Monday, September 30, 2013

"Television has created a nation of news junkies who tune in every night to get their fix on the world." ~ Robert MacNeil, former co-host of the MacNeil-Lehrer Report on PBS

I'll know it's getting cooler when these electric bills don't cause me to grab the smelling salts. But I digress, which you might agree I have much practice and maybe even some ability at doing. It's good for us to have this time again as we say farewell to September on this Monday, the 30th, in the year of our Lord, 2014. I know I am a news junkie of sorts. In fact, the other day I took the News IQ Quiz on the Pew Research Center's website and scored in the 5% range, meaning that only 5% get that many right answers which is 91% better than the average of those taking the test. I answered 13 out of 15 correctly. It was not an easy test. I missed one that had four different charts representing the stock market averages over the last five years. I was supposed to spot the one that was an accurate representation. They mostly looked alike. The other one I missed had a population distribution graphic for the United States. The graphic beside it was unlabeled. I was to choose out of four answers which country that chart represented. Hello? I put the Netherlands but it turned out to be Nigeria. Who knew? I can assure you, I did not get the memo on that one. Bottom line, you can take that score and put $2 with it and maybe you can get a small cup of coffee, maybe.

I know I've been in rant mode of late but there are some high stakes games being pursued at this time in our nation's capitol, and, it's hard not to notice. Even with the likelihood for a government shutdown, as it is called, within days the debt limit must be raised in order for the country to pay its obligations. Typically, the administration and those in the Congress negotiate and come up with an accommodation so that this is mostly a procedural matter. The President has been adamant. He will not negotiate at all, period. He thinks this is a winner and the Republicans, fearing the backlash from a government default, will cave. He sent out an adviser who said dealing with the Republicans who are threatening not to vote to raise the debt limit is like dealing with terrorists. The host responded by asking the adviser if he thought the then Senator Obama was acting like a terrorist when in 2006 he voted against raising the debt limit. The adviser did not have an answer. I could help him because I've heard the administration's lame explanations. They say there was never any doubt in 2006 whether it would pass, therefore, the then Senator could lodge a protest vote. Does this mean if his vote would have been needed, he would have set aside his deeply felt principles? See what I mean? It's all one gigantic feeding trough and the pigs, regardless of where they come from, are always hungry.

That vote in 2006 was cast against President George W. Bush's request, therefore, as liberals see it, any vote against Bush is a badge of honor, while any vote against President Obama proves one is a racist and obviously, according to his adviser, by extension, a terrorist. Sorry. But, being a self appointed umpire, as we all should be as citizens, I have to call them like I see them. That's enough of the weighty stuff, let me see if I can come up with a lighter ending as I prepare to make my exit. Two kids were trying to decide what game to play. One of them offered, "Let's play doctor." The other one agreed, "Okay, you operate and I will sue." Don't let these continuing resolution budget thingies along with the debt limit deal get you down. Those shenanigans have been going on ever since the politicians showed up. Pray about it and stand up for what you believe is right. If you don't agree with my position that's okay. In our system, everyone also has the right to be wrong. Just joking. Take care and may God bless each and every one. Amen.   ....More later.

Friday, September 27, 2013

"The two day weekend has only been around for less than 100 years. Capitalism ironically led to the acceptance of the five day work week and the weekend off because it had managed to change the focus of days of rest from relaxation and contemplation into opportunities for leisure activities that produced dollars." (copied)

It's another Friday. This one happens to be the last one for this month. It lands on September 27, 2013. Here's some things that have been said about Friday: "The golden child of the weekdays. The superhero of the workweek. The welcome wagon to the weekend. Thursday is only a place holder awaiting your arrival. While coffee does make my mornings, Friday, you make my week worth doing." And, I'm sure there are many more that reflect upon these same sentiments. There's the story about the fellow who made a decision on Friday. It was payday so at the end of the day he cashed his check and spent the weekend with his buddies. He had not informed his wife about this escapade. When he arrived home she met him at the door and screamed at him for two hours and ended by asking him how he would like it if he didn't see her for a few days. He told her that would be fine with him. By Thursday of the next week the swelling had gone down enough for him to see his wife a little out of the corner of one eye. Bad joke? I agree but it does play off that genre of husband-wife humor and someone out there may even have a faint smile after reading it. And, as I see it, we need any and all smiles, anywhere we can get them. Within reason, of course.

One final thought about the more than 20 hour speech given by Senator Ted Cruz in the US Senate Chamber. The media. They have called this man every name in the book. They have painted him as a mentally disturbed obstructionist whose only purpose in life is to gum up the works. Flashback. State Senator Wendy Davis stood and delivered a 13 hour filibuster in the Texas Senate in August that ran out the clock on changes that would have increased requirements for abortion providers. She became a superstar darling of the mainstream media. She was feted on late night talk shows and did a victory tour on every news program on TV. They want her to run for governor, (which it sounds like she is doing), and maybe even president. Meanwhile, the Texas legislature promptly reconvened and passed the restrictions. Everyone knew that she couldn't stop this from happening, but her, in her pink tennis shoes, became an icon for taking a stand for the media's version of American values. Ted Cruz was also up against an impossible task. But, he stood on principle against what he believes is a healthcare disaster in the making, and he did so as provided for by the rules of the US Senate. Yet, a woman who wants no restrictions on taking away the lives of babies is promoted as the greatest thing since sliced bread, while Senator Cruz is portrayed as an anarchist. Check it out. See if I am right or wrong. We are living in an upside down world.

