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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A BELATED HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!


    Good morning, everyone! Welcome back Joyce and the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Our beloved Nation is a precocious 242 years old. That is fairly young as the age of nations go.  A belated Happy Birthday America!
    I hope that you all are enjoying your Summer. I hope that you had a pleasant Fourth of July Holiday. My beloved SWMBO and I had a lovely time. We spent part of the day with friends and shared some traditional foods. We capped the day with our usual mid-week Devotional and Bible Study.
    Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge.

1. What's something in your house you'd like to get rid of but can't?
    What a great question! We have a couple of broken recliner chairs, a riding lawn mower with a blown engine, and a wood stove that we don't/can't use anymore. Those are three things that I would like to get rid of but cannot seem to for one reason or another.

2. When is the last time you experienced a sense of nostalgia? Elaborate.
    Recently, I took SWMBO on a trip down memory lane. I spoke about my childhood, some of the people who I grew up with, some of the activities that we engaged in, etc. I must say that I had a pretty decent childhood.

3. You're only allowed three apps on your smart phone or tablet...which three do you keep?
    I think that I would keep a Bible app, Mail and YouTube. If you ask me tomorrow it is possible I would keep different apps.

4. July 11th is National Blueberry Muffin Day. Who knew? Do you like blueberry muffins? If you were going to have a muffin would blueberry be your choice? What's the last thing you baked?
    Yes, I do like Blueberry muffins. Blueberry bushes are practically everywhere in New Hampshire and Maine. How can you not like Blueberries?

5. What's the biggest way you've changed since you were a child? In what way are you still the same?
    How have I changed since childhood? Well, I am now 6' 3" tall and weigh over 250 pounds. I now have a full beard and I now need reading glasses. Also, I am keenly aware of the existence of God in my life and the attendant responsibilities of having that knowledge. Last, but by no means least, I am happily married to the greatest woman on the planet...but you knew that!
    How am I the same? I am endearingly impish and a faithful Red Sox fan.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
     I have a couple of random thoughts this morning. First, kudos to the Thai government and their Navy Seals for the rescue of the boys soccer team from the cave. All eleven boys and their coach were safely extracted from the cave after two weeks of being trapped and all are in good condition considering their ordeal. Thank you God for your grace and for the safe return of the team and their rescuers.

    Second, the left side of the aisle in this country have lost their collective minds. They have been protesting President Trump's nominee to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, which is to say that they were protesting.....NOBODY, that is, until last night when President Trump announced that he was nominating Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Federal Court of Appeals.  
     The left has recycled the same old diatribes that they have been using against every Republican court nominee since the Reagan Administration, namely, that the nominee will curtail abortion rights, LGBT Rights, access to Medical Care rights, and every other perceived rights, whether they actually exist or not. So far none of the aforementioned curtailments have occurred. One can plausibly conclude that the left is consistently wrong and/or hysterical! Therefore, let the Kabuki Theater, that Supreme Court confirmations have become, begin! 



Wednesday, June 27, 2018

IT'S GONNA BE A HEAT WAVE



     Good morning fellow Hodgepodgers and non-Hodgepodgers alike. I cannot believe how quickly a week passes by but, boy, do they quickly pass by! 
     The latter part of this week is suppose to be a scorcher up here in the Granite State. Temperatures are forecast to be in the high 90's with an increase in humidity. My beloved SWMBO will be happy AND comfortable while the rest of us will be like the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz...M E L T I N G!
     Thanks go out to Joyce Daley at "From This Side of the Pond" for our weekly hodgepodge of questions. And now, without further ado...the Hodgepodge!

1. Security or freedom? Can you have both? Explain.
     Yes! I believe that you can have both, security and freedom. Our country was partially founded on that principle. Our founding fathers believed that both could exist simultaneously.  
     The U.S. Constitution was enacted to preserve the blessings of liberty for all Americans. The fourth amendment of the Bill of Rights specifically states that all Americans have the right to be secure in their possessions, papers, houses and effects from unreasonable search and seizure. It requires that a warrant issued by a judge based upon a showing of probable cause before any search can be lawfully conducted.
     Benjamin Franklin rightly observed that any people who surrenders their liberty for security will have neither. 

