My Blog List

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

SNOWBOUND HODGEPODGE WEDNESDAY!


1. Do you believe in miracles?
      Miracles by definition are those events where the natural laws are suspended. A couple of examples from the Bible are Jesus changing water into wine at the wedding in Cana. (John 2:1-11) and the immediate and complete healing and restoration of a diseased hand.(Matthew 12:9-13) Miracles in the Bible were performed to confirm/verify that God was speaking through the person performing the Miracle.
     I do believe that God still is actively involved in the lives of people, however, I do not believe that Miracles still occur. It's not that I believe that God cannot perform miracles today it's just that I do not believe that he does perform miracles today. God's word is complete! God's Kingdom is established! There are many amazing things that occur in our lives that seem to be miraculous. There are some amazing occurrences that seem to be inconsistent with our understanding of science and with our experience. I believe that these things happen within the parameters of natural laws.

2. What's a recent fad you admit to trying?
     I am not given to participating in fads. I probably have done some of the things that were fads but none come to mind.

3. Peppermint-are you a fan? If so, what's your favorite food or beverage containing peppermint?
     I am a huge fan of peppermint. I love peppermint flavored milk shakes. My favorite flavor of chewing gum is peppermint. I like those peppermint starburst candies and chocolate covered peppermint patties. I am a fan!
4. Break the ice, on thin ice, as cold as ice (emotionally, not literally)...which phrase have you run into most recently? Explain.
     I spend a fair amount of time "on thin ice!" I tend to behave in an impish way which often gets me into dutch with my beloved SWMBO as well as other people in my life. Nothing malicious, mind you, just playfully naughty.

5. Have you ever broken or spilled something in someone else's home? Still friends?
     Accidents do happen! I cannot imagine me ending a friendship over someone breaking something or spilling something in my home. People are way more precious and valuable than "stuff." I do not know any of my friends who don't have similar values. If I break or damage something I try to make it right. When I cannot make it right, that's where grace comes in.

6.  'Tis the week before Christmas...are you feeling more like Buddy the Elf or the Grinch before his heart grew?
     I'm still in "Grinch" mode! Having said that, my heart is beginning to grow!

7. Share a favorite quote relating to Christmas.
     "Do not be afraid; for behold I bring you good news of great joy which will be for you and all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10. 11)

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
     Why do you observe the Christmas Holiday?  Some people observe the day simply because it is a "Federal Holiday" and therefore is a day off from work. 
     Other people celebrate the pagan traditions of the day, the Winter Solstice.
     The Christian celebrates the day because it is the day we celebrate the most important occurrence in all of human history. We celebrate the day that an Infinite, Almighty God entered into time and space and became humanly born. Ironically, no one knows the precise day that the Baby Jesus was born in that manger in Bethlehem. December 25th is the day that man has selected to commemorate that blessed event however.
     The angels announced to the shepherds "Do not be afraid." As an aside, I am struck by how many times in Scripture that God says "Do not be afraid!" or "Fear not!" So the angels try to calm the shepherd fear.
     Then the angels announced good news of great joy! In my life I have received good news of great joy. For example, when I learned of the healthy birth of my grandchildren and that mother and child were doing great, those were incidents of "good news of great joy."
     The news that the angels announced was the birth of our Savior, Christ the Lord. This news is the long awaited fulfillment of God's promise. It was the culmination of His plan to deal with man's "Sin Problem." It was the ultimate game changing news! For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son!
      For the Christian, we celebrate Christmas because it is the day that our liberation from the bondage of sin and death was at hand. So I say to one and all Merry Christmas! May God richly bless you, oh wait, He already has! Merry Christmas!  




Wednesday, December 11, 2013

WICKED FREEZING COLD HODGEPODGE!


     We have been snowed on, rained on and iced on. Now we have a polar air mass poised to drop us down into the deep freeze. BRRRRR! Whatever the weather the hodgepodge endures. Thank you Joyce for these questions. Don't just enjoy our thoughts. Participate in the Hodgepodge and share yours as well.

1. Are you doing anything special to mark this season of Advent? If so please share.
    I don't do anything specific to advent.

2. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen...and of course you recall, the most famous reindeer of all...so, which reindeer name best describes you this week? 
     I have no idea! I have never seen a beakdown in the character traits of the Santa's reindeer.

3. What's worse-too quiet or too loud? Which have you had more of lately?
     Too noisy is far worse. I have had more of "too noisy" with all the hub bub of Christmas shopping, holiday preparations, etc.

4. This question comes to you from Zoanna over at A Penchant for Pens-thanks Zo! 
     
When you are administratively gifted, how often do you find yourself not trusting less gifted people to do what they've committed to do?  If you are not so gifted that way, but are reliable, how do you feel when the stronger person (in that area) goes ahead and covers it before giving you a chance to come through? 
     If I ask someone to complete a task, I trust them to complete the task. I believe that it is disrespectful, inconsiderate and condescending to do myself that which I have asked another to complete. 
     If I was on the receiving end I would feel disrespected and angry. If you want me to do something and I agree to do it, then let me do it. If you are not going to let me do it, then don't ask me and just do it yourself.

5. What is your most dreaded task relating to the holidays? Your most looked forward to holiday task?
     My most dreaded task is Christmas shopping. My most looked forward to task is completing my Christmas shopping.

