Monday, December 31, 2007

Lean Mean Fighting Machine

I used to eat a whole pie at night, a banana split or anything else with lots of calories just to keep my weight from dropping below minimum “belt line” of 140 lbs. This photograph was taken by Lucy during a Chief’s inspection of Point Control Division back in the early 70’s; probably 1974 or 1975.

I found this picture while transferring some of our old slides into digital images last week. I’ll give the original slides to the Houston Police Department Museum; maybe they can use a good laugh too.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Kwanzaa Furthers the Divide

Does anyone, other than myself, think it’s more than a little odd that Kwanzaa seemingly jumped into America’s religious history, as if lost for centuries and then found miraculously and restored to full celebration overnight? Kwanzaa is touted as an equal to Christmas and Hanukah as the holiday season goes into full swing. I did some looking around on the internet and found some answers.

The roots of Kwanzaa are found in a small booklet, no longer in print; links provided by Stop the ACLU. The original article which caught my attention had to do with a judge permitting a Kwanzaa celebration in a public building after having denied the same to a Christmas celebration. Here is the opening line which introduced the booklet:

“Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Mulana Karenga/Ron Karenga (born Ron Everett), a professor and chair of the Department of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach. Dr. Karenga once wrote a book, and as a public service PiratePundit reproduces it here. The book is not in print, and Dr. Karenga receives no royalties from the sales of the few existing copies, and PiratePundit reproduces it here not for profit, but without editorial comment and as an attempt to make available an historic document written by an historic figure.”

Dig a little further and you find the truth about this self appointed black “prophet” and the continuation of the radical and militant “blacks against whites” movement; or better stated by Lynn Woolley, “No one remembers the part about "re-Africanization" or the sevenfold path of blackness that Dr. Karenga once espoused. Hardly anyone remembers the shootings, the beatings, the tortures and the prison terms that were once the center of his life. It's just not PC to bring that sort of stuff up now that Kwanzaa is commercialized and making big bucks.”

I suppose Judge Walter L. Evans got it right when he “dismissed the suit. Lawyers for Brooks argued the party would not violate rules against religious gatherings in public buildings.” Kwanzaa isn’t a religious celebration; Kwanzaa is a devious and subversive attempt to further divide the American people through hard core racial hatred. Before you go on about what some folks might call “my white man’s bigotry”, do your homework; read about Kwanzaa’s founder, Ronald McKinley Everett, AKA Maulana Ron Karenga.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Odd Christmas Gifts

It seems somebody got a box of kitchen canister jars for Christmas; only problem, one of the jars in the boxed set had a sticker attached to the bottom indicating it contained the cremated remains of a person. The canister had some “dust” on it; but otherwise was empty. The gift set was purchased at J.C. Penny’s in Phoenix, Arizona and the sticker indicated it had come from the Mission Crematory in Mesa.

A few years ago my sister in law, Barbara’s husband John, died after a drawn out illness. John was cremated and his remains were placed in a shoe box until such time as a suitable permanent resting place “to be determined later” was found. John was placed on a shelf at home and stayed there undisturbed in his shoe box.

Christmas shopping came around that year and we bought several biscotti jars to give as gifts. Lucy and I casually joked that the one we planned to give Barbara could be used to keep John once the biscotti treats had been enjoyed; it being a little classier than an old shoe box. On Christmas when all the family was opening gifts I kept my odd sense of humor to myself and would never have said a thing except all of the family recognized the biscotti jar as a better final resting place and jumped on the chance to make light of poor old John sitting on a shelf in his shoe box.

Unfortunately for John, Barbara dropped and broke the ceramic biscotti jar before the transfer could be made. John continued in his shoe box until the next year when a replacement biscotti jar was presented. This time there was no doubt as to its intended use as everyone burst into laughter and simultaneously announced, “Hey, John won’t have to stay in the shoe box now.”

This year we purchased some biscotti jars to give away to business associates and ended up with one extra; “Biscotti anyone?”

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Slides to Digital Images

The mailman brought a package to our door this morning, a VuPoint Film Scanner I’d purchased after hearing about it on the Rush Limbaugh radio program. If you want one contact Hammacher Schlemmer before December 31st. They’re $99.95; but come with free shipping if you use the key word, “Rush”. I don’t get a nickel for that plug; but it would save you a couple of dollars. A word of caution, the instructions clearly state that this was designed to work with Windows XP; sorry for you folks with Vista operating systems, then again you’re already are feeling sorry you ever got hood winked with that POS.

I installed the CD program and got out some slide carousels I had back in my garage. With a little effort I was able to figure out how to use the damn thing, pardon that, how to use this sophisticated electronics gadget. I had sense enough to create a file for all these photographs in advance so dropping each picture in was a snap. I then went back and created sub files and began sorting away.

This one photograph from 1976 of Lucy and me in New Orleans caught my attention. Most folks would have burned it, a way of destroying any evidence in the event the fashion police might have a warrant out for my arrest. No, I wasn’t an extra on Starsky and Hutch; just enjoy a piece of history. I actually had a variety of these Leisure Suits, as they were called; yellow, light blue and this dark blue. One of the benefits of having a leisure suit was the ability to work the Carnival at Midway when one of their hawkers got sick. “Step right up and let me guess your weight and age…”

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Kids and Their Toys

Lucy made sure to get all the kids at least one toy, myself included. This year she found a micro-mini helicopter that really flies. I practiced in the living room with take offs and crashes until I learned how to take off and land; glad it’s tough and bounces.

I took this picture while the tiny power unit was being recharged. Click on the image and you will get a better idea of its size. I placed a penny off to one side to show perspective.

The helicopter closely resembles the old Fox Units, the first helicopters used by the Houston Police Department back in the early 70’s. I can remember how much safer these airborne spot lights made checking out the rooftops of building when we as ground patrol units were looking for bad guys. They were also nice to have in a chase, another set of eyes to keep track of a fleeing vehicle to advise other units from their vantage point of opportunities or, when the suspects bailed from their vehicle and lit out on foot, where they were hiding.

I don’t think my micro-mini helicopter would be much help; but you never know, some of the latest surveillance gadgets are pretty small and can be mounted with video cameras. The idea of being the proverbial “fly on the wall” isn’t so far fetched. Until then I’ll stick to annoying our cat Bubba.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Close Encounters of a Christmas Kind

I ran across a quiet message in the Sunday Comics, one that I hope you enjoy on this Christmas Eve. Brian Basset has a strip called, Red and Rover with the awe that the child in me still wants and needs.

