Friday, February 27, 2009

If I Had Only Known

[Spencer Stroschein (center) saved his brothers Slayton (right) and Weston (left) and his parents by alerting them to a fire that was spreading through their home.]

Ten-year-old Spencer Stroschein’s messy bedroom may have saved his family’s life.

Spencer usually sleeps in the basement of his family’s home in Alborn Township in St. Louis County. But because his bed was full of stuff, he was sleeping in the family den early Tuesday when he awoke to flames shooting through the floor.

The family has smoke detectors, but the fire wasn’t creating much smoke. It was Spencer who served as the alarm, waking his parents and two younger brothers in time to flee.

His mother, Dana, says the family wouldn’t have awakened if Spencer hadn’t gotten them up.
The home was a total loss. The family also lost their 11-week-old yellow Lab puppy.

What a brave thing Spencer did! It is amazing how he was used to save his entire family. Fortunately, over time, the house and dog can be replaced. The parents and children cannot.

And, the article does bring some shame to me. The article reminded me of my own growing up days, sharing a room with my brother. My brother is 23-months younger than me. My brother also just happens to be the messiest person you will ever meet. No doubt about it. I, on the other hand, am normally much neater in how I want the house to be, or as in our case, the room my brother and I shared. Needless to say, we had countless fights about the mess in our room and how it should be cleaned up. I vaguely remember stretching masking tape down the center of the room, ordering him to keep his stuff on his side of the room and not on my side. I was so much younger then!

Now, if I had only thought about it from this angle, my brother’s mess may have saved my life. Then again, we never had a fire. We didn’t even have a basement for the fire to start in.

On second thought, I don’t think Ricky really ever saved my life after all. He just gave me great headaches over how messy he kept our room!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Just Not For Me!

I don’t even know what to say!

The world’s most pierced woman, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, has added to her collection with a 6,005th piercing, the U.K.’s Telegraph reported.

Elaine Davidson, of Edinburgh, Scotland, made the Guinness World Record official in 2000 when she had a mere 462 piercings—192 of which were in her face. Nine years later, the Brazilian-born nurse has thousands of piercings including more than 1,500 that she says are “internal.” (I don’t want to ask or know any more than that!)

Surprisingly, Davidson says she doesn’t like getting pierced. “To break the record you have to get to a high level. I wanted to break the record. My family [doesn’t] even like tattoos or piercings. But I am happy. I decided to change myself and be me.”

What do I say? Where do I begin?

How about with what my Dad used to say to me when I came up with some stupid idea: “ARE YOU CRAZY!”

Ms. Davidson, are you crazy!

I have to tell you, if I were in the hospital and you walked in to treat me, I don’t think I could let you. I’d be just too afraid. Call me a wimp you would like! Either that, or all I could do would be to stare, and I know that's not polite!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This Commerical Owns Me!

I know that TV commericals shouldn't own me, I do understand that. But, from the first time I saw the following commerical, I have laughed every time I have seen it. Tolerate my weird sense of my humor.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Giving and Taking, Mainly Taking

What Microsoft giveth, Microsoft can taketh away.

Microsoft says some of the 1,400 employees it laid off last month accidentally got too much in their severance packages—and now it wants the money back.

“This letter is to inform you that an inadvertent administrative error occurred that resulted in an overpayment in severance pay by Microsoft,” reads a letter sent to an unnamed employee and posted on the TechCrunch blog. “We ask that you repay the overpayment and sincerely apologize for any overpayment to you.”

Blacked out are the employee’s name and address and how much Microsoft says he owes. The letter bears a Microsoft letterhead and a date of February 18.

Contacted by CNet News, a Microsoft spokesman confirmed the letter was real and hinted that some other laid-off employees had been underpaid in their severance packages.

He or she declined further comment, deeming it “a private matter between the company and the affected people.”

I wonder, did the good people at Microsoft not use Microsoft Excel for their spreadsheet? I don’t know much about how Excel works, but I do know that it will calculate out columns automatically.

I won’t say more. After all, I am in the market for a new laptop and I don’t want my name added to some secret blacklist of names of people who can’t register their Microsoft products.

