Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I may not be adept at creating good advice, but I know good advice when I hear it. As you go out with your wife to celebrate the New Year, just remember this.

If your wife is having fun and you're not, you are still having way more fun than you would be having if you were having fun and she's not.

***Happy New Year***

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Passing Year

I first read this book by flashlight, under the covers, at age thirteen. I purchased it at Clausen's Book Shop, a place I frequented, salivating over the treasures; and when I had the funds purchasing one or two of them. I still have many in my collection.

The Passing Year

The Year's growing ashen, and weary and gray; full soon he will cash in, and mosey away. A while yet he'll totter along to his grave; he's marked for the slaughter, and nothing can save. The year that is leaving seems weighted with woe; and Nature is grieving because he must go. The forests are sighing and moaning all day; the night winds are crying, upon their sad way; the gray clouds are taking a threatening shape; the dead grass is shaking like billows of crape. Dame Nature is tender, and dirges she'll croon, regretting the splendor and glory of June; she knows that tomorrow the old year will sleep; she knows that the sorrow of parting is deep. In this world, O never can friends with us stay! Some loved one forever is going away! And that is the story of people and years; a morning of glory, an evening of tears; an hour of caressing, a call at the dawn, a prayer and a blessing, and then they are gone.

Uncle Walt (Walt Mason)
George Matthew Adams

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Sermon for Monday

If you read yesterday's Gospel, Luke 2:22 - 40, you definitely need to read Keith Drury's sermon at . Do read it in any event.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

First Sunday after Christmas Day

These are the readings for the First Sunday after Christmas.

The Old Testament: Isaiah 61:10 - 62:3
The Psalm is number 148
The Epistle is Galatians 4:4-7
The focus is the Gospel According to Saint Luke 2:22-40

(Please study these scripture readings and forgive the brevity of the post. I had the lesson prepared when the computer crashed and the work was lost.)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Nativity of the Savior

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Have a Blessed Christmas

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. --John 1:14

Monday, December 22, 2008

Just for Fun

This one going around; got caught up in it. Stuff I've done in boldtype 1. Started your own blog 2. Slept under the stars 3. Played in a band 4. Visited Hawaii 5. Watched a meteor shower 6. Given more than you can afford to charity. 7. Been to Disneyland/world 8. Climbed a mountain 9. Held a praying mantis 10. Sang/played a solo 11. Bungee jumped 12. Visited Paris 13. Watched a lightning storm at sea 14. Taught yourself an art from scratch 15. Adopted a child 16. Had food poisoning 17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty 18. Grown your own vegetables 19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France 20. Slept on an overnight train 21. Had a pillow fight 22. Hitch hiked 23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill 24. Built a snow fort 25. Held a lamb 26. Gone skinny dipping 27. Run a Marathon 28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice 29. Seen a total eclipse 30. Watched a sunrise or sunset 31. Hit a home run 32. Been on a cruise 33. Seen Niagara Falls in person 34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors 35. Seen an Amish community 36. Taught yourself a new language 37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied 38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person 39. Gone rock climbing 40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person 41. Sung karaoke 42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt 43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant 44. Visited Africa 45. Walked on a beach by moonlight 46. Been transported in an ambulance 47. Had your portrait painted 48. Gone deep sea fishing 49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person 50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris 51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling 52. Kissed in the rain 53. Played in the mud 54. Gone to a drive-in theater 55. Been in a movie 56. Visited the Great Wall of China 57. Started a business 58. Taken a martial arts class 59. Visited Russia 60. Served at a soup kitchen 61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies 62. Gone whale watching 63. Gotten flowers for no reason 64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma 65. Gone sky diving 66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp 67. Bounced a check 68. Flown in a helicopter 69. Saved a favorite childhood toy 70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial 71. Eaten Caviar 72. Pieced a quilt 73. Stood in Times Square 74. Toured the Everglades 75. Been fired from a job 76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London 77. Broken a bone 78. Been on a speeding motorcycle 79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person 80. Published a book 81. Visited the Vatican 82. Bought a brand new car 83. Walked in Jerusalem 84. Had your picture in the newspaper 85. Read the entire Bible 86. Visited the White House 87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating 88.Had chickenpox 89. Saved someone’s life 90. Sat on a jury 91. Met someone famous 92. Joined a book club 93. Lost a loved one 94. Made a baby 95. Seen the Alamo in person 96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake 97. Been involved in a law suit 98. Owned a cell phone 99. Been stung by a bee 100. Gotten a speeding ticket

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Best Gift of All

The choir presented the Best Gift of All as arranged by Russell Mauldin and under the direction of our own Randall. The narrative portion of the program was read by Pastor Keith. The songs were well performed. The numbers that most impressed me were "He Came So Far" and "Strange Way to Save the World."

Pastor Doug's message was brief, but filled with wisdom and anointing. He used the story from the fourth chapter of John's Gospel regarding Jesus' meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob. Christ's offer to the woman of the gift of Living Water, accepting which she might never thirst, is the same offer He makes to us. Yet Jesus revealed to the woman that He knew her past life; and as with her, He knows ours. Our sins must be dealt with before we receive the Gift that He offers.

In keeping with the theme of the month, with God all things are possible; and even so it is possible to receive Him into your life. And if we give to Him all our cares as we follow Him, He will care for the impossible that we think we have in our lives.

Religion is about man's effort to find a pathway to God. The gift of the Christ is about God's way of establishing a relationship with man. Do you have this personal relationship with the Savior? Are you allowing Him to deal with the impossibilities in your life?

John 4:25: The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

26: Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am He.

Fourth Sunday in Advent

This is the fourth and final Sunday of Advent. The scripture readings are from the Old Testament 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; the Psalm 89:1 -4, 19-26; the Epistles Romans 16:25-27; and the Gospel is Luke 1:26-38.
Worship the Great God who has given us His Son, the spilling of Whose blood alone can make us fit for the Kingdom. Go in faith believing, live in peace with your fellow men. Share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I am saddened by the events of this week and scarcely know how to begin a discussion. Regardless of where you place yourself on the political spectrum, you, too, should be sad.

