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Wednesday, September 17, 2014


      First and foremost I want to wish Joyce, our beloved Queen of Queries, a wonderful birthday this week. Each week she comes up with a series of interesting questions that challenge both our thinking and our writing skills and sometimes exposes our lack in either one or both. So Happy Birthday your majesty! Now, the Hodgepodge!

1. I'm celebrating a birthday this week so a question relating to aging feels appropriate. Douglas MacArthur is quoted as saying, 'You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair." Would you agree? If not why not?
     I am a huge fan of General MacArthur. In my humble opinion he was the "Micahel Jordan" of warfare of his time. There were none better. Having said that, I have no idea what the general is talking about. Perhaps if I had more context I could fashion a coherent response. Therefore I neither agree nor disagree.

2. What remarkable feat, interesting piece of trivia, or historical event occurred on your birth day and month? Not necessarily in your birthyear, just the same date/same month.
     On April 17, 1934, the home of my beloved Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park, opened for the first time. The Red Sox hosted the Washington Senators...and lost. Since that date Fenway Park has become the oldest Major League stadium in the country. This year's Red Sox team has unfortunately carried on the tradition of that first day. I wonder how things would have been different over the years if they had won that first game. 

3. Describe a time or circumstance where you wanted to 'have your cake and eat it too.'
     I've got nothing! I really don't know.

4. What's something you do that makes you feel young? Something that makes you feel old?
     This question is so easy. Interestingly enough the answer to both parts of this question is the same...playing with my granddaughters.

5. When did you last do something that was 'a piece of cake'?
     Two weeks ago I had the privilege of delivering the sermon during our Sunday morning worship service. I preached a lesson from the Book of Ephesians. The Book of Epehesians is one of those books that essentially preaches itself. That was a piece of cake.
It went very well judging by the feedback I received after services.

6.  Beef, wine, and cheese all improve with age. What's something else you'd add to that list? (not necessarily food or beverage) 
     One thing that improves with age is marriage. I have been blessed to have found my soul mate. My beloved SWMBO has so enriched the quality of my life and it keeps getting better with each passing year. We still hold hands often. We love to sit together on the couch and cuddle while watching television. It has been so long since SWMBO had to open a door for herself that she may have forgotten how to do it. Marriage done right, the way it is intended to be done by it's inventor, improves with age.

7. If I were to have a giveaway when we hit Volume 200, what should I give away? By my calculations we'll hit Volume 200 on November 26th, the day before Thanksgiving, which means whoever wins would have whatever it is in time for Christmas.
     An all expenses paid trip to Hawaii comes to mind! Just kidding! A gift card to Barnes & Noble would seem to be an appropriate gift.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
     Every year around the third week in September men from the churches of Christ from around New England converge on Ganderbrook Christian Camp in Raymond, Maine, for the annual Men's Retreat. Each year a speaker is brought in to give a series of lessons on a given topic. Besides the excellent teaching, there is wonderful fellowship. I love speaking to men from around New England and beyond and hearing their "Jesus Stories." It is really encouraging to hear how God is working in the lives of His people. It's wonderful to hear stories of struggles overcome. It's fun to catch up with old friends about changes in their life, their family, and the church where they worship. It is one of the highlights of my year!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


     Yesterday was the primary for the upcoming mid term congressional election. There were also primaries for candidates for statewide offices. SWMBO and I were proud to exercise our franchise together.  Also today is Wednesday and therefore it is the Hodgepodge. Joyce has come up with another series of questions to challenge us. Enjoy!

1. On Thursday we pause to remember a dark day in history-9/11. Will you mark it in some special way?
     I generally watch a retrospective on the attacks with any new information that has been learned since the attacks. I pray for the families of those who lost their lives in the attacks, particularly those brave police and firemen who ran towards those burning buildings against the tide of humanity that was running away. I sit in quiet contemplation on how we have changed as a country, as a people since the infamous day in September 2001.

2. Do you ever/still...listen to an actual radio? Watch a videotape (VCR)? Look up a number in a phonebook? Refer to a paper map while traveling? Set an alarm on an alarm clock as opposed to your phone?
     Yes, I still listen to a radio. I set my clock radio alarm that's on my night stand. I still rely on paper maps because sometimes when you're travelling you get into these locations that have no cell service. A paper map never goes down. I haven't watched a videotape in a long time but we still have a VCR and videotapes. I haven't used a phone book in awhile but I still keep one around, just in case.

