Thursday, April 30, 2015

Happy Birthday Son!

Another howdy howdy from here at the ole blogger ranch to all you guys and gals who showed up for today's session. It is Thursday, April 30, 2015, and on this day we are celebrating our middle son Jimmy's birthday. Born forty-seven years ago today, we thank God for him and his family: his wife Kim, and his kiddos, Jimmy Jr., the twins, Alesha and Amanda, and Alexander Benjamin, (Alex). Jimmy's life has not been easy. It has been plagued with a variety of obstacles and nearly every single day is a challenge for him, but somehow and in someway, God has helped him make it. We thank God for that. One thing he can be sure of: We always seek God's best for him and we wish him a most wonderful birthday. Love, mom and dad.

Here are a few mildly humorous tweets. If you don't know what a tweet is, don't worry about it. Just read them and enjoy. ~ I can see London. I can see France. I'm looking at a map of Europe. ~ I don't like people who can't laugh at themselves. It makes more work for me. ~ I didn't want to grow up. I just wanted to be able to reach the cookies. ~ The sign says open, yet the parking lot is empty. You'd think the physic would only come in when they know they will have customers. ~ Ziploc's idea of a sandwich size is certainly different than mine. ~ Spent 15 minutes looking for my phone only to find that I was using it as a flashlight. ~ Today I'm going to entertain the kids with a game of duct duct tape. ~ I finally got my computer to connect to a wireless printer. I wish I knew which house the printer was in. ~ Not a good day. My kids just introduced themselves as "Let's go." and "We're late." ~ Pirate announces: "Prepare to be bored." Ship Captain: "Don't you mean boarded?" Pirate then opens his stamp collection. ~

Go back and check it for yourself. I did use the word mildly and I do recognize that was being very generous in terms of how funny these particular tweets are. Think about it this way. If you got even one little chuckle, that was one more than you had before you read them. Let's face it. There are some days where there's just not that much to laugh about. You are correct. I do deal mostly in low hanging fruit. That's just the way I roll. While I may not be that good at it, I am at heart a storyteller. Or, at least that's what I do a lot of. You can tell? One of my concerns in continuing our daily visits was that I would become so repetitive that on nearly every day I would end up essentially rearranging the same stories. But if I let that bother me I probably would have quit a long time ago. I do try to keep it fresh and topical but that doesn't mean it will not be stale at times. Here's the way I see it. There's always tomorrow. Maybe it will be better. Maybe we all will learn something. That even gives me something to look forward to. Take care now. You hear? And, may God add His blessings to our day. Amen.  ...More later.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"The average newspaper boy in Pittsburgh knows more about the universe than did Galileo, Aristotle, Leonardo, or any of those other guys who were so smart they only needed one name." Daniel Gilbert, from his book, 'Stumbling on Happiness'

Hello and welcome to another edition. This one has landed on the front porch of your internet platform and it has done so on this Wednesday, April 29, 2015. The newspaper delivery boy is for all intents and purposes a thing of the past. I never actually delivered regular newspapers but I did go around from place to place and door to door trying to sell a little paper called the 'Grit'. It was a paper devoted to rural and country life and it had a run from 1882 until it finally closed up shop back in 2011. The iconic newsboy delivery job was a part of the rite of passage for many youngsters growing up in our country. According to the American Newspaper Association here's a few fellows who had the newspaper delivery job growing up: Walt Disney; H. Ross Perot; Bob Hope; Ed Sullivan; Danny Thomas; John Wayne; Bing Crosby; Jimmy Durante; Dwight D. Eisenhower; Herbert Hoover; Martin Luther King Jr.; Harry S. Truman; Ed Sullivan; Isaac Asimov; Carl Sandburg; Tom Brokaw; Wayne Gretzky; Jackie Robinson and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. I also remember reading in his book 'Made In America', how that Sam Walton founder of Wal-Mart gave credit to the selling and collection experience he gained as a newspaper route delivery boy. I didn't include any girls because they didn't list any. I'm not sure what replaces that in today's world but it most likely has something to do with computers. Just a guess.

Today we have to have programming geniuses to keep our world going. I saw some of that before I left the big company many years ago. I remember we were looking to computerize our truck delivery process back when doing things like that was in its infancy. We made a field trip to talk to a company that specialized in providing the programming for small handheld intelligent devices. I know. I know. Your cell phone that you use today has a vast amount of processing capability compared to what we were doing back then. That's right. This is one of those back in the day stories. Because of the limited capacity of these early devices, experts in the programming of these devices were required. We met their version of their expert. He was not much more than a kid, disheveled with his hair going here, there, and everywhere, he mostly grunted, and would not make eye contact with any of us. He was their lifeline and they joked about keeping him in a cage and throwing his food to him. He was the one who made the little handheld devices do their thing. I think about all those today involved in writing software for games, for phone applications, for movies and television, for computer systems, and everything else imaginable. That little visit way back then may have been prophetic.

And, look where we have arrived. We can't even keep the White House email system from being hacked by the Russians. Or, at least, that's what is being reported. I heard the President's spokesperson saying that we shouldn't worry since the stuff that may have been compromised was only the public emails between ordinary staff. You know. Not the important stuff. Not the private private stuff. No one was wearing overcoats that day in the briefing room but I recognize a snow job when I see and hear it. How are the Russians able to do this? Believe it or not they have their fellow, their resident expert, and he's smart enough to figure out how to overcome the protections we have in place. What's our answer to this? Try to find one of our own to do a better job of protecting our electronic assets. Or maybe we could kidnap theirs. The stakes or pretty high folks and this is the future since these kids won't be delivering newspapers growing up. I know. That's likely not a good connection. But I am shooting for story integration here. There might be a point or maybe not. You figure it out because to tell you the truth I'm a little fatigued at the moment. Enjoy the rest of your day and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ...More later.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six." ~ Yogi Berra

