Friday, December 31, 2010

Where in the World

are Vanilla and BBBH? It is quite cold this morning, but if the weather reports are accurate (insert laughter) there should be a window of opportunity opening Friday morning. If you are reading this, which I wrote Thursday and put on schedule to post Friday, we are somewhere on the road headed for warmer climes.

We'll let you know where the wheels roll.

(If the entry seems familiar, you are a faithful reader. It is a retread.)

Thursday, December 30, 2010


This morning just before eight o'clock EST, earthquake 4.2 magnitude, epicenter about 12 miles NE of the house. I was a bit startled. Dateline noon: USGS has revised quake to 3.8. All I know is, it shook things up! Including me.

Don't miss Dundee's story below.


As the tale of Spot progressed, we encountered a beast named "Dundee." Dundee was described as an out-sized golden retriever. This good dog deserves a post of his own.

Dundee was acquired as a pup by a young officer in the United States Air Force. The young man worked assiduously with the pup and thereby insured that the animal would grow into a fine and obedient beast, a wonderful companion. Then there came the day that the officer was posted to an Air Base in England. What to do? Neil was by this time quite attached to Dundee, but to take him to the UK would require that the animal spend six (6) months in quarantine. Alternatively, he could find a loving home for him here and leave him behind. Neil's mother to the rescue! She agreed to take the dog, presumably under the proviso that he would return to his master when the time was right. That time never came, inasmuch as the officer's career took him to Iceland, to Germany and, well, transporting a dog all over the world was not in the cards.

Besides, Dundee was now Ellie's dog.

Things you might like to know about Dundee.

1) One clipped an 18 inch leash to his collar, handed the leash to the dog, which he took gently in his mouth, and then proceeded to companion's heel for the journey.
2) Dundee's natural gait was a pace. It was a rollicking joy to watch him roll as he got into second and third gear! I believe I've never seen another dog with such a gait.
3) When the newspaper was thrown onto the porch, one opened the door and the dog retrieved the paper and brought it in.
4) Water! The one time that no amount of yelling could deter the dog was the arrival at the lake and the opening of the car door. Off he flew, into the water! Oh, how he loved to swim.

Dundee with Uncle Doug, 1982.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Middle of the Night

There are many truths, but only one set of facts. (3:04 a.m.)

Turn, toss.

oh, wait. (4:17 a.m.)

Slap pillow. Twice.

There are many facts, but only one Truth. (6:29 a.m.)

Feet on floor. Shower. Dress.

(I have to get the mind shut down before three ay em. It all seems so clear, then daylight comes.)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Another New Home for Spot

Spot had been a member of the family about four years. Then everything changed. Except for his boy and his man. The man was widowed. Some time later, he remarried. He and the new bride along with the boy established a domicile together, which meant that Spot moved from his accustomed environs. This in itself might have been sufficiently traumatic, but the bride had a dog of her own. Thus it was to be determined who was "top dog."

I mentioned that Spot was a feisty 55-pound creature of indeterminate origin (read: found in a barrow pit). His new roomie was Dundee, a golden retriever who at 110 pounds was exactly twice his avoirdupois. Dundee was not obese; he was simply an out-sized retriever, taller and larger than the standard golden. How these animals came to an accomodation isn't exactly clear to me, as I never observed the ritual by which it was reached. But since I never observed any bloody fur clumps, I suspect it may have developed in this fashion.

Dundee: (sniff, sniff) What are you, and what are you doing at my place?

Spot: (sniff, sniff, sniff) I am your worst nightmare!

Dundee: Don't be bluffin' on me, boy. I could swallow you in two bites.

Spot: Oh, yeah. I'm small, but I'm mighty.

Dundee: (sniff) Sure.

Spot: (sniff) How about we just get along?

Dundee: All right, then. (Sniff, sniff, lifts leg)

Spot reciprocates, and thus begins a love affair that lasts so long as Dundee lives. And love affair it was. Spot doted on Dundee, cuddled with him, groomed him, and was a constant companion to him. They walked together; they played together. They hunted together, sometimes successfully. They did not swim together. Another story for another time.

Image: Spot with friends, 1983.