(Click on the image to enlarge)

Now, climb under the covers and listen for the sound of sleigh bells landing on the roof, dream of finding a pony in the back yard and all those kitchen fragrances that tell your nose that Christmas dinner with all the trimmings is almost ready.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Carolers to Brighton Our Day

Lucy and I were in the midst of wrapping some gifts; to be honest, Lucy was wrapping and I was getting ready to take a picture of some of her sewing handy work. The door bell rang and we wondered if it might be the kids; their presents were unwrapped and sitting on the dinning room table.

I was about to take pictures of Jocelyne’s ________ that Lucy had sewn from scratch; you didn’t think I was going to slip up and let the cat out of the sack. The other night while grocery shopping we noticed a couple of employees cleaning up a mess after one of them had dropped a bag Pinto Beans, hundreds of dry beans scattered all over. Lucy commented that she had, “spilled the beans”; well I’m not going to do that until after Christmas. I put the camera down and went to see who was there.

Upon opening the door we were greeted by the Brighton family singers as they broke out with a round of Christmas Carols; how about that for “Brightoning” up our day! It also gave spell checker something to do, not that I’m a great speller; but this was intentional. I must say that the Spirit of Christmas grabbed us both; tears welled up as they sang several carols and presented us with a cinnamon ornament for our house. Lucy brought out a canister full of her homemade ginger bread cookies and paid them a “fair price” for their efforts.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope you have neighbors as thoughtful as the Brighton family who will come sing carols at your door. Last night we watched the black and white Dicken’s classic, A Christmas Carol, with Alastair Sim as Scroog.; as Tiny Tim would say, “God Bless us everyone.”

Friday, December 21, 2007

Classy Cars Deserve a Second Look

I was on the phone talking with my mom this afternoon as she explained how much fun she had looking at some of the really nice looking cars on the streets of Vero Beach this time of year when the “snowbirds” come down. Snowbirds, for those not in the know, are the folks who spend their winters in Florida and the rest of the year live up in Yankee land.

Mom was going on about a neat looking dark blue Mazda Miata parked in the parking lot of, “2001”, a place she likes to have breakfast. “There’s something worth slowing down for, easing off the gas so a classy looking car has a chance to catch up and pass”. I’d have to agree, some cars are so good looking as to warrant such attention; my own BMW falls into that category.

I’d watched a show on the Discovery Channel, might have been the History Channel, about a classic car collection owned by Ralph Lauren. The show stopper car was a black 1938 Bugatti Atlantic Coupe. Photos are courtesy of autoblog where Robert Farago posted a great article on the Ralph Lauren Collection.

The moment I saw the lines it dawned on me why I’d fallen in love with my BMW Z-3 Coupe; they both have the same basic design flow of lines if looked at from the side. Granted the Bugatti has some awesome exaggerated lines with the fenders separated from the extended hood and the swept back tail, a taste of French elegance; but I’ll take the superior handling of my “Ultimate Driving Machine” over most anything on the market today that is within my price range.

I read where the Bugatti had some serious handling issues; but it was the fastest production car of its time reaching speeds around 120mph. It must not have been very popular, there being only three produced; two surviving today. I guess the old saying is true, imitation is the highest form of flattery; BMW copied from one of the best.

I mentioned that it should be a crime, maybe a misdemeanor, for owners of classy looking cars to drive them in public without first having washed and/or polished these little jewels. Folks should have to schedule an appointment with a chiropractor after their heads jerk around for a second look, taking in the beauty afforded as they pass by.

Christmas Ornaments for Bonnie

Bonnie will be away working and miss out on Christmas at home, a tough choice; pay for tuition at college by working during the holidays or stay home with family. The blessings of being an adult are hard to see sometimes as correct choices become difficult; not like, “Do I rob a bank or steal a car”. No, decisions get more complicated when doing the right thing often involves two or three issues, any single choice being good.

Bonnie should be in Ohio, bundled up for Christmas day while we open our stockings and sit around the Christmas tree. We’ll go to Aunt Pat’s for dinner later in the afternoon and then Bonnie will miss out on going to the movies with her brother and sister; another tradition they enjoy on Christmas night.

We had the Davies over this past Tuesday for dinner and a chance for their boys to help decorate the tree. There are no rules for how ornaments are placed, only that the boxes which hold them be empty at the end of the evening. Lucy shared her cookies and eggnog when the job was completed.

I took a couple of pictures to share with Bonnie. This picture shows two of the older ornaments. The one on the left if from my parent’s tree from back in the mid to late 1950’s while the other is much older, coming from my grandparent’s collection. I can only guess at its age, perhaps the 1930’s or even older; the once bright paint having turned to dust years ago leaving only a glass shell.
If you look closely, there are two babes; one in the loft and one down below. Various pieces have broken over the years and we’ve been creative in replacing key elements. I have a story in my files which I posted once before; I’ll use to close today’s ramblings.

Two Babes In A Manger
(Author Unknown)

In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach in Russia. They were invited to teach at many places including a large orphanage. About 100 boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. The two Americans relate the following story in their own words:

It was nearing the holiday season, 1994, time for our orphans to hear, for the first time, the traditional story of Christmas. We told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the Baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger. Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word.

Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored paper was available in the city. Following instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel, cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady was throwing away as she left Russia, were used for the baby's blanket. A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the United States. The orphans were busy assembling their manger as I walked among them to see if they needed any help.
All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about 6 years old and had finished his project. As I looked at the little boy's manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger.

Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately--until he came to the part where Mary put the Baby Jesus in the manger. Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said, "And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don't have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with Him. But I told Him I couldn't, because I didn't have a gift to give Him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept Him warm, that would be a good gift. So I asked Jesus, "If I keep You warm, will that be a good enough gift?" And Jesus told me, "If you keep Me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me." "So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and He told me I could stay with Him--for always."

As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found Someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, Someone who would stay with him--FOR ALWAYS.

I've learned that it's not what you have in your life, but who you have in your life that counts.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Husband Wife Shootings Nothing New

I read where a husband and wife shot it out up in Newbury, New Hampshire. According to the WMUR story “a woman was and killed after she and her husband fired guns at each other…”

“Police said that the couple was involved in a dispute, and afterward, Karen Dion grabbed a shotgun and fired it at her husband. Gary Dion then retrieved his own firearm, and, after being confronted by his wife, who still had her shotgun, he shot and killed her, police said.”

I must have been a cop too long; my first reaction after reading the story, “So, what’s new about that?” In the spring of 1972 during my rookie year I made two shootings on Palm Sunday; both were either between a husband and wife or between two “significant others”.

The first incident was early on in the shift, around three or four in the afternoon. When my senior partner and I arrived the emergency ambulance crew was hard at work putting a bandage wrapping on the survivor’s head; he’d been shot in the middle of his forehead, the bullet followed his skull around to the back of his head and exited creating a small flap that had minimal bleeding.

