Iraqi Christians in Peril

This 2 minute video (once you get past the commercial) is an excerpt from the CBS TV Show 60 Minutes that aired last night. In this video a clergyman in Baghdad tells the reporter that the situation for Iraq's Christians is worse now than under Saddam Hussein's reign, and possibly the worst since Christians have lived in the country.

I posted about this last year and got one response.. I think that many of us are sad beyond words when we consider that our fellow believers in Jesus are suffering in Iraq because of an ill-advised war that has resulted in Iraq becoming a full-fledged Muslim country hostile to Christian faith and our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Please take 2 minutes to watch the video.. it will inform you and maybe inspire you to pray for these in Iraq.

Christian Tattoo?

After posting about suicide I needed to switch topics quick.. and for some reason I remembered my good friend Matt at From The Morning and his great post titled Can a Christian get a Tattoo? Matt's tattoo is featured left. My pastor friend Jim just got a tattoo displaying a cross on his forearm.. and I was wondering.. do Christian's mainly use religious imagery when they tattoo? What do you think? Do the Christians you know (or you yourself) display a religious message in their tattoo(s)? What is the coolest one that you have seen?

18 Suicides a Day

This excerpt from today's edition of the KC Star made me sad.. and I was already sad this morning..
Each day, 18 veterans kill themselves, according to the latest estimate from the Department of Veterans Affairs. No firm numbers are available, such as breakdowns of veterans’ suicides by the decade in which they served. There’s no unified nationwide system to track veterans’ deaths.

But 18 suicides each day translate to more than 6,500 deaths a year — and 21 percent of all U.S. suicides. Veterans make up about 8 percent of the U.S. population.
I don't think that I have much to add except to say that PTSD is under-diagnosed and largely ignored by the military and most of our country.

Blue Bayou

If you haven't ever heard them sing, please let me introduce you to two of my all time favorite singers singing the same song. I cannot decide which rendition I like better.. maybe you can help me out.. which version do you like better.. feel free to listen to the first minute of each if you don't have time to listen to the full cut!

Linda Ronstadt

Roy Orbison

NJ Dolphins

Frolicking close to where my mom used to live!

Top 40 Summer Things

Another entry from my email inbox:
  1. Start some type of collection
  2. Record and catalog information (Bird, backyard animals, etc.)
  3. Visit the Zoo
  4. Visit the Museum
  5. Go to the park
  6. Go fishing
  7. Go biking
  8. Go hiking
  9. Go to your Public Library
  10. Go to the farmers market
  11. Do community service work
  12. Visit the elderly in homes
  13. Keep a Journal
  14. Write letters to friends and family
  15. Play a game, board game, etc.
  16. Clean the house or organize a room
  17. Plan a vacation or trip
  18. Start a hobby
  19. Go out and buy some photo albums
  20. Have A Neighborhood Block Party
  21. Join a group, support group, book club, scrapbooking
  22. Learn a Foreign Language
  23. Learn Sign Language
  24. Go pick fresh fruit
  25. Go Camping
  26. Read together
  27. Spend time together
  28. Visit your state capital
  29. Visit a state park
  30. Visit Nature Centers in your area
  31. Attend your State & County Fairs
  32. Attend a Festival
  33. Have a family cookout
  34. Call a friend you haven't seen in a while
  35. Have an inspection done on your mobility equipment
  36. Go to a waterpark or local pool
  37. Catch fireflies with your family
  38. Stare at the stars for a while
  39. Eat at an outdoor restaurant
  40. Go to a baseball game with loved ones and friends
I think that we may do 4, 5, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 26, 33, 34 & 39.

Which ones will you do this summer? Any other suggestions?

June Blogging Recap

HT: Barbara and Wordle.

World Record Belly Flop

From 35' into 12" of water!

Syanora #1 Geek

A fitting one minute goodbye to my favorite
geek-hero on his last day of work at MS!
Mac owners will especially enjoy :)

The Love Test

I got this one from a friend this morning via email. It is an interesting story (but probably not a true one).. I'll comment on it below.
There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She told her boyfriend, 'If I could only see the world, I will marry you.'