Monday, December 27, 2010

For the Children

Seems as though every time some denizen of Foggy Bottom proposes another Boondoggle or Power Grab, he invokes "the children." "We must do this for the children," intoned sanctimoniously, and perhaps even with a tear at the corner of the eye. Booshwa.

If they really cared about the children, they'd quit stealing from them.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pastor Mark's scripture reading is Isaiah 9:1-6.

Consider the phrase "unto us." Jesus Christ is a personal God, a personal Savior. See Zechariah 14:9. "The Lord shall be King over all the earth..."

1. Everlasting Father is not a reference to the First Person of the Trinity. God is our Father who cares for us. "Everlasting Father" is a quality of Messiah. God does not abandon His people. He is Father forever. (Here Psalm 103 was read in its entirety.)

His love for us is everlasting. God does not stop loving us when we disappoint him, when we sin. He loves the lost, He loves the saved. The love of God is rich, and strong, and sure. (Psalm 103:2)

2. His salvation for all is everlasting. (Ps.103:3) He redeems, He is merciful (v.17) Salvation is for all generations.

3. His grace is everlasting. (v.8) He is gracious, slow to anger, plenteous in mercy.

4. His truth for the world is everlasting. (v.20) Hearken to the voice of His Word.

God became man (one of us) that we might find haven in His Rest.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Story by John the Apostle

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not ...

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth ...

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

to all our Friends in the Blogosphere!

vanilla and BBBH
(aka David and JoAnn)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


(A gentle hint to the late-running, harried shopper. Be careful, even in your haste.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Party

BBBH and I attended our first Christmas Party of the Season Sunday afternoon and evening. It was hosted by her son, Curt and his wife, Linda.
The creature pictured is a resident in the household. He is the very definition of the term "Fat Cat" in my opinion. I mean that is a huge cat, no offense to the 47 pounds of Stripey Goodness who resides in the Chicago Metro Area. I attempted to photograph this Beast, who refused to pose, so this is what we have. The Cat is black. The frame of the collage is the actual color of the cat (center picture lower row), notwithstanding that the flash tended to highlight some of his undertones.
The party? All the offspring of BBBH were present, along with spouses and some offspring. Food was consumed, football was watched, games were played and gifts were exchanged. Perhaps a good time was had by all. No poll was taken.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Isaiah 9:6 Continued

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Pastor Mark continues the series "The Names of Jesus."


We see
1. His Fame. We are still celebrating Jesus 2000 years after His birth. He is famous.

2. His Shame. God's Son was given in sacrifice. Jesus was born to die.

3. His Claim. The government shall be His. Micah 5:2, Isaiah 9:7.
Does He have claim on your heart?

4. His Name. Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God (The Strong One, Our God-Hero), The
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

He is our Loving Support and Comfort, clothed in Splendor and Majesty!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Do not be deceived by the apparent warm and friendly demeanor of the dogs in this picture. They did not like each other, and the retriever is an interloper in Spot's domain. But for the sake of the peace in the home, an accomodation, a temporary truce has been declared.
The truth is, Cinna, the visitor, rather liked everyone or every creature. But Spot liked very few people and even fewer animals. I believe that Spot was not a nice dog, in the estimation of many who knew him. But he was my dog.
And how did that come to be? My youngest son, Ken, was in fourth grade. Some charitable organization or other sponsored a "Bikeathon" and we allowed the child to participate. When we went to the school to pick him up after the event, we found that all the kids had returned. Except for Ken and one girl who was his classmate. So we waited. And waited. Then, just as we were about ready to launch a search effort, we saw two bicycles rounding the corner at the end of the block. The kids had returned. But they each were cuddling and holding close-- a puppy.
Seems that beside the road in the barrow pit were these puppies that someone had tossed out; and these tender-hearted, if misguided, youngsters undertook to "rescue" them. "Can I keep him? Hunh? Can I, Hunh?" Well, Softy relented, on the condition that the child would care for the beast, feed him, water him, pick up after him, etc., etc. And you know how that worked out, and thus I had a dog.
Spot bonded to me and to the boy; but very few other people were considered by him to be worthy of the effort it would require for him to treat them nicely. In fact, he was pretty much a one-boy, one-man dog.
Spot became a very protective animal, guarding his people and his property faithfully, and visciously, one might even say. I have admitted in a post quite some time ago that he would bite, so I cannot attempt to mask that fact now. He eventually turned into the beautiful 55-pound creature depicted above.
I loved old Spot. I have numerous tales about him. From time to time, I will share a bit about this beast.
(I found the picture as I was shuffling through some old snapshots, and rather than fire up the equipment to scan properly, I simply threw the photo down on the desktop and snapped a picture of the picture. Oh, you could tell by looking? The third dog in the picture will be accounted for at a later date.)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Remember and Honor

