Happy New Year's Eve!!!

December 31
by S.E. Kiser

Best day of all the year, since I
May see thee pass and know
That if thou dost not leave me high
Thou hast not found me low,
And since, as I behold thee die,
Thou leavest me the right to say
That I tomorrow still may vie
With them that keep the upward way.

Best day of all the year to me,
Since I may stand and gaze
Across the grayish past and see
So many crooked ways
That might have led to misery,
Or might have ended at Disgrace-
Best day since thou dost leave me free
To look the future in the face.

Best day of all days of the year,
That was so kind, so good,
Since thou dost leave me still the dear
Old faith in brotherhood-
Best day since I, still striving here,
May view the past with small regret,
And, undisturbed by doubts or fear,
Seeks paths that are untrod as yet.


Which One Do Ya Like?

The Bucket List

Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman star as two terminally ill cancer patients who decide to break out of the hospital and live their last days to the fullest in director Rob Reiner's seriocomic road movie. Edward Cole (Nicholson) is a corporate billionaire who is currently sharing a hospital room with blue-collar mechanic Carter Chambers (Freeman). Though initially the pair seems to have nothing in common, conversation gradually reveals that both men have a long list of goals they wish to accomplish before they kick the bucket, and an unrealized desire to discover what kind of men they really are. But one can't accomplish such lofty objectives from the confines of a hospital bed, so now, in order to live their lives to the absolute fullest, Edward and Carter will have to make a break for it. With a checklist that includes playing the poker tables in Monte Carlo, consuming copious amounts of caviar, racing the fastest machines on four wheels, and much more, these two terminally ill men will do their best to fit a lifetime of experience into their last remaining days while forging an unlikely, but truly remarkable, friendship. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

This looks like quite an entertaining movie to me. Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson are both good actors and seem to be respectable celebrities as well. It ought to be pretty good. That being said, I was wondering what things might be on your bucket list. I'll leave my list here with rights to amend it later.

-- See my children grow up and start life on their own

-- Become a better father to my children and a better husband to my wife

-- Visit Israel and celebrate with God's people in the land he gave to them

-- Walk on the volcanoes of Hawaii

-- Wander around Europe

-- Go back to see more of Africa

-- Hike through the Black Forest in Germany

-- Build a log cabin

-- Hunt an elk

-- Hunt a black bear

-- Attend culinary school


Clash of the Titans!!!

Tonight is one of the most anticipated football games ever. It will be the first simulcast since CBS and NBC showed the inaugural Super Bowl in 1967. Originally the game was one of the eight games held back for the NFL Network but they decided to offer it to the other networks. My personal prediction for the outcome is for the Giants to win by 6. This prediction is founded on a desire to see New England go down and in no way portrays any scrap of conventional wisdom or even common sense. The Ravens already beat them in every way and the ignorance of their coach threw the game away. It's amazing how many games have been lost this year in the NFL because of a coach calling an untimely timeout. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for 4 touchdown passes from Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress.


Chief Joseph -- A Great Mind

I was at Vinegar and Honey this morning and Jan had a wonderful post there entitled "Natural Laws of the Cherokee." It got me thinking about one of my personal heroes Chief Joseph. Joseph was a great and selfless leader to his people. If he had a flaw it was his kindness and his willingness to not fight but rather to make concessions to keep peace. This character strength on his part was a weakness when put against those who would not keep their word. All in all he was an unapologetic lover of freedom and a kind and free spirit. We would do well to teach our children the ideas that he, and many other Native American tribes, lived by. Enjoy his wisdom:

