Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pride and Thanksgiving

I am such a turkey. I was too sick to make Thanksgiving dinner, and I can't even describe how dreadful that was. I love Thanksgiving; I love to cook; I love to be with friends and family; I think it's a wonderful holiday.

I don't like to admit defeat, however - I was defeated. I couldn't do something I loved. Though mostly Irish, I am more Jewish mother than anything. I remember Thanksgivings as a child, and my mom taught me how to make so much great food - and even now, I want that food on Thanksgiving. This is not the time to start throwing dried apricots in the stuffing, or trying weird new things. I don't want strange; I want familiar.

Well, Publix (our supermarket) made our Thanksgiving dinner (though I did make my own pies - commercial pies are just so depressing). I watched carefully as guests put food in their mouths, wondering if they liked it, or were just being polite. Did they know they were eating food straight from the industrial complex? Were they sorry they came?

And suddenly, it dawns: Thanksgiving was all about me - and not about the holiday. So this Thanksgiving, I learned about the danger and deceit of pride. I almost missed a lovely time with people I care about because I was so embarrassed about the food, and how it would reflect on folk's opinions of me.

Our family and friends had a great time - and they enjoyed the food that had been prepared for them. Though I didn't prepare it, I reheated it with love.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Japan may kill white whale

Say it ain't so.

Evidently Japan evades whale hunting laws in the name of scientific research.

"Japan uses a loophole in International Whaling Commission laws to hunt around 1,000 whales each year in the Southern Hemisphere, ostensibly for the purposes of scientific research."

"Conservationists fear that Migaloo is so accustomed to whale watching and fishing boats, that he will be easy pickings for Japanese hunters."

Read the article here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Interview and Kitchen Classroom


Two videos today: 1 - an interview with Alice Waters and 2- a look at the Edible Schoolyard kitchen/classroom and how the program works. Don't you just love her passion and intensity?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Alice Waters' Edible Schoolyard


Few people inspire me as much as Alice Waters. Here she walks around the "edible schoolyard," a place where children learn about food: how it's grown, what it looks like, smells like, tastes like - and how much work it is to bring real food to the table.

She is a great evangelist for her movement - she wants children to know that real food, wonderful food, is neither fast, cheap nor easy. It requires hard work, love and respect. Tomorrow, an interview.

Oh, and there's a brief American Express Card commercial that precedes the video; don't let it scare you away.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I think Peggy Noonan is my hero

Hillary, you are no Elizabeth I - or Margaret Thatcher, or Indira Ghandi. Read Things Are Tough All Over: But Mrs. Clinton is no Iron Lady - Peggy Noonan's latest contribution to Opinion Journal.

Hillary is a whiny girl, which of course needs to stop if she's going to be leader of the free world. And if you think that Ms. Noonan is just a party drone - well then, you are wronger than wrong. She gets to the bottom of the problem that is Hillary: dynastic elite phony powermonger. We've had years and years of them.

Please, Lord, give us leaders who understands that they bear responsibility for the people under their care, and will one day give an account for the way they have ruled.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Wiener Takes All: A Dogumentary

Read this movie review in Variety about dachshund racing. Evidently weiner races are surging in popularity and this film takes a look at the phenomenon. However, as a dachshund mom I take issue with the sport. Long backs and short legs invite all sorts of spinal injuries - note the previous post about the paraplegic pup.

Oh, they are loads of fun to watch, and contrary to what you might think, dachshunds are fast. Ah, the beauty of a weiner dog in flight; quite a sight to behold. But don't race them - please.

The movie isn't playing in Huntsville, but please let me know if you see it!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Winnie the weiner top dog

"One morning in August, 10 days before her owner died, Winnie the dachshund lost the use of her hind legs.

Her owner, Janet Garlick, died Sept. 6 from complications of heart-bypass surgery. She never got to see how far Winnie would come.

Winnie, an 8-year-old dachshund, waits for a treat Friday evening at her home. Winnie, who lost the use of her hind legs in August, is the winner in the Longview News-Journal's second annual Pet Star Calendar Contest.

