Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The End is Closer Than You Think!

For a decade or so, Russian academic Igor Panarin (pictured to the left--and doesn't he look Russian!) has been predicting the United States will fall apart in 2010. Now he’s found an eager audience that wants to tell his message: the Russian state media. It seems that they are so interested in his story that they are now interviewing him twice a day.

Professor Panarin seems to be a polite and cheerful man with a buzz cut and he insists he does not dislike Americans. But he warns that the outlook for us is dire.

“There’s a 45–55% chance right now that disintegration will occur. One could rejoice in that process. But if we’re talking reasonably, it’s not the best scenario—for Russia.”

Professor Panarin, who is 50 years old, is not a fringe figure. A former KGB analyst, he is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s academy for future diplomats. He is invited to Kremlin receptions, lectures students, publishes books, and appears in the media as an expert on U.S.–Russia relations.

Mr. Panarin posits, in brief, that mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the United States will break into six pieces—with Alaska reverting to Russian control.

Okay, question for you. Professor Panarin says that there is a 45–55% chance that the United States will collapse. Doesn’t that mean that there is a 45–55% chance that it won’t? I’m not great at math, heck, I’m probably not even considered good at math. But, with a 50/50 chance of collapse, I think my odds of predicting that America will not fail is just as valid.

Now, where are the members of the media to interview me? Any one? Any where? I’m waiting.

So, as you prepare for 2009, you’d best take advantage of the year. If Professor Panarin is correct, you have less than 1 ½ years before the fall.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

When I Say Fore, I Mean Fore!

I’m not a golfer. Never have been and never will be.

As a child, the only place to play golf in my hometown was at the country club. We were not members of the country club. So, no learning golf.

And now, well, I don’t have the time nor money to play golf. The expense of clubs and balls (and I would need hundreds of balls, that’s for sure), rental of a cart and green fees, well, the cost is simply prohibitive for me. And, who really has the time to give 4 or 5 hours to play 18 holes. I’d rather spend it with my family.

Maybe a mayor in the Philippines would have been smart to stay home. It seems that the mayor is being investigated for allegedly beating up a man and his 14-year-old son while golfing at a country club east of the capital of Manila, Agence France-Presse reported.

Nasser Pangandaman Jr., a town mayor and son of cabinet member Nasser Pangandaman, is being investigated after he, his brother, and their armed bodyguards allegedly beat up the two golfers Friday after jumping ahead of them to tee off.

The Pinoy pugilists reportedly punched and kicked the father and son as their bodyguards pulled guns on them to prevent other people breaking up the fight. The golfers were allegedly beaten again when they went to the clubhouse to file a complaint. President Gloria Arroyo has ordered the justice department to investigate the incident, according to the AFP.

That story certainly gives new meaning to letting others play through. I’ve heard of road rage. Is this golf rage? Or, maybe green rage?

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Troubled Economy



Our economy is in trouble. Is there anyone denying that?

If you are denying it now, just wait a few more months, and I can assume you’ll be recognizing the effects of the mortgage crisis, banking and auto bailout, and the increasing employment issues facing our country.

So, who’s fault is it?

I happen to be of the school that believes there is plenty of blame to go around! Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress are responsible for where we are now. Then again, so are millions of Americans who bought into the “easy money” lies that have been “preached” for decades and decades.

However, to no one’s surprise, the name calling has begun!

Just last week, the White House began pushing back hard against a New York Times article that essentially blamed President Bush for the sub-prime mortgage mess and the Wall Street collapse.

In a 5,000-word article in the Times on Sunday, under the headline, “White House Philosophy Stoked Mortgage Bonfire,” said Bush was also encouraging a “hands-off approach” to regulation that encouraged “lax” standards on behalf of lenders. “He pushed hard to expand homeownership, especially among minorities, an initiative that dovetailed with his ambition to expand the Republican tent—and with the business interests of some of his biggest donors,” the article said.

“That’s about as myopic as you can get,” White House spokesman Tony Fratto said in response.White House counselor Ed Gillespie lashed out at the Times for its interpretation of Bush’s housing policies. “They’ve had to mortgage their building in Manhattan to help make ends meet, and they’ve been reduced to junk-bond status. I don’t know if the New York Times’ shoddy reporting is the result of being in junk-bond status, or if their junk-bond status is what’s resulting in their shoddy reporting,” Gillespie said.

In fact, the Times’ article ignored a wealth of its own reporting, dating back to the era of Bill Clinton, whom the article mentioned only once, in passing. For example, in September 1999, the Times noted that, “Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stockholders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.” The 1999 piece went even further: “In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980’s.”

Likewise, the Times made no mention over the weekend of President Clinton’s aggressive deregulation of the financial services industry, which empowered banks, brokerage firms, and insurance companies to engage in some of the very practices—such as credit default swaps—that contributed most to the current fiscal crisis.

While the Times mentioned that mortgage bankers and brokers donated almost $850,000 to President Bush's 2004 reelection campaign, the newspaper omitted the fact that the top three recipients of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and its sister organization Freddie Mac over the last two decades were all Democrats. Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, head of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; President-elect Barack Obama; and Bush’s 2004 opponent John Kerry all benefited from Fannie and Freddie.

I hate shoddy reporting. I hate even worse when people with an agenda write about their opponents.

Let’s face it folks. The current economic situation didn’t happen during President Bush’s term in office. The problems leading to where we currently are began happening in the 1980s and 1990s.

So, writers, editors, and reporters can take the coward’s way out and blame President Bush (if they are more liberal) or President Clinton (if they are conservative). But for me and my house, we’ll go back to what I said at the beginning—there’s plenty of blame to go around!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

All the Christmas We Can Handle

Well, Evan didn't disappoint us with his reaction to his first Christmas. He enjoyed the trees, lights, presents, decorations, spending time with family and friends, and getting totally spoiled by everyone he saw.

However, by Saturday afternoon, we had to reel him back in just a little!

So, he found himself spending some time in "baby prison," I mean his baby play pen!



And no, I couldn't leave him in there for very long...not with a face like that!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wii-rry Christmas!



Well, just as everyone is settling into their Christmas presents, there are some people who aren’t enjoying their gift-giving!

It seems that up to ten people a week are being hospitalized with injuries caused by playing Nintendo Wii games, prompting doctors in Britain to issue warnings of the dangers associated with the video game system.

“There has been a 100 percent increase in patients complaining of Wii-it is,” Dr. Dev Mukerjee of Broomfield Hospital, Essex, told The Sun newspaper.

Most patients are admitted after playing tennis or running games which involve sudden movements, resulting in tendon stretching or tearing. “It’s possible Wii-itis may lead to rheumatism or arthritis later in life. Patients often have inflamation of the shoulder or wrist,” said Dr. Mukerjee.

Another common injury is dubbed Wii-knee, blamed on the bending of the knee from the Wii-Fit game. This involves a special platform and a series of movements ranging from yoga to strength-training moves. In extreme cases, the kneecap can be dislocated or pop out of joint.

Doctors treat Wii-knee with cortisone injections, icing, and anti-inflammatory painkillers. Treatment can last for three months.

Wow! Well, at least a Wii wasn’t under our tree on Christmas morning! That’s good news and bad news. I think, from watching the TV commercials, a Wii would be fun to play. I love video games and think I would enjoy this particular unit. However, I certainly don’t want to be rushing off to the hospital (again!). So, we’ll wait until Evan is a little older to consider purchasing a Wii or any other game console.

Any experience with a Wii? Playstation?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Does "O" Mean Obama or Oprah?


Is Oprah Winfrey going to be part of Barack Obama’s kitchen cabinet? Or is she just looking to buy her own kitchen cabinets?