"At last I was granted permission to come to Washington and bring my friend Yellow Bull and our interpreter with me. I am glad I came. I have shaken hands with a good many friends, but there are some things I want to know which no one seems able to explain. I cannot understand how the Government sends a man out to fight us, as it did General Miles, and then breaks his word. Such a government has something wrong about it. I cannot understand why so many chiefs are allowed to talk so many different ways, and promise so many different things. I have seen the Great Father Chief [President Hayes]; the Next Great Chief [Secretary of the Interior]; the Commissioner Chief; the Law Chief; and many other law chiefs [Congressmen] and they all say they are my friends, and that I shall have justice, but while all their mouths talk right I do not understand why nothing is done for my people. I have heard talk and talk but nothing is done. Good words do not last long unless they amount to something. Words do not pay for my dead people. They do not pay for my country now overrun by white men. They do not protect my father's grave. They do not pay for my horses and cattle. Good words do not give me back my children. Good words will not make good the promise of your war chief, General Miles. Good words will not give my people a home where they can live in peace and take care of themselves. I am tired of talk that comes to nothing. It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and all the broken promises. There has been too much talking by men who had no right to talk. Too many misinterpretations have been made; too many misunderstandings have come up between the white men and the Indians. If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian he can live in peace. There need be no trouble. Treat all men alike. Give them the same laws. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. You might as well expect all rivers to run backward as that any man who was born a free man should be contented penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases. If you tie a horse to a stake, do you expect he will grow fat? If you pen an Indian up on a small spot of earth and compel him to stay there, he will not be contented nor will he grow and prosper. I have asked some of the Great White Chiefs where they get their authority to say to the Indian that he shall stay in one place, while he sees white men going where they please. They cannot tell me.

I only ask of the Government to be treated as all other men are treated. If I cannot go to my own home, let me have a home in a country where my people will not die so fast. I would like to go to Bitter Root Valley. There my people would be happy; where they are now they are dying. Three have died since I left my camp to come to Washington.

When I think of our condition, my heart is heavy. I see men of my own race treated as outlaws and driven from country to country, or shot down like animals.

I know that my race must change. We cannot hold our own with the white men as we are. We only ask an even chance to live as other men live. We ask to be recognized as men. We ask that the same law shall work alike on all men. If an Indian breaks the law, punish him by the law. If a white man breaks the law, punish him also.

Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself -- and I will obey every law or submit to the penalty.

Whenever the white man treats the Indian as they treat each other then we shall have no more wars. We shall be all alike -- brothers of one father and mother, with one sky above us and one country around us and one government for all. Then the Great Spirit Chief who rules above will smile upon this land and send rain to wash out the bloody spots made by brothers' hands upon the face of the earth. For this time the Indian race is waiting and praying. I hope no more groans of wounded men and women will ever go to the ear of the Great Spirit Chief above, and that all people may be one people.

Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekht has spoken for his people."

Chief Joseph - Nez Perce


Kwanzaa -- the holiday and the founder

Here is the basis of Kwanzaa:

"The name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza", meaning "first fruits". The choice of Swahili, an East African language, reflects its status as a symbol of Pan-Africanism, especially in the 1960s, though most African-Americans have West African ancestry. Karenga stated "People think it's African, but it's not. I came up with Kwanzaa because Black people wouldn't celebrate it if they knew it was American.

Central to Karenga's collectivist doctrine are the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles of Blackness, which are reinforced during the seven days of Kwanzaa:
Umoja (unity)—To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
Kujichagulia (self-determination)—To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
Ujima (collective work and responsibility)—To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.
Ujamaa (cooperative economics)—To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
Nia (purpose)—To make our collective vocation the building and development of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
Kuumba (creativity)—To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
Imani (faith)—To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle."

Here is the founder of Kwanzaa:

"Maulana Karenga (born July 14, 1941), also known as Ron Everett, is a controversial African American author and political activist who was once convicted of felony assault and false imprisonment. He is best known as the founder of Kwanzaa, a week-long Pan-African celebration observed each year from December 26 to January 1, initiated in California in 1967.

At the beginning of the 1960s, Karenga met Malcolm X and began to embrace Black nationalism. Following the Watts riots in 1965, he interrupted his doctoral studies at UCLA and joined the Black Power movement. During this time, he took on the title "maulana", Swahili for "master teacher." maulana also meant lord. He formed the US Organization, an outspoken Black nationalist group.
In 1969, Us and the Black Panthers disagreed over who should head the new Afro-American Studies Center at UCLA. According to a Los Angeles Times article, Karenga and his supporters backed one candidate, the Panthers another. The Black Student Union set up a coalition to try to bring peace between the groups, which ended when two members of the Black Panthers, John Jerome Huggins and Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter were shot dead in an altercation.

