Monday, June 30, 2008

How much is your life worth?

I know. Deep subject for a Monday morning. But still, think about it. If you placed a value on your life, where would you draw the line and say, “That’s the number I had in mind!”

Well, a Canberra, Australia man is selling his life. Really, he is. He’s selling it online, where else?

Ian Usher, 44, announced in March that he was auctioning his life on eBay with the package including his three-bedroom house in Perth, Western Australia, a trial for his job at a rug store, his car, motorbike, clothes and even friends. His decision to sell his life followed the break-up of his five-year marriage and 12-year relationship with Laura with whom he had built the house.

Usher said he hoped to raise up to $475,000 to create a new life for himself but on the first day of the week-long auction, bids skyrocketed to $2.1 million. But Usher knew his life was not worth that and was quick to realize there was a glitch in the system with auction Web site eBay allowing offers from non-registered bidders which took a day to sort out.

Usher said, “Apologies to all, but I guess there are a lot of bored idiots out there. Anyway after a long day on the computer, I have decided to pull all bids back as far as the first registered bidder, and the price is back to $147,000 as I write this ... we are back in the land of common sense and reality, so it’s over to you.” After 21 bids the amount had risen to $233,000.

A spokeswoman for eBay, Sian Kennedy, said Usher had to verify all the bidders before the auction to check they were genuine buyers and he could delete any he believed were hoaxes. She said this was his responsibility as the bids were not binding. Usher’s life has come under the real estate section on eBay as his house is the main asset in the sale. The real estate category on eBay is a non-binding section because of the real estate laws in Australia. You need a special license to sell real estate.

Usher isn’t the first person to put his life up for sale but could be the first to offer it in this package. Australian philosophy student Nicael Holt, 24, offered his life to the highest bidder last year in a protest about mass consumerism. American John Freyer started this trend in in 2001 and sold everything he owned on eBay, later visiting the people who bought his things. Adam Burtle, a 20-year-old US university student, offered his soul for sale on eBay in 2001, with bidding hitting $400 before eBay called it off, saying there had to be something tangible to sell. Burtle later admitted he was a bored geek.

Usher’s auction was scheduled to close at noon yesterday. I haven’t checked to see how much his life actually sold for.

So, how much is life worth? How much is your life worth?

I don’t know a dollar figure, but this I do know, my life is so valuable that God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to earth, to die on a cross, for my sins and rebellion against Him.

As the MasterCard commercial goes: Priceless!



Sunday, June 29, 2008

Maternity Leaves and Pensions

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to decide a case on whether decades-old maternity leaves should count in determining pensions.

Apparently, the issue at hand has split federal appeals courts and could become increasingly important as women who took maternity leaves in the 1960s and 70s approach retirement.

These pregnancies happened before the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, enacted in 1979. That Act barred companies from treating pregnancy leaves differently from other disability leaves. Since then, maternity leave has been credited toward retirement.

The case before the Supreme Court involves four AT&T Corporation employees who each took at least one maternity leave between 1968 and 1976. They have 67–261 days of uncredited leave because their pregnancies occurred before the law changed.

Normally, I might not blog about this issue; however, having just returned from “paternity” leave myself, I do have an interest here. And, to be honest, I’m a little torn about what I think about the subject.

It seems to me that if these leaves were taken prior to the Act being passed, then those women should not be entitled to this leave credit. Seems to me that if we grant them this leave, then we are opening ourselves up to all kinds of “credit” that people will feel entitled to, even though at the time, they were not entitled to the credit.

If I bought at car in 1999 at 7% interest, but the car company comes out with a 0% rate in 2008, should I be given some type of credit since I obviously overpaid?

If I eat grapes every day because they are healthy for me, but in 10 years a new study finds that eating grapes every day causes major health issues, shouldn’t get I get some type of credit from someone? Somewhere?

Or, if I started a job in 1970 at $7,000 a year, but new people hired in 2008, for the same job now make $40,000 a year, shouldn’t I get a credit for the difference in what I started at and the new person starts at?

I’m thinking there are too many problems involved with this type of credit.

What do you think?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

If I Could Learn to Laugh Like This!

You know, if I could just learn to laugh like my son! He is totally unashamed in laughing out loud! He gets tickled and begins to laugh. He enjoys hearing himself laugh. He enjoys hearing others laugh.

Oh, to be more like him!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Greatest Birthday Present! Ever!



The ultimate man’s toy could be yours at last! That is, if you have the checkbook to pay for it.

What man toy do I have in mind? Oh simple. There’s a Harrier fighter jet currently being sold on eBay!

The plane is a decommissioned Royal Navy Sea Harrier FA2 that was in service between 1987 and 1997. It served with all three Fleet Air Arm Harrier squadrons.

Do you know what a Harrier fighter plane is? As a kid, I was amazed by the Harrier fighters! These were the planes that could take off like a helicopter, no runway was required. They would lift straight up off the ground and land in the same fashion, straight down. They were amazing to watch, especially after seeing normal planes, especially jets that needed long runways to take off and land. The Harrier was the perfect jet for aircraft carriers and to use in rough terrain areas—with their capability of landing and taking off with zero runway—wow!

I always thought that if I were not afraid of heights and wanted to be a pilot, that’s the plane I would have wanted to fly! It was just so different, so unique.

Well, now, any of us can own our very own Harrier! But anyone wanting to take to the skies in this particular plane will be disappointed. It is not airworthy. There is no engine fitted. Many of the internal systems have been removed or made inoperative. Even the cockpit has been stripped out—oh, they did put in a mock cockpit so, from the outside, it appears to have a seat fitted.

Well, despite the age of the plane, the fact that it has no engine, internal systems, or even cockpit, the auction price has already exceeded $40,000—that’s just “a little” out of my price range!

The plane’s owner said, “This is a rare opportunity. You will not find a static display Harrier this complete for sale anywhere else in the world. The aircraft is externally complete to static display/museum standards and would make a truly stunning garden feature or museum exhibit.”

A garden feature? Is that like a Koi pond? A rock garden? A rose garden? Can you see yourself coming home, telling your wife, “Honey, you’ll never guess what I bought for the backyard—you’re going to love it!”

Oh, just in case you are interested in the plane, it is currently in Bradford, England, and can be shipped to many countries around the world to the buyer and assembled.

And, in case you’d like to know, my birthday is coming up in a couple of months. Email me privately and I’ll give you my mailing address, if you’d like to “surprise” me (and my wife, of course). I know we would love it in our backyard, and so would my neighbors! Sure beats the trampoline they have in theirs!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

If I Were God...



Generally speaking, I am not a violent person. I believe very much in Jesus’ words when He told us to “turn the other cheek.” However, a story out of Houston, Texas, has really caused great anger to come into my heart. And, truthfully, I am torn on what should be done with a certain individual.

Apparently, a “father,” and I’ll use that term lightly, led police investigators to the charred remains of his two children that he had murdered a week earlier.

Police found the remains of Randy Sylvester Jr., 7, and his sister Denim Sylvester, 3, packed in a wooden chest and a suitcase that had been left by their “father” in a wooded area in southeastern Houston, about 5 miles from their home in suburban Pasadena.

Their “father,” Randy Sylvester Sr., 27, led searchers to the remains late Friday after a week of misleading statements about where the children were located. The discovery of the bodies ended a week of turbulent emotions for police, searchers, and the children’s family and friends.

A police officer said, “It’s been very, very, very rough. I mean, we’ve had a lot of people; we’ve dedicated a lot of officers and resources to this case. It’s been very emotional for a lot of people since we’re dealing with two young children.”

Authorities said Quanell X (a Black Panther leader) led authorities to the site after the “father” talked with him for about an hour near a pond in Pasadena. Police said Sylvester’s previous statements had directed their search to the pond, which was drained in the hope of finding the children, but the remains were located six miles away, Mitchell said.