Just a little Internet humor Mr. Microsoft! I really do love you guys! And, I’ve only touched a Mac a couple of times! Promise!

And, oh, if you dare to comment, you do so at your own risk. The owner of this blog site takes no responsibility for the actions of any mega-giant computer company against anyone who feels the need to join in the conversation stream. Unless said mega-giant computer company would like to donate to the Heartsill laptop computer fund.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Works of a Man's Hands

Last week's furlough will be burned in my mind for a long time. Many lessons were learned, and much work around the house was accomplished.

I am most proud of one accomplishment, building a toybox for Evan. As promised, here's a picture of the final work.

My father-in-law said I might could consider going into business and building these for a living. After the hours it took to build this toybox, there's not a chance in the world that that's going to happen!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bedtime Friends

This story just get more and more strange every day. You know the story. Or at least what's been told so far.

Now, some new, even more startling information has come out.

Travis the chimpanzee’s relationship with his owner was closer than those of some married couples. Sandra Herold gave him the finest food, and wine in long-stemmed glasses. They took baths together and cuddled in the bed they shared. Travis brushed the lonely widow’s hair each night and pined for her when she was away. If she left the house alone, Travis would give her a kiss.

Experts say the unusually human relationship would have been confusing for any animal. It may have also played a role in Travis’ savage attack Monday on Herold’s friend, 55-year-old Charla Nash of Stamford.

Earl Mason, whose son married Herold’s daughter, remembers when Herold got Travis. The chimp would ride a tricycle. “He grew up like a youngster. He did everything a kid would do. He was a cute little guy.” Travis loved ice cream and even knew the schedules of the ice cream trucks, Mason said. He ate breakfast at the table with Herold and her husband. But even when the chimp was a baby, Mason was amazed at his strength. When Travis would jump on him, Mason said he would slam into his chest.

“A cute little guy?”

Folks, Travis was a monkey! An ape! An animal!

Okay. Here’s the question for the day. Where do you draw the line with what kind of animal can sleep in your bed? Or, eat your ice cream?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lessons Learned...So Far

As many of you know, I've been taking a break from blogging this week. For those who noticed, thanks for noticing! For those who didn't notice, shame on you! :)

A few days into this furlough thing, I've learned a few lessons that I'd like to share with you. Nothing too earth-shattering important, just observations.

1. I could get used to not going to work every day! I definitely see why retirement is so appealing to so many. I get to set my own hours and do my own thing (or at least those things that Tonya tells me are my own things!) I like working around the house. I like building stuff and painting things.

2. No project is as simple as you think. So far this week, I've built Evan's toybox (once I get it painted, I'll post a picture to let you see my handiwork. I've also painted our guest bathroom. I've washed clothes. And, cooked a few meals for my lovely wife. Each of these projects were planned out and I had a gameplan for each one. However, projects don't go the way you think they should or as fast as you think they should.

3. You never have the right tool! I've been to Lowe's and The Home Depot several times already this week. Now, I'm not complaining. I love those places! They are manly stores. If they could bottle the smell of either store, I'd buy it! But, just once, when I start a project I'd love to have all the tools I need to finish it.

4. It is amazing how many cuts and bruises I get when I work around the house! Right now, I've got two cuts on my head where I hit myself as I built Evan's toybox, not once, mind you, but I did it twice! Yes, I hit my head twice. Tonya did get a good laugh out of that one.

5. There aren't as many hours in the day as I thought! I always want to do one more thing before quitting time gets here, but I know that some of those things will just have to wait until the next day. I'll keep those things on my list so I know what to accomplish next.

6. I forgot just how many muscles I have! I've rediscovered a few hundred of them over the last couple of days. And, to be honest, I think each of them is hurting right now!

7. Nothing I've done this week matters to anyone but me, and maybe Tonya and Evan. Then again, that's okay by me.

8. By now, you've wondered what the meaning of the photo at the top of the page is. Just a reminder to self: when you are on unpaid furlough, be prepared for things to break! Our laptop died last night. Well, that's not true. The laptop is working, the LCD screen died. Guess what? To fix it would cost $300-400! Yup. So, I guess we'll been spending money that we hadn't planned to spend on a laptop. Let the shopping begin! And no, that wasn't on my "to-do-list" for the week!