The rehabilitation has been slow, her new owners say, but with the help of a special wheelchair for dachshunds, Winnie now can run up and down the sidewalk, stand tall for treats and even play in the grass of her front yard.

"It took her about a month to get used to it and realize how to get around," said Kathrine Linton, who inherited the dog from her grandmother. "But now she just rolls. She gets around."

Winnie is winning fans across East Texas. The 8-year-old wiener dog has wheeled herself to victory in the Longview News-Journal's second annual online Pet Star Calendar Contest. In fact, Winnie rolled over the competition, receiving 300 votes more than the second-place finisher, a mini-Australian shepherd named Red."

The entire article here.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Media Ecology Course January 18-20

News fascinates me, and I check headlines all through the day (and sometimes night). It’s 10:46 on Saturday morning, and I click on CNN:
• Outbreak fears in flood-hit Mexico
• Solar wing fixed
• Missing teacher, student found in Mexico
• Sketches released of girl stuffed in box
• Iraq plans action against Kurdish rebels
• Man sues over loss of penis
• Couples say “I do” to green weddings
• Evidence in Nowak case thrown out
• Nancy Grace has emotional breaking news
• Talking Jesus doll stirs debate
• Obama: Cheney is “crazy uncle in attic”
• A-Rod wanted $350 million extension
• Seinfeld rips into Larry King

I would argue that three of those thirteen headlines are actual news items. What do you think?

In January, T. David Gordon (religion and philosophy professor at Grove City College) returns to Westminster for a weekend to introduce us to media ecology. Official title – Christ, Media and the Humane Environment: An Introduction to Media Ecology.

Course description: This conference explores how different media (orality, handwriting, printed type, images, and various electronic media) shape individuals and cultures differently, and why. Every particular medium not only carries a message/value, but shapes the message/value it carries, and shapes those who receive the message/value. How do we wish to be shaped? If God creates/shapes us for certain purposes, which media will assist in shaping us in accord with those purposes?

Four Sessions:
I: Biblical Foundations
A. Romans 12:1-2--Conformed or Transformed?
B. Genesis 1-2--Cultivating God’s Image and God’s Garden
C. Prohibition of Images in Decalogue: Monotheism Needs Language
D. The Present Challenge: Understanding How Our Media-Saturated Environment Either Contributes to or Detracts from Our Task as Cultivators

II: How We Know Shapes What We Know and What We Become
A. Overview of Media
1. Orality: The Primary Medium.
2. Chirography (handwriting).
3. Typography and Reading. Gutenberg
4. Photographic Media. Mass-produced images.
5. Electronic media and mass media (telegraph was electric but not mass)
B. Senses, Sensoria and Sensibilities.
C. The Medium is the Message (McLuhan) or the Metaphor (Postman) or the Environment (Gitlin)

III: Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Television.
New York : Viking, 1985, Neil Postman
A. The Typographic Era.
B. The Television Era

IV: How the News Makes Us Dumb
A. Walter Lippmann. Public Opinion (1922).
B. Daniel Boorstin. The Image: A Guide to Psuedo-Events in America.
C. C. John Sommerville on How the News Makes us Dumb: The Death of Wisdom in an Information Society.

Gotta go, someone has to check up on that Talking Jesus Doll...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Talking Jesus doll stirs debate

Oy vey.

"The battery-powered, button-activated doll is able to recite a handful of different bible verses and the story of Jesus feeding the multitudes with five loaves and two fish. It also comes with a booklet giving parents tips on how to shape a child's faith."

"But Mark Linongello, who goes to Catholic Church, said anything telling kids about Christianity is good. "As a doll, at least they're getting to know Him," Linongello said."

How did you get to know Jesus? As an action figure?

"My Jesus doll teaches me Bible verses."
"My GIJoe just killed your Jesus doll."
"Did not."
"Did too!"

Wow, we want to know Jesus but we forget about weensy things like the second commandment.

