Scary Timeshare Story

The word Timeshare conjurs up all sorts of images - okay maybe not the one pictured here but sometimes this image may not be too different in some respects. I have never owned a timeshare but consider this excerpt from a post, titled "My worst financial decision ever....sort of" written by my blogging friend Don.

We are in Kauai for our 25th anniversary at the Sheraton, and to save money on a flight around the island we promised to hear a time share sales promotion. We did, we said no, they began to invite us back for a stay at a mere 100 dollars a night. In the meanwhile I had my first heart attack. Thinking I was a goner, we took them up on the deal and returned to Kauai with two of our children and one grandchild, and we loved it. The thought of trading and doing this in other resorts, the idea that all our payments for the week would apply to the sales price, and me thinking my life was almost over....well, in a moment of weakness we bought a sweet little every other year prepaid vacation so we could have "future inflation free vacations". HA

Allow me to condense to the end of the story. Ten years later we have enjoyed five weeks of vacation for our considerable investment, The resort changes hands three times, a rapacious crook takes over and management hikes our yearly maintenance fees to a ridiculous amount, and then decides to pass on a massive repair bill for shoddy construction from way before we ever got on the helicopter ten years ago.

Hence we are billed half of our original money just to continue our ownership, our inflation free vacation becomes enormously expensive again, and we and 500 plus other owners said, We have had enough an d we aren't going to play this game any more. We are waiting to see if this "sham foreclosure" affects our credit ratings, or if they sic credit collectors on us.That would be the ultimate low down scum move, as he gets to sell our timeshare again to some younger suckers. We are in a lawsuit, but this shyster gets not one more nickel of my vacation money.

Wondering if anyone else has a scary timeshare story to share?

Updating the old Blogroll ...

I updated my blogroll yesterday and hope I did not leave you off. You can see it by clicking the Orange Blogger logo on the right.

Let me know if you would like to be added to it by leaving your blog's URL in the comments section. All I ask is that you are a regular reader of my blog and Kansas Bob is displayed in the blogroll section of your blog. Hope you have a great weekend!

What makes a Table an Altar?

This is a photo of Robert Owen's Altar in the Wagga Art Gallery. When you first saw it did you think that it was an altar? Looks more like a sofa table to me. Yet in the context of a church many call such a table an altar. Makes you wonder why churches conjur up images of animal sacrifices and call such tables "altars".

In the Protestant tradition communion is celebrated as a remembrance of Christ and his intimate last supper with those he loved. Yet even among Protestants these tables are often called altars as people line up to receive a wafer and a sip.

I wonder why Christians cal these altars? What do you think? What make a Table an Altar?

Are you a black and white purist?

Are you a black and white purist? Or do you, like me, wish that old films, like "It's a Wonderful LIfe", were colorized? Do you think the colorized version of Lincoln better than the original? Or do you think that original photos are better left alone? Do you ever crop or touch up your digital photos? Or do you prefer to leave them as you photographed them?

Opportunity dressed in Overalls

I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others. I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent.

The dove is my emblem. I want to save and advance human life, not destroy it. I am proud of the fact that I have never invented weapons to kill.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

The three things that are most essential to achievement are common sense, hard work and stick-to-it-iv-ness.

Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do in the first place doesn't mean it's useless.

Until man duplicates a blade of grass, nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge.

...quotes from Thomas Alva Edison

Jesus, Marriage and the Papyrus Relic

Adam Hamilton, our pastor, recently shared a few thoughts in a blog post titled "Is Papyrus Fragment Suggesting Jesus Had a Wife Authentic?" In it he tied the papyrus relic to his previous week's sermon saying:

Last week we noted that the criteria by which documents made it into the New Testament were apostolicity, catholicity and consistency with the gospel. Apostolicity meant that a document was written by an apostle or someone having access to or associated with the preaching of the apostles. Catholicity meant that the document was accepted, used by and found helpful to a majority of churches across the ancient world. Consistency related to whether the message was consistent with the earliest strata of documents the church had – the letters of Paul and the four gospels. This document appears to bear none of these marks.

My new basic cable reality tv friend ...