The liberal media are now responding by attempting to disprove their bias and in justifying the differences in coverage. One major news source said that Senator Cruz received over 400 more actual stories in news outlets than State Senator Davis. How hilarious! With 99.9% defaming him, it's no wonder they ran more stories. Folks, they really do believe we are dumb. No. I am not a Cruz supporter. I actually voted for his opponent. But, I do support his right to take a principled stand against something he believes is harmful to the American people. Think about it. They actually believe people will buy into their overwhelming negative and demeaning reporting and somehow, based on the sheer number of stories, this will prove they are fair and balanced. Check it out. I, for one, wonder if they actually write that kind of stuff with a straight face. Okay. I need to take a time out, count to ten, about a dozen times, and then move on to another subject. Meanwhile, you just take this little rant for what it's worth and go out and have yourself a great day, a wonderful Saturday, and a reflective Lord's Day Sunday. I'll see if I can do that as well, that is, as soon as the smoke coming out my ears dissipates enough so that I can see again. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.   ....More later.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Excerpt from: Ode To Coffee By William A. PricĂ©, " Oh, thou most fragrant, aromatic joy, impugned, abused, and often stormed against, And yet containing all the blissfulness that in a tiny cup could be condensed! Give thy contemners calm, imperial scorn— For thou wilt reign through ages yet unborn!"

Yay! It's Thursday, September 26, 2013, time to wake up and smell the coffee, latte, hot chocolate, or whatever it is that gets you up and going. I typically wait until I get to the office for my first cup. Yes. You would be correct. That does take an inordinate amount of discipline. And, it would be very easy to get one to go with that unit sitting right there and those little pop in Community single serve cups on standby. You know. Don't leave home without it. However, as a diabetic, I typically check by blood sugar before I start lighting up the works with caffeine. Some say it impacts the result and I suppose there is a reason they tell you to not partake before drawing blood. At any rate, it does give me some keen motivation for that thirty minute drive, conjuring up the image of a steaming cup of hot, black, and strong Community at the end of the rainbow. Too much? I thought so too but since I'm working on my third cup even as I slap around the keyboard, it more or less comes with the territory. Welcome to what I have to deal with all the time here in my world. What's that you say? You hope I am exaggerating. Well, one would hope, but to tell the truth, you don't know the half of it.

As if we don't have enough to worry about, the new health care system is about to change life as we know it. Based on everything I have read and not just the heated rhetoric by the vocal flamethrowers, this reboot of the entire health delivery mechanism looks to be a disaster in the making. An editorial in the Las Vegas Review Journal Newspaper opened with these words: "This is going to hurt, America. But you already knew that." Another editorial from the online edition of the Lancaster Pennsylvania News said this: "In the case of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, at least one unintended consequence already is emerging: Obamacare threatens to accelerate the redefining of the American work week from full time to part time." Bottom line, at least thus far, indicates higher costs, less coverage, and folks who have full time jobs are being cut to part time to avoid the consequences of having to cover them. Even with the heroic efforts of Texas US Senator Cruz and a few others, let's face it, defunding is not going anywhere because the Democrats control the Senate and the White House. My way of seeing it says about the only way forward is to start trying to make changes to it that will bring some sanity to its implementation. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, you and I, the common voter in this nation must sit and observe all the backroom deals that have been cut, entire groups being exempted, special provisions made for Congress and their employees, and give-aways galore to special interest groups. Sadly, all of this will be paid for primarily by the folks in the middle. We will end up footing the bill for the 30 million previously not covered along with all the special deals that were cut. That's not bellyaching. That's reality. Why does it work this way? Because the largest amount of people who pay taxes are found in the middle class, (Up to 65% depending on which model is used). The President and his supporters believe the pain will yield to a system that will eventually be loved and appreciated. That's their hope. Sorry, but I can't get on that bandwagon. At the same time we are not without hope because we still live in the greatest nation on earth and we still have God as our Father. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"My proposal is: To set off walking this afternoon. To stop when we are tired. To get a lift when we can. To walk when we can't. To do it at once, and do it cheap." – Charles Dickens, from his Novel: Martin Chuzzlewit

Well folks, Wednesday is awaiting our response: Let's do this thing! Welcome to my write-up for today on this September 25, 2013. I've mentioned before that I did quite a bit of hitchhiking as a teenager. Now I know why I didn't always get picked up. One fellow recently confessed that he always thought they were giving him a thumbs up on his good driving. I tell you, life can be tough. Back then we thought nothing about standing on the side of the highway late at night trying to flag a ride. If that didn't work, we thought nothing about walking for hours to get home. Why? Weren't that many options and the dogs that came out to see me helped motivate my legs. I'm not saying I was never on edge because when you are out like that you hear all kinds of noises and when you try to guess what they might be, well, it can be a little scary. Yet, times have changed and I cannot even imagine folks hitchhiking today. I know some still do but it doesn't have the same look or feel as it did back then. Or maybe I'm just getting older and more cautious.

This next paragraph comes in the form of a special prayer request for some exceptionally special people. Kellie Vanderslice was diagnosed with breast cancer as well as osteosarcoma (cancer of the bone) earlier this month. She and her husband Nick have 5 children, 4 boys and a long anticipated baby girl. Kellie grew up in our local fellowship. Her husband Nick and I stood by each other in the choir for a couple of years. They live in Missouri where Nick is in fulltime youth ministry. They are some very special people to us and we seek God's provision and peace into their lives. Please add your voice to this worldwide prayer circle. Their testimony in the face of this challenge has been inspirational. It reminds me of our Kayla. They are doing their best to make a difference for the honor and glory of God as they deal with this unexpected development. Check out Nick's blog:

That verse comes to mind, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;..." (1st Peter 3:15, New King James Version) The New English Translation Bible (NET) has a good take on this thought with their wording of this verse, "But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess." Kellie and Nick have already had a number of folks who have inquired about their obvious faith in the midst of this storm. Where did Kellie and Nick learn about the foundational truths they are now leaning on for strength? In their homes and in the Churches that God allowed them to grow up in. It matters folks. It really does. We all want our children to find Jesus and the eternal life He and He alone gives. But it is much more than just a get into heaven card because it is also all about what we do with that changed life while we are here and those works for the Lord count for time and eternity. May God bless them is my prayer and may we all be ready to give our answer when asked about the hope God has placed in our hearts. Amen.    ....More later.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