The talk show giant is reportedly looking at ultra-luxury properties in Washington, DC; something suitable for, say, possible consultations with the President of the United States.

Insiders tell the New York Post that Winfrey’s people have been scouting a nine-bedroom mansion in D.C.’s swanky Georgetown neighborhood with a whopping price tag of $50 million.
“She has never personally been to see it,” another source tells the paper.

FOXNews.com researched listings in the area and found a single house that fits that description: a $49 million, nine-bedroom, four-bathroom mansion on three-and-a-half acres with parking for 100 cars, a gatehouse, and an additional building overlooking the Washington monument.

In case Oprah has any very special guests.

Question for the day: Do you think Michelle Obama or the American people should be more worried?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

To One and All

Merry Christmas From Our Family to Yours!

Steve, Tonya, Evan, and Peanut Heartsill

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Greatest Message of All



In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ
the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”


When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told (Luke 2:1–20 NIV).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Thank You Again for Your Prayers



I want to thank all of you for your prayers for Evan yesterday. We arrived at the hospital around 5:30 AM to fill out paperwork and to answer a dozen questions about Evan's health and our family history. At 7:08 AM, Evan was taken into surgery. By 7:18 AM, the doctor was in our room telling us that everything went fine.

Evan is doing great and seems to show no side effects to having tubes inserted.

Thank you for your prayers and well-wishes as he went through this.

The Cost of Being Fat



David Paterson is the governor of New York. He’s also become the brunt of numerous jokes on Saturday Night Live.

In Governor Paterson’s first state budget he has proposed a 2009–2010 budget that would increase spending by 1.1%, or $1.3 billion, to create a $121.1 billion spending plan.

Much of the growth is revenue from 88 new or higher fees and will hit New Yorkers in many areas, from downloading music to sipping drinks to fishing. One of the proposed hikes is a so-called “iPod tax,” which would tax the sale of downloaded music and other “digitally delivered entertainment services” by 4 percent. There also would be higher taxes on gas, taxi rides, cable and satellite TV service, cigars, beer, movie and sports tickets, and health spa visits, to name a few items.

Paterson seems to be fighting both obesity and budget deficits with a proposal for an 18% tax on soda and other sugary drinks containing less than 70% real fruit juice.

“People don’t really realize the amount of calories they’re ingesting through liquids,” said Joe Baker acting deputy secretary for Health and Human Services to the governor. “They say, ‘Oh, it’s just a drink.’”

According to state officials, almost one in four New Yorkers under age 18 are obese, and at higher risk for dangerous, expensive illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.

So, am I off my rocker here? Or, is this really none of government’s business? Should they being trying to tax people into doing what’s good for them? Or, is this just another way for government to tax people without most people even paying attention to it?

Monday, December 22, 2008

What's That in the Sky? Santa?



Here’s a story to warm even the coldest heart toward being generous at Christmas time.

It seems that Russia has decided to give 10 MiG-29 fighter jets to Lebanon as a gift.

Mikhail Dmitriyev, the head of Russia’s Federal Military and Technical Cooperation Service, is also quoted as saying Moscow and Beirut are in talks on selling Lebanon armor for its ground forces.

“Russia’s Defense Ministry has decided to supply 10 of its MiG-29 fighters to Lebanon as a form of military and technical assistance,” Dmitriyev was quoted as saying.

And, here I was hoping for some candy in my stocking this year! I’ve definitely set my sites too low on the generosity of others!

Anyone else like to ask for a jet for Christmas?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Did They Really Have to Tell Us This?



A new map has been created to plot deaths resulting from forces of nature. The new map reveals where “Mother Nature” is most likely to kill you.

Yes, according to the news story on Fox News, Mother Nature has now taken ownership of killing people, or maybe Mother Nature is being accused of it, anyway.

Interested in knowing more?

The report says that people living in the South along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts have a higher likelihood of dying from a natural hazard compared to residents of the Great Lakes area and urbanized Northeast. [I wonder how many years these scientists had to go to school to realize that. And, how much government research money went into the study.]

And while intense hurricanes and tornadoes steal headlines for their intense winds and overall destruction, the new map shows what other previous studies have found, that everyday hazards, such as severe winter and summer weather, and heat account for the majority of natural hazard deaths in the United States.

“This work will enable research and emergency management practitioners to examine hazard deaths through a geographic lens,” said researcher Susan Cutter of the University of South Carolina, Columbia. “Using this as a tool to identify areas with higher than average hazard deaths can justify allocation of resources to these areas with the goal of reducing loss of life.”
Cutter and Kevin Borden, also of the University of South Carolina, Columbia, analyzed nationwide data from 1970 to 2004.

In addition to the South having high mortality from natural hazards, other risky areas included the northern Great Plains region where heat and drought were the biggest killers and the Rocky Mountain region (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico) with winter weather and floods as top killers. The south-central United States is also a dangerous area, with floods and tornadoes posing the greatest threats.

Did we need a study to tell us any of that? It’s almost like saying, “If you jump into the pool, you will get wet!” If you live in the Rocky Mountains, you will get snow and cold weather, really? Are you shocked? If you live in the South, you’ll experience hurricanes and tornadoes? Again, really? Do these scientists think we’ve all just fallen off the turnip truck?

Next thing you know, they’ll prove my mother right: if you play with matches, you’ll get burned!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Global Warming Reality



Winter storm conditions swept across the nation this week as frigid temperatures, sleet, and snow wreaked havoc on residents from New Jersey to Nevada. The arctic air that blustered across the Midwest and West on Monday, dropping temperatures 30 degrees in an hour in some places, came to the East and South. Snow and sleet warnings were in effect for much of the day for parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Colorado, Utah, Nebraska, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and the Washington, D.C., area.

Forecasters in northern Illinois got 6 inches of snow and temperatures at the bitterly low depths seen Monday, when stiff, steady winds held wind chills at or near zero. “There were some locations across the central U.S. that went from 50 to the teens,” said National Weather Service meteorologist, Stephen Rodriguez. “It was a sharp, strong cold front that moved through.”

The cold air mass slammed into northern Texas early Tuesday, prompting officials to shutter some overpasses because of treacherous driving conditions. Snow and freezing rain fell across parts of Kentucky early Tuesday and forecasters warned morning commuters of slick roads.

The storm and ensuing cold have been blamed for at least 10 deaths since the weekend. An avalanche in Colorado claimed the life of a Ski Patrol member, and exposure probably killed an 87-year-old man found outside his Montana nursing home. Weather-related car accidents were responsible for a death in Illinois and two deaths each in Minnesota and Missouri. Three traffic deaths were attributed to the weather in Oklahoma.

Thermometers read 31 below Monday in Glasgow, Montana, and the wind chill was 45 below, the Weather Service said. The Texas Panhandle had lows in the single digits, and Goodland, Kansas, registered a record low of -10. Record lows Monday included -19 in Denver, where the previous December 15 record of -6 was set in 1951; and -16 at Sidney, Nebraska.

Monday’s 19-degree low temperature at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was the coldest for the date in 60 years, the National Weather Service said. Monday was the coldest December 15 ever in Oklahoma City, with the previous coldest high for the date, 19 degrees, having been recorded in 1901.

So, can anyone tell me where all of this global warming is taking place? Anyone? Anywhere? I wonder, how long will it take for some TV reporter to say, “Well, as another proof of global warming, the weather has turned extremely cold, but we expect it to warm up dramatically by spring—once again showing how real global warming really is!”

I can hear it now!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stupid Is As Stupid Does



Sometimes, I just don’t understand people. Even more so, there are times that I just don’t understand parents! Here’s a case in point why.