Let's start with Barak Obama asking Rick Warren to participate in the inaugural event. Certainly a man whose successful hard-fought battle to win the seat of power should have the prerogative of choosing the participants in the anointing ceremony.

And yet. Certain possibly self-appointed spokespersons for the "gay community" are crying and whining that Mr. Obama is showing them "disrespect" by this choice. But wait! as Billy Mays might say, I'm not done. Next come forth some more self-appointed spokespersons, this time purportedly speaking on behalf of the "Christian right." They are disturbed that Mr. Warren would accept an invitation to participate in the inaugural of such a person as Mr. Obama.

Obama, by his request, in my opinion, is trying to be inclusive. He himself says we are all in this together; it is one nation and we need each other. Clearly his social philosophy differs from Warren's. They have both publicly said as much. But just what is wrong with our talking with one another? Showing respect for one another? Agreeing where we can agree and disagreeing in a civil manner when we differ with each other?

Nobody's civil rights under the Constitution are being violated. Nobody's religious principles are being trampled. Why doesn't the "gay community" garner some respect unto itself by treating their fellow citizens in a civil manner? Why doesn't the "Christian right" study the injunctions of the Jesus they profess to follow and love their fellow man?

I know that it is a cliche and the quote isn't exactly from a national hero, but as Rodney King once said, "Why can't we all just get along?"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Not Yet Dry Behind the Ears

Fifty-three years ago today I was wed for the first time. What does a young man know of life, its joys and vicissitudes? Not much, as it turns out; but if one is fortunate enough to live awhile, he will learn.
I learned that a beautiful young woman could give her life to her man and to her children. Two beautiful girls followed by two perfect little boys were borne to me by this woman. She devoted herself to their nurture and care.
I learned that life is not forever. When we might have had a chance to get to know each other without the cares of child-rearing, the oncologist answered her question, "How long do I have," with a curt, "Nine months." It was nine months almost to the day. We missed a twenty-fifth anniversary by three months less four days.
Frieda, gone now for over 28 years. I have been blessed with marriage to loving and caring women in my life since her passing, but she was my first.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Comic Pages Heroes

While most of the following falls within the realm of my personal memory, some of the information was garnered from various websites. You, too, can find this sort of info about this man there, along with much more.
With the possible exception of "Blondie" by Chic Young, "Li'l Abner" was probably the first comic strip that really grabbed my attention. (In the town in which we lived there were three school buses. Numbers were much too mundane for the brilliant children in our community; so each bus was emblazoned with a Young icon, Dagwood, Blondie and Cookie. Oh, you said our children couldn't read 1,2,3? Bad person.)

Al Capp was born Alfred G. Caplin in 1909. and Li'l Abner was born, full-grown teenage hillbilly, in 1934, the very year of my nativity; albeit I was born a scrawny less than six pound infant. Li'l Abner is considered by many to be the greatest comic stip of all time. I certainly hold it in high regard; it is among the greatest. Capp doubtless engendered my love for the funny papers.
I have not included Mr. Capp under the "Philosophers" heading, as I regard him as a great writer and fabulous cartoonist; and essentially as an entrepreneur. But his metaphysics and ontology were suspect. He set out on his own after working for Ham Fisher, creator of "Joe Palooka," which established a life-long feud between these purveyors of fun and goodwill. He wrested control of his own work from the syndicate which distributed it. His empire grew from there. He was into pop culture, sold dolls (Shmoo and Kigmy) which became a national rage. His work was translated into a Broadway musical and was twice recorded on Hollywood celluloid. Capp had his own radio show, wrote a syndicated newspaper column and appeared frequently on popular television talk programs; and was a frequent guest lecturer at universities across the country.
Li'l Abner remained a bachelor for twenty years; but when he finally wed Daisy Mae, it so shocked the nation that it became front-page news. Sadie Hawkins Day, created by Capp, is honored yet in the girl-asks-boy tradition. Who can forget characters such as Moonbeam McSwine, General Bullmoose, Fearless Fosdick, Mammy and Pappy Yokum, Jubilation T. Cornpone, Lonesome Polecat and Hairless Joe; as well as one of my personal favorites, to whom I so easily related as a teenager, Joe Bfstplk whose personal rain cloud hung over him at all times.
Capp, who at the age of nine lost a leg in a trolley accident entitled his memoirs My Well Balanced Life on a Wooden Leg. The Li'l Abner comic strip was retired in 1977 and Capp died two years later.
John Steinbeck said that Capp was "the best writer in the world."
Al Capp 1909 - 1979 RIP

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bill of Rights Day

Today is the 217th anniversary of the final ratification of the first ten amendments to the Constitution .

217 years ago today Amendments one through ten (a.k.a the Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of the United States of America were ratified.
As a U.S. citizen you have a right to
Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to peacable assembly, freedom to petition government for redress of grievances (I)
Keep and bear arms (2)
Have no soldier quartered in your house without your consent in time of peace, nor in time of war except as prescribed by law (3)
Security of your person, your houses, your papers, and your effects; protection against unreasonable search and seizure; warrants issued only under probable cause (4)
Grand jury indictment for infamous crime; no double jeopardy at law; refuse self-incriminating testimony; just compensation for property siezed for public use. (5)
Speedy and public trial by impartial jury in the state and district wherein crime committed; confront witnesses against you; to force testimony of witnesses in your favor; assistance of counsel in your defense. (6)
Trial by jury in suits at common law (7)
Reasonable (not excessive) bail, fines; avoidance of cruel and unusual punishment. (8)
Retain to your self those rights not enumerated in the Constitution. (9)
Keep powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution to your state or to yourself. (10)

We should be celebrating.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Third Sunday of Advent

Whether your church uses the traditional rose candle or prefers the blue for the third Sunday of Advent, please use this time and the coming week to continue your contemplation of the Coming of the King! It is a time of joy. For scripture study, use the readings you had this morning in your service; and might I suggest that a concentration on the first three chapters of John's gospel would certainly be appropriate.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Philosophers I Admire, Part 2

It was during my sophomore year of college that I was introduced to Walt Kelly by Pogo. Kelly quickly became one of my heroes. Why? 1) Kelly is the greatest artist that ever drew a comical strip; 2) He had the keenest and most incisive insight into the way the world works and; 3) if you didn't "get it" at once, it would creep up on you and slam you into the swampwater.