“Trivia are not knowledge. Lists of facts don't comprise knowledge. Analyzing, hypothesizing, concluding from data, sharing insights, those comprise knowledge. You can't google for knowledge.” ― Elaine Chaika, College Professor

On this day in history, September 24, 1935, the Bascom brothers, Earl and Weldon, held the first outdoor rodeo at night under electric lighting in Columbia, Mississippi. I thought I would share that with you in case someone asked, you would be locked and ready. Useless trivia? The Bascom family might disagree with that assessment. Be that as it may, welcome once again to that place where words come to die, typically a long and painful death. Thanks for showing up on this not yet completed day in history, Tuesday, September 24, 2013. You might say I am a merchant of useless trivia. I actually did not know this one. Shortly before his dastardly act in killing President Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth's brother, Edwin, saved the life of the President's son, Robert, in a near fatal slip on a railroad platform. Yesterday was Bruce Springfield's birthday. He was 64. His album, "Born in the USA", was the very first CD ever produced in our country. Here's my point. Don't ever say you don't learn something when you tune in to my program. As for what it's worth, well, we would have to take that one up on another day, but thanks for tuning in, anyway.

No. I am not attempting to revive the board game Trivial Pursuit to its heyday. Here in our country they sold 20 million of those games in 1984. I may have played that game a couple of times. I do remember the Bible version and how some of our Church folks pitted me against our Pastor at a Church fellowship. Of course the good news about that is how the Bible is not trivial and its pursuit is absolutely necessary if we are to find God and live according to His rules. How did I do? The atmosphere was tense. We sat at a table looking at each other. We were surrounded by onlookers. It was loud and raucous. The questions were drawn. "According to Jesus as recorded in Matthew 10:29, how much were two sparrows sold for?" Everyone waited. Who would get the right answer? The answer is a farthing, of course. Who won? I really don't remember. I think I did okay but it was a long time ago.

When it comes to the Bible, knowing the truth is very important. It's even more important to do something with the truths we know. When Jesus was here during his earthly ministry He dealt with some people who could easily answer correctly almost any and all questions about the Old Testament. However, when it came time to answer a simple question about identifying a good neighbor, they had trouble because they knew their knowledge had never led to helping others in their own personal lives. (Luke, Chapter 10) Getting the facts right from the Bible is so different than letting them inform and direct our daily living. People can be informed by how much you know but they are ministered to by how much you care. I must have needed to hear that today. Maybe you did too. No doubt we all could do better in putting our knowledge and our faith into practical demonstrations that reflect the love of God. And, I can assure you, there's nothing trivial about that! Amen.   ...More later.

Monday, September 23, 2013

“What is more cheerful, now, in the fall of the year, than an open-wood-fire? Do you hear those little chirps and twitters coming out of that piece of apple-wood? Those are the ghosts of the robins and blue-birds that sang upon the bough when it was in blossom last Spring. In Summer whole flocks of them come fluttering about the fruit-trees under the window: so I have singing birds all the year round.” ― Thomas Bailey Aldrich, American poet, novelist, travel writer and editor. (1836-1907)

Man, that sure was short. Those two days went by faster than greased lightning, a speeding bullet, and the blink of an eye. I think you get the picture. Yet, it is very good to welcome one and all to another presentation of my long running series emanating from the ole blogger ranch, here on this Monday, September 23, 2013. Okay. We did get some rain along with a front, they called it a cool front, and it did knock down the overnight lows a few ticks, therefore, I suppose we can confirm some movement towards seasonal adjustment. Yesterday, Sunday, was the official turning of the page as it reflected the first day of autumn, (Autumnal Equinox), for 2013. A low of 64 on Sunday actually caused it be a most beautiful morning. We welcome and embrace the very slight downward movement of the temperatures but we need not be breaking out the long-johns anytime soon. We should not be surprised because the record lows for this week are only in the low 50's. Okay. I'll go ahead and say it since it has been bugging me. How can weather people say with a straight face that a predicted low of 69 is a taste of fall? I do think their taste buds are in need of a tune up. What say you?

Compared to what? Right? I know. I am somewhat preoccupied with weather related details. Sorry. And, yes, I am well aware of that old saw that says everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it. With all the weather altering technologies being pursued by different governmental scientists around the globe, don't count on that 'no one does anything about it' to hold up forever. Get this one. Some of our adversaries are even working on a way to weaponize weather. Just think. Being able to activate a huge devastating weather event could be a very effective way of hindering an opponent. I know our armed forces researchers would have to be also looking into these same areas because of having to defend against any such developments. The good news for those of us who have placed our trust in God is to know that He does have the final say on any and all matters that impact His plan, purpose, and His creation. That's reassuring as we hear about these rather scary pursuits. And, I will add a welcome Amen to that one.

I am into irony. Not so much into ironing but irony does tend to suit my fancy. I may not have made it clear from my little analysis in my foreign policy spiel the other day, but, there's something very ironic about some of what has transpired. Trying to win votes in the Congress, the State Department issued a report that laid out in great detail why the Russians cannot be trusted. With the intention, of course, of bolstering their efforts to get a vote of support for the President's threatened missile attack. Within 48 hours they were all in with the Russians in brokering a deal that supposedly would see all the chemical weaponry in Syria destroyed. One day: Can't trust them a lick. Soon After: We are willing to bet the farm on them to get us out of this quandary. This ironic situation is now left to ironing out the details. I just felt that I needed to get that one to you with a smidgen more clarity. I smell smoke and I think it's the gray cells sending a smoke signal that they need a break. Take care. Have a good one. And, may God add His blessings to our day. Amen.    ....More later.