Okay. It's Tuesday, April 28, 2015, and I am on duty. Have you ever wondered why some people can't get enough of one food while others can't even be in the same room where it is being served? This topic is of great interest in a variety of disciplines as people attempt to understand this drastic difference. They know that some of it has to do with smell. Some people can't stand the smell of a certain food. Past experiences can also trigger a response. Some research tends to indicate that genetics is obviously a part of what's going on. I read where some people could not eat raw tomatoes even if you put a gun to their head. I can eat a whole bag of them in one sitting. The widespread disdain for liver is well known. I enjoy beef liver smothered in onions occasionally but I would not want it on a regular basis. Celery. I'm just not into eating raw celery. I can eat it some when it is cooked in foods and I don't have a problem with celery salt but eating a stalk, well, you can have mine too. I love licorice but not in the rubbery form. I enjoy cinnamon in just about any form. My eldest son never saw anything saturated with cilantro that he didn't like. I don't care for its smell or taste. I do love me some fried chicken gizzards. I know many that do not even want to watch me eat them. There's any number of lists that are out on the web dealing with the foods most likely to be loved or hated. They typically include blue cheese, raw green peppers, and also coconut. I personally enjoy Brussell sprouts even if it is the subject of one of the legendary confrontations that unfolded at our dinner table. (It's commonly known as Rodney and the great Brussell sprouts caper. I think sprout in the singular would be a better description.)

I am not knocking those who try to eat healthy. I think that is a noble quest as long as it doesn't become an obsession. We were in Church many years ago with a lady who was a professional nutritionist. She was pretty much fanatical about it too. They had two boys about the same age of ours but when they came to play they brought their own food. You guessed it. It looked like something prepared to feed the rabbits in the cage. No. I am not poking fun. A number of years ago the wife and I attended a reunion at that particular Church. We saw those folks again. They are wonderful people. The husband is one of the finest men of God we have ever known but I can assure you he has not been on a rabbit diet anytime in the past ten years or so. One of the two boys showed up. He is a lawyer. He always was a brainiac. I would guess him to weigh at least 300 pounds. I've said all of that to say this. "It just goes to show you!" And, there you were, thinking I was going to say I told you so. But I didn't. What? You could probably come up with a story like that on me? Now just a cotton picking minute. You probably could but obviously that wasn't what I was writing about today. Got it? Good. And, thanks.

My wife is feeling good enough to begin cooking again. I came in the other evening and she was slaving over a hot stove. Well, that's way too much over the top but she did have a nice little meal going on. She had prepared some fried okra and field peas along with some hash browns to go with it. I buttered up some hot cornbread, loaded up my plate and enjoyed it in two ways. First, it was just downright delicious. Secondly, it was a source of great memory as I was able to think about all those who had prepared meals just like that for me as a kid growing up. And, maybe more than anything else, and this is just me, but I thought what a blessing to enjoy so much a simple meal like that. I didn't need the Food Channel's rating or any other accolades. It was just melt in your mouth yummy. No. I was not about to say it's about time. You don't think I would say anything like that about someone who is recovering from surgery. Do you? Thanks for tuning in today and may God add His blessings to us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't." ~ Mark Twain

Rosie the Riveter.
Here we go again. Another work week is now underway and this one begins with this day, Monday, April 27, 2015. I thought I would hit a few very miscellaneous items that caught my attention in passing. One was the death of the lady who posed for the famous Normal Rockwell cover, "Rosie the Riveter." Nearly all of Mr. Rockwell's famous paintings reflected real people who posed for his art work. Mary Doyle Keefe became the symbol of the American woman as the independent working woman. She passed away at age 92.

We also celebrated world book day which coincides with the recognition of Shakespeare and all his contributions to language. The image was created by a scholar and while I cannot vouch for all his attributions, it does show the power of words and the ability of an individual to contribute to our heritage.

Lastly, there's a particular cable news organization that is stacked with some of the most left wing liberal commentators on the planet. Every day they spew out their alternative world opinions. About five of their regular on screen personalities have been discovered to owe back taxes to the federal government. Most of them have had to endure public clips where they are shown to be berating their fellow Americans to pay their fair share. Poetic justice in the extreme!

I arrived here this morning in the middle of a genuine severe thunder storm. The gate wouldn't open so I sat there with my little car quivering in the wind and the torrential rain. Every ten minutes or so I would check the gate opener again. After about 30 minutes it finally opened. Maybe the power had been off. That was pretty scary but also beautiful at the same time. The flashes of lightning would light up everything briefly and I thought how that even the car wash couldn't produce that much water velocity. I had the radio on. We are under a severe storm watch and a tornado watch as well. But I made it, thank God, and here I am to do my best to get myself together for another day. We never know what a day will bring but we can be thankful for it because it is the day the Lord has given to us. Amen.  ....More later.

Friday, April 24, 2015

"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right." ~ Thomas Paine, (1739-1809), Pamphleteer, Patriot, Dreamer

Yes. That would be correct. It is Friday, April 24, 2015, and I am anxious to share some recent research with you. Sometimes I report and you decide but today I will just do the reporting. Finally. It has taken a long time but researchers finally know what causes the noise when we crack our knuckles. From where I sit all I can say is that it's about time. Through a series of special tests using magnetic resonance technology, it has been determined that the unmistakable sound is caused by a gas cavity that forms between the joints. This was thought to be the case but now they know for sure. Okay. I am a knuckle cracker. From way back. I was warned time and time again about everything from enlarged knuckles to arthritis if I didn't stop cracking them. Those and countless other threatened problems have been found to be untrue. They end up being in the old wives tales category. In fact, the researchers want to further explore how the gas cavity works because there may even be therapeutic benefits and treatments that can be used for those who do have arthritis and other ailments. See there. Another one bites the dust! The smell of vindication is so sweet on a Friday morning. Right? Good. And to celebrate I just finished doing a little medley of snap, crackle, and pop, on both hands. It was, after all, a special occasion. Thank you very much.