One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend.

He asked her,' Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?' The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn't expected that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him.

Her boyfriend left in tears and days later wrote a note to her saying: 'Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before they were yours, they were mine.'
Isn't it interesting how people respond differently to adversity. Some like the gal's boyfriend will sacrifice all for the one they love. Others like the gal who received her boyfriend's eyes seem to have a shallow love that disappears when things get tough.

Gotta wonder why people seem to "love" so differently.. and wonder if the gal in the story ever really loved the guy? I don't think that she ever did. I think that adversity tests love and some people fail the love test. What do you think?

Haditha Charges Dismissed

You may not get this former front page story in your local newscast or newspaper.

Senator John Murtha once had this to say about the events at Haditha:
"Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."
I am sure that the good senator is working on a retraction of sorts.

Economic Stimulus Check

Have you gotten your stimulus check yet? We got ours and plan to put it in the bank.. we will not be buying anything new.. thus it will not stimulate the economy here in Kansas.

What are you planning to do with your check? Has it stimulated your economy enough to spend it or put it in savings? If you spend it will it be on something that you would not have normally purchased?

The Mom Song

HT: Nephos - This is 3 minutes of fun!

George Carlin, 1937-2008

I first saw George Carlin as a teenager in the 1960s and will always remember him as Al Sleet, the hippy-dippy weatherman. This one minute clip with Johnny Carson gives you a glimse into his comic genius.

Anne Frank

Annelies Marie "Anne" Frank (1929–1945) was a German-born Jewish girl from the city of Frankfurt. She gained international fame posthumously following the publication of her diary which documents her experiences hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. Anne Frank Day was celebrated June 12th.. to belatedly join in the celebration I list a few of the things that she wrote:

“I don't think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that still remains”

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.”

"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy."

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”

“I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.”

“I soothe my conscience now with the thought that it is better for hard words to be on paper than that Mummy should carry them in her heart.”

“And Then They Came for Me”

The Simple Life

No, this is not a story about that Hilton-Ritchie TV show :)

I refer to you today the writings of my blog-friend Wanda. She opines today about living a simple life. Here are her wonderful 10 steps to Simplicity:
  1. Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status.
  2. Reject anything that is producing an addition in you.
  3. Develop a habit of giving things away.
  4. Refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry.
  5. Learn to enjoy things without owning them. Parks, Libraries, Museums, Art Galleries, the forest, the ocean, Botanical Gardens, etc. etc.
  6. Develop a deep appreciation of Creation.
  7. Resist "buy now", "pay later" schemes.
  8. Obey Jesus' instruction about plain speech ~~ Let you yes, mean yes, and your no mean no.
  9. Reject anything that breeds the oppression of others.
  10. Shun anything that distracts you from the priority of God and Family.

I encourage you to read Wanda's whole post and visit Wanda's place regularly.. you will find good stuff there.

Top 10 Movies by Genre

The AFI recently published their list of Americs'a 10 Greatest Films in 10 Classic Genres. Consequently, I thought that I woud list mine as well:
  • Animation: Beauty and the Beast (Couldn't believe how moving it was)

  • Romantic Comedies: Moonstruck (Cher's best)

  • Western: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (Really changed Oater Movies. I loved Eli Wallach!)

  • Sports: Rocky (better than Raging Bull -the AFI pick)

  • Mystery: The Sixth Sense (fooled me all the way)

  • Fantasy: King Kong (the original and the latest version)

  • Sci-Fi: Star Wars (all others are judged against this one)

  • Gangster: The Godfather (agree with the AFI on this one)

  • Courtroom Drama: The Verdict (Newman at his best)

  • Epic: The 10 Commandments (love the story and special effects)

What would be on your list?

Green Family Summer

These folks rolled through Kansas City this week. They are driving a Chevy Tahoe Hybrid and are using alternate energy sources to power their camper.

Are you doing anything to go green this summer?