6. Facebook has released its list of the 'most talked about' topics of 2013. Pope Francis took the number one spot.  Does that surprise you? He was followed by election, royal baby, typhoon, and Harlem Shake. Your thoughts? What was your most talked about topic in 2013? (Facebook, around the kitchen table, or wherever it is you talk)
      My particular circle of friends have not talked about any of those things. We talked about  Obama-care and the lies that the administration told to get it passed. We also discuss the ever increasing number of government scandals that are being ignored by the main stream media and the electorate. We speak of the dysfunctional government and how it came to be this way and how to change it for the better. We also talk about the debasement of society, evidence by the "knock out" game and other such things.
     We also have spend a fair amount of time talking about "Cancer." You know why!
   
7. What's something you consider a necessity that others might view as a luxury?
     Our wood pellet stove. My mission in life is to try to keep SWMBO warm and toasty. That is a full time job. Our pellet stove gives me a better than average chance of meeting that goal.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
     This week the world lost Nelson Mandela. President Mandela was not a perfect man. He was a good man. The thing that impressed me most about the man is after being imprisoned for 27 years and after his release becoming president of his country did not use his new power to punish his enemies. He instead used the power of his office to bring the people of his nation together and not to further divide them.
     Our nation's leader could learn from Nelson Mandela's example. Our nation's leaders should do those things which benefit the nation rather than themselves, their particular political party or their narrow minded agendas. Our nation's leaders should do those things that unite, rather than divide, us.
     Rest in peace, Mr. President! God bless the people of South Africa during this time of mourning.



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

WEDNESDAY BAH-HUMBUG HODGEPODGE!


     The past weekend has brought out the most crass aspects of human nature. Shoppers trampled over barricades and people to enter stores and purchase "stuff" and anyone in their way be damned. That's one reason why I echo the words of Ebenezer Scrooge "Bah-humbug!" So pause from your Christmas shopping and other preparations and enjoy the Hodgepodge!

1. According to Oxford Dictionaries, the 2013 word of the year is 'selfie'. Your thoughts? When did you last take a selfie? Do you post them online somewhere?  Do you prefer to be in front of the camera or behind the lens?
      People have been photographing themselves for years. However, I don't care for the more salacious selfies that some people feel compelled to post on the various social media. I don't recall ever taking a selfie. I don't generally post such things on social media. I prefer to be behind the camera.
   
2. Will you send out Christmas cards this year? If so, are they ready to go? If not, are you glad or sad about leaving that tradition behind?
     SWMBO and I will be sending out Christmas cards this year. They are not ready to go but I'm confident that we will get them out on time.
3. Do you trust easily?
     I do not trust easily. Cynicism and distrust is an unfortunate side effect of my law enforcement career. When you live for many years in an environment where trusting the wrong person could result in your being seriously injured or killed, you become intensely circumspect in your dealings with people. It becomes difficult to act otherwise.

4. Pine-cinnamon-peppermint-vanilla (as in sugar cookie)...of those listed, which one is your favorite December scent?
     Peppermint-vanilla is my favorite around the Christmas holiday.

5. Did you do more talking or more listening yesterday? Was that by choice or necessity?
     I did more listening...I was with SWMBO! Just kidding! I did do more listening. I had some ministry tasks to perform Monday (which is yesterday as I write this) which required my listening carefully before speaking. I think I'm a pretty good listener. I think that as a general rule I listen more than I talk.  It's the "we have two ears and one mouth thing" which means that we ought to listen twice as much as we speak.

6. What's the last song that got stuck in your head? Sorry if it's back there now :  )
     Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger." It is a most persistent "earworm."

7. Which world explorer (in the whole history of the world) would you most like to have traveled with, and why? 
     Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, the crew of Apollo 11 which was the first mission to land on the lunar surface and return safely. It must have been spectacular!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
     Christmas is the Holiday where Christians celebrate an infinite almighty God becoming human through His birth on that cold night in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. It is the celebration that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. Jesus lived on this earth for about 33 years being totally human and at the same time totally God. Because of what Jesus accomplished while He was on earth all mankind has an opportunity to spend eternity with a loving, merciful and extraordianry Holy God. It's up to all of us to choose where we get to spend eternity. Think of the immensity and the ramifictions of that choice for a moment.
     When I look around and see the avarice, materialism, and vulgar displays of the more crass aspects of human nature supposedly in celebration of the holiday, I am stunned and saddened.
      I don't mean to imply that it is all bad, however. I am encouraged and uplifted when I read or see stories that report people expending a large amount of effort and resources where the less fortunate are being clothed, given warmth, being housed and being fed in the TRUE spirit of the Holiday. I want to believe that these people of good will are the rule rather than the exception. 
     I pray God's blessing on all of you!



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

TURKEY DAY HODGEPODGE!


     This week many Americans will pause from their labors and reflect on the blessings that have come their way during their lives. Today, we pause from our labors to answer another series of questions that our friend Joyce has come up with. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday and I hope you enjoy the weekly Hodgepodge.

1. Are you settling for something?
     I imagine that we all settle at some time or the other. No one ever gets everything that they want. They are fortunate if they get everything that they need. So I am certain that I too have had to settle for something, however, I am at a loss to tell you what that might be. I happen to be content with my life. I have all that I need and a few things that I want. I'm good!