His “significant other” had been shot with the same pistol they’d been fighting over. The bullet entered near her wrist, traveled along the bones in her arm, bounced around inside her rib cage for a while prior to slicing her lungs and heart; she was dead before she hit the ground. Does that strike you as even a little odd; the one being shot square in the head was the one doing all the talking while the one shot in the wrist was dead on arrival?

Later in the same shift we were dispatched to another family disturbance where the step dad had begun beating his wife and step child. The little girl was around four years old if memory serves and there had been other calls regarding abuse reported. The wife grabbed a small 25 caliber pistol and emptied it into her husbands chest to get him to stop beating the little girl.

I was new to the business, having been a Houston Police Officer for only a couple of months at the time; I didn’t know how thick blood could look as the newly departed lay in a pool of his own fluids. I remember clearly that you could have dropped a half dollar on the points of entry and covered each bullet hole; great shot group, very efficient use of a small caliber pistol.

My favorite of all husband and wife disturbances was almost surreal in nature. We got to a small single family house, the husband was sucking wind from having been shot several times in the chest as he sat on one side of the living room; an interesting word to describe that portion of the house where they tried to kill each other off. The wife sat in a folding metal chair, similar to the kind found in almost any church or overflow auditorium. Her head was resting against the wall, the back part as flat as the black cast iron frying pan which had been used as a club on her; a large red spot dripped down the pale green painted wall.

We entered the house cautiously and wondered why the ambulance crew was just standing around outside. The two combatants were too proud to admit the need for medical assistance, to the point of making it a chicken match; “first one to pass out or die is the looser”, kind of thing. I almost forgot, the woman’s dear sweet mother was sitting on the sofa in between the two cheering for her daughter as we entered, “Shoot him again, shoot him again!”. A lovely home full of such devotion should have warning signs posted. We did manage to get a second ambulance so that both could be treated and transported at the same time without having to admit defeat.

I could go on and on; the time my partner and I made a shooting where a “threesome” had been living together; husband, wife and girlfriend, all under the same roof. It may have worked for a little while, at least until the wife came home from work and found the two locked in fond embrace in her bed; that was the straw that broke her camel’s back.

I could mention the wife beater who expired, his hands still gripping his wife’s hair in his fist. He neglected to remove her purse prior to beating her half to death in the kitchen, the purse that was on the kitchen counter, the purse she kept her pistol in. That pistol made breathing a new art form as we heard his last breath gurgle out; he sat upright, his eyes all glassed over with nothing left to say, in one of those tubular metal kitchen chairs popular in the late 50’s, chrome with two tone red and white plastic seat and back cushions. I don’t recall getting in a hurry to call for an ambulance as we made sure the scene was safe first, removing the pistol, cuffing the wife, bagging her hands to preserve gunpowder evidence and then we asked the dispatcher to send an ambulance; no, husband and wife shootings are nothing new.

Being a police officer was a learning experience, observing things which most folks would just as soon not have to witness. I suppose my twenty years on the force qualifies me as damaged goods, isn’t that what you call people who’ve seen far too much? I laugh at stuff that flips a switch inside my head, things which aren’t funny at all; I guess I joke around and laugh to keep from crying.

“Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays…”; I’m sorry, just another piece of police humor coming to the surface.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Christmas Gift

Years ago I was a Houston Police Officer; some of that time was spent directing traffic. I’d report to my assignments at the appointed time prior to evening rush hour where I would assist drivers on their way home, facilitating the limited amount of asphalt and concrete to as many vehicles as would fit safely.

Most folks knew where they were going and didn’t need directions so much as they wanted to get there as quickly as possible while others; let’s just say they needed lots of help. I actually had to reach inside one woman’s car to help her tug on the steering wheel to complete a turn; no, not making this up. I explained, in a pleasant and reverent tone out of respect for her golden years, that perhaps it was time to retire her driving privileges as a matter of safety for herself and the rest of the public.

I heard one of the leaders of my church speak one time, referring to a specific event that bothered him enough to put it in his journal. He’d observed a young man hitchhiking along the roadside, his thumb high in the air. Upon stopping and rolling down his window he asked where he was headed and it was the reply given by the young man which is the topic I’ve decided to work on today.

“Anywhere is fine.” The answer indicated the young man had no direction in his life; a leaf blown by the winds of chance would determine his destination. That was disturbing enough for me to have remembered it all these years.

I think we all have, at one time or another, been without direction in our lives. Other times we are headed in the wrong direction and, without assistance, will find we’ve wasted considerable time and effort which, at the very least, cause us to expend extra efforts in order to get back on the right road or worse, keep us from reaching a safe destination.

I read quite a few articles written by intelligent and skilled bloggers. I find our core beliefs often times at odds, sometimes to the point where I wonder how we could be living in the same country.

I live in the United States of America, land of the free and home of the brave, a nation where it was stated for all the world we could assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, and …We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness; that United States of America.

I find it convenient for my associate bloggers to proclaim their agency, natural rights or individual spontaneity without regard for the source from whence such came. I covered this quite some time back when I wrote, Author of Liberty.

“If we are then to use the word inherent within the context of any discussion of rights then it must first be expressed somewhere, “From whom are we to inherit?” Who is it that has the ability to create such characteristics and to have the power necessary to propagate characteristics? Maybe I should restructure the question; In who’s image are we created after that we might be heirs?”

I then included scripture, oh my gosh; ancient text recorded and supposedly at the direction of God. The simple inclusion of such controversial text was enough to have many readers make a quick exit to some other page on the Internet, one with some semblance of intelligence, one without scripture or other cultist literature.

“…For shall the work say of him that made it, he made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, he had no understanding?” (2 Nep 27:27)

I’ll go a step further and require those who claim their rights, as outlined in our Declaration of Independence, to provide the source of those rights. If they did not come from our Creator, Nature’s God as indicated; did these rights spring from out of the ground and if so by what power? At some point the source of rights must be determined or it is safe to say that rights aren’t unalienable. Rights then are mere figments of our imagination or delusions offered up as vagaries to satisfy our own vanity.

If God or some superior being did not provide the citizens of the United States of America with rights then we are no better off than any other nation; dependent upon the benevolence of other men who claim power over us; thank God we are different.

I was reading from the Book of Mormon earlier this afternoon, Mosiah 2:20-25, where the most basic obligations of man to God were explained. These folks lived under a benevolent king, a king who understood they would be better off in a pure democracy and yet accepted his role with total humility as an equal to those he served in the sight of God. How much better off should we be as a people, we here in the United States of America, where our nation was founded specifically with respect to our God, each individual equal and without station?