Pogo of course was the philosopher of the Okeefenokee, but without his foils, Albert, Churchy and Howland, his ruminations and observations could never have been delivered to a needy world.
These regulars were assisted by a huge cast of characters drawn from Kelly's fertile mind as the need arose. Even the bugs made significant contributions to our edification.

Probably the most famous Walt Kelly quote, as delivered by Pogo, is "We have met the enemy, and he is us." But there are quote-worthy snippets in most every presentation as the critters go about lampooning human behavior and lancing the sores on our society.

A ferocious feline tells Mouse, "It ain't that your majority is outnumbered, Mouse. You're just out-surrounded." or, Pogo again,

"Some is more equal than others, as is well known." or one of my personal favorites,

Pogo: "But how about if the one guy is right an' the 10,000 is wrong."

And since it is the Christmas season, it is meet and right that we all join the Perloo Society in a verse of "Deck Us All With Boston Charlie" (to be sung to the tune of, well you know.)

Deck us all with Boston Charlie,

Walla Walla,' Kalamazoo!

Nora's freezin' on the trolley,

Swaller dollar cauliflower


Don't we know archaic barrel,

Lullaby Lilla Boy,

Louisville Lou.

Trolly Molly don't love Harold,

Boola boola Pensacoola


Mr. Kelly quoted his father as having said, "Language is the worst means of communincation known to man. Pictures and good luck will get you anywhere."

WALT KELLY 1913 -1973 RIP

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kitchen Kapers

Neighbor gave us elderberries from his nice stand of bushes this fall.
This afternoon BBBH and I made elderberry jelly.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Politics as Usual?

Last evening Governor Blagojevich announced that the State of Illinois would no longer do business with Bank of America, unless and until they met their responsibility under the receipt of government 'bailout' funds.
This morning before daybreak, the Governor was led out of his home in handcuffs and jailed.

Caroline Kennedy, senator-to-be from New York? Already I have heard mention of the 'return of Camelot.' Do we never get enough?
Apart from her political leanings (what chance did she have?), Ms. Kennedy seems a nice enough person and would perhaps represent her state well in the Swamp.
(This appointment assumes, of course, that the "Saxbe Solution" will be applied so that the current senator may take a cabinet post and leave the field open to Caroline.)

And what shenanigan will ultimately steal Norm's seat for Al?

This was never intended to be primarily a political forum, but if one is to share his passions, politics must be included. Oh, that that were not so; but so much of life is politics.. No! you've never 'negotiated' with your spouse?


Cats are not my favorite people. I have seriously tried to understand this. Perhaps it stems from the fact that as a small child I had the most beautiful pure white cat which I named "Condibell." The day before my fifth birthday the family relocated to another state and the cat was left on a farm in the bleak environs from which we fled.

Cats are among the most beautiful of creatures in the animal kingdom, and vain about it, too. They are natural predators, and as such they are armed with savage weapons and exceeding guile. They are untrustworthy.

I hold no animosity toward those who harbor cats. Several of my dearly loved family members do. And with the exception of Mickey, it is almost inevitable that if I visit in the home of one of these siblings, progeny, niece or auntie, and if I am seated for a sufficiently long period of time, the family feline will wind up on my lap. This is both perception and perversity. The cat has a keen sense of my distaste for its presence; it has the perversity of nature to choose me as its roost. Does it hope to ingratiate itself to me, change my way of thinking? Nay. It is done in spite.

I have had the unfortunate experience of having such a creature curled on my lap, and soft and silky as he was, I found myself anon stroking the luxurious fur. The cat began to purr. Its eyes closed, the purring grew more rhythmic, more pronounced. Both Tom and I were in the zone, so to speak, when suddenly and with no warning, the son of a puss twisted, quickly, quickly, and bit my thumb, drawing blood.

And though no human, man or woman, child or octogenarian, has ever "owned" a cat; yet there are millions of misguided people who keep them, coddle them, and allow themselves to be ruled by them. We won't even talk about the canned food and the litter box.

Also, trust me. If your cat behaves as did Tom, it too shall be flung precipitously across your living room.

[I did harbor a stray cat in recent years, outdoors and in the basement, you understand, but I did take care of him. And just when I was starting to grow fond of the thing, he crawled into the engine compartment of the car and the rest is gory history. Stupid cat.]

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Project Possible! The Second Birth

Second Sunday of Advent. Looking Forward to Christ's Coming Again.

Pastor Doug's lesson is from the Gospel of John 3:1 - 18. This is the account of perhaps the most famous of Jesus' conversations. It takes place when the very important Pharisee, Nicodemus, comes to Jesus by night to ask him, What must a man do to be saved? Jesus' immediate response is, You must be born again. Nicodemus is perplexed, for he has undertaken throughout his life to attain salvation through strict observance of the law. Jesus explains that a man must undergo both a physical birth, and a spiritual birth into the Kingdom.
How can we be born again?
1. We need cleansing and new power; must be born "of water and Spirit" (v.5)
In v. 4 and again in v.9 Nicodemus professes his failure to understand.
Understanding is not a requirement. Belief is. (v.10) Jesus divides ("we" vs. "you people")
2. Believe in a lifted up Christ. Everyone is looking for something that will give him hope.
"lifted up" = Christ on the cross
"lifted up" = Christ elevated, honored, glorified
3. Receive the love of God (v.16) Salvation is neither in the law, nor in religion, nor position, nor nationality, nor race; IT IS SOLELY IN THE BELIEF IN THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD.
Belief = eternal life (v.16)
unbelief = eternal damnation (v.18)
What now is your response to God?