In 1971 Karenga, Louis Smith, and Luz Maria Tamayo were convicted of felony assault and false imprisonment for assaulting and torturing two women from the Us organization, Deborah Jones & Gail Davis, over a two day period. [4] A May 14, 1971 article in the Los Angeles Times described the testimony of one of the women: "Deborah Jones, who once was given the Swahili title of an African queen, said she and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothes. She testified that a hot soldering iron was placed in Ms. Davis's mouth and placed against Ms. Davis's face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vise. Karenga also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said.

In Karenga's words "The Christian is our worse enemy. Quiet as it's kept, it was a Christian who enslaved us. Quiet as it's kept it's a Christian who burns us. Quiet as it's kept it's a Christian who beats us down on the street; and quiet as it's kept when the thing goes down it'll be a Christian that's shooting us down. You have to face the fact that if the Christian is doing all this there must be something wrong with Christanity."

(all information is courtesy of wikipedia)


Merry Christmas!!!

Luke 2

1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
21And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
22And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
23(As it is written in the law of the LORD, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
24And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
25And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
26And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
28Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
30For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
33And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
34And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
35(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
36And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
37And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
39And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
40And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
41Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.
42And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
43And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
44But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
45And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
46And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
47And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
48And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
49And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? Knowest ye not that I must be about my Father's business?
50And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
51And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
52And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.


Christmas Villains

Okay folks it's time to get down to some serious Christmas business. It's time to find out who's the best Christmas villian of the 70's. Everybody weigh in with your opinions and reasons.


Natural Cough Remedies?

1 teaspoon of honey
1 tablespoon of lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
Stir mixture in a little bit of drinking water and drink immediately.
Take this 2-3 times a day.

Has anyone tried a natural remedy like this one here for kids coughing? One of my girls has been coughing at night for probably six weeks now and we can't seem to shake it. She usually does okay during the day, though the last week or so she's coughed some during the day as well. We've tried different medicines but don't really like keeping her medicated. We've rubbed Vick's on her feet at night. We've given her water to have in bed with her. Any advice from people who have been there would be appreciated. Thanks in advance for the help!


All friends are welcome!!!

As the cold weather sets in across our country I would like to invite everyone to come and sit by our fire. Join with us as we sing and enjoy a cup of hot cider or egg nog. There's plenty of wood so don't worry about how late it gets. Come one -- come all!!!


The never ending pursuit of the beautiful -- part 7

Cornelia Arnolda Johanna ten Boom was born April 15, 1892 in Holland. Corrie had two sisters, Betsy and Nollie, and one brother, Willem. Corrie's father, Casper ten Boom ran the house alone after Corrie's mother died in 1918. The Beje was the name of the house that Casper had inherited from his father along with the watch shop in the front lower section of the house. When she was 48 years of age, on seeing what was happening in Holland under the national-socialist regime -especially the unrelenting persecution of Jews- she decided that she had to do something about it. She then devised a way to assist them, an idea that met at once with her father's and brother's approval. She conceived the idea that the family's house be used as a refuge. Some six or seven persons could be hidden there. When her idea was put into practice, four of the refugees were Jews while the rest were Dutch resistance fighters. On some occasions they stayed there for a few hours only, using it as a waiting place in transit to other safe-havens; on other occasions they remained for months until they could leave for other places. But once the idea was put into operation the flow of persecuted persons became permanent. In this way, little by little, Corrie found herself heading a network formed by some eighty persons, the "Beje" Group ("Beje" the business name of the shop), who devoted themselves to seek refuges in houses of other courageous Dutchmen who could grant asylum in the way she herself did. Most of her time she was busy taking care of the refugees, once she could find a place where to lodge them. It is estimated that in this way she saved the lives of about 800 Jews, as well as numerous members of the Dutch resistance and students who were persecuted for refusing to cooperate with the Nazis.

In 1978 she suffered a cerebral-vascular stroke that left her paralyzed. She passed away on April 15, 1983, on her 91st birthday. It is most remarkable that she should have left this world on that particular date. In accordance with Jewish tradition, only those persons specially blessed by God are granted the privilege of dying on the same date of their birthday.