Friday, September 20, 2013

General Omar Bradley's response when questioned about extending the Korean War into China: "The wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy."

Another day, another, well... another day will have to do, and this one happens to be Friday, September 20, 2013. I read some pretty weird stuff at times but often I can totally identify with the sentiments being expressed. One fellow said he had no choice but to speed because he needed to get there before he forgot where he was going. Don't exactly know why, but I got that one. My grandfather used to tell me that at times I acted like I woke up in a new world every other moment. It's not that hard to get days and nights mixed up. One day last week I must have thought it to be a different day than it was because I intentionally left my work keys at home. Intentionally. When I arrived at the gate I realized that my intention was 100% off track. I turned around and drove back to where I had come from, reset my calendar synchronization process, went into the house, fetched my work keys, returned to work and acted like nothing was wrong, (After all, no one was here but me. You know, if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there, does it still make a noise?), and in reality, it wasn't. Bottom line: I just added 50 minutes of additional driving. When you think about it, I got some additional practice driving a route I've only traveled a few thousand times. There's always something positive when you look for it.

Then there's the one about how you should never ask a shepherd how many sheep he owns. He always falls asleep as he tries to count them. Don't groan. I can do worse. So, you don't believe me? What did the fisherman say to the magician? Pick a cod. Any cod. ~ She was nothing more than a whiskey maker but he loved her still. ~ Why did the cowboy buy himself a wiener dog? He wanted to get a long little doggy. ~ What do Eskimos get from sitting on the frozen tundra too long? Polaroids. ~ Did you hear about the not-so-bright Olympic gold medal winner? He loved that medal so much he had it bronzed. ~ I promise this is the last one. What do you call a midget fortune teller who just escaped from prison? A small medium at large. ~ I think I proved my point so don't doubt me in the future.

If all goes well, the wife and I are planning a trip to Branson the third week in October. My wife has been there so many times I think she might be an honorary citizen. I have never been. I know you have heard me say that I have not lost or left anything up in that neck of the woods. However, the forecast temperatures for that week based on averages really did capture my attention. The predictions go like this: Mid 40's at night and highs near 70 during the day. (I will not even mention the record lows for that week because you-know-who might get a little nervous.) With those cooler breezes, I might even drive around town in the middle of the night with all the windows rolled down. Very unlikely. At this time it's a plan in the making and to be perfectly honest, I think we have a consensus among family and friends that the two of us do need a change of scenery, so to speak. We shall see. I do appreciate you dropping by each day so we can catch up. Have a great Saturday and Lord Day's Sunday and I'll do my best, Lord willing, to be in my place come Monday Morning. May God bless each one! Amen.    .....More later.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

"If President Obama really wants to hurt the Syrian government, don’t send cruise missiles. He should send over some of his economic advisers." – Jay Leno

Hello everybody on this 5th day of the week, Thursday, where we look at our handy Gregorian Calendar and find ourselves smack dab on top of September 19, 2013. You will remember that your humble observer of stuff-as-it-happens wrote the other day regarding my armchair assessment of our nation's current foreign policy, or lack thereof. I don't claim to be that smart but even to a casual observer one can see some crazy shenanigans going on. Now we have a 66 paragraph behind-the-scenes account published in the Wall Street Journal that details this recent fiasco involving our policy regarding chemical weapons use in Syria. Here's a quote, "Through mixed messages, miscalculations, and an 11th-hour break, the U.S. stumbled into an international crisis and then stumbled out of it." This 'Keystone Kops' approach to diplomacy might be humorous were it not so deadly serious. On the day that our Secretary of State dropped his off handed comment, his department sent to the Congress a report detailing all the obstructionism the Russians were pursuing to try and defeat our efforts. I'm not saying I was right but those 66 paragraphs tend to support my reporting as I saw it unfolding. (Just for the record, my thoughts on this subject were expressed in paragraph 2, of my blog, dated 9/11/2013.)

I do not consider myself to be a flamethrower when it comes to any and all things pertaining to our President and his administration. I do not want to be pegged as a hater. I have great disagreements regarding positions and policies but I do not hate the man who holds our highest office or his family. Guess what? Many people do. Period. It shows in their comments that go beyond any consideration for policies as they typically gravitate to deal with the personal. These who are prone to foment hate and often under gird their criticisms with racial overtones also claim to be followers of Christ. To me, that doesn't match up very well with a call from above that we would love our enemies, (Matthew 5:44), and that we would pray for those who have authority over us, (1st Timothy 2:1). Having said this, I also firmly believe in our right to take a stand for our beliefs and to stand against any and all policies we believe to be detrimental to our freedoms and way of life. To me, it's not a blurred line, it's clear. Difficult to do? Yes siree! Nearly everything God calls us to do is hard but with His help we can do it! Amen.

By way of explanation I know that I mention the 'hate' situation quite often. I suppose it gets to me a little when I see a bunch of Bible verses on Facebook followed by some outlandishly despicable personal comments about the President and his family. Enough said. At any rate, we have today to deal with and based on my most recent experiences, that will occupy most of our time. And, when I think about someone in need of some straightening up, I need look no further than the man in the mirror. You know that fellow. It's me, it's me, it's me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer. Talk about a work in progress! I do hope you have a most wonderful rest of this day where you might know that I will continue to be on the look out for any indication whatsoever that fall is in the air. So far, there's still plenty of sauna in the air but no fall yet. But, I will keep you posted on that one. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Happy 8th Birthday ~ Alexander Benjamin!