The father of 3-year-old Adolf Hitler Campbell, who was denied a birthday cake with the child’s full name on it by one New Jersey supermarket, is asking for a little tolerance.

Heath Campbell and his wife, Deborah, are upset not only with the decision made by the nearby ShopRite, but also with an outpouring of angry Internet postings in response to a local newspaper article about the cake.

Heath Campbell, who is 35, said in an interview Tuesday that people should look forward, not back, and accept change. “They need to accept a name. A name’s a name. The kid isn’t going to grow up and do what [Hitler] did,” he said.

After ShopRite refused the request for the cake as inappropriate, the Campbells got a cake decorated at a Wal-Mart in Pennsylvania, Deborah Campbell said.

About 12 people attended the birthday party on Sunday, according to Heath Campbell.
The Campbells’ other two children also have unusual names: JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell turns 2 in a few months and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell will be 1 in April.

Heath Campbell said he named his son after Adolf Hitler because he liked the name and because “no one else in the world would have that name.”

Campbell said his ancestors are German and that he has lived all his life in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, which is across the Delaware River from Easton.

You know, I’m all in favor of freedom of speech and freedom to make your own decisions.

But, there are just some parents who don’t need to have children!

Heath and Deborah Campbell fall into that category!

Adolf Hitler, Aryan Nation, and Honszlynn Hinler—poor children.

While I hope they don’t grow up to do the things Hitler did, I do know a few kids that are going to suffer on the playground, in school, and in life. Why? Because of a stupid decision by stupid parents to name their children this way.

Sick. Sick. Sick.

Is That Ringing I Hear?


[Article and above photo taken from MSNBC earlier this week]
[The following article is long. If you don’t have time to read it now, I fully understand, but you will definitely want to come back, read it, and then comment (and maybe comment some more). We live in an absolutely fallen world, if you didn’t know that. This article shows just how far we have fallen, in my opinion!]

Cell phones.

We take them with us to the dinner table, the bedroom, even the bathroom stall. But in recent years, some of us have started taking our beloved cell phones someplace really startling: the grave.

“It seems that everyone under 40 who dies takes their cell phone with them,” says Noelle Potvin, family service counselor for Hollywood Forever, a funeral home and cemetery in Hollywood, California. “It’s a trend with BlackBerrys, too. We even had one guy who was buried with his Game Boy.”

Anecdotal evidence suggests being buried with a favorite tech device is on the upswing. The Future Laboratory, a London-based think tank, has commented on the behavior, noting it in places like the United Kingdom, Australia, and South Africa. But experts are seeing it happen in the United States as well.

Ed Defort, publisher and editorial director for American Funeral Director magazine, says it’s a definite trend. “I’ve even heard of cases where people are being buried with their iPod. Or one guy who was prepared for his viewing with his Bluetooth (headset) in his ear.”

But it’s the cell phone, in particular, that seems to be the burial gadget of choice.

While statistics on cell phone burials don’t exist, funeral professionals agree it’s a fairly common occurrence—at least among the tech-savvy and the young—and some believe we’re only seeing the tip of the wired-to-the-end trend. “It really started happening within the last five or six years,” says Frank Perman, owner and funeral director of Frank R. Perman Funeral Home, Inc. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “But I expect it to grow exponentially, especially with the price of technology getting so low. It’s not that big of a deal to bury somebody’s cell phone.”


Why, exactly, are people going to the grave with their gadgets? Experts say there are a number of reasons. Some do it for the same reason people have always tucked mementos into a casket (or tomb, as in the case of King Tut). People want to surround themselves (or their loved ones) with the things they hold dear, whether that’s their cell phone and headset or some family photos, a fishing rod, a piece of treasured jewelry. “A lot of people say the phone represents the person, that it is part of their legacy,” says Potvin of Hollywood Forever. “It’s an extension of them, like their class ring.”

Others do it as a way to provide comfort — both to themselves and the departed. “I’ve seen family members place iPod earphones on the decedent and play songs as the casket closed,” says Pam Vetter, a Los Angeles funeral planner who helps create more personalized services for families. “It’s comforting to the family to think mom’s playing her iPod or dad’s still got the cell phone that was attached to his ear all the time,” she said. “It’s comforting to think those things are still with them.”

The notion of staying connected also seems to play into being buried with one’s mobile. “I’ve seen people leave cell phones on and tell me they’re going to call their loved one later,” says Vetter. “Not that anyone will answer, but they want to have that connection. I’m sure the family gathers around the phone when they call. They feel connected with that person because it’s their phone, but at the same time it helps them realize that a death has occurred.”

When Manhattan criminal defense attorney John Jacobs died in 2005, his wife, Marion Seltzer, not only buried him with his phone and a fully charged battery, she continues to pay the monthly phone bill and even calls him on occasion (since the battery’s now dead, the calls immediately go into Jacobs’ voicemail). She also had his cell phone number carved onto his headstone so others can call him, too.

Frank Perman says phone calls to the dead aren’t that uncommon. “We had a young man die this past summer and they put his cell phone in the casket for the viewing and it rang constantly,” he says. “It was turned to silent, but you could see the phone light up so you knew people were calling. And they were leaving messages. They knew he was dead, but they were still calling.”

Ring tones have even become a sort of 21st century funeral tribute, says Defort of American Funeral Director magazine. “Some people will call the deceased just as they’re lowering the coffin into the ground,” he says. “It’ll be prearranged and you’ll hear a faint ring. It’s like the new version of ‘Taps’ for people who are identified as being on the phone all the time.”

While funeral professionals cite many reasons why people are taking their phones with them to the grave, being “saved by the bell” should they accidentally be buried alive doesn’t appear to be one of them. “The fear of being buried alive isn’t too prevalent in this day and age,” says Michael Regina, CEO and founder of FuneralDecisions.com.

“Obviously, back in the 1800s that was a huge fear and they actually (attached) bells to the caskets so if a person woke up they could ring the bell and let people know they weren’t dead. But today, people take phones with them because they’re a part of them.”

Would burying someone with their cell phone comfort you? A survey of 100,000 people last year by the British charity Age Concern (sort of the AARP of England), seems to suggest both possibilities, though. Of the top eight common funeral rite requests, being buried with a mobile phone came in at No. 2 (immediately after a request to be cremated with a pet’s ashes). After that, people wanted someone to “ensure they are dead,” and hold “a mirror over the face to check for signs of breathing.”

Penny Sansevieri, a 44-year-old publicist from San Diego, California, says she already takes her BlackBerry with her everywhere, so taking it with her into the great beyond doesn’t seem that strange. “My BlackBerry is like a third arm,” she says. “Why wouldn’t I be buried with it?”

Funeral professionals are only too happy to comply these days, as long as people don’t try to cremate gadgets along with anyone’s remains. “You can’t cremate any kind of electronic device like a cell phone or hearing aid or pacemaker,” says Perman. “The battery will explode. If a family wants the cell phone with a person who’s being cremated, I’ll put it in the urn afterwards.”

As for those who want to stay wired in the afterlife but are worried about high-tech toxic waste? Sony Ericsson, Nokia and LG Electronics have all come out with cell phones that are somewhat green!

Okay, dear readers. Thanks for sticking with this story until the very end. I know I am probably out of touch. Even though I was a pastor for 20 years, I’ve not pastored a church for the last 7. I know times changes. Even in Alabama, times changes, slowly, but they still change. But, cell phones and iPods in the casket? Gameboys? Are you kidding me? Paying the monthly service fees so that you can call and leave a message for the deceased?

Here’s the question for you? Have you attended a funeral where the deceased had their cell phone or iPod with them? Was it stuck in their ear? Or attached to their hip?

