Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Put these two in the boxing ring and allow them to have at one another.

WOW! I love those football highlights broadcasts.

I didn't have to sit through a whole game and put up with all those commercials they are constantly squeezing in at every opportunity to enjoy this brawl.

There are a few things these men could have done differently but it is what it is when it's broadcast live and we must accept what we see on our large screen TVs.

OK! OK! I'll share it with you this once but from here on out, you will need to get your own.

That Finnegan fellow should have hung onto Johnson's helmet when he ripped it off his head so he could have used it as an equalizer. For certain, Johnson is larger than Finnegan. Johnson also appears to know how to throw a combination of haymakers that are difficult to defend against when your face is in the turf.

NO! These two should not be fined for fighting. It's what experienced, overly aggressive, excited young men who play professional football do. Throw them out of the game for sure but that should be where it ends unless the two men involved want to take it to the parking lot later.

These guys had been going at one another for most of the game and rumor has it that there was already existing bad blood between them. It was bound to happen then! And ... it did.

If I were Johnson, I wouldn't let that little Irishman keep thrusting both hands up under my face mask every time we blocked each other either. It gets old real fast.

Let em play people and fight when it's called for.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The day our world stood still

Saturday, August 7, 2010 is a day that is seared into my memory. In the early evening I had to call 911 for my wife, Maureen because she was having trouble breathing.

Thank God, they got her to the hospital ER still alive. That fact brought little relief for her family because she still faced a difficult struggle. There were machines and tubes everywhere it seemed and Maureen remembered none of it for she was in some other than a conscious state of mind until sometime Sunday morning.

This coming Saturday will bring us to sixteen weeks since the event. I'm so very glad that she has recovered so well during that time. She will never be her old self and that fact represents GOOD and BAD in her individual and our collective circumstances.

It has been determined that she will NOT require a pacemaker at this time. Her heart appears to have repaired itself somewhat and is now stronger than expected. Her required medications may change in the near future but I'm almost certain that she will be on some kind of maintenance drugs for the rest of her earthly life. It may also be that she will require a pacemaker later on, for science has not yet learned how to alter permanently, the natural control mechanism that determines one's heart rate and Maureen's has been exceptionally fast for most of her life. Her blood pressure and heart rate have both shown a tendency to climb upward as her body grows accustomed to her current meds and her heart continues to gain strength.

For the most part, Maureen's daily routine is returning to what can be classified as "Normal" for her except for checking her blood pressure so often and taking meds three times each day. She already hates the way her condition and the treatments for it have taken over her life. Having diabetes myself, I can only invite her to get in my boat when she complains too often. It's not easy but it's much better than the alternative.

This Thanksgiving Day we will have so much to be thankful for. Our little family group will come together, hold hands while we stand in a small circle and join in a group prayer, led by our called into ministry daughter, who will speak the words that are in all our hearts before we sit down for our little feast. She has amassed a considerable group of prayer warriors during these last sixteen weeks who have joined with her to usher her Mother through this stressful time of testing and healing recovery.

I believe all of our individual faiths have added some spiritual muscle from being exercised so often and for so long a time. We will offer up thanks for that aspect of the experience also. That is not the end of our thankful list. As a side benefit, Maureen has been smoke free ever since that fateful day. She states that she doesn't feel any better for it. I find that difficult to accept for I too gave up cigarettes back in 2004 after a traumatic hospital visit. Funny how all we needed was some incentive to put us on a smokeless path through life.
I am more proud of Maureen for sticking with her determination to stay smoke free than I can possibly say. She deserves a great big ATTA-GIRL and a pat on the back. I'm not sure if she realizes that it's for her own good. I am also reluctant to tell her that from time to time, the desire to light one up returns but the visit will be short if she pauses and thinks about why she decided to quit in the first place.

Thank you Lord for hearing and answering our prayers.
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Be thankful - - - It's for your own good

Another long day on the job is over, and after fighting your way home through stop and start traffic, all you really want to do is get something to eat, perhaps take a nice, refreshing shower and turn into your alter-ego "Couch-Potato Man".

Perhaps you are into the evening news or a short browse through the daily sports section of the local newspaper. Regardless of what your daily ritual is composed of, if you watch TV at all, eventually, you will be exposed to one of those heart-rending scenes of starving men, women, and children in some remote area of the world. If you are anything like myself, your response is to reach for the remote control, get deeper into the folds of your paper, shutting out all reception of the narrator's voice, or perhaps you are tempted to just get up and leave the room.

I don't think too much of myself when I get like that. Except for the Grace of God, there go I. I do have compassion for those people, but being realistic, what can I do about it? There are only so many charitable contributions possible before the welfare of your family is affected.

Let's face it, we take our own good fortune for granted too often. This Thanksgiving, if you are fortunate enough to be able to sit down at a table which is overflowing with a bountiful feast and one which is surrounded by family and friends, please take the time to reflect upon all you have to be thankful for and express yourself in someway. If you have a God you believe in, give Him, Her or them an expression of Thanksgiving; if not, express your appreciation to your wife, or husband, or children, or just some loyal friend who has enriched your life in someway.

If present circumstances find you in such a condition that you can find little or nothing to be thankful for, I will be thinking of you as I give thanks this year and pray that your circumstances improve quickly.

Clarence Bowles
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bathroom makeover

It all began innocently enough. We went to an annual Church auction where we spotted this beautiful vanity; bid on it and it was ours. It seemed to be one of those "predestined events" one comes across during their lifetime because once we bid $200.00 on an item that was valued at over $300.00, no one bid against us. Then we discovered that it fit in the back of our 2003 Rav-4 Utility vehicle. Now, how often does that happen?

Oh how I wish we had taken pictures of the way our bathroom looked before we began the remodel. I would have posted before and after images and you could toggle back and forth to appreciate the difference.

Anyway, the project took on a life of its own and it rolled itself into a tight tuck and began to roll downhill like a horrible avalanche. I lost track of the trips we made to Lowes Home improvement store but it wasn't long and the employees began to recognize us on sight and came running, knowing that we were going to need some help no matter what it was we came to purchase. Being totally honest, I sort of enjoyed our interactions with Lowes. They were so helpful and cheery, laughing at my pitiful jokes and adding a few of their own once they got accustomed to my demeanor and outgoing personality.

I knew I was going to be tested the moment I removed the medicine cabinet from the wall. I have never been afraid of a good challenge but I have always been stupid that way. Call it over confidence if you'd like; I don't really care.

I'm not even sure exactly how many days or weeks passed before the project was done. I walked around in a stupor of a kind, a million thoughts flooding my mind and keeping me from thinking carefully about the sequence of steps required to complete the task. In other words I simply blundered by way through to the end.

During this project, I managed to accomplish some feats calling for a skill level not even I knew I possessed. One of those feats demanded that I purchase a very special, close quarters nail driver. Sears had them on sale, so once again I was thinking that someone up there really, really likes me. I'm not afraid to pray for divine intervention when the situation calls for it. I did have to resort to paying someone to lay the tile floor. I did all the work I could, like cutting and installing the "backer board" that supports the thin-set and the tiles. When I was ready, Zeke brought over his wet-saw and all his experience and knocked out the floor in no time. We waited the required time before we cleaned the tiles of excess grout, then waited some more for the whole thing to cure. The next day we began the sealing process. It was difficult but well worth the effort. Our bathroom looks and performs better than when it was new. We are so happy with it, sometimes I just sit there and admire my surroundings. Now don't try to imagine that picture I just painted in your mind. It could have lasting negative affects.