No. I am not gloating. I just love it when a plan comes together. Here's one that made me chuckle. ~ A carload of hunters drove up to an old farmhouse to ask if they could hunt on that man's property. An older gentleman came out and after hearing the request he granted his permission. He also asked a favor. He told the hunter that he had a twenty year old donkey that was in very poor health and it needed to be put down but he just didn't have the heart to do it. He asked if the hunter would do it for him. The hunter told him he would. On his way back to the car he thought he would play a trick on his buddies. He got into the car and told them the old man rudely said they couldn't hunt on his property. He then drove up to where the donkey was standing and stuck his gun out the window shot and killed the donkey and shouted, "That will show him!" Before he knew what was happening he heard another shot and when he turned one of his buddies called out, "I got the cow!" ~ 

Another work week will soon be in the books as we anticipate our Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. After all the hoopla over the wife's birthday with cards, texts, calls, gifts, and so many Facebook greetings, I feel like I'm married to a celebrity. She has touched the lives of a whole lot of folks. Right now she is still struggling some from her surgery but they tell her they believe it will all be better in time. We are coming up on two months so that 'more time' answer is getting a little old, but, we are praying and trusting the Lord to see us through. I will be so happy for her when she is able to get back to her energetic and bubbly self. I do hope that you and yours will enjoy your upcoming weekend and that we all will find ourselves thinking about all that we have to be thankful for. On my wife's birthday I spent about twenty minutes talking about her to the Lord. That caused me to rehearse all the blessings He has placed into my life and our family and into the lives of others through her. I can't remember the last time I spent that much prayer time devoted to one person but I can tell you this: it was time well spent. Amen.  See you next time.   ....More later.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Happy Birthday to my Sweetheart!

Today is Thursday, April 23, 2015. I pause to recognize the birthday of my wife, a woman of distinction who truly is a servant of the Lord. I told my class last Sunday that since her parents passed her to me at such a young age, surely I get some credit for helping to finish raising her. And, I added that looking back at her life, all I can say is I have done a very good job. That brought the intended good laugh but I will tell you this about that. My wife's parents did an excellent job in raising up their children. The four of them are recognized and respected folks in their communities. Our entire family on both sides have been through a lot of challenges in this long run that God has granted to us and I couldn't be more thankful for my own family and my family on my wife's side. My wife, as many of you know, is a remarkable woman and I thank God for her and ask Him to provide a special blessing on this day where we honor her. Happy Birthday Sweetheart, and, oh yeah, just in case you have forgotten: "Baby, you're still the greatest.!"

Let me see. We've been hanging around each other since 1962, and married since 1964. I started to say I rest my case but that would not be appropriate since our journey continues. This current health related challenge that she has been through and that she continues to struggle with, well, it certainly reminds us that we are not invincible. We started our lives together joyously as two love struck older teens and now we are doing our best to bring as much joy as we can as Santa and Mrs. Claus to little kids of all ages. It doesn't take a lot of make up these days to pull this off. That's quite a transition folks and I am so glad to have her by my side throughout all these years. We were told one time that our singing reminded a lady of Dale and Roy Rogers. If only I had learned to yodel. To ride a horse. To rope. To fight bad guys who wear black hats. Just think. Happy Trails could have been our song. Wait a minute. It is our song. Here's one of the verses:
Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we're together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.

She does make our journey together an enjoyable one.

It's also a special family day as we recognize and celebrate our baby boy and his wife, Rodney and Mitzi, on their 16th wedding anniversary. We thank God for them and for the children God has blessed them with: Kyleigh, Lexie, and Brady. Happy Anniversary and may God continue to bless is our prayer. Amen. Love, mom and dad

As for my better half, well, that's my mushy quotient for today and it might be enough to cover me for several days going forward. She did take exception to what I wrote the other day about the two of 'us' snoozing so much in the repaired recliners. She asked me when I said 'we' if I had a mouse in my pocket. Those Louisiana girls, they can come up with some good ones, can't they? I mentioned to her that as I recall just this past Sunday afternoon that I had thrown out several comments to provide the basis for good husband and wife communications. However, what did I get in return? All quiet. I did hear a purring sound but I'm not sure if that was her or the ceiling fan. In other words: not a creature was stirring, and I suppose that included even the mouse in my pocket. She said that didn't count because she was feeling poorly. I'll accept that answer but only because it is her birthday. Take care folks and remember to be thankful for those that God has placed in your life. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

"But allowing elected officials to say anything they want about people running for office — and requiring zero proof in order to report those claims — seems to be a bridge too far. And to defend that behavior by saying, "Well, we won, didn't we?" feels like the junior high school logic that shouldn't be employed by the men and women trusted with representing us in Washington — or anywhere else." ~ Chris Cillizza, Washington Post

Welcome to your source for all things mostly fit to print. Sorry. I can't prove that one. It is Wednesday, April 22, 2015, and I do bid you a hearty hello and welcome. Everyone now knows that Senator Harry Reid's accusation on the senate floor that stated he had sources that could prove Mitt Romney did not pay one penny in federal income taxes for 12 years is completely false. Here we had the top democrat and majority leader in the senate blatantly lying through his teeth publicly to his colleagues and to the rest of our nation. Now that he is retiring he was asked about this assertion. Here's the official report of his response: "In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, departing Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said he had no regrets about lying on the Senate floor that Republican Mitt Romney hadn’t paid his taxes in 12 years, because in the end, 'Romney didn’t win.'" That's the point folks. His lie worked. That's where we are as a nation. I wasn't a Mitt Romney supporter although I did vote for him but things like this are almost too sad to comment on. Now the next election cycle looms. The mainstream actually interviewed Romney's grade school classmates to try and dig up dirt while at the same time they refused to fact check or delve deeply into the background, the grades, or even the family history of the current occupant of the oval office. Now they have found a photo of Marco Rubio who was once in a high school musical talent contest and he is seen in a performing group who are not wearing shirts. I suppose this proves him to be unfit to be a candidate for the Republican nomination for the presidency. I'm not a Rubio supporter but stuff like that borders on the moronic. I know the lunacy is not new but it's also very tiresome. And, we are only getting ready to get ready. Wearisome indeed!