Welcome one and all to Wednesday, September 18, 2013, where we are thinking about our Alex on this, the 8th anniversary of his showing up here on the planet. As I mentioned before, Alex made his appearance the week that Hurricane Rita was doing her thing. I know all families have characters. A cast of them. I see those postings on Facebook where grandparents fawn over their grands. You are right. I've posted one or two or maybe a handful of those myself. I'm that way. My eldest son is that way about his granddaughter, our great grand. All I can tell you is that our Alex is a funny little dude. He obviously has some sway with his Poppy because he actually can get him to change the channel to the Ninja Turtle Cartoon, even when NASCAR is on. He could watch it upstairs but we all like it on the big screen. Right? We do thank God for all our grandchildren and we pray for them along with a special prayer for our Alex, that he will grow up and become all that God has planned for him. Happy Birthday Alex! Love, MiMi and Poppy.

You have to love the computer utilities available today. I scanned in the school photo of Alex and found that calendar format out on the web and overlaid the photo onto it. I then called up the caption utility and added the birthday greeting. I started to say they are all free but most of them are loaded up with ads. One word of caution to those who might be thinking about using some of these neat programs. Be careful and make sure the site you access is on the up and up. You can typically put the name of the site into Google and check out peoples' experiences using it. It only takes a few extra minutes to save yourself some grief. Those hackers and virus infiltrators out there do like to use websites that are very appealing and various forms of greeting cards, image utilities, and the like are some of their favorites. It pays to be careful but there are tons of good tools out there for our use. I very often have folks ask me how I do these kinds of things and that's why I shared this little tidbit today.

I hear you. You think Paw Paw Mac would have wondered if I have more important things to be using my time on. I couldn't argue that one but I do hope you have a wonderful rest of the day and may God bless each one is my prayer. Amen.    .....More later.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"We try harder." Avis Rental Car Slogan, 1962

"Hey, hey, hey", no, it's not Fat Albert, it's just the pleasingly plump jolly ole blogger coming to you live and in person here on this Tuesday, September 17, 2013. I suppose the 'in person' is slightly misleading but hopefully by the time you read this the 'live' part will still apply. Thanks for tuning in and now for a word from our sponsor, "A little dab'll do ya!" How many of you immediately thought of Brylcreem? That slogan came about in the late 1950's and early 1960's. It was the line that stuck from the little jingle that went like this:

Brylcreem brylcreem brylcreem!
Brylcreem - a little dab'll do ya
Brylcreem - you look so debonair
Brylcreem - the girls will all pursue ya
They love to get their fingers in your hair!

Back then I'm not sure if I knew what debonair meant but I do know I kept a tube handy, used it daily, and was most likely hoping and dreaming about those last two lines. Just look at that lovely young lady and you can tell, it worked!

No. There's no need to add Brylcreem to the words Community Coffee on my tombstone. Please don't write to ask if I am planning on putting Community Coffee on my tombstone. It was only a funny thought. A pretty good thought if I say so myself. Just so you know, there is a Coffee County up in Tennessee but I haven't thought about being buried there. Way too far away from Port Allen, Louisiana. That's where they roast the Community. And, that too, is part of the running funny story. But here's a true story. You know I have been carrying my little one cup maker with me when we travel to hotels. That way I can brew my own Community the way I like it. That and my three feather pillows is about all it takes for me. The other night I had a dream about making another trip to Great Britain and it turned into a nightmare when I couldn't get the power converter to work with my little one cup maker. Talk about scary! Fortunately I could hug my feather pillows and I somehow made it through the night.

Life may not be like a box of chocolates after all. It could be more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today could burn you tomorrow. I think most of us can identify with that one. The wife and I were out on an excursion the other day. It was a throw down kind of trip with nothing particular in mind. We were down near Galveston and we checked on the movies that were showing. None of them looked that good to us except for maybe the 3D Planes movie but we thought it a little underage for us, a little. We saw a discount movie theater and went there to see Man of Steel, the Superman flick. Two dollars per person. It was a little over the top in terms of loud noises and computer generated special effects, but, we mostly enjoyed it. That movie came out in June and by September it is already a discount feature. Talk about faster than a speeding bullet. Have a great rest of the day and may our Great God add His blessings to it. Amen.   ....More later.

Monday, September 16, 2013

"You can always tell when gas is really expensive, cause you'll see street gangs doing walk-bys." Larry the Cable Guy

Okay. Let's get to it. We have a brand new day and a brand new work week here on this Monday, September 16, 2013, therefore, I'm stirring up a little excitement as we prepare to git r done. That's the trademark phrase of  Larry the Cable Guy. He's another comic that likes to play off the southerner and redneck genre of humor. Here's a few of his clean funnies: "I was a lifeguard until some blue kid got me fired." ~ "My brother got eliminated from the spelling bee. Apparently, there ain't no number eight in the word 'pollinate'." ~ "I went jogging last week. I didn't want to, my car broke down in a bad neighborhood. I lost eight pounds and my rims." ~ "What happens if you get scared half to death....twice?" ~ "I was madder than a mosquito in a mannequin factory." ~ "I’m on that diet where you eat vegetables and drink wine. That’s a good diet. I lost 10 pounds and my driver’s license." Okay. Maybe at least one of those gave you a smile to start your day. Given the news that surrounds our day, we can use all the help we can get. Right? That's what I thought as well.

A Mother's grief, 12 years later.
It was okay by me to see so many of my Facebook friends posting commemorative graphics for 9.11 remembrances. Repetitious? You betcha! But, it is a day worth remembering by young and old. That's right. Even the younger folks were putting up memorial postings. Most of them were too young to actually know what was going on but they have been taught. They know how our nation was changed that day. And, that, my friend, is a good thing. It was gut wrenching to see another round of photos from Ground Zero of wives, children, and parents of those murdered as they gathered once again to publicly mourn the loss of their loved ones. As I moved around last Wednesday, I heard numerous people recounting exactly where they were when they first learned about what happened. I suppose we can never fully prepare ourselves for the potential harm that comes from such deeply felt hate fueled by religious zealotry. May all those impacted look to the God of all comfort to help them heal is my prayer. Amen.