Corrie ten Boom was an ordinary person with the fortitude of character to live an extraordinary life. She was certainly not alone in her efforts but her own dedication makes her stand out. As a reward for the work she did the Nazis put her in a concentration camp. The rest of her family died or became forever missing in their custody. Their sacrifice is a legacy to all of us to stand against all forms of oppression of those around us. While under detention, Corrie's father Casper was informed that he could be condemned to death for saving Jews, he declared: "It would be a honor to give my life for God's chosen people". For reasons that my words cannot do justice to and my tears emphasize I say that Corrie ten Boom and the ten Boom family were beautiful.


The never ending pursuit of the beautiful -- part 6

We are quick to praise people who bring a little light into the world. We look up to those who succeed and surround themselves with others who do the same. We admire these kinds of people and are right to do so. However, there are a rare breed of beautiful people that dedicate their lives to showing us the other side of things. They show us the unpopular truths of the human race. Lives have a way of getting messed up at times. Sometimes this is our own fault and sometimes circumstances work against us even when we are trying hard. Johnny Cash, through his own life and his lyrics, brought this truth to light in a creative and often times entertaining way. Primarily, his songs and his life were not pretty and were not polished. He didn't woo us into liking him or attempt to convince us that he was anything but exactly who he was. Sometimes we need the harsh and cold darkness to truly appreciate the light and the warmth of day. Johnny Cash reminded us of that darkness while also pointing us to the light and warmth of a new day. Because he possessed and used this gift to strengthen those who had ears to hear I say that Johnny Cash was absolutely beautiful.

Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on.

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he's a victim of the times.

I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you and me.

Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back,
Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black.

I wear it for the sick and lonely old,
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold,
I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could have been,
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.

And, I wear it for the thousands who have died,
Believen' that the Lord was on their side,
I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died,
Believen' that we all were on their side.

Well, there's things that never will be right I know,
And things need changin' everywhere you go,
But 'til we start to make a move to make a few things right,
You'll never see me wear a suit of white.

Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black.


The never ending pursuit of the beautiful -- part 5

The 5th installment is a small deviation from the previous posts. Instead of a single person I would like to highlight a whole group of people who give of their time to help out people at the holidays. These people stand out in the cold to ring that familiar bell that beckons us to think of someone other than ourselves and our families at the holidays.

The Red Kettle campaign, first started in San Francisco in 1891, has traditionally been The Salvation Army’s most prominent fund-raiser. In 2004, the campaign raised over $100 million in communities nationwide, with the nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars all remaining in the towns where the money was deposited into the kettles. The funds raised help support many of the 37 million people in poverty who turn to the Army for food and toys at Christmas, utility and homeless assistance, senior and child care, drug abuse treatment and many other social service needs. The Red Kettle Christmas Campaign enables the Army to provide food, toys and clothing to over 6 million people during the Christmas season and helps more than 34 million Americans recovering from all kinds of personal disasters nationwide.

Many of the people standing outside ringing the bell only do it for a small amount of time but this simple gesture of kindenss is a reminder to all of us to care about people. They also show us that anyone has the potential and talent to be able to help out. For the simple and yet very effective work that these volunteers do I say they are beautiful.

The never ending pursuit of the beautiful -- part 4

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien -- what a genius!!! I don't think there is a work of fiction ever written that surpasses the intricacy and yet simplicity of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. As a matter of fact, to many this work feels more like a textbook of history than a work of fiction. Tolkien was a professor at Oxford and a contemporary and friend of C.S. Lewis. What I find truly beautiful about this man is his ability to create an entire world full of multiple races, all with their own histories and customs and songs and heroes. Not only this but he made them all intertwine and mingle and in the end to learn to appreciate eachother. He also had his faith woven into the world he created in an organic way that should be an example to all of us to live our faith and not push our faith onto people. For his thoughtful and creative life I call him beautiful.