I know. I know. Some are not even aware of these shenanigans and they really would just as soon be out of the loop. Because of what is at stake, being uninformed, will, in my opinion, not translate into our well being. I believe this should be of concern to us all while we seek the Lord's help on behalf of those who are our elected leaders. I was watching the day President Obama's spokesperson was confronted with Senator Reid's explanation of why his lie was okay. The reporter wanted to know what the White House position was on this kind of deceitful approach as a strategy. The press secretary responded by talking about the huge number of bills that had been passed by Senator Reid and how that the President's legacy would include great accolades for Senator Reid. When pressed he finally concluded that as it relates to what is and is not said on the senate floor, they would have to talk directly to the senator. That was the whole point. They were asking about a direct quote. One only assumes that in this administration their achieving of a desired outcome is the only thing that matters regardless of the means to get there. What have we learned? There is no moral compass that guides many of the people who are the elected leaders in our nation. Jeremiah from the Old Testament said it this way: "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)

I'm certainly not excluding myself from Jeremiah's inspired assessment. At the same time it would be good for folks to do their best with God's help to make decisions that reflect honesty and integrity. I was reading one article that asked what message is being sent when lying is openly touted as being okay if you win. Is that what we want our children to learn? Would Senator Reid advise his grandchildren to tell lies on their schoolmates in order to gain an advantage? After all, that would promote their desire to achieve and that is the purpose of their education. Right? I think we can see where this type of rationalizing without any controls will lead us. And, oh by the way, look around, as a nation we certainly are not in Kansas anymore, and the place where we are may not be very good at all. And, that's my thoughts on the subject as I remind myself of my responsibilities before the Lord. Maybe tomorrow I will have something a little more encouraging to share. Until then, remember, God does care about how we operate the lives He has given to us. Amen. ...More later.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Did you know? "Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing."

Good morning and welcome. We turn the page in the calendar book and find that it is Tuesday, April 21, 2015. Speaking of coffee, there's a recent study coming out of Japan that reports how that up to two cups of coffee before a 20 minute nap helps to amplify its positive results. I'm not so sure the hot, black and thick stuff that I drink would qualify for this test. I also read where it's not always best to brush immediately after eating. Some foods are quite acidic and they soften tooth enamel, therefore, when one brushes immediately it's like using wet sandpaper. Here's one I didn't know. A pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle, however, a pound of muscle takes up less space. This means someone who has more muscle can fit into smaller sized clothing than their counterpart even though they weigh the same. Here's one that's been around but it still kind of messes with my mind. Diet soda drinkers who are attempting to lose weight are failing miserably. A ten year study by the University of Texas found that, in fact, diet soda drinkers are 70% more likely to add to the circumference of their waistline than dieters who don't drink diet sodas. I'm not sure they know exactly why but most researchers find that diet soda drinkers take in more calories than those who abstain or even those who drink regular soda. More calories will get you every time. My grandfather must have been right: "Don't let your eyes be bigger than your stomach." And, 'Just push away from the table.'"

Slow news day? Not really. Speaking of news, I do have another pet peeve. I think we all know this Islamic State situation is mostly out of hand. They are wreaking havoc all over the Middle East and are also attempting to expand into other parts of the world. Here's today's peeve regarding this situation. When they do take new territory, bring mayhem to a community, overthrow a town or local government, I get weary of this Administration sending out a four star general to inform us of how the latest conquest is not that strategic and therefore we should not become too concerned about it. The next day we hear about a new video where Christians are openly beheaded for their faith. But, we shouldn't be overly concerned, because after all is said and done, those areas where they lived are not strategic. Sorry. But stuff like that just makes my heart sad. That quote from President Obama last year about how that ISIS was only junior varsity still haunts. Sadly, I think policy followed that line of thinking.

In the last five days we did get some rain. I think for our area it was at least five inches or more. One fellow reported their rain gauge indicated a total of eight inches. I'm sure it has something to do with global warming but I haven't yet heard exactly how. One thing is nice, the aftermath brought somewhat of a cool down. How do you like those apples? I do enjoy waking up to mid to low fifties as we move toward the April exit door. That along with some much lower humidity is both refreshing and welcome. Makes the Community taste even better, if that's possible. I typically sit here in the office with the door wide open on mornings like that but some think I let too many critters of the bug variety fly in during these open door meet and greets. After I swat a couple I typically do what any person would do. I get up and shut the door. Meanwhile, I do hope you are enjoying the weather, wherever you happen to be, along with a smoking hot cup of Community, and may God add His blessings to our day is my prayer. Amen.  ....More later.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Genesis 5:2, NET Bible: "He created them male and female; when they were created, he blessed them and named them 'humankind.'"

Welcome back to my version of where the rubber meets the road. And, this episode has landed on Monday, April 20, 2015. A lady posted a pretty good little cartoon on Facebook the other day. It said that men can't understand women and they always joke about them not coming with any instructions. The punch line was: When have you ever seen a man reading the instructions? There's a lot of truth in that little ditty, however, I think those of us who are believers know there is an instruction manual for life, and it is all inclusive, covering men, women, boys, and girls. That would not be the manual typically found in the glove compartment, and yes, I too wonder how many gloves could be found in that box. It's that book one finds in hotel rooms across the fruited plains, none other than God's Word to His created human family, the Holy Bible. I saw the other day where some state department training sessions include examples of institutionalized inequality. One of those listed were the stereotypes of women as portrayed in the Bible. Really? If the Bible is true and it is, this means that it in its entirety was inspired or breathed out by God the Holy Spirit. And, if we can believe its teachings and we can, then we know that God is the Creator and what He has to say on any and all matters is the first and last word, period. That doesn't mean we understand women but reading God's Word helps. It really does.