Thanks for your time and attention.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I keep waking up in the morning

That's a good thing to have a problem with.
Unless one's quality of life is a one or two on a scale where one is practically zero and ten is being on top of the world in all areas of importance in life.

Maureen and I have been watching a new series on Showtime. It's titled "The Big C." Cancer is never a good thing, I don't really care how one looks at it.

No one in this household has cancer. If they do, it's not common knowledge. Gail had cancer a number of years ago but her doctors now classify her as "in remission and cancer free." Medicine has made great strides in treating it. Maybe it is correct to state that a "cure" has been found for certain kinds affecting certain areas or organs of the human body. I'll go with that for now.

There are a great many events in life that has the ability to sap all the joy from simply living daily life and being diagnosed with terminal cancer is only one of them. There is an older woman in the aforementioned TV series who had lost her husband to colon cancer and she is one for whom cancer has had a very destructive affect. She became a lonely, bitter, survivor and it is from her lines in this series from whence the title of this composition was borrowed. There was another string of words preceding the title that I have heard many, many times but it had nothing to do with a great, mind numbing loss in life. That was "I'm ready to go...but"

In the religious realm, most individuals hope to be able to say those four words, dropping the "BUT" and meaning it with all their being. For we of that ilk, it is a claim that one must be absolutely sure about before it can be stated with total confidence. One doesn't arrive at that point by simply thinking it over in the mind. It is a spiritual milestone, an event that one cannot ever doubt or deny and still continue to use that claim as they communicate with the world around them.

Jesus said it this way. "You MUST be Born-again." He's the authority for me personally.

From the book of John, chapter 3, verses 3 through 8 (New King James version)
3Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

1 Peter 1:23 (New King James Version)

23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

To the best of my knowledge and relying upon countless word searches involving many translations of the New Testament; Matthew through Revelations, what you see above here is the only three instances of the words "born & again" appearing together in said testament.

These two instances, where the two words appear together, in the Book of John, are used by certain denominations of the Christian Church to imply that there is a vast difference between being "Saved from all sins" through and by the redemptive process made possible by Jesus; God's only Son and "being Born-Again" through and by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said explicitly in John, chapter 3, verse 3 “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

If Jesus meant what He said, then all one suffers loss of by not being born again is the ability to "see the kingdom of God."

From that point on, many sermons have been preached on the subject and many various interpretations of what the scriptures are really saying has been rendered to the church as teaching and doctrine.

Question: Is seeing the kingdom of God the same thing as being part of the kingdom of God?

Many scholars will tell you that the kingdom of God is within each and every one of those that believe and have the presence of the Holy Spirit residing inside them.

Seeing the kingdom of God aside, Jesus said that in order to be qualified as born again, one must have been born of water and the spirit also. To this believer, the water birth is achieved by being born of a woman. For approximately nine months, all human beings are immersed in and protected by the water present inside their mother's womb. Some may believe that the water part of that process is the water involved in baptism. Either way; I'm covered and qualified and thus, I confidently profess to any that will listen, I have been born again and "I'm ready to go."

The thing is ... I keep waking up in the morning and each time I must make my way through that day, serving Jesus Christ, loving those around me and praying that others will be able to see Christ in me as a testimony to the fact that I have been born again.
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What's in a name or the way it is spelled?

I've been threatening to write something about this topic for a long time now.
The opportunities have been many but today appears to be the day.

PHONICS: A method of teaching elementary reading and spelling based on the phonetic interpretation of ordinary spelling.

Ordinary spelling. Is that the problem responsible here?
The family name "FAVRE" must not be ordinary in spelling or anything else.
Is the name a tongue twister? Do most sports announcers have difficulty wrapping their tongue around that VR combination and thus have taken the easy way out and simply started pronouncing it as if it were spelled "FARVE?"

That's the only explanation I have been able to come up with.
Perhaps it's a Cajun thing; a French Canadian thing or some other aspect of the French language that I am not familiar with. Whatever the reason, I am fed-up with it.

The name is pronounced "FAV-RA" not "FARVE."

It's Brett Fav-Ra not Brett Farve. Either that or he needs to change the way he spells his last name.

Perhaps another Cajun can make me understand why people are pronouncing it that way.
I'm willing to learn something new. Please help me understand.
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The best of last lines

I watched a certain movie AGAIN recently. I MUST do these kind of things because the choices are so few.
Let's face it...Television simply sucks most of the time. Hundreds of channels to choose from and not a thing to watch that's worth watching.

I enjoyed watching this movie as much this time around as I did the first time I saw it and that was in a theater where the screen was a lot larger than my 32 inch HD TV and where the sound was much too loud.

Any the movie ended and one of the main characters had the last word, it struck me just how great that closing line was.

I had this idea. I don't have many good ideas so at first I was tempted to keep it to myself. I didn't do it. I couldn't do it.

As Janie Poopie does sometimes...just consider this a "Brain Dump."

Please don't get your panties all in a wad if you are bothered by profanity. I didn't say what follows. Hey! It's only a movie!

In this movie, the last words were spoken by a female character.

The line was..."Just tell me you love me - - - - you pussy."

Can you name the movie? If you believe you know who said it and in what movie please post your answer in the comments associated with this entry. would be great if you had a favorite last line from a movie and would post it in the comments of this post too and allow the rest of us to see if we can guess what movie it came from.

Thanks for playing my stupid game, that is if you decide to play along.
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Apathy - The seed of discontent (first published in 2000)

If you are reading this, it can only mean one thing; we have survived Y2K and the millennium bug, the world did not end and it is now safe for all of us who remain to get on with the business of life.

Let us begin this great adventure with an experiment in time travel.

We only need to go back in time 200 years or so. Our nation is so young, barely a toddler as nations go. We have thrown off the yoke of oppression and find ourselves struggling to establish a government. Much of the North American continent remains unexplored. We have carved out a foothold on the eastern shoreline and coastal inland. Every day is a struggle for survival and yet, we persist and endure the hardships of taming a wild land. Life is so hard, but the hearts of men burn with hope and enthusiasm. This is the land of opportunity, a place where dreams, some of them nightmares, come true.

Can't you feel it? There is freedom here. It is man versus wilderness, and determination against obstacle. You can have what you are strong enough to take and hold against all odds. The odds are so great, only the fittest of the species has any hope of success.

At first, growth is slow, painfully slow. Ships arrive at establish ports, unloading their cargoes of hopeful souls. Whole families come now, not just the adventurous explorer. A family or group of families makes their way along well traveled dirt roads until the roads end and then they take to animal trails, hardly more than shallow depressions in the virgin soil. At some point, they stop and using whatever criteria is required for selecting a homestead, they begin to build shelters and pens to protect themselves and their beasts of burden. If they have chosen well, others will come here too and settle close by.