I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—

21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.

22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.

23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.

24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do,he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?

25 And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you.

All we need do is remember God and keep His commandments. Many of our most successful individuals, those who have benefited greatly from the blessing bestowed from God, have proven either forgetful of ignorant of His requirements. Our founding fathers considered the commandment to be important, having their likeness built into some of our national structures; the Supreme Court building comes to mind. How convenient to have prospered first and then forgotten Him who has provided such bounties.

I read more, Alma 11:21-22, where a group of lawyers were attempting to prevent messengers of God from spreading the Gospel. Imagine, attorneys aligning themselves against God, has it always been so?

And this Zeezrom began to question Amulek, saying: Will ye answer me a few
questions which I shall ask you? Now Zeezrom was a man who was expert in the devices of the devil, that he might destroy that which was good; therefore, he said unto Amulek: Will ye answer the questions which I shall put unto you?

22 And Amulek said unto him: Yea, if it be according to the Spirit of the Lord, which is in me; for I shall say nothing which is contrary to the Spirit of the Lord. And Zeezrom said unto him: Behold, here are six onties of silver, and all these will I give thee if thou wilt deny the existence of a Supreme Being.

I’ll not include all that was written, suffice that Amulek was able to confound Zeezrom with pure language before all who witnessed the event. Read the entire text, two or three chapters for a more complete understanding of what transpired; which include one of my “Gospel in a nutshell” set of verses.

And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of
earth, and all things which in them are; he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last;

40 And he shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else.

I started this article with an explanation of how I was a traffic cop who assisted folks, often times giving directions that would aid them as they tried to make their way home. Is it not equally important, an understatement if ever there was one, to gain a sense of direction which will provide a means of returning home to our Father in Heaven? I offer direction in a world full of conjecture and confusion; this is my gift to you this Christmas time.

(I tried to correct the font size "adjustments" with each attempt making it worse, sorry for making you use those Varilux Lens glasses so much)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Some Claim Holocaust was a Myth

I got an email from a friend of mine, Richard Sutton, to remind me of the importance of knowing history. I’m posting it as a blog; never was too good at following instructions, supposed to pass it along as email. The comic strip shown is as real to me as any I’ve observed.

( Click on the comic to enlarge )

I’ve met folks who survived the death camps, folks with blue tattooed numbers plainly visible on their arm for all to see. One lady worked at Foley’s, now part of the Macy’s Department store chain, where my father worked. I had a chance to listen and learn about how the Holocaust was more than an event in history; it was part of her daily life. She’d been witness to the atrocities committed in the name of the State, not some mythical story intended as a scare tactic. These folks are living reminders of how quickly hatred, focused toward any group of people; but particularly a religious sect, can be turned into a cause for ignoring individual rights.

I recognize that I’ve altered the format from email to a blog article; don’t let that stop you from copying this and sending it along. This is just a reminder of where we have been and where we could go.

Please read the little cartoon carefully, it's powerful. Then read the comments at the end, and please - forward it! We cannot, we must not, ever forget what happened in Europe over 60 years ago, because it could happen again. Anyone, any group, could be the target. It has been said that those who refuse to study history are doomed to repeat it. In this case, those who are attempting to rewrite history are probably planning to repeat it! The hatred is already there, in place, taught to the children from infancy, with promises of glory and honor to those who carry out the plans. Forewarned is forearmed, and I'm doing my small part by forwarding this message. I hope you'll do the same.

It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended. This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated with the German and Russian peoples looking the other way!

Now, more than ever, with Iran , among others, claiming the Holocaust to be a myth, it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets, because there are others who would like to do it again.

The Islamic extremists are bent on the same thing that Hitler and Stalin were. The conquest of the world and the destruction of anyone who doesn't believe the way they do. The rest of the Muslims who say or do nothing about them are as guilty as the extremist.

This e-mail is intended to reach 40 million people worldwide! Join me and be a link in the memorial chain and help us distribute it around the world. Please send this e-mail to 10 people (or more) you know and ask them to continue the memorial chain.

Friday, December 14, 2007

My Bishop will be so happy…

Al the Old Whig had another “test” along with an icon showing his score. I don’t drink alcoholic beverages, haven’t since I joined the Church back in 1978 so how come I got a higher score than Al? Even before I stopped I wasn’t what I’d call a heavy drinker. Lucy and I had a small liquor cabinet with a bottle of this, that and the other as a social requirement for those who might wish to wet their whistle while wandering. After we joined the Church we gave those bottles away; they were the same bottles we’d started with, many unopened.

I’ll admit to a few wild hairs back when I was in the Army Reserves, back before getting religion. I’d set aside one night while away at the two week Summer Camp assignments for getting totally smashed. I did make sure to have some friends close by to keep me from getting into trouble; yea, that’s what they were for. I tried calling Lucy while in such a state with the help of the telephone company operator; she hung up on me, can you believe that?

I’m going to blame my apparent knowledge of spirit beverages on the television quiz show, Jeopardy; my having watched Ken Jennings wiz through the category with flying colors. I did taste a virgin Margarita at Williams and Sonoma and found it agreeable. Why would anyone want to mess it up with alcohol?


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Our Ancestry Includes Adam and Eve?

I was wandering around the blogoshphere as per my morning ritual and ran across a very short piece by Doug Mataconis, “Quote of The Day: There’s No Way In Hell I Can Vote For This Guy.”

When I say it was short I’m not exaggerating. Mike Huckabee, circa 1990, “It doesn’t embarrass me one bit to let you know that I believe Adam and Eve were real people.”

I had fun thinking up a comment, something to get a grin as I typed, “Does it bother you that the first man was named Adam or the first woman was named Eve or is there some error; perhaps they went by some other names Ricky and Lucy. You got some splainin to do.”

Since then I’ve had to answer a couple of spam callers, one trying to sell insurance, another wanting to fertilize my yard and AT&T telling me how DSL high speed is offered in my area. I guess AT&T doesn’t look at their subscriber lists or they’d know I was already a customer through U-Verse. I’ve already put more into this article than Doug and I haven’t said anything either.

I drove down FM 1960 and saw a billboard advertisement on Lucy, a facial skeleton with implications that this was a fossilized record, possibly the first woman. I couldn’t find an exact copy of the billboard, this link will have to do. Perhaps it represents the “missing link” (lol) I found several other articles on Lucy, some which make the claim that Lucy might have been our oldest ancestor and others, which refute such claims with equally elusive scientific evidence.