Being retired I tend to watch a bit more TV than when I was working. This summer I have discovered HGTV. Yeah, I know that it has been around for years but did they really have all of these reality tv style shows way back then? Here are a few of my favorites:
  • House Hunters and House Hunters International - like seeing the way folks live in other parts of the world.
  • Love It or List It - fun seeing the alternatives of remodeling or relocating. Hillary is a bit of a drama queen but the drama often points to the challenges of remodeling.
  • Property Brothers - opens our eyes to the way that a house can be purchased cheap (sometimes anyways) and made to be the house you want. I can relate to fixing up my first home in Jersey.
  • Income Property - interesting how some people will buy a home with the purpose of renting a part of it out. Enjoy the creative ways that rentable space is made to assist with the mortgage payments.
Are you a HGTV fan? Have you watched any of these shows? If so which do you like best? Or maybe you like another one of these basic cable tv shows?

Why not Think for Yourself?

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking. -George S. Patton

If two men agree on everything, you may be sure that one of them is doing the thinking. -Lyndon B Johnson

The Fighter | ★★★★★★★★★

Christian Bale literally steals the show in this great boxing flick. His portrayal of Dicky Eklund, older half-brother-fighter of boxer Micky Ward (played by Mark Wahlberg) was the heart and soul of this movie which was based on a true story. Amy Adams and Melissa Leo turned in good performances as Micky's girlfriend and mom.

I loved how this movie was really not about boxing but about family. The love between these two brothers and their dysfunctional family speaks to me about how we need these kinds of bonds in our lives. The underdog theme was also well played - seeing Micky, encouraged by girlfriend Charlene, fight for his heart and his life was pure inspiration. I thought that this aspect rivaled Rocky in many respects.

As you can tell, I loved the movie and, on a scale of ten, I give it ★★★★★★★★★.

How do you define a Hero?

I like the sentiment in this image but I wonder if we water down the definition of hero by saying that it is about intentions and not actions? Reminds me of the saying that opines that the road to hell is filled with good intentions. To me the definition of hero has to include the idea of real love and sacrifice. Apart from that the word is meaningless to me. What do you think? How do you define a hero?

Is hate speech a form of free speech?

This image causes one to think, doesn't it? None of us ever want to be associated with or condone hate speech. Interesting thought in light of the events in Libya this week. My Cincinnati blogging and facebook friend Brian pointed me to a post by Dr Robert Cargill titled "On Faith, Freedom of Expression, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Statement in Response to the Protests in Egypt and Libya". I thought that he made several great points and suggest that you read his article. Here is an excerpt:

I understand the Egyptian government’s frustration. Unfortunately, the Muslim Brotherhood’s proposed solution only exacerbates the underlying problem that is quickly coming to the forefront in Egypt and around the world:
“We denounce abuse of all Messengers of God, Prophets and Apostles, and condemn this heinous crime. We further call for criminalization of assaults on the sanctities of all heavenly religions.”
The solution proposed by the Muslim Brotherhood is the prohibition of criticism (which they define as “assaults on the sanctities of all heavenly religions”) of all religions. However, categorizing criticism of any religion as “abuse” and as “heinous crimes” is not a viable solution in a free society. In fact, it would only serve to resurrect the totalitarian suppression of freedom of thought and expression that they experienced under Hosni Mubarak.

All individuals – both those who express faith in various deities and those choosing to adhere to no religion – should have the freedom to debate, criticize, and yes, joke and satirize all forms of ideology, including economic, political, and yes, religious. ... Simply put, truly free citizens of any state should have the freedom to practice and profess the religion of their choice, but should not have the power to criminalize those who do not profess their religious faith.

Political Party Animals

Ever wondered what the story was behind these two famous party animals?

The now-famous Democratic donkey was first associated with Democrat Andrew Jackson's 1828 presidential campaign. His opponents called him a jackass (a donkey), and Jackson decided to use the image of the strong-willed animal on his campaign posters. Later, cartoonist Thomas Nast used the Democratic donkey in newspaper cartoons and made the symbol famous.

Nast invented another famous symbol—the Republican elephant. In a cartoon that appeared in Harper's Weekly in 1874, Nast drew a donkey clothed in lion's skin, scaring away all the animals at the zoo. One of those animals, the elephant, was labeled “The Republican Vote.” That's all it took for the elephant to become associated with the Republican Party.