This Day Shall Live in Infamy

This day shall live in Infamy --Franklin D. Roosevelt

Everything seems new to those too young to remember the old and too ignorant of history to have heard about it.--Thomas Sowell

We must always remember nor yet allow the young to be ignorant.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bratz, Courts, Congress

How many absurdities can one put in a title?

Mattel has won the court battle, at least for the nonce, with the Bratz builders. The deep pockets got their case before a blind judge? Well, justice may be blind but that apparently has little to do with the case. Bratz resembles Barbie only in that they are both manufactured from stuff. What's wrong with consumer choice and market forces making the determination?

Do we institute full-fledged socialism or do we not? Or is it already too late to ask the question? We hear about congress possibly pouring billions into the auto industry, billions of "taxpayer dollars." What no one seems to think about is that it is betting on the come in more ways than one, because those "taxpayers" whose dollars will be pledged haven't in large measure been born yet! What representation do your progeny have in this scheme? What's wrong with consumer choice and market forces making the determination?

Understand that George and Laura have purchased a home in Dallas. Could we go into the whole issue of why anyone, even a president, needs a $2 million house? No, that might offend some of you people who inhabit 6000 square feet of space. The two of you. Need some place to keep your "stuff"? Well, in this case, the cost of the house will be much less than the cost of maintaining a former president at public expense.

There is no accompanying photo in part because Bratz are not so photogenic, Barbie is insipid, and none of my greatgrandkids live in this house. Thankfully.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Staring out my office window at the sunshine reflecting off the white covering on the ground that nature provided us early this morning. Not enough snow to cause any problems. I can live with that.
Reflections; sunshine on the snow; meditating on the Light, the Son who was given to us and whose birth we celebrate during this season.
Advent; the anticipation of His coming. We observe the season in anticipation of the birth of the Christ Child. Reflect, too, on this. That during His earthly mininstry He told us to anticipate His coming again. Advent; the anticipation of that second coming of the Christ.
The scriptures for the Second Sunday of Advent which is observed the first day of this coming week are, from the Old Testament, Isaiah 40:1 - 11; from the Epistles, 2 Peter 3:8 - 15; from the Gospel of Mark 1:1 - 8. The Psalm is number 85.
Advent; the Season of Hope, the celebration of anticipation.
Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? Shew us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation. --Psalm 85:6,7

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Father of Mischief

Continuing my reading of Washington, I find his very clear analysis of games of chance.

.....avoid Gaming. This is a vice which is productive of every possible evil, equally injurious to the morals and health of its votaries. It is the child of Avarice, the brother of inequity, and father of Mischief. It has been the ruin of many worthy familys; the loss of many a man's honor; and the cause of Suicide. To all those who enter the list, it is equally fascinating; the successful gamester pushes his good fortune till it is over taken by a reverse; the losing gamester, in hopes of retrieving past misfortunes, goes on from bad to worse; till grown desperate, he pushes at everything; and loses his all....few gain by this abominable practice (the profit, if any, being diffused) while thousands are injured.
To Bushrod Washington, January 15, 1783. Writings Vol. 26 p. 40

Doesn't it just make you proud to be a citizen of a state that sponsors gaming of the very nature above described, promotes it as good fun, then adjures the citizenry through advertising to "play responsibly;" and gives a helpline telephone number for those who can't help themselves? And there are still those who believe it is, at worst, okay; and better, beneficial.

For this and a thousand other reasons, we must be thankful that those who fought to build a nation on solid principles cannot see us now.

The Father of Our Country

Have been dipping into The Maxims of Washington. This is an exercise well worth the undertaking and should be done periodically. Having just come through the Thanksgiving holiday, this comment on the discontented struck me. The reverse of giving thanks.

.....Against the malignancy of the discontented, the turbulant, the vicious, no abilities; no exertions; nor the most unshaken integrity; are any safeguard....To John Jay, November 1, 1794

Yes, discontent is a cancer; and like the physical manifestation, it will destroy.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Big Miami Reserve Marker in Our Yard

[I wrote the following account in July, 2005 and it is presented here modified only to the extent that names and addresses have been masked. The described line as surveyed in 2005 passes through our bedroom and exits our property approximately twenty yards behind the house.]
Imagine my excitement when, on a Monday, I saw that a little red flag had sprouted in the front yard and the BBBH said, I bet it’s the Indian Reserve Line marker. A little later, we received a phone call from the planning office telling us that the surveyor had placed the marker in our yard and that we should check to see that we were satisfied with the placement, as on Wednesday the sign would be erected.
Wednesday, I peeked out several times, and finally late in the afternoon I observed that a little white flag had been placed directly beside the red one. A closer look revealed that a little circle of silver paint had been sprayed on the lawn at the base of the flagsticks. On Thursday, the water company came by and marked the location of the feed for the hydrant in our front yard. Friday, the sewer company dropped by and marked the spot where the storm drain lies. Still no sign. Saturday afternoon (who knew anyone worked on Saturdays these days?) the gas company sent a worker to mark the location of a nearby gas line. Yellow paint and two yellow flags on white flagsticks. We now have two yellow flags, a red one, a white one, a painted silver spot, blue paint marking the water, green paint for the storm drain, and of course, the yellow paint for the gas line. Very colorful, but no “Historical Marker”! You see, these things are not done in a careless or precipitous fashion. Oh, and the next Monday, the Cable Guy painted two long orange stripes through our yard. Tuesday we left for a short trip, and when we returned Thursday afternoon the marker had been placed.