2.  It wasn't that long ago almost every store in the US locked doors and turned out lights on Thanksgiving Day. This year many will be open all day Thursday, giving shoppers a jump start on 'Black Friday'. In your opinion is this a good thing or a not so good thing? Will you be shopping on Thanksgiving Day?
     I think that it is a "not so good" thing. It's another example where "over-commercialism" has taken away from the solemnity of the holiday, not unlike what has happened to Christmas. Indeed, the rampant commercialism of the two holiday are closely related. I mean, most people shop on the Friday following Thanksgiving mostly for Christmas gifts, right?  In my humble opinion it has been a detriment to our society.
     I will not be shopping on "Black Friday," much less on Thanksgiving Day!

3. Speaking of shopping... I saw a recent article on the twelve best shopping cities in the world. In order they are-

New York, Tokyo, London, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Dubai, Madrid, Milan, and Seoul. 

Ever shopped in any of the cities listed? In which city would you most like to pull out the plastic or cold hard cash?
     I have never shopped in the listed cities. Although I would like to visit many of the listed cities, I really have no desire to shop in them. I'm more intrigued with their historical significance.

4.  When did you last dine by candlelight?
     I believe that it was on our last wedding anniversary. We went to a "fine dining" restaurant and dined by candlelight. One of my greatest joys is going out to eat with SWMBO and enjoying a good meal and fine conversation.
     Although, we did eat by kerosene lamplight during our last extended power outage. That had a nice ambience!

5. What do you have too much of?
     I have way to much body mass and weight! I have too many books I want to read! I have too many tasks and projects not yet begun, much less completed. 

6. The Hunger Games...are you a fan?  Did you read the book(s)?  Will you/have you seen the movie?  Will you/have you seen Catching Fire?  No spoilers please!
     I not read the books or seen the movies. I might watch the movies when they come to TV. They don't really appeal to my interests.

7. Share your plans for Thanksgiving Day. The who, the where, the what...especially the what! As in what's for dinner?  If you're one of my International visitors, whose homeland doesn't celebrate American Thanksgiving (the whole world doesn't ya know!), then still tell us your plans for Thursday. 
     SWMBO and I will be hosting our daughter, son in law, and their two girls for a late breakfast/ early brunch thing in the morning. We will have a turkey breast, meat stuffing, vegetables, and dessert (Pumpkin and/or Pecan Pie) in the late afternoon/early evening.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
     As this is Thanksgiving week, allow me to share some of the things in life for which I am thankful. First and foremost I am profoundly thankful for my beloved SWMBO. I am thankful for the love and devotion that she had given me for over 41 years. 
     As many of you know, SWMBO has cancer. Today we found out that she is in REMISSION! I am thankful that we live in a country where the state of the medical arts have reached a level where formerly deadly diseases have become significantly less so.
     I am thankful that we live in a country where we are free to speak our minds, live where we want, worship God and practice religion as we see fit, and do what we want to earn our daily bread without having to obtain permission from anyone. 
     I am thankful for my family, my friends, and my church fellowship. 
     I am abundantly blessed and profoundly thankful to God for His lovingkindness and lavish providence. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

CONSPIRATORIAL HODGEPODGE WEDNESDAY!




     It's been fifty years, half a century, since President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Do you remember where you were at that moment? Were you alive when "Camelot" came to a violent end? I was in the second grade at Ste. Jeanne d'Arc Elementary School. I remember the nuns were all crying and trying to console each other.  
     Since that fateful day a number of conspiracy theories were put forth by various people. What do you believe about that event? Was it a conspiracy or was it the nonsensical action of a lunatic mind? Well, on to the questions for this Wednesday. Thank you Joyce!

1. What lesson has failure taught you?


      The lesson that I have learned from failure is that failure is not a fatal. No matter how bad you may screw things up, you can always begin anew, hopefully applying the lesson(s) learned from your most recent failure. I say "most recent" failure because there is a proverb that teaches "There is little wisdom in the second kick of the mule!"

2. What decision are you glad you made?

      There are several, but so I don't bore you too much, I'll mention only three. First, I'm glad that I had the good sense to believe and respond to the Gospel and be baptized unto salvation. Second, I am so glad that I decided to marry SWMBO over 41 years ago. These were the two best decisions I have ever made in my life. The third decision was my decision to retire when I did. As it turns out, the timing has played out to have been just right.

3. I've been a little bit surprised to see fully lit and decorated Christmas trees popping up for the past several weeks in friend's Instagram feeds. So tell the truth-is your tree up and decorated, and if so when did that happen? If not, when will you be decking the halls?


     Whereas I am the founder of the E.S.A.S. (Ebenezer Scrooge Admiration Society) there is no way, no how, that we "deck the halls" until after Thanksgiving Day. My rule is two weeks before Christmas. However, that rule is subject to change upon a further ruling from the management, AKA SWMBO! 

4. Solitaire-Poker-Rummy-Hearts-Go Fish-Old Maid...which game of cards would you most like to join?

     If I have to pick one, I choose Rummy, Gin Rummy. Hearts is fun, too!

5. This question comes to you courtesy of a Facebook friend, who once upon a time had a blog...When you're feeling stressed do you snack a lot or are you more the 'can't eat' type? 

     I wish I was the "Can't eat type." I tend to be an emotional eater. I eat when I'm sad! I eat when I'm happy. I just like to eat!