Fifty-five years ago today, this girl became my bride.
She is the mother of my children, Ann, Ivy, Delbert, and Ken.

Frieda Imogene Leamon Lacy "Jeanie"
17 February 1928 - 11 September 1980 RIP

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Verse

Pastor read this poem Sunday.

"Can This Be Christmas?"
by M.R. Dehaan

What's all this hectic rush and worry?
Where go these crowds who run and curry?
Why all the lights -- the Christmas trees?
The jolly "fat man," tell me please!

Why, don't you know? This is the day
For parties and for fun and play;
Why this is Christmas!
So this is Christmas, do you say?

But where is Christ this Christmas day?
Has He been lost among the throng?
His voice drowned out by empty song?
No. He's not here -- you'll find Him where

Some humble soul now kneels in prayer,
Who knows the Christ of Christmas.
But see the many aimless thousands
Who gather on this Christmas Day,

Whose hearts have never yet been opened,
Or said to Him, "Come in to stay."
In countless homes the candles burning,
In countless hearts expectant yearning

For gifts and presents, food and fun,
And laughter till the day is done.
But not a tear of grief or sorrow
For Him so poor He had to borrow

A crib, a colt, a boat, a bed
Where He could lay His weary head.
I'm tired of all this empty celebration,
Of feasting, drinking, recreation;

I'll go instead to Calvary.
And there I'll kneel with those who know
The meaning of that manger low,
And find the Christ -- this Christmas.

I leap by faith across the years
To that great day when He appears
The second time, to rule and reign,
To end all sorrow, death, and pain.

In endless bliss we then shall dwell
With Him who saved our souls from hell,

And worship Christ -- not Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Prophesy, Envision, and Dream

Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

This passage from Joel is essentially quoted by Luke in the Book of Acts of the Apostles. Apart from the eschatology, the prophecy and the promises of God, I have reflected on this passage simply in terms of the hierarchy of offices.

1. Sons and daughters shall prophesy. The office of the next generation is the enlightenment of the elders by sight into the future.
2. Young men shall see visions. The order of intellectual ability combined with curiosity and unbridled enthusiasm gives to the young the capacity to alter the future. Some examples for your consideration would be Einstein, who published the theory of special relativity at age 26; Gates (Microsoft at age 20) and Jobs (Apple in his mid-20s) who essentially changed the way the world works; Zuckerberg (Facebook at age 19) who radically changed the way people interact with one another.
3. Old men shall dream dreams. This office is exceedingly easy to fill. I, for example, could easily be in Dreamland before I finish pecking out this sentence on the keyboard, which is made all the more likely by my penchant for running sentences on, like coon dogs, until daybreak. So for old men, dreaming is rather the natural order of things.

Whether there is or is not enlightenment in this reflection is open to interpretation.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

St. Lucia's Flood

December 14 is the anniversary of one of Europe's greatest natural disasters. On this day in 1287 a storm tide in the North Sea breached the dike and flooded the area surrounding the Zuider Zee. Certainly more than 50,000 people were killed, and possibly as many as 80,000. The city Griend was almost completely wiped out and much land area became permanently possessed by the sea. This disaster is referred to as St. Lucia's flood, as it occured the day after St. Lucia's Day.

Much of Northern Europe was affected by the storm.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Arithmetic and the Master

A notable fellow teacher during several years of my career was mathematics guru, Lloyd Sedgwick. We discovered that chess was a passion for each of us, and this led to many prolonged battles over the 64 squares of the arena.

But greater even than his passion for chess was Lloyd's obsession with Fermat's Last Theorem. This theorem has puzzled and occupied mathematicians for two centuries.