Tim Miller’s volunteer search organization, Texas Equusearch, provided more than 500 volunteers to the search effort. From the beginning, Miller said that “everybody knew they were deceased.”

The search was as grim an undertaking as the Dickinson-based mounted search and recovery organization has ever undertaken, Miller said. “I believe that when they were found, it was a huge relief to all of us,” he said.

What would lead a man to kill his children? Not only kill his children, but to burn their bodies, place them in a chest and suitcase? Then hide their bodies, lie about it for a week, and finally confess to a Black Panther leader?

I don’t understand. I just don’t get it, I really don’t.

As a father, I’ve been angry, what father hasn’t? As a father, I understand how children can wear on your last nerve. How many times can you hear “Are we there yet?” as you drive down the road on a long trip? But, to kill you children? To burn their bodies? To hide their bodies in the woods?

What sickness causes that? What evilness enters a person’s heart to cause this damage to be done? The answer is fairly simple: the cause is sin, the origin is satan himself!

In less than an honorable moment, I began to think that this man should be tortured as he did his children—killing him and then burning his body. I don’t think the man should ever see the light of day again, whether he is thrown into jail for the rest of his life, with no chance of parole or he is executed by the prison system in Texas, either way, his fate should be sealed quickly, and he should be severely punished.

Okay readers, what do you think? I’ve told you my less than honorable thoughts. How would you handle this man’s case, should you be on the jury or be serving as the judge? What should his earthly fate be?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Have You Seen This Man?


Have you seen this man? Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t, hard to tell, right?

Well, this is the picture released by Welsh police and the photo has locals scratching their heads with an official police computer sketch of a robber whose face is almost entirely covered by a cap.

The e-fit picture was issued by police hunting a conman who tricked a 98-year-old widow out of her life savings. She told officers he was in his 40s, clean shaven with a narrow chin—and wearing a cap.

But the wanted image circulated by Gwent police in Pontypool, Wales, has left locals wondering, “Is this the worst police sketch ever?”

In the photo, the suspect’s face is almost completely shrouded by a baseball hat. The only thing showing is his mouth.

Plumber Jamie O’Leary, 26, said, “I’ve seen about 50 men in baseball caps today— it’s like a uniform around here. It could be anyone. I thought it was Michael Jackson or Usher to start with.”

Salesman Andy Griffiths, 42, added, “Even Sherlock Holmes would have difficulty with that photofit. I’d be amazed if they catch anyone based on that.”

The wanted man escaped with the woman’s money after claiming he was a water official.

The only other clues to his appearance are that he is white, 5 feet 10 inches tall, and broad-shouldered.

A Gwent Police spokeswoman defended the image. “This incident was a particularly nasty attack on a vulnerable person. This picture has been issued as it is the only description we have at this stage,” the spokeswoman said. “Sometimes the smallest of details can jog someone’s memory and bring about significant leads.”

Well, duh. Talk about small details! After reading the description: white, 5 feet 10 inches tall, and broad-shouldered, well that could be me! I’m 5 foot 10 inches or so. I’m white. And broad-shoulders? My wife says I have nice shoulders! The only good thing is I have never been to Wales! Whew! Maybe I am safe. Even though I do like wearing baseball caps!

So, have you seen this man? If so, you’d best call someone. Not sure who. But Wales maybe?

Ready or Not, Pfleger Is Back!

Back during the democratic primaries, one of the major news stories concerned a Catholic priest who mocked Senator Hillary Clinton. Remember the sermon? During a sermon at Senator Barack Obama’s church, Rev. Michael Pfleger pretended that he was Mrs. Clinton crying over “a black man stealing my show” and the fact that Mrs. Clinton is “entitled to be president because I am white.”

Well, his sermon didn’t go over well with Barack Obama, the national media, or with Cardinal Francis George, his boss. Cardinal Francis George suspended Rev. Pfleger for a month.

Now, Pfleger is back! This past Sunday, Pfleger told a cheering congregation at St. Sabina church that he will not let his faults make him “play it safe or become silent.”

I am told that the ushers at St. Sabina handed out fliers with a silhouette of boxer Muhammad Ali and the words “Ain’t nothing like a comeback.”

What do you think about The Rev. Michael Pfleger? What did you think about his sermon at Obama’s church? What about his suspension? Was it long enough? Did he deserve more or less? What about his promise of not playing it safe or becoming silent?

I’d really like to hear your input on this one!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Unappreciated Police Help

A Lakeville, Minnesota, man says he feels violated after two police officers woke him up at 3:00 A.M. to tell him his doors were unlocked. Yes, you read that correctly. Police officers woke the man at 3 AM to tell him his doors weren’t locked.

The police’s surprise visit was part of a public service campaign to remind residents to secure their homes to prevent thefts. Normally, Lakeville police officers leave notices on doors so the residents know their doors were left unlocked.

However, in Troy Molde’s case, police entered his home, where four children (all under seven years old) were having a sleepover, and then went upstairs to Molde’s bedroom to wake him.

The police officers told Molde that his garage door was open, his TV was on, the keys to his truck were left in the ignition, and the door to his house was ajar.

A police spokesman says the intrusion was justified because the officers’ initial door knocks went unanswered, and they wanted to make sure nothing was wrong.

Molde said that his kids were inside the house, along with two nephews and when the police entered the house, the children would not come to wake him up—they were afraid of his reaction.

For many years, I was the primarily contact person for my office. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I was called during the middle of the night! I finally decided that one officer in particular took great satisfaction in calling me at midnight, so that I could come and secure the building. You see, we had one door that was operated from our office complex. To save the secretary time, when someone rang the doorbell (the door stayed locked most of the time), she would simply flip a switch, opening the door, flip the switch after they had entered the door, and the door would automatically lock. Unfortunately, the secretary had a bad habit of forgetting to flip the switch back to the lock position. And, at midnight, when the officer did his nightly check of the building, the door would be open and there was absolutely nothing he could do to secure it! So, he called me. He called me out of my deep sleep, in my warm bed.

As I arrived at the office, I was regularly met by three or four police officers and a couple of police dogs. It is somewhat disconcerting to arrive in the middle of the night to an empty and dark office building to see bright lights shining in your eyes (from their flashlights) and seeing guns drawn as they searched the building.

I suppose I am thankful the police officers called. I’ve slept since then and am glad they were providing an excellent service to the community. At the time, not appreciative. Now, more appreciative!

And, I am even more thankful that I am not the primary contact person for my current office! I get to sleep more soundly and not worry about hearing the phone ring in the middle of the night and hearing these words, “Mr. Heartsill, this is the Birmingham Police Department...”

Do you have work responsibilities like I had? Do you always handle them with grace? Or, had you just as soon leave the building open throughout the night, knowing that you have good insurance to cover theft?

Tell me about your unexpected nighttime calls from the police.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Supersize Me! Or Not



I have a confession to make—I like eating at McDonald’s! I really do like their hamburgers and french fries. Not sure why I like McDonald’s, but I do. My small hometown didn’t even have a McDonald’s until I was a senior in high school, so I can’t blame an early childhood addiction, I just like the taste. And, having grown up in the deep south, maybe I just like their grease! Reminds me of what Momma would have used!

Well, over the last few years, McDonald’s has been criticized for the type of oil they use and the high fat and calories in their food. There was even a movie that came out showing how one man gained weight after eating at McDonald’s every day for a month.

Now, a Quinton, Virginia, man claims that he has lost about 80 pounds in six months by eating nearly every meal at McDonald’s.

No, he did not eat Big Macs, french fries, and chocolate shakes. What he ate was mostly salads, wraps, and apple dippers without the caramel sauce.

The man’s name is Chris Coleson. Back in December 2007, Chris tipped the scales at 278 pounds. His waist size was a whopping (sorry, I also like Burger King as well) 50! Now, the 5-foot-8 Virginia man now weighs 199 pounds and his waist size has dropped to 36.