6.  Have you ever reviewed a product or service on line? Was your review favorable or less than favorable? 
     I once reviewed a lawnmower that I bought and that died that same year. Warranty, Smarranty! It was negative!

7. What was the best conversation you had yesterday?

     The best conversation I had yesterday was with God. I am studying the book of Isaiah and as is my practice I spend some time in prayer at some point during my study time. Yesterday's prayer time turned out to be special, for reasons I won't go into.
     Disclaimer: I write a fair amount about my faith and devotion to God. Please understand that I am still trying very hard to walk the talk. It may seem from my writings that I feel that I have arrived, that I have got this "Christian thing" down pat. I assure you that I do not! There is a cliche that Christians sometimes say "I'm not perfect, I'm just forgiven!" In my case it happens to be true.


8.  Insert your own random thought here.


     I have recently completed reading the book "Killing Kennedy" by Bill O'Reilly. It is a very well written book, a real page turner. I have never bought in to the conspiracy theories about the assassination of President Kennedy. I have always believed that Oswald acted alone. I believe that today, more than ever. I have never found any compelling evidence that there was a conspiracy. I suppose that a conspiracy is plausible, there just isn't any competent evidence to establish that a conspiracy ever existed. 





Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A BELATED VETERAN'S DAY HODGEPODGE!



1. Describe a typical Sunday from your childhood.
     Sundays were all about family when I was a child. We'd go to Sunday Mass. Afterwards we would have a huge Sunday dinner. In the afternoon the aunts and uncles would stop by and they would sit around playing cards, sipping wine and talking about life, the latest gossip, etc.
     Sometimes we would play "Pokeno" with M&M's as tokens.  Pokeno is like BINGO, only instead of numbers on the cards there were images of playing cards. Instead of ping pong balls with numbers painted on them, a simple deck of cards was used. It was a lot of fun.

2. How comfortable are you with uncertainty? Explain.
     It depends on the context. I mean, I am uncertain when I will shake off my mortal coil and I'm perfectly comfortable with that particular uncertainty. However if a loved one is undergoing major surgery, I am not comfortable with the uncertainty of that, at all. 
     So depending on the context, I may be comfortable...or not.

3. What have you accomplished recently that might be described as crafty, as in 'arts and crafts' crafty?  If crafty doesn't work for you, how about handy? Or both?
     I have got nothing!

4. Have you ever worked in a 'food place'? What did you take away from the experience?
     In my youth I worked at the Bradford House Restaurant. It was one of those diners inside a W.T. Grant department store. I started out as a busboy/dishwasher and progressed to the position of short order cook. 
     I took away the lesson that earning an honest buck is difficult. I learned that people in the food service industry work very hard and are very much underpaid for the amount of work that they do.  

5. Cold turkey, talk turkey, what a turkey...in recent days, which turkey phrase or idiom best applies to you and why? Click on the word turkey if you need to read more about the meaning behind each phrase. 
      "What a Turkey" is probably the one that applies to me the most. Due to my jocular nature I have a tendency to not take too much too seriously. I like to jokingly mock many things like marriage, friendship and work, to name a few. I often hear "Ugh" in response to my humor!

6. If you could have any one guest join your Thanksgiving dinner table, who would it be?
     I assume you mean people who are currently alive. Several names come to mind. One is the Reverend Billy Graham - It would be exciting to listen to the experiences he's had, particularly with all the world leaders he has met and all the places that he held a crusade. Another would be former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld- For much the same reason. I'd love to hear his recollections of his many years of government service, to get a glimpse behind the curtain, so to speak.

7. What is one thing you must accomplish today?   
     I must attend mid-week Bible class tonight at 7:00 p.m.  Also, I promised SWMBO that I would clean the fish tank.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
      In every generation since our founding our citizens have been called upon to bear arms in defense of our Nation. My generation's call to arms was for the Vietnam War. That was a time of great social upheaval. Also, that was a time when young men were drafted into military service. It was done on a lottery system. 
     Many soldiers who served in Vietnam did not have the choice. They were drafted, conscripted by the force of law. They served, by force of law. When they returned from the war front, they were scorned and spat upon. They were blamed for the horrors that they were subjected to and were held in contempt.
     Anyone who serves in the armed forces of the United States, especially if it is during a time of war, deserve to be honored and treated with respect, irrespective of your opinion of that particular war. 
     So I thank all my fellow veterans for their service to the most wonderful nation on the face of the earth. May God bless them in some special way!  




Wednesday, November 6, 2013

NO PARTICULAR REASON HODGEPODGE!


     Joyce has come up with some real doozies this week. I don't know how she does it, but I am glad that she does. It's a lot of fun to answer these weekly posers and give my readers a glimpse behind the curtain. Thank you, Joyce!

1. My sister is celebrating a birthday today. Happy Birthday little sis! What's one way you're like your siblings?  If you don't have siblings how are you like your lifelong best friend or cousin?

     One thing I share with my brother is the joy of singing. I love to sing, notwithstanding the fact that I'm not very good at it. We also share an affinity for eating out at restaurants with family and friends.

2.  What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of yourself at age eighteen?

     Ignorant! I did not know nearly as much as I thought I did. Over the ensuing years I have learned how much I did not know way back then. By the grace of God, and only by the grace of God, I am still alive, I am still happily married and I am still learning.

