Monday, August 30, 2004

Quote for 8/30/04

"Where words fail, music speaks."
Hans Christian Andersen

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Come play with me

I have too much fun at work! How many of you can honestly say that?
It all started as a simple question "Grape or cherry?" J2D asked.
"Grape!" was my immediate reply.
She then asked, "If it had been bubble gum or cherry?"
"Cherry!" was my unflinching response. And from here the game began.
It was a simple matter of "Word Association", a pair of choices, and our immediate answers. We had played this game once before, with a little less enthusiasm. So, today it occupied our time for most of the day, even after the game 'officially-unofficially' ended. The pairs just sorta rambled off throughout the remainder of the day. Care to play with us? Here are some of the pairs we pondered over... (I'll post our replies later)
GM or Ford
car or truck
(car) sport or sedan
(truck) pick-up or SUV
highway or off-road
(ice cream) chocolate or vanilla
(cones) sugar or waffle
waffles or pancakes
waffles or french toast
pancakes or french toast
syrup or powdered sugar
bagels or donuts
milkshake or smoothie
Blizzard or sundae
Wendy's or Burger King
wings or ribs
wings or tenders
hot sauce or BBQ sauce
surf or turf
steak or roast
lobster tail or crab legs
prime rib or rack of rib
(pizza) thick crust or thin crust
pepperoni or extra cheese
meat or veggie
coke or pepsi
can or bottle
sprite or sierra mist
Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse
Daffy or Donald
Friday night or Saturday night
primary colors or secondary
Christmas or Easter
Memorial Day or Labor Day
Halloween or Thanksgiving
ham or turkey
mashed potatoes or baked
baked or french fries
cole slaw or potato salad
(eggs) scrambled or sunny-side-up
bacon or sausage
(juice) apple or orange
apples or oranges
Marvel or DC
Spider-Man or Superman,
Spider-Man or Batman
Superman or Hulk
... and many others. Everybody should have as much fun at work as we do.

Our answers... here

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Sunday, August 29, 2004

Quote for 8/29/04

"Klaatu verada nicto"
Klaatu/Michael Renie - from "The Day the Earth Stood Still"

this one was just for fun.

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Truth and Preference

I had a conversation recently with a co-worker on the topic of religion. I would’ve enjoyed it more if it had more of a faith, or theological base, but the person with whom I was speaking never seemed to get past the ‘concepts of god’.
We spoke of differing world views on what, or in my case, who, god (God) is. In the end, I stated my position with a quote from Jesus Christ: “No man comes to the Father but by me.”. To which my co-worker replied “That’s fine for you, I just think that everybody needs to find their own preference.”. And that is where the conversation ended.
Since then, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my co-workers closing statement. Not because it shocked or surprised me, but because over the last 20+ years that I’ve been a Christian, I’ve been hearing that sentiment, and I’ve always been curious as to why that response is always at the end of a conversation and not the beginning of an even better one. That statement begs a deeper discussion of two concepts in religion; truth and preference.
Now, I really need to make something clear at this point; the definition of religion. Religion is, very simply put, a system of beliefs, a worldview, a code by which someone conducts their life (Yes, those definitions are from an old Websters Dictionary.). So, when I speak of religion, I am not necessarily speaking of Christianity. Satanism is a religion, as is Atheism, or any number of other -isms. If you chose to live your life by a certain code of ethics, or behavior, you have a religion. Whether that religion has a god (God), or not, is of no consequence.
Now, for the meat and potatoes of what I wanted to say. I do not believe in Christ because I prefer his teachings to other great teachers. I believe, because I believe His teachings to be true. I am not a Christian because I like what Christianity is, or what it does for me (or for society), I am a Christian because I believe it’s teachings to be the most accurate portrayal of the person and character of God. For me it is a matter of truth over preference. There is no other way around this. Either, Jesus Christ was exactly who He claimed to be (God), or He was a liar. Or possibly a madman. These are the only choices we have. One of them MUST be true, and the others false. It is a decision that you cannot make by preference, you have to examine the evidence. You have to know the truth.
Yet, just as important as this point of truth, is the notion of preference. I have to ask the question, who, in their right mind would prefer to be a Christian, if it weren’t true? Christianity teaches self-denial, self-sacrifice, and self-control. These are not qualities that anyone finds to be preferable when we’re given a choice. People are, by their very nature, selfish.
I’ll be the first person to admit that I DO NOT prefer being a Christian to being anything else, except that I prefer truth over half-truths. It is not easy to follow the teachings of Jesus. I don’t always want to forgive someone who has done me wrong. I don’t always want to wake up on a Sunday morning to go to church, especially when I could be catching up on much needed sleep. I don’t always want to give my money to my church, or to some other charitable organization. If left to my own preferences I would probably spend a great deal of my time drunk. If I were left to my own desires I would probably spend a lot of my time downloading porn off of the internet.
But I recognize the truth behind the biblical principals that tell me that forgiving others is beneficial to me, both mentally, and emotionally. That I need the faithful support of other believers, while adding my own support to those around me. That giving generously, from my heart, as to God, is more rewarding than hording those things which God has given to me in the first place. I understand that drunkenness is destructive to my body, my mind, my soul, my family, and a multitude of other aspects of my life. And I am aware of how pornography contributes to the breakdown of relationships, creates unrealistic expectations of our partners, objectifies women, and exploits the male propensity for visually stimulated lust. These are all difficult obstacles to overcome, and I can’t imagine anybody preferring to resist these, more or less, natural impulses, when giving in is so easy.
Again, I’ll be the first person to admit to having my own shortcomings. I haven’t always remained true to my faith. There have been times when I’ve turned my back on what I know to be true. Times when I’ve preferred to live my life by my own rules. I’m not proud of these times in my life, but they have served a purpose. I know the kind of suffering that my behavior brought upon myself and my family. I understand the difference between believing something out of preference, or convenience, and believing because of the truth that it enforces. And sometimes these are hard lessons to learn.
From my perspective, preference should have little, if anything to do with what you believe. It may certainly play a part in leading you to make a decision, but ultimately, you must choose your convictions on their relationship to truth. If what you believe isn’t true, then what’s the point of believing it at all?

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Saturday, August 28, 2004

Me & The Boy!

Had a really great day so far. Bobby and I got out to the flea market for the first time in a couple of months. I love the flea market! I'm especially impressed by the way flea markets have evolved into what are now more like old-fashioned open air market places. They're no longer the places where people go to sell off the junk that they have laying around the house, although some of that still goes on. They're actually common folk who've taken the personal initiative to invest some of their own hard-earned cash to start up a little business. Capitalism is a great thing! And once again I've gotten off track.
So, anyways, Bobby and I got to check out our favorite stands. He bought himself some Yu-Gi-Oh cards. I bought him a little pellet gun. Nothing special, just one of those soft-pellet plastic jobs, but it'll work well enough for him. For me, however, there were no decent knives in my price range, so I just kinda stood there and drooled over the ones I couldn't afford.
Hit the chinese buffet... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, Chinese buffet! Crayfish today! Awesome! Couldn't believe they had the crayfish out for lunch. Tasty!
Also took some wonton soup to Jo at work, and picked up some shrimp fried rice for Aliesha. Jo was too busy to talk, but when Bobby saw the customer she was helping he wanted to hide... one of his teachers. But it was too late, she saw him and conversation began. I'll spare him any additional embarrassment, and not explain what was discussed. Suffice it to say that he has my sense of humor... but I've already said that before.
Planning on going out with Jo for a while tonight. We need the time alone. I haven't told her where I'm taking her though, and she's trying to use that as an excuse to buy some more clothes... somebody, please, put a bullet through my brain.
All of that being said... It is just about time for me to go pick Aliesha up from work. I'm outta here. Have a good one.

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Friday, August 27, 2004

Quote for 8/27/04

"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."
C.S. Lewis - from The Weight of Glory.

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Of light and darkness

Justterry has had some really awesome posts lately... poetry and more poetry and some other good stuff too. He is always an inspiration to me, but that inspiration is most notable when he is writing poetry. I would probably compare this inspiration to being something of a 'Dark' muse. I'm sure that if you've read his stuff, you'd agree.
On the converse to that, we also enjoy a great deal of laughter when we hang out. And those are the times that he is somewhat of a 'Light' muse to me.
But I have other inspirations as well. The most important of which is Jo. Should this come as a surprise? She also is a 'Light' muse to me.
And thus... I have decided to post some of the poems that these two have inspired in me. Some are recent, others, I'm sure that justterry will recognize from some time ago. So, enjoy... and please, feel free to let me know what you think.