Our home, Hurricane Ike, 2008
We had ourselves a pretty mean storm last Thursday evening. Rain, wind, thunder, lightning. A family in our subdivision just a few blocks away from us took a huge tree into their kitchen. We do know how that feels. (Hurricane Ike) I saw the man being interviewed and his first thoughts were to be thankful that he and the rest of the family were okay. We know that feeling. The house? It will not be okay for some time. President Clinton was made fun of for telling people that he felt their pain. Yet, there is something to be said for those who can identify with someone because they have been there and done that. It's also interesting how that when you have had a major experience in your life you tend to pay attention to others going through a similar situation. This doesn't mean that we can't reach out to those who are in need when we haven't dealt with their same problems, but, it is also true that those who know best are those who have also been through the fire. I know we sat and watched and the entire scenario got our attention, for the first time, all over again.

We've recently improved our ability to snooze through our favorite TV programs. We have two great recliners but the recliner mechanism on both of them have been broken for nearly two years. We've had several do it yourself attempts but to no avail. We finally took to Google and found us a technician who does this type of work full time as a freelancer for furniture companies. He came and evaluated the situation. Ours did not fit the standard so he had to order the parts. (Why is this always the case for stuff we buy?) It took a while but we finally got those babies working again. We had been able to do a reasonably good job napping on the sofa that has recliners on both ends but these are much more comfortable. The bottom line: we now catch mostly zzzz when we are fixated on our must see TV programs. I remarked the other day that I thought I had actually hit the rapid eye movement deep sleep mode because when I woke up I had no idea where I was. That's when my better half usually likes to ask how much I enjoyed my program. It wasn't inexpensive to get them working but my oh my "how sweet it is!" (Catchphrase made famous by Jackie Gleason.) Thanks for tuning in. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ...More later.

Friday, April 17, 2015

"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." ~ Abraham Lincoln

Today is Friday, April 17, 2015, and I bid you a warm welcome as we take a moment to visit. Last Tuesday was the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. I am typically not up too late in the evening but I did notice that a live re-enactment was being broadcast on CSPAN. I watched it for about an hour. There were historians interviewed. The actors wore period costumes and some of them took on the roles of those who were first hand witnesses to all that had happened. The running feed showed several hundred people who had gathered at Ford's Theater where the President was shot by John Wilkes Booth at 10:15 p.m. on Good Friday, April 14, 1865. The mortally wounded President was moved from the theater across the street to a boarding house, the Peterson House, where he breathed his last at 7:22 the next morning. Watching these remembrance ceremonies was very moving. The Civil War had just concluded and the people in Washington D.C. were jubilant. When this event occurred, great panic, anguish, and unrestrained grief broke out among the citizenry. It was a most trying time for our nation. Many of those who attended the commemoration last Tuesday evening were to be there all night waiting outside the Peterson House on word of the President's fate, just like it had happened 150 years ago.

This week has also marked the 2nd anniversary of the Boston bombing incident that killed 3 and injured 264 others. The eldest of the two brothers guilty of this atrocity was killed during the pursuit after the bombing. The youngest has recently been convicted of multiple counts that do carry the potential for the death penalty to be assessed. Massachusetts does not have the death penalty. But this was a federal trial and the death sentence is still an option. Polls in the state indicate the majority do not want this young man to be executed. This case has spawned another round of debates over the use of the death penalty in our nation. I listened to several where the advocates for made their points and those opposed also had their say. It's pretty obvious that in its current sporadic usage there is not much in the way of a deterrent factor being achieved. This has to do with the way our legal system works and the years of appeals involved in death penalty cases. An example from this week: "HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A San Antonio man who fatally shot a SWAT team member with the officer's own gun more than 14 years ago was executed Wednesday, the sixth convicted murderer put to death in Texas so far this year." See what I mean? Based on national polling, some 60% of our citizenry still supports this ultimate penalty. It has been in decline for a number of years from back in the 1980's when it was near 80%. I believe the problems experienced with the execution process itself, the numbers on death row who have been exonerated, along with media influence have combined to erode this support. As for me, I continue to believe there are committed crimes that deserve this sentence.

Freedom can be a dangerous proposition. People doing nothing more than showing up for a marathon in Boston found that out two years ago. In the case of these two brothers, there does appear to have been flags that might have helped prevent this attack had the appropriate steps been taken by our national security apparatus. They were not followed up on. Some are more than willing to give up freedom in exchange for a sense of feeling they are more secure, to the tune of spending trillions. However, we end up without the security we paid for along with the loss of freedoms. Once lost they likely will not be coming back anytime soon. That would be my closing throw down observation for the week. I am also reminded that true freedom is that which can only be found in Christ. We will be celebrating that truth as we meet together this upcoming Sunday. Until next time I do hope you enjoy your weekend and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

"Worried about an IRS audit? Avoid what's called a red flag. That's something the IRS always looks for. For example, say you have some money left in your bank account after paying taxes. That's a red flag." (Jay Leno)

Hello once again. It is Thursday, April 16, 2015, and since taxes are still fresh on our minds I thought I would share something I heard the other day. The concept of teaching your child about taxes was one attributed to Bill Murray, the comedian. You go to the ice cream shop and buy the child some ice cream. Before you give the ice cream to the child you eat 50% of it. When you hand it over you tell them this is what's left after taxes. That would include all taxes, on average, Federal, State, Local, Gasoline, Various registrations, etc. When the joke was originally floated he used the 30% figure but I based the 50% from one of the tax freedom association's website. I do know that when young people begin working they are aghast when they see their take home pay. Suddenly they are brought face to face with a glimpse of their future. It's funny to hear them moaning about it because they have not seen anything yet. I'm not against paying taxes. We have to provide for the services required to function as a nation. As it relates to the amounts being collected and what much of it is used for? Now that is, in my opinion, an insatiable out of control monster that feeds upon itself and can never be satisfied. At any rate, enjoy your sample of ice cream and learn the lesson that comes with it.