Democrats today say the donkey is smart and brave, while Republicans say the elephant is strong and dignified.

Tip of the hat to Fact Monster.

DC-3 Lands on KC Rooftop

A few clips about this image from the Kansas City Star ...

A 1943 DC-3 airplane came in for a smooth and permanent landing just after sunrise Tuesday on Kansas City’s West Side. The symbol for the Roasterie, a Kansas City coffee roaster, now sits atop its headquarters at 1204 W. 27th St., thanks to an engineering feat that took a crew of about 30 and perfect weather conditions to pull off.

One of the largest cranes in the Kansas City area lifted the craft from the Roasterie’s back lot onto a steel frame.

Even without its engines, the plane weighs a whopping 10,000 pounds. Still, that was light enough that even a 5-mph breeze could have made it too unstable to lift into place.

The DC-3, which has been part of the Roasterie’s logo since the company was founded in 1993, is symbolic of its “air-roasted coffee and adventuresome spirit,” said Danny O’Neill, founder of the Roasterie.

Remembering the Day

Read this story this morning from our local NBC station:

Eleven years after the worst terrorist attacks in American history, a memorial honoring the victims is being dedicated at the Fire Training Center in Overland Park, KS. The memorial includes a 14 foot, 5,600 pound steel beam (pictured left) from the World Trade Center. The beam has a hole near the upright tip that will cast a shadow on four panels marking each of the four planes that crashed on Sept. 11, 2001. At the exact time each plane hit, the shadow will be marked on the panels to forever remember those moments in history.

This morning I remember those who died that day. I am thankful for those who have kept our nation safe from terrorists these past eleven years. I thank God for presidents, CIA analysts, TSA agents, front line soldiers and others who have kept us safe.

The Answer Man | ★★★★★★

I had never heard of this 2009 movie before Netflix recommended it to me. It focused on Arlen Faber, the reclusive author of "God and Me" - a legendary book that purported to be an dialog between him and the Almighty. The story revolved around his relationships with the people around him and his reclusiveness. I loved the way that Arlen was pictured as a man struggling with fame, friends and faith - it spoke to me about how life is sometimes about how our perspectives change when our theological answers fall short. I thought that Jeff Daniels did a good job in the lead role and others were good in supporting roles. Also thought that the ending was a bit abrupt and left the audience with too many questions. Even so, I do recommend it - especially if you enjoy stories that deal with struggles and faith.

On a scale of ten I give it ★★★★★★.

Happy Grandparents Day

I love being a grandpa. Spending time with my grandson and granddaughter is such a blessing. My daughter is such a great parent - I am so proud of her and my grandchildren. A few years ago they put their little hands in paint and made me a tee shirt (image left) that I love wear. I wish all of you grandparents a great day!

Learning to Celebrate our Memories

One of the lessons I was taught years ago was to be able to look back and celebrate my memories. Yet so often it is difficult to rejoice over our painful past. In times like those I suggest that we take the advice in the image - unless that beautiful view keeps us from embracing the promise of tomorrow.

Did Obama really save GM?

George Will is one of my favorite conservative writers and pundits. A few weeks ago he framed the takeover of General Motors in a way that might make liberals, I mean progressives, cringe in his piece titled "Liberalism, as we know it".
Here is an excerpt from it:
"After a delusional proclamation — General Motors “has come roaring back” — Obama said: “Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry.” We have been warned.
Obama’s supposed rescue of “the auto industry” — note the definite article, “the” — is a pedal on the political organ he pumps energetically in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and elsewhere. Concerning which:

He intervened to succor one of two of the U.S. auto industries. One, located in the South and elsewhere, does not have a long history of subservience to the United Auto Workers and for that reason has not needed Obama’s ministrations. He showered public money on two of three parts of the mostly Northern auto industry, the one long entangled with the UAW. He socialized the losses of GM and Chrysler. Ford was not a mendicant because it was not mismanaged.