My involvement in this whole thing started over a year ago when, for whatever reason I may have had at the time, I got to musing about the stone placed across the street from our house. I was aware that the Miami Reserve line passed through town and I knew where the New Purchase boundary line was marked on the highway. Also, I had been told many years ago by someone that the stone in a front yard on Green Street lay on the line. Somewhere I had acquired the information that the line ran at a 79 degree angle to the cardinal points of the compass. So with a map of Tipton and a protractor, I was able to estimate that the line should pass through my property. I later learned by researching more carefully that the angle was 79 degrees, 51 minutes, or nearly eighty degrees. Hence the first little paint spot I put in my driveway had to be relocated by a few feet, but still lay in the driveway. Also, I got the old 1927 city plat map at the library and found just a two-block portion of the line seemed to be marked on the map. By extending it with a straightedge, I found the same results and concluded that the stone, whether or not placed there as a marker (I still don’t know if it was or not) did in fact lie on the Reserve line. The surveyor’s results show that the south edge of the boulder lies on the line, and hence the rock is entirely within the Reserve.

My next step in the process was to take a bicycle tour through town, starting at the New Purchase Marker (you may note that the fence line along the south end of the church property follows the boundary line surveyed nearly two hundred years ago.) With that as a beginning point, I looked for stones along the “guesstimated” line to the west. I found one near an alley in Sycamore street, but thought it not likely to be a true marker. However, in the 300 block of Oak Street there is a stone hard by a front stoop which almost certainly has to lie on or very close to the line. I located another stone on Douglas Street, which the later survey showed to be too far to the south. The line crosses just south of the city waterworks on, though there is no marker evident. On Main Street, there is a stone in a front yard which has a plaque on it stating that it is an original marker stone for the Reserve line. I was subsequently told that that plaque was placed by the Historical Society in the early eighties. I found a stone in the alley near Conde Street, but again it was probably placed there as d├ęcor or to keep cars out of someone’s yard. The next stone lies in the front yard of the Green Street home which I mentioned above, and the surveyor’s mark verifies that it is on the boundary.

Satisfied that I had learned what I set out to discover, I thought little about it until, a few weeks later, after a meeting I overheard a conversation about the Reserve Line. I interjected that I had done the stuff described above, and I was then told of the signage project underway to preserve this piece of history for posterity. I signed on as one desiring to place a sign if my property proved to be qualified; and I passed on a little chart on which I had marked the stones that I thought were on the line.

Thus one could conclude “and the rest is history.” However, I have since done a bit more research, as my interest was piqued by the whole project. I learned that the surveyors Allen and Benton, who did the original layout of the Reserve had an exciting time of it, and that the task required two trips to Indiana due to confrontations with the Indians; I learned that the line that passes through town was drawn to be parallel to the Wabash River which forms the north boundary of the Reserve. By 1842, the Indians had ceded all their property, except for some individual homesteads, to the whites, and were relocated to Kansas and later to Indian Territory (Oklahoma).

A fascinating account of this was written by Carl Leiter, and may be accessed, along with much additional information, at the website of the Kokomo Public Library.

Project Possible!

This is the same cherry tree I showed you two weeks ago today. [Memory and History]

There's just something about snow. Yeah, it's white, cold, and wet.

We started the Christmas Season at church today! We sang "Angels We Have Heard on High," "O, Come All Ye Faithful" and "O Come Let Us Adore Him."

Some congregations practice a more liturgical tradition and would not sing these this early in the season, but it works for us. Especially in view of the fact that Pastor Doug started this season with my favorite rendition of the Christmas story, namely as told in the Gospel according to John 1:1 - 18. Before he began his sermon, I jotted the following paragraph on my bulletin: The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. He laid down His life and died in the flesh for us. Yet the flesh arose again unto life that we might arise in the flesh to Eternal Life in Him.
Sermon points.
Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. The Cosmic Supreme Being is a mystery. Logos, the Word = thing, event, action. You were in God's mind from the beginning (v. 1) thus He knows you today, inside and out.
Christmas is the result of God's knowing all about you. That you need a Savior. That you cannot save yourself. Morality and ethics always fall short of salvation. Only faith in the Christ will save you.
God is the source of your life. (v.4) The life that God gives us is light. (v.5) God is Light. We don't understand God, but He wants us to walk with Him. He then helps us to understand Him. The light that shines into your life at conversion begins to move, and you must follow. The fullness of His grace is available to you. It is a privilege to be a child of God. We are all creatures made by God, but we are not all children of God. Those who believe in His name have the right to become the Children of God by faith in Jesus Christ. (v.12)
One of the greatest verses in the Bible, John 1:14 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.
When we believe we have access to the fullness of His grace. (v.16, 17)
And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. From the fullness of His grace we have received one gift after another.
All things are possible!

Friday, November 28, 2008


that being said, or

having said that

twenty-four seven
hit the ground running

on the ground
give back to
datt-a (instead of dayt-a)
(btw, Dodge can call their cars anything they like, but why did they need to use a real word then mispronounce it in the promotions?)

grow your business

what "x" looks like

at the end of the day


[Are there any you would like to add?]

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Thanksgiving Day. A national holiday, a day set aside specifically for the purpose of reflecting on our blessings and expressing thanks to our Creator and Provider for the blessings we have.

Are we truly thankful? And should our thanks be expressed only on a designated day? Thankfulness is an attitude of the heart; to be thankful and to give thanks is a choice. We need to be in such a posture every day of our lives, come what may.

Searching (yes, I used text search on the digital Bible) I find the phrase "give thanks" thirty-four times in the KJV. The phrase "praise the Lord" appears thirty-two times. Doesn't it seem that we are under a very powerful injunction to choose thankfulness and offer praise and thanksgiving?

As Pastor Doug pointed out this Sunday past, thankfulness is expressed by the words of the mouth and by the works of the hands. Be thankful: praise the Lord. Be thankful: help someone.


[While the accompanying drawing may look like it was done by my eight-year old great granddaughter, it is in fact mine. So much for artistic ability. And when I sent it to my friend, Nina, her response was that that is a pretty scrawny looking bird, doubt if it will feed the family.]