Second question for you: Would you consider taking these items with you into the grave? If so, why? If not, why not?

Let the discussion begin! This ought to be interesting!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Verdict is In--The Ears Have It



Well, the verdict is in! After 5 ear infections in the last couple of months, it is time for Evan to have tubes put in!

I took Evan to the doctor early this morning, and with little surprise, he has another ear infection! The doctor said, "Yes, it's time!"

So, early Monday morning, my little buddy will have a 4 minute procedure to place tubes in his ears.

What is it with Mondays and the Heartsill family!

Anyway, keep him in your prayers. And, since you will be praying anyway, remember Evan's mother and father as well...we'll need your prayers as well...we're kind of fond of the little guy, if you can't tell!

Do You Smell That?



This story is just in, just in time for your last minute Christmas decorating!

Are you tired of decking your halls with boughs of holly? (Are you not even certain what a bough of holly is?) If so, do I have a solution for you!

A woman at the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington, Illinois, has a new item to use to decorate your tree—reindeer poop!

You know, nothing says Christmas like a tree full of reindeer poop!

According to the Chicago Tribune, Susie Ohley, the marketing director for the Miller Park Zoo, collects reindeer dung from work and takes it home, where she lovingly fashions beautiful Christmas ornaments out of the piles of pilfered poop. And then—and this is the best part, she sells them.

And people buy them!

With actual money.

Quit laughing! Yes, I’m being serious.

Call me crazy, but I can think of a much easier way to decorate one’s tree than with poop! It doesn’t require a middle man or $5. I’m just saying.

After all, we have a dog! Heck, we even have a 10-month-old! We’ve got plenty of poop coming out of that little body!

Anyway, here’s how this woman makes the ornaments. The dung is collected, and then it is dried, painted, and sometimes rolled in glitter (why not). Ohley calls her poop trinkets “magical reindeer gem ornaments.” I guess that sounds better than what it really is!

I wonder, is it too late to place an order that will arrive in time for Christmas. Maybe my blogger friend Phil (who lives in Chicago) could pick up an order and overnight it to me!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Big Brother (or Big Sister) is Watching



You’d best be careful with your Facebook account. Yes, seriously. I’m not taking about posting naked pictures of yourself. Even though that wouldn’t be very smart. I’m talking something even more serious.

In Canberra, Australia, an attorney has used the popular networking Web site Facebook to notify a couple that they lost their home after defaulting on a loan. The Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court last Friday approved lawyer Mark McCormack’s application to use Facebook to serve the legally binding documents after several failed attempts to contact the couple at the house and by email.

Australian courts have given permission in the past for people to be served via email and text messages when it was not possible to serve them in person.

The lender’s application to take back the house in the capital, Canberra, was approved on October 3 after the couple failed to appear in court. The lender was then required to serve the so-called default judgment on the couple before it could seize the property. “It’s somewhat novel, however we do see it as a valid method of bringing the matter to the attention of the defendant,” said McCormack, who represents a mortgage lender.

Facebook has become a wildly popular online hangout, attracting more than 140 million users worldwide since it launched in 2004. Facebook friends can “poke” or “superpoke” each other—terms for giving someone a playful nudge.

In the latest ruling, Master David Harper insisted that the documents be attached to a private email sent via Facebook that could not be seen by others visiting the pages. McCormack said he and a colleague found the woman’s Facebook page using personal details that she had given the lender including her birth date and email address. The man was listed on her page as a friend.

So, what do you think? Is that fair? Is that a fair use of Facebook?

I’m fairly new to Facebook. What’s the best use of it that you have found? Any problems you’ve encountered?

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm Home!

Well, I'm home!

At 6:45 AM Central time...I'm home from the hospital.

And, as if I needed to tell you this, God is good!

The cath went well. The doctor spent about 15-20 minutes looking around. Apparently, my abnormal cath turned out to be nothing more than a "false positive."

In laymen's terms, I think that means it showed something that really wasn't there!

I'm great. No blockages. No stents. No surgery. No nothing!

The doctor said that at this rate, I won't have another cath for several decades!

I'm holding him to that promise!

Thanks for all of the prayers and well wishes. You guys are the best!

Monday Morning



Hello!

Thanks for stopping by.

As you read this I am, well, I don't really know when you will be reading this. If it is December 15, and after 8:00 AM, I am at the hospital having a heart cath performed on me.

I suppose you could be reading this at 1:00 AM on December 15, and hopefully, I am sleeping, even though there's a good chance I am tossing and turning in my bed.

But, then again, you may have stumbled upon my blog on April 12, 2009, and my strong hope is that you will find a few hundreds more posts added since this one posted on December 15!

So, for whatever reason and on whatever day, I'm glad you stopped by my blog site. I don't really know why I blog, well, I have a few ideas of why and what I hope to accomplish. To be honest with you, most days I just like sharing a story or two that will make you laugh, smile, think, or simply want to respond back with a comment or two.

While I may not always understand my purpose in blogging, I do know this about my blog, I love networking with all kinds of people who stop by. Some comment, most do not. Either way is fine with me, even though I really do like chatting with those who comment.

Today, there probably won't be much chatting on my side, at least not on my blog. This morning, I'm heading off to the hospital to have my heart cath (I'm getting old, I've already said that). The doctor said it would happen around 10:00 AM, Central Time. If you are a Christ follower, a prayer would be appreciated, nothing too long, the Lord has many more important things to do today, so just a short one will be fine and appreciated.

I hope to be back home tonight and if my wife will let me hold our laptop for a few minutes, I'll jot a note to you and let you know how I've done. If she won't, well, it will be later before I can communicate. Tonya is rather short, but she really packs a punch!

So, nothing I have shared today will make you smile or laugh or probably even think. But, maybe for just a moment, we shared a moment of our journey together. Our life. Ourselves. Just a piece.

Hopefully, I'll be back shortly. Just being myself. And, enjoying life.

See you.

Either here or There!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Will Not Be Moved!

I have stumbled. I have fallen. I have failed. I have worried. I have been afraid. I've been mean. I've doubted. I've been less than God created me to be me. I've been nothing like God wants me to be.

But, no matter how terrible my failures, God has given me a solid rock to stand on! That rock is Jesus Christ. My Savior. My Lord. My Redeemer. My Friend. My God.

I will not be moved from that rock. I will hold to it. I will cling to it. I refuse to let go.

Natalie Grant says it far better than I can.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Is There? Is There Not?



No Virginia, there’s not a Santa Claus.

At least that’s true in a classroom in Britain.

Parents have flooded a British primary school with complaints after a teacher told a room of tearful seven-year-olds that “it’s your parents who leave out presents on Christmas Day,” The Daily Mail reported.

Outraged parents were sent a letter saying the substitute teacher at Blackshaw Lane Primary School in Royton, Greater Manchester, had been disciplined.

The class of 25 allegedly became rowdy talking about Santa Claus and the teacher blurted out that he did not exist in an effort to calm them down, The Mail reported.

“My son came home and said that his substitute teacher had told the class that Santa doesn’t exist,” one father told The Mail. “I thought it was wrong. He was distraught about it. He’s only seven-years-old and it’s part of the magic of Christmas to him.”

What do you think? Was the substitute wrong for what he/she did?

What should parents tell children about Santa?

Are the rules any different for Christ followers?

What did you tell your children?

If you could share any wisdom with me about Santa, now having a 10-month-old son, what would it be?

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Results are In



Last week, I asked for prayer.

As many of you know, I've been on a journey for the last two months. On October 13, I had a heart attack. After a heart cath, balloon, and four days in the hospital, all has been well, for the most part.