The never ending pursuit of the beautiful -- part 3

For this installment we have Bill Cosby. Even as a kid Mr. Cosby had a great influence on me through the moral and good teaching of Fat Albert. I got my mom and dad to send away for Picture Pages so I could follow along while Bill Cosby did the Picture Pages during Kaptain Kangaroo. As of late Mr. Cosby has come under fire for comments like these:

"Brown Versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person’s problem. We’ve got to take the neighborhood back (clapping). We’ve got to go in there. Just forget telling your child to go to the Peace Corps. It’s right around the corner. (laughter) It’s standing on the corner. It can’t speak English. It doesn’t want to speak English. I can’t even talk the way these people talk. “Why you ain’t where you is go, ra,” I don’t know who these people are. And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk (laughter). Then I heard the father talk. This is all in the house. You used to talk a certain way on the corner and you got into the house and switched to English. Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can’t land a plane with “why you ain’t…” You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth. There is no Bible that has that kind of language. Where did these people get the idea that they’re moving ahead on this. Well, they know they’re not, they’re just hanging out in the same place, five or six generations sitting in the projects when you’re just supposed to stay there long enough to get a job and move out.

Now look, I’m telling you. It’s not what they’re doing to us. It’s what we’re not doing. 50 percent drop out. Look, we’re raising our own ingrown immigrants. These people are fighting hard to be ignorant. There’s no English being spoken, and they’re walking and they’re angry. Oh God, they’re angry and they have pistols and they shoot and they do stupid things. And after they kill somebody, they don’t have a plan. Just murder somebody. Boom. Over what? A pizza? And then run to the poor cousin’s house. They sit there and the cousin says “what are you doing here?” “I just killed somebody, man.” “What?” “I just killed somebody, I’ve got to stay here.” “No, you don’t.” “Well, give me some money, I’ll go…” “Where are you going?” “North Carolina.” Everybody wanted to go to North Carolina. But the police know where you’re going because your cousin has a record."

Comments like this are exactly why I love Bill Cosby. He taught me as a kid and is still teaching all of us. It takes guts to speak truth to power. It takes something much more to speak an unpopular truth to your peers. The motivation behind his comments were to see those he cared about do better. To see people improve themselves and take responsibility for themselves. Someone who agrees with us is our buddy. Someone who speaks an unpopular truth to us to help lead us where we need to be is our true friend. Because Bill Cosby has the nerve and the care for people to do this I celebrate his beautiful life.

The never ending pursuit of the beautiful -- part 2

This time around I give to you Bono. For those of you who may not know who he is, though I have no idea who you would be, here's a little info on him.

"Award-winning lead singer and front man for U2, one of the most successful and highly regarded rock bands in history, Bono uses his immense popularity and influence to draw attention to the crises of poverty worldwide and HIV/AIDS in Africa. Gaining access to the world's most powerful politicians he has almost single handedly drawn public attention to debt burdens in the poorest of countries, helping to get wealthier nations to forgive billions of dollars of debt. He also works tirelessly to build greater worldwide response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic facing Africa."

Bono is another beautiful life because he does not use his fame to promote Bono. Instead he seizes the ability to use that fame as a tool to help people in a real and tangible way. He has a proper view of celebrity by viewing his celebrity not as something to be grasped ahold of but something to be used as a means of helping others while not being condemning to those who don't. He also keeps politics out of the picture but instead calls on whoever will to help regardless of political persuasion. Yes, my friends, Bono is beautiful!


The never ending pursuit of the beautiful

Recent discussions with people that have a superficial view of what beauty is have led me to want to explain why in my profile I list the never ending pursuit of the beautiful as one of my interests. Like anyone else I appreciate an outwardly beautiful person, a layered sunset, a magnificent mountain, a colorful songbird, etc... That being said, I think that one of the greatest beauties on earth is a capable and intelligent life. In this vein I would like to start a series of posts about lives that I find to be beautiful.