Today, “I am GM, hear me roar” is again losing market share, and its stock, of which taxpayers own 26 percent, was trading Thursday morning at $21, below the $33 price our investor in chief paid for it and below the $53 price it would
have to reach to enable taxpayers to recover the entire $49.5 billion bailout."
The GM takeover and their subsequent performance gives me cause to pause when I hear it used as an achievement of the administration. How can a candidate boast about a deal that has lost taxpayers so much money?

Will the Steve Jobs Legacy be Hypocrisy?

Just read a ZDNet article titled "Steve Jobs's dire legacy: Devastating bad taste" that made me wonder which Steve Jobs people will remember the most. Will most think of the genius innovator or will they remember the rich tycoon? Following are a few clips from the article. Read them (or even the whole piece) and let me know what you think.

"We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas" — Steve Jobs, Triumph of the Nerds, 1996

"I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this" — Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs, 2011

What made the Jobs of 2011 so different from the 1996 model? Power. Apple was in trouble in 1996, losing its way in a welter of bad products and worse decisions. Jobs was at NeXT, contemplating the failure of his workstation strategy.
Take a moment and let Jobs's threat sink in. This is a man who once excoriated Microsoft about its lack of taste: for him to use nuclear war as a metaphor is a horrible irony.
Apple, however, is following the diktats of its lost leader. It is using its cash and patents — the nuclear weaponry of large corporations — while, inevitably, claiming that this is the application of natural justice against a great wrong.

The facts of thermonuclear war are stark. The collateral damage to everyone, regardless of their active involvement in the conflict, is tremendous. The long-term consequences are incalculable. It is extraordinarily distasteful to talk of the mobile phone business in such terms.
Android, after all, is guilty at worst of nothing more than the sort of behaviour that Jobs himself once gloried in — back in the days before he had nukes.

Are you laboring today?

I have often thought that the day reflects a bit of an oxymoron - most people do not labor (for their employers anyway) today but spend the day sharing good food and great conversation with friends and family. Even so, I think that this image of "labor" speaks loudly.

I am not laboring today but headed west about 45 miles to have lunch with Ann's wonderful 96 year old mom.

Will you be celebrating the day with labor or something else?

Sage of Solomon | August Recap

Last month I began a series of devotions on the the wisdom and sage of King Solomon. I would love to have you join me there in the coming days as I continue to share. Following is a recap in excerpts from last month's devotions ...

There are two basic ways to live - from your head or from your heart.

Life or death? The choice is ours. Speak life.

What is it in us that wants to get the best of another human being?

Engagement in our culture is not an option.

Just as greed takes life away generosity gives it back to us.

Regret is a powerful word.

The brain can instruct us in how to do things right but only the heart can guide us to do the right things.

Perhaps we can only speak gentle, kind and perceptive words when our brains are silent when we are listening?

Apart from unconditional love we really only have acquaintances that we bump into at work or at religious gatherings.

As I look back over my life I realize that even in deep despair I had a sense that God was with me.

The awe of the Lord changes me still today.

Integrity, being the same on the inside and outside, keeps us on track and connected to reality.

Sometimes it takes courage to be wise. Often the wise path is the one not taken.

I sometimes think that what we say is like a bank account - we cannot withdraw more than we have deposited.

It is so easy in life to encounter things that bruise our hearts.

It is so easy to compartmentalize our lives into secular and sacred activities.

The word "reputation" seems to have both a bright and dark side.

A fire ignites in my soul when I read of such people - it causes me to lean into God with all of my heart when my own understanding of life fails me. Knowing that others, that have gone on before me, have trusted God with all of their heart even though they did not see answers to their prayers thrills every inch of my being.

Bonded Memories

Sometimes your eye falls on an image and you are virtually transported back in time. It was in the early 1960s when President Kennedy told us that James Bond novelist Ian Fleming was one of his favorite authors. Somehow that got me interested and over the coming years I read all of the 007 novels. Knowing my love of all things Bond my older brother took me to Goldfinger - my first Bond flick. Over the years I came to love the classy spy persona of Flemming's 007. Sadly, a few years ago the folks who own the 007 brand introduced a thuggish version and replaced class with crass. Even so, when I think of Bond I will always flash back to the times when my nose was buried in a Bond book as I rode on the Staten Island Ferry. FYI - my favorite 007 was Brosnan not Connery.