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Ecstacy

Such ecstasy is…
the warmth of your embrace
the softness of your skin
the taste of your breath
you are the pleasure that I seek
for in you
in your love
I find the man that I long to be

M+

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Alone

I am
fire and ice
earth and sky
and all the things
you’ve never seen
in all the places
you’ve never been
I am
the weakness
of rolling thunder
in the strength
of a breeze
the chill on the breath
of summers eve
I am
the creeping shadow
of echoed silence
the shimmering whisper
of darkest night
the cold black sky
over haunting moonlight
I am
alone
just like you
and so many others

M+

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Darkness

Oh, sweet Darkness
come cover me once again
shade my eyes
cloud my mind
shield my heart
protect me from the Light.
That relentless
piercing glow
fire of a thousand suns
revealing all my shame
I can no longer hide it
this Truth that I've denied
my soul is burned
this wretched pain of knowledge
Would I find rest
if one of you should release me

M+

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Ghosts

What rage consumes a hollow soul
to drive it so relentlessly
The pain of dreams now faded
their luster soiled and dulled
Waking from glorious daylighted visions
plunging headlong into dark reality
Racing about our tawdry lives
so mundane and aimlessly spent
Seeking that tiny shiny trinket
light stolen from afar
Something to give us a moments pleasure
Something to make us forget
tarnished memories of a better day
merely echoes that now haunt us
And what of these ghosts that pursue us?
We discover them to be ourselves.

M+

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Dawn

The beast has awakened from his slumber
I watch him coming over the horizon
An orange fire predator prowling
stalking
His indigo-violet prey flees in panic
Pouncing
claws and teeth of golden yellow flame strike
slashing
Trails of crimson streaming behind his assault
the night succumbs once again
Dawn's victim struggles no more
the eternal dance continues
And I am afraid...
For with the Dawn comes the Sun
and with the Sun comes the Daylight
Brilliant.
Dazzling
Revealing
Daylight
My secrets laid bare for all to see
my shame and pride equally naked
uncovered
And I must also face them
The cold, black shadow of night has fled
I stand amid the wreckage of my life
A life that I have damaged
and no other
With nowhere to hide this scattered debris
Oh, that I could fix it
Oh that Someone could fix it.

M+

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Seraphs fallen

Seraphs fallen
and fire came with them
scorching Earth
and the souls of men

Man is fallen
Creation came with him
piercing Heaven
and the heart of God

Jesus’… fallen
glory came with Him
shattering Hell
and the power of Seraphs fallen

M+

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Thursday, August 26, 2004

Quotes from 7/2004

The complete collection of quotes I posted from July of 2004:

7/21/2004
7/23/2004
7/26/2004
7/27/2004
7/30/2004
7/31/2004

this Song

I can hear this Song
it echoes softly on the hills
whispering gently through the trees
swimming slowly in the streams
and I follow the voice that sings
the voice that leads me
over paths of stone
trails of dirt
fields of green grass
flowers lean toward the distant voice
longing as I do
to hear more of this Song that is so sweet
I can see a stranger in the distance
singing as he goes
following the Song of another
one who has taught him this Song
and now he leads me
teaches me to sing
teaches me this Song
and so I will sing also
and will you hear this Song
will you follow to learn the words
learn to sing it with me
And teach it to those who would follow you also

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Stuff-n-Junk... #1

Another installment of random thoughts, odd conversations and recent events from my life. From now on I’m just going to call these posts “Stuff-n-Junk” (NO! not Puffinstuff!). I’ll probably assign something of an identifier to each, a number, or code word or something. We’ll see what happens.

Family, Friends and Acquaintances:
Justterry: Got to spend a little time with him the last two nights. I thank God that neither of us is into drugs… we are just weird enough without them. Good topic of discussion at our weekly, men’s Bible study - wives and husbands - All I’m going to say is this… Never take marital advice from anyone other than a widow/widower: they’re the only ones who’ve fulfilled the contract!
Aliesha: seems to be enjoying work. I’m very glad to hear that. I think I’ve already said that she has a good work ethic. That’ll help her in life.
Bobby: wants to go to the flea market this weekend. I’m hoping to squeeze enough cash out of my paycheck to do so. I’m also hoping to take him and my nephew David out for pizza… stuff just isn’t as ‘cost effective’ as it was when I used to work for ‘the Hut’.
Jo: looking better every day… I’d better keep any other thoughts to myself. I am trying to maintain a PG-13 blog here.
Kenn: is MIA! Now where am I going to steal ideas from?
Faith: is more gainfully employed than when last I posted on this topic (Yay!). The everyday miracles just never cease to amaze me.
“Cat”: seems less sociable now that he’s an ‘indoor’ cat. Why is it that when a stray cat adopts you, he never wants to let you out of his site, but the instant you let him into your house he starts to ignore you? I know how to fix that… toss his furry tail back into the garage. Ingrate!
Sheba: is doing fine lately, and her bloodwork has indicated that she’ll be O.K. with the Deramax for her Arthritis.

Work:
Had a few really ridiculous conversations with a handful of people at work recently. The results of those conversations will appear below under the sub-heading of “Questions:”.
PFMEA Meetings: (Process Failure Mode and Effect Analysis) on our pilot run project. A better way of saying this is “Lets discuss anything that can possibly go wrong at each stage of production and analyze why, and how to avoid it.”. You’d think something like that would be more boring than watching paint dry, but I do my best to keep things lively with humorous interjections from time to time. Having Jane2Dogs in the meetings only makes it easier.

Politics and Entertainment:
I finished reading the most recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine… the one that Aliesha has a subscription to that neither Jo, nor myself, approved… Here comes a RANT! But first! Does anybody else ever remember hearing about the concept of ‘objective journalism’? But, then again, we are only talking about an entertainment rag.
Vote for Change: Once again, a handful of celebrities have taken it upon themselves to tell the rest of us what “America” is about. I would give their opinions more weight if they actually presented constitutional arguments for their positions. While I agree that the First Amendment guarantees their right to speak, it does not guarantee their right to be heard. If the free-marketplace of ideas rejects their opinions it is not censorship, it is ‘choice’. If it is anything else, it might be called ‘discrimination’, as in, people with a discriminating taste, so in this sense, that’s a good thing. So, I recommend that those celebrities who wish to make bold political statements, actually take the time to read The Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, and even the Federalist Papers, to find out what our Founding Fathers thought about America. Then I might listen to what they have to say.
Also included in the article was a reprint of an Op-Ed piece that Bruce Springsteen wrote for The New York Times. I find it pathetic that Mr. Sringsteen so easily bandies about such quaint socialist terms as “economic justice”, “fairness”, “the veil of race” and “weakest citizens”, without taking the time to make the definitions of these terms clear. If we don't speak the same language, we can't have a reasonable discussion. But, that is the point now, isn't it? I do, however, agree with Bruce on one statement that he made regarding a “special place” that is held by entertainers in our society. I only hope that he will remember that until the advent of motion pictures, that position was only one social rung above that of a prostitute.
Speaking of which…
Jenna Jameson: has an autobiography coming out called “How to… Make Love Like A Porn Star”. Is that what that‘s called? If the book covers some of the topics in the article, a more appropriate title might be “Bad Things That Happened To Me When I Was Younger And The Famous People I’ve F***ed, Blown, Or Otherwise Exploited Or Been Exploited By”. And now that she’s married (did MTV approach her to do “The Newlyweds”? I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that they did. After all, MTV is all about sex isn’t it? OH! Wait! It’s music, that’s right.), she’s finding it difficult to conceive. Pity (that‘s a sincere ‘Pity’, because I know how having kids can really change your life and perspectives.). Of course, her plan to explain to her child that she retired from the porn industry when the child was conceived, won’t do much to stop any taunting that friends and classmates will hurl at the kid. Jenna Jameson’s name will always be synonymous with the word Pornography. Go figure!
Bill O’Reilly: Yeah, the guy is a jerk, but let us not forget that whether you agree with him or not, he has the same First Amendment right as the previously mentioned celebrities. And the only way that anyone can call him or Fox News ‘far right’ is if they’re so far to the left that Stalin comes off like Rush Limbaugh.
DVD Review: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Passion of the Christ. Of course, anyone who’s seen and heard J.C. Superstar, loves it. That’s a given. But, to set it up as something more theologically sound than Mel Gibson’s masterpiece is beyond contempt. Yet, should I have expected anything less from this magazine?