Are the people who want Jesus dolls the same people who want the Ten Commandments posted?

Real soul for real people



My, my how I miss real soul music. I know, Amy Winehouse, blah, blah, blah. Watch the real thing - she's not 20 and she weighs more than 80 pounds. Her name is Sharon Jones and behind her are the Dap Kings. Watch, listen and weep. Go see her in concert. She'll be in Boston (Cambridge) November 9 and in DC December 15.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Be bald, be strong

Carl Trueman has done it again. Please, please read his "To Baldly Go" article for the Reformation 21 blog. He writes regularly a "Wages of Spin" column and they're always good.

But this is great. Don't try to be young again - after all, the Bible speaks to wisdom, and the blessings of age.

The opening paragraph:
"One of the strangest trends of recent years has surely been the extended adolescence of the Western male. A recent survey showed that the average age for video game players is now somewhere in the mid-30s; and the fact that trivia such as the result of a baseball match can generate passion and high blood-pressure more than the AIDS crisis in Africa, the problem of global warming, and world poverty, says something about the juvenile priorities of the most well fed, best educated, and financially comfortable generation in history. Not that enjoying sport is a bad thing; there is nothing like beating the Welsh again and again at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to set my own pulse racing and to cause my chest to swell with English pride; but, as Pascal might have said, it is one thing for such entertainment to be a little light relief from the drudge of daily life; another for it to become a major diversion which allows us to avoid the really serious realities of adult life."

Good Taste Takes a Holiday

Read this fun article in the NYT.

"The Dining section asked dozens of chefs, cooks, nutritionists, bakers and recovering trick-or-treaters three questions about their favorite Halloween treats from the past, the present and from their fevered imaginations."

They asked "What did you most want when trick or treating as a child?" One response:

“I well remember my disgust whenever someone offered me a homemade brownie or, worst of all, an apple. Halloween is the high holy day of high fructose corn syrup. And if we can keep it to one or two such days, why not?”
Michael Pollan, journalist and author
“The Omnivore’s Dilemma”

Read the entire article. So what was your favorite Halloween candy?

"Unwelcoming" U.S. and tourism decline

What do you think about this? This article discusses the sharp decline in tourism since the 9/11 attacks. Visitors to our country feel unwelcome.

"Travelers around the world feel the US entry experience is among the world's worst," well, sure, if you come into NYC. Ever flown into JFK from overseas? It's the pits whether you're a tourist or a citizen. And I'm not sure if entry was a better experience before 9/11, or if people's perceptions colored their experience.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Counseling



Thank you Jim and Marianna for sharing this with us.

How Much I Owe

I think about heaven a lot - it sounds strange to say that I can't wait to be dead, but that's how it is. At a funeral years ago, Jason Shelton preached a sermon about heaven that was so powerful, we all wished we were there. To live is Christ, to die is gain. So I give you this beautiful poem by Robert Murray M'Cheyne (#545 in the Trinity Hymnal):

When this passing world is done,
when has sunk yon glaring sun,
when we stand with Christ in glory,
looking o'er life's finished story,
then, Lord, shall I fully know,
not till then, how much I owe.

When I hear the wicked call
on the rocks and hills to fall,
when I see them start and shrink
on the fiery deluge brink,
then, Lord, shall I fully know,
not till then, how much I owe.

When I stand before the throne,
dressed in beauty not my own,
when I see thee as thou art,
love thee with unsinning heart,
then, Lord, shall I fully know,
not till then, how much I owe.

When the praise of heav'n I hear,
loud as thunders to the ear,
loud as many waters' noise,
sweet as harp's melodious voice,
then, Lord, shall I fully know,
not till then, how much I owe.

Chosen not for good in me,
wakened up from wrath to flee,
hidden in the Savior's side,
by the Spirit sanctified,
teach me, Lord, on earth to show,
by my love, how much I owe.