Coleson says his goal is to get back to the 185 pounds he weighed when he married he wife ten years ago this past Saturday.

Chris, we will be praying for you and your weight loss strategy! You are a strong man, I give you that! If I were at McDonald’s, I know my first choice wouldn’t be a salad or wrap or even the apple dippers (with or without the caramel sauce). I’d be telling them to bring on the Quarter Pounder! Or the Big Mac! And, please, supersize the fries! And, don’t forget the ketchup! Got to have ketchup on my fries!

Chris, and Jared over at Subway, are to be commended. Eating healthy is a major accomplishment these days. Eating the right foods, getting the right amount of sleep, and pushing yourself to exercise, certainly seem like “un-American” things to do.

A movie was made about the guy gaining weight at McDonald’s. A lot of hype went into his eating at McDonald’s, causing his heart rate to change, his blood pressure to go up, and his weight increasing. I wonder, will the national media follow Chris’s amazing story and tell the positive side of eating at the same place? Should I expect to see a movie about him any time soon? I rather doubt it.

What about you? Do you have the same kind of willpower that Chris has? Could you eat nearly every meal at McDonald’s and not eat a fry?

Let me hear from you!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Most Expensive Hamburger in the World



Let’s cross “the big pond” for today’s weird news story. Dateline: London, England. This past Wednesday, the home of “The Whopper”, Burger King, launched a $200 burger. Before you freak out unnecessarily, keep in mind that they did it all in the name of charity.

The goal for Burger King was to set a new record, the world’s most expensive burger. The hamburger is available at just one restaurant in West London, England, once a week—but it will eventually be available to order via a hotline.

The fine ingredients of what is called simply “The Burger” include Wagyu beef, white truffles, Pata Negra ham slices, Cristal onion straws, Modena balsamic vinegar, lambs lettuce, pink Himalayan rock salt, organic white wine and shallot infused mayonnaise in an Iranian saffron and white truffle dusted bun (I’m not even sure what most of those things are! Are you?)

Celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson told Sky News Online: “It sounds delicious. The ingredients are very good and high powered, but why is Burger King doing it?”

All the proceeds from The Burger sales will go to the Help A London Child charity, which assists young people experiencing abuse, homelessness, disability, poverty and illness.

David Kisilevsky, at Burger King, said: “The Burger reflects our ongoing commitment to producing for a range of different pockets.”

The Burger beat the previous world record for the most expensive burger, held by Daniel Boulud for the DB Double Truffle Burger in New York, (1994) priced at $130.

By lunchtime on the first day of The Burger's unveiling, eight had been purchased, said Chef Mark Dowding, the director of new product development and innovation for the fast food chain.

Dowding said he hoped that more than 100 would be sold by the end of the day.

So, here’s a question for you: Would you pay $200 for a hamburger? I think the answer is probably no. So, here’s the real question: Just how much would you pay for a hamburger? Let’s say you are really, really hungry, and you haven’t had a hamburger in 20 years. What’s your limit? $5? $10? Maybe even $100?

Let me know your thoughts.

I’m happy Burger King is supporting this charity. That is commendable. And, truthfully, I hope it goes well. They just shouldn’t expect me to walk up to the counter and say, “I’ll have ‘The Burger, please. And hold the lambs lettuce.” For $200, I might just want extra lambs lettuce, and Mayo, of course!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Christian or A Christ-Follower

Here's a great parody based on the popular MAC/PC TV commerical. Where do you fit in?

On Second Thought, Don't Honk If You Love Jesus!

I probably do a few things that cause people some concern or make them angry. Let me give you a few examples.

I love to read various blogs. As a small part of my job (at least I like to claim that is what they want me to do), I read blogs from various places, mainly preacher-type blogs or denominationally-related blogs. I know how these many of preacher-types and denominational-types are. They watch their sites like hawks. They have on their site Google Analytics or Site Meter or one of the other site monitors (just like I do). These folks regularly watch who visits their site, for how long, and how they came to their site and leave their site. [Disclaimer: not all blog-owners and writers do this! And, those are the blogs I most often visit and enjoy!]

I could say that I don’t know why preacher-types and denominational-types do this monitoring, but I would be lying if I said that. I know why they do it! They do to see who is seeing them and their work and who believe they can comment anonymously on their blog.

Trust me, there’s nothing anonymous on a blog! On a few rare occasions, I’ve even had someone comment about where I work or where I live, or what I do—trying to remind me of my PLACE in THEIR world and that I have no business even visiting their site. Or, at least that’s the way they come across.

So, I suppose you could say I do something out of meanness (hopefully, that’s not the case, but at times it could be), I often will visit a very “conservative” blog site and then visit a very “liberal” blog site, knowing that my entering and leaving is closely monitored by these folks. You know, I would love to be sitting in their office or living room and watch their expression when they wonder, “Why in the world would someone visit my site after visiting THAT site?” I know they do it! And, I know it at least makes them think for a few minutes about my entering and leaving. If they want to remind me of my place, fine. I can still play with their mind a little. How terrible is that?


Another thing I do that can drive people crazy is this: if they have a bumper sticker that says, “Honk If You Love Jesus!”, I always do! I’ll never forget one time I did that. I came up behind a stopped car at red light. It was one of those older model Volkswagons. Right there on the back of their bumper was that sticker! I couldn’t resist. So, I began honking the honk. Not once. Not twice. But three times. When the light turned green, we began taking off. The older car couldn’t climb the hill very well, so I started passing him on the left. As I did, I glanced over to smile at the driver, to give him one of those “I love you brother in Jesus looks!” knowing that he was a fellow believer. I was not prepared for what he gave me back. He gave me a one-finger salute! And trust me, he wasn’t pointing me toward heaven! Somehow along the way, his personal witnessing bumper sticker and his one-finger salute didn’t match up.


There have been a few times in life when I have paid for a part of a person’s bill that is in line behind me. It has been a while since I have done that. But, talk about fun! Most of the time, it has been what appears to be a single mother, with several children, all screaming for her attention or for her to buy them something. Obviously, the mother is at the end of her wits and just needs a break. So, I’ll just hand the cashier a $10 bill and say, “Please apply this to the next person’s bill.” Well, the cashier nearly falls out in disbelief. I wish I knew how the next person in line feels, I never know because I don’t stay around to watch. I want it to be shock, to be anonymous, to be a blessing to their day—who cares what the source is, it’s just a blessing for them.

Many years ago, I used to send people congratulation letters. What’s the big deal about that? Well, I had never met any of those folks. I would watch the paper for people doing something neat or something to help someone or getting a promotion at work. I would send them a handwritten note, praising their action or their accomplishment. That’s it. Just a note to say, “Hey, someone noticed what you did! And I celebrate in you!”

You will not believe the reaction I got to those letters! People would literally call me up and say, “Do I know you?” Or, “Why would you do such a thing?” Normally, I just said, “I appreciate you and thought you’d like to know that someone does!” That was generally the end of the conversation, because the person who was calling me rarely could say anything after that! They had never been praised by a complete stranger!

What are some of the things you do that might cause concern or make people stop in their tracks, wondering why you did what you did?

Got any examples you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them. And, I promise not to track down your IP Address or anything. I’d just be glad to hear your comments! Honest!

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Thong By Any Other Name is Just A Lawsuit


A Los Angeles woman (of course, it has to be a California woman) claims she was injured by her Victoria’s Secret thong, prompting her to sue the underwear manufacturer.

The plaintiff in the case, Macrida Patterson, 52, attributed the May 2007 injury to a Victoria’s Secret “low-rise v-string,” according to a court document.

Patterson’s lawyer said that a “design problem” caused a decorative metallic piece on the underwear to fly up and hit Patterson in the eye while she was putting the underwear on.

Patterson’s product liability lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last week.