Time passes and homesteads become communities and communities become villages and villages become towns and cities. There are certain basic needs that any group of people must have to survive and grow; some of them are civil structure, law and order, authority and government. Someone needs to be in charge and make decisions for the good of all concerned, someone dedicated, someone responsible, some knowledgeable, wise, honorable individual. You may have noticed; I didn't mention educated in that list of attributes. If a person could read, that gave them a leg up on many others.

At first, the only authority figures available were Military ones. In some areas, settlements sprang up around Military Forts, in others; the settlement was a fort of sorts. There were ferocious Indians and animals roaming the forests of this wild land, so some measure of substantial protection was called for. But at some point in time, all growing communities had to establish their own civil authority as Military units were called away to fend off other serious threats to their young nation.

They saw themselves as a democratic republic, and that meant there was a selection process to be observed in appointing civil authority. Who can say how this was actually done back then? Could it have been as simple as having the Military Commander of the central Fort appointing his choice of individuals to fill the needed offices during his absence?

For my own purpose and due to a lack of historical fact to base an opinion on, I envision a gathering of major citizens from the surrounding homesteads. The heads of families assembling themselves together in an official meeting, discussing the immediate needs of the community and someone nominating one or several individuals for consideration. Of course, that individual had to be available and willing to accept such responsibility for that office should the people elect him. What kind of offices do you see them trying to fill? Constable (local police), Magistrate (local judge), or possibly Mayor? It's actually difficult for we of today to relate to such a loose civil structure and organization.

I feel I need to present one last scenario in order to make a point. I know it is difficult for us to place ourselves in such crude surroundings, but please do try. If you were to find yourself in such an assembly, a meeting that was called to select community officials; how would it be determined who could vote on the matter? What were the criteria used? We know that women didn't get a vote, neither did children or young men under a certain age. So who was allowed to cast a vote, even if it was something as simple as raising one's hand in agreement? I would venture to say that it was only the male head of household or any resident male over 21 years of age. He had to have a vested interest in the proceedings. This selection would affect himself and his family, if he had one. So think about this: how important was any man's single vote at that time?

Have you ever wondered about how an individual became a civil servant during such times? I don't believe it was anything like most of us would think. A man didn't throw his hat into the ring and make it known that he was interested in running for office. More than likely, a person would be approached by a group of their neighbors. They would explain to that person how a dispatch had been received from the national government informing their community that because of the growth and expansion of our young nation, a representative was needed to come to the capital and serve as a Congressman. Let's face it folks; there were not many politicians around at that time.

If you were one of that group, how would you decide whom to ask to represent your community? I believe that the last person you would ask is one who is anything like what we have come to know as a politician today. They would be someone you probably know pretty well. They would probably be a family man. They would know how to read and write and they would have what you recognized as leadership qualities. You may have worked and fought along side them from the very beginning of your community. They would be honest and God fearing and for whatever your reasons, you would respect them. You would also realize that you were asking a lot of them at the time.

They would need to leave their family and homestead for a period of two years, getting back home for a visit only on rare occasions. Who would take care of their family and the crops and livestock? That was the deal. He would agree to represent all of his community and the community, in turn, would take care of his family and homestead. I'm not sure how they worked out the details between them, but they did. The community would provide for his upkeep too while he was serving in the capital as their representative and if he got a little spending money as wages all the better for everyone concerned. One thing for sure, he wouldn't get rich from the experience. When his two years were up, he would return home and once again assume his role as male head of household, husband, and father. Knowing he would be going back home at the end of his term in office, can you imagine how motivated that man would be to do his very best on behalf of those he represented?

January 2000, not only is it a new year, it is also an election year. How things have changed since the era we visited above. People have become so complacent and comfortable; it seems that we have lost sight of the value of personal involvement in the running of our own country. The realization struck home with me last November. Some states were electing Governors, Kentucky being one of them. Getting into the community building and casting my vote was no problem at all. The only cars in the parking lot belonged to the Police Department. I commented on how sparse voters were and was informed that it had been that way all day. It was a beautiful day, so I knew that it wasn't the weather keeping people away.

The next day I made a point of checking the local news station for the election results. It shouldn't have come as a surprise to me when they revealed that only twenty percent of the registered voters had turned out. Okay, so it was only an election for Governor, but twenty percent turn out! My goodness folks, what is going on?

I became more agitated as I pondered the situation. I came up with this idea. I would take a poll within my own household to see if I could get some clues. There are four adults here, all of them registered voters. I asked, "Who made it to cast their vote today?" There was only silence in reply. I went on an information gathering foray about then. "Who can tell me who the present Governor of Kentucky is? More silence and an obvious expression on their faces which said they knew where I was going with this line of questioning.

My wife came up to my writing room, where I sat hunched over in my chair, face in hands, starring blankly out the window. I think she could hear the gears grinding in my head. "What's come over you?" I began to explain and she sat down, realizing somehow that this would take a spell. When I was done, she came back with, "I can remember not too long ago when you held the opinion that your one vote wasn't worth very much." She had me, for she was correct. But, I have had a change of attitude since then. Isn't that what a person should do when they realize they had been wrong about something?

Now, I find myself with this perfect soapbox to stand on. How do I go about changing the attitudes of others? I felt this growing concern mounting within myself. I thought about Ross Perot, the man who stirred so much hope in our nation not so long ago. What a disappointment he turned out to be. I can't put my finger on the reason, but actually, I have never felt like part of the majority of voters in this country. Every time I thought I had an election's results all figured out, the people would speak with their votes and I would find myself standing out there alone, or at least it felt that way to me. I told myself in the last election, "There is no way the people of the United States will re-elect Bill Clinton." Wrong again.

In all the time I talked with coworkers prior to the time to cast my one vote, I don't think I found five people who said they were going to vote for him this time. When it was all over, I was talking to myself. "Who voted that man in?" Needless to say, I felt vindicated by the time they were trying to impeach him. I suppose we all know what happened; don't we?

Guess what I've learned since then? One cannot assume that people know what should be obvious. First, people have to care enough to pay attention to what is going on around them. I hope you don't mind if I ask everyone some personal questions. How informed are you really? When you do take the time to turn out to vote, how thoroughly do you know the candidate you intend to vote for? When you step into that voting booth and close the curtain behind you and look at the list of names presented for you to choose from, how many of them do you actually recognize? Are most of the names familiar? Is that because you have seen countless signs along the roads you drive home on? I think most of us would be amazed to discover the process that leads up to pressing a button or throwing a lever or however it goes where you vote.

Do you vote strictly along party lines? Would you even consider voting for a person who was running on an independent ticket? What do you know about that top rated Republican or Democrat candidate? Where do they stand on the issues that are most important to you? When you have made your choices and end the process by pushing that VOTE button, do you feel like you are making a difference in the outcome of things?

Believe me, I do understand. If you comprehend the numbers and think about it, there are over 250 million people in this country and the majority of those are of voting age. How insignificant is my one little vote? All I can say is this; if someone doesn't find some way to inject some enthusiasm into the voting process in this country, nothing is ever going to change for the better. You ask, "What's wrong with the way things are now? Why do they need to be changed?"

Yes! I know, the economy is strong, the stock market continues to climb, our present government is right on top of things all around the world. I have a good job, we have enough to eat, and a roof over our heads and all is right in my world. If it isn't broke, don't try to fix it.

