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Wednesday, November 27, 2013


     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


     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


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 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


     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, 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.