Ms. Patterson and her attorney were on The Today Show yesterday, showing the defective thong and seemingly enjoying the publicity the suit has brought.

Talk about a useless claim! The lawyer was asked repeatedly how much they are suing for, and repeatedly he said that money wasn’t the issue, they were trying to get Victoria’s Secret to correct a defective product and to ensure the safety of others. If that were true, wouldn’t you try to sit down with the company representatives, show them the problem, and then work with them on a solution? Apparently, that didn’t happen. The issue went straight to a lawsuit. Yet, the lawyer maintained: it’s all about safety!

You’ve got to be kidding! It’s about safety? It’s about a company being responsible? It’s about a defective product? Yeah right! This is just another example of someone trying to get something for nothing!

The lawyer finally admitted that their lawsuit asks for $25,000 in damages. I’m going to be honest with you. I doubt very seriously that I would go on national TV (either as the person suing or the lawyer representing the client) for a $25,000 claim about my underwear! I just don’t see that happening. I don’t see it happening for $250,000 either. You see, it’s not the dollar amount that matters, it’s how quickly we forget our shame!

I’m afraid there’s not much shame left.

What is our country coming to?


LEGAL DISCLAIMER:
This Web site has been prepared solely for the purpose of providing information that is important to Steve Heartsill and his readers. This Web site has been compiled in good faith by Steve Heartsill. However, no representation is made as to the completeness or accuracy of the information it contains. In particular, you should be aware that this information may be incomplete, may contain errors or may have become out of date. Steve Heartsill reserves the right to add, modify or delete any information at this Web site at any time. This publication and any references to products or services are provided ‘as is’ without any warranty or implied term of any kind. This Web site is meant to be fun, to cause us to laugh at ourselves, and if we can't laugh at ourselves and our silly world, then we really need to work on getting a life! That should satisfy any lawyer reading this blog—or at least I hope so!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Foot Update

Yesterday, I ran a post about "mysterious" feet washing up on the beaches of Vancouver, British Columbia. (For more information about that, please see the post below.)

Then, last night, police in Vancouver said another foot, a sixth foot had washed up. I came "this close" to writing a blog about it last night, but decided to watch and see what the new day brought.

Well, there's an update to the update. The British Columbia's coroner's office is saying that the discovery of a sixth floating human foot is a hoax. They are now saying what they found is really an animal paw stuffed inside a running shoe.

Okay, I feel better that a sixth foot wasn't found, well, somewhat better. You see, if they have found five feet, then another foot is still missing, right? And, how long does it take to realize that what you have isn't a human foot, but an animal foot? I know the authorities said they were not like CSI agents on TV, but don't you think the differences in a human foot and animal foot would be obvious ?

Also, another troubling idea comes to my mind--not only are there feet washing up, now someone is cutting off animal feet and stuffing them inside running shoes. Is someone going to come forward and claim that was an accident? Hey, that's what they said the cause of the human feet washing up is.

So, how did the animal foot get inside a running shoe? Did someone take their dog for a run and something went terribly wrong?

Or, was it an oversized rabbit's foot that someone had for good luck?

Is this a publicity stunt by PETA to draw attention to some problem in Vancouver?

Is it too early for a college frat party gone wrong?

You know, I don't know that I feel better about this latest update or not! I think I now have more questions than before, and certainly more questions than answers!

Check back again. I'll do my best to keep you informed about the mystery of the appearing feet--almost sounds like a Columbo made-for-TV-movie!

Sadly, if it were, I'd watch it. I love Columbo movies.

What's Wrong with This Picture?

You know, I can’t write stuff like this! I certainly can’t make it up! Did you see the news out of Italy?

An Italian man was not able to afford a housekeeper. So, rather than doing his household chores himself, he allegedly turned to crime to get his dishes washed. The 43-year-old Italian man was arrested for allegedly kidnapping his ex-girlfriend from a bar in Genoa and forcing her to iron his clothes and wash his dishes.

The domestically-challenged suspect is accused of dragging the woman out of the bar, shoving her into a car, and taking her to his house, where he threatened her with violence if she did not do the chores.

Police were contacted by a friend of the kidnapped woman who was with her at the bar. The suspect, reportedly furious at his ex for breaking up with him, was charged with kidnapping.

Okay, here are my issues with this news article:

1) Any wonder this guy is single? Do I need to say anything more about that?

2) Obviously, this guy is poor. See statement number one.

3) Again, obviously, the guy is lazy. Once again, see statement number one. He won’t do his own laundry and ironing?

4) Only the friend at the bar called police? No one else was concerned about a woman being dragged out? Then again, it did happen in a bar. I’m sure they’ve seen far worse things happen in there. What’s a little kidnapping among drunks!

5) I’m married. I’m not sure that even if I tried, that I could force my wife to do anything. I know there are abusive situations and that men (and women) can and will do evil things in those relationships, I know that. However, in normal relationships, decisions and actions are not made by force, but by love. Any wonder why the ex broke off the relationship? Any wonder why statement number one is true!

Got comments? Please feel free to share them here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Eyes Have It; No, The Feet Have It!

I don’t know why these stories always seem to come out of Canada!

After all, I will catch grief from my wife just by putting it on my blog. My wife is half Canadian! The other half? Kentucky/Tennessee redneck. Fortunately, the Canadian side wins out more times than not.

Canadians are good people. The country is beautiful! My wife and I traveled to Victoria and Vancouver just last year! We loved it.

Then, I see the following story on the wire this week. Here was the headline: “5th Severed Foot Washes Ashore on Pacific Coast.”

Okay, that caught my attention. Notice the rest of the story, it’s from Vancouver, British Colombia, by the way.

“A fifth human foot in a year has washed ashore off the coast of British Columbia, and this time it is a left one. Police said two people out for a walk spotted the left foot floating in water off Westham Island on Monday morning. Delta Police Constable Sharlene Brooks said officials are working with the B.C. Coroner’s office to see if this foot is linked to any other partial remains recovered in the province.

“While the similarities to the other found feet is strong, she said there is no indication this foot is related to the other cases. ‘We’re certainly not discounting the possibility that this may be linked to the other recovered feet, but it’s just too premature and very speculative for us to even entertain that right now,’ she said.

“The last foot was found May 22 on Kirkland Island in the Fraser River, about one mile away from Monday's discovery. The first in the series was found nearly a year ago on Jedidiah Island in the Strait of Georgia. Within days, another right foot was found inside a man’s Reebok sneaker on nearby Gabriola Island. The third was found in the same area, on the east side of Valdez Island in early February. The origin on any of the remains is still unknown.”

Then, you’ve got to love Brooks further answer: “This might take a long time. This is not CSI.”

Now, police are complaining because it’s not CSI or do the people expect them to be like the CSI people on TV.

Curtis Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer based in Seattle, Washington, said when a human body is submerged in the ocean, the main parts like arms, legs, hands, feet and the head are usually what come off the body. He said his theory is that the feet came along as a result of an accident that might have happened up along the Fraser River, that washed down and spread out along the Straight of Georgia. Ebbesmeyer said when the third foot was found the feet could have drifted from as far as 1,000 miles away. Ebbesmeyer said the feet could have been severed or detached from their bodies on their own.

Question for you, and there are so many at this point! Is anybody worried that this many body parts are washing up onshore in Canada? The article almost sounds as if this is a daily occurrence! Trust me. When my wife and I visited last year, we didn’t see either of two things: 1) Body parts floating along the beach, 2) People walking around with only one foot!

Where are the hands? Where are the heads? Again, trust me. If I was out swimming and lost a foot along the way, somebody would hear about it! Or, if I had disappeared, hopefully someone would notice and when reports of feet started appearing, I’m hoping that would come and at least look at my foot to see if it belonged to me!