Just for Fun:
dagoddess: has had some really interesting posts lately. This link she had… I’m not sure if I should be offended by it or not, ’cuz I couldn’t help laughing at it. The Protest Warriors, that she so proudly hails, are getting a good deal of attention here locally from Quinn, one of our morning talk-jocks. I wonder if he’s trying to get someone to start a local chapter? Hmmmmm, maybe something to think about.

Questions:
About pets… How is it that any animal that licks it’s own feet and genitalia, can possibly know that what I have on my plate is better than what is in their bowl? Where does ’garbage’ fit into the grand scheme of things for a dog?
About food… Who was the first person to cook food? Why? I mean, people had been eating stuff raw for, God only knows how long, until we harnessed the power of fire. What compelled somebody to finally hold food over a fire? Was it an accident? Who was this bright spot in human history? What was his name? Didn’t anyone think that it would’ve been important to remember him?
Who decided which animals were good to eat and which ones weren’t? Before God gave the list to Moses, that is. Think about seafood. Who was the first guy to look at a lobster and say “Yeah! I wanna eat that!”?
And what about vegetables, fruits, plants and fungi? Who were the geniuses that took their own lives into their hands to try to find additional food sources for the rest of humanity? And who were the poor souls who gave the ultimate sacrifice for that same end? Shouldn’t we know their names? What kind of process was involved? Was there some kind of ‘lottery’? “Ung, you lost. You go eat that brown and yellow thing and tell us if it’s good or not.” Is that how it was? Is this how we learned about plant derivative drugs? Did somebody get high because they already had the munchies and plants were the only thing available? Or was it Vice-Versa?

I think I’ve had enough now. How about you?

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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Still here

Alright... so we haven't pulled the plug yet. I guess that means I'll just keep posting whatever, and whenever, I can until something happens. One way or another.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004

"Quote for 8/24/04"

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human liberty; it is the arguement of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
William Pitt

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See ya soon I hope...

We are about to change our ISP here at home and as a result, I may not be posting again for awhile. If I can, I most certainly will. If not... pray that we resolve the matter quickly.
And, yes, Faith, I will post at least one more quote before going away.

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Onomatopeia!

Unfortunately I mispelled this word in my Triskadecaphobia post. BUT! as promised, I now have the opportunity to use this word legitamately in a post.
We had a little trivia thing going on at work today, and the clues to a particular subject were "TWANG, THUD, ZIP" - I NAILED IT! in seconds no less! I am SOOOOOO good at this stuff. Anybody else know what "onomatopeia" is?
I'll be awaiting any replies.

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Monday, August 23, 2004

A not so long story

Today is the 18th anniversary of the day I met Jo!
I'm not going to write another long story about this, but I do feel like giving it a quick 'once over'...
It was the birthday of a mutual friend of ours named Bernie. He called me first to make sure I didn't have to work, then asked if I felt like going to Kennywood for the day. I said "Sure!". He said "Come pick me up.". I did. While on my way there, he called two other friends, Jo and Dawn, and asked them to join us. They agreed. When I arrived, he told me that we had to go pick up two more people. No problem. We met, we went to Kennywood, we had a good day. We ran around, got rained on (which was really great for me since Jo was wearing this little white top). We rode all the best rides, and since we had already gotten wet, we rode the water rides several times (making that little white top even 'better' from my persective). Eventually we left and headed back to Jo's apartment. We sat around and talked and joked around and Bernie challenged Jo to try to take me at wrestling... talk about a set up... we discovered later that he thought we would make a good couple and had arranged this entire day for that purpose. So we wrestled. Eventually, Bernie and Dawn decided that they needed to get home, so we all piled into my car together and dropped them off. Then Jo and I headed back to her apartment to talk and do other stuff for awhile. I finally left at about 2:00 AM. We've been together ever since.

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Saturday, August 21, 2004

"Quote for 8/21/04"

"The chief factor in any man's success or failure must be his own character."
Theodore Roosevelt

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"Sweet 16"... Another true story

Jo’s doctor was a wonderful, little Philippino woman.
“Come in Saturday morning at seven.” Dr. Miranda started. “We’ll induce labor then.”
We thought that this was a good idea. “the baby” was already 3 weeks late, and headed toward number 4. And we were aware of the fact that after so long the amniotic sack, and fluids, begin to deteriorate and become poisonous. The pregnancy itself was already classified as a “high risk” because of some health problems that Jo had, and we really didn’t like the idea of complicating matters.
“Is there anything we should do before then?” Jo asked.
Dr. Miranda looked at me and said “Take her out for some Chinese food. And then go walk around the Mall for an hour or so.”. She smiled at us as she spoke. “That should help.”
We left feeling very excited, and somewhat nervous. This was Thursday afternoon, and we were O.K. with the advice that we were given.
So, we arrived at the hospital on Saturday morning and went through the admission process. Shortly thereafter, Jo was assigned to her delivery room. We took some time to get settled in, and then the doctor and nurses started their work.
They inserted an IV and told Jo to just relax and let the medication do it’s job. “The baby should be ready to come out sometime late this afternoon or early this evening.” Dr Miranda reassured us. And we trusted her.
Jo and I talked and played cards and occupied each others time as pleasantly as possible. Eventually, Jo decided that she wanted to read some of the magazines that she had brought in, and I picked up my Bible. All in all, things seemed alright.
As the morning passed into afternoon, I began to grow hungry. This would not have been much of a problem, except that Jo wasn’t allowed to eat, and I didn’t want to eat in front of her, or leave her alone. Fortunately, for me, Jo realized that I must be starving, and she recommended that I go have lunch. The nurses informed me that Jo was nowhere near ready, so I said O.K.
Before I left I had noticed that neither Dr. Miranda, nor the nurses had eaten either. So, I came up with a plan.
At the time, I was an assistant manager at a Pizza Hut, so I had an ‘allowance’ to use each week for promotional purposes. I decided that I would bring a couple of pizzas back to the hospital for everyone else.
When I stepped out of the elevator, all of the nurses turned their heads. It was obvious that they could smell it right away, but they had no idea that I was leaving it at the nurses station for everyone. So, when I did, they were all pleasantly surprised. I took a few slices for myself, and headed back into Jo’s room.
Normally, she wouldn’t have been too bothered by this, but on this particular day she was hungry enough to eat pizza. Which is strange, considering that for most of the pregnancy the smell of pizza made her sick. That’s when I recognized the fatal flaw in my plan… Jo was still going to go hungry.
But soon enough she had a surprise that brightened her up and covered my ass. Three dozen roses arrived from our florist. One white, one blue and one pink. The white were for Jo herself, the other two were to cover “the baby” no matter what. It was at this point that the nurses and Dr. Miranda voted me the “best husband”. WOOHOO!!!
The afternoon passed into evening, and then into night. Jo’s parents came in to give her some support, but Jo’s mother tends to get on Jo’s nerves, and that’s not a good thing for someone who’s in childbirth. Fortunately, Jo’s dad always had a way of getting Jo to calm down. Once that was done, they decided to remain for the rest of the delivery. It’s a good thing that we had a deck of cards to keep my mother-in-law occupied.
Things still seemed to be going smoothly, but the timetable wasn’t working out quite right. By 8:30, Jo was still nowhere near ready. And the pain of the contractions was starting to get to her. So, she decided to ask if she could forego the natural child birth and get some medication. The nurse said that she would check with the doctor and then disappeared. When she finally came back in, at about 9:40, she informed us that it was too late now. Jo was fully dilated.
Dr. Miranda came into the room and started to give us both instructions on what would be happening and what we should be doing. To tell you the truth, I don’t remember any of what she said then, but I must’ve done good for the most part. Jo was pushing, and I was doing the ‘coach’ thing, but Jo wasn’t real happy about my encouragement. She took several opportunities to remind me that “… this is all your fault!”. So, what else is new?
Sometime after 10:30, “the baby’s” head appeared and things were starting to look better. But then things started to take a down turn. “the baby” seemed to be stuck. Dr. Miranda told us that this was not common, but that it was O.K.. And as I said earlier, we trusted Dr. Miranda. Jo continued to push with little results. “the baby’s” head had made little more progress. And it was getting close to Midnight.
Now, I must explain something here. We went into the hospital on August 20th in the hopes that our baby would be born on the 20th. Why? Because Jo’s mothers birthday is the 21st, and we didn’t want our baby to have to share a birthday with anyone else in the family, especially not Jo’s mother. We really did not want my mother-in-law to be able to make any claims of some ‘special connection’ to our kid, because we both have some problems with her sense of ‘theology’. We also didn’t want her thinking that God had sent her a special birthday present, which we knew she would. So we desperately wanted “the baby” to arrive before Midnight.
Well, that hope came and went, and by 2:00 AM “the baby” was no closer to coming out. That’s when Dr. Miranda started to worry. She was actually fairly concerned before that, but by this time she was telling us that she had some concerns. “the baby’s” coloration wasn’t right. Dr. Miranda was making little cuts on the exposed scalp to get some oxygen readings on “the baby’s” blood. Also, Jo’s stats were starting to get a bit questionable. Things were getting scary. Jo’s heart rate and blood pressure had been dropping, and “the baby’s” oxygen level was low. Dr. Miranda made a difficult call. She decided that an emergency C-section was needed… and now!
They wheeled Jo out of the room and into the O.R. and then stopped me from going in. And I thought that was a bad sign. I was told that they would let me into the O.R. as soon as they had Jo ready for the procedure, but that they needed to prep her first. So I tried to wait patiently, but when you’re worried about your wife and baby it’s pretty hard to be calm.
It seemed like an eternity before I finally heard anything from the nurses. It was 3:42 when one of them came out of the O.R. to tell me that I was a dad. She admitted that things were shaky for a while. Jo had passed out on the table and “the baby’s” oxygen level had dropped to a dangerously low level as well. There was a brief amount of time that the doctors were afraid that they might lose them both. I’m thankful to God that things turned out the way they did.
Jo was moved into recovery and “the baby”, a little girl who was still nameless, was placed into the nursery. We had already picked a name for either outcome, so I probably could’ve told them what to call her, but something told me to hold my tongue. Instead, I went, with my in-laws, to visit our little bundle. She was absolutely beautiful.
An hour or so later, Dr. Miranda found me and informed me that Jo was out of recovery and I could go see her now. She took me to the room and there she was looking worn and wiped out, who could blame her. I sat down in the chair and filled Jo in on the particulars of our daughter. She was so excited.
And then, as most men are wont to do, I became a jerk! After we talked for a few more minutes and I had reassured her that our daughter was fine, I sat down in the chair again and started to nod-off. Jo was NOT happy! I was tired from having been up for nearly 24 hours. But she was the one who had been through labor… I had the easy job here. So I don’t blame her for kicking me out.
I ended up going home long enough to take a 2 hour nap and then I showered and headed back to the hospital. As I was on my way in I recalled that we hadn’t given our daughter her name yet, so I figured we’d talk a bit and then take care of that. When I arrived, Jo was up and a little bit more rested than when I had left. That boded well for me. That’s when Jo told me that she named “the baby”. The doctors had come in earlier and filled out the birth certificate with Jo, and that’s when I was informed that our daughters name was Aliesha… HUH?!?
That was not the name that we had agreed on. She was supposed to be Divina Marie. But, for some odd reason, Jo thought that our daughter looked like an Aliesha Marie. So that’s who she is. And today, she turns “Sweet 16”. And she’s had me pretty well wrapped around her fingers for most of those years.