My first doctor's visit was two weeks after my heart attack. Everything was normal, about as normal and boring as could be. The doctor next scheduled a stress test, to make certain everything was okay. Normal procedure. Standard procedure. Just checking.

Last week, I had that stress test. You know. Wear gym clothes, comfortable shoes, then get on a treadmill from hell? That stress test.

Fairly quickly, I knew everything wasn't quite normal. An irregular heartbeat. I knew that was coming. I had felt it. I had felt it for four weeks. So, no shock. And from what I had read, nothing out of the ordinary. It's almost expected. In many patients. I thought I would see the doctor that day, but was told, "No, you will have the results in a day or two."

Their mistake. I was supposed to see the doctor. The technician made a mistake.

Well, I waited 8 days for the results from the doctor. Not quite "a day or two."

I'm terrible at waiting. That's what I posted about, other than asking for prayer.

Today, I have the results.

Maybe I should have been more patient. Maybe I should have waited longer.

The results aren't terrible. Not as bad as they could be. But, something was "abnormal" in my stress test. Don't you love that word: abnormal. What does it mean? What does it remind you of?

It reminds me of the Young Dr. Frankenstein movie--the abby normal brain--remember that scene?

Now, something was found that is abnormal. And this time, I'm not laughing. Not crying either. But, not bouncing off the ceiling in joy. This time, it's my heart that is abby normal.

I find myself waiting again. Until Monday. At 8:00 AM, I return to the hospital for another heart cath. The doctor wants to see what's going on inside my heart. The best way is from the inside. A heart cath is the easiest way to do that. Beats a long incision from my neck to groan area, and another one on my leg.

The options of what the doctor might find are several: from a new clot to an enlarging of the one the doctor left behind. The doctor doesn't know. I don't know either. So, he waits. And, I wait. I have a feeling this isn't as much of a concern to the doctor as it is to me and my wife.

I'm not worried. I'm really not. I trust my doctor. I believe in the hospital that I will be admitted to. And, more importantly, I believe in my Heavenly Father who knows what is best for me.

I'll know more Monday afternoon. If everything goes well, I'll be home then. If it is a little more complicated, I'll be home Tuesday.

Either way, you know I'll post about it!

Thanks for reading.

Pray. I would appreciate that too. Tonya would appreciate it even more!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Price of Looking Good for Eternity



I may have heard it all now!

As you know, there’s been a recent boom in cosmetic procedures, all in hopes that we will look better for a little longer.

And, it turns out, the dead are no exception.

As the population has becoming increasingly sophisticated about procedures to enhance their appearance, so have their requests, morticians say, for smoothing lines, plumping lips and even boosting sagging parts for that last big special occasion—their funeral.

“People used to say, just throw me in a pine box and bury me in the back yard,” says Mark Duffey, president and CEO of Everest Funeral, a national funeral planning and concierge service. “But that’s all changing. Now people want to be remembered. A funeral is their last major event and they want to look good for it. I’ve even had people say, ‘I want you to get rid of my wrinkles and make me look younger’.”

Morticians have always performed a bit of cosmetic magic when it comes to recapturing the lifelike appearance of a person who’s passed on. What's happening now, however, is some people are making advance arrangements for these final touches and in ways they never used to even think about.

“I’ve had people mention that they want their breasts to look perky when they’re dead,” says David Temrowski, funeral director of Temrowski & Sons Funeral Home in Warren, Michigan. “Or they’ll say, ‘Can you get these wrinkles out?’

These recent cosmetic concerns come as no surprise to Dr. Anthony Youn, a Michigan-based plastic surgeon who’s practiced in Beverly Hills, California, and appeared on the television show “Dr. 90210.”

“Society is unfortunately getting more and more vain as time goes on,” says Youn. “Fifty years ago, no one would have thought about how good they’re going to look when they die, but now that’s probably something the ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’ talk about. If they die, they want to look good in their casket. It’ll be one last time to show off their new outfit and their plumped lips.”

What do you think? Would you go this far to look good in your casket?

When you think about it, what’s different about having these procedures done after death and before going to your final resting spot? Isn’t vanity vanity?

Share your thoughts. I’d love to hear your opinion.
Tonya and I love Christmas ornaments!

We really do.

Every year, when we go on vacation, one of the "must have" purchases in the city we are visiting is a new Christmas ornament. Then, at Christmastime, that new ornament is placed front and center so we can see it and enjoy it.

We also have purchased a number of other ornaments that have special significance to us.

Our dog, Peanut, really is a part of our family. We've had her 5 years now and she is the best dog you could ever have. A couple of years ago, we added an ornament for Peanut.



As I've written about previously in other blog posts, I used to serve as a volunteer fireman. So, this next ornament means a great deal to me. And, oh, how I would love to drive this truck!



And, just for fun, here's a cute snowman fireman.




Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pesky Underarm Hair (Or is that Hare?)

Okay, this story is important. So, please, stop what you are doing. Sit up straight. And read. This story may change the way you view the rest of your day.

If you regularly forget to shave your underarms, a new product headed for drugstores in England could work well for you. A deodorant that promises to slow the growth of underarm hair will go on sale next month, London’s Daily Mail reported.

The deodorant Sure Dove Hair Minimizing, made by Unilever, which manufactures American-based products like Slimfast and Vaseline, comes in a roll-on and sprayform.

The company said women should notice a difference after four weeks of use, however, if they stop using the product, the hair will grow back.

The deodorant is not intended to replace shaving, but it will reduce skin irritation caused by ingrown hairs, the company claims. It will also make the hair less noticeable and easier to remove.

The deodorant should only be used in the underarm area, according to the report.

Now, ladies, I appreciate how important this is to you. (Since the article only addresses women, I will limit my comments to just you.) And, trust me, I see the value in the product—if it works, that is.

But, what I wish this company would work on is a roll-on or spray that WILL GROW hair on your head! Now, that would be a good investment! I’d even wait for four weeks for it to start working!

I’m thinking about starting a write-in campaign to Unilever for just such a product! Do I have any takers—other than Bill, of course?

Christmas Is Good, But the Best Is Yet to Come

While Christmas is one of my favorite holidays and I doubt that anyone is more excited than I am to decorate for the celebration, I always approach Christmas with a little different view about what the season means. You see, Christmas is not an end in itself. Christmas is the beginning of the story.

If you put Christmas into the perspective of a book, Christmas would be Chapter 1, or maybe even the Introduction or foreword.

Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Deity becoming flesh. Christmas is about about a baby breaking through history, at a certain place and time.

But, we can't lose sight of the fact that Christmas would mean little if we didn't have another chapter/holiday--Easter!

The empty cross and the empty tomb demonstrated God's love for all of us!

While I will celebrate Christmas and enjoy the focus on Jesus' birth, I will not forget the true extent of God's love for me, as He allowed His Son to die for my sins.

We place a cross (see below) on our tree to remind us of another tree, placed on a hillside, stained with the blood of our Savior. A cross that I deserved to die on, but instead, God allowed His only Son to shed His blood for me, for my sins, for my unworthiness, on that cross.

The manger is special. The little baby Jesus is sweet, cute, and demonstrates to us God's desire to be a part of our world. But, the cross, the empty cross and the empty grave demonstrate the full extent that God would go to rescue us.

May your Christmas season be filled with not only the birth of Jesus Christ, but also with an understanding of His life, death, and resurrection.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas is Just Around the Corner



How can you refuse a face like that?

I Can't Make This Stuff Up


Governmental officials. You can’t really make up stories about them that are as funny as real life! You just can’t. They seem to do the dumbest things...and they really do seem to think they can get away with it! It almost seems to be their entitlement.

