting against the windowpanes, and onto the roof. It makes me feel safe, and secure--and comforted, somehow. Maybe, it makes me think of Mama, and of all the special little things she did, with practically nothing to do with. Love is just like that, you know?

You Talkin' Ta Me?

Well, no! But I am talking about some sculptures created by Don Mueck, including the one on the left!


Mueck is a London-based photo-realist artist. Born in Melbourne,Australia, to parents who were toy makers, he labored on children's television shows for 15 years before working in special effects for such films as Labyrinth, a 1986 fantasy epic starring David Bowie.

Eventually Mueck concluded that photography pretty much destroys the physical presence of the original object, and so he turned to fine art and sculpture. In the early 1990's, still in his advertising days, Mueck was commissioned to make something highly realistic, and was wondering what material would do the trick. Latex was the usual, but he wanted something harder, more precise. Luckily, he saw a little architectural decor on the wall of a boutique and inquired as to the nice, pink stuff's nature. Fiberglass resin was the answer, and Mueck has made it his bronze and marble ever since.




The sculptures pictured here are only a few of his many creations!








.

September 06, 2007

Beauty Of Math

1 x 8 + 1 = 9

12 x 8 + 2 = 98

123 x 8 + 3 = 987

1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876

12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765

123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654

1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543

12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432

123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321



1 x 9 + 2 = 111

2 x 9 + 3 = 1111

23 x 9 + 4 = 11111

234 x 9 + 5 = 111111

2345 x 9 + 6 = 1111111

23456 x 9 + 7 = 11111111

234567 x 9 + 8 = 111111111

2345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111

23456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111


9 x 9 + 7 = 88

98 x 9 + 6 = 888

987 x 9 + 5 = 8888

9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888

98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888

987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888

9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888

98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888



Brilliant, isn't it?


And look at this symmetry:


1 x 1 = 1

11 x 11 = 121

111 x 111 = 12321

1111 x 1111 = 1234321

11111 x 11111 = 123454321

111111 x 111111 = 12345654321

1111111 x 1111111 = 1234567654321

11111111 x 11111111 = 123456787654321

111111111 x 111111111=12345678987654321


Now, think about the idea of 101%.

From a strictly mathematical viewpoint: What Equals 100%?
What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been in situations where someone wants you to GIVE OVER100%. How about ACHIEVING 101%? What equals 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help answer these questions:

If:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z is represented as:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.

If:

H-A-R-D-W-O-R- K

8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%

And:

K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E

11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%

But:

A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E

1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

THEN, look how far the love of God will take you:

L-O-V-E-O-F-G-O-D

12+15+22+5+15+6+7+15+4 = 101%

Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that:

While Hard Work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, it's the Love of God that will put you over the top!

There's A Moral Here Somewhere


There is a story about a cobra who goes to a saint and says, "Please give me a rule of life, so that I can be more spiritual and saintly like you. People love you, but are totally terrified of me. When they see me, if they have a chance, they kill me at once."


The saint says, "Well, first of all, don't bite people anymore. So the cobra goes back down the mountain, happy that the saint has accepted him as a student. He sits by the village path all day long, thinking over what the saint had given him. After a couple of days, however, people begin to notice him, and since he is sitting so still and looks so happy, the people get curious.


After a few more days, unafraid of the cobra by now, some of the children have started poking him with sticks, and teasing him, throwing pebbles at him, kicking dirt on his head. A few cruel adults, too, toss garbage on him and kick him when they walk by.


A few weeks later, the saint walks down the village path, sees the poor cobra sitting there, all bruised, and bloody, and covered with mud. Seeing this, he exclaims, "Oh my! What's happened to you?" The cobra replies, "I was just following your instructiions, Master. I don't bite people anymore." The saint looks down lovingly at the cobra and says, "But I didn't tell you not to hiss!"


Gracious magninimity is not mere passivity amidst many difficulties--it is not toughness gone soft. As a Yiddish proverb says, "If you can't bite, don't show your teeth."