America's Paul Potts

Last year Britain's Got Talent had Paul Potts. Well this year America's Got Talent has Neal E. Boyd from Sikeston Missouri.

KC Bans Smoking

"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life." -Brooke Shields

Apparently Kansas City (my home town) took Brooke's words seriously and, as of today, smoking is officially banned in restaurants, taverns and tobacco stores. Until today, smoking had been allowed in Kansas City’s bars and taverns at all hours, and in restaurants with liquor licenses after 9 p.m. Some think that the law is unfair because smoking is still permitted on the gaming floors of Kansas City’s two casinos.

I am all for the ban. It is nice to be able to dine out and not have to be concerned about where your table is located. On the flipside it does concern me that smokers are becoming outcasts in our city. Maybe these folks need to take some encouragement from Mark Twain who said:
"Giving up smoking is easy...I've done it hundreds of times."
What do you think about these kind of laws? Does your city have any limits on where people can smoke?

8 Unboring Things

I've been tagged by crownring to tell you all 8 unboring things about myself. Yikes! I am so boring.. I'll give it a try..
  1. I met Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers in 1968 during a lunch break at a greasy spoon in NYC.
  2. I learned to play pool and chess in my preteen years.. I love to play them but get bored after a game or two.. umm.. that was boring.
  3. I love breakfast food.. I like Starbucks Columbia.. biscuits and gravy rules.. and I make a mean Denver omelet.
  4. I have been doing a meal once a week for the last 15 years with my promise keeper buddy Jim.
  5. I could dunk a volleyball when I was a teenager.. not bad for a 5'9" kind of guy.
  6. I learned to tread water in my 50s.
  7. I have had a 50 year love affair with the Statue of Liberty.
  8. I have battled depression.
Okay, I counted a few pretty boring things. How about you? Maybe you can leave a few unboring things about you in a comment.. or, better yet, post about it and let me know if you do.

Charmin Wedding Dress

Katrina Chalifoux of Illinois beams with first-place toilet paper wedding dress at Ripley's Believe It or Not in Times Square. She used seven rolls of toilet paper to create the intricate floral bodice and cascading train on her dress, which she said took several weeks to complete. She won $1,000 for her stunning creation.

Give me a break!

Our Legacy

I think that ths 30 second TV Ad communicates the anxiety that many of us have when we think about the future that our childen and grandchildren will inherit. Whatever you think about the ad, McCain or Obama you have to admit that our governmental leaders don't seem to be doing much about oil/energy (had 30 years to develop a plan), Social Security (boomers like me are retiring left and right), health care (the poorest amongst us need help) and our economy. What kind of legacy do you think we are leaving for our grandkids?

Email Signatures

One of my co-workers once joked about my "Blessings, Bob" signature.. I think I have been a bit aware of it since then.. I still tend to use it but not as much. Anymore I will simply use Bob or Thanks. What do you use to sign your emails?

Blessings, Bob

Flood Watch

The Mississippi River will always have its own way; no engineering skill can persuade it to do otherwise. -Mark Twain

John Watson talks on a cellular phone from the roof of his house as he watches floodwaters from the Mississippi River inch closer to his house Thursday, June 19, 2008, in Foley, Mo. Watson, whose house flooded in 1993, has pitched a tent on top of his house and vows to stay with his home if and when the flood reaches him. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

A friend..

"A friend loves at all times." -Proverbs 17:17

"A friend is one who knows us, but loves us anyway." -Jerome Cummings

"A friend is someone who is there for you when he'd rather be anywhere else." - Len Wein

"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out." -Walter Winchell

"A friend can tell you things you don't want to tell yourself." -Frances Ward Weller

"A friend hears the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails." -Unknown

"A true friend stabs you in the front." -Oscar Wilde

"A friend is someone who reaches out for your hand...and touches your heart." -Unknown

"A friend is like an oreo, its not always that great, but it always gets better!" -Erin Westbrook

"A friend in need is a friend indeed." -Latin Proverb

"A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Blog Music Poll

I recently got some feedback from a friend that the music on my blog's playlist was a bit distracting.. I consequently turned off the autostart feature. It got me to wondering.. so I thought that I'd take a poll and get your opinions:

Please vote.. and leave a comment as well.. if not for me do it for the sake of bloggers all over the world :)

Tiger Woods

To help celebrate Tiger's sudden death win today at the US Open I thought that I would share a few of his quotes with you.