I'm not about to attempt composing a list of all the things that I believe could be made better. You and I may not agree, but we should at least have some valid information upon which we form our opinions. Most of us have heard the story about the frog that was placed in a pot of cold water under which a fire was burning. The temperature increase was so gradual, the frog didn't know anything was wrong until it was too late and someone was having it for lunch.

What I am trying to say here is that it may be a good idea to swim over and take a peek over the side of the pot once in a while.

There are not many ways for John Doe, American citizen to be heard and have influence in the way his own country is run. If John becomes complacent and apathetic about the value of his vote, he, more or less is giving up his rights to contribute to the outcome of elections and essentially leaving the decision making up to others who believe they have more invested in it than most. If you believe that those others have your best interest at heart, by all means, keep going the way you are and live with the consequences.

With today's technology and all the ways made available for us to gather information so easily, there really is no excuse for any voter to go to the polls uninformed.

Recently, I came across a web site called "SelectSmart." I was highly impressed with my first visit and have returned several times since then. At that time, there were sixteen active candidates running for the office of President of the United States. Did you know there was that many? I didn't, but I quickly found out.

On this site, each candidate was furnished with 14 issues that were indicated to be of the most interest to the average voter. They were asked to state their position on each one. When you visit the first time, you are given the opportunity to take a poll on those same issues, selecting your own position or opinions. Then you can ask for a list of all of the candidates representative of the one who most closely matches your own views, continuing on in a descending order to the one who is most in opposition to your views. Each candidate's position is clearly stated and provided at length and in detail, in their own words, as supplied to the site's operators.

The site is very informative and must be experienced to be appreciated for its depth and detail. Yes! It will require one to sacrifice some of his or her valuable time and effort, but I believe it will be worth it to everyone. Is the information reliable? It should be, it came right from the horse's mouth. Now, of course, we must all realize going in that these men are politicians. It is a place to start and I do hope that you will take the time to be informed in any and all ways possible.

Remember that our government is OF, FOR, and BY the people, but it only works the way it was intended if we do our part and our duty as citizens. BE AN INFORMED VOTER IN OUR NEXT ELECTION.
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Funny IS where you find it - best when it's an isolated location

Lately I have run into some gender specific humor scattered thither and yon around the Internet on certain Blogs and have received some emails of the same content.

Here's one that spares neither sex and seems to get more funny as I continued to read.

Here are some bold words that I received in an email this morning for example.
Now remember, I didn't say or write them; I was just one that found them funny.

Japanese scientists have created a camera with such a fast shutter speed, they now can photograph a woman with her mouth shut.
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My responsibilities

Recently, while looking around my VOX neighborhood, I noticed something called “The Question of the day.” That day the question was “What are your family responsibilities?” It struck me as an interesting question so later I devoted some pondering time to it.

At first the thought entered my mind that no one would read a list that I might compose that included all my personal duties within my family, legitimate or imagined.

Another thought I had, which was also a question was, “How does one become responsible for something; anything within their family group?”

I didn’t believe that anyone would enjoy reading the list of 100 things about me that I composed a year or two ago either but I came to find out just how wrong I was about that also.

I want to take a stab at making a list of my family responsibilities in spite of that risk that posting it here has the potential for boring lots of folk, or not. For that statement to be true I would need to have a lot of regular readers and I don’t believe that I do, really.

The first thing on my list should be:

* Being wrong about more things than anyone else in the family.

I believe that may well be because I am so eager to show off my accumulated life skills.

Among my siblings I have always been known as “Professor Know-it-all” and for good reason.

It’s because I’ve always believed that I DID…Know-it-all that is. When it turns out that I don’t know it all then I am deemed to be wrong, thus the motive for item number one on my list.

All joking aside, I do seem to have a much longer list of responsibilities than any other family member.

In an effort to have anyone who may be reading my lengthy list to be fully informed and aware, I feel I should provide another list and that is a list of who it is that makes up MY little family group.

Me, myself and I (Husband, brother-in-law and human to our pets)

Maureen (wife, sister and top human to our pets)

Gail (sister to Maureen, sister-in-law to myself and number two human to our pets)

Jenny (Top Dog, spoiled rotten Bitch that she is) Can I say that here? Sure I can

Lucy (Cat) enough said.

On with the list:

1. EVERYTHING…especially when anything goes wrong with anything.

OK! I took the easy way out. That’s the way it seems to me but we all know that I am wrong so often that this is probably one of those times.

Actually it would probably be easier to make a list of the things I know for certain I am not responsible for in our family group.

Just as I thought! I can’t come up with one thing.

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What it really means to get "OLD"

It has long been said that in the spring, a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of love.

I am one that would agree with such least as it applies to young men.

However, when one reaches a certain age, like 65 or more and I am now 69 going on to who knows when, my "fancy" still turns to thoughts of love but it's love for something other than the opposite sex.

Sure! I still love my younger wife. I love her as much now as I did on the day I first proposed to her but it's a different kind of love. I don't look at her and think of sex very much anymore because to do so always ends up with me being frustrated...not sexually but emotionally which is sort of like it.

Thank God for a mind's ability to remember the good stuff from one's past. If it wasn't for my memory, when someone mentions SEX I'd just get this blank look on my face and ask "What's that?"

Alright! Enough of that. I've gone off on a tangent of some kind and got away from why I started writing this entry.

When I say that in the spring this old mind of mine turns to thoughts of's love for the out-of-doors; love for being outside and doing stuff like working in the yard and gardening.

Though my fancy has changed, it still sounds kind of like love and sex.

For instance....I went out and bought myself a new "HOE" this year. That got me a little excited but not in the same way as sex once did.

Actually, my love for yard work and gardening is exactly why I haven't been posting very much of late. When one reaches my age there is only so much energy to work with. Energy is rationed out each day. Use up what you have in your tank and that's all there is until tomorrow. The rest of the time till then is spent laying down and resting, trying to recuperate and recharge the old battery.

Aleve, Advil or generic ibuprofen has become my best friends. If it were not for them, no amount of renewed energy could get this old, aching body up and moving the next day or two after an extended period of exertion outside, playing in the dirt.

Spring and new, growing grass and weeds wait for no man. It's either tend the lawn or have it rage out of control and require professional help to get it back in line. I can't afford professional help, not on our fixed income.

The extended drought this year took a terrible toll on our lawn. We couldn't afford to water it as often and as much as the dry, sunny conditions demanded. I just stopped looking at it and let nature do what it was determined to do. Doing that came at a high cost. Everything outside these four walls suffered because of it. Thanks to air conditioning; inside the house, we were cool and as comfortable as could be expected with the thermostat set at 78 degrees. At least we didn't turn brown, shrivel up and die like the growing plants did outside. We are getting there but it's taking longer than one growing season without enough water and too much sun to do it.

I tried to accomplish something out there each and every day. Some days it was quite a lot and others it was just "something" but it all counts in the end. I have managed to clean up all the dead stuff and planted grass seed. It was so bad, I had to resort to accepting help from a younger neighbor on our block who just happened to have a new "slit-seeding" that his father gave him for some reason. I tried to run that machine the day he was outside over-seeding his own lawn just to see if it was possible. He said he would let me borrow it if I could deal with it.