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Thursday, August 19, 2004

"Quote for 8/19/04"

"Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud."
Sophocles

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A conglomeration of STUFF

Changed the settings on my blog so if you're an anonymous commentator, HAVE AT IT!

Some random thoughts and recent occurences from my life:

Work and Co-workers:
Jane: finally visited my blog and offered this comment to me today; "I read some of your poems... they were really beautiful. I can't believe they came out of your head!". Thanks Jane! I guess there are worse things I could have in my head... "... like a piece of metal 'this' long!"
Fred: apologized for the sticky spot on the cafeteria floor. It was strangely close to the phone. You may imply whatever you wish from that statement.
Greg: looking forward to a weekend in West Virginia... in October. But I'm still curious as to why anyone looks forward to going to West Virginia. I always think of the movie "Deliverance" (the sound of dueling banjos echoes in the distance).

Family, Friends and Acquaintances:
Jo: getting signed up for school, CNA, Phlebotomy, and Psychiatric Assistant (this should come in handy around the house). Lost her wedding rings a few days ago, just told me about it TODAY!!!... that's why we pay for insurance. Wal-Mart laughed at her when she asked if anyone had turned them in. Giant Eagle was kind enough not to. She's having trouble with some of her friends again (grow up and shut up). Some people need to get their own lives and stop worrying about ours.
Aliesha: has a job at the dry cleaners... starting Monday. Minimum wage is good enough for a 16 year old (which happens on Saturday - watch for another good story then).
Bobby: can't wait 'til I get my dads guns cleaned and inspected... target shooting is the only appropriate next step. Announced over the weekend that he likes classical music and wants some Beethoven on a CD. WOOHOO! My boy on both counts.
Justterry: just got called about a job today. He was getting desperate. Now, we'll be able to do the all-you-can-eat-ribs at Lone-Star soon. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm all-you-can-eat-ribs.
Faith: junkied up on the Olympics. I haven't paid any attention to them since the Soviet Union collapsed. Poor girl is looking for a job, and I feel bad that my daughter is about to become more gainfully employed than her (please laugh at that Faith).
Kenn: had a post that really got me thinking about the old days again.

Politics:
Protest Warrior Manifesto: heard about this today. I agree!
I think that this fits nicely into my post. I also liked this. Hey! Wait! doesn't Kenn do this sort of thing with his blog? Like minds run in the same gutter (or something like that).

Music:
POD: just what I needed to wake up this morning. Having Phil Keaggy play on "Eternal" is beyond awesome!
12 Stones: new release out soon. I enjoyed listening to their first release again today.
Switchfoot: also a good choice for me. I dare me to move, too... sometimes.

I thinks that's enough for now.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Good to get out for awhile

Yesterday was a pretty rough day for me at work, so I was quite excited about getting out last night to blow off some steam... so to speak. We had our mens-Bible study at church, which I had been missing for the last few weeks. It was a good topic, too. Submitting to authority. This is a difficult topic for some men because so often we find ourselves arguing politics while we should be thinking theology. It makes it a lot fun for me because I enjoy a good challenge, bringing the subject back to where it should be. Anyways, we ran a little late, and that cut into mine and justterry's bar time. But that's alright with both of us.
In case you hadn't noticed, JT has been doing a good bit with his short story fiction lately. Last night, he poured the story lines out like wine. I really enjoy hangin' out with him when he's "in the zone". I find it incredibly inspiring. Now I get the feeling that I'll be doing some writing of my own, though I doubt that I'll subject any of you to my fiction anytime soon. But I do hope that you've enjoyed the true story that I just posted.
Well, it's been a long week already and I could use some real sleep... so, Good-Night all, and God Bless.

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" ...I got bettah." (a true story)

(Peasant/John Cleese - from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail")