2. If you could visit any historical American site what would it be? Why?
     I choose Washington D.C. I choose our nation's capital because it is just chock full of American History. I love the plethora of historical buildings and monuments. I believe that you can spend months in that city and not run out of places to visit. Many places would require several visits. Yep! That is my choice!

3. Free as a bird, free reign, be free of, free enterprise, free trip, walk away scot free, free for all...which 'free' phrase can best be applied to your life in recent days or weeks? Explain.
     I will go with "...be free of! "  My beloved SWMBO and I recently refinanced our mortgage and were able to use some of our equity to off load some significant debt that we were forced to accrue due to having to do major repairs to some of our house systems, etc.

4. Something in your frig that's red? Something in your house that's white? Something in your view that's blue?
     Where does Joyce get these questions? Well, here goes...there are RED bell peppers in our refrigerator vegetable drawer. We have a sheer WHITE curtain in our living room's picture window.  I have a BLUE cell phone case on the table beside my easy chair where I am typing this answer. 

5. July 27th is National New Jersey Day. Have you ever visited The Garden State? If so where did you go? Are there diners where you live? Have you tried Taylor Pork Roll? Do you like to play Monopoly? Salt water taffy-yay or nay? How do you feel about shopping at the mall? Springsteen, Sinatra, or Bon Jovi-you have to pick one.
     I briefly visited the Garden State in 1974. I was transferred to the United Kingdom for a new duty assignment for the U.S. Air Force. I flew out of McGuire Air Force Base in Burlington County, New Jersey. 

     I have never tried Taylor Pork Roll. Yes on Monopoly and yay on the salt water taffy question.
     We do have several diners in our area. One of the most popular diners is called the Red Arrow Diner. It is always crowded and is open 24 hours a day Friday-Sunday.
     I don't mind shopping at the mall if it is not too crowded. Musically, I'll go with Bon Jovi. However, I am a little surprised and disappointed that you neglected to also list the "Jersey Boys," A.K.A. The Four Seasons.

Raise your hand if you know why these add-on questions are appropriate on National NJ Day.

      Picture me with my hand raised.
    
6. Insert your own random thought here.
       Now for a brief trip down memory lane. When I was in High School I had a crush on a certain female classmate. Unfortunately for me, she was already engaged to be married. 
     She had a friend, however, to whom I came to be seriously attracted. This girl had high standards. I knew that because she could not stand me. She did eventually fall prey to my charm and did come to fall in love with me and after three marriage proposals from yours truly, she finally said yes.
     Forty six years and two children later we are more in love, more devoted to each other, than those two crazy kids back in High School. You know her as my beloved SWMBO. We celebrate our 46th Wedding Anniversay this Sunday, July 1st.
     A Godly marriage is one of God's greatest blessings. I have been lavishly blessed. Happy Anniversary, my immortal beloved!
     Have a great week and a safe 4th of July Holiday everyone!


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

SUMMER IS HERE HODGEPODGE!




     "When in the course of human events...." These words begin what I consider to be one of the greatest documents ever written, the Declaration of Independence. As we approach the 242nd birthday of our great Nation I have been thinking about our beginning and subsequent history. Despite our flaws, and there are many, we continue to be a noble people and a force for good upon the face of the earth.
     Another force for good upon the face of the earth is the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thank you Joyce Daley, our Hodgepodge Mistress, for these weekly respites from the drudgeries of life. Enjoy!

1. Summer is upon us this week in the Northern hemisphere. Tell us three things on your summer bucket list.
     One thing on the list is the Laconia Motorcycle Rally, the oldest motorcycle rally in the country. It ran through father's day. My mission when I go is to purchase a rally pin, purchase an Italian sausage with onions and peppers, and a soft serve ice cream. This year...mission accomplished.
     Another thing on our bucket list is a trip to the beach with the Littles. We must find some Fried Dough. SWMBO & I love Fried Dough with powdered sugar.

2. Something fun you used to do as a kid in the summertime?
     One of my favorite things to do as a youngster, usually with my friends, was to play, fish and swim at the river which was located about 100 yards from my front door.

3. Rootop or backyard? Why?
      You will find me in the backyard. I love the smell of grass. I love the trees ans looking up at the sky. Also, it is hard to grill on the roof...just sayin'.