9. I'm torn about blogging right now. I've really missed the regular readers of my blog and I've missed your comments! I started blogging because I had something to say, and words to express. I've continued blogging because of the social networking I've come to love.

Friends, be patient. I'll be back. As a writer and editor, I simply have too many words in me to keep them all to myself. So, soon, I'll be filling my blog pages with more "stuff," some you'll enjoy and some you'll just pass over and say, "What was he thinking?"

That's okay. As I've said before, it is my blog! So, I'll write what I want to write. And, as a reader, you always have the choice of simply not reading. Hopefully, you won't do that, but I understand if you do. Unless you are one of the mean-spirited commenters who've lurked around the site for a while.

Keep praying for my fellow co-workers. Because I can't check email, I don't know how they are doing. I'm sure they are fine. And, hopefully their computers didn't give up the ghost and they aren't nearly as sore and tired as I am!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Tonya

Today is a special day! My lovely bride celebrates her birthday today! I think it's her 29th birthday, at least that's my story and I am going to stick with it!

Now, some guys would say, "You are very lucky! Valentine's Day and birthday in the same weekend! That makes it easy for you!" Oh no! Don't be fooled. That really makes the weekend extra difficult for me. I want to make both days extra special for her.

You see, Tonya really deserves a special day! She deserves the best I can give! After all, she does have to put up with me 365! That's a special calling in itself!

I'm hoping today will be special for Tonya. Just so you know, I picked Tonya up from work on Friday afternoon and we headed off for the weekend--the three of us. I took Tonya to a place that she enjoys very much. There are several things to do, or you can do nothing at all. There's shopping and window shopping to do. And, of course, there are several good places to eat.

All of these things are just things. I realize that. And, by themselves, those things mean nothing. But, what I hope Tonya sees is the love behind each part of our little trip. We didn't spend much money this year for our little getaway. But, in truth, that's okay and doesn't matter. It's not about the money. It's about the joy of our relationship that we share. And, maybe an extra special meal that we enjoyed, that neither of us had to prepare.

So, sweetheart, I hope you enjoyed the weekend. I hope you liked the little things we did. Most importantly, I hope you know the love behind all that was done.

Happy Birthday!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Some Time to Think

On Wednesday, I shared a little of the journey ahead for me and my fellow co-workers at my company. I won’t repeat all of the details. You can simply scroll down and read what I had to say on that previous post.

I thought for a long time before posting what I did. You see, I’ve known what was coming since early December. I’ve had plenty of time to think about it. During Christmas. New Years. And, during Evan’s birthday. I’ve thought about it. I’ve prayed about it. I’ve talked with my wife about it. We’ve looked at what this means to our bottom line.

By no means do I want my words on Wednesday or today to reflect any negative feelings toward the people I serve alongside. There isn’t any anger or animosity there. Honest. I work with some of the greatest people and servants I’ve ever met. I look forward to great days ahead for our company and the people who make up the company. I believe the best days are ahead. We just have to make it through this tough stretch.

At this point in my life, I’ve decided to take a few days off from blogging—not like people come in droves to my site on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday anyway, or any other day for that matter. You know, I’ve tried to stop watching Sitemeter and seeing who is visiting the site and from where. I do peek from time-to-time, the curiosity just gets the best of me. But, I’ve come to accept the fact that I write this blog, not for numbers, but to build friendships and relationships with others. And for that, I’m most thankful that you’ve stopped by the site every day, or if today is your first day. Either way, I feel blessed that you’ve shared a part of life with me.

But, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need a few days to reflect on the journey I’m about to take. That journey begins today for me. These are uncharted steps. Since I was 21 years old, I’ve worked. I’ve always been paid for the work I’ve done. Now, I’m employed, just unpaid. I’ll be off a week and then go back to work once again. To my same job. To the same office. Kind of weird just thinking about what is to come.