Today I celebrate a somewhat dubious, yet a completely magnificent event from my past. It happened 8 years ago today, and it started at about 8:00 in the evening.
We had rented a rug scrubber for the night and were just getting started. The animals all went into hiding as soon as we turned the scrubber on. Sheba went into the kitchen and hid under the table. The cats scurried off to the bedroom. So the entire living room area was open.
Now, I have to admit that I’ve been allergic to cats all of my life, and I‘ve had asthma since I was 18. But neither of these conditions were ever very serious. My allergies never manifested themselves in shortness of breath, or anything worse than watery, red and itchy eyes, and maybe some sniffles. The asthma was well under control with the help of a Ventolin inhaler.
This night was different though. Sometime after 9:00 I began to have some difficulty breathing. I attributed this to the fact that scrubbing rugs does take a bit of effort, so I continued.
By 9:30 my breathing had become a real problem. I couldn’t seem to get a good breath, no matter how hard I tried. At this point I stopped with the scrubbing and decided to take my inhaler outside and try to catch my breath. I used my inhaler once and waited for about 10 minutes. No change. I took a second hit and waited 10 more minutes. Still nothing.
I’ve had similar episodes before, sometimes they would pass after a while, and sometimes I would go to the hospital and have a respiratory treatment and be home within 2 hours. I was hoping to avoid it this night, and might have convinced myself to do so, except that when I walked back inside Jo looked at me and winced. She told me that I looked gray… not drained or even pale… gray. So, I knew I had to go.
I grabbed my keys and my wallet and headed out the door. Before I stepped off the porch, a little voice inside of me said “have Jo drive”. I turned around and told her that she had better drive me down. At this point she told me to go ahead and get in the car as she got the kids out of bed and brought them down.
She pulled out like a bat out of Hell. I stuck my head out of the window like some dog, hoping that the force of the air against my face would force a little more oxygen into my lungs. I’m not so sure that it did.
We made it to the emergency entrance in 3 minutes… normally a 7 - 10 minute ride, but Jo was pushing it. Neither of us remembered a time when my breathing was this bad. She didn’t bother to park in a space either. Just screeeeeech! And stopped right in front of the automatic doors.
As we pulled into the lot I noticed a nurse and a security guard standing outside of the doors having a smoke. As Jo whipped the car around, and into the lot, they both went into action. The security guard had stepped thru the doors to grab a wheelchair, as the nurse headed thru the doors into the ER.
Now this is where the story gets a bit weird… Jo and I each tell a different story at this point.
I remember, distinctly, as clearly as I remember my own name, opening the car door, stepping out of the car, and closing the door. Meanwhile the guard had gotten behind me with the wheelchair. I remember sitting down in the chair. I remember the guard putting his hand on my shoulder and telling me “It’s alright, we’ve got you. We’ll take good care of you.”. As he wheeled me thru the automatic doors I recall thinking to myself “O.K., I’ll have a breathing treatment, maybe two, and then I’ll be home in a couple of hours.”. And that’s when everything went black for me.
What Jo says happened was something like this. I opened the car door, stood up and then fell flat on my face. I have to admit that this must be true because I have a chipped tooth that I didn’t have before then.
The security guard did manage to get me into the wheelchair and wheel me into the ER where the nurse, an orderly, and one doctor were bringing a gurney out. They decided not to try to put me on right there.
Meanwhile, Jo was sitting outside in the car, not wanting to leave the kids alone, when the other security guard approached the car to see if there was some way he could help. Jo asked him to stay with the kids while she went inside to make a phone call to her parents to ask them to come and get the kids while she waited… for whatever was going to happen.
While she was in the hall she heard the noise that was coming from the back room. She said it sounded like someone was trying to smash thru the wall with a wheelchair, or something. That would’ve been me, but I didn’t know it.
Jo’s parents arrived shortly thereafter and took the kids home with them, but Jo’s brother stayed with her in the waiting room. This was about 10:30.
Somewhere around 2:00 AM one of the doctors came out and told Jo that I was now “stable”. He then began to ask Jo some really strange questions. “Does your husband have a living will?” was the one that had the most impact. She asked him how things looked and he told her “not good”. She struggled with this for a moment as she asked him “What do you mean? Like a 50/50 chance?” to which the doctor told her that they “…wished it looked that good.” for me. He estimated my chances of survival as follows. They gave me about a 30/70 chance of living thru the night, and about a 20/80 chance of making it for 24 hours. They informed Jo that even if I did survive past that point there was a 50 percent chance that I would end up in a vegetative coma for an indefinite (permanent) period of time. They also said that there was no chance of me coming out of it without some form of severe brain damage. All in all “not good” was something of an understatement.
Eventually the doctor got around to telling Jo just what had happened for the 3 ½ hours that they worked on me. This is what I was eventually told.
After bringing me back into the main ER they attempted to put me up on the gurney. At this point I had stopped breathing, and that, in turn, caused me to go into cardiac arrest. One of the nurses began the ‘timer’. As they began to work on me I began to have convulsive seizures. They were so violent that I managed to break two sets of leather cuffs as the nurses and orderlies tried to strap me down. By this time there were ten people working on me. 2 doctors, 5 nurses, 2 orderlies and the security guard who wheeled me in. 6 minutes had passed and they still hadn’t managed to get an IV into me, so one of the doctors decided to go the direct route of simply injecting me with anti-seizure medication. I was told later, by one of the nurses, that they had given me enough Adavan to put a horse in a coma. The ‘timer’ had gone past the 10 minute mark before they finally got a breathing tube down my throat, and restarted my heart. But they didn’t consider my condition to be stable at that point so they watched and waited before talking to Jo.
By 5:00 AM the doctors decided that they were going to attempt what they called “Aggressive Resuscitory Therapy”. Roughly translated… we’re gonna pull the plug on him and see if his body takes over for itself. Jo was told to go take care of any business she needed to attend to because they were starting at 8:00 AM.
At this particular time in our lives, Jo’s father was struggling with Leukemia, and he had a very important appointment that morning so she needed to get the kids, but she couldn’t keep them at the hospital. So, she called my parents and arranged to drop the kids off. Jo had already called them earlier to tell them what was happening, so they weren’t surprised by this.
From where we lived, and where the hospital was, my parents were a good 35-40 minutes away. Jo did it in 20. Fortunately most of the ride was on the Parkway, so doing 70 wasn’t too big a deal. She made it back by 7:30.
At 8:00 the doctors pulled the plug on me, and my body did take over, but they still had concerns about how long I would be in a coma. They were certain that I would be this way for quite some time. But doctors are only human, and so, are not above making mistakes. They had sent me into several different departments to have a battery of tests, and X-rays, etc… Everything seemed to be O.K., for the most part. And that was something that the doctors seemed puzzled by.
At 1:30 that afternoon I awoke to find a whole bunch of needles and tubes stuck in my wrists and arms. I had two massive bruises on the insides of my forearms, from the cuffs that I tore up. My throat was sore and scratchy and tasted of blood, from the ventilator tube. And my head felt as if it was being used like the anvil in a dwarven forge. I had no idea what time it was, where I was, or what had happened. All I had were my memories of the previous night.
When Jo saw that I was awake she couldn’t decide if she should hug me or hit me. “Don’t you ever scare me like that again.” was what she finally said. Then she told me about what had happened. It’s amazing the things you think about when you find out that you had been dead.
After I awoke, the doctors and nurses all made an effort to come by and see me. They were referring to me as the ‘miracle man’. And all of this between the next battery of tests, etc… Eventually I was informed that everything was coming up normal… no ‘provable’ brain damage is what I like to say.
I received the expected phone calls from my mom, and one from my brother so that he could scold me for “…scaring mom and dad like that.”
Later that evening Justterry gave me a call in the hospital to check up on me. I answered the phone to hear “Hey! I heard you were dead?”. So I mustered my best English accent and used the title line to this post, which is from the scene entitled “How do you tell a witch?”, and we both got a good chuckle out of it. It has since become my own ‘catch phrase’ when I make any reference to this incident.
They kept me in the hospital for 3 more days, and when I came home I had a bit of difficulty sleeping. It was as if I didn’t want to miss anything, and sleeping interfered with that. Jo was worried that my restlessness was a result of something that the tests missed, but I reassured her I was fine. Eventually, things got back to normal… or, as normal as things ever are for us, that is.
Invariably, when I share this story, people will ask me questions about seeing “… a bright light.” or some other ‘near death’ phenomenon. These questions arise because most of the people who know me are aware of my strong faith. So, I always respond with the following little speech:
“I didn’t see anything but the darkness. And that, because I am convinced, that had I seen anything, it would have been because God wanted me to stay, but He didn’t. Miracles such as those really do not accomplish anything anyway. For those of us who believe, this won’t do anything to strengthen our faith. I already believe in Heaven, so I don’t need to see it to believe it's waiting for me. For those who do not, such visions can easily be dismissed as the hallucinations of an oxygen starved brain. What is most important is that I still live. What is important is that I will continue to share my faith, and my ideas, with those individuals that God sends my way. And knowing that God has taken such extreme measures to get me to talk to you… then what I have to say just might be important. Don’t you think so?”
I realize that such a comment may seem a bit arrogant, but, mind you, this is only one of my stories. I have others that go hand in hand with this one to make that statement much more realistic. You’ll just have to wait to read them.
God Bless

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Monday, August 16, 2004

"Quote for 8/16/04"

"Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises."
Demosthenes

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"Are you pondering what I'm pondering?"

(Brain - from "Pinky and the Brain")

Why is my daughter getting a subscription to "Rolling Stone" magazine?
She didn't order it. And I sure as Hell don't remember anyone asking me if it was alright. So what gives?
Now that's one more periodical that Jo and I will have to monitor with her, and I already know that I don't like the liberal/socialist slant of this rag. I can also tell that this particular issue is really going to get under my skin. The articles range from the "Vote for Change" concerts that are coming up in October, to a real hit-piece on Bill O'Reilly, and even something about Jenna Jameson... like I need this crap in my house. Expect a good rant to be forthcoming.

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Sunday, August 15, 2004

Sweetness

You are my sweetness
the fragrance of Heaven
poured into my life
a breeze to soothe me
when my temper is hot
a flame that warms me
when my passion has cooled
You are what is best in us
a calming voice of reason
speaking thru my tempest
a hand to hold in my fear
the song that stirs my soul
that part of me which is good

M+

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"...that's Amore'..."