Take this story for example. A top Homeland Security official in Boston was accused last week of repeatedly hiring illegal immigrants to clean her home, even warning one not to leave the country “cause once you leave, you will never be back.”

Lorraine Henderson, the regional director of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, was arrested last Friday at her home in Salem. She later was ordered released on $25,000 unsecured bond during her initial appearance in federal court on a charge of harboring an illegal alien. If convicted, Henderson faces up to 10 years in prison. She declined comment at her court appearance.

As part of her duties as Boston Area Port Director, Henderson was responsible for stopping illegal immigrants from entering the country through all air and sea international ports in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. She also commanded 190 armed and uniformed border protection officers.

According to an eight-page affidavit, Henderson employed a Brazilian housekeeper who was an illegal immigrant for several years, paying her between $75 and $80 per visit, less than a legal cleaning service costs. She also allegedly hired two other illegal immigrants when the woman took a break to have a baby, even after a fellow agent warned her what she was doing was against the law.

Despite repeated warnings, Ms. Henderson continued to use this housekeeper and other illegal aliens over the course of the last three or four years.

Okay, this story really is sad, isn’t it? The person in charge of protecting our borders and nation refused to follow the rules that the rest of us must live by.

At the least, this woman should be fired. At the best, serious jail time ought to be involved here. Or, at least that’s my opinion.

What do you think?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Are You Really Surprised?


A college student posing as a pregnant 13-year-old was told at a Planned Parenthood clinic to lie about the age of her baby’s father to skirt Indiana laws on parental consent for abortion and on reporting child sex abuse.

According to a report in the Washington Times, Lila Rose, 20, went undercover as a 13-year old named “Brianna,” who said she was pregnant by a 31-year old man. Rose, president of a pro-life organization at UCLA, recorded the interaction with a hidden camera.

The video shows “Diana,” a nurse at Planned Parenthood in Bloomington, Indiana, telling Brianna that she is required to report the pregnancy to Child Protective Services, because it “could be reported as rape.” But she goes on to tell Brianna that if she lies about the age and identity of her baby’s father, she can avoid turning him in.

“I didn’t hear the age. I don’t want to know the age,” Diana says in the video. She tells Brianna, “You’ve seen him around, you know he’s 14, he’s in your grade and whatever. You know what I mean?” The nurse also is seen giving Brianna information on where to get an abortion in Illinois, where parental notification laws are not enforced.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana suspended the nurse on Wednesday, the Times said, and issued a statement. “We are deeply concerned about the content of the video. ... The apparent actions of the employee would be in violation of our strict policies and procedures,” Betty Cockrum, the state chapter’s president, said in the statement. The organization said it would investigate the incident.

While I appreciate the fact that this nurse has been suspended, I do have to wonder just how many times incidents like this go unreported at Planned Parenthood. I would believe that this isn’t the first time this nurse gave this same advice—to lie, to do whatever was necessary to end an innocent baby’s life.

I suppose if you can justify murdering a baby, then lying about the father’s age is nothing!

The Angels Sang


Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?

Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

See Him in a manger laid,
Whom the choirs of angels praise;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While our hearts in love we raise.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Practical Christmas Gifts

Since few people read my blog on Sunday and I'm on a roll with showing Jeff Foxworthy video clips, why not take a moment to watch this short 1:17 clip. It may just have a good point.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Time is Coming!

Christmas is just around the corner! We are in full decorating mode around our house!

Tonya loves to decorate and I love watching her do it. And, of course, helping!

Here's a picture of our live tree. The camera doesn't really do it justice!



Our mantle is coming along nicely. Four stockings. Mine is the red one (obviously, since it has my name on it). Tonya's is the green stocking with red stars. Evan's is the green one with the curly toe. And, Peanut's is the blue one with bones. As I said, Tonya loves decorating, and even making our stockings!



Evan is loving Christmas so far! And, believe it or not, he's not even bothered the tree (yet).

More pictures to come! Soon!





What is God's Role in Our Security?



A group of atheists filed a lawsuit this past Tuesday seeking to remove part of a state anti-terrorism law that requires Kentucky’s Office of Homeland Security to acknowledge it can’t keep the state safe without God’s help. American Atheists Inc. sued in state court over a 2002 law that stresses God’s role in Kentucky’s homeland security alongside the military, police agencies, and health departments.

Of particular concern is a 2006 clause requiring the Office of Homeland Security to post a plaque that says the safety and security of the state “cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon almighty God” and to stress that fact through training and educational materials. The plaque, posted at the Kentucky Emergency Operations Center in Frankfort, includes the Bible verse: “Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”

“It is one of the most egregiously and breathtakingly unconstitutional actions by a state legislature that I’ve ever seen,” said Edwin F. Kagin, national legal director of Parsippany, N.J.-based American Atheists Inc. The group claims the law violates both the state and U.S. constitutions.

But Democratic State Representative Tom Riner, a Baptist minister from Louisville, said he considers it vitally important to acknowledge God’s role in protecting Kentucky and the nation.

“No government by itself can guarantee perfect security,” Riner said. “There will always be this opposition to the acknowledgment of divine providence, but this is a foundational understanding of what America is.”

What do you think?

My thoughts may well run in direct opposition to yours. If that’s the case, that’s okay. You are free (ain’t America great) to disagree with me and my opinion. I don’t moderate your comments—but I am always free to comment about your comment. After all, this is MY blog. And, if you don’t like my blog direction, I know what you’ll do—you’ll stop reading it. That’s just reality.

My wife is a native of Kentucky. I know a little of how the state operates and what their motivations are in laws like this.

While I know and acknowledge God’s ability to provide security, whether at home, school, work, in our nation, or around the world, I don’t think it is necessary to have this plastered on the walls of a governmental office or becoming a law of the state. I don’t have to see it engraved in stone to know the value of God’s provision. I know it from the Bible and from my walk with Him. I don’t need the government telling me what God says.

We are free, as Christ followers, to pray for God’s protection. We are free to seek, as a body of believers—His church, His protection, guidance, strength, etc. That is our right as believers, and fortunately, in America, we have that freedom as well.

However, does that mean that we should mandate our values or views or beliefs upon others? Do we have the right to impose our faith on them? Mandating our faith? Our Scriptures? Our views? I don’t think so.

Here’s a second thought. Did you notice that the representative who sponsored the bill was a “Baptist minister?” [Disclaimer: I’m Baptist. And, in a former life, was a Baptist minister.] Some readers will say, “Well, the representative meant well. He was simply living out his faith. He’s brought his faith into his job serving the public.”

Now, what if the representative had been a Muslim cleric? Would you feel any different? What if he had been a Hindu priest? Buddhist Monk?

In a land of freedom, a Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist would have the right—as they should—to recommend that a plaque be hung, including their sacred Scripture. Does that bother you? Should it only be “Christians” that have a right to have their Scriptures on display?

I personally don’t want laws mandating faith to be the laws of the land. I really don’t.

Okay. There you have it. You’ve got the facts of the story. You’ve now heard my thoughts. All that remains is what you think. I can’t wait to read your comments.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My One and Only


Well, today is a historic day around the Heartsill household. It is a day I never saw coming! I really didn't. I was completely surprised by this day. And yet, at the same time, I am so very honored to be alive to see it. Normally, you are dead and gone before something like this happens to you.
Just this afternoon, at 1:00 PM Eastern time, I accepted the award that you see pictured to the left. My GREAT blogger friend Heidi awarded the prize to me (I won't mention the fact that she also awarded like a million other prizes, and that Bill and I had to beg to get something--but, I am getting off subject here).
My acceptance speech is located in her comment section. As you have a moment, please click on the link above and read her blog post and my comment. As you do so, you'll be helping me overcome my competition for another month and be in line for another award--if and when she presents another one.
Folks, I need your help. The revolution has begun and it shouldn't stop now. Click on Heidi's link and be sure to let her know you came because of my suggestion.
Thanks for your help!
Steve

The Real Christmas Spirit



Now, I’m really in the Christmas spirit!