Fermat's Last Theorem:

Where x, y, z, and n are integers, there is no solution to

xn + yn= zn for n>2.

I was treated to the master's scrawled "proofs," or rather "paths to proofs" that Mr. Sedgwick developed, I pretending to understand where he was going, while at the same time, disabusing him of the belief that he had found the solution.

It was all great fun, and the pleasure was further enhanced by the fact that our political viewpoints were more or less polar opposites. You might readily infer that we had some excellent conflicts raging into the late hours of a weekend evening! And you would be right.

My good friend Lloyd died just five years after Andrew Wiles's proof of the theorem was published.

Lloyd C. Sedgwick 1922 - 2000 RIP

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Savior Foretold

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. --Isaiah 9: 6-7

Pastor Mark has chosen Isaiah 9:6 as the theme verse for the month of December.

Message I:

1. Jesus was born to Israel. He came unto His own, but His own received Him not; but unto those who receive Him, He gives power to become the sons of God.

2. Jesus will rule over God's people: He shall come forth ruler of Israel forever (Micah 5:2)

Today we look at the name "Wonderful Counselor." He is Wonderful because of His lowly birth and His sinless life.

Here are ten reasons why He is wonderful to me.
1. He saved me; 2. He comforts me; 3. He cares for me; 4. He is changing lives; 5. He does and is doing a wonderful work. 6. He is still saving souls; 7. He is still in control; 8. He still provides for every need; 9. He is Here! And, 10. His love for me never changes.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Indiana Day

I am calling December 11 "Indiana Day," for it was on December 11, 1816 that Indiana became the 19th member of the Union known as the United States of America.

Indiana was carved from the Northwest Territory and became Indiana Territory in 1800. Indiana has the smallest land area of any continental state west of the Appalachian Mountains.

We Hoosiers are over six million strong. We are diverse, yet proud. We are principled, yet resilient. We are darned cold in the winter, but sweltering hot in the summer. From Lake Michigan to the Ohio River, from the Indiana/Ohio border to the Wabash River and the Illinois boundary, you will find farm fields, modern cities, plains, moraine, hills, lakes, rivers and valleys.
Visit us. You will find our little corner of the world a most pleasant place. Productive, friendly people will welcome you.
If you are a history buff or a geography guru you can easily find a wealth of interesting information on the 'net thingy or at your local library.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Snow! Oh, boy!

What do you suppose these two silly septuagenarians are planning?
Yep. Snowballs!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More Than You Asked About Grammar,

or, Why I should have paid closer attention in English class.

Since I have been called on my usage of punctuation where quotation marks are involved, I plead guilty to the charge of inconsistency. I do not cop to stupidity, but perhaps, on occasion, to ignorance.

I have consulted, via the interwebby thing, of course, with grammar maven Tina Blue. She says that where an interrogative condition exists, use logic, i.e., if the question mark ending the sentence is part of the quotation, place the closing quotation marks after the interrogation point. For example,

Rose asked, "Where is the notebook I left last week?"

Otherwise, place the question mark after the closing quotation mark, as in

Didn't you hear Marian say, "I gave it to Mark"?

Beyond this logical approach, Ms. Blue says, "...the point is that if you are an American, you need to keep your commas and periods inside your closing quotation marks, where they belong.

"And just why, you may ask, do they belong there? Well, it seems to be the result of historical accident. When type was handset, a period or comma outside of quotation marks at the end of a sentence tended to get knocked out of position, so the printers tucked the little devils inside the quotation marks to keep them safe and out of trouble. But apparently only American printers were more attached to convenience than logic, since British printers continued to risk the misalignment of their periods and commas."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Collapse in the Banking Industry!

John Lennon

was killed thirty years ago today.

So wildly famous, and the recipient of such adulation, that he in his own mind, with his compadres, was bigger than Jesus Christ. More influential, he later clarified.

John: "Well, originally I pointed out that fact in reference to England. That we meant more to kids than Jesus did, or religion at that time. I wasn't knocking it or putting it down. I was just saying it as a fact and it's true more for England than here. I'm not saying that we're better or greater, or comparing us with Jesus Christ as a person or God as a thing or whatever it is. I just said what I said and it was wrong. Or it was taken wrong. And now it's all this."