(Dean Martin)

Well... Jo and I did finally make it out last night. We threw some darts, watched the Steelers lose, and had a few drinks with her friends, Heather, Mellissa and Ivey. Jo got a bit lit up, and I like that because of what the title implies. I'll leave anything else to your imaginations.

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Everythings O.K.

"Cat" got hit by a car last night... but the title of this entry should reassure you that he didn't get hurt too bad. He's a stray that adopted us about 6-8 weeks ago. He had a sister, but she's vanished, and we're pretty sure that somebody else nearby took her in. But "Cat", or "Mr. Kitty", as Aliesha calls him, or "Tigger" as Bobby calls him, has stayed fairly close to us.
It became more of an actual adoption for us a few weeks back when we had some really bad thunderstorms around here, and we felt really bad about him being alone outside. So, we set up a space for him in the garage and let him in and out everyday. Our biggest concern the entire time he's been with us is that he always follows us around when we go outside. Until now our worry has been that one of us would run him over when we left for work, but so far so good.
And then, last night, "Cat" decides to follow Aliesha and Sheba on a little walk. A car came up over the hill as "Cat" tried to cross the street and THUMP! He ran off pretty quick, and Aliesha panicked somewhat, thinking he might end up dead somewhere. Jo and I had just headed out for the evening so we got a call on the cell phone and ended up heading back in. When we arrived back home, Aliesha and Bobby, were outside moping about. No sooner had I stepped out of the car when "Cat" came around the side of the house and into the garage. Boy were the kids relieved when I said "Here he is!". We would've liked to have taken him to a vet to get checked out, but the only vet around here that does emergencies only takes cash-up-front for those emergencies, starting at $100 just to get him to open the doors. So we're gonna wait until Monday, when our vet is in his office, to get "Cat" checked out. Since we're pretty much making the adoption official, we'll go ahead and have all of the other necessaries taken care of as well. Until then though, "Cat" is pretty happy to be inside with us. I only hope I can survive.

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Saturday, August 14, 2004

Quote for 8/14/04

"Two wrongs don't make a right... but three lefts do!"
M+

Think about it!

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Friday, August 13, 2004

Quote for 8/13/04

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life."
Arthur Ashe

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Question...

Maybe somebody out there can help me out with this...
Why is it that no matter what, when I'm standing in the check-out line, one of the womens 'fashion' magazines always has an article about "What men really want!"?
And I do mean every time. between the top 3 (Cosmo, Glamor, and Vogue) you can find this subtitle on the cover of at least one of them at any given trip to the store. WHY ???
When you consider that these magazines USED to pride themselves on their appeal to the independent women, those who didn't need a man to make them complete, isn't this a slap in the face?
Is the information given in the article for long term relationships, or flings? If it's about the long term, then wouldn't the readers benefit from something more substantive? If it's only about the fling... who cares? It's not like it'll last long enough to matter.
Do the editors of these magazines really think that their readers aren't intelligent enough to ascertain their partners desires for themselves?
C'mon !!! I have yet to meet a woman who doesn't already know what guys want... the question is always whether or not she's willing to do those things... Or is the goal of the constant bombardment with these articles to normalize a type of behavior that is still somewhat taboo? Let's not forget that the targets of these magazines are not all sucessful 30-somethings. The magazines are geared towards our teenagers as well. Do our young girls, our daughters and sisters, really need this crap dumped onto the already stressful time that is called 'adolescence'? Aren't there better, and more important things that we could be encouraging them to explore?
And by the way... Jo used to pick up a Cosmo every now and then, and I used to read those articles... Nah! that's not what guys want.

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Triskadecaphobia !!!

I don't have it, do you? I just couldn't resist tossing that word out there today. Not only is it one of my favorites, but it is so very appropriate. Another word that I can't wait to use is Onomonopea. Of course I'm not sure how I'll ever get it to work in a post. But that is my problem, isn't it?
Have a good one.

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Thursday, August 12, 2004

Quote for 8/12/04

"There are no great deeds, only small deeds done with great love."
Mother Theresa of Calcutta

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I still love my job

8 years and counting as of today. That's right gang, I've held down the same job for 8 years now... WOW! 2 more is the magic number. And what "magic number" might that be???? 4 WEEKS PAID VACATION !!! and a nice little anniversary gift, too. But I'll be happy to have the 4 weeks. Theoretically, I'll be able to take off every Friday during the summer and still have enough time to work with for a solid week. WOOHOO!
Today was really great...
Somebody had "... a deep theological question." for me today. I was really psyched when I was told that I was being looked for, then of course the question ended up being a dud. What was the devils name before he became Satan? The people asking already knew the answer, but they had some doubts so they started looking for me. C'mon people, give me a real question, something that requires a little thought or research. Maybe I should be the one asking the questions... Nah! I don't wanna see anyones head explode.
Discussed the discovery of a Nazi War Criminal living somewhere in the greater Pittsburgh area who is going to be deported. Apparently, this guy was one of the SS guards at one of the Death Camps, and now that the authorities know who he is, they're going to send him back to Germany. I don't know what to think about this. But this is what I've concluded...
If, during the time that this man has lived here, he has been a good, law-abiding citizen, with no ties to any of the anti-semitic, neo-nazi, anti-american groups that exist, then we may as well let him stay here. If the Jewish community feels that this man needs to be punished, then place him under house arrest for the rest of his days. I don't see the point of sending him back now. I am a firm believer that people can have a change of heart at any time. Maybe this man did. Of course that's for God to decide.
Taking tomorrow off to do a little bit of running around. I have to take Mom out to Brackenridge to close out Dads Credit Union account. Also have to go to her bank to examine the contents of the Safe-Deposit Box (Dads will and a few other items). If I have time to, I'll help Mom to set up an E-mail account so she can keep in contact with her family in Ohio. Eventually I'm going to have to make some time to check out Dads guns. Clean 'em up and make sure they're all still functional... Funny, how much we both enjoyed shooting and yet we never went together, except for a "Turkey Shoot", once. Only one of a small handful of regrets that I have. Now that it's been two months since he passed, I've had such things on my mind today. And yet, life goes on.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Blah, blah, blah

Ya know what? I just don't have it in me to write a decent post today. I'm tired, I'm cranky, and I just don't feel 'right'. So, I think I'll just say G-night!

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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Quote for 8/10/04

"The internet is an audience of one, a million times over."
Peter Guber

or in my case... a half a dozen times over.

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"A thought has escaped me."

(Blaise Pascal)

No, that is not the quote for this unspecified time frame. It's just the way I feel at the moment.
I thought I might have something worth saying today, being the first day back to work after my trip, but all I can come up with is...
It really sucked having to get up at 4:00 AM this morning after the extended weekend of sleeping in.
And this:
Rehashed my stories to some of my co-workers, others I just kinda shrugged and said "It was good.". Actually referred a few to my blog so I wouldn't have to say it all over again. Man is that self-serving or what? But then again, the whole concept of a blog seems a bit self-serving, doesn't it? Oh, well!
O.K., I'm done now... later!

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Quote for 8/9/04

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."
St Paul (Phillippians 4:8)

This quote in honor of Faiths newborn niece, and my own reflections on life after my trip. God bless.

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Monday, August 09, 2004

Soooo good to be home

well... I survived the trip, and am happy to say it was quite pleasant. Here's a brief rehashing:

Thursday.
Started out well. Told Mom at the beginning... "We've got about 6 and a half hours on the road together, I DO NOT want to spend it listening to you bitch and moan about Chris-n-Beth or Me-n-Jo.". So she didn't! Instead, we spent the ride reminiscing on my Dad, previous trips out, and a slew of other good topics. I learned how my parents met (you'd think that I'd have discovered that earlier in my 38 years). Mom talked about growing up on a farm, which is really hard for me to comprehend, even though I've known it all of my life, because my mother is such a suburbanite. And managed to take in a good deal of nice scenery. Including a really nice sunset, which inspired my mother to say something that I never would've expected from her, something that was somewhat poetic. She noted that the sky looked like a "cold, fall sky". I was impressed.
We arrived in Ft Recovery at about 10:45, not bad considering some of the construction we ran into. We stayed with My Aunt Kathleen, her and mom got to flappin their gums right away. Forgot to call Jo... I'm a dead man!