No. I do not issue continuing educational credits. Don't write me. It was only a joke. Let me continue this theme: What’s the difference between a tax auditor and a rottweiler? A rottweiler eventually lets go. – anonymous ~ What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin. -- Mark Twain ~ If Patrick Henry thought that taxation without representation was bad, he should see how bad it is with representation.– Farmer’s Almanac ~ Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut save you thirty cents? – Peg Bracken ~ The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax. -Albert Einstein ~ The Gettysburg address is 269 words, the Declaration of Independence is 1,337 words, and the Bible is only 773,000 words. However, the tax law has grown from 11,400 words in 1913 to 4 million words today. ~ Hey, it's once a year so I might as well get it out of my system.

For those astute readers in my audience, yes, I am aware that the cartoon above with the man with the Bible is a caricature of Senator Ted Cruz, the fellow from Texas who is running for the Republican nomination for President. I am not a Ted Cruz follower or supporter. I do appreciate his conservative views and his willingness to stand up for them. I just wanted to make sure everyone knew that using the cartoon was not intended as an endorsement of any kind, except for the fact that the comparison depicted did reflect my point. Now that we have that cleared up I think I've done enough sharing on taxes for this year. I do know that we are blessed to live in the United States of America and as I have often said in the past, I am very thankful to be able to participate in the full range of opportunities that come with our citizenship, including the paying of taxes. We all can support our nation by continuing to seek God and His help. Amen.  ...More later.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"It's a strange world of language in which skating on thin ice can get you into hot water." Franklin P. Jones, Journalist, (1908-1980)

Good morning and welcome. It is Wednesday, April 15, 2015. Don't worry. On Monday evening I electronically transferred my tax liability to the U. S. Treasury. It included a $31 penalty for not holding out enough during the year. I can live with that. And, as they say, that is surely close enough for government work. I suppose today could be called national tax day. Have you noticed, or is it just me, how many days are celebrated for different reasons? Facebook always has some type of recognition going on. You know. Like double first cousins who have a double chin day. ( I made that one up.) This week alone is filled up with days set aside for special recognition. National Scrabble Day; Thomas Jefferson Day; National Experience Week; National Banana Day; National Bookmobile Day; National Micro-volunteering Day (whatever that means); National Take a Wild Guess Day; and to coincide with tax day there's a National 'That Sucks' Day. Those are just this week. I can certainly appreciate the Thomas Jefferson remembrance. April is also Jazz Appreciation Month; Inventor's Month; Garden Month; Couple Appreciation Month; Decorating Month; Poetry Month; and lest we forget, it's also Straw Hat Month. Of course these do not include the ones that folks make up as they go like my double first cousins day, and, there are tons of them. You don't have to send me a greeting card for any of these and if you want to read more about this silly stuff you can look at the source I used:

Charles Atlas (1893-1972)
What's that? You thought that I invented the 'take a wild guess' day? Thanks for the compliment. I think. I keep reminding you that we do live in some pretty weird times. You may not have read how that folks are now ordering up natural breast milk online. Guess who is buying a lot of this stuff? Bodybuilders. That's right. Ladies sell their milk and then these folks who think it will help accelerate the building of their muscles buy it. The experts are not clear on whether it really does help accomplish the intended purpose but it is popular among this market segment. Here's the funny part. Or, at least, it's funny to me. Recently they discovered that some purchased natural breast milk has been found to be contaminated. What was the ingredient found when tested? Cow's milk. Yikes. I say funny for those who think it will make them like Charles Atlas. (Dated reference, younger readers may have to look that one up.) However, I am aware there are moms who buy the natural breast milk because their babies have cow milk allergies, therefore, that does make it serious. I just thought the whole thing to be a sign of the times and that's why I wrote about it.

The Psalmist offered up a good way of embracing every single day on the calendar: "This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24) That inspired admonition supersedes those we might come up with. It's a great way to start out our day, to live out our day, and to end our day. I didn't say that it was easy to see it this way given some of the challenges faced in this life, but, it is the truth and we can be sure of it because we have God's Word on it. I mean, just think about it. If everyone was as motivated everyday as they are when they attempt to carry all the groceries in one trip, well, we could see some progress. Speaking of achievement we all have heard how there is no 'i' in team. However, there is an 'i' in win', 'achievement', 'prevail', 'triumph', 'first place', 'gold medalist' and 'champion'. I'm just messing around with those observations. Thanks for tuning in and may our Great God add His blessings to this day that He has made. Amen.  .....More later.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age." ~ Victor Hugo, (1802-1885), recognized as one of France's greatest writers

Good Tuesday morning. I bring you greetings on this April 14, 2015. I am happy to report that dad's surgery went well and they anticipate him being released from the hospital in the next couple of days. Thanks for your prayers. I read about the 12 year old that beat over 11 million entrants in having the closest bracket for the NCAA men's basketball championship. He was too young to receive the high dollar prize. Last Friday evening I saw an 18 year old kid beat a bunch of veteran drivers in one of the NASCAR races. He went head to head with champion drivers and did not back down and he would not be denied. This past Sunday a 21 year old golfer won The Masters. Samuel Ullman, an American businessman, (1840-1924), had this interesting observation: "Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life." One is only as old as one thinks. Really? I would say that at this time in my life it would take one whale of a mind over matter event to deal with all these aches and pains. Until then, I will just settle for the rosy cheeks. They are likely due to blood pressure issues. But, one does have to start somewhere.

I must tell you that while much of that little ditty reflects the reality of how time has made a difference in how I function today, it in no way takes away from my sense of gratitude to God for the life I have had and the abilities I still have in terms of facing each day. It was somewhat of a tongue-in-cheek essay but that's not to say it doesn't in many ways represent my white haired perspective. The wife and I watch a lot of musical programming when we watch TV. We typically watch the kind of music we enjoy. The white hair is very well represented in the audiences of the programs we watch. We do notice it. I suppose it means we like the same kinds of programming that other people like who are in our age bracket. Don't get me wrong. We joke forth and back about the commercials featured on these programs. They do target a special segment of the population. We laugh at the ones that don't fit us. Yet. The others we look at each other and wonder whether we should check into them. We hardly ever do but talking about it helps pass the time as we rock our weary bones. That was way over the top but I think you get the meaning.