I could NOT. That machine kicked my butt and it didn't have to strain to do it. It was so heavy and the fact that my neighbor didn't have enough knowledge or experience to set it up properly didn't help the situation. Also, it did not come with a "User's Manual" for some reason. I wonder what his Dad did with it? I know I scared my neighbor when I just threw up my arms and got away from that monster of a machine and went to the middle of his driveway, bending over, placing my hands on my knees and started struggling for my next breath of air. I didn't think I was going to make it for a minute there. My neighbor agreed...something was definitely wrong. That machine should be that much work to use.

I suggested that it might help to set the slitting blades a little deeper, allowing the friction of them slicing through the soil to provide some traction to the forward movement of the machine as a whole. It did not have powered wheels of any kind. It depended on the operator and something else to move it along. I figured it must have been designed with the moving blades in mind for that purpose and it seems I was correct. I love it when I am right about something.

Even after that discovery, this old man was afraid to attempt doing all the work that needed to be done in this yard. I don't believe I hinted at all about my need for help. Let's just say my neighbor is a sensitive kind of guy with a quick mind and a passionate heart. He could see my problem and simply offered to do it for me if I wanted him to. So, that's how most of my yard got properly seeded. The smaller areas I did with my Mantis Roto-tiller and good, old fashioned manual labor spread out over several consecutive days and rest periods. Of course, I offered to pay him for his help and because of his current financial situation...he allowed me to. Thirty dollars is not much pay for all the work he did but it was the best I could do at the time.

So...there you have it. OH! It's not over with....not by a long shot. There will surely be more of my long-winded descriptions of what life is like for one that is up there in years and hasn't taken particularly good care of himself during that time.

I know it makes for boring reading. Thanks for reading and hearing me out.

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I heard someone state recently: “If food means anything to you other than nourishment; you are already in trouble.”

Food has been many things to me throughout my life but I can honestly say I’ve never thought of it as nourishment.

Food is necessary.

Food tastes good (for the most part.)

Food is very satisfying.

Enough food can cancel hunger pangs.

Food is a reward very often.

Your next meal is not promised to you even if you have enough money to purchase it.

There are few things in life as comforting as a full stomach.

Good food is a gift that I like to give to others and it brings me great joy to watch them eat and enjoy it.

If God hadn’t wanted us to enjoy food, He wouldn’t have given us taste buds or appetites and He wouldn’t have made so much of what He made for us, taste so good.

It simply isn’t logical to imply that food is simply nourishment for our bodies. A grazing animal might buy that. Most of them eat grass and other vegetation that doesn’t taste good to me raw or cooked and they don’t know from cooked.

Is that how most human beings see food; as fuel? Not hardly.

Even if someone came up with a means of producing nourishment in a pill or wafer (solent green)and made it so cheap that everyone on earth could afford it and have access to it, basically wiping out hunger in the world, there would still be people like myself that would rather have and would be willing to pay whatever the cost for a nice, thick, tender, juicy steak with a baked potato and a nice, fresh garden salad with ranch dressing.

Some people act as if food is the forbidden fruit. I assure you; it is not.

OK! I was the one who brought God into this. If I'm going to quote Him, I need to include the negative with the positive. He also said we should not be gluttons. Good YES! In excess NO!

The problem is, I may like food so much I have committed sins overindulging. If you could see me in person or a full-length picture, I'm sure you would agree that I have...sinned that is...many times. Color me guilty.
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Tuning in to the universal rhythms

The rhythm of life is a theme I have been unable to stop thinking about ever since I first saw the movie “Phenomenon.” Seems there is always something popping up to remind me that I should devote more time to thinking about it, as if it has an unrealized importance in every person’s life.

What’s really strange is that every time I do invest time in pondering the topic, I end up asking myself the same questions: “If you ever do figure the whole thing out, what are you going to do with the conclusion you arrive at concerning it? Who gave you the assignment; GOD? Is this the reason you were created? Is this you purpose in life? Albert Einstein gave us E=MC squared and look what we did with that. Now you hope to figure out the relevence of The Rhythm of life, reveal the truth to the whole world and then allow them to do with that secret truth, what they will. ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?”

There is a basic, natural rhythm to life. It can be sensed in one’s own heartbeat when one is in a state of rest. If you can’t fall asleep at night quickly, it’s probably because you are unable to quiet your mind and get in touch with life’s natural rhythm.

This planet; it has a rhythm. It can be heard when one is able to enter into a place of total silence. The universe we all exist in has a rhythm. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader refer to it as the “force.” When that rhythm is out of sync, they, being sensitive to its rhythm, simply say “There is a disturbance in the force.”

There is a specific rhythm associated with every individual element of nature. Most of us “learn” to be sensitive to certain ones at various times during the passage of time we refer to as our individual life span.

As new-borne babes we develop a sensitivity to our mother’s specific rhythms. We are most at ease when we can hear her heart beating, her lungs breathing, her voice humming a soothing lullabye or her hand tapping out a cadence that we recognise as hers, thereby we are comforted by it and sleep peacefully.

Those men known as sailors and seamen are sensitive to the rhythms of the oceans and seas of the world. Some are so experienced and knowledgeable about tides, currents and swells they can navigate from place to place without using compass or sextant.

All of nature throbs and vibrates with life and all life has a specific rhythm. If one is to survive out in the wild, they MUST learn to be sensitive to these natural rhythms.

Predators know the life rhythms of their favorite prey species. If they did not learn them they would not be very successful predators and would probably quickly starve to death.

There is a scene in one of my favorite movies; Dances with Wolves, where a Holy Man, a Shaman out on an exploratory ride on the wide, natural prairie, dismounts from his pony and slowly walks along through the native grasses, holding his hands palm side down, moving them in large archs, letting them touch only the very tips of the seedheads of the local vegetation. You can tell, he is focused on what he is about. He is doing what he can to become totally one with the natural world or even the spiritual world around him. He is reaching out, touching nature with his life and being touched by the life that is all around him in return. To myself, it is the perfect example of what it means to be sensitive to the rhythm of life.

What is it that certain Mothers are sensing when they are said to be intuitive or receptive to the circumstances of one of their children? Are they Jedi Knights, sensitive to the disturbances in the force around them?

The whole universe hums with a certain frequency, the ocean tides lick the shores of continents with a certain rhythm. A tethered Elephant sways to some rhythm we cannot hear or sense. Snakes slither, dogs trot as do horses and many others four-legged creatures and they all do it according to a determined rhythm. Insects make a vast variety of sounds, especially at night and they do so in a familiar cadence or rhythm that rises and falls from a determined high to a determined low in volume. Crickets chip, Katydids DO whatever it is they do at night and we become so accustomed to the sound, we only take notice when it ceases. The night is full of rhythmic sounds and each one has meaning to some other creature. The same is true of the daylight hours. We are not as familiar with the rhythm of the day because we are busy contributing our own cadence to the mix instead of being quiet and listening.