My goal is to post something new on Monday. That’s not a promise. But a goal. I do know I won’t be sitting at the computer every day next week, waiting for people to comment or to visit my blog. I’ve got a long list of things I want to accomplish next week. And, as my dad would say, “The Lord willing and the creek don’t rise,” I’ll complete that list. On the top of that list will be building Evan a toy box. I’m not a great carpenter by any stretch of the imagination, but this is something I want to build for my son. I want him one day to realize that his father built this, to the best of his ability, during a difficult time in his dad’s life. I want Evan to know that I focused every bit of energy on creating something special for him. I can’t think of a better gift for him, or me.

I’ll be back in a few days. Promise. Maybe Monday. Maybe Tuesday. Maybe Wednesday. Soon. But, I’ll see you again shortly. Friends, thanks for your patience. And prayers. Both are appreciated more than words can say.

In His Name,

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What Else Is There to Say?

Do I really need to say any more?

In Guns We Trust

The Arkansas House of Representatives yesterday approved a bill allowing concealed handguns in churches, despite hearing arguments that lawmakers should put their faith in God, not guns.

The bill, which passed on a 57-42 vote and now heads to the Senate, removes churches and other houses of worship from the list of places where concealed handguns are banned. Currently, the only private entities where concealed weapons are banned are churches and bars.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Beverly Pyle, said she introduced the measure after a series of church shootings across the country. She said it would be up to each individual church whether to allow the concealed guns.

What do you think? Agree or disagree?

Would you feel comfortable with people having guns in church? I guess, that is, if you knew they had a concealed weapon. Share your thoughts.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The New Meaning to Stimulus


a. A leave of absence or vacation, especially one granted to a member of the armed forces.
b. A usually temporary layoff from work.
c. A leave of absence from prison granted to a prisoner.

2. The papers or documents authorizing a leave.

tr.v. fur·loughed, fur·lough·ing, fur·loughs
1. To grant a leave to.
2. To lay off (workers).

Lately, I have developed a new appreciation for the word "furlough."

You can see the definition above for furlough taken from the free online dictionary. While I already knew the definition and the word, I now understand it far better. Or, I'm about to.

For the first time in my life, I am about to experience a furlough from work. Beginning Friday, I will be on unpaid leave from my job. I'm not alone. Everyone who works for our company will be taking 4 weeks of unpaid leave from January - August. Hopefully, the furloughs will not extend longer than that. I guess we'll wait and see how the economy goes between now and then. And, further into 2009.

You see, I've watched the news since Fall time about the economy and how the economy is struggling. I've watched the news intently as they've talked about businesses closing, job layoffs, shut-downs, and yes, furloughs. At first, I had a causal interest, but as the Fall became Winter, I watched with a different perspective in mind.

Our company hasn't made the news, we are a small business of about 100 employees. So, we rarely receive press coverage, and that's fine. But, the stagnant economy is hitting more than just the big three car companies, The Home Depot, and the banks. It is also hurting companies like the one I work for.

So, beginning Friday, I will be joining the ranks of unpaid American workers who are questioning what 2009 will hold for us. By every stretch of the imagination, I'm thankful I have a job! I'm thankful that my boss has done everything in her power to keep the employees we have. Her job is not one that I would want to have now or ever.

Over the next week, I have a lot of work planned. My wife has given me a very detailed list of "honey-do" things that need doing around the house. I'll be painting. I'll be doing yardwork. I'll be building Evan a toy box.

On the other hand, I won't be working. I won't be answering emails. I won't be answering the phone, networking with contacts, assigning writers with articles, attending meetings. I won't be drawing a pay check. That will be the first time that's happened since I began working full-time at the age of 20 years old.

I'll do fine. God is gracious and He provides. Tonya and I aren't worried. We are blessed far more than we deserve to be.

I would ask you to pray for my fellow employees. Pray for other companies that are facing the same decisions we are facing. Pray for employees, of big and small companies, who will be furloughed or laid off in 2009. Difficult days are ahead in 2009.

