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.