"One of the things that my parents have taught me is never listen to other people's expectations. You should live your own life and live up to your own expectations, and those are the only things I really care about it.”

"If you can't laugh at yourself, then who can you laugh at?”

"I'm trying as hard as I can, and sometimes things don't go your way, and that's the way things go.”

"Hockey is a sport for white men. Basketball is a sport for black men. Golf is a sport for white men dressed like black pimps.”

"I get to play golf for a living. What more can you ask for - getting paid for doing what you love.”

"My dad has always taught me these words: care and share. That's why we put on clinics. The only thing I can do is try to give back. If it works, it works.”

McCain: Straight Talk on Iraq?

Enemy or Competition?

I recently had a long conversation with a friend about Election 2008 and found myself wondering why it is so hard to have a non-passionate conversation about the candidates. It reminded me of a time when I was working at AT&T and a co-worker referred to Sprint as "The Enemy". It took me aback and I corrected her by saying that Sprint was our competition and not our enemy. I told my friend about that conversation and he said that he wasn't too sure that some candidates.. one in particular.. wasn't an enemy of the USA. I was floored by this response and have been wondering about it.

I think that there are a few factors that have led to this kind of us versus the enemy kind of thinking. I think that the first factor is all of the vitriol spewed by Squawk Radio and TV talking heads. Many of these folks demonize people who disagree with them as evil.. especially candidates. They see the world in black and white terms and have little tolerance for people who identify in the shades of gray. People who listen to them seem to mock their behavior.

The second factor (IMO) is isolationist living. Few people seem to be genuinely interested in their diverse neighborhood these days. Consequently they tend to hang around people who tend to think more like them. Conservative Christians are notorious for this kind of isolationism as they are sometimes encouraged from the pulpit to think in black and white terms - in all parts of their lives. I think that other groups do the same.. voting for the candidate that they can most identify with.

Lastly I think that a skewed view of capitalism has to be factored into the dialog. Special interests have over the years had a devastating affect on our government causing our elected officials to act in ways that dishonor the offices they hold. I believe that this kind of pressure from special interest groups drive candidates to get nasty in their political ads often saying that they were not responsible for the content of nasty TV spots funded by cloaked special interest groups.

What do you think? Do you view some candidates as your enemy or an enemy of the USA? Do you agree with my assessments or do you have a different perspective?

Senatorial Experience

On Wednesday retire general Wesley Clark opined about John McCain's lack of experience. It got me to wondering and thinking about how it has been a very long time since we elected a senator to the office of US President. In 1974 former senator Lyndon Johnson was elected president.. an office he ascended to when President Kennedy was assassinated. In 1974 former congressman Gerald Ford became president when President Nixon stepped down and in 1988 former congressman and Vice President George HW Bush was elected president.

In reflecting on this I began thinking about the whole idea of experience.. and wondering what kind of experience is required to hold the office of president. It seems that the executive experience that many state governors have is somewhat desirable.. yet not all governors govern well.. corporate executives, such as for HP CEO Carly Fiorina, have it.. but not all lead or have led well. Neither Obama or McCain have this kind of experience so I wonder what kind of experience we Americans are looking for.

It seems to me that successful leadership experience would be desirable.. maybe someone know of ways that either McCain or Obama have led either in the senate or in their other pursuits. John McCain chaired the Senate's committee on Indian Affairs.. not sure of other ways that he has led. In 2003 Obama became chairman of the Illinois Senate's Health and Human Services Committee and in 2001 co-chaired the Illinois Senate's bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.

I confess that.. unless you think that years lived equals experience.. I don't see experience as a trump card for either candidate. So I gotta ask.. who do you think has the experience edge? Will it matter to you when you vote?