There’s no way in hell I can vote for this guy? The idea in the form of a question now lingers as I contemplate the biblical reference to our first parents, Adam and Eve. Is he saying he couldn’t vote for anyone who believes what the Bible says and if so, does that apply to other candidates who also claim to be Christians?

I took an art course in college, a chance to draw, to be creative and get credit at the same time. I was asked to learn various skills; one was to use an eraser on charcoal to produce “art”. I created an image of a primate and called her, “evE”. This might “prove” something about my thought processes at the time; more likely, it proves I needed to work on my charcoal and eraser skills.

I have no reason not to believe that Adam and Eve were our ancestors, our first parents in a lineage which contain all the children of our Father in Heaven. This is my belief and, if I am not mistaken, is shared by most Christians. I wouldn’t hold such a statement against Mike Huckabee; other points in his platform might draw fire, not this particular one.

Splitting Hairs

A friend of mine sent me the URL of a poll being taken by USA Today which had to do with the Second Amendment. I read the question and immediately responded to his request with an observation. I took a picture of the results as a means of showing it rather than relying on a link to it.

“Does the Second Amendment give individuals the right to bear arms?”

I sent back a short answer which hopefully caused him to rethink; not so much his position but what was being asked.

“The Second Amendment does not give individuals the right to bear arms; to the contrary, the Second Amendment provides the protection from government of a God given right to bear arms. The individual has rights bestowed upon him by God; powers and entitlements are granted by government and it is a wise person who can differentiate between them.”

We had the right to bear arms before our government was formed; the Second Amendment was an attempt to explain this most basic right. Unfortunately, there are many who would have us believe otherwise and have used the archaic language of our forefathers to muddy the waters.

One of the challenges in America today is our understanding the most basic elements, the foundation upon which our great nation was built. Read the Declaration of Independence where these ideas are clearly established.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Rights are endowed from God, not from government; rights are unalienable and cannot be created or taken away by government. The purpose of government is to secure these rights so that no individual’s rights may be trampled upon, either by other individuals or groups of individuals to include foreign and domestic. When this most basic concept is forgotten or ignored our nation stands in great jeopardy of falling from its foundation and into ruin.

Returning to what may have been an intentionally poorly designed question, “Does the Second Amendment give individuals the right to bear arms?”, it would appear that 98% of those responding to the USA Today poll either ignored the wording in favor of the general idea that individuals have the right to bear arms or ignored how they might be manipulated by a simple splitting of hairs.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Nobel Prize Sham

I saw where Al Gore got to receive a Nobel Prize for saving the world from self destruction. He got a fancy pocket ID card, a little like the one that came with my “Be a Real Policeman” toy set when I was a kid. Did he get the deluxe kit complete with handcuffs and two way police radios?

“You there, yea you; stop running that motor and filling the air with greenhouse gas.”

“Let me see that badge.”

“Never mind the badge; I’m the self appointed High Sheriff and I’ve got this handy dandy carbon footprint detection kit that will prove beyond any doubt that humans are to blame”

“Hey, that’s cold; what’s the reason for the probe?”

“Get used to it, I’m on a power trip and reason went out the window a long time ago.”

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas Traditions

My earliest memories of family Christmas traditions are clear; as if they were only yesterday, an advantage to never having grown up. My folks would have us write a letter to Santa which would include a list of items we thought we might want him to bring. The lists were placed on a plate along with some cookies, usually ginger bread, and either a glass of milk or a bottle of Coke. This was done close to Thanksgiving or the first part of December.

We were told that Santa would visit during the night to read the letters. One way to know he’d been by our house was that he’d eat the cookies and drink the milk or Coke, leaving the empty bottle or glass that contained the milk. The best part was seeing the other evidence, the charred remains of our letters which would be left on the empty plate. We were told that Santa’s mittens were magical and caused the letters to be incinerated as soon as they’d been read. There would be a slight discoloration on the white china, tar left from where the paper burned on the dish.

On Christmas Eve my folks had Oyster Stew, one tradition which I will not impose on my children. I couldn’t look at the stuff, a milky mess with chunks of oyster floating in pools of oily butter. It was the kind of torture that only a parent could dream up. I was able to convince them that tomato soup was a permissible substitute and didn’t have to gag on the oyster stew.

We went as a family to pick out a Christmas tree, the colder and wetter the weather the better it seemed. It didn’t matter if the tree wasn’t perfect in shape as any deficient part would be on the back side where the corners of the walls would mask imperfections. When we were very young the tree was placed in the living room without having been decorated on Christmas Eve. We all had to go to sleep so that Santa and his helpers would come; put lights, ornaments and tinsel along with any toys so that on Christmas morning we would be surprised by the magic which had taken place. It was a big deal for Dad to go into the living room in advance of us; his plugging in the cord so the lights would be on when we entered to see the tree all decorated for the first time.

We also had individual stockings that would magically appear on the end of our beds sometime after we’d gone to sleep. They would be from Dad’s sock drawer and a piece of twine provided the anchor. In the dark of early morning when we’d awaken, that was the first evidence of Santa’s visit that we would search for. There was always some possibility that the lumpy items inside the stocking were coal; a just reward for having been a disobedient child, in the dark it made perfect sense as I took inventory of the past years events.

In my teenage years I can remember hearing Dad coming down the hall with the intent of quietly entering my room to leave a stocking. I heard the bulky mass as it clunked against the end of my bed and couldn’t resist, “Goodnight, Santa”. Dad stumbled mentally as he formed his reply, “Ahhh, Goodnight, Son”.

The last Christmas tradition to share this go around had to do with police work. Many years ago I had the pleasure of training rookies on night shift for the Houston Police Department. I posted this on my blog a couple of years ago and called it, The Night Before Christmas, GOA. For all you police enthusiasts, GOA means Gone On Arrival. This time of year working night shift as a training officer I would save Clement C. Moore’s classic bedtime story for my probationary police officers. I had it printed out as an assignment to be completed as part of the training.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

NBC says Bah Humbug to US Troops

Here is one of the paid advertisements NBC refused to show, just another link in their chain as Dickens would say. Freedoms Watch dot Org supports our troops and has more information for anyone interested. Hat tip to Lemuel Calhoon over at Hillbilly White Trash.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Divide Between Believers and Non Believers

David Brooks, New York Times writer had this to say regarding Mitt Romney’s campaign speech. Before I forget, thanks to Doug Mataconis, Below the Beltway, for his article, The Problem With Our Civic Religion.

“In order to build a voting majority of the faithful, Romney covered over different and difficult conceptions of the Almighty. When he spoke of God yesterday, he spoke of a bland, smiley-faced God who is the author of liberty and the founder of freedom. There was no hint of Lincoln’s God or Reinhold Niebuhr’s God or the religion most people know — the religion that imposes restraints upon on the passions, appetites and sinfulness of human beings. He wants God in the public square, but then insists that theological differences are anodyne and politically irrelevant.”