3. Sculptor-actor-painter-dancer...if you could excel in one of these arts, which would you choose and why?
   
     I think I would choose "Actor." An actor uses words as well as actions to tell a story. I am amazed at the power that carefully chosen words have to evoke a wide range of emotions. I enjoy crafting ideas with words and view acting as just another venue to do the same.

4. What's a scent that takes you back in time, and where does it take you?
   
     Cabbage boiling on a stove. The smell of cabbage is a mild form of the smell that a paper mill emits. My family used to periodically drive to Trois Rivieres (Three Rivers), Quebec, Canada, to visit with my father's older brother. On the way we drove through the town of Windsor, Quebec. There is a paper mill in Windsor that abuts the roadway and every time we drove by it we closed the windows, no matter how hot it was, to try and keep the smell out. It never worked, but it's the thought that counts...yeah right! The smell was really potent!

5. November is for Peanut Butter Lovers (National Peanut Butter Lovers Month).  Are you a lover or a hater?  What's your favorite dish/recipe that calls for peanut butter? 

     I am definitely a peanut butter lover. My favorite peanut butter is Skippy Extra Chunky. My favorite recipe is what we in the northeast call a "Fluffernutter." It is peanut butter and marshmallow fluff between two slices of bread. Yummm! I also love peanut butter cups, Reese's of course.

6. What do people thank you personally for most often?

     I really don't know. SWMBO sometimes thanks me for loving her and for being there for her. Sometimes people will thank me for "really" listening to them and for my counsel, especially if what I advise them to do works out for them. I like to think that I'm kind and compassionate and I am sometimes thanked for "really" caring.

7. What event this year are you most thankful for?

     There are two, SWMBO's birthday and our wedding anniversary. I have come to cherish and appreciate them more now then when we first became "us" for reasons most of you know, or at least can guess.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

     I have attended many funerals during my life time. I really dislike going to funerals for many reasons. That being said, I am often struck by the kind things that people say about the dearly departed after they have passed. I find myself wanting to ask if they told the dearly departed those kind words while they were alive. In some cases I think that I know the answer to that question...probably not!
     I try to make it a point to tell the people in my life how much I appreciate them for who they are and for being in my life. I try to tell them the kind, heart-felt things that I am sure to share with their loved ones in the event, may God forbid, I attend their funeral. 
     So, I encourage all of you to let the people in your life know how much you love and appreciate them...now, while they can still hear you! 
     I am profoundly grateful for so many people that it is my privilege to have in my life and whose life of which I am a part.




Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A SPOOKY GHOSTLY HODGEPODGE!


1. What's something you're dealing with that might be described as tricky?
     I find it tricky balancing serving the church as an Elder and meeting the needs of my beloved SWMBO. Of course, SWMBO comes first and I am confident that meeting my responsibilities to her is what God would have me do. It is tricky, all the same, maintaining the right balance between the two.

2.  What's your treat of choice?
     I love anything with coconut in it. My personal favorite, though, are Jordan Almonds.

3. Did you/will you carve a jack-o-lantern this month? Which real (living or dead) or fictional 'Jack' would you most like to meet in person? Why?
     I will not be carving a Jack-O-Lantern this year. I can't remember the last time I did. The "Jack" who I would like to meet is C.S. Lewis. I know! I know! Where do I get "Jack" from Clive Staples Lewis? It so happens that C.S. Lewis called himself "Jack," as did his friends and family. The reason why I'd love to meet C.S. Lewis is to talk to him about his journey from renowned athiest scholar to renowned christian scholar. 

4.  In your opinion, what's the grossest sounding word in the English language?
     My word is "EVISCERATE" for all the graphic and gruesome images that it conjurs up.

5. When did your heart last skip a beat?
     The last time my heart skipped a beat was when the doctor informed SWMBO and me that she had cancer. I would not wish this on my worse enemy, much less upon the person who I love the most of everyone sharing the ride on this big, blue marble as it hurles through space on it's appointed orbit!

6. Monster Mash by Bobby 'Boris' Picket, Michael Jackson's Thriller, Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon, or Ray Parker Jr.'s Ghostbusters...your favorite 'scary' tune?
     The scariest song for me is the the theme from the movie "The Exorcist." The name of that song is "Tubular Bells." Out of the songs listed above in the question, I would have to say that my favorite is "Monster Mash."

7.   It was a dark and stormy night when______________________________.
     ...all of a sudden a scream rang out, adding to the tumult of the violent storm. I stubbed my big toe on the bed frame while I was trying to come to bed without waking my sleeping spouse. That plan was now moot as my wife joined me in my screaming, me from the pain in my foot and she from fright from my scream!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
     In the iconic words of Gomer Pyle, USMC, "SURPRISE ! SURPRISE! SURPRISE! I am shocked, as I'm sure most of you are, that the president was apparently being disengenuous when he repeatedly assured the American people that if they liked their health insurance plan, they would be able to keep it...period! If they liked their doctor, they would be able to keep seeing him...Period! 
     It now turns out, based upon IRS and other government documents, that the president and government officials knew back in 2010, before the president gave his assurances, that many people would end up losing their health insurance due to the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. 
     President Obama lied...period! His administration officials continue to obfuscate and stonewall the legitimate inquiries of the U.S. Congress. Benghazi! IRS Scandal! Fast and Furious! NSA Spying Scandal! President Obama and his administration have lied, and continue to lie, to the American people...period!
     I believe that the American people will not let these outrages stand.  I urge all Americans to peacefully use their legitimate power to hold their government accountable. Call your representatives in Congress! Exercise your vote in the upcoming mid-term elections!  May God help us!   