Tim Russert, 1950-2008

I am in shock at the news of Tim's passing. I loved to watch this man comment on the news. Tim had such a zeal for the news and especially for politics. He was one year younger than me. May God grant peace and comfort to his family.

The video below is a fitting tribute to Tim by Chuck Todd. I love the way that Chuck speaks of Tim as an advocate for fathers, a father figure and a man who cared about the folks he worked with.

Engagements: Short or Long?

When he was 28, David Weinlick knew he wanted to get married. He jokingly told his friends it would happen on June 13, 1998. A week before the big day, Weinlick and his buddies gave Cupid a little push.

Launching "The Campaign to Elect Mrs. David Weinlick," Weinlick's friends decided to elect their friend a bride using DFL convention rules. The campaign attracted worldwide attention and 28 would-be brides to the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN.

Weinlick's friends and family nominated Elizabeth Runze on the second ballot. After an hour spent picking out a gown and gussying up, the wedding took place 10 years ago today.

I watched the happy couple on the Today show this morning and was awed by these two folks who seemingly beat the odds.. had 3 children and are still happily married. Here are a few reasons why:

David feels romantic love is overrated. "Marriage really ought to be more about committing to being together than it is about how you feel at a given moment," he said.

Elizabeth agrees with her husband. Although it's nice to have fireworks, she thinks a relationship needs something more substantive to survive.

For me.. I married the first time less than 4 months after our first date.. we were deeply in love 23 years later when Ellen died. I married Ann 8 months after our first date.. we celebrate our 13th anniversary this month and are still deeply commited and crazy for each other.

So, here are a few questions that come to mind:
  • What do you think about this idea of marrying someone that you had not known prior to your wedding day.. and first kissed after you were married?
  • How long do you think it takes to know someone well enough to walk down the aisle with them?
  • Do you think that long engagements are problematic?
Let me know what you think and feel free to ask a few questions as well.

Amazing Clay Dyer

This 2 minute video highlights professional bass fisherman Clay Dyer. Clay was born on May 23, 1978, without any lower limbs, no arm on the left side. Clay has fished in more than 200 bass tournaments and placed first in approximately 20 state bass tournaments. He is living proof that life can be an amazing adventure when you live it from your heart.

Pet Diaries


8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!

9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!

9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!

10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!

12:00 PM - Lunch! My favorite thing!

1:00 PM - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!

3:00 PM - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!

5:00 PM - Milk bones! My favorite thing!

7:00 PM - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!

8:00 PM - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!

11:00 PM - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!


Day 983 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.

They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.

In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a 'good little hunter' I am. Swine!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of 'allergies.' I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches.

The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

HT: Kelli

Flood Footage

Simply Shocking!

Profoundly Speaking

Isn't it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity... -Vaclav Havel

It's all kinds of these profound things crashing on you when your child arrives into the world. It's like you've met your reason to live. -Johnny Depp

When you love people and have the desire to make a profound, positive impact upon the world, then will you have accomplished the meaning to live. -Sasha Azevedo

The simplest questions are the most profound. Where were you born? Where is your home? Where are you going? What are you doing? Think about these once in a while and watch your answers change. -Richard Bach

Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man. -Benjamin Franklin

Don't you believe that there is in man a deep so profound as to be hidden even to him in whom it is? -Saint Augustine

God and the Founders

A dialog over at Spitball Politics got me to thinking about the founding of the United States and the Founding Fathers of our country. So, I took it upon myself to look up a few quotes from our US founding fathers concerning their thinkings about God.. here is a short list:

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 favors. -George Washington, 1789

It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe. -James Madison, 1785

And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever. -Thomas Jefferson, 1781

I have lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this Truth, that God governs in the Affairs of Men. And if a Sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid? -Benjamin Franklin, 1787

It is the duty of all men in society, publicly, and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. -John Adams, 1776

The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts. -John Jay, 1784

The Cone of Silence

With the new Get Smart movie coming out in a few weeks I just had to post about the cone. It is one of the most memorable gag scenes in the TV series. I have fond memories of the show and look forward to seeing the movie - eventually J

Anyone out there old enough to remember the series.. at least the syndication version?