Monday, November 24, 2008

Black Border Day

I am sure you have days, we all do, for which the calendar box is bordered in black. If not literally then the black character of the day is noted mentally. These are days of real trauma which we memorialize as an unforgettable part of our lives forever. It may be the anniversary of the worst day of your life, or just one of the many days that you have had which could have been better.

Note, though, that the accompanying illustration, while black-edged, has a much larger area of light. Psalm 107 tells us to give thanks even in our darkest hour. I am thinking of a couple of lines from the song "Peace in the Valley" which go something like this,

The day is so bright for the Lord is the light
Though the night is black as the sea.

This is a black border day for me, but I know that no matter how I feel Jesus is with me and so long as I keep my hand in His all is well.

Jn:12:46: I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

Give your troubles and cares to Jesus.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Taking Time to Give Thanks

In his final sermon in the series "Stewardship" Pastor Doug taught us that thanks-giving is the fulfillment of a biblical injunction. I Thessalonians 5:18: In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

The pastor used Psalm 107, which he asked us to read every day this coming week, as basis for the lesson.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good: His love endures forever. We must give our thanks away. This is God's will for our lives: that we give thanks in all circumstances.

We are dependent on God for everything.

Being thankful is an attitude of the heart.

We demonstrate thankfulness 1) by the words of our mouth, and 2) by the works of our hands.

Make up your mind to be thankful.

Psalm 107:1 Give thanks. Who? v. 2: Those who have been redeemed.

v. 8: for His wonderful deeds for men. Who? v. 10: Those who are hungry, athirst, in darkness, gloom, bound in affliction.

v 15 for His unfailing love. Who? v. 17 Those who have fallen, who have behaved in a foolhardy manner.

v. 31 again, His goodness and wonderful deeds. Who? v. 33 Those in a desert place, abandoned, even though by God seemingly.

Thankfulness is a choice.

v. 42,43: The upright see and rejoice; the wicked stops his mouth. At the end of days, we can rejoice in thankfulness or perish in bitterness.

What do you choose?

It's Off to Church We Go

Vanilla and Beloved Beautiful Better Half are on their way to morning worship service.

You didn't think we were Lois and Clark, did you?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Court Adjourned

While the American automakers, who could not listen to the people for three decades, beg the people via its congress for money to stay afloat, the competitors from across the Pacific are asking the courts to provide them with parking places on our shores for the inventory they send here and have no room to park, what with the slumping sales.

Asking the courts?

Hossinota Motor Company: Please honorable sir, allot us places to park our inventory.

Judge Vanilla: Turn the ships around at once. Do not dock. Do not unload. Return vehicular stuff to point of origin. Let esteemed worker in native land eat them.

[gavel bangs]
Would Congress like to send the Detroit three to Judge Vanilla's court?

Change is Coming

Are you as fascinated as I am in watching the Obama "team" being developed? I have witnesses who will testify that I predicted long before the election that Mr. O's administration if he were elected would be heavy on the philosophies of the Carter Administration and loaded with the policies and practices of the Clinton Administration. How new is that? Turns out even the cast may look the same.

Oh, wait. We were promised change, not new. Perhaps I am "fascinated" in the same way that we are "fascinated" by a horror movie or an impending disaster. I hope not. What does "trepidation" mean?

My prayers for the new president and the country will be for success, progress, justice and fair-mindedness.


I mentioned in the previous post that my father was not interested in family history. Lest you form the notion that he did not care about people, be disabused of that idea. My father was truly a people person, a righteous man and a minister of the gospel who took scripture literally, even to Paul's admonition to Timothy, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. 1Tm:1:4. And so Dad did. He devoted his life to the dissemination of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in loving and earnest endeavor to bring people to the Savior.

His ministry was enhanced, supported and in great measure made possible by Mother. Mom was a prayer warrior, a minister in her own right, but always believing that her primary ministry was in the support of Dad's work and in the tending of her family.

Though I miss them both, their work lives on in the lives of those with whom they came in contact. And I know that they live on in the eternal reward that the Lord and Savior has prepared for them.

Have you met Jesus?                                                                                      (relocated)

Monday, November 17, 2008


Two decades ago when I asked my father for family history since I had developed an interest in tracing my ancestry, he replied, "I was laid as an egg on a fencepost by a jaybird, hatched by the sun and blown away by the West wind." Further, he made it clear that he had no interest in looking backward into the generations that preceded us. Finally, he went to his file cabinet and pulled out a manila folder which contained two sheets of paper, telling me I could have it. This turned out to be a sketch of the research that one of my aunts had done and which gave me a starting point. From there it was to the library and the IGI on microfiche. Genealogical research bug had bitten me.

Someone once told me that one didn't want to look too far up the family tree, lest he find someone hanging there. This is virtually inevitable for most of us since our interconnectedness is bound to hitch us to the good, the bad and the ugly. Somewhere back in the branches of my tree I have found Frank and Jesse James; but I have also found Dolley Payne Madison, so President James Madison occupies a place in the family tree ("Husband of third cousin six times removed.")

This hobby leads to many fascinating stories, some of which are verifiable and some of which are questionable, or at least lack substantive proof. I like this one. My ten-greats grandfather was killed by my ten-greats grandfather.

John Woodson came from England to Jamestown in 1619, where he was ultimately killed by Opechancanough in one of his raids on the settlers. Woodson came to the "New World" to make a life for himself and his family, whereas Opechancanough was attempting to preserve the only world he had ever known. Fortunately for me each had offspring and two of them got together somewhere down the line. This is one of the tales which is reliably recorded.

Have you taken a shot at your family history?                                                     (relocated)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Memory and History

Memory and History

A couple days ago I posted a snippet titled "Nostalgia." Now we know that nostalgia is an unreasonable yearning for something in the past, something that cannot be. But what we don't often think about is that everything is past. What we recall, we may hold so long as we can remember. What we record is history.