I don't blame the Democrats. I don't blame the Republicans. I think all of us share some of the responsibility for where we find ourselves today. We've lived so far above our means that we feel that we are entitled to that. Where are we promised that? Where are we promised that we will have bigger and better than our parents? Where are we promised that someone else should support us? Coverage our mortgage? Bail us out when we get ourselves into debt?

James 4:14 gives the promise. Not the promises above. But another promise. James said (in my paraphrase) that life is just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. If I live to be 75 or even 80, what is that really? It's just a vapor. What's all the money I make? A vapor. What's work really about? Again, a vapor.

So, as you pray, pray for our economy, yes by all means do that. Pray for companies struggling to get by. But, more importantly, pray for people who haven't yet grasped the truth that there is more to life than what takes place at work, or on vacation, or out shopping. Or building treasures on earth. Life is about a relationship with Jesus Christ. Life is preparing to meet Him in glory.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Birthday Party Feast or Is That Mess?

Saturday was Evan's 1st birthday party. We had a bigger cake made for us. The grocery store where we bought the cake (Publix) gives a smaller individual cake for a child's 1st birthday! What a great idea! Evan had never had cake before, so we didn't know what to expect.

Here's what Evan's smaller cake looked like.

Now, let's follow the progression. Above, is the beautiful, untouched cake, before being placed in front of our child.

Now, below, is Evan sitting in his high chair, with the cake in front of him. At first, he was hesitant to touch the cake. He acted as if it were wrong to touch it, or to taste it.

But, he sure didn't disappoint us with his smile!

After about 10 minutes, well, the cake was no more. Evan had the best time enjoying his cake. He did eat some, I'm not sure how much. He also fed our dog, Peanut, who loves to sit under his chair and eat anything that "drops."

And, this was the photo I took as he was finishing up! Let's just say that most of him was covered in cake, as was his high chair, and the floor, and even Peanut's tail had some cake crumbs on it.

I'm hoping this tradition only happens on the 1st birthday!

You just can't imagine how long it took to clean him, the floor, and his high chair. Let's just say that I finally took the chair outside and hosed it off!

You know, I don't really think a child could have enjoyed his birthday party any more than Evan did! Hopefully, one day, he'll love watching the video of the cake event and seeing the pictures on his blog.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Few Lessons Learned

Last Wednesday, Evan turned one year old. What a ride this last year has been! He is such a fun kid and brings so much joy into our life.

Over this last year, I've learned several lessons as I have watched Evan grow.

* If you turn your back for three seconds, Evan can be in the next room or halfway up the stairs.
* A box is just as good as a present. At Christmas, Evan spent more time playing with the wrapping paper and boxes that his presents came in than he did playing with the presents themselves.

* I don't know what it is about cords, but Evan loves electrical cords. Thick cords, thin cords, long cords, short cords. It really doesn't matter what type of cord it is, Evan loves to play with them. So, if you turn your back, if he's not in the next room or halfway up the stairs, he's found another cord to pull on. Or, to try to eat!

* Evan has decided that he totally loves the food we are eating! At first, Evan wasn't too sure about "real" food. Now, he's very taken with it! I don't think he has found a food that he doesn't really like! He eats fruit, veggies, and meat. He especially loves chicken! Which is good because we rarely eat red meat. So, it's a good thing for him to like chicken and fish and seafood.

* Evan rarely stops smiling! About the only time he isn't smiling is when he is laughing. And, he loves to laugh.

* It is so much fun to walk into a room and watch Evan's face light up! He really does enjoy being with his mom and dad.

* Evan rarely meets a stranger. He enjoys meeting people at church, at daycare, and the mall. Especially the mall. Evan really likes to go to the mall and just sit and watch people! Then again, I like doing that too!

* The first year has gone by fast! It's hard to believe it has been a year since he was born. While I want him to grow up, I sure enjoy the innocence he has.

* Evan is fearless. Absolutely. Totally. Completely. Fearless! He isn't afraid of climbing off the bed. He isn't afraid to try to go up or down the stairs. He isn't afraid of strangers. He isn't afraid of our dog. He's not afraid of experiencing new things. Evan just isn't afraid! What do you think? Good trait? To some degree, I sure hope this trait doesn't go away any time soon. I hope he remains fearless about life!