What Do You See?

qoq sɐsuɐʞ

HatTip: Danny Kaye and RevFad.

Failure and Imagination

Yesterday Julie posted J. K. Rowling's Commencement Address at Harvard to her blog. I recommend reading it.. it is a powerful speech and worthy of your reading. There is a passage about an African torture victim that is very moving. Here are a few excerpts from her speech.. just to peak your interest:

Rowling On Failure

There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you. What is more, I cannot criticise my parents for hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor, and I quite agree with them that it is not an ennobling experience.

Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it.

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged.

You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all in which case, you fail by default.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above rubies.

Rowling On Imagination

Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people's minds, imagine themselves into other people's places.

And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know.

If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped transform for the better. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.

Rowling on Success

One of the many things I learned at the end of that Classics corridor down which I ventured at the age of 18, in search of something I could not then define, was this, written by the Greek author Plutarch: What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.

As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.

Republican Veepstakes

I posted on the Democratic race for the second nod on Friday. I thought that I'd post about McCain's choice today. This video isn't as funny but does surface a few of the things that McCain has to be thinking about. Can't believe that they mentioned (barf) Newt Gingrich but not Mitt Romney - I think that conventional wisdom gives Romney the nod but I am not too sure that he will get it. What do you think about Condi for Veep?

The Island | ★★★★★★★

Ann and I caught the DVD version of this movie this week and were pleasantly surprised. Here are a few comments from Rotten Tomatoes reviewers:
The pace of this roller coaster ride becomes too furious to remember that it all started out as an adventure addressing some pertinent ethical issues about the pitfalls of stem cell research, cloning, and bio-genetics. -Kam

If only some of that product placement coin was spent on working on a few more drafts of the screenplay, The Island could have been a much better film. -Michael

It seems to assume that its audience is made of idiots, constantly reminding us of the simple plot details and having characters define things for each other. -Jeffery

The film remains a patchwork of clichés -- evil corporations, evil Frankenstein-like scientists, and so forth -- which is the one kind of cloning that Hollywood does accept. -Peter

What a Fun Ride, I think it's Bay's Best! -Michael

Actually a fairly decent sci-fi thriller for its first half. -Rob
Take it from this idiot - if you are looking for a reality escape this movie isn't a bad trip into Sci-Fi land. I did notice a lot of product placed.. guess even in 100 years people will still be drinking and driving the same stuff.

On a scale of 10 I give this movie ★★★★★★★ for imagination, action and escapism.

Divorce Cake

This story blew me away.

Texas baker Suzanne Maxwell likes to think of it as a small slice of heaven for customers who say they've been through hell.

Jim McKay 1921-2008

Another voice, that many of grew up on watching ABC sports, passed away today. Prayers of comfort and peace go out to his family.

Why Virtue Trumps Policy

This post's title is the subtitle to a Christianity Today article by Daniel Taylor & Mark McCloskey titled How to Pick a President. Here is the way it begins:
The President has taken this country to war and the war has not gone well. He has misjudged the spiritual strength of a militarily inconsequential but profoundly committed enemy. War was not even a distant issue when he first became President, and he is increasingly frustrated that this unsuccessful war is defining his presidency. Testy exchanges with journalists have caused him to almost abandon news conferences, he is openly mocked on television and on the street, and his popularity ratings have plummeted. Never one to seek wide counsel, he increasingly surrounds himself only with advisers who give him good news, who tell him what he wants to hear.

No, his name is not George Bush. His name is Lyndon Johnson.
The article goes on to say why we voters should look past issues and focus more on character traits like courage, temperance, faith, hope and love. I thought the article was okay but it kind of left me confused about what they were really saying about virtues and the candidates.

If you read it please let me know what you think.