The following story just does it for me. See if the story doesn’t do the same thing to you.

The story is from Parrish, Florida. Authorities say a west Florida man who lives with his parents has been arrested on a felony assault charge after he used a Christmas tree as a weapon to attack his father.

[Why don’t you re-read that paragraph. It’ll just warm you inside out. I just know it.]

According to the Manatee County sheriff’s report, 37-year-old Thomas Edward Lackie was arrested last week after he threw a 3-foot Christmas tree at his father. The tree missed, but Lackie then tried to use the steel base from the tree to strike his father.

[Again, re-read that paragraph. You’ll remember from the first paragraph in the story that this man lives with his mother and father. You learn from the second paragraph that the man is 37-years-old! 37! That’s just wrong.]

[You also learn that he tried to hit his father with a 3-foot Christmas tree. I’m sorry, how much Christmas spirit can you really have if you are putting up a 3-foot tree?]

His father and mother were able to grab Lackie’s arms to prevent the attack. Deputies say the tree could have caused serious injuries because the metal base weighs about five pounds.

Lackie was charged with felony assault. He denied trying to strike his father.

Are you surprised he denied trying to hit his father? I’m not.

Well, my holiday season is now almost complete. This story just did it for me. I really think I need to go out and find another tree to add to our decorations. I think I’ll make it a red one—after all, I’m quite sure Mr. Lackie was seeing red as he tried to hit his father!

How Slow Will You Go?



Outgoing Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin is pushing for action in December on a plan to offer free, pornography-free wireless Internet service to all Americans.

The free Internet plan is the most controversial issue the agency will tackle in December.

The proposal to allow a no-smut, free wireless Internet service is part of a proposal to auction off a chunk of airwaves. The winning bidder would be required to set aside a quarter of the airwaves for a free Internet service. The winner could establish a paid service that would have a fast wireless Internet connection. The free service could be slower and would be required to filter out pornography and other material not suitable for children.

So, here’s the question of the day for my faithful blog readers: Would you sign up for slower Internet service so that you could also filter out porn? I know the easy answer is, “Yes, sure I would.” But, think about it a minute. Would it slow down your pictures, downloading music, uploading blogs, etc.? Would that make a difference in how you decided?

Tell me your thoughts.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hurry Up and Wait


[The picture above isn't me! It is from Google. But, the leads, monitor, and blood pressure cuff look identical to what I used today.]

I'll confess.

I'm not very good at waiting.

Never have been. And, even after a heart attack on October 13, I'm not much better at it.

I really don't like to wait when I go out to eat. I don't like to wait at the traffic signal. I don't like to wait for my favorite show to come on TV. I don't like to wait in the checkout lane at the grocery story. I don't like to wait for my refund check from the IRS--when I get one.

Simply put. I don't like to wait.

But now, I'm in a waiting mode.

No. I don't like it.

But, there's absolutely nothing I can do about it.

You see, I had my nuclear stress test this morning. I see why they call it a stress test--because I found myself stressing over it as I waited to have it done! The test really wasn't bad--honest, it wasn't. I walk and jog regularly. What they put me through didn't even cause me to break a sweat! At one point, I did think my head was going to hit the ceiling though--as high as they had me inclined on the treadmill.

I had an IV put in. And I waited. I had leads applied to my chest. And I waited. I had a screening done to show what my heart does at rest. And I waited. Then, I got on the treadmill and the "heart in action" test began. Once the test was over, I waited. Then, I was screened to see what my heart was doing while in action. And, you got it. I waited.

Finally, a nurse said that I was done for the day. The doctor would call me in a day or two.

What??? I have to wait for the results??? No one could tell me anything about what my heart did or how it functioned? Am I going to live or die? Should I expect another heart attack soon?

I guess I won't know right now. I've got waiting to do. Please pray for me as I wait. Better yet, pray for my wife! She'll need your extra prayers as I nervously await the news.

Even as I was typing this, the doctor's office called. Guess what? They were not supposed to send me home when they did! The techs were misinformed! I was supposed to see the doctor today! Do you think someone is going to get chewed out by the doctor?

At least it won't be me! I just did what I was told to do--while I was waiting, of course.

Oh well, I'm still waiting!

The Journey to Eternity--Priceless, Well, Not Really



Lifelong Red Sox fans can now take their love of the team to the next level—eternity. Yes, to eternity. Or, better stated, to the grave.

A Massachusetts funeral home recently took delivery of the first Red Sox casket, which features the team logo on the exterior as well as the inside. The casket is manufactured by Eternal Image of Michigan, which has a licensing agreement with Major League Baseball.

Bob Biggins, co-director of Magoun-Biggins Funeral Home, told The Boston Globe families in mourning often want their loved ones buried with favorite items. In the past that’s included Red Sox paraphernalia; the casket takes it to the next step.

Biggins says the family that chose the $3,000 Red Sox casket bearing serial number 0001 did not hesitate in picking it for their father.

What do you think? Is that too much for the sports junkie?

I love sports as much as the next guy, or gal, I suppose. But, come on folks. To pay that kind of money for a box that’s going to be lowered in to the ground. I don’t think so!

Tonya, if you read this blog post—save the money!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Cost of Christmas Just Went Up!



With all the talk about an economic downturn around the world, even the most romantic person might hesitate before spending the $86,609 price tag for the items in the carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” (If you’d like to see a humorous version of the song, visit Heidi’s site.)

That’s this year’s cost, according to the annual “Christmas Price Index” compiled by PNC Wealth Management, which tallies the single partridge in a pear tree to the 12 drummers drumming, purchased repeatedly as the song suggests. The price is up $8,508 or 10.9 %, from $78,100 last year.

In this tight economy, what’s a romantic to do?

Well, I won’t be buying the 12 days of Christmas. Can’t afford it. And after all, who really needs maids milking or turtledoves?

Those things wouldn’t fit under our tree anyway!

Evan's New Toy



What is it with boys and appliances?

On Thanksgiving afternoon, Evan came to the dish washer and just stood and watched his mother load the machine.

We haven't figured out his love for the dish washer yet, but he obviously is amazed by it.

And, I can hear all of the female readers of the blog, so I'll just save you time! Why do little boys who love dish washer grow up to be men who act as if they've never seen one before!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

To My Best Friend



If history holds true, today will be a low "hit" day on my blog. That's okay. People are going to church, many of my regular readers will be leading in worship. Bill will be preaching, while his grandson sits and listens (hopefully, he'll be listening). Rick will be sharing from his missionary heart about the love of Jesus for all people. Camey will be hearing her hubby share the Word in a different place, and she will be listening to God's voice and understanding dreams. Heidi will be praising God and celebrating the forgiveness of sins past. Will, Michael, Karma, Bernard, Kath, Haf Dozen, and many others will be sharing Christ in their own gifted ways. Please know that I'll be praying for you as you worship and lead out in worship.

And, if you take the time to stop by to read my blog, I am most thankful. For you to pause long enough to read this, you really touch my heart in a special way.

Today as you read, you'll read about my best friend in the entire world--my wife, Tonya.

It's a special day for us. Today, November 30, we celebrate our anniversary. While the years we've been together are short, they have been wonderful and cherished. They have been enjoyed. They have been memory-makers every day. They have been the best of days. They've been the best of times. They have been days filled with love.