* Just about all of life is good for Evan. People take care of all of his needs, feeds him, changes him, baths him, puts him to bed at night, and showers him with love and affection. Not a bad life for any of us, is it? It might be a better world if we all had people caring for us like that.

* Even at one year old, Evan knows how to express himself well. If he is wet, dirty, hungry, or sleepy, you know it. If he is tired, you know it. If he doesn't like something, you know it. There is no pretense with Evan. He is who he is. You know, I hope that trait doesn't go away any time soon!

I'll try to show a few more pictures of Evan over the next few weeks, and include a few pictures of his birthday cake, etc. I'll try not to be that irritating parent who shows off hundreds of pictures at the drop of the hat. Then again, it's my blog and I can if I want to! :)

Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to your comments and words of wisdom.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

On Second Thought...

Okay, this may be the best commerical from the Super Bowl. I know I said that yesterday, but who really read my blog yesterday? Not many. But, this commerical really makes me laugh. Again, I can relate. Can you?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

It May Be Time!

One of the best commericals from the Super Bowl was sponsored by Sit back for a minute and enjoy.

There have been times over the years that I could totally relate to this particular commerical.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Never Too Old

After celebrating Evan’s birthday yesterday and making my comment about my age, I thought this story from Wellington, New Zealand, was quite appropriate to share. It seems that a reptile in New Zealand has unexpectedly become a father at the ripe old age of 111.

The centenarian tuatara, named Henry, was thought well past the mating game until he was caught canoodling with a female named Mildred last March—a consummation that resulted in 11 babies being hatched.

Henry was at least 70 years old when he arrived at the museum, “a grumpy old man,” who attacked other reptiles, including females, until a cancerous tumor was removed from his genitals in 2002.

The museum now has 72 of the reptiles after 42 hatchings in the past two years. The museum’s director hopes to use Henry regularly in the breeding program that is helping expand tuatara numbers after they had been savaged by predators.

A male tuatara takes 70 years to fully mature but reaches sexual maturity about age 20.

Okay, I feel better now. And, not nearly as old!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Evan!

Today is a special day around our house.

One year ago today, my wife and I were at the hospital, going through labor (ladies, please don't correct me here--while she went through physical labor and I am not downplaying that in ANY way, I too went through unbelievable labor pains just watching, waiting, supporting, not getting in the way, and not having my hand squeezed off!).

One year ago today, Evan William Heartsill made his grand entrance into the world--9 days early--at 3:43 PM.

What a beautiful baby he was! And, how full of life he was from the very first moment of life. He immediately looked around the room, as if to survey his new environment, to determine whether he liked it or not. While he was getting cleaned off by the nurse, he held onto my finger, as if to say, "Dad, as long as you are here, I'll be okay." I think in that moment, while his hand was wrapped around my little finger, what was really happening was that he was wrapping me around him.

Evan's birth was fairly uneventful, as far as births go. Everything went by the book. And, within three days, we were home. Introducing Evan to Peanut (our dog). And, we settling into our new life.

These months have passed quickly. Well, the first two months are still a blur of little sleep, going to work, and trying not to fall asleep in meetings. Feedings every few hours, dirty diapers, regular crying, and total dependance on us was all expected, but certainly exhausting. But now, oh what a joy! Evan is now beginning to eat table food, he is laughing all the time, and the only thing he does more than eat and laugh is smile! There's hardly a moment when a huge smile isn't on his face! He loves people, going to day care, going to church, and he especially loves to go to the mall and just sit and watch people go by! He flirts with all women, smiles at the men, and gets excited when anyone talks to him.

Now, the biggest new adventure for Evan is that he is now walking (see the video below for one of his first attempts at solo walking)! Well, stumbling is probably closer to the truth. But, he's trying. And, he is so proud of his accomplishment! He loves to walk between Tonya and I and then plop down on his rear end. Then, he's back up and ready to go again.