Is anyone worried that a serial killer could be loose, who likes to remove feet? Could that be possible? And, Mr. Ebbesmeyer says the feet could have been severed or detached from their bodies on their own. I know what he meant to say, but do Canadians have a problem with limbs severing on their own? If so, they’ve got bigger problem than this! Don’t you think?

Okay, what solutions do you have? Any further problems with this article as written? Did it leave you wanting to know more or should I just keep my wife happy and not write any more articles about Canada and her beloved Canadians?

Ehh? What say you?


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Most Special Day



Sunday, as you know, was Father's Day. This was my very first Father's Day with my son, Evan. Over on his blog, Evan details his life and journey so far. As you have time, you might want to follow the link to his site. Warning: there are many, many cute pictures on his site, so if cute baby pictures offend you, you'd best skip it!

Evan has changed my life, I have no doubt about that. Evan is so innocent, so loving, and so good. My wife and I are truly blessed that the Lord looked down from heaven and gave us Evan as our son. I have no doubt that the Lord knows what He is doing, all the time, however, in this situation, He really went out of His way to give us a great son. Even at 4 1/2 months old, Evan really does enjoy life. He laughs, he smiles, and he brightens up when either my wife or I walk into the room. Talk about building your ego--Evan knows how to do it.

So, Sunday was special because of Father's Day; it was also special because Evan was dedicated during morning worship. Our family traveled up to my wife's hometown in Kentucky for a weekend with her family. While that was special, that was only a small part of the reason we went to Kentucky--we also had Evan dedicated during the service. Now, if you aren't Baptist or from our worship tradition, you might not understand a dedication service. Dedication isn't baptism. In Baptist tradition, baptism is reserved for those who have made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as their person Savior and Lord.

Dedication, on the other hand, is simply dedicating the child, the parents, and the church family to the Lord, all agreeing to work together in helping to raise the child.

I must say, even if I am biased, Evan was a perfect angel during his dedication. Prior to worship, he ate some of his bottle and got really comfortable in my lap. As the worship service was beginning, Evan fell asleep in my arms and stayed asleep until it was time for his dedication to begin. My wife and I went up to the front of the church, as Evan slept in my arms. The pastor introduced us to the congregation and introduced Evan to them as well. Then, the real test came along--I was to hand Evan over to the pastor. My biggest fear was that Evan would wake up, realize that he wasn't in his mom's or dad's arms, and begin screaming at the top of his lungs. Fortunately, when he woke up, he simply looked up at the pastor and the congregation, hardly making a sound the entire time! He made us so proud!

Evan's dedication service will forever be a special memory for our family. The service was short and in the history of the world, will go down as nothing more than an insignficant event for every one but a few of us.

Evan's dedication, for his parents, was an event we will never forget. The commitment we made to the Lord will reside in our hearts for the rest of our days on earth. We will do our very best to maintain those promises. We will work hard to honor our commitment to God and to our raising of our son.

We aren't foolish. We know how difficult it will be to raise Evan. It will be challenging every day, I am sure. To be honest, it already is a challenge. At times, his crying gets on our last nerve. At other times, having him get up at 4:00 AM (as he did today), causes major exhaustion for us.

Was having Evan worth the challenges, crying, exhaustion, extra expenses of diapers, formula, and clothes? You better believe it!

Evan is a real joy. You can't help but look into his eyes and realize that there is long-term hope for the world. God still loves His children and is preparing the next generation to come behind us. My wife and I pray that we will be all that we can and should be for Evan and all that we have promised we will be.

As you pray, we'd appreciate your prayers as well. Just maybe, the most difficult job in the entire world is raising a child. Your prayers would mean much to us. You might want to pray for Evan--knowing his parents, he's going to need all the prayers he can get!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Up, Up, and Away!



A flight attendant from Michigan and an airline pilot face fines of $300 apiece after a nighttime romp in the woods that ended when police found the pilot hiding behind a shed wearing only flip-flops and a wristwatch.

Jeffrey Bradford and Adrianna Connor, both 24, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct charges in Dauphin County Court (Pennsylvania) last Monday. Both Bradford and Connor declined comment after leaving the courthouse, but Connor’s attorney said he was pleased to have the case resolved.

“We think it was an appropriate result and are grateful it was done in a timely manner without more invasion into their private lives,” attorney J. Michael Sheldon said. “On a public service note, this is what alcohol can do.”

Bradford, of Pittsburgh, and Connor, of Belleville, Michigan, both are employees of Pinnacle Airlines, Inc. They were at a suburban Harrisburg diner May 28 before they apparently decided to walk into the woods and have sex, police said.

Neighbors called police, saying they had seen a naked man and an intoxicated woman. A helicopter with heat-seeking equipment was called in, and Bradford later was discovered hiding behind a shed wearing only flip-flops and a wristwatch.

Still with me at this point? Now, notice the next bit of information. Prosecutors withdrew other charges against Bradford and Connor, saying they lacked sufficient evidence. Those charges included indecent exposure and lewdness against Bradford, theft from a motor vehicle against Connor, and public drunkenness, loitering and prowling at night against both of them.

Did we read that correctly? Lacked sufficient evidence to try them on those charges? Are you kidding me? Wasn’t Mr. Bradford naked in the woods, unless you count flip-flops and a wristwatch—isn’t that indecent exposure? Didn’t their attorney say that this shows what alcohol can do—doesn’t that imply public drunkenness? Wasn’t Mr. Bradford hiding behind a shed when they found him—isn’t that prowling at night?

Maybe I’m confused. Maybe the officials decided to go easy on them, thinking they had suffered enough shame and humiliation. Maybe so. Maybe that was the right thing to do.

What do you think?

Oh, one other bit of information you might want to know, especially if you are like me and fly often. Both Bradford and Connor remain suspended from the Memphis, Tennessee-based airline.

Now, that’s good news!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

In the United States, the first modern Father’s Day celebration was held on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia or on June 19th of the same year, in the state of Washington. Today, Father’s Day is celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of June.

In West Virginia, it was first celebrated as a church service at Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, now known as Central United Methodist Church. Grace Golden Clayton, who is believed to have suggested the service to the pastor, is believed to have been inspired to celebrate fathers after the deadly mine explosion in nearby Monongah the prior December. That explosion killed 361 men, many of them fathers and recent immigrants to the United States from Italy. Another possible inspiration for the service was Mothers’ Day, which had been celebrated for the first time two months prior in Grafton, West Virginia, a town about 15 miles away.

Another driving force behind the establishment of the integration of Father’s Day was Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd, born in Creston, Washington. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, as a single parent raised his six children in Spokane, Washington. She was inspired by Anna Jarvis’s efforts to establish Mother’s Day. Although she initially suggested June 5, the anniversary of her father’s death, she did not provide the organizers with enough time to make arrangements, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June. The first June Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington, at the Spokane YMCA.

Father’s Day will be special for me this year—not because of the history of the day, but because of the little boy’s picture you see at the top of this blog. His name is Evan William Heartsill, and he is my son. Evan was born on February 4, 2008, and he is such a joy!

He laughs. He smiles. His eyes follow me as I walk across the room. He holds my finger in his tiny hands. He snuggles in my lap. He likes for me to swing him around and to tickle his neck with my beard. And, even at the age of 4 ½ months, he loves me. I know he does.

I was more than a little apprehensive when my wife and I began talking about having a baby. There are too many reasons to share in this blog, but just let me say that I was a little nervous about the prospect of having a baby.

Apparently, the Good Lord knew what He was doing and allowed a pregnancy to come very quickly for us. Again, no need for details, let’s just say the Lord took action quickly so neither my wife nor I would change our minds.

And, I am so glad He did! He allowed us to have an absolutely wonderful son. Today is his first Father’s Day and it is my first Father’s Day with him. Who knows what the day will bring. I do know that we will spend the morning at my wife’s home church where we will have him dedicated to the Lord. Then, we will spend the afternoon with family and friends, celebrating Father’s Day.