September 05, 2007

A Bitter Pill To Swallow

Did you ever wonder how much it costs a drug company for the active ingredient in prescription medications? Some people think it must cost a lot, since many drugs sell for more than $2.00 per tablet. A search was done of offshore chemical synthesizers that supply the active ingredients found in drugs approved by the FDA. As revealed in past issues of Life Extension, a significant percentage of drugs sold in the United States contain active ingredients made in other countries. In the independent investigation of how much profit drug companies really make, actual prices of active ingredients used in some of the most popular drugs sold in America were obtained. The data below speaks for itself.


Celebrex: 100 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $130.27

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.60

Percent markup: 21,712%

Claritin: 10 mg Consumer Price (100 tablets): $215.17

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.71

Percent markup: 30,306%

Keflex: 250 mg Consumer Price (100 tablets): $157.39

Cost of general active ingredients: $1.88

Percent markup: 8,372%

Lipitor: 20 mg Consumer Price (100 tablets): $272.37

Cost of general active ingredients: $5.80

Percent markup: 4,696%

Norvasc: 10 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $188.29

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.14

Percent markup: 134,493%

Paxil: 20 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $220.27

Cost of general active ingredients: $7.60

Percent markup: 2,898%

Prevacid: 30 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $44.77

Cost of general active ingredients: $1.01

Percent markup: 34,136%

Prilosec : 20 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $360.97

Cost of general active ingredients $0.52

Percent markup: 69,417%

Prozac: 20 mg Consumer price (100 tablets) : $247.47

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.11

Percent markup: 224,973%

Tenormin: 50 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $104.47

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.13

Percent markup: 80,362%

Vasotec: 10 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $102.37

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.20

Percent markup: 51,185%

Xanax: 1 mg Consumer price (100 tablets) : $136.79

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.024

Percent markup: 569,958%

Zestril: 20 mg Consumer price (100 tablets) $89.89

Cost of general active ingredients $3.20

Percent markup: 2,809%

Zithromax: 600 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $1,482.19

Cost of general active ingredients: $18.78

Percent markup: 7,892%

Zocor: 40 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $350.27

Cost of general active ingredients: $8.63

Percent markup: 4,059%

Zoloft: 50 mg Consumer price: $206.87

Cost of general active ingredients: $1.75

Percent markup: 11,821%

An investigative reporter did a story on generic drug price gouging by pharmacies. He found in his investigation, that some of these generic drugs were marked up as much as 3,000% or more. So often, we blame the drug companies for the high cost of drugs, and usually rightfully so. But in this case, the fault clearly lies with the pharmacies themselves. For example, if you had to buy a prescription drug, and bought the name brand, you might pay $100 for 100 pills. The pharmacist might tell you that if you get the generic equivalent, they would only cost $80, making you think you are "saving" twenty dollars. What the pharmacist is not telling you is that those 100 generic pills may have only cost him ten dollars.

This information is appalling, and disheartening, in view of all those in need of certain medicatiions to maintain a degree of health, and in some cases, to sustain life. It is even more appalling when one considers that there are some, especially the elderly, and disabled, and others on fixed incomes who must choose between getting a much needed prescription filled, and paying a utility bill, or in some cases being able to buy groceries.

Will this shameful situation ever be remedied? I don't think so-- as long as unadulterated greed is allowed to continue as it is now, nothing is going to change.

September 04, 2007

What Do You Think About Dreams?


I think the subject of dreams is a fascinating one. Having had quite a few strange ones myself, makes me wonder, at times, what they are all about. Is a dream just our subconcious reminding us of things that we did, or thought about, that particular day, or week? Is it a way of showing us our deep-seated fears which we are afraid to confront during our waking hours? I've read that our dreams are full of symbolism, some of which are universal, and some which can only be applied to ourselves, personally. For instance, I've read that to dream of eating, or of food, is in some way spiritual, and that when we dream of a house, or a building, that they represent ourselves.