You know, at my age, babies generally don't come along--unless we are talking about grandchildren. Evan doesn't seem to care about my age. All he seems concerned about is playing with his mom and dad and puppy. And, seeing what new adventure he can discover today.

Happy Birthday Son! I hope you never lose that sense of adventure! And, I hope you never lose that smile you have when you see your old dad across the room.

I love you!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How Big Is That Shoe?

Do you remember when an Iraqi journalist hurled his shoes at George W. Bush last month at a Baghdad press conference?

The attack caused a flood of Web jokes, political satire, and street rallies across the Arab world.

Now the “attack” has inspired a work of art—a sofa-sized shoe statue.

Baghdad-based artist Laith al-Amari described his fiberglass-and-copper work as a homage to the pride of the Iraqi people. The statue also has inscribed a poem honoring Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the Iraqi journalist.

Now, I’m tempted not to comment and just let you comment away and share your thoughts about this. To see if you are angry or amused.

Well, I’m not going to wait for the two or three of you who comment regularly to do so. I’ll go ahead and share my thoughts about it.

At first glance, I was kind of angry about this monument going up. After all, this man attacked our President. And, whether that President is George W. Bush or Barak H. Obama, it shouldn’t matter—an attack is an attack!

But, just look at the monument! It is a monument of a shoe! A fiberglass-and-copper shoe! And, a big one at that.

But, is that monument any more ridiculous than some of the monuments we have in our own country? What about these:

This massive prairie chicken is propped up in the small town of Rothsay, Minnesota. From the plaque: “Prairie chickens moved ahead of the settlers to inhabit the prairies of Minnesota. A large concentration of the protected bird can still be seen on prairie meadows of the Rothsay area. In the early spring the male prairie chicken performs his mating ritual called booming. This statue of a booming prairie chicken was designed and built by Art Fosse with assistance and funds from the community. The statue stands 13 x 18 feet and weighs 9,000 pounds. It was placed on this site and unveiled, June 15, 1976. “

The Boot Monument is an American Revolutionary War memorial that commemorates an unnamed American Patriot general, Benedict Arnold. The monument commemorates Arnold’s contribution to the Continental Army’s victory over the British in the Battle of Saratoga. Arnold was wounded in the foot during the Arnold expedition as well as at Saratoga near where the monument is located. The injury effectively ended his career as a fighting soldier. Benedict Arnold is not mentioned by name on the monument because, several years later the wounded Arnold turned traitor to the United States and joined with the British and their Loyalists. Arnold attempted unsuccessfully to hand over his American command, West Point, to the British. Although this attempt failed, Arnold was given the rank of a British brigadier general and the British exchequer paid him £6,000.

So, tell me your thoughts. Found any strange monuments that you want to share with us? If so, include a link here and others can enjoy a great laugh as well.

Monday, February 2, 2009

How Much is That Puppy in the Window?

A Boca Raton, Florida, couple got a new dog, and it’s just like their old dog.

Not just the same breed and gender, but the same DNA.

Nina and Edgar Otto picked up their cloned yellow lab puppy at the Miami International Airport this week. Lancelot Encore was cloned from the DNA of the Ottos’ late dog Lancelot, which died of cancer in January 2008.

Guessing that pet cloning would one day be possible, the Ottos had DNA samples of their dog frozen five years ago.

The Ottos paid $155,000 in a San Francisco biotech firm’s dog-cloning auction last July.

Please reread that last sentence. $155,000!

BioArts International created Lancelot Encore in South Korea, where he was born 10 weeks ago.

Okay. Let me ask you a question. If you had a spare $155,000 would you clone a dog? Cat? Your child? Spouse? Anybody?

The answer for me? Simple! NO! I’d keep my money and spend it on something far wiser. Then again, just about anything would be wiser than spending money on a clone of anything.

I know that the Otto’s live in one of the most exclusive cities in the United States, maybe in the world. But come on folks. Go to the shelter. Rescue a dog. Look around town, there are hundreds of strays on the streets that could use a good home. Give the money to your local shelter. Feed a hungry family. Go on a missions trip and see what the world is really like—outside of your small, narrow, wealthy, mansion-driven world.

What a waste of good money!