Every year since we married, Tonya and I have traveled somewhere special for our anniversary. Well, that's not quite true. The places haven't always been special, our time together has been what made the trip special. It was always just the two of us. And, that was all we thought we needed.

This year, things are a little different. This year, we have a little one climbing and crawling and exploring and touching and laughing and smiling and loving. So, this year, we'll stay home. We'll just spend time together as a family.

And, I'm thinking, this may just be the most special anniversary that we have had. The focus will be on each other--and the life God brought together. And, in truth, that's all that we should focus on anyway.

Happy Anniversary Sweetheart--I love you more than words can say.

Thanks for the joy you brought into my heart. Thanks for the happiness. Thanks for patience. Understanding. Loving. Forgiving.

Thank you for being you.

That's exactly what God knew I needed.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pistol Packing Momma



A Harrisburg Pennsylvania woman has sued a sheriff for revoking her concealed-weapons permit after she upset fellow parents by wearing her holstered pistol to her 5-year-old daughter’s soccer game.

Now, is there any reason to wonder why parents don’t want to volunteer to coach or officiate at these kinds of games? Parents now toting guns! Let’s see, I bet the calls go favorably for Mrs. Hain’s daughter! Or else!

Meleanie Hain now alleges in her federal lawsuit that Lebanon County Sheriff Michael DeLeo violated her Second Amendment rights and prosecuted her maliciously when he took away her permit in September.

Mrs. Hain, 30, successfully appealed the revocation last month, although the judge who restored her permit questioned her judgment and said she “scared the devil” out of others who attended the September 11 soccer game. You know, I know what the judge meant. But, he needs to rethink some of his theology, if he believes his statement is true! If only that’s all it took to scare the devil out of people!

Mrs. Hain said last Monday that her baby-sitting service has suffered, her children have been harassed, and she has been ostracized by her neighbors because of DeLeo’s actions. In one instance, she said, a neighbor who saw her in a local store had the manager ask her to leave because she was carrying her handgun.

Did you read that? This woman runs a baby-sitting service? Well, at least they should be safe and well protected as long as she is “packing heat,” unless one of the children accidently got their hands on her gun!

Mrs. Hain is being joined in the lawsuit by her husband, Scott, who contends he has lost his wife’s “companionship, consortium, society, and services” as a result of the harm she has suffered. “Consortium, society, and services”? Is that just a nice legal way of saying “sex”?

So, for the question of the day, should a parent be allowed to wear a holstered gun to soccer games, community events, school functions?

Why? Why not?

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Little Shrimp on the Mall of Life Treadmill

If I were to go out today shopping, this video shows exactly how I would feel!



Good thing I have no plans to go shopping, other than maybe for a Christmas tree!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Snoopy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thanks for regularly stopping by my little blog! I am thankful for each of you!

Enjoy a little Snoopy and the gang.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What Does Your Gut Say to You?



I don't know the story behind this photo and maybe that is good. Maybe it would help, I don't know for sure.

I know the picture evokes some strong thoughts within me. What do you think?

Tell me your reaction to this picture.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hello Mr. President!


A confounding Inauguration Day tradition is coming to an end: Handshake Man can’t make it to the celebration on January 20.

President-elect Barack Obama will miss that special greeting experienced by Bill Clinton at his second inauguration and George W. Bush at his first: An overcoated, entirely normal-looking man, whose only security clearance is his beatific smile, steps from the crowd after the swearing-in. He offers the new commander in chief a handshake, a medallion, and a message from God.

The Rev. Richard C. “Rich” Weaver—dubbed Handshake Man by followers of his exploits—has been Washington’s most famous uninvited guest.

Now in his early 60s, Weaver has reached out and touched six presidents. He represented the ultimate man-without-a-ticket, the scourge of the Secret Service and Capitol Police, a hero to gate crashers everywhere.

Now from Southern California, where he lives, he says, “I have decided to not do any more with presidents.”

It was at Bush’s second inauguration in 2005 that the Capitol Police finally got their man. Officers had been ordered to memorize Weaver’s face from pictures, and he was busted at a checkpoint near the House-side entrance to the Capitol. Weaver pleaded guilty to misdemeanor unlawful entry and was sentenced to unsupervised probation. He was barred from trying to attend presidential events or entering the Capitol and White House grounds for five years. (I've included his picture above, just in case they don't remember what he looks like from last time around.)

At his sentencing in 2005, he said Secret Service agents told him: “You’re no problem to us, but you’re making us look bad.”

No comment from the Secret Service on whether it will retire Handshake Man's picture from its inaugural security briefings. “We don’t discuss cases of a protective intelligence nature,” spokesman Malcolm Wiley said.

I’ve known a couple of Secret Service agents who worked the White House detail. Trust me. They don’t tolerate being made to look foolish. Not by anyone.

I would recommend that the Handshake Man either keep his distance, or see if Mr. Obama will give him a special pass to be there. Otherwise, he’d best stay home.

Here Spot! Here Spot!



This story comes from Portland, Oregon. (Thank goodness it wasn’t Alabama—it could have been, but I am so thankful that it came from the West Coast this time!)

Henry Marcum loves his 23-year-old son, hunting, and his dog. I’m not too sure on the order of his love, I’m just hoping that’s the order.

You see. Henry Marcum’s dog shot his 23-year-old son this past weekend. I don’t think it was premeditated in any way. I don’t think they forgot to feed the dog before going hunting. I don’t think the son had teased the dog, pulling his ears or tail.

Here’s the way the story unfolded. Marcum says his son, Matthew, was standing in Tillamook Bay at the start of duck-hunting trip when his dog jumped into the boat, setting off a 12-gauge shotgun. The blast blew a hole in the aluminum boat before hitting Marcum, who is recovering from injuries to his legs and buttocks at Portland’s Legacy Emanuel Hospital.

Henry Marcum says he's not angry with the dog, and neither is his son.

The elder Marcum says the Labrador named Drake is a good dog and the shooting is “just one of those things.”

“Just one of those things?” Are you kidding me? Rather than being angry at the dog, and unless the dog has gone through hunter safety classes, who could blame the dog, but why not be angry with the dad? The dad had a fully loaded 12-gauge shotgun sitting in the boat, with no safety on, unattended. And more than likely, dad called the dog into the boat.

Maybe, just maybe, the dad needs to attend hunter safety classes. Either that or increase his son’s life insurance policy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Victory for "Christmas"

Several weeks ago, I featured a blog about a New York State city who had changed the name of their annual Christmas parade, to make it more “inclusive.” Well, their desire for being inclusive really, really, really didn’t work—if you go by numbers of people who attended!

The annual Patchogue, New York, annual parade of boats on a Long Island river that dropped “Christmas” from its name has apparently lost lots of supporters. About 1,000 people showed up Sunday for the Patchogue Boat Parade of Lights. That’s 500 fewer than usually showed up when it was called the Patchogue Christmas Boat Parade.

Brookhaven-based fireworks company Fireworks by Grucci dropped its sponsorship after the Greater Patchogue Foundation removed “Christmas” from the parade’s name. The change was made after some residents complained the name wasn’t inclusive enough.

Grucci vice president Philip Butler opposes the secularization of Christmas. His supporters encouraged area residents to stay away from the parade on Patchogue River.

Well, the way I see it, in two years, the inclusiveness of their decision will kill the annual parade and it will be no more. Maybe as it should be! Or, do you think the parade officials will listen to the majority of people and change the name back to what had worked for years?

I’m going to keep watching this and see what happens in the future.

Dropping the name “Christmas” to be inclusive? Give me a break!