Friday.
Jo was O.K. with me not calling, she figured that I must've passed out on the couch shortly after arriving... True!
Skipped breakfast... Not by choice (thanks Mom!... Long story. If you knew her you'd just say "And that's different... how?"). My Aunt Ginny and Uncle Denny stopped in for a visit, then treated us to lunch. Listening to the conversation was quite informative. They recently retired from farming and I've always been curious about what that might mean... it means that they rent out their land to other farmers to grow crops on. Pretty neat to have that kind of steady retirement income. Learned some other stuff about farming that I didn't know before, but I won't bore yinz with it.
The place that we went to for lunch was different. It used to be just your plain old, run-of-the-mill, small midwestern town bar/resturaunt. I remember it from countless visits prior to this years. But the former owners retired and sold it to a family that moved to Ft. Recovery from Hawaii (Why in the Hell does anybody move TO Ft. Recovery FROM Hawaii ?!?!?). So now it's some bizarre hybrid creation that utilizes some Hawaiian decor with the existing midwestern structure and design. It's intriguingly hideous, yet strangely appealing. But the service really sucked, and later that evening, my cousins told me some things you never want to hear about an eatery.
Found a disposable camera at the drugstore! WOOHOO! Started getting some good shots right away. If they turn out decent enough (disposable camera = crappy telephoto views), I'll post them (once justterry shows me how).
Went out to my cousin Dans new house (my Aunt Kathleens son). He just bought it from one of our uncles with the 2 acres of land behind it. He's had the land cleared and is having a turkey pen constructed on it. Now, when they say 'turkey pen', they're not talking about some little shack for a dozen or so turkeys. They mean a building about 100 yds in length for about 12,000 turkey chicks... mmmmmmmmmmmm! Again, I won't bore you with anymore specifics.
Bobby has been enjoying his time here with his cousins. He's barely known them but they all seem to get along fine. They were out shooting the BB-gun at pop cans (that would be 'soda cans' for some of you). He's getting pretty good. Once we get home I may have to take him shooting with the real guns.

Saturday.
Up with the sun. I decided to take a walk into town. A very pleasant walk, indeed! More great shots for my crappy little disposable. If they don't turn out I'll just have to make sure that I get a good camera before we go back, and recapture all of them.
Stopped at the Fort to write down my thoughts so I could post them when I got home. And I took some time to meditate on what this little town, out in the middle of farm country, means to me. I'll share those thoughts later.
The rest of the morning was uneventful, so I just kinda lounged around and dozed here and there. But Mom and Aunt Kathleen were in the mood for pasta for dinner so I volunteered to make it (being italian by marriage and all). The only problem was that neither of them would stay out of the kitchen long enough to let me work my magic. Not only did they start everything before I was back from the store, they complained about everything that I wanted to add to the sauce... I give up!!! But dinner turned out O.K. anyway. My cousin Dan came over after church with his family, too. They seemed to like it.
After dinner we took a walk to the high school football field to watch a semi-pro game that was supposed to be going on there, but it was already wrapping up. so we just walked around a bit. Then we finished the evening by sitting down to watch a compilation video of old home movies that one of my uncles made for my mother. And I do mean OLD!!! Some of the footage was from my parents wedding, some from other aunts and uncles weddings, and even some from when my now 70 - 80 yr old aunts and uncles were TEENAGERS!!! Yeah, it's hard for me to believe it, too.

Sunday.
Family Reunion Day...
It was so incredible to see all of my aunts and uncles and all of the cousins that I remember from my youth. Catching up with them on how life is treating them, seeing their families, getting to know them all over again. Amazing! I actually have one cousin whose nephew (by marriage) is the center for the Steelers... Jeff Harding. But he can't score tickets for them either... just goes to show how hard Steeler tickets are to come by.
There isn't much else I can say about the reunion, other than I was glad I could make it, and they were all glad as well.
Ran into one problem though... Bobby wants to stay in Fort Recovery. I can't say as I blame him, I used to get the same feelings when I was a kid. It's just a totally different world out there.

Monday.
Coming home. We left early enough that if we ran into construction delays we wouldn't be getting home at Midnight. But we were also planning on stopping at Red Lobster near Dayton. We had stopped there one time before on our way home and mom has always had a fond memory of it. She admits that that was the last time she had eaten at a Red Lobster, just because she doesn't make the effort to get to the one out here that's less than a mile from my house. We still made really good time. It seems that all of the construction that we had run into on the way out started after 5:00 in the evening so today was smooth sailing. Mom and Bobby both napped most of the way, which is alright by me, except that that batteries died in my CD player and the adapter wasn't working. Arrived home about 4:30 and here I am. Did ya miss me?

And I haven't forgotten Faiths favorite part of my blog. Has withdrawl set in yet? See next post....

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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Quote for 8/4/04

"In adversity there is opportunity."
Yiddish Proverb

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Til next we meet

Well gang, This will be my last post for awhile. I’m going on vacation… kinda. I’m taking my mother to a Family Reunion in Fort Recovery, OH where we will also be celebrating her 70th birthday. That was last month, actually, but none of us saw the point of making the special trip when we could kill two birds with one stone (that and the whole issue of dad passing away). Leaving right after work on Thursday, and coming back sometime Monday. Keep us in your prayers for a safe trip, and a pleasant visit. And, hopefully, I’ll have some good stuff to share with all of yinz when I get back. Maybe even some pics.
See Ya!

Oh, I’ll also post one last quote for Faith.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Juggling my thoughts

Following are some thoughts that popped into my head throughout the day. None of which I considered to be worthy of an individual post, but stll important enough to say something about.

Music:
Listened to Evanescence - Fallen, today. First time in awhile. I'm still amazed at how such hardcore rock can have such an ethereal feel to it.
They put on a great live show, justterry and I saw them about a year ago. Amy Lee never stopped dancing around the stage. Cold was their opening act. Had a lot of fun with the lesbians in the mosh pit, they asked us to protect them. Mosh Pit... Terry and I still got it... barely. We could've died in there.
Listened to The Choir - Never Say Never (boxed set). There is such an incredible image created by the way they allude to demons when they sing of failed love. Awesome!
Pink Floyd... excuse me, just having "A Momentary Lapse of Reason". Lost in a great Gilmore jam again.

Politics:
John Kerry really needs to make up his mind once and for all (or at least one last time). So, does he wish to lead this country, or does he wish to follow the U.N.?
Teresa Heinz-Kerry needs to just shut-up now. "Four more years of Hell!" she says... Bite my hairy naked ass! Best economy in over 20 years. I'll say it again... Shut Up!

Religion:
So the Pope denounces 'radical' feminism, citing fundamental differences between men and women. Nuh-Uh! Ya think so? Haven't we learned anything from Faiths post.

News:
Who didn't see this coming?

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Animals rights?

Read this article first.

I've always wondered about some of those things. I'm particularly curious about whether or not we REALLY know that plants don't have any feelings. Especially, since I saw that episode of "Lost in Space" with the guy in the carrot suit.
While I'm a firm believer in the notion that animals should not be mistreated, I do NOT believe that animals have rights. The concept of rights implies responsibility, something that animals seem to be lacking. Actually, I should clarify this, I believe that only those animals who exhibit a sense of responsibility have rights. For example; I just took Sheba to the vet today. I found out that she is in great physical condition for a 14 year old dog of her size. I also found out that she has allergies, and as we suspected, arthritis. The visit, which included allergy medication, a rabies booster, and blood work to determine her eligibility for the arthritis medication, ran me about $200.00. Am I upset about this? No! Sheba is a part of this family, in my mind she has the same right to the medical care as my kids, because she has a responsibility to this family. Sheba watches out for us, she keeps us company, she plays with us, and I'm sure that there are other contributions to the family that she makes that I'm just not coming up with yet, but you get the point.
But animals in the wild... what responsibility do they have, aside from their part in the ecosystem? For many of them, other animals are just food. So why is it that there are so many people who are willing to treat my enjoyment of meat as something immoral or unnatural? I can understand wanting the animals that we eat to be treated as humanely as possible while they're being raised, but there's only so much you can do about it... they're food! for cryin' out loud!
O.K., this rant is over. I'll close with this thought...
Paul, and his late wife Linda, McCartney were quoted once as saying "We won't eat anything that used to have a face.". Funny, I won't eat much of anything that didn't.

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Best movie lines?