Imagine a movie being played reel-to-reel. (We have to go retro tech here for the imagery.) The top reel is the future, the lower reel, the past. As the film flicks by the lens the present is revealed, in this case, 1/24th of a second for each frame. But the present can actually be defined by infinitely smaller units: nanoseconds. Nay, even less for instantly the "present" is the past. We cannot see the future. We may anticipate it, contemplate it, fantasize about it or even plan for it. But we cannot live it. Only the briefest of instants compose our present experience.

We cannot live in the past; it is gone. But we may remember it, recall it, relate it, thereby relegating yet more of our "present" to the past. What is your life without memory?

For all that philosophers and physicists may expound on this "time" we have, it is just as simple as we have limned it herein and just as complex as our memories allow.

Are you making any memories? Are you making history?
Is your hand in the hand of the Eternal Guide?

Taking Care of My Talents and Abilities

Pastor Doug's sermon today focused on responsibility for our abilities and the proper measures of success. He used several scriptures, including Colossians 3:17, 23 - 25 and I Corinthians 10:31 - 33 from the Epistles and Proverbs 16:3, Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

"Commit" means to put God in charge. "Success" is the knowledge that God is pleased with our effort. Our responsibility is 1) to bring glory to God; and 2) to cause no one to stumble.

Serve as unto the Lord in the Name of Jesus.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tony Hillerman

In a salute to a great storyteller, I am rereading The Shape Shifter by Tony Hillerman. We have lost one of our premier writers.

I introduced my BBBH to Mr. Hillerman's novels seven or eight years ago. She was as engaged as I had been and I believe she has basically read everything she could find that he wrote. In 2002 we took a trip to the Four Corners area of the American Southwest, the scene of this author's novels set in the Navajo Nation and surrounding areas. BBBH was enthralled with the trip, especially since she felt she knew the environs through reading Hillerman. He will be greatly missed in this household.
Ya eeh teh.

Friday, November 14, 2008


The 'old' book collection that I maintain receives its share of criticism from the BBBH. Or rather, I receive the criticism for maintaining it. But what fun. This afternoon I picked up a "TV Guide" from 1960. It can easily be held in the hand, the listings are easy to find and easy to read, totally unlike what they call "TV Guide" these days. To which, by the way, I let my subscription expire, because --see previous sentence for what you can't do with it; not to mention the adverts which obscure any usefulness it might have had.

So end rant and share the fun. Here's what you might have watched on a Saturday night.
6:00 Amos & Andy
6:30 Perry Mason
7:30 Bonanza! [In color!] (If you had a color TV. I didn't.)
8:30 Have Gun, Will Travel
9:00 Gunsmoke, or bust up the Western string with "Lawrence Welk."
10:00 Pat Boone Variety show, if you can stand this after LW. Maybe if you watched Gunsmoke.
11:00 News, of course. Or if you're feeling daring, Playboy Penthouse.

Now, wasn't that a Blast from the Past?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Weir Cook

Appropriately opening on Veterans' Day the new airport terminal in our neck of the woods has been named the H. Weir Cook Terminal, returning a hero's name to the local transportation facility. Weir Cook, WWII flying ace and war hero from Wilkinson, Indiana, has been re-honored as he rightfully should be.

I have a small connection to Wilkinson. I lived there for a few years as my younger self while I taught the local sixth-graders. Nice community. Good people. The school building still stands, but the school no longer exists. Consolidation, you know.
Good times.

Honor to all the heroic service people who have protected our rights and to those who still serve on our behalf.
(Oh, did I mention $1,100,000,000 ?)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Your Government at Work

So, let's see if I got this right. A government task-force of 35 members formed to study the problems of "tarmac" delay of passenger flights, charged with the responsibility of making recommendations to deal with passenger concerns and well-being, finally issued a report recommending


Why were there sixteen airline representives on the panel?
Why does the government continue to waste our money on efforts which do nothing but raise false hopes?
Why am I not surprised?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post Election Commentary

Jon has written the ultimate in Christian commentary on elections. Check it out at

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's over!

November 4, 10:59 p.m. EST

America, you have a new President-elect!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Thinking back to my V-8 days of yore, I am reminded that a "resonator" is a near-empty tube containing only baffles through which hot gases run before being spewed into the atmosphere.
(Reference previous post.)
Kyuk, kyuk.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

God's Gifts

Sunday November 2, 2008
I Corinthians 16:1,2
Pastor Doug's sermon this morning was on stewardship which was defined as "the biblical subject of how well we care for the people and resources given to us." God has entrusted us with goods and blessed us with people in our lives. We will eventually give an account for our management of these gifts.
100% of our financial resources are God's. Discussion of 'tithing' or procedure is not the thrust.
Why has God given to us?
1) To meet our physical needs. 2) Maybe to bless past or present obedience. 3) God wants to reach others.
4) God wants to receive glory and honor.
God in His sovereignty doles out on three levels: much, less, a lot less. Be faithful with what you have.
In your current situation, what does God want to reveal about you and about Himself? God is less concerned with your "happiness" than he is about your joy, your gratitude, your thanksgiving.

Our giving reminds us that all we have is of God.

2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

5 cents

That great American vice-president from North Manchester, Indiana, Thomas Marshall, has been credited with having said, "What this country needs is a good five-cent cigar."

Fast forward a century. What this country needs is a good nickel such that twenty of them make a dollar which might actually buy something. e.g., a gallon of milk or a gallon of gas, or even a loaf of good bread.

Unfortunately, looming ahead of us is an economic policy guaranteed to further devalue that nickel. Stop minting pennies? Heck, we might just as well quit with the nickels and dimes, too, while we're at it. Imagine the savings to the USMint if all our money were printed on paper. How did I get here? I was on the subject of cigars.

So back to cigars. Don't use them or any other form of tobacco. It'll kill you. But you know that.


Not since GHW Bush vs. WJ Clinton has the choice been so difficult.