Wednesday Night and the power of Skittles

I love Wednesday Night Fellowship! We share a meal together as a church family, and then we have classes: elementary kids study the childrens’ catechism, junior high studies Colossians, high school studies the Culture of the New Testament, and there are three adult class options – Genesis, Galatians, and The Heidelbeg Catechism.

The power of Skittles? A little background: my son Thomas memorized his catechism questions because he was rewarded with Skittles (thank you, Jamie Gildard). So I reward my kids with candy - yes, candy. Chocolate (my kids love dark) and sugar bombs (for Daniel) - whatever works. I am not above rewards, and after a long day there's nothing like a little piece of candy to say "well done."

I teach the fourth and fifth grade class, and I am convinced they are some of the smartest people in the church – they’re also squirmy and funny. Our curriculum is tied to the catechism, and this unit is “How Can I Know I Will Live Forever.” The idea is to instill confidence in children; not confidence in themselves, but confidence in Christ’s work on their behalf.

We begin the lessons with a simple truth: Adam and Eve are our first parents. Why is this so important? Because we need to understand the fallenness of our race; we need to understand our connection to each other as “related” and in the image of God; and we need to understand Adam and Eve’s special position.

So our class memorizes scripture (“Adam named his wife Eve because she would become the mother of all the living”) and talks about what it means to be a child of Adam. Every one in the class is a relative; we all share the curse of sin; we are all alike.

As there was a first parent, a first Adam, thankfully there is a second Adam. Our children know that He came to accomplish what the first Adam did not. I am thankful for Alyssa, Anna Katherine, Ashley, Caleb, Daniel, Jenny, Laura, Lucy, Rachel, the Rebeccas (one, two and three) and Sadie who remind me that to whom much is given, much is required.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Happiness Gap

"Some elections are defined by the gap between the rich and the poor. Others are defined by the gap between the left and the right. But this election will be shaped by the gap within individual voters themselves — the gap between their private optimism and their public gloom."

Read this fascinating op-ed in the NYT by David Brooks.

"If one were to advise a candidate about the happiness gap, you’d say: first, don’t try to be inspiring or rely on the pure power of authenticity. In these cynical days, voters are not interested in uplift.

Second, don’t propose any program that will interfere with the way voters are currently organizing their lives. They don’t want you there.


Third, don’t expect people to cast votes according to their income. Democrats do as well among top earners as Republicans. People are more interested in repairing the nation’s health than in boosting their personal bottom line.

Fourth, offer voters a few big proposals (and strategies to implement them) that respond to global threats. Repeat those proposals at every event and forget about everything else.
In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt could launch the New Deal because voters wanted to change the country and their own lives. But today, people want the government to change so their own lives can stay the same. Voters don’t want to be transformed; they want to be defended."

Bunky the witch wins lottery

Mild-mannered accountant and Wiccan priest Elwood "Bunky" Bartlett won $49 million in the Maryland lottery. He's using his winnings to open a school, but they won't just study Wicca - he's open to Druidism and Shamanism, too.

Read the story here - there's also a little video.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Best Sellers and Bombs

This is an interesting article in the NYT about home and design shops - what sells, and what doesn't. They interview shop owners around the country and take a look at their biggest sellers and their biggest flops.

The sleeping pig above was a success (at $125).

There is a slideshow at the end of the article - make sure you take a look.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sixty Minutes

Have you seen the 60 Minutes story on Joel Osteen? I had zero interest until I found out that Michael Horton was asked to comment on Osteen's "ministry."

This link goes to the transcript and video.

Reporter Byron Pitts doesn't appear to buy what Osteen's selling, and asks some interesting questions. The piece is only 11 minutes - watch it!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Aunt Martha

We left Nashville early when we received the call that Aunt Martha died. Charlie remembers his dear aunt well in this post on his blog.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Hermitage

We visited The Hermitage on Wednesday. If you're ever in the Nashville area, plan to spend a day there.

They have a great audio tour that takes you all over the grounds, and there are docents who guide you personally through the mansion.

Charlie and I had a blast - we couldn't have ordered a more
beautiful day.