Another thing that I've read, is that when we dream of a mode of transportation, such as a car, or airplane, etc,, it symbolises our own journey through life, somehow. If we dream that we are driving a car, traveling very fast, and the brakes suddenly give out, that is supposed to be telling us that we feel that our lives are out of control. How we deal with the runaway car in the dream, is supposed to tell us something about ourselves. I know that we've all had the dream about having to take a test, or meet some kind of deadline, and every obstacle in the world seems to be thrown into our paths to prevent that--you try to get dressed, and there's something wrong with every article of clothing. When you finally do get dressed, and on your way, you suddenly realize that, actually, you have no clothes on at all. You run into a phone-booth and try to call someone, and when you dial, the dial keeps spinning, and won't stop, or you push the buttons, and they won't budge.


I've had those dreams, in some version or another, many times. And then, there are the "monster" dreams. My husband has one, which, he says, he has had, on and off, for years. He dreams that he is being chased by a white dinosaur. He says that it never catches him, but he wakes himself up, moaning and groaning, with his heart pounding. About that particular kind of dream, I've read that you can simply tell yourself before falling asleep, that if you dream of the monster, or whatever is chasing you, that you will stop running, and turn around and confront it. Doing this is supposed to somehow help you to confront, or face your fears. Hmmm...who knows? But what about those dreams where some strange event occurs, and it actually comes to pass in real life? I've had those dreams, too. Some of them were significant, and some were just mundane. Some of them were really crazy at the time, but then when the event happened, it was evident what the dream meant, crazy as it seemed at the time.


For instance, before the horrible September 11 tragedy, for two or three nights, I had really strange dreams, filled with idiotic things, waking me up in a total state of agitation. It was shortly after my mother's death, and I was spending a week with one of my aunts. One night, she actually woke me up because of the way I was carrying on--this was two nights before the tragedy. The next morning, when I got up, she told me to look at myself. I had a scratch on my cheek, and one on my eyelid, and there was a burn on my arm, near my elbow, almost like a cigarette burn.


In the dreams that I was having, I was at an amusement park, like Disney World. As I walked around in the crowds of people, some were crying, and it was a chaotic scene, but the thing that caught my attention was one of the rides. It was one of those rides, with airplanes attached to cables, and go around in circles. There seemed to be only three or four planes, and in those planes, were maniacal looking men, trying to steer the planes into other objects, or people--utterly chaotic and demonic appearing. In the next "scene" I was trying to find a place to stay, a hotel, or motel, and everywhere I went, when I would go into the room, it would be filled with sick, injured, and dying people. In another of these dreams, I was standing, looking up, and I saw two tall buildings falling, and a third one, which hadn't fallen, but looked as if something was wrong with it. I was standing there, with a horrible, awful feeling, looking around, and as I looked in one directiion, I saw the Statue of Liberty, swaying from side to side. Other things in the dreams I just can't remember, or had forgotten when I woke up.


The day before the tragedy, my husband came to spend the night before our trip back home the next day. All that day, and evening, I had a terrible feeling which is hard to describe. The only way that I can think of to describe it, is that it just felt like something terrible was about to happen, but I had no dreams that night. The next morning my aunt was up before we were, and when I walked into the kitchen she was on the phone. She told me to quickly turn on the television, that an airplane had just flown into a building in New York. We turned it on, just in time to see the second one get hit. As you all know, it took awhile to realize what was happening, and as we sat glued to the tv, I said to my husband, "Just wait-- somehow, Florida will play into this." Later on, it was discovered that Florida was where the terrorists took their flying lessons. I think that the dreams that I had were certainly saying something about what was about to happen, and it is my personal belief that they had a lot more planned than what they were actually able to carry out. Now, I don't know what you think about dreams...I wish you would tell me.