4. Do you read food labels? Place importance on them? Make an effort to find out/care about where your food comes from?
     I do read food labels sometimes. I place a reasonable amount of importance on them. I do care where my food comes from.  I am not as dilligent as I perhaps should be. 

5. A song you'll have on repeat this summer?
     The catalogs of Boston, Kansas and the Eagles.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
     I will not bore you with a lot of  commentary, but I have a few opinions to express.  
    (1)  My beloved Red Sox continue to play good ball. 
    (2)  The Department of Justice Inspector General's Report on the investigation into the Hillary Clinton emails is in. The IG did as good a job as possible given his limitations of authority. More about this in a future blog post.
     (3)   The hearings with the DOJ IG went as expected.  Both sides of the aisle interpreted the report in accordance with their own notions of what actually happened.
    (4)  I hope that all you Dads out there had a great Father's Day...I surely did. I was well spoiled by my beloved SWMBO.
     Have a great week!




Wednesday, June 13, 2018

IS HE REALLY THAT BAD? HODGEPODGE!




      Good morning to all my fellow Wednesday Hodgepodge peeps! Here we are with another Hodgepodge. Thank you Joyce Daley for another set of penetrating questions.
      Have your heard about the volcano that wreaking havoc in various places around the world? I cannot imagine how awful being in the vicinity of a volcanic eruption can be. My prayers and best wishes go out to our fellow citizens in Hawaii and those affected by the volcano in Central America.

1. What happens to the mail at your house?
     We generally trash the junk mail, which is most of it. The rest goes into a tray that sits on a chest freezer in our kitchen. We then go through the tray as the spirit moves us.

2. Something you always splurge on? Any guilt associated with the splurge?
      Dunkin Donuts has a watermelon coolatta which is my splurge. I do not feel guilty at all. Why should I, I'm an adult male over the age of majority and as far as I know it is perfectly legal to indulge in that beverage. Carpe Diem, baby!

3. There are many, but what are two important questions you think every bride and groom should ask/answer before they plan their walk down the aisle?
      The questions that I would advise engaged couples to resolve are (1) Do you want children? How many? How are you going to raise them(Child care, Education, Morally?)? Religion or no religion, which religion?   (2) What is you current financial status? How are you going to mange your finances? Jointly? Separately ? Conservatively? Aggressively? 
      There are other questions, of course, but I'll go with these two.

4. What's the best advice your father ever gave you?
      Make sure that you serve your country. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, took part in the D-Day Invasion and served in the National Guard in the late 1950's to early 1960's. He encouraged my siblings and I to likewise serve in the military for at least two, four or six years. My brother and I chose to serve in the Air Force. We are both honorably discharged veterans. I am sure that dad was proud of his two boys.

5. Your favorite movie where a father features heavily in the storyline?
      Some of my favorite "Father" movies are, in no particular order: "Trouble with the Curve" with Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams; "The Judge" with Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr; "The Godfather" with Marlon Brando; "Legends of the Fall" Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins; and "It's a Wonderful Life" the Frank Capra Christmas classic.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
       Remember a few months ago when our president was engaged in a war of words with the leader of North Korea. The talking heads criticized the president saying that he was going to get us into a nuclear war with North Korea. They urged our president to engage in diplomacy.
      Now that our president has in fact engaged in diplomacy with the leader of North Korea, those same people are complaining that the president has engaged the leader of North Korea in Diplomacy. They say that he is a brutal dictator who cannot be trusted to keep his word.
     Our president, despite his flaws, is not as bad as his critics would have us believe.  Could it be that his critics are petrified that this president will succeed where his predecessors have failed so miserably? 
     Have a great week!


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

LATE NIGHT & BASEBALL!


     
     A very pleasant Wednesday to all of you. I hope that this 74th anniversary of the Allied Forces storming the beaches of Normandy finds you to be well. 
     Can you believe that it has been just about three quarters of a century since the events of D-Day? I recommend that you watch Darryl F. Zanucks epic movie "The Longest Day." This movie tells the story of the invasion from the perspective of the Allies and the Nazis. 
     Well, enough history for today. We have a Wednesday Hodgepodge to get to. Thank you Joyce Daley for another challenging set of questions. I urge you budding writers out there to join in on the fun. Go to "From This Side of the Pond" to learn how you can participate. And now...the Hodgepodge!  
      1.Describe your 30's in one sentence. If you're not yet 30 tell us one thing you hope to accomplish once you hit that particular decade.
     My 30's was a great time of my life. SWMBO and I were still young. Our kids were young, but old enough to do things with that all of us could enjoy. The 30's had its hard times but I remember it as a mostly joyful time.