I don't know about you but to me that photo of that mom summarizes the impact better than any words. My heart goes out to her and I know she is representative of thousands more whose tears still flow. There's just something about a mother's love that captures our hearts. God made moms that way. Here's a wonderful poem by Helen Steiner Rice that reflects upon this wonderful love:

A Mother’s love is something
that no one can explain,
It is made of deep devotion
and of sacrifice and pain,

It is endless and unselfish
and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it
or take that love away . . .

It is patient and forgiving
when all others are forsaking,
And it never fails or falters
even though the heart is breaking . . .

It believes beyond believing
when the world around condemns,
And it glows with all the beauty
of the rarest, brightest gems . . .

It is far beyond defining,
it defies all explanation,
And it still remains a secret
like the mysteries of creation . . .

A many splendored miracle
man cannot understand
And another wondrous evidence
of God’s tender guiding hand

That is so true and so inspiring. Take care and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen.   ....More later.

Friday, September 13, 2013

"I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph." ~ Shirley Temple, former child mega-star

Working on it!
Happy Friday everyone and to all a good day would be my greeting for this September 13, 2013. You may have picked up on the Santa tone in my greeting. I'm slowly working myself into it, so to speak. I am beginning to begin to get some recognition here and there that I might just be the jolly old dude. This is mostly in the mall where we have been walking some. I can tell I have sparked a connection with a little kid when they continue looking back even as their mom drags them along their way. Sorry about the skid marks but that's pretty exciting stuff to a little one. I read this as a summation represented by the 4 phases of life: "1. You believe in Santa Claus as a kid. 2. You don't believe in Santa Claus as an adult. 3. You are Santa Claus to your children. 4. Finally, you end up looking like Santa Claus." I'm not sure about those four because I've always believed in Santa in terms of the symbol and spirit of giving and the enjoyment of Christmas. However, it's no secret that I work very hard to impersonate him, therefore, I must plead guilty to the aggravated pursuit of phase 4. And, as he went out of sight he proclaimed....and to all a good day!

I happen to love the subject of things that end up being unintentionally odd or funny. A headline that reads: Audit Reveals Painted Camouflaged Military Truck is Missing. Maybe they should look in the woods. How about this one: Man Who Killed Lawyer gets New Attorney. That makes some sense but this one may be a little iffy: Homicide Victims Rarely Talk to Investigators. Then we have the patently obvious: Poison Control Center Advises People Not to Take Poison. You think? Some supposedly intelligent headline writer came up with this jewel: Teen Pregnancy Drops Off Significantly After Age 25. I would have thought 20 but with the new math, who can tell? We learn: State Prisons Will Replace Easy Open Locks and we all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Here's one for the books. The other day I read about a famous singer, John Fogerty, who sold off the rights to many of his early songs when he was young. He has fought for years in the courts to get them back but when he sang them anyway he ended up being sued for plagiarizing his own written words and music. Do we live in a great country or what?

Ike came humming Hello Walls!
I read a little posting from a fellow who said his wife had tripped over her purse and danced and slipped and slid and nearly fell out in the floor. He said he had never laughed so much in his life. It would have made a wonderful video. Then he shared this little insight: "Just so you know, I am tweeting this from the spare bedroom." Today marks five years since Hurricane Ike. Most of you know that was one of the most protracted trying times in our lives. While it tested every fiber of our being, there were also tremendous blessings as people responded to do what they could to help. Next week we will observe the 8th anniversary of Hurricane Rita. It was pretty tough but our little Alexander Benjamin showed up as the storm made her presence known. We can't remember that storm without thanking God for that little guy. We come out of all these challenges with a common theme of thankfulness to God for seeing us through. That will do it for me this week. Have a great Saturday and Lord Day's Sunday and I will do my best to show up to share a cup come next Monday morning. May God bless. Amen.   ....More later.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"I believe there is something out there watching us. Unfortunately, it's the government." ~ Woody Allen

It's mostly looking like a Thursday kind of day here and I say hello and welcome to it, on this September 12, 2013. Don't you love it when someone responds on Facebook to a posting in the exact way you are feeling? There's this wonderful missionary wife who always posts inspiring things. However, one day she got a little carried away using all those cute little abbreviated ditties strung together. A friend of hers replied: "There may be some around who still speak and interpret tongues but I'm not one of them. What exactly are you talking about dear sister in Christ?" Now that was a good one. We have quite a few security cameras around our property here at work. I know there are times when I must be entertaining so early in the morning. I do like a challenge. When I go to unlock all our buildings there are days when it works out that I must carry my keys, my flashlight, and my unfinished cup of Community. Trying to figure out exactly how to point the light and the key while making sure I don't spill the joy juice, well, I haven't seen myself but I do know I often end up laughing at myself. I've tried the flashlight in my mouth and under my chin but I guess I need to start using my neck light so that I look a little less clumsy. Don't even think about it. Not on your life. Those videos are not for sale!

Yes. I am aware that my home office computer is a machine and not a person even though I called it a he when explaining my situation the other evening. Using he and she began when I found myself immersed in managing in the computing and telecommunications networking world for over twenty years, and since I am not technically inclined myself, I had to come up with a way of trying to make sense out of glitches when they came up. The highly skilled fellows soon learned that speaking computer gibberish to me would not get the job done. So, we began to humanize the process so that we could together find an appropriate response and solve the problem. This led to discussions about how the system became confused when he missed a hand off from a utility player. No. That's not how they would explain it to each other but that's the way they explained it to me. I could get that. This problem had likely happened because he had been given new instructions but the utility player had not been updated at the same time. See what I mean? What's so hard about that? We would then update the utility player and soon they were doing hand offs just like the good fellows they were supposed to be, give or take a diode or two, or something like that.