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

FIRE UP THE PELLET STOVE HODGEPODGE!


     The temperatures in New Hampshire are definitely on a downward trend. We are gearing up for the winter that is inevitably C O L D! So I will be cleaning the wood pellet stove so that we can fire it up to heat the house. 
     What has that go to do with the Hodgepodge? Absolutely nothing! Thank you Joyce for another bunch of questions! Enjoy!

1. When it comes to good manners, what two top your list of most important?
     Saying "Please/Thank You" and "Excuse Me." It seems that people today have not been taught the basic common courtesies that govern interpersonal contact. Saying "Please" and "Thank You" are pretty self explanatory. 
     "Excuse Me," however, seems to me to be not as clear. "Excuse Me" is used as an apology or a polite request. One of the things I dislike about the Christmas Season is shopping. The reason is that I dislike being pushed and jostled by others who seem to be on a life or death mission to complete their shopping and the rest of us who have the temerity to be shopping at the same time might just as well be damned.
     I was taught as a young boy that when you walked in front of someone, you say "Excuse Me." Should you unintentionally bump into someone you say "Excuse Me." Another situation occurs often in the grocery store. When you try to navigate down an aisle and it is blocked by other shoppers you say "excuse me." This politely asks for your right of passage.  When you are driving and you need to change lanes, the use of your directional signal is a kind of saying "excuse me."
     A little more common courtesy would make life a little less annoying.
2. Let's open a proverbial can of worms...Common Core.  Are you familiar with the term (talking education reform in the USA)?  If so, care to share your thoughts? In your opinion, what is one of the biggest issues schools (in your home country) face today?
     I do not believe that the federal government should be involved in Education...period! I believe that public education is the sole province of the individual states. Therefore, I don't think it is proper for the federal government to come up with one standard for the whole country. This country is diverse. People have different priorities and needs from one part of the country to the next. A "one size fits all" approach just does not work and is not right. This is as true  for President Obama's "Common Core" as it was true for President Bush's "No Child Left Behind." 
     The biggest problem in education, as I see it, is that we do not "educate" children, we "indoctrinate" children. We need to get back to educating...teaching children how to read, write and do mathematics. We need to so prepare our students so that they are able access the opportunities that exist in contemporary America.

3. Name a celebrity whose fashion sense you admire and share why.
     Fashion? Really? I have too much testosterone to care about fashion. Give me sufficient clothes to dress appropriately for my circumstances. I never have been concerned with who wears what or who designed it.

4. How are you affected by the changing seasons?
     Personally, as the temperatures become colder, my joints become somewhat more painful. Another change is I focus more on warmth. My mission in life is to keep SWMBO warm and toasty. The house is warmed to the extent that she is comfortable...I am in shorts and a tee shirt,  but she's comfortable. It's a wonder I don't catch pneumonia!

5. Scariest book you've ever read?
     The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. A lot more scary that the movie.

6. What time of day are you most hungry? What's your go-to snack?
     I am most hungry when I'm awake!  Seriously, it usually is in the evening while watching TV. My go-to-snack is peanut butter crackers or sugar free jello & whipped cream.

7. Do you lean more towards being too needy or too independent? Which do you find harder to deal with in others?
     I tend to be more independent, sometimes to my own detriment. I strongly believe that a man "Stands Up!" A man carries his own water and lives his life without becoming a burden to others. 
     I find it more difficult to deal with people who are too needy, for a variety of reasons.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
     If you have been keeping up with the news, it seems that a Ruger, semiautomatic pistol hid itself in a backpack, left it's home and went to a school in Nevada, attached itself to the hand of a troubled young man and shot two children and a teacher who tried to intervene to prevent further mayhem. Of course, I'm being absurd to make a point.
     The cause of these gut wrenching incidents is the existence of evil and/or mental illness, not the existence of guns. There has never once been an instance where a gun committed any violence or mayhem without human involvement.
     We have many damaged people who walk among us. Society needs to do a much better job of identifying these people and protecting the rest of us from those who would seek to do us harm. Correctly identifying the problem is the first step in effectively finding a solution to that problem. GUNS ARE NOT THE PROBLEM...MENTALLY DEFECTIVE PEOPLE WITH GUNS IS THE PROBLEM! 
  




Wednesday, October 16, 2013

HEY MIKE! MIKE! MIKE! GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS? HODGEPODGE



     Some people find the GEICO camel "Hump Day" commercial annoying. As for me, I laugh every time I see it.  Another thing I enjoy whenever I see them are the weekly Hodgepodge questions. Thank you Joyce!

1. What was your biggest worry five years ago?  Is it still a worry?



     Retirement! As humans we all have the RC factor, that is the Resistance to Change factor. I approached retirement with great trepidation. Now that I am retired, I find that my worries were without basis or foundation in fact. Five years ago it was hard to believe that there would be life after retirement. I have found to my great relief that there is, in fact, life after retirement...and a pretty decent one at that!

2. Yesterday (October 15th) was National Grouch Day...what makes you grouchy? What cheers you up when you're feeling grouchy?



