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Days 15 and 16 of 16 Days with the Grands *Preparations for Leaving*

The last two days of this great visit I encouraged the youngsters to be sure they had all their things gathered, so that they would leave nothing behind. I believe I have mentioned before that these grandchildren like to discuss what we will be having for meals. I had told them sometime before that on the 16th day, which would be Tuesday, we would have fried chicken. And so we did . . .along with mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans (which they spurned !) and a green salad.

dsc_4564As she had for every meal we ate in the dining room while the youngsters were here, Ella set the table. She always does a fine job, setting the silverware properly and choosing cloth napkins to blend with the dishes we have chosen to use.

Andrew and Shawnna’s plane arrives in the late evening, so arrangements had been made that they would not come to our place until Wednesday morning, which was actually the 17th day.

On Wednesday morning, I did final laundry for them, spruced up the house, urged them to get their bags packed, and helped them remake the beds after I washed the sheets. Jerry had decided to smoke ribs for the big afternoon meal, and Rebecca and Nathaniel would join all of us. The day was warm; we set up tables on the back deck.

. . .and then they were here.


I became distracted and got few photographs after that.

We spent several hours together before they had to leave, hearing a few of their adventures and seeing pictures of magnificent Hawaii on their computer. Andrew and Shawnna both have quite an artistic flair, and each of them produces beautiful photography. She uses a cell phone. Andrew has a Nikon. The youngsters told of their adventures, and Cole even snookered his dad into a game of checkers.

On the north shore of Oahu, actually within the sea, Andrew had the good fortune of finding a large piece of coral. He and Shawnna gifted his dad and me with this magnificent piece. . .and with this very touching card.



And then they were gone.

It is quiet now. Too quiet.


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Work hard. Be dependable. Be upbeat.

Those traits are important to me, as I suspect they are to anyone who is busy, and who is responsible to one degree or another to see that multiple tasks are finished on schedule, and that they are accomplished in an excellent manner.

Matters not the relative importance of the job, nor the pay, nor the ambience of the workplace. Matters not the age of the worker, nor accrued skill, nor gender, nor genetic configuration–for none of these affect the expectation that once a person has taken on the job–one that both he and his overseer know he is capable of seeing through–the person should work hard, be dependable, and be upbeat.

Don’t whine.

Most people don’t appreciate whining. Nearly everyone’s job or situation has a negative component or two, but truth be known, your co-workers, your family and your friends are not likely to gaze lovingly into your eyes as you often speak of negative issues.

Instead, be upbeat. Instead, be positive. Instead, smile.

On a talk show a couple of days ago, I heard a gentlemen tell of a time in his childhood when he was a waver. Yep, a waver. Really he told this story in passing as it had little to do with his emphasis, but as I heard the words, their importance struck me.

“Troop trains came through our town, and our job–we children and youth of the community–was to wave to the servicemen.”

I was a waver, he said. I waved at the troops.

In 2010, I want to be a waver–a good, vigorous waver. I want my small jobs to take on added significance and enhanced allurement because of the attention I pay, and the care I take, and the attitude I show as I work through my day. I plan to be a waver.

And that whine that threatens to escape from my throat? I’ll deny it. Instead I will gulp, swallow hard, and surely turn my mouth upward until it forms a smile. Then I’ll lift my little hand…and wave. 🙂

How about it? Want to make the pledge? Down with whining! Up with waving!

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Solitaire and Ballgames in Convening House: The Government Can!

Take note Connecticut; these are your leaders in action. Wonder how many other legislative bodies would exhibit the same behavior were cameras in the right places.