Take my word for it, that was a very simple example because at times there could be entire families and armies involved in issues we had to deal with. That reminds me. I still need to climb those stairs at home and check on him to see if he is still behaving himself. He may think he has me over a barrel but I know where he's plugged in and I could put him in night night for a very long time, but, hopefully that won't be necessary. Maybe you never have to deal with stuff like that. Consider yourself to be blessed. And, lest I forget, I do have an extremely important phone-a-friend option. It's our Chris who can always be counted on to help me try to reason with my wayward computer. I put off calling him as long as I can which often leads to the proverbial 'why didn't you call me earlier?' question, but it is good to know we have a get-out-of-jail-free option in our family. Thanks son for helping me not to make it worse, which I can assure both he and I am more than aware of my capabilities in that area. It's one of those been-there-done-that kind of deals. Try to have yourself a wonderful rest of the day and may God add His blessings to it. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"All of a sudden there were people screaming. I saw people jumping out of the building. Their arms were flailing. I stopped taking pictures and started crying." --Michael Walters, a free-lance photo journalist in Manhattan.

Welcome one and all to our little get together here at the ole blogger ranch. It's Wednesday, September 11, 2013, and yes, we do pause to remember that most horrendous and murderous attack, referred to simply as 9-11, against our nation, our way of life, and the freedoms we espouse. May God bless the families of those impacted by this attack and may God bless and heal our land is my prayer. Amen.

Meanwhile, in a clear demonstration of the freedoms we hold dear, everyone in this neck of the woods continue to be excited because of the way the Texans came back on Monday Night Football and won the game at the end, beating San Diego 31 to 28. Confession time. I'm glad they won but I didn't make it past five minutes of the first quarter. Why? Long day, as usual, and I also had spent about three hours recovering my home office computer because he had somehow chosen to scramble his bits and bytes so that he lost contact with the real world. Don't you just love it when I talk technical? Again, glad that Houston starts off the season with a win and maybe I will watch them next time, that is, if they are not conflicting with a NASCAR race. I think I may be kidding but I will have to spend some time studying it, therefore, I will have to get back to you on that one.

Okay. I think I am beginning to understand our nation's current foreign policy strategy. It's an all-over-the-page, both sides of the mouth, upside down and backwards scenario that ends up being only consistent in its confusion. Our new secretary of state made an off hand remark about Syria giving up their chemical weapons. It was a throw down comment. Suddenly the Russians seize upon it and say they want to pursue it with Syria. What's that old saying: If you can't be good, be lucky? One headline called it, Accidental Diplomacy. Now there is some irony to be found in this knee jerk response, as if we could trust the Russian or the Syrian governments, and it's found in how the spin machine is already trying to make this the objective of the threat to use military force. Every spokesperson for the Administration has been told to add this line: "Had there never been a threat from the US to use our military, we would not have been dealing with the potential for Syria to give up their stockpiles of chemical weapons." The good news for the Oval Office is how the mainstream press handle these types of developments. They essentially exercise a technique called the hook-line-and-sinker approach. Look for it coming to a screen near you! And, you can quote me on that!

You did notice I had nothing to say about that famous song, "Writing Red Lines in the Sand." I'll save that one for another day. It would be good for us all to pause and remember 9-11 in whatever way that is meaningful to us individually. I, for one, will never forget the patriotic connectedness our nation experienced in response to this event. It was beyond sad but at the same time our turning to God and our joining together was remarkable folks, remarkable indeed! Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.      ....More later.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"Forgotten? No, we never do forget: We let the years go; wash them clean with tears, Leave them to bleach out in the open day, Or lock them careful by, like dead friends' clothes, Till we shall dare unfold them without pain,-- But we forget not, never can forget." (Dinah Maria Mulock, English author and poet, 1826-1887 )

A good Tuesday morning to you as we make our way through another work week here on this September 10, 2013. Yesterday morning I heard an in-depth report on BBC radio about how the memory part of our brain works. When folks jokingly say they misremembered something they actually hit upon a very common problem that does occur in our attempts to correctly recall almost anything, at least in terms of it being fully accurate in all of its precise details. This happens because our brain helps to take what happened, our memory of it, and it knows how to fill in any blanks based on a lot of factors including our prior experiences. Researchers staged an altercation and fight in front of unsuspecting bystanders. They then interviewed the potential eye witnesses. A number of them remembered a knife. There was no knife. Some saw blood. There was no blood. The researchers know these individuals saw exactly what happened just like everyone else but their knowledge banks supplied this additional but erroneous information. That's pretty scary when you think about it. It calls into question that old saying: If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I wouldn't have believed it. The good news is that I will likely not remember to remember to let this bother me.

I'm not so sure those who have photographic memory of the past are blessed. They may have all the facts straight but I'm not too interested in the shirt I was wearing on my first day in 5th Grade. And, I would be only honest to admit that I most likely know I've scrubbed some of my memories so they fit the narrative I enjoy. Scrubbing might be a little too severe, maybe just an airbrush touch up here and there. It does have something to do with the way in which we process experiences. When I was deep into genealogical research I would discuss with others some things that happened many years ago. My recollection was, for lack of a better way of representing it, light and pleasant. Theirs often was much darker and tended to emphasize the negatives. Maybe I was using the Mayberry RFD prism to look back and maybe they were allowing their difficulties in life to overlay their recollections. Whew! This remembering stuff has gotten me a little fatigued this morning, therefore, I will try to remember to get back to it at another time. As it pertains to those polished up memories, I still like my version better. Just so you know.