I really hope your Father’s Day is special for you. Whether your children are brand-new like Evan or they are ready to draw retirement, I hope you find a special few minutes to be together, to enjoy the day, and to be thankful for the father God placed in your life.

And, as you are being thankful, I hope you will join me in praying that we fathers will be the kind of fathers that God wants us to be. I know that I will be praying today that I will be the father that God desires for Evan to have! That’s my simple prayer today.

Happy Father’s Day men! May your day be filled with joy, fun, laughter, sweet words, and maybe even a tear or two.

Saturday, June 14, 2008



This time last year, my wife and I were planning a summer vacation to Seattle, Washington. Neither of us had been before and we were looking forward to our trip. While in Seattle, we were going to drink some coffee, eat seafood, ride a ferry, go to a Mariners baseball game, and several other fun things.

One of the most special memories came from the day when we went to Mount Rainier. We stopped by the downtown Seattle market, picked up some fresh Washington State cherries and peaches and headed for a day of sightseeing.

The mountain was beautiful. The winding road taking us up the mountain was as gorgeous as it was winding. We stopped often, took dozens of photographs, and enjoyed God’s creation. As we reached the highest point in the park where cars are allowed, we stopped and ate lunch at their restaurant. As we exited our car, there was snow on the ground. Now remember, this was late June! Snow in June is the exact opposite of June heat in Alabama! The air was cold and brisk, and the snow was still wet.

The next day, we heard on the news and could see while we were out driving, Mount Rainier had had a major snowstorm during the night and all roads leading to the mountain were closed! We timed it just right—the park remained closed for several days after the snowstorm.

This week, three hikers were stranded high on Mount Rainier’s flank after a blizzard. Two of the hikers were rescued, one died. It seems the three had been on a day hike to Camp Muir when they were caught in the storm that dumped 2 feet of snow. Camp Muir is at about 10,000 feet elevation on the 14,410-foot mountain.

If you are ever in Seattle, I would encourage you to drive the 50 or so miles down to Mount Rainer. If you go, take a jacket with you! If you time it right, as we did, be sure to take along some fresh cherries for a quick snack.

I wouldn’t recommend hiking! At least if you aren’t a very experienced hiker! That mountain is huge! And steep! And who knows, even in June you can expect a sudden snowstorm or blizzard, dropping over two feet of snow on the ground.

So much for global warming!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Locavorism



Locavorism. Ever heard the term? Probably not, but then again, maybe so. Let me tell you about locavorism.

When Katherine Gray takes her children to the grocery store, they can pick out as many apples and pears as their hearts desire. But bananas? Pineapples? Mangoes? Sorry, those things aren’t available in their Portland, Oregon, grocery store. Why? Food shortage? No. Boycott of certain fruits and veggies? Again, no. The reason those fruits aren’t available is because if they aren’t grown within 100 miles of Gray’s house, chances are they won’t make it into the grocery cart.

For many years, locavorism, the idea of eating only food grown locally and in season, was reserved for upscale chefs or serious hippies living off the grid—all the while, the rest of us “normal” folks didn’t think twice about munching on blueberries from Chile or avocadoes from Mexico.

Recently, however, a small but devoted number of Americans have started to think a lot more about the origin of the food going into their grocery cart. Worried about the environmental impact of shipping food hundreds of miles, plus the dwindling fate of local farmers–and obsessed with the idea of eating really good food–these extreme eaters try to only buy food that is grown within a 100-mile radius of their own home.

Jennifer Maiser, one of a group of San Francisco “locavores” who pioneered an effort to eat locally a few years ago said, “When we first started talking about it, at the beginning, people thought we were a little bit off our rockers, and now it’s become part of this mainstream discussion.”

Around the same time, a couple in Vancouver, British Columbia, became alarmed after hearing about a study by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, which showed that the average distance a piece of produce travels from U.S. farms to households in the upper Midwest is 1,500 miles. They made the decision to spend a year trying to live only on food grown within 100 miles of their Canada home.

A book about their effort, Plenty, spawned a devoted international following, and now co-author Alisa Smith says activities related to eating locally, such as speaking engagements, are pretty much a full-time job. The fact that eating locally has touched such a nerve still surprises her. “When we first started writing it, it was a personal experiment for us,” she says. “But we started to hear from people in England, France, Australia, and it just took off from there.”

The movement has grown popular enough to spawn serious research into how much eating locally could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with at least one researcher arguing that, other benefits aside, it may not be the environmental savior some are hoping for.

Well, folks, this movement hasn’t reached Alabama, I can tell you that! Don’t get me wrong. We produce a lot of produce in Alabama. We really do. Especially in the summer time. Peaches, the best peaches in the world grow in Alabama—but the folks in Portland, Oregon, will not know about them—neither with the folks in Vancouver, British Columbia. Too bad for them—great for us—more peaches for the people of Alabama.

We also grow watermelons, turnips, collards, corn, peanuts and dozens of other things. All of which the people of Oregon and Canada will miss out on. I’m assuming they will also miss out on soybeans and cotton (since we are leaders in those areas as well). So, what do they do for cooking oil and cotton for clothes? Can they only buy clothes that are made within a hundred miles of where they live? If so, that rules out things made in China and Hong Kong and Thailand.

While I appreciate people taking a serious look at the environment and trying to protect what God has given to us, my question has always been, where do you draw the line? Can you only put gas in your car that comes from within 100-miles? Can you only use electricity that is produced within a 100-miles from your home? What about TV shows? Can you watch something that didn’t originate 100-miles away or less? What about radio? I know GPS, XM radio, and the Internet are off limits.

So, bring on the blueberries and cherries and plums and pineapples! I’ll take my chances with what little effect their shipment has on the environment. Fill up the grocery cart!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hold the Applause! Or Else!



Hold the applause, please. Seriously. Hold the applause. Don’t clap. Don’t cheer. Don’t yell. Don’t celebrate. Don’t whoop.

Did you hear the news that came out of Columbia, South Carolina, last weekend? Local police arrested seven people after they were accused of loud cheering during high school graduation ceremonies. Six people at Fort Mill High School’s graduation were charged Saturday and a seventh at the graduation for York Comprehensive High School was charged Friday with disorderly conduct. Police said the seven yelled after students’ names were called.

“I just thought they were going to escort me out,” Jonathan Orr told The Herald of Rock Hill. “I had no idea they were going to put handcuffs on me and take me to jail.” Orr, 21, spent two hours in jail after he was arrested when he yelled for his cousin at York’s commencement at the Winthrop University Coliseum.

Rock Hill police began patrolling commencements several years ago at the request of school districts who complained of increasing disruption. Those attending graduations are told they can be prosecuted for bad behavior and letters are sent home with students, said Rock Hill police spokesman Lt. Jerry Waldrop.

Orr was convinced that people should be allowed to cheer at these ceremonies. Here’s his reasoning: “For some people, it might be the only member of their family to graduate high school, and it was like a funeral in there.”

William Massey, 19, was arrested but said he plans to fight the charge. He said he simply “clapped and gave a little whoop” when his fiancee’s name was called. Massey said there were warnings before the ceremony but none that said he could be arrested.

What do you think?

I know how people can get out of control. I’ve seen it in such settings. And, I know that every name is important to hear. I suppose my fear at graduation was always that the person in front of me would have hundreds of people there, cheering him or her on, then my name would be called and you would hear the crickets chirping—hopefully, not too loudly or else they would be arrested in South Carolina.

But, isn’t a graduation ceremony a time to celebrate and rejoice? Mr. Orr was probably correct, unfortunately. Some graduates will be the only one in their family to graduate. Shouldn’t they have time to celebrate this special event? Shouldn’t they have time to cheer them on? Shouldn’t they have the freedom to whoop, if they want to?

Have we gotten to the point in our country where having fun is inappropriate? Just how serious should these times be treated?