Democratic Veepstakes

Great, and kinda funny, video regaling the top ten frontrunners for the Democratic Party Vice Presidential pick. I would love to see #9 Chuck Hagel get picked but seriously doubt that Obama is that serious about bipartisanship. I do think that #10 Bill Richardson will get picked.. that is if their is no substance to the video's innuendo :)

At any rate I sincerely hope that Obama will not acquiesce to #1 pick Hillary Clinton - he doesn't need her to win and she would be a huge detractor to his campaign because she and husband Bill love to showboat and are addicted to the limelight.

Who do you think will get the Veep nod from Barack Obama?

Roosevelt Quotes

A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education. -Theodore Roosevelt

Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give. -Eleanor Roosevelt

Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. -Franklin D. Roosevelt

A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards. -Theodore Roosevelt

A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water. -Eleanor Roosevelt

I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made. -Franklin D. Roosevelt

Believe you can and you're halfway there. -Theodore Roosevelt

Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't. -Eleanor Roosevelt

I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people. -Franklin D. Roosevelt

Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave the country. -Theodore Roosevelt

Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people. -Eleanor Roosevelt

Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds. -Franklin D. Roosevelt

Remembering RFK

40 years ago I was riding on the Staten Island ferry when the news broke that Bobby Kennedy was murdered. I was 19 years old and getting ready to enter military service. I felt shock then and feel sad today when I think about it.

Do you remember that day? What were you doing when you heard the news. How did you feel then?

Pizza Hut turns 50

The first Pizza Hut, at left, was opened in June 1958 at Bluff and Kellogg streets in Wichita by two former Wichita State University students, Dan and Frank Carney. The building has been moved to the Wichita State campus.

Amazing the things that have come out of Kansas :)

Dona Nobis Pacem

Dona Nobis Pacem is Latin for "Grant Us Peace". When I think of the word peace I automatically think of Shalom.. a Hebrew and Jewish word meaning peace. I also thnk of Jesus. This is what the bible says of Him and of peace.
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. -Ephesians 2:14-16
I long for a time when men will be at peace with each other.. I am a peacemeaker in heart and hate to see people fighting.. I pray for a time when the Prince of Peace will reign and there will be no more war.

This post is a part of the Blog Blast for Peace.

Electric Car Conspiracy?

Click on the image and let me know what you think. Personally I find it difficult to believe that our US governmental and industrial leaders are so stupid and ignorant. It is hard to believe that we in the USA are looking at $5/gallon gas prices this summer. It is easier to buy the conspiracy theory than to admit that we as a nation have been so short sighted.

God, Einstein and the Details

Guess he was even smarter than we thought he was!

Bush-bots respond to Scott

In this conglomeration of NBC footage we see a united and somewhat White House orchestrated response to Scott McClellan's new book. I particularly found the remarks of retired Senator Bob Dole to be offensive.. come on Bob.. a Kansas Bob can do better than that!

I agree with one observation of how the Bush-bots want to shift the focus off the issues surfaced in Scott's book and onto his betraying loyalty to the president and breaking ranks with the Bush-bots. It is like my friend Jim said last week.. if what he writes is true then somebody needs to go to jail.

If you have a few minutes please watch the video and let me know if you agree or disagree with my assessment.

Sacrifice is Honored Today

Today President Bush will posthumously award Ross McGinnis the Medal of Honor. I was curious and thought that I'd check this out.. I'm glad I did.
I cried as I read this report and watch the video below. Take a moment, read the report and watch the video.. and give thanks for valiant young men like Ross McGinnis.. they represent the best in humanity.

According to the official report, on the afternoon of Dec. 4, 2006, McGinnis’ platoon was on mounted patrol in Adhamiyah to restrict enemy movement and quell sectarian violence. During the course of the patrol, an unidentified insurgent positioned on a rooftop nearby threw a fragmentation grenade into the Humvee. Without hesitation or regard for his own life, McGinnis threw his back over the grenade, pinning it between his body and the Humvee’s radio mount. McGinnis absorbed all lethal fragments and the concussive effects of the grenade with his own body. McGinnis, who was a private first class at the time, was posthumously promoted to specialist.