3.  Is it ever a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don't know?
     It depends upon how you conduct yourself. If you are overbearing or condescending then things will get ugly fast. However, if you're able to present your point of view without being demeaning to the stranger it should be perfectly fine. Also, if you see that the stranger is getting annoyed you can always back off and change the subject to something less controversial.

4. What's a dish you haven't eaten all summer, but come September find yourself craving? Have you made it yet this month?
     For me it's corn on the cob. I hope to get some before September goes into the history book.

5. What's something you know nothing about?
     I know a little about a lot of things. I know a lot about a few things. I know nothing about everything else. To be specific, I know nothing about particle physics.

6. September is Classical Music Month. Do you like classical music? If so, what's your favorite piece?
     I do like classical music. I do not have a favorite piece. When I listen to classical music I  hear a piece that I like but I don't know the identity of the piece.

7. What's the oldest thing you own?
     Several years ago I reconnected with an older female cousin. She was the daughter of my mothers sister. We saw each other fairly often growing up but we lost track of each other when we grew up. She gave me some photographs of relatives who lived two plus generations ago who she did not know and referred to them as "the Ancients." I don't know any of these people either but the photographs are really old...much older than I am. The people in the photographs are related to us somehow but we just don't know how. That has to be the oldest thing I own.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
     You know, despite our problems this is the greatest country on the planet. I am truly impressed with the wisdom, foresight and intelligence of our founding fathers. I am saddened by the cavalier attitude and the way many of my fellow citizens fail to participate in the system. We are a government of the people, by the people and for the people. However, many of the people don't care enough to participate.
     I have already mentioned that yesterday was primary election day in New Hampshire. The voter turn out was low, something on the order of twenty percent of the registered voters came out to vote. 
     Our government derives their just power to govern by the consent of the people governed. If only twenty percent is giving consent on behalf of the remaining 80 percent who could not care less, that's a problem and we get the government that we deserve and not the government that we need.
     This Nation only works if the people do their part. The people are not doing their part. May God help us!

Friday, September 5, 2014


     Here are some random thoughts on the passing scene. I hope that you find them thought provoking and entertaining.

MID-TERM ELECTIONS: Here in the Granite State the mid-term elections are in full swing. The local television station has been sponsoring and broadcasting debates between the candidates for the various offices. I think it's important that the candidates have a chance to defend their positions on various issues of the day. We will be electing two congressmen, a governor, state senators and state representatives.
     Sadly, the one constant in these debates that I have seen thus far is the attempt of the candidates to not answer the questions posed to them with any specificity. I wish just once a candidate would boldly and unequivocally answer truthfully and specifically what they will do if they are elected. They seem more intent on not offending anyone than in informing anyone. 
     There has got to be a better way to select our representatives.

MANAGING TERRORISTS: Unless you have been living in a cave, there is a group of jihadists who have declared war on the United States. You may recall that several years ago a then unknown group of jihadists call Al Quaeda declared war on the United States. We dismissed them as not being a credible threat to us. These people orchestrated the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
     Well, President Obama has said that he was trying to organize a coalition of nations in the region to deal with the current threat that he once referred to be a "Jayvee Team." They are called ISIS and have massacred Iraqi and Syrian troops who had the audacity to challenge them. These jihadists recently beheaded a couple of journalists to send a message to the American people. The president is putting together a team of his own which he hopes will degrade ISIS to the point where they are manageable. Mr. President, with all due respect, YOU CANNOT MANAGE FANATICS!
     Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden has said with great emotion that the United States would follow these jihadists to the gates of hell. He apparently didn't get the president's memo.
     A commentator asked how can we believe that they will chase these evil thugs to the gates of hell when they won't even go after them across the Iraqi border into Syria where they are headquartered and from where they stage their attacks in Iraq? Good Question!

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL: The National Football League kicked off their 2014/2015 season last night. The defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks pounded the Green Bay Packers in the season opener. What I find amusing is some of the talking heads on the sport talk shows are already predicting winners and losers. One game has been played and yet these prognosticators are predicting winners and losers. 