Let me get a swig of Geritol and I will try to finish for today. The MVP race in the NBA is really tight. I find this to be interesting because people in the respective cities represented take it all so personal. I understand that type of vicarious connection. However, think about it. Right now the local fan base in this area are all up in arms because they believe one of the local team members is deserving to win the MVP award. He may not win. This potential has people really agitated. Here's what's interesting. This fellow has no connections to this particular part of the world except for a current contract. That's all. He didn't grow up here. He didn't go to school here. He didn't play his college games here. In fact, he was traded from another NBA team. This assimilated family identity may be understandable but it really is hard to see why folks are so worked up over it. When this guy's contract is up he likely will be with another fan base who will then grab hold of him as their very own. I know the personal buy in and ownership on the part of the folks who buy the tickets is critical, but, when you think about it seriously it does reflect the strange world we operate in. What say you? Have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen.  ...More later.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Song chorus: "I need Thee, oh, I need Thee; Every hour I need Thee; Oh, bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee."

Hello and welcome back. I do hope you had a restful weekend as we begin another work week here. It's Monday, April 13, 2015, and I am thankful to bring you greetings from our part of the world to yours. I do ask all of my praying audience to think about my dad as he will be undergoing some urology related surgery this morning over in Louisiana. If all goes well he is supposed to be able to go home sometime tomorrow. Prayers for him and mom are appreciated. I can't apologize for using up quite a bit of space with prayer related information. As a believer and having been given a new heart and a new life in Christ, well, prayer becomes a part of our Christian identity, or maybe our Christian DNA. No. I can't really say I understand a whole lot about prayer and praying but I do know that God gave it to us as a way of us connecting into His working out all things in this world that we live in. He has invited us to come into His presence with our praise, our worship, and, yes, our hurts and needs. (Hebrews 4:16) Jesus also gave us a model which is often mistakenly called the Lord's Prayer. (The Lord's prayer, as I see it, is His intercessory prayer recorded in John 17 where our Savior cries out to the Father in the garden of Gethsemane.) The model prayer as found in Matthew 6:9-13 and in Luke 11:1-4 is often recited verbatim. There's nothing wrong with that, however, it is what it implies about our Father and our approach to Him that really matters. We can go to Him in our time of need and we do know that He already knows all about it and He always cares. Amen.

I'm not going to do a drive by shooting analysis of the so called deal with Iran but somethings really do stick out. The most significant is how the main parties disagree about what is being agreed to. In Iran they have this elevated fellow who makes all final decisions, period. He, the Supreme Leader, has stated publicly that the President is lying about the agreement. Okay. I am a country boy but does it not seem odd that the folks who sat at the same table came out of the room saying an agreement had been reached but then the different sides report totally different renditions of the supposed agreed upon items? All I can say from my uninformed but interested view is that we as a nation should tread very carefully when this is how it unfolds before our very eyes. Some would say unravels is a better word. At one time Iran was to be required to officially recognize Israel's right to exist as a nation. Now the President says it would be unreasonable to require them to do so. At one time the President said under no conditions at any time would Iran be allowed to develop and possess an atom bomb. Now the President says the agreement itself does not prevent this from happening after ten years. Their Supreme Leader says our President is lying. Our State Department was asked if they were concerned that the general response to the agreement in Iran was the chanting far and wide of death to America. They said not to worry because that type of response was mostly just habit. Tread lightly, very lightly indeed!

I actually heard our President say that if every bad thing believed by folks about this agreement were true, it would still be the right thing to do. I've heard a whole lot of different ideas about logic but that one baffles me. For instance, he said that if Israel's concern about Iran not changing in any way whatsoever their stated goal of destroying the Jewish State, this would still be the right thing to do. Okay. I will need to get in the line of the hopelessly ignorant to follow that kind of reasoning. It has something to do with some type of contrived pragmatism and sadly, it seems to have a whole lot of support in the mainstream media which has a whole lot of influence with the public. You know. Peace at any cost. (That song comes to mind: Looking for Legacy in all the Wrong Places.) It makes me wonder at times if we are actually seeing what we are actually seeing. Newsflash: We are folks. We are! Okay, that's likely more than you really wanted from my visit today. Don't be discouraged because we do know who is ultimately in control of all things, and, we don't have to worry about His ability to take care of it all, and we can be sure of His love and provision for His own. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, April 10, 2015

"Texas wather forecast: Tomorrow will be sunny and 75 degrees with freezing rain and a foot of snow followed by record heat and icing conditions with a 95% chance that your guess is as good as mine." (copied)

Today is Friday, April 10, 2015. I am not a weather prophet but I remember distinctly telling the wife last week that we had better enjoy those lower temps that were flirting with the 40's because they may be the last for the season. Well, this week we are flirting with highs near 90. Already? The other night the humidity was dripping and the temps were uncomfortably warm. The wife's sister is here and she sleeps upstairs and when I adjusted the thermostat for the A/C guess what happened? Nothing. Zip. Nada. It had been running earlier but now not a peep. I went out to the garage and reset the breaker. Still nothing. I went outside and looked at the unit itself. (As if looking at it might do something.) I then called our middle son and asked him about it. He said he would come over. He recommended that I turn the breaker off for a few minutes and then turn it back on. I did. When I turned the breaker back on I heard the wife yell that it was running again. I quickly called our Jimmy and told him not to come. What a way to get the old blood pressure whacked out just before bedtime. It seems like it was just yesterday that we replaced that beast. But, in reality, it was actually back in 1994, therefore, we know the day is coming that it will have to be changed out. Again. In working with it I had set the thermostat on 70. I wouldn't dare change it after it started running. Bottom line: we did sleep nice and cool.