We humans are creatures of rhythm. Even the most primitive peoples make some crude form of drum or other musical instrument. Meaning is communicated between individuals by varying rhythm. Focus on one rhythm for too long and it will become what we call “monotonous” and boring. We need constant variety in our intake of daily rhythms to remain content and happy. Who wants to get into a rut?
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Friends with "Benefits"

Yes! I do watch "The View" from time to time. Being a man in this world, I figure I can use all the insight about women I can acquire.

One episode was interesting because Whoopi Goldberg asked a question of the whole panel, "What do you think about this new trend in relationships known as having friends with benefits?"

You say you are not familiar with the trend, that you don't know how the expression translates in common language? I'm sure you are not alone. I had heard of it before and I did have a tenuous grasp of its definition.

Basically what it means is a certain type of male/female relationship...WAIT!
Am I putting limits on the definition of the practice? I suppose it could be female/female or male/male in today's world and few would consider it weird or strange or outside the limits of social acceptability. Today is seems there are no limits when it comes to sexual relationships.

Friends with benefits is a way of expressing a certain relationship in which two individuals of any gender combination interact with one another in a variety of ways without have any strings attached. In other words, there's no commitment required of either party. NOW that's what I call real friends.

The women on The View arrived at the conclusion that it was a good thing for anyone into that sort of relationship. I figure most men would just eat it up, accept its establishment with great zeal and gusto. Actually, it's what many men have been seeking for eons and simply could not talk any woman into.

There no commitment...absolutely NONE. There's no living together, no obligation felt that requires one to call or visit or write or email or instant message or text message or use any form of modern communications. You simply call or visit when it is convenient for both parties and end up doing whatever is agreeable between the two. You can go out to eat (each pays) or take in a movie or just hang out till one or the other has all they need at the time and then you go on your merry way until the next time the two feel the need to come together again.

Call me a serial skeptic but I need to see such a relationship in action before I can judge if it is actually possible and will grow in participation or acceptance by the masses. As I said before, most men would welcome such an arrangement with open arms. Its the woman's role in such a friendship that I have trouble accepting as do-able. I don't know of any such modern thinking woman yet. I'd like to meet one just to see how it feels to say I know such a person. Talk about equality! Man! That would be it to the maximum.

No gifts or flowers to buy. No obligation to purchase Birthday cards or gifts, no Christmas presents to exchange. No candy, no lingerie, etc. Just two people enjoying the company of and bodies of the other in any way that is agreeable for the moment. You can bump uglies, do the horizontal mambo (add your own sexual innuendo here) and think nothing of it afterward other than both of you were just being "Friendly" in your own special way.

What I'd like to know is where was this kind of thinking when I was a young man? I'd have never made it this far with all that going on in my life.

Sooo...What do you think readers?

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Sharing an email rant

What follows here is an email I received from a nephew whom someone has gotten stirred up. I may not agree with every word he had to say but I will defend to the death his right to express himself in public and become an enabler by publishing it here.

"Are we fighting a war on terror or aren't we? Was it or was it not started by Islamic people who brought it to our shores on September 11, 2001?

Were people from all over the world, mostly Americans, not brutally murdered that day, in downtown Manhattan , across the Potomac from our nation's capitol and in a field in Pennsylvania?

Did nearly three thousand men, women and children die a horrible, burning or crushing death that day, or didn't they?

And I'm supposed to care that a copy of the Koran was "desecrated" when an overworked American soldier kicked it or got it wet?...Well, I don't. I don't care at all.

I'll start caring when Osama bin Laden turns himself in and repents for incinerating all those innocent people on 9/11.

I'll care about the Koran when the fanatics in the Middle East start caring about the Holy Bible, the mere possession of which is a crime in Saudi Arabia .

I'll care when these thugs tell the world they are sorry for hacking off Nick Berg's head while Berg screamed through his gurgling slashed throat.

I'll care when the cowardly so-called "insurgents" in Iraq come out and fight like men instead of disrespecting their own religion by hiding in mosques.

I'll care when the mindless zealots who blow themselves up in search of nirvana care about the innocent children within range of their suicide bombs.

I'll care when the American media stops pretending that their First Amendment liberties are somehow derived from international law instead of the United States Constitution's Bill of Rights.

In the meantime, when I hear a story about a brave marine roughing up an Iraqi terrorist to obtain information, know this: I don't care.

When I see a fuzzy photo of a pile of naked Iraqi prisoners who have been humiliated in what amounts to a college-hazing incident, rest assured: I don't care.

When I see a wounded terrorist get shot in the head when he is told not to move because he might be booby-trapped, you can take it to the bank: I don't care.

When I hear that a prisoner, who was issued a Koran and a prayer mat, and fed "special" food that is paid for by my tax dollars, is complaining that his holy book is being "mishandled," you can absolutely believe in your heart of hearts: I don't care.

And oh, by the way, I've noticed that sometimes it's spelled "Koran" and other times "Quran." Well, Jimmy Crack Corn and-you guessed it-I don't care !!

If you agree with this viewpoint, pass this on t o all your E-mail friends. Sooner or later, it'll get to the people responsible for this ridiculous behavior!

If you don't agree, then by all means hit the delete button. Should you choose the latter, then please don't complain when more atrocities committed by radical Muslims happen here in our great Country!

And may I add:
"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem" -- Ronald Reagan

I have another quote that I would like to add AND.......I hope you forward all this.

"If we ever forget that we're One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under." Also by.. Ronald Reagan

One last thought for the day:

In case we find ourselves starting to believe all the Anti-American sentiment and negativity, we should remember England's Prime Minister Tony Blair's words during a recent interview. When asked by one of his Parliament members why he believes so much in America, he said: "A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in.. And how many want out."

Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you:
1. Jesus Christ
2. The American G. I.
Important for us all!!!!
One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.


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Friday, September 3, 2010

Example of way too much information at one time

Is this why we spend so many of our hard-earned dollars on large, flat-screen televisions or pay so much for cable?

How can anyone absorb it all at the same time?

Can you do it?

In the displayed configuration of a screen shot seen here, my 32 inch LED TV screen is reduced to approximately one third of the usable surface. Does anyone actually perceive anything positive from all we see here?

Why is it necessary to display the radar image of hurricane Earl over the top of the main topic image you see in the background? Can anyone comprehend all that is going on here?

I'm sick of it but I don't know how to even begin to do something about it.

Anyone out there got any suggestions besides get rid of that set and all that goes with it and save yourself a lot of money at the same time?

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Coincidence of all coincidences

Friday morning, August 8th, 2010.
I’m taking a brief nap on the couch in the living room. It is so quiet you could have heard a mouse pass gas if one had been nearby and had passed gas.
Suddenly, the door bell rang and Jenny came charging from wherever she had been at the moment of bell ringing.  I got up slowly and walked to the front door. When I opened it and talked Jenny into backing off a few feet and toning down her attack attitude just a smidge, there was this guy with dark sunglasses on standing there.
He began his little practiced speech.  Said he was the Pastor of The Northern Kentucky Baptist Church and he was going around our neighborhood inviting everyone to come visit their church.  As I stated, I had been taking a nap and the old brain doesn’t recover as quickly as it once did.  I noticed nothing unusual about his statement at that time.  He asked if I had a home church.  I assured him that I did.  I told him the name of my church and where it was located and at the same time told him that I had been a born again believer for going on 27 years now.
He must have been satisfied with my explanation, for I sensed that he was just about to turn and leave. That’s when I asked him  exactly where his church was located. As soon as he began to answer my question, the truth of it all hit me like a sledgehammer.  I do believe this was my first experience at being God-Smacked.