     Well, despite the fact that I have no expertise in these matters I predict that my beloved New England Patriots will be the 2014/2015 Super Bowl Champion. Remember, you heard it here first.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


     Well Labor Day has come and gone and that means that so has the Summer of 2014. However, apparently the Granite State did not get that memo because it was close to 90 degrees today with humidity in the mid to high 60% range. That's hot and sticky...very hot and very sticky. SWMBO is having a ball. She loves this type of weather and does not even have the common courtesy to "glow" just a little bit. Me, I'm "glowing" like a pig!
     Oh well, let's try and cool off by answering this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge questions. Thank you Joyce for this week's posers.

1.  What's something you wanted to do this summer that you never got around to actually doing?
     I would have liked to rent a cabin alongside a cool fresh mountain lake and spend a few days enjoying the beauty of lake living... Maybe next year.

2. Share a favorite memory of your own back -to-school days as a child.
     Favorite back-to-school memory? Really? You've got to be kidding! I hated to see the summer end. I always had lots of fun with my friends playing baseball, going fishing and playing all kinds of games throughout the summer. I lived just over a block from the Merrimack River where I had tons of adventures either by myself or with my group of friends. Favorite back-to-school memory? Sorry, not no way not now how!

3.  What's one chore or daily task you prefer doing 'old-school' ?
     There are no chores I liked doing...period! What part of "chores" do you not understand? If chores were enjoyable they wouldn't be called CHORES Just saying!

4.  Share something you've learned in life through the 'school of hard knocks'.
     Way back in 1971 I had a 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air with a small V-8 engine. Back in those days the distributor (That part of the engine that sent a spark to the cylinders to cause the gas to combust. Hence the name internal combustion engine.) had points which open and closed as the engine ran. Those points had to be gapped. Also there was a coil that sent about 15,000 volts through the gap to the cylinders. When you check the gap of the points it was important to make sure that the ignition with was in the "OFF" position. On one occasion the ignition switch was in the "ON' position. I proceeded to check the gap with a metal gauge designed for that purpose. I completed the circuit and received an electrical shock from the coil that caused my arm to go numb for about an hour. LESSON LEARNED! 
5.  As a child, did you mostly bring or buy your lunch for school? What was your favorite thing to find in your lunchbox?
     I usually brought my lunch and sometimes was given money to buy a carton of milk. I loved finding Hostess devil's food cup cakes with cream filling in my lunch bag. They made my day.

6. Football season is upon us which has me wondering... how big of a sports fan are you (not just football) ? On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being 'I scream at the players through my television screen' and 1 being 'is knitting a sport?' where do you fall in fandom? 
     I like football. I'm about a 7 N.E. Patriots football fan which means I sometimes yell at the TV. I also watch Boston Bruins ice hockey. I'm about a 9 hockey fan. Which means I yell at the TV and sometimes at SWMBO. Finally, I am a baseball fan. I'm about a 5 or 6 Boston Red Sox fan which means I sometimes read a book or surf the Internet during games.

7. Share a favorite quote you think might inspire students of all ages at the start of a new school year.
     "A man learns to skate by staggering about making a fool of himself: indeed, he progresses in all things by making a fool of himself." Bernard Shaw In addition to the quote I would encourage the student to try new things knowing that everybody struggles at first but the effort to learn is worth the risk of making a fool of yourself.

8. Insert your own Random Thought here.
     Are you a Bible reader? Do you regularly open that wonderful and miracle Book and expose yourself to the wisdom, the comfort, the warnings to be found therein. I am amazed at the number of times that God tells us in the Bible to "fear not!" He says that we need not fear because we are His and there is no reason to fear. 
     "The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases. HIS mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is HIS faithfulness. The LORD is my portion says my soul, therefore I will hope in HIM" (Lamentations 3:22-24) The Prophet Jeremiah prophesied some terrible things that were going to befall the Jewish people. And yet he proclaimed this truth found in Chapter 3, verses 22-24 of his Book of Lamentations. God's love for us NEVER stops. HIS mercies NEVER comes to and end. They are NEW every morning. 
     So when the Bible says to "Fear Not" you can believe it because it is true! May God bless you this week!