The Opry

You should go to the Opry. Charlie grew up with this, and country music is a great love of his. Clarification: he loves country, not pop country; he loves bluegrass, too. Porter Waggoner was supposed to be there as well, but fell ill before showtime.

They pack a lot into 90 minutes. In order of appearance, we saw -


Ricky Skaggs and The Whites. Bluegrass, Southern Gospel, Charlie could have listened to them all night. They talked more about the Lord than most churches do on Sunday, and of course that was all right with us.



Trent Tomlinson - looks like Steve Van Zant, sounds like country baritone. He sang the "Angel with no halo and one wing in the fire" song which was hokey but humorous.

Charlie says the difference between country music and every other genre is that bad country songs are still fun. I think he's right.


John Conley - old-timer, sang a few songs and told a lot of jokes. Still entertaining, even for those of us who didn't know him and had never heard his music.




Emerson Drive - again, didn't know them either. Put on a good show, even though they had a picture on the jumbotron of their former bass player who committed suicide. They sang a song in his memory, but it was strange to be looking at someone's very large and alive face when they died at their own hand. So sad.

Jason Aldean - looks country, sounds more rock. I coveted his band - they could play.





Of course, Little Jimmy Dickens; an opry fixture. Even I knew who he was. Told more jokes than he played, but that was fine. He was a hit with the geriatric crowd, lots of old people/memory loss/little blue pill humor.

He was wearing an unbelievable sparkling purple suit; I had to admire the guy just for that.

And then, Carrie Underwood. I had to explain to Charlie who she was. We're not pop fans, but she had a great voice, and was even prettier in person. She ended her show with "How Great Thou Art," and nailed it.

When you go, remember this: you are allowed to take still photos! No video, of course, but this was a shock to me. While the announcer was speaking before C.U. came on, people got out of their seats (you're allowed to do that, too) and rushed to the front of the stage to get her picture.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Aquarium

The Aquarium is a restaurant chain. There's one in Nashville, at Opry Mills - right near our hotel.

We were on vacation, but I was sick; I didn't really have the energy to do anything. So we vegged out until lunchtime, and Charlie took me to The Aquarium.

I'm not a fan of chain restaurants, much less theme-y chain restaurants. I'd rather eat in a local joint anytime - but we gave it a shot.

It is a very strange experience. On one side of the restaurant is a gigantic aquarium; floor-to-ceiling, filled with all kinds of corals and tropical fish. The fish are absolutely elegant - yet on display in a strange way. Opposite the aquarium are tables, with banquette/booths lining the wall.

Everything is painted a fluoro-robin's egg blue, with nemo-light mobiles hanging from the ceiling, seahorse salt and pepper shakers, garish ocean murals. In other words, the decor is in direct opposition to the natural loveliness of the fish.

And so you're sitting there, looking at live, gorgeous aquatic wildlife in a setting of cartoony faux-cean. And of course you're there to eat them, too.

So I asked Charlie: When God told Adam to fill the earth and subdue it, did he have in mind something like this?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Worship

We visited a fascinating church on Sunday. One must be careful selecting a church when travelling. We're boring Presbyterians, and strange things turn us on: expository preaching, reverence, dialogical worship. Within our denomination there is little consistency in worship. You could find videos on the jumbotron, Batman and Robin in the pulpit, God knows what.

Charlie makes the call because he knows the city. The church is impressive; they're big - huge, even. I mean, their new building has buttresses for heaven's sake. Neo-gothic; billion dollar pipe organ; a hill overlooking the city. Worship was serious, music was thoughtful, sermon was biblical.

Not one person spoke to us.

Nashville

Okay, Kate, so I've not been around much anymore. Short story: we took off for Nashville for fall break, I got sick, there was a death and a funeral, a return to work and a complete lack of posting passion.