September 03, 2007

Excerpt From A Beginning Jogger's Journal


Last night was the big night! That's when I sent in the registration form for my local newspaper's Annual Distance Classic. They promised a free tee shirt to the first three hundred entrants, and I couldn't pass up something for free. So, I filled out the form, enclosed the check for my registratiion fee, addressed the envelope, stamped it, and walked across the street and mailed it immediately--before I had a chance to chicken out! Of course, I could still chicken out, but it's only a measly (?) 6.2 miles, and besides, I've already blabbed to everyone at the office today, what I've done, so I have to save face. I'll think about my feet later. What do I have to lose, other than my way back home? All I'll have to do is to be sure that I'm facing the right direction when the starting signal sounds, right? Right?


Just to be on the safe side, I asked a lot of questions of our office jogging expert, Dave, (who runs five miles everyday) but I had to keep asking him if he was being straight with me on the answers, because I know the logical working of his mind, and after all, a guy can't be too careful when it comes to his competition.. He did inform me that it is essential to wear a good pair of shoes, so I went jogging shoe shopping today. I went to a sporting goods store, or something like that, because I figured if anyone wold know about all that stuff, they would.


I tried to look very nonchalant as I sauntered in, trying to look as though I always just drop in to pick up my joggers as the old ones wear out.. After about an hour or so, of looking at Nikes, Adidas, Brooks, etc., etc., and not being able to tell the ladies's from the men's, except I figured that the size thirteens must be for the guys, my nonchalant look must have changed into a what-have-I-gotten-myself-into-look, because a salesman finally came over and asked if he could be of help. Boy, could he ever! I finally had to admit to my ignorance, and explained my situation. He made some suggestions, and after trying on only three different brands, I decided on the Nikes. I said, "There now--that wasn't all that complicated, was it?" For some reason, I thought I detected a confused look on his face, as he led me over to the cash register.


Never having done this before, I thought all day about how I was going to get started jogging. How would I look? Would I know, instinctively, how to hold my elbows at just the correct angle? Do the heels have to go down a certain way, or does it have more to do with the toes? Should I thrust my chest out, or should I just sort of hang loose, like, "Hey, man, what's happenin'?" or should I throw my head back, like, "Hey, world, here I come!", or should I keep my eyes looking down toward the ground at all times, so as not to hit a crack in the sidewalk, and fall flat on my face--or other places?


Gosh, I was getting all worn out just thinking about it, but I knew I had to start training sooner or later, and preferably sooner, if I had any plans at all of making it from the campus, across the road to the planned route to be taken. So! I put on my Nikes, and walked around the house, just to get the feel of them--you can't do everything all at once, you know! Then I put on a tee shirt and shorts, which I admit was a little discouraging. With jeans on, the shoes looked neat and petite, but after I put on my shorts, and looked down at my feet, they looked like something resembling canal boats! I ran for the shoe box to see if the number thirteen was printed on there anywhere! By that time, I realized that if I was going to have to look like that, that this was serious business, and I'd better get down to it--so, I decided to go get a Big Mac! I mean if you are going to do something as strenuous as jogging, you must have energy to sustain you. Everyone knows that.


After I came back home, I did a little more walking around the house. Testing, you know--then I definitely made up my mind to go, just as soon as I finished my chocolate-covered ice cream bar, but I was so absorbed in planning my strategy that I didn't realize I'd eaten it, so I had another. After that, I got in front of a full-length mirror, and sort of practiced my style, which really wasn't too bad! My only problem came when I looked back over my shoulder to see how I'd look jogging from behind, and fell over a box of books that I had left sitting in the middle of he floor. I could have sworn I'd bought a book on jogging a couple of years ago!


Finally, it was getting dark enough outside, so I threw open the door, and took off before I could conjure up anymore procrastination! I wasn't half-bad, either. I ran until I was out of breath, and then walked briskly, until I could breathe again. I was really, really tired, but very happy when I made it home, again. I only had two chocolate-covered ice cream bars, before jogging off to bed.


Heck, if I stay disciplined, and keep training like this, I should be able to finish off a whole box of twelve of those ice cream bars--no sweat!

Postscript:

Even though I had never run before, and had little time to train, I actually finished that 10k, in a pretty decent time for a beginner!