That’s interesting to me as I always thought that God is unchanging and no respecter of persons, that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Almighty Author of Liberty and Founder of Freedom looked over the country during Lincoln’s time as well. Religion does not impose restraints upon man’s passions, appetites and sinfulness; rather, man’s willing obedience to God’s perfect laws provide a means whereby man may learn to live in such a way as to become perfect.

“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34

If you look up the references to respecter of persons you find an explanation of its meaning, one that even non believers can understand.

“Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; he that is righteous is favored of God. But behold, this people had rejected every word of God, and they were ripe in iniquity; and the fulness of the wrath of God was upon them; and the Lord did curse the land against them, and bless it unto our fathers; yea, he did curse it against them unto their destruction, and he did bless it unto our fathers unto their obtaining power over it.”
1 Ne17:35

“For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion.” D&C 1:35

The struggles of men are inevitable as the dawning of each day; how each individual deals with the challenges determines the eternal outcome, not the temporary state of poverty or prosperity allotted during this mortality. The Almighty, Creator, God the Father; call Him what you will, has not set limitations on mankind to prevent his/her enjoyment of the time spent in mortality. Boundaries are set in order to prosper His children in order that they might enjoy true happiness, the pursuit of happiness.

“O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?”
Morm. 8:38

“Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness.”
Alma 41:10

I never thought of God as a smiley faced entity, some kind of bumper sticker image, somebody who looked the other way while mankind ignored His basic rules of conduct. No, God surely is our Father in Heaven and like any parent must spend much of His time consumed in agony, His heart broken while watching the poor choices made by His children. There are times when he smiles down upon those who follow His admonitions, those who obey willingly and progress and achieve those character traits which all mankind was intended to achieve; but I am just as certain that God wonders why he left anyone after the flood, an ungrateful lot of offspring intent on doing things any damn way we want.

I’m not so sure Mitt Romney considers his religious differences as bland or politically irrelevant; to the contrary, Mitt Romney is willing to run as a presidential candidate placing before the voters his most basic beliefs, “take me as I am”.

I found Mitt Romney’s straight forward approach, a defense of his character in the face of incessant religious bias, to be a breath of fresh air among the many hypocrites attempting to fly under the radar of integrity.

False Sense of Security

There is no reason to be concerned regarding our national defense, our enemies pose no threat. We are prepared for whatever they throw at us. I’m having a hard time hearing your response with my head buried in the sand.

History has an interesting way of being forgotten; Iran is no threat, they quit trying to make nuclear weapons, North Korea is no threat as they have promised the same. We are one big happy family; do you believe it?

Is this bad or good?

Tefelonman gets the nod on this, or is that the blame?

65%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Are We Go For Launch?

I’ve got my fingers crossed hoping everything goes smoothly since Bonnie flew out to watch the launch. I had to look up the details, mainly the planned time of launch; finding an article by Tarig Malik ( hope I spelled that right ).

“Atlantis and its seven-astronaut crew are poised to launch toward the station with the European Space Agency's (ESA) Columbus laboratory on Thursday at 4:31 p.m. EST (2131 GMT) to mark NASA's fourth shuttle flight of the year.”

NASA announced there would be no launch today due to an issue with sensors in the oxygen tanks. If the problem can be fixed in a timely manner the space shuttle could go up tomorrow afternoon around 3:00pm. I don’t see what all the fuss is about; I had an oxygen sensor go out on my Dodge truck and got it fixed right away. Come to think of it, the dealership had to drop ship the part out of Dallas and it took a full day to get it.

I couldn’t say for sure if Bonnie was disappointed, like I’m not sure if the sun will come up each morning; but the grass won’t grow where she spits today. Chin up Bonnie; there’s always tomorrow.

“Tomorrow, tomorrow…I love ya’ tomorrow…You’re always a day…a….way…”

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Reason for the Season Christmas Slide Show

I got this from my friend Richard Sutton, a chance to reflect upon the Gift we were given. I’ve also provided a link which can be activated in the title bar, Mary Did You Know, one of my favorites this time of year.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Red GTO for Photo Hunt Saturday

I happened by Dana’s Simple Pleasures and noticed a posting, Photo Hunt Saturday: Red. I suppose there’s a similar string of blogs each and every Saturday; why not, they’re fun. When I first started my Stories Blog I posted one I’d written years ago, Henry’s GTO. I then found a nice picture of a red GTO, very similar to the one in the story.

There really is a red GTO with the serial number listed in the short story; it belongs to Pye’s Auto Sales, or at least it did at the time the story was conjured out of thin air. They had it in their showroom along side of a pair of matching black and red Nissan 240 Z’s which may never have been driven.

Sometimes it skips a generation or two

In the movie, Bicentennial Man, Andrew had been away for nearly twenty years looking for robots which might have similar individual character traits as his. Andrew entered the home of his “family” and mistakenly greeted Porschia, playing on the piano and unaware of Andrew’s existence; believing her to be “Little Miss”. Little Miss, grandmother to Porschia explained the resemblance as sometimes skipping a generation. Andrew remained confused at the younger version so closely matched his memory of years gone by.

Here is my daughter Jennifer on her wedding day next to her Great Grandmother, Lelia Loisel. Lelia Loisel died not long after my grandmother, Lelia Mary Smith, was born and my grandmother was brought up by her grandmother, Mary Theodosia Renner. I look into those eyes and I see eternity looking back; a haunting image from a member of my family, one I never got to meet.

I showed the photograph of Lelia Loisel to JJ, his Great Great Grandmother and he mistakenly thought it was his mother. I did some “photoshopping” to fix major damage that showed on the cheek; but my skills are limited and I didn’t even try to fix the minor scratches.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I Gotta’ Have One of These!

Okay, so maybe I don’t gotta’ have one; but I couldn’t help laughing as I saved the picture to my files. There was a list on Yahoo of Stupid Holiday Gifts which included the Hillary Nutcracker complete with stainless steel thighs. I wonder, is there a Bendable Monica, one that fits under a desk, complete with stained blue dress which can’t be found inside the box during impeachment hearings? A gift guaranteed to blow you away!

I send odd gifts to my folks for Christmas; but nothing quite that dumb. I figure my folks could buy anything they needed so they have all they need. Along those lines, they could also have anything they might want; separating the difference between a need and a want. I pick up trinkets that might amuse them to let them know they are always in my thoughts. Every now and then I get lucky and hit on a winner, sometimes I even get one that hits the heart strings; it takes a little effort and a touch of luck, the key is to be looking with your heart.