I read an article about a fellow in Brazil who had suffered a stroke. He recovered but for unexplained reasons he woke up and became obsessed with generosity. In other words, his entire personality had changed and he came back from the stroke driven to help others and give away whatever he could. That behavior was totally foreign to his profile before the stroke. A similar thing happened to Saul of Tarsus who later became named the Apostle Paul. He was on the road headed to capture, torture, and even condemn to death those who were Christ followers. However, as he journeyed he had a life changing experience when he met Jesus who called out to him from the heavens. He was blinded by the light but he recognized that God was calling him to change. You can read all about it in the New Testament, Acts Chapter 9. The rest as they say is not only history but it's the story of how the message of the Gospel became available to the world including our world. Let's hope we don't have to go through the ordeal suffered by the Brazilian man before we seek to reach out and be of service to others. Let's face it, learning to care more about others would be a good change for us all including yours truly. Amen.   ...More later.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Spring High School Freshman: "This is how I'm going to remember my freshman year, someone died."

Okay. Here we go again. The time has come. On your mark. Get set. Go! It's the work week race once again and I am very glad to welcome you to our little episode of one way dialogue here on this Monday, September 9, 2013. The killing of a seventeen year old high school boy in a nearby high school has everyone distraught and gravely concerned. An altercation occurred, then a knife was put into use and a young man is dead and three others seriously wounded. We had kids from our Church in lock down for hours at that school. In response to this senseless killing I've seen numerous TV reports and newspaper accounts. Here's the bottom line that most people are asking in loud outcry, in interviews and on email, Facebook, twitter and other forms of social media: "What in the world is going on in our country?" One local pastor of a large Church near that school was interviewed and asked that very question. He said he thought it strange that people are so surprised given the decline in respect in our nation for any and all things pertaining to God. It does give us all something to think and pray about even as we know the tears are flowing in the homes of many.

Of course the so called intellectually elite deny any and all connection to God or morality when these types of incidents occur. They blame it on poverty or a lack of education and typically point to a need for more government programs. There will never be a government program that will substitute for our raising up our children in the love and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4) Today it is all about secular living and toleration for any and everything imaginable. That type of approach does have an impact and sadly, our schools are often on the front line of seeing the consequences played out. And those consequences are way too often spelled out in the blood of innocent little ones. To me, it's not about politics, gun rights, or social reformation, it's about a return to the God who made us the greatest nation on earth. That's my take and I believe I'll stick to it!

We're talking about our children. Collectively, they are our nation's future. Individually, they are our personal treasures that we seek to impart with the truths that were handed down to us. Some of the kids that witnessed the incident sent out text messages to their moms. They were scared senseless. They wanted their moms to come and get them. Sure, we live in the real world where bad stuff happens, but, these kids will carry these scars the rest of their lives. I don't know exactly what actions we can take in terms of helping to intervene but I do know that we can do our best to reaffirm our desire for God's presence and protection as demonstrated by our devotion to Him and His ways. I can do better. My guess is that you can too. Together we can seek Him while there is still time. Lord God help us is my prayer. Amen.        .....More later.

Friday, September 6, 2013

“If you are too busy to pray, you are busier than God wants you to be.” ~ Wanda E. Brunstetter, Cookbook Author

"Well, hello there My, it's been a long, long time And how am I doin'? Oh I guess that I'm doin' fine.." To get us started I thought I would play you a little of Willie Nelson's classic, 'Funny How Time Slips Away' here on the turntable at the ole blogger ranch studio. Time is getting away from us all and to tell you the truth, it's not always funny how quickly it seems to be slipping away. But, I say howdy, howdy to one and all on this Friday, September 6, 2013. I know you have been busy so why not pull up a chair and let's sit for a spell, sip a little strong black Community, and as they used to say back home, just take a load off? That refers to unloading that heavy stuff in your mind and kicking back and just taking an old fashioned time out. Don't worry. It will be there when you get back. But, for the next few minutes, let's try to relax a little. Sounds pretty good. Right? It would be great if it worked that way, but for most of us, the cry of the urgent is definitely drowning out everything else. We can get too busy folks. Jesus recognized that as He observed His disciples. The Gospel of Mark, Chapter 6, Verse 31, "He said to them, 'Come with me privately to an isolated place and rest a while' (for many were coming and going, and there was no time to eat)." Quoted from the NET Bible.

Maybe that was aimed at yours truly. You know. Practice what you preach Buckaroo! Just because I may have trouble taking my own advice does not necessarily mean it's not good advice. We all are familiar with that one. Our children certainly are: Do as I say, not as I do. Gotcha on that one. But, we all do need to find balance in our busy lives. I for one believe that our society is geared towards our keeping time to the incessant drumbeat of busy activity because it is in some one's vested interest for us to do so. I'm not talking about working versus laziness. I'm talking about this driven mentality that says we have to keep all the balls in the air, all the time. Living like that is good for those who sell into our busy world. That's even obvious as we exert peer pressure on each other to keep that treadmill going. Even our play time can become just as demanding and stressful as the rest of our lives. What do we do about it? Something! Whatever it takes to stop the runaway train. All that may be a little over the top, but only a little. I would like to spend more time talking about ways to slow down a little but I need to get back to that urgent stuff I mentioned earlier. See what I mean?

Yes. You do have my permission to put that on your 'to do' list. I do hope that you will enjoy the upcoming Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I have found that meeting with like minded believers on the day set aside to honor our Lord's resurrection, (first day of the week, Sunday), is a pretty good way to help disperse some of the frenzy that characterizes my life. Singing songs that honor God and hearing from Him directly as His Word goes forth are also great ways to refocus and re energize our thinking. That is part of the balance He would have us to practice. How do I know that? Just like the little kiddos sing, "...for the Bible tells me so." (Hebrews 10:25) For those interested, a copy of today's sermon can be purchased along with a hot-off-the-press autographed glossy portrait of yours truly. However, don't send one thin dime. Just put a $10 dollar bill into your envelope to cover the cost of postage and handling. It's supposed to be a joke. So, laugh a little. That too will help your day. Until next time, I will be cogitating on something, and based on today's edition, no telling what it might be. Take care and may God bless each one. Amen.    .....More later.