House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, far right, speaks while colleagues play solitaire on their computers as the House convenes to vote on a new budget for the fiscal year in the Capitol on Monday [AP Photo/Jessica Hill]
The Associated Press picture has appeared in any number of venues, and it shows two lawmakers sitting in the back row of the historic Hall of the House in Hartford during the lengthy debate over the two-year, $37 billion state budget.
On the left is Rep. Barbara Lambert, a freshman Democrat from Milford who won her first legislative election in November 2008. She replaced longtime Milford Democrat James Amann, who ended his legislative career as the House Speaker and is now running for governor against Republican M. Jodi Rell.
Lambert is playing spider solitaire in the photo, while Rep. Jack F. Hennessy, a Bridgeport Democrat who has served in Hartford since 2005, is playing regular solitaire. They both voted in favor of the Democratic-written budget, while Cafero voted against it.
During the long debates at the state Capitol, legislators often work on their laptop computers – as seen in the photograph. Sometimes they are answering e-mails from constituents, while other times they are researching important information on pending bills. Other times, they are playing solitaire.
When asked Tuesday about the photo by Capitol Watch, Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell laughed and said, “I think if they’d spend less time playing computer games and more time looking for spending cuts, then we would have been out of here a lot sooner.”
Republican Tom Foley, who is running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Christopher J. Dodd, said, “I was disheartened to see a Hartford Courant front page photo showing members of our Democratically-controlled legislature playing solitaire on their computers while debate was occurring on a new state budget that raises taxes and contains no net reduction in spending. This is not a time for the Democrats who control our legislature to be playing games with Connecticut’s future. Our elected officials need to put away their computer toys and help working people by lowering taxes and keeping government spending down.”
From Capitol Watch
Many people say our government has become a laughing stock. Is that true? Or is it even more ominous?
Hey, this is a perfect spot to show you this delightful video.

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Racism In Tennessee

Her name is Sherri Goforth and she has been working for the Tennessee State Senate for 20 years, reportedly with a stellar record. But if this report is accurate–and I have no reason to believe otherwise–she has acted in an irresponsible and disrespectful manner. It seems she sent an e-mail featuring a picture of two cartoon eyeballs set against a black background and meant to depict President Obama. The image featured a succession of presidents in dignified and stately positions until the final picture of Obama. She has acknowledged her bad decision and apologized for the offensive nature of the e-mail.

Awful. I wish these things did not happen.

Source: Fox News

Click here to read more on the story from The Tennessean.

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An Unbelievable Airport Scene

You will howl with laughter as you watch this. Anybody flying today? Don’t take airport behavior lessons from this lady. Promise, now.

The video starts with the screaming woman running towards the departure gate and bouncing off a female security guard, after she learned that her flight has been closed.

She then starts banging a desk before collapsing to the floor and rolling around, while maintaining a high-pitched wail.

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Technical Guffaws and (Heaven Forbid) Cussin’

With my little white Macbook in hand, I sat on the couch this morning and roared with laughter as I read from this site. It dramatically reminded me of the hilarious piece I previously wrote about our computer problems and what I came to refer to as “Jerry and his sweet India girls.” It’s a hoot, I promise.

“On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], ‘Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’ I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.”
— Charles Babbage (1791-1871)

From Computer Stupidities

The following is a large collection of stories and anecdotes about clueless computer users. It’s a baffling phenomenon that in today’s society an individual, who might in other circumstances be considered smart and wise, can sit down in front of a computer screen and instantly lose every last shred of common sense he ever possessed. Complicate this phenomenon with a case of “computerphobia,” and you end up with tech support personnel having phone conversations that are funny in retrospect but seem like perfectly valid motives for wild machine gun shooting sprees at the time. You will read stories in this file that will convince you that among the human race are human-shaped artichokes futilely attempting to break the highly regarded social convention that vegetables should not operate electronic equipment. And yet, amidst the vast, surging quantities of stupidity are perfectly excusable technological mishaps — but that are amusing nonetheless. After all, even the best of us engages in a little brainless folly every once in a while.

Most of these stories are true. Some happened to me personally. Some happened to friends of mine. Some are considered urban legends, but even most of these are more likely to have happened in some form or another than not. Skeptics look at such stories and doubt their truth. But reason, common sense, and experience tell me that if you sit someone who isn’t computer literate (even a smart someone) down in front of a computer, you’re bound to accrue anecdotes no less outrageous than these. You’d be surprised.

* Tech Support: “Type ‘fix’ with an ‘f’.”
* Customer: “Is that ‘f’ as in ‘fix’?”

* Customer: “How do you spell ‘Internet America’? Is there a space between ‘inter’ and ‘net’?”
* Tech Support: “No space between ‘inter’ and ‘net’. It’s spelled normally.”
* Customer: “Ok. A-M-E-R-I-C-K?”
* Tech Support: “That’s A-M-E-R-I-C-A.”
* Customer: “I-C-K???”
* Tech Support: “‘A’ as in apple”
* Customer: “There’s no ‘K’ in apple!”