For the first post I give to you Ina Garten. As a foody of sorts I have spent many hours with the Food Network. My personal favorite show is Barefoot Contessa. For those interested -- the original Iron Chef is a close second! Many judge people who are hobby cooks and family oriented as uneducated and non-productive. This could not be farther from the truth. Ina is a self-starter by nature and didn't learn cooking from her mother or from culinary school but rather from good old fashioned trial and error with cookbook recipes. Her hard work and kind spirit cause me to say she is beautiful beyond measure. Here's some things you may not know about her:

"On December 22, 1968, Rosenberg and Garten were married in Stamford, and soon relocated to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She began to dabble in cooking and entertaining in an effort to occupy her time while her husband served his four-year military tour as a paratrooper during the Vietnam War; she also acquired her pilot's license, according to an interview she gave to the Raleigh News & Observer.[3] After completing his tour, the couple journeyed to Paris, France, for a four-month camping vacation that Garten has described as the birth of her love for French cuisine. During this trip, she experienced open-air markets, produce stands, and fresh cooking ingredients for the first time.[4] Upon returning to the U.S., she began to cultivate her culinary abilities by studying the volumes of Julia Child's seminal cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.[4] Her weekly dinner party tradition began taking shape during this time, and she refined her home entertaining skills when she and her husband moved to Washington, D.C., in 1972.
In Washington, Garten worked in the White House and took business courses at George Washington University, eventually earning an MBA,[5] while her husband worked in the State Department and completed his graduate studies. Originally employed as a low-level government aide, she climbed the political ladder and was assigned the position of budget analyst, which entailed writing the nuclear energy budget and policy papers on nuclear centrifuge plants for then-Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.[6][7] Strained by the pressures of her work and the serious, high-power setting of Washington, Garten once again turned to cooking and entertaining in her free time, constantly arranging dinner parties and soirées at her home on the weekends. Meanwhile, she was buying, refurbishing, and reselling homes for profit ("flipping") in the Dupont Circle and Kalorama neighborhoods.[6] The funds from these sales gave Garten the means to make her next purchase, the Barefoot Contessa specialty food emporium."


Tree Decorating Day

My little ones asking me to turn the tree lights on:

"Let's see the magic Daddy!!! Bring it, bring it!!!"

יום הולדת שמח

We'd like to take today to wish our caring and dear friend Yehudi01 Yom Huledet Sameakh!!! If you are inclined hop on over to Lion of Zion and leave him birthday geetings. I personally would like to remind him that he's older than me. :) As wisdom comes with age I have learned much from him and infinitely appreciate our friendship. May Hashem bless you with all good things today, my brother!!!


Just to make you smile!

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout
Would not take the garbage out!
She'd scour the pots and scrape the pans,
Candy the yams and spice the hams,
And though her daddy would scream and shout,
She simply would not take the garbage out.
And so it piled up to the ceilings:
Coffee grounds, potato peelings,
Brown bananas, rotten peas,
Chunks of sour cottage cheese.
It filled the can, it covered the floor,
It cracked the window and blocked the door
With bacon rinds and chicken bones,
Drippy ends of ice cream cones,
Prune pits, peach pits, orange peel,
Gloppy glumps of cold oatmeal,
Pizza crusts and withered greens,
Soggy beans and tangerines,
Crusts of black burned buttered toast,
Gristly bits of beefy roasts. . .
The garbage rolled on down the hall,
It raised the roof, it broke the wall. . .
Greasy napkins, cookie crumbs,
Globs of gooey bubble gum,
Cellophane from green baloney,
Rubbery blubbery macaroni,
Peanut butter, caked and dry,
Curdled milk and crusts of pie,
Moldy melons, dried-up mustard,
Eggshells mixed with lemon custard,
Cold french fried and rancid meat,
Yellow lumps of Cream of Wheat.
At last the garbage reached so high
That it finally touched the sky.
And all the neighbors moved away,
And none of her friends would come to play.
And finally Sarah Cynthia Stout said,
"OK, I'll take the garbage out!"
But then, of course, it was too late. . .
The garbage reached across the state,
From New York to the Golden Gate.
And there, in the garbage she did hate,
Poor Sarah met an awful fate,
That I cannot now relate
Because the hour is much too late.
But children, remember Sarah Stout
And always take the garbage out!
Shel Silverstein, 1974


The Giving of Thanks

I would like to take a moment to give thanks to God who is the giver of every good and perfect gift. I am thankful to live in the United States of America. Thank you to the men and women of the armed services who keep this land safe and free. Thank you to the Police Officers, Firefighters, and ambulance drivers and medical technicians who come running to our aid in times of need. Thank you to the teachers in public school systems who do their best to teach our children. God has given us so many wonderful gifts of nature but even greater than that he gave us eachother. He gave us family and friends with which to share our lives and experiences. Thank you to all the friends we have come across here in the blogmosphere and the friends that we are yet to meet here. We enjoy reading about your lives and experiences and wish the best of times for you on this Thanksgiving day!!!