Never a dull moment? I think it pretty much works that way for everyone. I think this is where I get to use that word vicissitudes. As in dealing with the vicissitudes of life. It has this meaning: 'a change of circumstances or fortune, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant.' It and discombobulation are a couple of my favorites so I do try to fit them in when I can. That's not how you roll? Good. I noticed the other day that a friend on Facebook used the word roll in a posting. He was talking about being on a roll. He is an LSU grad. Many of his friends immediately seized upon his posting and asked that he remove it immediately because it included the word roll. Why? Alabama: Roll Tide. Words do have an impact folks and obviously that particular one was a trigger word. Silly? It may be to you and to me but the tone of those responding showed no hint that they were joking. This is why I do try to make sure I am not intentionally offensive in my word choices. What about the words I use in talking about the current administration? What about them? I call them like I see them and if the shoe fits they may get to go to the ball but I still get to have my say. This entire paragraph may meet the definition of discombobulation, therefore, I think I have accomplished my purpose. Thank you very much.

A couple of personal updates: 1) The wife continues to do well in her progress. We are convinced the surgical procedure is now functioning like it should have at the beginning. She continues to gain her strength back. 2) Dad has had a follow up on his recent bladder related issues and will be undergoing a surgical procedure next Monday. He has confidence in his doctor and we hope this will help deal with the problems he has been dealing with for some time. And, we can't stop being thankful to God for His help in these situations. He has shown Himself to us through the prayers and support of so many. We are humbled. Now we move on to Saturday and then to Lord's Day Sunday. I noticed a lot of new faces in the Resurrection Day services last week. Some were folks we know that have not attended in a long time and others were visiting. Resurrection Day has that impact on folks. I pray they will recognize that every Sunday is a day where we honor our Risen Savior. But, that's just me. Have a great one and Lord willing I'll see you next time. Amen.  ....More later.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

"Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, and riches take wings. Only one thing endures and that is character." ~ Horace Greely, (1811-1872), highly respected newspaper editor

Gertrude Weaver
When you read an article you come away from it with your own thoughts. Duh. Just so you know, that's the way it works with me too. And, my thoughts are not always a part of the mainstream view. What? You've noticed that? Good. It's Thursday, April 9, 2015, and I was thinking this morning just how fleeting fame can be. Take the case of Gertrude Weaver from Arkansas. You never heard of Gertrude? You are behind, aren't you? Well, Gertrude very recently became famous and her fame lasted for only a mere five days. She ever so briefly became the world's oldest living person at 116. Just a few days ago she had replaced the Japanese lady, Misao Okawa, who held that title but passed away at 117. It just goes to show you. You work hard and live 116 years and finally get recognized but five days later pneumonia has the last say. The administrator at the facility where Gertrude lived said she had been very alert and oriented until the end. She greatly enjoyed all the attention that came with being named the oldest living person. Her simple explanation for a long life: "Treat everyone good and eat you own cooking." Previously she had also said: "Trust the lord, work hard, and love everybody." Gertrude leaves behind a son named Joe who turned 94 this past Tuesday. I thought that was just too good to not share it with my readers. Be careful with that fame stuff. No matter what your age might be, it can get away from you before you know it!

Country music is known for telling it like it is. Here's some verified song titles to get your day going: Drop Kick Me Jesus Through The Goalposts Of Life; Her Teeth Were Stained, But Her Heart Was Pure; How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away?; How Can You Believe Me When I Say I Love You When You Know I've Been A Liar All My Life?; I've Been Roped And Thrown By Jesus In The Holy Ghost Corral; I Don't Know Whether To Kill Myself Or Go Bowling; I Fell In A Pile Of You And Got Love All Over Me; I Flushed You From The Toilets Of My Heart.; I Keep Forgettin' I Forgot About You; I Would Have Wrote You A Letter, But I Couldn't Spell Yuck!; I Wouldn't Take Her To A Dawg Fight, Cause I'm Afraid She'd Win; I'm Just A Bug On The Windshield Of Life; If Love Were Oil, I'd Be A Quart Low; If You Don't Leave Me Alone, I'll Go And Find Someone Else Who Will; If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?; Mama Get The Hammer (There's A Fly On Papa's Head); My John Deere Was Breaking Your Field, While Your Dear John Was Breaking My Heart; My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend, And I Sure Do Miss Him; She Got The Gold Mine And I Got The Shaft; She Made Toothpicks Out Of The Timber Of My Heart; Thank God And Greyhound She's Gone; They May Put Me In Prison, But They Can't Stop My Face From Breakin' Out; Velcro Arms, Teflon Heart; When You Leave, Walk Out Backwards, So I'll Think You're Walking In; You Can't Roller Skate In A Buffalo Herd; You Done Tore Out My Heart And Stomped That Sucker Flat; You're The Reason Our Kids Are So Ugly; Here's a Quarter, Call Someone Who Cares. And, my all time favorite: I've Got The Hungries For Your Love And I'm Waiting In Your Welfare Line

There were many more but those ought to be enough to bring someone out there a chuckle or two. I've actually heard a number of those songs. I have. I did see a cartoon that depicted Mozart in his bed. He had a vision of the future of music and saw Hee Haw's skit doing pickin and grinnin. According to the notation he then gave up all hope. Confession time. We still watch reruns of Hee Haw. No. I'm not worried that it will lower my IQ. It's a little too late to be concerned about that one. That one left the barn a long time ago. The show can be irritatingly silly bordering on stupid, but, there's some pretty good musical presentations buried in there, and we do enjoy them. I would appreciate you keeping it quiet about us watching those reruns on RFD-TV because if it got out I could easily have my name put on some kind of government watch list. You know what I am talking about. I could easily be confused with those radicals that tend to cling to God/religion and their guns. I do hope I qualify for the clinging to God category. That's not a bad list to be on. Take care, enjoy, and may God bless each one. Amen. ...More later.