When friends (that you see once a year) post a comment wondering on your whereabouts, perhaps it's time to come out of the cave. You'll notice that the post says October 8 - that, of course, is a lie. It's October 26th; but in the bloggin world, it can be whatever day you wish. I wish for the eighth - it was a Monday (I don't usually like to post on weekends) and I was going to chronicle my fascinating vacation for the entire world. Or my friends. Or my mother.

We arrived in Nashville on Saturday the sixth; a friend from church/school has a timeshare, and it was fabulous. Two bedrooms, whirlpool tub, outdoor/indoor pools, full kitchen, karaoke in the lobby. Good times.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Did someone say dachshund?

My friend Becca sent me pictures of Halloween costumes that she was considering for her pups. So I went looking for something that would be perfect for my dachshunds.

Here are the weiners!

I was so happy...until she sent me an email called "Why Dogs Bite People."
It was a photo collection of dogs in costumes - like this.

So I'm rethinking the bun-and-mustard thing for now...

Leg update

Okay, here's what happened. John Wood loses a leg in an airplane crash, but has it embalmed so he can have all his remains cremated when he dies.

He stows the leg in a barbecue smoker that he keeps in a storage unit. Alas, he does not pay the rent and the contents of his bin are sold at auction.

Enter Shannon Whisnant, high bidder. He discovers the leg and asks authorities to remove it - then has a change of heart, figuring he could make money exhibiting the leg ($3 adults, $1 children). Whisnant will go to court to get the leg back "I bought it. It's mine."

Police say he gave up his claim when he asked them to remove it. Read the article here.

Daisy the dachshund digs mammoth bone on beach

I am always on the lookout for stories like this one. Ah, the triumph of the dachshund spirit.

Read the story here.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Custody Battle Erupts Over Amputated Human Leg Found in Smoker

Yes, beloved, that's the real headline.

Do you ever wonder how news makes it to print, video, or the internet? I sure do; I wonder all the time. Do newspeople sit around a table and say, "Well, we've got Iraq, North Korean nukes, Darfur, 2008 Presidential Elections, and a human leg found in a barbecue smoker in North Carolina."

I could say you must watch this video of the custody battle regarding said leg - but instead I'll just put it out there and see if you take the bait.

Really, I swear Jeff Foxworthy made this up, or put this on, or directed, or produced. The only shock that registered was the fact that it didn't happen in Alabama! Dang.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Michael Horton on 60 Minutes

Dr. Michael Horton will appear on 60 Minutes Sunday, October 14th. He's asked to comment on the ministry of Joel Osteen. I guess things get serious when the 60 Minutes chariots thunder towards your megachurch.

Dr. Horton is one of my favorite theologians, and his book Too Good to be True is splendid. I have a link to Modern Reformation to the right; check to see if there's a radio station in your area that plays The White Horse Inn. It's all good.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Talk like a pirate day

ARRRRR! Today is Talk like a pirate day - for real.

From Reuters:

"September 19 is your once-a-year chance to don an eye patch, sport a ridiculously large hat and keep on saying 'Arrrrr.'"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New dog movie for Christmas

From the Huntsville Times:

"Sheree Le Mon has a passion for animals and for writing movie scripts. So the part-time Fayetteville, Tenn., resident, who also has homes in New York and Montana, decided to combine her two loves. She wrote "For the Love of a Dog," based on a true story about a military family whose dog, Semper Fi, survives cancer, thanks to a devoted family."

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Tennessee Valley, Fayetteville is about 30 miles north of Huntsville.

Read the article here.

Oh, and that's not the movie dog in the picture - that's my Jem.

Monday, September 17, 2007

USAF Marathon

We were in Dayton, Ohio this weekend so Charlie could run the Air Force Marathon. The race began and ended at the Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson AFB. It's quite an impressive place. The Air Force hosts a dinner the night before in the museum - imagine eating in the shadow of a B-52!

The marathon began at daybreak (7:30 a.m.), but the "before" photo of Charlie was taken about 6:45-ish. It was dark and cold, but CW insisted it was perfect running weather: cool, low humidity.





See the orange tag on Charlie's shoe? It's a chip that tells you exactly what time you crossed the finish line.