Award Winning Chili

Give this here a try. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. I just won a chili cook-off with this combination. This makes a really meaty chili with just a few beans. The spices hit you up front and are well balanced. If you add a little cayenne then the spice will hit you up front and stay on your palette as well.

1 lb. ground beef
1.5 lb. ground venison
1 lb. pork sausage
.5 lb. thick cut bacon diced
1 medium white onion
2 jalapeno peppers
2 small peppers w/seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
Kosher salt
Ground pepper
1 package Williams chili seasoning for 2 lbs. meat
1 box Emeril beef stock
1 can tomato sauce
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes with garlic, oregano, basil
1 can Bush's chili beans


Shameless pandering

Okay, so this is a little off subject for our normal posts. We were looking at our neo-counter and realized that we have no visitors from Africa or Antarctica. This, my friends, is unacceptable. This post is a shameless pandering for someone to find bloggers from Africa and Antarctica to visit here so we can have all 7 continents covered. PLEASE HELP US!!!


I sure wish we could have Teddy one more time!

Don't hit at all if you can help it; don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep.
- New York City
February 17, 1899

Measure iniquity by the heart, whether a man's purse be full or empty, partly full or partly empty. If the man is a descent man, whether well off or not well off, stand by him; if he is not a decent man stand against him, whether he be rich or poor.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

I believe in nationalism as the absolute prerequisite to internationalism. I believe in patriotism as the absolute prerequisite to the larger Americanism. I believe in Americanism because unless our people are good Americans first, America can accomplish little or nothing worth accomplishing for the good of the world as a whole.

I keep my good health by having a very bad temper, kept under good control.

Unless a man is master of his soul, all other kinds of mastery amount to little.

Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready.
- San Francisco
May 13, 1903

I would rather go out of politics feeling that I had done what was right than stay in with the approval of all men, knowing in my heart that I had acted as I ought not to.

Avoid the base hypocrisy of condemning in one man what you pass over in silence when committed by another.

It is both foolish and wicked to teach the average man who is not well off that some wrong or injustice has been done him, and that he should hope for redress elsewhere than in his own industry, honesty, and intelligence.

If an American is to amount to anything he must rely upon himself, and not upon the State; he must take pride in his own work, instead of sitting idle to envy the luck of others. He must face life with resolute courage, win victory if he can, and accept defeat if he must, without seeking to place on his fellow man a responsibility which is not theirs.

Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty... I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led diffcult lives and led them well.

A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user

To sit home, read one's favorite paper, and scoff at the misdeeds of the men who do things is easy, but it is markedly ineffective. It is what evil men count upon the good men's doing.

If I must choose between righteousness and peace, I choose righteousness.

Character is far more important than intellect in making a man a good citizen or successful at his calling- meaning by character not only such qualities as honesty and truthfulness, but courage, perseverance and self-reliance.


We must be doing something right!!!

I am very proud of this rating for our blog. Although we are in our thirties we pride ourselves in being oversized children. Jesus had this to say: "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure." I hope that we always come to God to learn as a child. Children have so very much to teach us if we will only listen. Here's the lyrics to a Michael Card song entitled "The Voice of the Child"

I am an old rabbi
Where's the Child who was here only yesterday
How my heart start to beat as I sat at His feet
For the things He'd say
The questions I asked Him
Had weighed on my mind an eternity
But the self-righteous show
I had made my disguise
It started to slip as I looked in His eyes
So rather than stay, for my pride sake
I walked away

Come listen awhile to the voice of a Child
Stand in awe of the wisdom of God
Hear what He has to say
For the time is today
You can come or just walk away

Then late in the night I awoke to a voice
Deep inside of me
It was gentle and mild like the voice of a child
My mind's eye could see
It spoke of the promises
Made to my people through Abraham
And at once all the prophesy made sense to me
I'd studied them so long
Why couldn't I see
In one holy moment I knew the Messiah was He