Give me your thoughts.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Go Ahead, Make My Day!



Spike Lee recently felt insulted by fellow director Clint Eastwood. Clint “Dirty Harry” Eastwood told a reporter that Spike “Do the Right Thing” Lee should “shut his face.”

Being a far braver man than me, Spike Lee responded back saying that Clint “sounds like an angry old man” and reminded him that “we’re not on a plantation.”

Apparently, Spike Lee was complaining that no African-Americans were included in Eastwood’s 2006 Iwo Jima movies, “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters From Iwo Jima.”

All I really needed to know about this exchange was included in a single sentence from the reporter: “Spike Lee is promoting his newly released film…”

You know, when I hear an actor or actress saying something provocative while they are promoting a new film or new stage act or new project, those provocative words immediately puts things in a not-so-favorable position for me. They are hocking a film or something. Too often, they will say or do just about anything to get the additional PR for their latest project. They’ll shave their head, join a cult, divorce their spouse, and run around naked (if needed) to promote what they are working on—the latest, greatest film the world has ever seen. You’ll see them on every morning talk show, late night show, and every commercial, just trying to promote their work.

Whether Spike Lee has a point or not, I don’t know and to be totally honest, I don’t really care at this point and time. There are far more important issues in the world. There are floods in Indiana, tornados in the mid-west, extreme heat in the northeast, and gas prices topping the $4 a gallon range in the US.

Besides, Mr. Lee is a brave man! I’ve seen him on TV; he’s fairly short and not very strapping of a man. Mr. Eastwood is Dirty Harry! I don’t think that even though Clint is now what, 95 years old, I think he could still take down Spike.

Then again, whatever it takes to promote the latest, greatest, newest Spike Lee movie! Whatever it takes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Happy Father's Day (A Little Early)

Father's Day, the most important day of the year, is just around the corner! I hope you've taken time to plan a little something special for the special father in your life!

Over the last few weeks, Hallmark has been running one of my favorite commerials! Please click below and enjoy!

Monday, June 9, 2008

More Than Meets the Eyes


A 29-year-old New York man leaped out of a plane at 10,000 feet with a camera but no parachute Saturday.

His body was found next to a house with a damaged roof, police said. I wonder what caused the roof damage. Oh, I think I know the answer to that question—a skydiver who jumped from 10,000 feet with no parachute!

Sloan Carafello of Schenectady, was supposed to be observing on the flight; however, when an instructor, student, and videographer went out the door, he followed them.

Robert Rawlins, pilot and owner of the Duanesburg Skydiving Club, said he was flying the single-engine plane and had begun to close the door when Carafello jumped.

Several questions come to mind here. Did Mr. Carafello simply get caught up in the moment? Did he experience the thrill of flying and want to follow those who jumped? Could it have been that he was afraid to land in a plane? Or, as I might suspect, did Mr. Carafello simply use this method to commit suicide? More than likely, that is what took place.

In my job, I often have to fly to meetings and conferences. While I do it, I don’t like it. I never have liked flying. As a matter of fact, I don’t really like heights a great deal. So, when I have to, I will fly—after all, my job requires it, they pay me to do my job, and would probably fire me if I didn’t do it! But, they can’t pay me to enjoy it.

So, if you ever hear that I died in a plane crash, you will know that I was working, on my way home from work, or headed to work. However, if you ever get word that I died while parachuting, let me ask you to remember this blog and call the local police department—because if I died parachuting, you can know I did not jump under my own free will—someone pushed me out the door! Have the police investigate. Have the police check out the pilot, the others in the plane at the time. Have the police check out the person who signed me up. Someone, one of those people, will be guilty of murder—my murder! They either knocked me out, drugged me, or threw me out of the plane. I can promise you I did not jump under my own free will.

My sympathy goes out to the Carafello family. Who knows what drove him to this point and to this decision. It must have been bad, whatever it was.

Should I die in the same way, don’t just show sympathy, do something! Call someone. Anyone! Who knows, there might even be a cash reward from Crimestoppers for doing so!

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Authorities say a Springdale, Arkansas, teacher was recently arrested at school on suspicion of public intoxication. Police say they arrested 59-year-old Janice Dodson last week after other teachers complained of smelling alcohol on her breath. Dodson, who taught English as a Second Language courses at J.O. Kelly Middle School, has resigned.

Mrs. Dodson registered a .192 on a blood-alcohol level test, more than twice the legal limit in Arkansas.

Dodson’s husband, Dennis Dodson, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that his wife is devastated over the arrest. “She’s been a fabulous teacher,” Dennis Dodson said. “She had a couple of beers at lunch, and it was a stupid mistake and she’s paying every day for it.”

I have a question about this. She had a couple of beers at lunch. Did her husband really say that? And, he called it a stupid mistake? What happened to the little containers of milk for lunch? As a child, we had the choice of plain white milk or chocolate milk. I vaguely remember the teachers had an additional choice of sweet or unsweet tea. But, never beer!

Is this a new perk for teachers? Did she bring her own for lunch? (If so, how was it a mistake?) Did she go out and get it during lunch? Did her husband bring it to her?

I’m really not sure what she was thinking! The husband did say that she had been distraught lately since a couple of deaths in her family. I understand distraught and have total sympathy for someone who is distraught. However, drinking on the job is unacceptable, whether at school, in the office place, or digging ditches on the side of the highway.

Got an opinion?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Next Step


Over the last week, I've been telling you about our journey to sell our home. We listed the house on Monday with The Real Estate Starz. You've got to love the name!

I'm withholding judgment on whether or not they are stars.

Check back AFTER the house sells!

Not only have we listed the house and had the sign put in, our agent also created a "Virtual Tour" of the house. I'm not sure how I feel about a vitual tour. I suppose it is okay, and if it helps sell the house, then more power to the technology. But, in one sense, seems like the tour might actually limit the number of people who want to visit the house. You know, they see the still shots, they see the vitual tour, and then decide not to come. On the other hand, without the vitual tour, they would have to come and see it, touch it, and decide in person whether or not the house is right for them. I guess I am hoping for impulse buyers!

Oh well, what's done is done.

And by the way, if you are interested in the house, you see the Web site listed at the bottom of the photo. You also see our agents’ names, so feel free to call. Go ahead. Pick up the phone. Dial the number. Oh, you see the number, but don't see the area code. I see that too. Don't worry. Just start with 205.

That'll put you on the track to purchasing the greatest house on the market!

Go ahead. You know you want to!

Still want more? Okay, just click here for the details! (Sort by the newest listed.)

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Disappearing Lighthouse


A Cape Cod lighthouse that was thought to be destroyed more than 80 years ago has reappeared—in California.

Cape Cod historians had believed for decades that the 30-foot-tall lighthouse that once overlooked Wellfleet Harbor had been demolished in 1925. But researchers learned the fate of the cast iron tower last year. Colleen MacNeney, whose parents have taken pictures of every lighthouse in the country, reported the find in this month's edition of Lighthouse Digest.

The structure is now at Point Montara at the southern end of San Francisco Bay. MacNeney says she came across correspondence that proved the lighthouse, first built in 1881, had been moved by the Coast Guard from Wellfleet to Yerba Buena, California, and eventually to its current location at Point Montara.

I have a question for you. How does a 30-foot-tall lighthouse disappear in the first place? Who, exactly, was the first person to notice that it was missing? Was someone out for their morning walk, looked up on the hillside, and said, “What is going on, the lighthouse is gone!” Who was the first to say that the lighthouse had been destroyed? How did that rumor get started? Did they claim the destruction an act of God? Did the original story claim that a hurricane had destroyed it? Was it teenagers that were responsible? How about aliens?

How does a 30-foot-tall lighthouse disappear from Cape Cod and reappear in California? Well, I, for one, am glad the mystery has been solved. I’ve been worrying about it for years, how about you?