I know, God Smacked is the name of a band or some such other group of entertainers, but to me, it felt as if God Himself had laid the back of His hand to my cheek.

I mentally supposed that this Man of God must have thought that I was having a senior moment because I paused and was thoughtfully distracted for such a long span of time.  I had a few things I needed to share with him, so I invited him to enter our home and sit for spell. He declined my invitation explaining that his time was short and he needed to keep moving. 

So, I stepped out onto our front stoop, reached out my hand and he politely shook it.  Then I began to explain how I was guided to God’s house that fateful, chilly spring morning over 27 years ago.  I just showed up, at his church, on the very first Sunday that any official meeting had been held in the newly completed building.  It was my one and only visit there. I had gone with one purpose in mind and that was to offer up to God, what remained of my life, if He had any need of it.  It was His, to be used as He saw fit if He would only accept my full confession of guilt and forgive me of my previous 43 years of sinful living.

The full, lengthy, complete story can be read HERE. It will take some time to peruse if you so choose. I hope you will.

I could tell, the man was as shocked as I was that God had brought us face to face after all those years had passed.  He suggested that the least I could do is come by some time and share my story with the congregation. I may just do that.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Me and Brer Rabbit

I don’t know what’s going on around here lately. I’ve had two run-ins with wild Rabbits within three days.

In this latest one, Maureen had walked out through the garage with our daughter to see her off, heading for her own home.  It’s a tradition.  Simply MUST be done that way.  Suddenly Maureen rushed into the kitchen, telling me that I need to come out into the garage and see if I could find whatever it was that came into the garage. He knew something was there.  She didn’t see it … she heard it clattering around in the things I had stored under the work bench.  Both of us searched cautiously, poking a broom into this corner and that dark hole way back under the bench.  We didn’t see or hear anything unusual while doing so.  I believe I talked Maureen into believing it was only her imagination.

Funny, how something like that never quite leaves your mind.  It always there, hovering in the background. One time I went out to the garage and noticed that the traction mat I had placed on the floor for Jenny to land on as she jumped down from the car was askew. It looked like something had been on it and got frightened by something and had spun it’s wheels a bit, causing the mat to hump up in three places due to the force being applied to fleeing limbs.  I straightened it back up before going inside.  The next time I came out, I noticed two or three small, round object scattered about on that same mat.  I thought at the time that they looked a lot like Rabbit poop.

The next morning was uneventful. Then, that afternoon I opened the garage door and sitting there, looking me right in the eyes was a small Rabbit.  It dashed under the car.  I called Maureen to tell her that she was right. There was something in the garage that shouldn’t be there. I told her it was a small Rabbit and she should come out and she if we two could chase it back out the open garage door. 

I knelt down and peered under the car. There it was, all huddled up against the right, front tire.  I picked up the closest thing to me that I could reach under the car with. Maureen picked up a broom.  Together we thrust our scary objects under the car and saw something moving toward the open door.  I hurried outside, just in time to see it stop near our neighbor’s driveway. It chewed off some weed leaves then bound away, out of sight.  Of course it was hungry and thirsty too I’d bet. There’s very little for a Rabbit to eat or drink in our garage. 

I never imagined that a critter as timid as a wild, young Rabbit would ever dart into a place like a garage. It was young and inexperienced I supposed.  That the only way I could explain it to myself.

OK! That’s enough wild life adventures for anyone.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The short story about the "Maureen Event"

Thought I would catch you up on Maureen's sudden collapse, hospital stay and return home.

We thought we were about to lose Maureen for sure last Saturday night around ten o'clock.  I climbed the stairs to go to the bathroom and discovered Maureen there, leaning on the sink and fighting for every breath.  All she could get out was "I can't breathe!"  I immediately called 911.  I thought the whole neighborhood would surely have noticed the ambulance sitting on our street and wonder who was in need of help, but no one seemed interested the next day. The ambulance arrived about five minutes after I called them.  It was so scary for Gail and I because it was Deja Vu.  The night that Ramona passed away, she displayed the exact same symptoms.   She didn't make it to the hospital.

When the EMT' arrived and started toward the front door, I begged them not to let my wife die on the way to the hospital like my sister-in-law did some years back.  They assured me that no one was dying on their watch.  Gladly, that brag held true.  Maureen did get there alive but still fighting for every breathe, only this time, she had oxygen to breathe when she could inhale.

The next time we saw her, she was having a machine breathe for her and she was heavily sedated but evidently not heavily enough, because she struggled against the restraints and constantly tried to regain consciousness through her own will-power.

The problem was not her heart, we were told after one heart doctor checked her and all relevant tests out.  She WAS NOT having a heart attack.
The normal enzymes found in the blood after a heart attack were NOT there and after an Angiogram, they found no heart artery blockages of any consequence.  All the doctors were perplexed.  The could not understand how she was experiencing so much pulmonary edema, fluid build up in the lungs nor could they determine the cause of her heart not pumping as powerfully as it should.  It pointed to heart failure and yet, they were not certain why.

So there she laid, large breathing tube in her mouth, oxygen hose under her nose, a catheter in her bladder and who knows how many IV's in her arms and hands, then there was that large hole in her femeral artery with the special plug type bandage holding the blood back while the artery closed up well enough to remove it.  They used meds to force the liquids out of her lungs and meds to lower her blood  pressure and aid her heart in its pumping and a number of other meds to keeps all systems going.  It was touch and go there for a while.  Kellie, Gail and I were almost living at the hospital while Maureen was in MICU.  After she began to improve, they moved her to a regular room on the first floor and only then did we feel she would survive until we returned after some rest and self-maintenance at home.  Someone had to take care of Jenny.

They still are not sure what caused all this to happen.  One or two doctors believe that it may be connected to the last two days Maureen worked, where she may have been exposed to various types of dust and mold contaminants, whose affect may have been aided by a lack of proper air-conditioning and ventilation.

I can't say how many people and various church groups were praying for Maureen but any believer could see God's hand at work in this event.

Maureen shouldn't have survived she was told by several technicians and hospital staff.  They we all surprised to see her again after a couple days.
She shouldn't have recovered as quickly as she did and she certainly shouldn't be going home on Tuesday, and yet, she was.

Here's another weird discovery:  All these past years, it has been believed by many medical  people, that Maureen has always had something called Mitral valve prolapse, a condition in which the mitral valve does not close properly, thus allowing blood to flow back where it should not be flowing. That, they say was the reason Maureen's heart always beat faster than a "normal" heart.  During this hospital stay, she had an echo-cardiogram that showed her mitral valve was working perfectly.  They did say that it "could be" that one of the two bundles of controlling nerves at the top of her heart was not working as well as it should and that's the cause of her fast heart rate.  They described her heart as over-all weaker than it should be for unknown reasons.  They also said that it may require them to install a pacemaker with a defibrillator in it if these meds don't work the way they are hoping.  Namely that the ace inhibitors and beta blockers will cause her heart to recover some of its missing pumping power by reducing Blood pressure and heart rate, thereby reducing the load and stress on the muscles and allowing them to recover over time. 