Come listen awhile to the voice of a Child
Stand in awe of the wisdom of God
Hear what He has to say
For the time is today
You can come or just walk away

I am an old rabbi
Where's the Child who was here only yesterday
How my heart start to beat as I sat at His feet
For the things He'd say
I just got to find him
and tell him I'm sorry I walked away


Veterans Day

I want to say thank you to all the veterans who gave me the freedoms that I enjoy. Without those who died and without those who lived I wouldn't even have the right to speak freely on this blog. They lived and died to give us freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom to assemble, freedom of religion, freedom to a fair trial by our peers, and freedom to vote. We should always use these freedoms to uphold the brave men and women who fight in our stead. Honor veterans every day with your speech. Honor them with what you write for others to see. Honor them by assembling to hold the country together and not dividing it. Honor them by holding them in your prayers. Honor them by respecting and following the law. Honor them by electing officials that will see to their needs with their votes and with our money.


Thank You!!!

Thank you Lord of the harvest for providing good things for those who love and serve you. Thank you for a good hunt with good friends. Thank you for watching over me and returning me home safely to my family.

Honest Car Deals

I am a huge fan of honesty wherever I can find it. Someone who is not afraid to speak truth to power and peasants alike is a person that I would always call friend. I have found a person like this in the car industry. If you are needing a vehicle new or used please talk to this man. Whether he can help in your personal situation I don't know but give him a call and find out. I have found him to be a man of great integrity and tremendous character. You'll find a link to him on the right.


It's that time again!!!

I'm really looking forward to getting out into the woods this weekend in pursuit of some wonderful table fare. Shooting a whitetail deer is of course the payoff but there is so much more to the experience. There's something exhilerating about sitting in the cold morning air and watching the breath come out of your mouth. The anticipation of what might come your way is electric. The beautiful morning songs of the birds, the playful chasing of the squirrels, the breaking of dawn through the trees, and the sun melting the frost off the grass are all a beautiful dance that the fall mornings repeat and most days goes unnoticed. Not so on the opening day of deer season. All these things and more are relished by simple people who love the woods and sit in the cold in pursuit of whitetail. I pray for a good hunt for all law abiding hunters. Keep safe out there friends and don't forget to enjoy the woods and thank the one who gave them to us!!!


Thank You LORD

He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate - bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart. -- Psalms 104:14-15


May God open the eyes of the blind and make a fool of us all

It seems I've imagined him all of my life
as the wisest of all of mankind;
but if God's holy wisdom is foolish to men,
He must have seemed out of his mind.
For even his family said He was mad
and the priests said, "A demon's to blame";
but God in the form of this angry young man
could not have seemed perfectly sane.
When we in our foolishness thought we were wise
He played the fool and He opened our eyes.
When we in our weakness believed we were strong,
He became helpless to show we were wrong

And so we follow God's own fool;
for only the foolish can tell.
Believe the unbelievable;
come be a fool as well.

So come lose your life for a carpenter's son,
for a madman Who died for a dream.
Then you'll have the faith His first followers had,
and you'll feel the weight of the beam.
So surrender the hunger to say you must know,
have the courage to say: "I believe".
For the power of paradox opens your eyes,
and blinds those who say they can see.

And so we follow God's own fool;
for only the foolish can tell.
Believe the unbelievable;
come be a fool as well
(lyrics by Michael Card)


A Beautiful Sight

Here's a beautiful website that I ran across via my good friend Daniel. These are just a sample of the pictures there. Israel is a beautiful land!!! Check it out. The link is on the right titled Aliyah.


Thank You Satchamo!!!

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They're really saying I love you.

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world.


Cowboys -- YEEEEHAAAAAW!!!

As you've probably already figured out, we love spending time with our twins. Sometimes we are princes and princesses. Sometimes we are jungle explorers on safari. Sometimes we are animals. Whatever we are, we are happy to be together and playing around. Now if you catch us on a day like today you'd better just step aside because today we're cowboys. There's no standin' up to our notorious clan. You'd better watch out bad guys and roughians 'cause we're comin' through!!!