That’s not really true. Until I read the story this week, I’d never even heard of the lighthouse or that it had mysteriously disappeared. Also, who knew there was even a publication known as the Lighthouse Digest. Now, I’m wondering how many people subscribe to the magazine? Is it available on the magazine rack at Barnes & Noble? Is it a special order magazine? I need to know! Maybe I’ll goggle it later to find out.

Looks like I need to do a little more homework on this subject. I’m just glad to know the mystery has been solved—the government did it! Where are all the conspiracy theorists? If it had been an “UFO”, they would have been coming out of the woodwork. Why did they not take a disappearing lighthouse as seriously? Shouldn’t that have been a sign or something? Something strange is still happening here! I don’t think the government is telling us the whole story. I wonder who and what they are trying to protect. Hmmm. Inquiring minds want to know.

Tell me what you think.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Danger of NOT Cutting Your Grass


The elected officials in Canton, Ohio, have passed a new law: Homeowners who don’t mow their grass in this northeast Ohio city now face stiffer penalties—including possible jail time.

The city council unanimously passed a law on Monday that makes a second high-grass violation a fourth-degree misdemeanor carrying a fine of up to $250 and as many as 30 days in jail.

The previous law only made the first violation a minor misdemeanor, with a fine of up to $150 but no jail time. The new law will take effect in 30 days.

Mayor William J. Healy II said, “This is the type of action we need to take in order to clean up our neighborhoods and our city.” Councilman Greg Hawk said, “The laws are an effort to reduce the roughly $250,000 the city spends to cut about 2,000 private lots each year and to address public complaints.”

All this time, I thought it was the homeowners’ responsibility to cut their grass and to keep their yards looking good. Who knew that I could call my local city government, complain about the neighbor’s yard, and have them come out to cut the grass! Maybe the good citizens of Ohio haven’t heard about homeowner associations! It seems that every neighborhood in Alabama has one. And you don’t cross them! You can’t paint your front door without their approval. You can’t build on anything or add anything to your property without their approval. And, in my neighborhood, every resident has to have the same type mailbox, installed by the same man, at the price of $195 each! Talk about power!

Maybe I should move, since my house is on the market, to Canton, Ohio. Then, I could save my homeowner’s dues, never get my lawnmower repaired, or even worry about gas for my mower. I’ll just let the city do the work, cut my grass, write me a ticket, and then I can go off to jail for 30 days, eating their food, living with their air-conditioning, and sleeping in their bed. I’m sure I would get out on good behavior before the 30 days are up, maybe just in time for the grass to be cut by the city again!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Crazy Man on the Loose


The president of Iran is up to his old tricks again. Just this week, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predicted that Muslims would uproot “satanic powers” and he reaffirmed his prediction that the Jewish state will soon be wiped off the map.

Ahmadinejad said, "I must announce that the Zionist regime (Israel), with a 60-year record of genocide, plunder, invasion and betrayal is about to die and will soon be erased from the geographical scene."

"Today, the time for the fall of the satanic power of the United States has come and the countdown to the annihilation of the emperor of power and wealth has started," the hard-line president said.

Well, Mr. President, grace and peace to you too!

No one, in their right mind, will accuse the Iranian president of being a peaceful man or God-fearing leader who is intent on putting the needs of his people and nation first!

The people of Iran continue to be oppressed, continue to suffer, and continue to be imprisoned for any effort at free speech or freedom of religion.

While I believe very strongly that we have the right to speak our mind and a president has a right to lead his people in the direction they truly want to go, I don't believe the people of Iran are behind their leader--unless a gun is pointed at them!

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a dangerous man! He is a danger to the people of Israel, the people of Iran, the people of the Middle East, and a danger to the people of the United States.

I don't think we have seen nor heard the last from this crazy man.

If you were president of the United States or the leader of just about any other nation in the free world, how would you respond to such crazy statements? Would you even respond?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Well, the process has officially begun for our family. We met with a local realtor on Friday, asked a lot of questions, and listened to their proposal on selling our home. After more prayer, we decided to list our home with them. The plan is that we will sign the paperwork this afternoon, the sign will go in the yard, a Web site will be created that is personalized to our home, and a vitual tour will be created for people to view.
Wow! That's a lot that has to happen to sell our home! And, if all goes well, by the middle of the week, everything will be up and running as it should and people will soon be visiting our home, making notes on what they love, like, and hate about our house.
It seems a little weird to me when people are walking through our house, without us there. I know the realtor is there and he/she watches our stuff. However, it has always seemed just a little weird to have strangers commenting on those things we value and the decorations we have done. We like our house. We like how it looks. To have people commenting, giving negative feedback, and even deciding NOT to buy our house, how dare they!
Then, I stop and think about the other side of the process. In the next few days, my wife and I will begin the tour of homes in our chosen area. We will look them over up one side and down the other. We will look for big things, small things, and probably even make some snide remarks about how they keep the house. We'll eventually decide on a house--it certainly won't be the first, second, or even tenth house we visit, I'm sure.
So, the process goes both ways, I suppose. Our house will be judged while we are judging other people's homes.
Now, the hard part for us is living in a home that will need to look like a museum, well, at least a lived in museum. That's tough to do, especially with a baby in the house! However, we know that we have to do everything in our power to keep the house looking nice, clean, and smelling like home.
Got any selling tips for me? We know the simple stuff: we've cleaned thoroughly, we have everything in place, we have "depersonalized" the house of our photos, we have the yard looking great, and we even have air freshners as you walk in. As I said, I know most of the "tricks of the trade." However, I'm certainly open if you know something that will help us in the process! Comment here or email me privately, if you would like.
After seeing how the house has looked the last few days and then after seeing the "vitual" tour of our home, we might just decide to pull it off the market and stay where we are!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Is There Life on Other Planets?



Scientists overseeing the Phoenix Mars Lander recently said that they believe the spacecraft's thrusters uncovered a large patch of ice on the Martian surface. Project scientists aren't yet completely certain about what they have seen to date, but have reached a consensus that the material is ice that had been covered by just a few inches of dirt.
The Phoenix Mars Lander is equipped with a backhoe-like robotic arm that will be used to dig into the surface and retrieve samples for testing in the lander's small onboard laboratories. The lander was sent to a spot on Mars' northern regions in hopes of finding frozen water, but just how deep underground it w0uld be found was unknown.
What do you think? Is there life on other planets? If ice is discovered on Mars does that mean that there has been at some point or is there now life on the "Red Planet"? What, if anything, does the Bible teach about life on other planets or other life forms existing? Does it say anything about it?
In my opinion, I don't really know whether life exists outside our own planet. And to be honest with you, whether it does or not, doesn't really trouble me. God is God. He can do whatever He wishes, and if His desire was to create other life forms or life on other planets, so be it. To me, that's His doings.
Any of this trouble you? Cause you to question God? His plan? Is there something out there?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Candidate without a Church

According to Fox News, presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife Michelle have resigned their membership at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, after controversies stemming from the church created a persistent distraction for Obama’s campaign.

Obama made the decision with “some sadness,” but said he had been discussing it with his family for “quite some time.”

Obama’s pastor problems continued this week when the Rev. Michael Pfleger taunted Hillary Clinton and said she felt “entitled” to the presidency because she’s white.

By resigning his 20-year membership, Obama is taking the most definitive stand to date against the church. He suggested that the Pfleger backlash was the deciding factor for him.

Mr. Obama said, “It’s clear that now that I’m a candidate for president, every time something is said in the church by anyone associated with Trinity, including guest pastors, the remarks will be imputed to me, even if they totally conflict with my long-held views, statements and principles.”

In Mr. Obama’s May 30 letter to the church, he wrote that his relationship with the church had been “strained” by the statements of Wright.

FROM ME--What do you think about his "resignation" from his church. Is it too little, too late? Is it the right decision? While this change, pro or con, how you vote in November?

Let me know what you think!