One year I bought Mom a plastic Godzilla electronic toy, the kind with a button at the base of the ten inch tall monster which, when pushed, created a familiar screeching sound as if from a cheap Saturday afternoon movie clip. Mom used to clean house with the television tuned into to Sci-fi movies, Godzilla and Rodan helped while dusting or putting away folded laundry.

I got Dad a Sammy Sosa action figure to put on his desk several years ago; that was before the corked bat incident. Dad and I took a weekend trip to Chicago one year just to pick up a couple of games at Wrigley Field. Sammy hangs from a lamp on Dad’s desk as a reminder of that trip, a chance to touch the past and enjoy the present.

I wrote about a Nutcracker Ornament I gave my folks many years ago. Gifts are more than packages and wrapping paper; they are a thought process, a process that attempts to touch each other’s soul. As we go about looking for the perfect gift, something that will be a sure fire winner, keep another thought in mind; the importance of how a gift is received far out weighs how much it might be worth in the market place.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Temples of Damanhur

What, you never heard of the “Temples of Damanhur”? Join the rest of the world, that is until recently these jewels of workmanship have been hidden away from public view in valley of Valchiusella, near the ancient city of Turin, Italy. These are not the remnants of an ancient civilization; but a modern work stemming from the vision of one man, Oberto Airaudi, who prefers to be called Falco.

“My goal was to recreate the temples from my visions,” he says.

“They are to remind people that we are all capable of much more than we realize and that hidden treasures can be found within every one of us once you know how to access them,’ says Falco.”

I stumbled across an article, “Wow!”, posted on Rhymes with Right this morning, having never heard of the Temples of Damahur before. Gregg had linked with the Daily Mail which is where I got a good bit of information as supplied here. I admit to having fallen off the turnip truck on this one. I then searched the Internet and found several interesting sites, some with books and additional photography, some with souvenirs which can be purchased.

The best of all the sites I visited has a schematic drawing of the three dimensional geographical layout of the entire complex along with some phenomenal photographs of the artwork and architecture. You can click on the individual Temple rooms and enjoy a private tour. Take some time to visit this, “Eighth Wonder of the World”, as it has been called by some who’ve viewed this work in progress.

Just as a thought, a “what if” kind of thought, a thousand years from now an archeologist stumbles upon the Temples of Damanhur; what false conclusions might he/she come away with? Just a thought as I recall the park service attempting to explain various structures built by ancient civilizations and the assumptions that were proposed as for the purpose of each item, room and what kind of people built them, what religious significance and so on…

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Hand of God

Today I got to listen to some talks at church which were based on something from the past General Conference in October. Henry B. Eyring had delivered a powerful reminder to keep a journal, more specifically to write down how the Lord had a hand in your life that day in order to preserve and share it with your family later. The archived article, Remember, Oh Remember, is worth reading; or if you are so inclined, there is a video stream available on the Sunday Morning Session of General Conference 2007.

Arlena Puffer read from her copy of Elder Eyring’s talk and I could hear Elder Eyring’s voice, having enjoyed that particular talk only a month ago.

“When our children were very small, I started to write down a few things about what happened every day. Let me tell you how that got started. I came home late from a Church assignment. It was after dark. My father-in-law, who lived near us, surprised me as I walked toward the front door of my house. He was carrying a load of pipes over his shoulder, walking very fast and dressed in his work clothes. I knew that he had been building a system to pump water from a stream below us up to our property.

He smiled, spoke softly, and then rushed past me into the darkness to go on with his work. I took a few steps toward the house, thinking of what he was doing for us, and just as I got to the door, I heard in my mind—not in my own voice—these words: “I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down.”

I went inside. I didn’t go to bed. Although I was tired, I took out some paper and began to write. And as I did, I understood the message I had heard in my mind. I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family. Grandpa didn’t have to do what he was doing for us. He could have had someone else do it or not have done it at all. But he was serving us, his family, in the way covenant disciples of Jesus Christ always do. I knew that was true. And so I wrote it down, so that my children could have the memory someday when they would need it.”

I too keep a journal, maybe not as well as Elder Eyring’s; but I write those things which are important to me. Sometimes I share it with anyone interested and call it a blog while other times it becomes a more personal issue and I share it in the form of a letter. One year I made an effort to record my thoughts on a variety of subjects using a commercial booklet form complete with Thomas Kinkade art on the cover. I didn’t like the way the questions were to be filled in; instead I used the booklet as a guide only, creating my own journal, Father’s Memories To His Child. I then had my work copied at the local Office Depot where they bound it professionally so I could give each of my children a copy.

This past week I wrote and posted my thoughts about Thanksgiving, A Day to Give Thanks To God and found some interesting articles on the Internet which didn’t fit with my narrowed opinion regarding the purpose of Thanksgiving Day. In my own way this is a form of a journal, a means of recording how the Hand of the Lord has touched my family. It may also serve as a means of opening a door for anyone who happens to stop by to read my thoughts, a planting of a seed that may one day sprout.

Many of you are familiar with Neil Boortz, author of, Somebody’s Got to Say It, and his daily blog, Nealz Nuze. He usually has a place at the end of each day’s writings, a list of required reading which would further inform his readership of things which he considered important to be aware of; like a homework assignment. Along that line of thought I would include, The General Epistle of James as found in the New Testament; only a few pages if you’re worried about having too many pages to turn. I would include, as part of this great experiment on building faith, something from the Book of Mormon, Alma Chapter 32: all verses; but mostly 26-43 as they deal with the most basic elements of faith.

Continuing with your reading assignments, Helaman Chapter 12, a reminder of the nothingness of man. From the Hymn Book, Count Your Blessings, click on the option “Words and Music”. Last on the list would be a song recorded by Bing Crosby and performed in the movie, White Christmas, Count Your Blessings ( Instead of Sheep). I’d have printed the words out here except it would probably violate some copyright or royalty interest.

When you are through with the reading assignments you should have a better understanding of how important gratitude and being Thankful to your Heavenly Father is; more importantly, it might open your heart and mind to a more spiritual portion of life, something which is more important than all the gold in Fort Knox.

Cryptodeletion Conspiracy Theory

I watched the movie, Conspiracy Theory, with Mel Gibson and was drawn in by a character who lived in a very scary world where every event was connected to an all out effort, a Conspiracy by Them and They. I felt sorry for the deranged and traumatized individual running around the city, his mind having been chemically altered through government experiments intended to turn him into a controlled assassin. At no time was he ever certain of his reality, his mind being a toss salad of perceived events leading him to suspect the most mundane; often with uncanny results.