     If you were to ask SWMBO "Do you wake up grouchy in the morning?" She would answer "No...I usually let him sleep!" I am not a morning person...never have been, never will be! Having to wake up early in the morning makes me grouchy. Breakfast with my beloved SWMBO at one of our favorite restaurants cheers me up! Absent that, a good cup of coffee usually does the trick.

3.  In one word, how does it feel to be photographed?


     Awkward! I don't like being the center of attention.



4. Besides your parents, who would you say had the greatest influence on you in choosing your life path?  Explain.

     Indirectly, it was my Dad. I know the question asks for someone besides parents but Dad had the greatest influence choosing my life path. As we grew up my Dad instilled in both of his sons that we had an obligation to serve our country, preferably in the military. My brother and I both enlisted in the U.S Air Force. At the time I enlisted, the Air Force was short of cooks and cops. I chose to be a cop. When I went to Tech School I had an epiphany. I fell in love with the U.S. Constitution and the idea that we were a nation of laws, not of men. I became convinced that law enforcement was a noble profession. I spent the rest of my life pursuing a career in law enforcement and never looked back.

5. The crisp days of autumn are here ...what's something you like to eat, but only if it's crisp?
     Pork Rinds! Tortilla Chips and Salsa (Medium Hot) ! Potato Chips!

6. What's the most useless object you own?



     My Razor! Since I grew a beard last fall, I have not picked up my razor!

7.  Share a favorite fall memory.



     When I was a child, people in my neighborhood would rake leave into small piles and burn them. The aroma throughout the neighborhood was heavenly. Another favorite memory was raking leaves into a huge pile and diving into it, covering ourselves completely. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.



       Are the members of the Tea Party really "anarchists?" Do they really want to abolish all government? Everything that I have read or seen on television tells me that the Tea Party are not anarchists. They do not advocate the abolition of all government.  
     What they do advocate is that the government abide by the restraints of power put on it by the U.S. Constitution. They further believe that our current government has grown too large and too intrusive into our lives. They further believe that the government spends too much and taxes too much. 
        If that makes them, as Senator Harry Reid refers to them, Tea Party Anarchists, then I too am a Tea Party Anarchist and coincidentally, so were our founding fathers! I think I'm in some pretty good company! They warned in their writings that the natural inclination of government was to grow more powerful and that government had to be restrained.  That is the genius of our Constitution. MAY GOD HELP US!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

HEATING SYSTEM PREPARATION HODGEPODGE!


     This is the time of year when we get our furnaces, pellet/wood stoves and other heating equipment ready for the heating season that will soon be upon us. Seeing that it is Wednesday, the Hodgepodge is upon us. Joyce has done it again! She has come up with a series of posers that are thought provoking and fun to answer. I encourage you to participate and answer the questions yourself. Also, let me encourage you to visit Joyce's blog "From This Side of the Pond." You'll be glad that you did.

1. The USA will mark Columbus Day this year on Monday, October 14th. What's something you need or want to explore (literally or metaphorically speaking)?


     My dream expedition would be to load SWMBO and our fur babies into an RV and travel the breadth of this great land. I would love to explore as many National Parks as possible, beginning with Arcadia National Park in Maine to Yosemite National Park in California. Ours is a magnificently beautiful country and most Americans do not get to see very much of it other than on TV or in movies. 

2. The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz, Ursula from The Little Mermaid, or Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty...who do you most love to hate?


     Generally I don't waste emotional energy by hating fictional characters. I hate evil in all of its forms. However, to directly answer the question posed, I choose the Wicked Witch of the West. She frightened me the most as a child.

3. Is open-mindedness a virtue?


     I believe that having an open mind is a virtue. If we closed our minds to new ideas we would never learn anything new. I believe that we should develop critical thinking skills to the extent that those with higher intellect and better rhetorical skills are not able to take advantage of our open minds. Our minds should not be so open that our brains fall out.
     On a spiritual note, before one can listen to, evaluate and obey the Gospel, their minds must be open to the prospect of a living, loving, almighty God and the salvation that He freely offers before they are able to respond to Him.

4. How often do you weigh yourself?
     I do weigh myself very rarely. I generally gauge my weight loss by how my clothes fit, by how tight or loose they are.

5. This question comes to you courtesy of Rebecca over at Making Memories, so thanks Rebecca! 

Costa Rica was recently named the happiest country in the world on the Happy Planet Index. What's the happiest country in the world to you, and what makes it so?

     I choose the United States of America. Our nation has observed in its Declaration of Independence that we are endowed by our Creator with the inalienable rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. We further sought to preserve these blessings of liberty in our Constitution. This nation is the envy of the entire world. Consider the hardships people are willing to endure to make it to our shores or across our borders. They are not emigrating to Costa Rica.

6. Besides The Bible, what is one book you think should be mandatory reading for high school students? Why?

     My choice is "The Book of Virtues" by Bill Bennett, the former Secretary of Education. Dr. Bennett has listed a number of virtuous character traits and has cited examples from the Bible, history and literature of good and bad examples thereof. I believe that students would be well served by reading and learning many of the teachings of this well researched and well written book. Adults would benefit also!

7. I went shopping at some nearby outlets last week, and while I was there, I picked up a couple of Christmas gifts. How about you? Have you started your holiday shopping yet?