In the event, the devil won when the assassin's bullets found their mark. There can be no rationalization by which murder is justified.

John Lennon 9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980 RIP

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pretty in Pink and White

Our first significant snowfall, that is, a snow requiring shoveling from the walks, fell a couple days ago. As I was removing the wet white stuff from the walk, I espied these miniature roses bravely soldiering on through the wintry blast.

Inside, our Christmas cactus resides in the kitchen window alcove. This plant has been a resident for thirty-nine years, maybe forty, the mists of memory being what they are. It suffered a severe trauma three years ago, and we feared it would meet its demise. However, severe trimming and tender loving care revived it, and now she is offering her blooms again, and right at Christmas time!

How blessed we are. Flowers inside and out!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
--from Luke's Gospel, Chapter 1

Statue at Church of the Visitation.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ron Santo

Ronald Santo February 4, 1940 - December 2, 2010 RIP

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks, American poet, was born June 7, 1917 and died December 3, 2000. Though a prolific poet who published volumes of work, this brief eight-line verse is the poem most often found in anthologies and textbooks. THE POOL PLAYERS. SEVEN AT THE GOLDEN SHOVEL. We real cool. We Left school. We Lurk late. We Strike straight. We Sing sin. We Thin gin. We Jazz June. We Die soon. Go here to hear Ms. Brooks explain how she came to write this poem, which you may also hear her read.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Who Are We?

There is plenty of blame to go around. Blame? It's not my fault. Contemporaneously to the living beyond our means has grown a society in which nothing is my fault. Result: "irresponsible entitlement".

Why are we surprised? We are into the third generation who have been trained to believe that we can live beyond our means; that we can spend ourselves rich; that we are entitled to so much more than any other people have ever had; that if we want it, then we need it; that the economy will endlessly generate more riches if only we will continue to spend; that there is no tomorrow, or if there is it will be brighter than today.

Now, we find that, unlike what we've been taught, living on someone else's money is not a sustainable economic program, either in the home or for the government. So, let's put on the brakes, stop, and fix the problem. Really? Those who have suggested sound principles by which to accomplish this are already hearing the outcry of the Entitled. I am Entitled to more services and lower taxes. I am Entitled to a guarantee of endless fiscal well-being. I am Entitled. You, on the other hand, should bite the bullet and stop behaving in such a piggish manner.

Most Americans, and I include those who are "below the poverty line," live better than most kings and princes throughout history were able to live in their wildest dreams, notwithstanding their coffers of gold and emeralds, and land and subjects to serve them. (Official poverty level for a family of four is in excess of $22,000, and thus those who fall below this mark are Entitled to my assistance. I do recognize that there are those among us to whom we must provide assistance, and do so with kindness and compassion.)

And I am one of the Entitled. After all, I paid into and accepted the conditions of the "Social Security" scheme along with everyone else. And I accept my monthly stipend, to which I consider myself Entitled. Should the "government" in its efforts to pull us out of our current mess, consider a reduction in my stipend? Certainly. And they should cut salaries and programs.

Is there hope? Certainly. Is there danger of failure? I like to hope not. I can dream, can't I?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

And Now It's December

ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

Bone-tired last evening, sitting in the recliner, keyboard on my lap. Aim: a post for Wednesday morning. Head snapped up, maybe when Jethro shot someone, and the above (not including picture) was sssssssssssssscrawled down the screen. A good way. I eliminated some and left this as a demo.

I staggered up the stairs, brushed my teeth and fell into bed. Didn't even take time to shave, which is as standard as brushing my teeth before bed. Almost. Oh, yes. Bob Cratchett shaves before he goes to work in the morning. Lothario shaves before he goes to bed.

So, when I arose this morning, it was snowing and there was already a skiff of the white stuff on the ground and places. "Skiff" may be a word Mom made up, but that's what she would have said. Never hear the weather girl say it, though. (Vague recollection of my Thoreau suggests that a skiff may be a small boat. Oh, well.) Don't ever want more than a skiff of snow, but I hear that farther north there may have fallen a boat-load, and no small boat, either.

May your day be pleasant, whether or not you have snow to shovel!