2. Is it harder for you to exercise or eat healthy?
     Yes! It is hard for me to exercise and eat healthy.
 
3. June 7th is National VCR Day. Huh? Anyway this reminded me of something I saw on Facebook listing household items we no longer have and the VCR was on it. I couldn't put my hands on that list, but found another list here of 21 items we all had ten years ago, but which are now obsolete-

bookshelves (WHAT!!???), drip coffee makers, alarm clocks, file cabinets, desktop computers, printers, printed phone books, answering machines, fax machines, paper shredders, a Rolodex, CD racks, CD burners, china cabinets, home phones, entertainment consoles, DVD players, calculators, takeout menus, incandescent light bulbs, and cable TV

Your thoughts? How many on the list do you still have? Still use?

     What do you mean, no longer have. SWMBO and I still have, AND use...bookshelves, alarm clocks, file cabinets, desktop computers, printers, answering machines, paper shredders, CD racks, china cabinets, a home phone, DVD Players, calculators, takeout menus, incandescent light bulbs, and cable tv. 
     Does that mean that we're Luddites?

4. What's something you see disappearing in the next ten years?
        My mind! The only thing is, however, I do not think that it will take ten years for that to occur.
 
5. How did you celebrate your birthday this past year? Is that typical?
      SWMBO gave me a nice greeting card with an additional personal message that she composed. We then went out to eat and one of our favorite restaurant. It is what we typically do.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
     I am a baseball fan. My favorite team is of course the Boston Red Sox and whoever is playing the Yankees. 
    This month SWMBO and I were able to take in a game of our local Double A baseball team, the NH Fisher Cats, a farm team of the Toronto Blue Jays. (They beat the Red Sox Double A team, The Portland, Maine, Sea Dogs...in case you were wondering who won.)
     On Monday, I returned home from a church business meeting at around 8:45 p.m. I noticed that a game between the San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks was being televised on ESPN beginning at 10:00 p.m. I decided to watch and score the game. I do so enjoy scoring a baseball game. The game ended after 1:00 a.m. The Giants won, in case you were wondering.
    On Tuesday morning I was very, very, very tired. I seem to have forgotten that I'm getting too old for this stuff. But I do love baseball! Enjoy your week.



Wednesday, May 23, 2018

GETTING CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER HODGEPODGE!



     A pleasant good morning to one and all. I hope all of you are well today. I'm doing okay also. My beloved Red Sox continues to play some pretty good baseball. Our mortgage refinancing is officially completed. All the T's are crossed and all the I's are dotted. 
     Today being Wednesday, we have another Wednesday Hodgepodge to navigate. Thank you, Joyce Daley, for continuing to challenge us every week with your questions. Please consider joining us and participating in the Hodgepodge. Click on over to "From this Side of the Pond" and follow the simple directions. Here we go....

1. The last place you visited/patronized where you felt like you were given 'the royal treatment'?
     This is a tough one. Most places SWMBO and I go give us good service but going above and beyond the call of duty and treating us like royalty, I cannot remember any such time.


2. The last task you completed that was a 'royal pain'?
     This one is easy. We refinanced our mortgage. 


3. How have your strengths helped you succeed? How have your faults hindered you?
     This is another difficult question. My perseverance, some would call it stubbornness, has enabled me to push through obstacles and accomplish many of my goals. On the fault side of the ledger, my procrastination has resulted in my missing some opportunities and prevented me from attaining some goals. 