I disagree with this wholeheartedly. These are my choices for the best movie lines

1) "There can be only one!" - Conner MacCleod/Christopher Lambert - Highlander
2) "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villiany." - Obi-wan Kenobi/Sir Alec Guiness - Star Wars
3) " ..."oil can" what?" - The Scarecrow/Ray Bolger - The Wizard of Oz
4) "I'll be back." - Terminator/Arnold Schwartzeneggar - The Terminator
5) "It's good to be the king." - King Louis/Mel Brooks - The History of the World pt1
6) "Oh, God!... All the color. Looks like Walt Disney threw up." - Character name ?/Burt Reynolds - The End
7) "The suspense is terrible... I hope it'll last." Willy Wonka/Gene Wilder - Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
8) "It just doesn't matter! It just doesn't matter!" John Tripper/Bill Murray - Meatballs
9) "What we have here... is a failure to communicate." - The Warden/Strother Martin - Cool Hand Luke
10) "Cuz you're small... small... S, M, all!" Priest/Dean Martin - Cannonball Run

Of course, I'm open to suggestions for others.

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Monday, August 02, 2004

Quote for 8/2/04

"Always write the most important notes on the palm of your hand. That way, if you lose it, you have bigger things to worry about than what the note said."
M+

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3 Kill Rule: Revised

Recent incidents have led me to re-think some of the provisions of the 3 Kill Rule. Allow me to review the 'rule' for any newcomers.
Purpose: To maintain a courteous and civil society through the threat of lethal force from ordinary citizens who've been adversely affected by some morons selfish behavior.
Premise: Every person, age 18 and over, is permitted to kill 3 people without being prosecuted, but there are stipulations.
1) Only strangers. You are not permitted to kill anyone you know. No enemies, no in-laws, no ex-spouse/significant other, or the ex of a spouse/significant other. First revision; you may kill co-workers who are still within their 90 day probationary period... you'll probably be doing your employer a favor.
2) It cannot be premeditated. It must be a spur of the moment action. You are not permitted to go home and stew over what has happened.
3) New stipulation: In certain situations a multiple kill can be counted as only 1. In situations where two, or more, people are causing the 'incident', you are permitted to kill both for the price of 1. Example: A driver stops his/her car in the middle of the road to conduct a conversation with a pedestrian. Unless it is for the purpose of asking directions, both are legitamate targets of a single kill. Otherwise only the driver is eligible.

Remember the "Golden Rule" and there will never be a need for the "3 Kill Rule"!

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Sunday, August 01, 2004

Pet Peeves

The following is a list of some of my pet peeves. It is by no means a complete list, but it’ll do for now.

Drivers who…
…pull out in front of you doing the speed of light, then slow down to 5 mph below the posted speed limit. If you feel such an overwhelming need to get onto the road in front of me then you better stay up to speed.
…pull up behind you doing the speed of light in the hope of forcing you to either speed up, or get out of their way. You’ll only encourage me to slow down.
…weave in and out of traffic, only to arrive at the same traffic lights, intersections, etc… as you do, only 3 seconds before you. Was it really worth the effort?
…refuse to pull out from a stop because they’re too busy doing something else. When you’re in your car… DRIVE, don’t read, don’t talk on the phone, don’t eat, don’t do your make up, just DRIVE!!!
…stop in the middle of the road to have a conversation with a pedestrian. Don’t you morons have telephones?!? What in the world can either of you have to say to one another that couldn’t wait until you pulled over?
…let their children go unbuckled. It is both unsafe and stupid. If you really cared about your kids you’d have them snapped in.
…honk their horn when it’s obvious that the traffic isn’t going anywhere yet. No, your horn does not have any magical powers that can move the truck in front of me, so lay off!

Co-Workers who…
…take things out of the refrigerator and don’t put them back in. Yes, if I wanted warm Mountain Dew I’d have kept it in my locker not the fridge.
…have no bathroom etiquette. I don’t even want to discuss the things you morons smear on the stalls… haven’t you people grown up yet.
…borrow your tools and don’t return them. I can’t do my job without them either.
…whine about their job. You have no idea what a shitty job really is.
…brownnose. Pry your lips off the bosses ass long enough to take a breath and realize that you’re a loser.
…narc on other co-workers for things that they’re just as guilty of doing. Please explain the difference to me between you looking at an Avon catalogue, or someone else looking at a magazine… and vice versa.

Pedestrians who…
…step off the curb right in front of you. I’m surrounded by about a ton of steel, glass, and plastic, you got nothin’ but air… who REALLY has the right of way?
…run across one side of the street, but walk while they’re in front of your car. Yes, that little hop, skip, and jump you did to get to my side of the road was great, now do it again and get the hell out of my way!
…have conversations with people who’ve stopped in the middle of the road. Just because your sorry ass doesn’t have to be anywhere right now, doesn’t mean the rest of us should have to wait. Don’t you idiots have cell phones… oh, wait! That would suck too!

Churchgoers who…
…rush madly out of the sanctuary after the sermon. I’m sure that Jesus is sorry to interfere with your brunch plans, or the football game.
…act as if the parking lot, after having rushed from the sanctuary, is the Indianapolis Speedway. We are not jockeying for pole position here. Our homes and favorite restaurants will still be there a minute or two later.
…think they deserve an eternity in Heaven because they’ve been putting in their 1 hour each week. You do the math, your 1 hour a week may add up to a year or so, but not eternity.
…call themselves Christians without ever finding out what that really means. Going to church does not make you a Christian, anymore than going to a garage makes you a mechanic… you have to know what you’re doing to qualify.
…refuse to welcome visitors and strangers into the congregation. Church is not a social club, it is a place where we go to share our common faith with others.
…act as if their own sins are less offensive to God than those of non-churchgoers. Sin is sin. Deal with it!

Shoppers who...
... try to sneak into the "10 items or less" lane with more than 10 items. Learn to count you moron. You're not any more improtant than the rest of us who have to wait in line. Get over yourself!
... stop their cart in the middle of the isle and then stand beside it so that nobody else can get past them. Hey! Move! Just because I haven't shoved my cart half-way up your ass doesn't mean you don't deserve it.
... use the handicapped space as a cart return. Don't be so damned lazy! push the cart to where it belongs... YOU'RE NOT HANDICAPPED, you're just stupid!

Celebrities who…
… Oh, Hell! Pretty much everything that celebrities do pisses me off. Suffice it to say that I do NOT need spoiled rich people telling me what causes I should contribute to, or which rights I should be willing to surrender. You get paid to pretend to be someone, or something, other than what you really are… if you even know who that is… so why should I believe anything you say?

Politicians who…
… same as above pretty much. You make well over $100,000 per year, and you can vote yourselves raises from the money I PAY. So SHUT-UP about what the government can’t afford… we can’t afford you sticking your hands into our pockets anymore.

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Quote for 8/1/04

"The knowledge of God is very far from the love of Him."
Blaise Pascal

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"Even among misfits you're misfits!" - or Glory Days

(The quote: Yukon Cornelieus - from "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer")

As mentioned in an earlier post I've been spending a little bit of time reflecting on the Glory Days of my youth. Much of that time spent with justterry and Kenn. A period in our lives when we were young and tall and thin (like this photo of justterry). It was a time when either of the three of us could easily put away an entire large pan pizza at Pizza Hut, and neither put on a single ounce, nor get heartburn. A time when we ruled as princes among our friends and acquaintances, even though we were misfits.
For we were indeed the misfits... and that among a pentacostal church youth group, misfits enough in and of itself. We were a clique unlike any others because we transcended all of the others. We had one very simple, unspoken, unwritten but plainly un-derstood rule... let no one enter unbefriended!
We sat on a brick wall that formed a corner at the entrance to the fellowship hall where the youth group met. If anyone came in, that we didn't recognize, we made sure to meet them and make them feel welcomed. Too often we had seen the other cliques allow visitors to simply sneak in unnoticed, and then slip away, never to return. We refused to do that.
As a result, we ended up with friends within every clique. We had friends within the 'preppy', 'jock', 'burnout', and 'geek' cliques. Because of our efforts to treat strangers as friends, we gave the entire group the opportunity to make friends with them as well. Eventually as newcomers would find the clique that best suited their particular interests, they would gravitate towards those individuals. Yet they never forgot those of us who made them feel welcomed. Even recently I've had people approach me to tell me that they remembered me from those days.
We were warriors then! We worked miracles! And we faced life with a fire that consumed us. But time has crept slowly up on us. Now we are just plain, old, big and fat men. We have allowed the bitterness of the failure of dreams, and the losses of life, to taint us with sarcasm and even some disdain toward some of what is now missing. But I see it as a tempering process, even a refining. Because I know, beyond all doubt, that I owe the man I am today, to the kids we used to be...
Hey Terry, and Kenn !!! Thanks for everything !!!
M+

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