Americans know that our congress is the major problem in our government. Every cycle we hear the refrain, "Throw the rascals out." Yet time after time we re-elect the same rascals because our rascal is o.k. It is everyone else who is responsible for sending irresponsible people to congress.

Had I faith enough in the American people to believe that they would actually vote for no incumbent, regardless of party, I would not be so concerned about this presidential election. But that won't happen. Therefore it is my considered opinion that we must assume that the democrats will control both houses of congress and thus it is critical that a democrat must not be elected to the presidency.

There. Even-handed as I have been throughout this seemingly interminable campaign, I have made an endorsement of sorts. And I am serious about this. *

Abraham Lincoln was "The Great Emancipator" and Ronald Reagan was "The Great Communicator." Whoever our next president is, he must surely be "The Great Resonator." The talking heads incessantly tell us what "resonates" with the electorate. I'm tired of that, too.

Pressing on to Real Life

Pastor Doug's sermon this morning was based on Paul's letter to the Philippians 3:12 - 4:1. This letter is a thank you note from Paul to the church at Philippi in response to their gift to him while he was in a Roman jail.
Amusing us with several famous Yogi Berra quotes, Doug launched into his sermon with "It ain't over till it's over," asserting that our spiritual walk with the Lord is not over until it is over. Sanctification is a work in progress, completed when we are glorified in death. Real life is to be used of God in the work of expanding and enhancing His kingdom.

Paul as Example
1. Paul saw himself as incomplete. (Phil. 3:12)
2. He saw that what was before him was more important than what was behind. (v. 13) We must not live in the past.
3. Paul saw himself as an example to others. (v. 17)
4. He saw a definite difference between holy living and the world. (v. 18)
Conclusion: Paul saw himself as encouraging others to stand firm. Phil. 4:1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

Fiscal Responsibility

Received my IRA statement for the third calendar quarter.
The graph looks like this:

]__________________ *

So much for fiscal responsibility,

Friday, October 24, 2008

Election Coming Soon to a Precinct Near You!

In less than two weeks E-Day will be upon us. The candidates continue their frenetic travels to titillate their followers with their presence among them. Yet there are probably not fifteen people in the country who have not yet decided for whom they will vote. But there are probably fifteen million (or more) who will lie to pollsters about this.

The candidates will have expended a billion bucks stumping for a job that pays less than half-mil and requires full-time attention, day and night, weekdays and weekends. And we think one or the other of them is smart enough to lead the country.

And someone attempts to raise a big stink about wardrobe expenditures by the national committee for a candidate. Well, la-di-dah. Please, don't let me go on with this.

Other than to drive the wedge deeper between the factions (parties) what is the overall result of this whole mess?
There will be plenty to dislike about an administration by either candidate. So when the heck are we going to start seeking to accomplish good things in concert with one another?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pick Your Candidate

Andy Rooney, America's curmudgeon, made his election preference known. He said he didn't know who he would vote for. He likes them both, as they seem to be honest and honorable men. It is an election, he said, in which we, the people, cannot lose.

How close to that position are those who don't know who they'll vote against, because they prefer neither of them? Would this mean it is an election we cannot win?

And a great American four-star hero made a specific endorsement. For some reason, it looks like he traded the endorsement for a seat at the table should his endorsee win the election. This is probably not the case. Notice that I merely said that it has that appearance, given the manner in which his candidate recognized him.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

All We Need is Love?

This morning's worship service started with the congregation singing "Since Jesus Came into My Heart."
I have ceased from my wanderings and going astray
Since Jesus came into my heart.
And my sins which were many
Are all washed away.
Since Jesus came into my heart.

Floods of joy o'er my soul
Like the sea billows roll
Since Jesus came into my heart.

The title of this post is the title of Pastor Keith's sermon which he introduced with a video of the Beatles' "Love, Love, Love." Then a short, romantic clip in which a young man declares his love for his lady and her response is "You had me from 'Hello.'"
The point? Love as social concern is good, but falls short. Romantic love is good, but falls short.
The scripture lesson is I John 4: 7 - 21.
Perfect love is of God, for "God is Love." The Bible is God's love letter to us. It reveals God's power, God's truth, but most of all, God's love.
14: And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15: Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
We can have perfect love.
Perfect love is made complete in us when we love one another. "Love isn't love until you give it away."
Love one another.
Love of God and others is a commandment.
20: If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21: And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

After church the BBBH (Beloved Beautiful Better Half) and I went to Jim Dandy for the breakfast bar. We made sincere effort to love the Methodists and Presbyterians who were there also.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

On Being Presidential

Thursday night at the Alfred E. Smith Charity Dinner the presidential candidates for one evening laid aside incivility and became human. Both men were funny, self-deprecating and yes, likable. They traded jabs, but in good fun; and for a few brief moments, each seemed to be the sort of person one would like to have as a dinner guest in his own home.

But Friday it was back to the harsh reality of nasty personal attacks that seem to have become the standard of political discourse, making even their performances of the previous evening nothing more than lies.

Promises of bread and prosperity along with the daily proffering of circus-like spectacles will inevitably cloud the judgment of the electorate. Thus, for the candidates, Mission Accomplished.

To Blog or Not to Blog

I have been a fan of half dozen blogs for several months; but I have not ventured to engage in the activity by publishing my own ramblings. My sister suggested that I might give it a whirl and one rainy evening a few days ago I set up a blogsite.

Sis describes my style as "sardonic" which I had to look up. I guess I thought "sardinic" and that that might somehow suggest small fish. Smelly small fish. The dictionary definition doesn't make it seem much better. At any rate be assured that any sarcasm you note in STSTT is intentional. And it is meant to be taken as humorous. Sardonic.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Traveling Life's Road

In Missouri at the end of a very rainy day on I-44.
Watching the 'debate' between two pretenders to the seat of power.

There will be a tomorrow; but what are we going to do with it?

For myself, I plan to get back on the highway and head on to Indiana.
But that's not what I mean.