Oh, My Gosh! They and Them have silenced my blog. I went to check on the availability of information on the subject by other bloggers after having posted my article Crytodeletion only minutes ago. I Googled the word Crytodeletion and nothing came up, not my article or the one which I knew had been posted by Never Yet Melted, the one I’d linked with.

I’m hearing the melodramatic sounds employed on the Kraft Mystery Radio Show, that whirring Sci-Fi generated noise that implies skullduggery which can only mean They or Them are blocking my blogs on a minute to minute basis. I need to go to the bathroom but I’m afraid. Quick, climb on the roof, crawl around under the shade of the large oak tree where visibility is limited and crawl through the window on the other side of the house so They and Them can’t track my “movements”.

They're coming to take me away,

Haha, they're coming to take me away,

Ho ho, hee hee, ha ha,

To the funny farm

Where Life is Beautiful all the time

And I'll be happy to see

Those Nice Young Men

In their Clean White Coats

And they're coming to take me


I wonder how many of you remember that kooky song, They're coming to take me away, Ha-haaa!, from the late 60’s or early 70’s? Is that a black ops helicopter hovering over my house as I write or just the heater fan kicking in? I’d play it for you except it was removed from my iTunes files. See, I told you!


Until this morning I’d never heard of the word Cryptodeltion much less understood its meaning. David Zincavage has a blog called Never Yet Melted where he posted an article, SF Chronicle Indulges in Cryptodeletion. I recommend a visit there where he explained how the foundations of honesty have eroded a little more through the use of new technology and old time deception.

“The San Francisco Chronicle has recently activated a devious system by which it deceives commenters on its website, Here’s how it works:

If you make a comment on an article posted at SFGate, and if the site moderators then subsequently delete your comment for whatever reason, it will only appear as deleted to the other readers. HOWEVER, your comment will NOT appear to be deleted if viewed from your own computer! The Chronicle’s goal is to trick deleted commenters into not knowing their comments were in fact deleted.”

Now go read the rest of the article and pay particular attention to the comment section where even more disturbing information is offered. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the San Francisco Chronicle couldn’t be the only large newspaper to have implemented such an insidious form of censorship.

I can understand the need to moderate patently offensive language which would include vulgarity, personal assaults which would include slanderous statements or otherwise inflammatory comments; however, the use of tactics such as have been unearthed in this article involving Cryptodeletion should be cause for alarm for anyone regardless of political leanings. When an opposing view is feared to such a degree as to be silenced without having the benefit of discussion then suppression of the truth has already come and gone and there is little hope for our society, at least in a democracy of free people.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Few More Old Newspaper Pages

I wrote about the anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy a while ago, posting a scanned front page Extra that had been stored away in our desk. I thought I’d scan some others; but they are too big for the scanner so I got out my camera and spread them as carefully as I could, not wishing to damage the already fragile newspaper.

Glean what you can from these pieces of history and remember how many folks were first hand witness to these events from so long ago, folks who may let a tear trickle down their cheeks as they stumble upon these memories.

Just an Old Newspaper in a Desk Drawer

Bonnie was looking for something in one of the drawers of our old desk. At one time we could hide candy from our grandkids; but that lasted about as long as a game of hide and seek, oh well. The drawer has been used for quite some time to save important front page headline copy over the years.

The desk was given to us by my folks and has front page articles about the end of WWII, the landing on the Moon, and then there were some on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. With Thanksgiving being yesterday the date slipped past without much of a thought at all.

This afternoon we read about the visit to Houston, the day before his fateful trip to Dallas. There had been political talk circulating on how if things got tough JFK might not include Johnson on the ticket; huh, guess that would have been a different footnote in the history books.

I’ll leave you with this partial scan from a long since defunct newspaper, The Houston Press. The quality of the picture isn’t that great; but the date is clear enough and the superimposed image was haunting.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Annual Stern Children Photo 2007

It has become a tradition to have my children sit together for a group photograph each Thanksgiving after dinner. You can take a peek at last year’s in 2006, then the year before in 2005.

Lucy showed Jocelyne the pictures, pointing to a very small baby. “Daddy’s holding the baby!” Jocelyne wasn’t sure how to take it as Lucy explained that “the baby” was Jocelyne. The house looks wonderful and I wonder how long we can keep it this way; knowing full well how we tend to leave things until they get in the way and have to be moved.

This is a one year anniversary for the wood flooring that was installed the week before Thanksgiving; actually it was right up to the finish line, so to speak. We ended up moving furniture back on that morning so the house would be more useable. This year we were able to spend more time cleaning and I must say, I like what we did, wow!

A Day to Give Thanks to God

No, it’s not “Turkey Day”; it’s Thanksgiving Day. This is a day to acknowledge the hand of God in our daily lives; and yes, it’s a National Holiday. It may not always be that way thanks in part to those fine folks at the ACLU and their ilk; but for now it remains one of the few days that can still recognize God and all the blessings He’s bestowed on our land.

I work at the Houston Temple each Wednesday evening, a chance to serve the Lord as an ordinance worker. The president of the temple’s name is William Bradford, a direct descendant of another William Bradford, the first Governor of Massachusetts, the same who was in Plymouth during those terrible first years when illness and starvation took the lives of many each day. Those who survived had to bury their dead during the dark of night so hostile Indians wouldn’t know their true strength.

William Bradford has been credited with declaring the first Thanksgiving with a formal proclamation; but there is much more to the history worth reading. I’ve read where a specter of suspicion clouds the authenticity of the now famous Thanksgiving proclamation, doubts as to when it was written or even if Bradford wrote it at all. That having been said, other forms of proclamation which he certainly wrote would tend to justify or, at least vindicate our honoring the man as a true Christian hero. I borrowed this from the Descendants of William Bradford site:

"May not and ought now the children of these fathers rightly say: 'Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness, but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice and looked on their adversity . . . Let them therefore praise the Lord, because He is good: and His mercies endure forever.' . . . When they wandered in the desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them. Let them confess before the Lord His loving kindness and His wonderful works before the sons of men."

Original Thanksgiving Proclamation

Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.

Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.

William Bradford

Ye Governor of Ye Colony

Believe what you will, I prefer to give thanks to my Father in Heaven that such men as William Bradford were picked by the Hand of God to get this struggling nation past a very rocky start. I can’t say whether or not the “original” Thanksgiving Proclamation is authentic or not; all the same it’s worth reading.

I like another proclamation, this was given by George Washington on October 3, 1789. Before I forget, thanks to the Junto Society for providing a good portion of the information I’ve borrowed and linked with.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness":

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and
supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and
punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by
constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly
and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D.

(signed) G. Washington