C-5s flew overhead. Unfortunately, this picture captures very little. The planes are humongous and loud!






I know, doesn't he look better in the after picture? When I greeted him at the finish line, he said "That was so much fun!"

They would not have been my words after running 26.2 miles.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Next stop, Graeters

Last stop on the Ohio food tour, Graeter's ice cream. My sister-in-law introduced me to Graeter's - as a matter of fact, I think my brother proposed to her at Graeter's.

You must go - or order and have it shipped. Yes, they will ship it to you. Kind of Rock Star, but acceptable.

Skyline

Oh, yes it is. Hey Peipon! Guess what we're having for lunch?

My son reminded me that I would be traveling in Skyline country. I told him Charlie would eat a coney for him.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Happy Birthday, John!

It's a big birthday week. Today is John's birthday (he's on the left, his brother Thomas on the right). He was born 23 years ago today at 9:30 a.m.

My sons are such a blessing to me, and John is a delight. He spent his last spring break landscaping my front yard. He always makes me laugh, and is easygoing yet hard-working. And he's cute, too!

Thomas, call your brother and wish him a happy birthday.
.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Dayton, Ohio

We're off to Dayton, Ohio for the Air Force Marathon. Charlie's running on Saturday. I'm the cheering section/photographer.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Joe!

Joe Weeks turned 49 on Monday (September 10) and we had a big party to celebrate.

The photo he's holding is a picture of his 3rd grade class from Presbyterian Day School - now Westminster Christian Academy.
It was a gift from Mary Lou Ivey, whose son Paul was in the same class. It's Mary Lou's birthday, too, but we celebrated her (80th!) on Saturday.




Opening presents never gets old.







Choice of cake? CHOCOLATE.









The crowd assembles in our backyard...








First the cook-out. Joe and Craig nosh on burgers.








Everyone wants an audience with the birthday boy. Now it's Mary Hoogwerf's turn.








Here's Joe and Mary Lou!
Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

How to make a Barbie electric chair

Looking for that extra-special science fair idea?

Let your first place dreams come true with the Barbie Electric Chair. Read all about it here.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Pope is in the house

Read this Reuters article.

Here are some excerpts:

"Pope Benedict on Sunday called on Catholics to keep the Sabbath a day set aside for reflection on their faith and the fate of the planet and not surrender it to "the mad rush of the modern world"."

"Calling Sunday the Church's "weekly feast of creation," the Pope said the day also should be a weekly reminder of the dangers to the planet."

"At a time when creation seems to be endangered in so many ways through human activity, we should consciously turn our attention to this dimension of Sunday too," he said, speaking in German.

Last Sunday in central Italy, Benedict led the Catholic Church's first 'eco-friendly' youth rally and told up to half a million people that world leaders must make courageous decisions to save the planet "before it is too late".

Under Benedict and his predecessor John Paul, the Vatican has become progressively "green". It has installed photovoltaic cells to produce electricity and hosted a scientific conference to discuss the ramifications of global warming and climate change, widely blamed on human use of fossil fuels.

In July, Benedict said the human race must listen to "the voice of the Earth" or risk destroying its very existence."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Airline sacrifices goats to appease sky god

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - "Officials at Nepal's state-run airline have sacrificed two goats to appease Akash Bhairab, the Hindu sky god, following technical problems with one of its Boeing 757 aircraft, the carrier said Tuesday.

Nepal Airlines, which has two Boeing aircraft, has had to suspend some services in recent weeks due the problem.

The goats were sacrificed in front of the troublesome aircraft Sunday at Nepal's only international airport in Kathmandu in accordance with Hindu traditions, an official said.

"The snag in the plane has now been fixed and the aircraft has resumed its flights," said Raju K.C., a senior airline official, without explaining what the problem had been.

Local media last week blamed the company's woes on an electrical fault. The carrier runs international flights to five cities in Asia.

It is common in Nepal to sacrifice animals like goats and buffaloes to appease different Hindu deities."