I know that we are all glad to have Maureen back at home where WE can care for her.  We placed her in God's hands, trusting that her full recovery IS HIS WILL.  I personally, do not believe there is such a thing as a small miracle.  I also believe that miracles have occurred during this event. Praise God!
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Monday, August 2, 2010

The Dog Days of summer are upon us

Grape tomatoes.Image via Wikipedia

It is August 2, 2010 and I have only one more ripe tomato left for now. The July "glut" is over with and now I can only wait for that mass of beautiful, green tomatoes to go from green to red or whatever color "ripe" represents in this unusual variety.

The harvest so far has been bountiful and delicious.  I've shared it with anyone that expressed a desire for some.  Several of the tomatoes I've picked and shared weighed more than a pound and a quarter. Maureen weighed some on the scales where she works. We were curious and wanted to be accurate whenever we bragged about the size of this year's crop.

Sorry! I'm facing a shortage and my giving will be curtailed for a while.  I have a three pound tub of cottage cheese just begging for a companion.  Hold on! They're coming.
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Salt of the earth and a danger to everyone, even herself

Maureen and I went to see Salt, the movie last Friday afternoon.

It was very, very good.  Maureen and I both agreed on it.

Good News:  it ended in such a way as to make a sequel or two possible. Perhaps they will turn it into a TV series.  I'd watch it!

This is no rumor but it's news worthy

8/2/2010  early AM. 

I was watching "The Imus in the morning show on the Fox network"

Don Imus' brother, Fred Imus was on the phone talking with Don and us.

Fred said he had an answer for the Illegal Immigrant problem our country is dealing with. He suggested that placing a bounty on them of $100 per head would do the job. It worked for Mountain Lions, Wolves and other vermin pests in the past, it will work for this one too.

Now don't shoot the messenger.  I'm just reporting what I saw and heard.

What do you think?  Would it work? 
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Giant Cicada killing Wasps (Sand Hornets)

Wasp stinger, with droplet of venomImage via Wikipedia

An educational entry brought to you by the curious mind of an Old Dude who just happens to like sharing his knowledge.

Most of us have seen these giant insects at some time. You WILL remember if you have because they have a way of causing fear for most people. Few people REALLY like any kind of bug but when they are of this size and carry a small sword for a stinger, they are especially fearful and dreaded.

It would seem that the level of fear and the legend surrounding certain insects is proportional to their physical size. I’ve known about these creatures for most of my life but only now have I had reason to desire to learn more about them. I’ve got all this folklore stored away in my memory concerning these Hornets. None of it can be substantiated. You may have heard horror stories about their legendary strength and the power of their sting. Some people will attest to the fact that a full-grown adult human has been knocked off their feet when struck by one. Others will swear that they witnessed someone’s hand swell to three times its size after accidentally grabbing one while it sat motionless on something they intended to pick up. Yet, unless you are very allergic to their venom, I doubt most of the stories I’ve heard about them are accurate.

For most of us, a two-inch long bug of any kind is one we would rather not encounter at anytime. Speaking only for myself, I would not like to find out first-hand if any of the folklore is true. I sit here right now with three very large red spots on my right shoulder and back where some tiny mosquitoes bit me during the last day or two. I can’t see them but the wife tells me they are large and angry looking. I can tell you that they itch like crazy. I had her put some anti-itch ointment on them before she left for work today and they are still about to drive me nuts. It’s a good thing I can’t reach them with my hand or they would be open wounds by now. I’ve taken some Benadryl too but nothing seems to be helping so far.

Tuesday at work on the golf course, I came upon a large sand trap in front of number eight green. It is filled with starkly white sand, so of course the mass of darker beige mounds scattered throughout it caught my attention. I knew what they were right away even before I noticed the first Hornet struggling with what I have always called a “Jar Fly” but more accurately they are Cicadas, very large Cicadas. Observing the scene more closely, I noticed a number of dead Cicadas lying here and there around the bunker. I wondered why that was. It only took a short period of searching through my vast storehouse of knowledge before I came up with the explanation. These wasps capture these Cicadas for a very specific purpose. They are intended as “food” for their offspring after they have hatched. A DEAD Cicada simply will not do. It MUST be alive when the eggs hatch and the larvae begin to feed upon them. It would appear that even Hornets have trouble dispensing just the right amount of venom into their prey. A drop too much and the Cicada will die and become useless for their purpose. Thus, what I observed was rejected, dead Cicadas. This has been going on for some time because at one end of the bunker there was possibly hundreds of dead Cicadas. They had been piled up in that spot by the operator of the small machines that are used to rake the bunkers a few times each week. That is the end of the bunker that the operator uses to enter and exit said bunker. As the job is completed, the operator will raise the rake after exiting the bunker, leaving the Cicadas behind just off the edge in the grass.

Being the responsible, concerned employee that I am, I reported the situation to the pro-shop. I could see some player trying to hit his ball out of that bunker and being attacked by several of those Hornets who were only defending their nests. According to the person who wrote the article on these creatures, that fear is unsupported by fact. Turns out that only the females of the species have a stinger and they are not in the habit of defending their nests. They evidently are to preoccupied with their reproduction process to bother. That’s the male’s job and get this; males of the species DO NOT have stingers. How weird is that? As with most males, the bark is worse than the bite. However, they are still convincing defenders of the nests when it comes to most humans. Being dive-bombed and otherwise threatened by the stinger-less males usually does the trick.

During my period of observations that day, I did notice one Hornet setting off to the side of the bunker, resting on a flattened out down Dandelion. He would sit there until something or someone came close enough to be a threat and then he went into action. Yes! I supposed it was a male because he was the only one serving in that capacity. It’s a good thing I had the windshield up on my golf cart. I got too close at one time and that Hornet repeatedly crashed into my windshield. It may be true that males do not have stingers, but in my mind, I could hear his venomous dagger slashing away at the acrylic material. He was a good imposter!

At the time I reported the situation to the pro-shop they explained that everyone in the maintenance crew had left for the day. All that could be done for now was to warn everyone I encountered on the course to be aware of the Hornets. I talked with one of the other Rangers on duty and he seemed interested. We drove out to the bunker and after surveying the situation, he took a hand rake and got right into the bunker with the Hornets and proceeded to cover over and fill up all the nest sights. Where were all the patrolling male Hornets? Why weren’t they attacking this invader of their domain? I’m sorry, but they don’t pay me enough to do what he was doing. He escaped unscathed, BUT if that had been me, I probably would be lumpy by now with worse things than mosquito bites. I should be saying things like “My Mommy didn’t raise no fools” right about now but that could be taken the wrong way. I don’t know if Joe reads my diary or not. Some men are brave and some are foolhardy, I am neither! I say live and let live so long as they don’t enter into my home. Hornets have to survive too and they’ve been doing just that for much longer than I have been on this earth.

If you’ve enjoyed this kind of entry, please let me know. I can do reports on other forms of life too. I encounter lots of it while on my job. Who knows; we all might learn something?

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