     No Way Jose' ! Being a founding member of the E.S.A.S. (Ebenezer Scrooge Admiration Society) I believe that this constant barrage of commercialism that now begins before Halloween and continues well into the new year defiles the true meaning of Christmas. I choose not to participate or contribute to this vulgarity. Let me emphasize that this is my personal view and is not meant to cast any aspersions on anyone who may hold a different view, particularly my beloved SWMBO who is the quintessential Noel-ophile (Lover of All Things Christmas).

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
     My inclination is to vent my spleen regarding the current situation vis a vis the government shutdown. However, I am trying to keep my blood pressure down to safe limits so I will not. 
     Yesterday, I attended a funeral wake for the wife of one of my former part-time officers. His wife was diagnosed about a year ago with advanced lung cancer. Although she put up a valiant fight, she lost her battle with this insidiously awful disease and passed away last Friday. 
     This woman is well loved by the many people she had interacted with during her brief time on earth, judging by the turn out at the funeral home. She is one of those people of whom you never hear anything negative about. By all accounts she is a wonderful wife, a terrific mother and a great friend. My heart and prayers go out to her husband, her two adult children and her granddaughter as well as her other family members.
     This woman enriched and made a positive difference in the lives of those who were privileged to know her. None of us have a guarantee of a tomorrow. Let me encourage all of you, while you are still here, enrich and make a positive difference in the lives that you are privileged to be a part of. 
     May she rest in peace!
 

Friday, October 4, 2013

TEA PARTY ANARCHIST? REALLY?


    Have you been listening to the tenor of the commentary coming out of Washington D.C.? The very same people who complain about the lack of civility in the public discourse are using decidedly uncivil language to characterize the motives and positions of republican lawmakers who have a different opinion than theirs.

     According to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, there are "Tea Party Anarchists" who are controlling the republican party and who are preventing moderate and reasonable republicans from voting to end the government shutdown.


     I have a couple of questions for the Senate Majority Leader. First, when did any member of the Tea Party ever advocate the abolition of the United States government, or for that matter any government? An anarchist, by definition, is a person who wants to abolish ALL government.
     The Tea Party, as I understand them, believe that our current government is too big, too invasive in the private lives of citizens and has exceeded their authority under the U.S. Constitution. The Tea Party advocate for the government living within the constraints of the Constitution. The Tea Party advocates for a reduction in the size of government. The Tea Party advocates for a reduction in government spending.

     There are many citizens, democrat, republican and independents alike, who agree with those ideas. Does that make them all "Anarchists?"

     Second, if the Senate Majority Leader wants to end the government slowdown, (It really isn't closed because the "essential" functions of government are still being done.) why doesn't he allow a vote on the appropriation bills that have been duly passed by the House of Representatives and sent to the Senate? He can pass the Continuing Resolution that funds the entire government for six months and then negotiate with the House on funding the American Care Act, AKA, Obamacare, and increasing the nation's debt limit.

     Personally, I say a pox upon both their houses. This country is in dire need of adult leadership. There are serious issues that need to be addressed by serious, mature grown ups.


    The kabuki theater that is Washington D.C. needs to end...NOW! We do not need to agree with each other, but we do need to talk to each other.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

WELCOME TO OCTOBER HODGEPODGE!


     Today is Hodgepodge Wednesday. I don't know how Joyce does it, but she comes up with challenging questions every single week! This week is no different. Thank you Joyce for your hard work and for the fun that is the Hodgepodge!

1. What's one thing you learned in September?


       The Old Testament Book of Isaiah is a challenging book to learn autodidactically(self taught). It requires in depth knowledge of other Old Testament Books to understand the references in the Book of Isaiah. What I learned, to my chagrin, is that I do not possess such a depth of knowledge.
    

2. Acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, yellow squash, zucchini squash, or blech! hold the squash... what's your favorite squash? What's your favorite way to prepare your favorite squash?

   SWMBO and I love spaghetti squash. We also enjoy zucchini squash in pasta dishes. 

3. The older I get the_______________________________.
     ...more I learn that I don't know! A wise man once observed that you cannot learn what you don't know, if you don't know what you don't know!  The older I get, the more I learn what I don't know.

4. What's your favorite television theme song ever?


   The theme from "The Greatest American Hero." It was a sort of campy super hero sitcom but for some reason it appealed to me.

5. What do you wish you'd spent more time doing five years ago?
        Studying the Old Testament Kings. (See #1 above)

6. What item do you most need (or want) to add to your wardrobe this fall?
        A sportcoat.

7. On October 2, 1950 the Peanuts cartoon was introduced to the world. What was your favorite cartoon when you were a kid?

   The Amazing Spiderman! The Beatles cartoon was pretty cool too!  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.


   We live in troubling times! In this small state of NH, two people are dead by means gunshot wounds on the same day. 
   One was shot by State Police after a vehicle chase. The driver, a woman, apparently tried using their vehicle to run over the Trooper.
   The other was an estranged boyfriend who got into an argument with his ex-girlfriend. She called police. Police arrived and while investigating was shot at by the boyfriend. Police returned fire and withdrew. After a standoff lasting several hours the boyfriend was found dead from a gunshot wound. The unresolved question is whether it was self inflicted or as a result of the earlier gunfire exchange with police?
   In New York City a man and his family was set upon by a bunch of bikers. He was beaten unconscious after being chased down after he drove over one of the bikers to apparently escape to safety with his family after being surrounded by the bikers.
   We live in troubling times! May God help us!