4. If you found a remote that could rewind, fast forward, stop and start time, what would you do with it?
     Would I to possess such a device I would have to take some time to consider the exact question that is being posed here. However, to answer the question, I think that I would rewind to certain times in my life and change a couple of bad decisions that I made. Then I would fast forward to see what difference my altered choices made in my life


5. Any special plans for the Memorial Day weekend? Will you in some way honor or recognize the meaning of this day (remembering people who died in service to their country)? Have you ever been to Arlington National Cemetery? Does your town do anything special to mark the day?
     SWMBO and I have no special plans for Memorial Day, but that is subject to change without notice. We may pick up some groceries and grill some animal flesh. I will certainly spend time in prayer for our departed heroes and their families for their sacrifice to our Nation. I will thank God that during our darkest times men and women stepped up and unselfishly gave their last full measure of devotion.
     I have been to Arlington National Cemetery as well as the Vietnam War Memorial and the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. It was a moving experience each time I went.


6.  Insert your own random thought here.
      In the early 1970's some Republican operatives were caught trying to bug the Democratic National Committee at their offices in the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. 
     After the election, President-elect Trump said that he was being surveilled and electronically monitored (bugged). Most people in the "Fake News" media laughed at him. They called him paranoid and many other things. As it turns out he was correct.
     Now we are learning that FISA Warrants have been sought and granted on the basis of unsubstantiated information in violation of law and Department of Justice protocols.
     The sad fact appears to be that the more we learn about the conduct of the FBI, the Special Prosecutor and his staff, and the Department of Justice, the more outrageous this whole thing becomes. Compared to the Watergate affair, this whole ordeal is much, much worse by orders of magnitude. The Rule of Law in our beloved country is under assault. May God help us and protect us!
     


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

IT CAME TO A CLOSE, FINALLY, HODGEPODGE!


     Greetings from the Granite State on this magnificent Wednesday. I hope that all is well in your world. Things are beginning to turn around in my world. We just completed a major undertaking which will be further explained in my Random Thought below.
     Since it is Wednesday and since Joyce has gone to the trouble to come up with another set of probing questions, we might as well answer them. Please join in on the fun. You will not be disappointed. And now...(Inner drums roll here)...the Hodgepodge.

1. What would you say is your biggest day to day challenge?
     The biggest challenge for me day to day is getting out of bed early in the morning. There are two reasons why. One is that I am not an early riser. My circadian rhythm makes me sharpest at late afternoon through late evening. The second reason is my knees make me walk like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz before they used the oil can on him. Eventually they kind of self lubricate and I can walk fairly pain free. 

2. May 16th is National Biographers Day. What's a biography you really enjoyed reading? Is this a genre you read regularly?
     One biography that I really enjoyed was "Bonhoeffer" by Eric Metaxas. It is the life of one of Christianity's greatest apologist, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was a Lutheran minister who lived during the rise of Nazi Germany. He opposed the Third Reich which cost him his life just weeks before the Nazis surrendered to the allies. It is a great read and I highly recommend it to you.

3. How important is keeping a clean house? Do you need to de-clutter your life?
     Keeping a clean house is more important to my beloved SWMBO than it is to me. To be honest, I do need to de-clutter my life...beginning with my office. Actually I need to continue in my office. I did begin to de-clutter a couple of months ago and I found a desk in there which is now usable again. I seem to recall that there is a second desk in my office. I need to find that one too...but I'm in no hurry.

4. You're the 8th dwarf. What's your name?
     My dwarf name would be "Joker." I do have a nice sense of humor.

5. What's surprised you the most about your life or life in general?
     I have been surprised by a number of things. One of them is I never thought that I would have a devout relationship with God. Growing up I thought that I would have been playing for the other team. However, by His grace I have come to know Him and love Him. 
     Another thing that surprises me is that I have a love filled marriage that poets write love poems about and that songwriters write love songs about. I did not know it then but I know it now that I hit the lottery when SWMBO said yes and married me. We will be celebrating 46 years of wedded bliss this July.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
     SWMBO and I have been blessed to be able to have bought two houses in our lifetime. We bought the house that SWMBO and I now share way back in May of 2000.
     We recently decided to refinance our mortgage so that we could access some of the equity and offload some debt and change from a variable interest rate to a fixed interest rate mortgage. 
     Going through the mortgage process is a long and tedious process. There is mounds of repetitive paperwork. When you think that you have everything to complete the process there always seems to be one more thing to get or do. It's always just one more thing.
     Well, I am happy to report that SWMBO and I closed on the refinance loan this afternoon. I think, I hope, that this is probably the last time we will have to go through this. Hallelujah!