* Customer: “I was printing something.”
* Tech Support: “From before you called?”
* Customer: “No, from Word.”

* Tech Support: “Where in the building is your printer located?”
* Customer: “Middle of my desk.”
* Tech Support: “If I have to give someone directions, where do I tell them to go?”
* Customer: “In the middle of my desk where I work.”

I wish you a happy day; free of computer viruses, worms, horses, and from less than savvy people. 🙂

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Three Great Kids

Been thinking a lot about youngsters. Couple of reasons; next week I will be home in Crestline caring for Andrew’s five children! (More about that later.) Another reason is that I’m just interested in young people, and certainly as I grow older, I admire their strength, vitality and freshness. The youth of this generation and that recently passed have in great part received a “bad rap,” and in all honesty, it is likely they deserve much of that description. I’m aware of the shortcomings and ills of this group of human beings, but I want to remind you that there are some really great kids among us. There are drug-free, upright, honest and ambitious youngsters hanging out around us. I read about remarkable ones yesterday and want you to think about them.

The first one is named Jennifer Sharpe…

She has broken a record for the sale of Girl Scout Cookies, having sold 17,328 boxes.

Jennifer Sharpe, a 15-year-old from Dearborn, Michigan, sold 17,328 boxes of Girl Scout cookies this year, which shatters the old record for her local Girl Scouts group and is believed to be a record, though the national organization, Girl Scouts of the USA, doesn’t track individual sales.

“It’s always been one of those goals I wanted to accomplish,” Sharpe said Wednesday.

The annual cookies sales are the main way in which members of the Girl Scouts raise money for activities such as trips. For a limited time every year, Girl Scouts sell the cookies, which this year cost $3.50 a box.

And the second…

Moshe Kal is 10 years old and is a college sophomore.

With the end of another school year approaching, college sophomore Moshe Kai Cavalin is cramming for final exams in classes such as advanced mathematics, foreign languages and music.

But Cavalin is only 10 years old. And at 4-foot-7, his shoes don’t quite touch the floor as he puts down a schoolbook and swivels around in his chair to greet a visitor.

“I’m studying statistics,” says the alternately precocious and shy Cavalin, his textbook lying open on the living room desk of his parents’ apartment in this quiet suburb east of Los Angeles.

And last, John Tyler Hammon, 19, was just elected mayor of Muskogee, Oklahoma!

John Tyler Hammond is a 19-year-old first-year student at the University of Oklahoma who , on Tuesday, was elected mayor of Muskogee, a city of 38,000 in the northeastern part of the state of Oklahoma.

With all precincts reporting, John Tyler Hammons won with 70 percent of the vote over former Mayor Hershel Ray McBride, said Muskogee County Election Board Secretary Bill Bull.

“The public placing their trust in me is the greatest, humbling and most awesome experience I’ve ever had in my life,” said Hammons, who is from Muskogee but attends the university in Norman.

The two candidates squared off in a runoff election for the nonpartisan post after neither secured 50 percent of the vote in a six-person election April 1.

Sounds like we have at least three really neat young people among us. There are multiplied others, and I truly feel for them. It’s a complicated world, a challenging society in which they will live out their lives. They need our support, our help, our good wishes. If you’re around any young people today, it might be a good idea to tell them how much you appreciate them, how supportive you are to them, how you admire them…and that you truly believe in them.

My congratulations to Jennifer, Moshe and John.


My devotional blog is here.

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Seven-Year-Old Finnegan Boire Publishes Newspaper

Do I ever love youngsters like this–a seven-year-old who publishes his own newspaper.

Finnegan O’Toole Boire, 7, of Davis produces a weekly newspaper on his blue-and-white Apple laptop computer. Anne Chadwick Williams of Yolo County News

Finn was inspired to begin his newspaper by the hero of his favorite tales, Geronimo Stilton, a storybook mouse and editor of The Rodent’s Gazette. He calls his paper The Weekly Block and writes about his small part of the world, producing 45 copies weekly. He hand-delivers every copy.

Finn also writes about his own experiences. One headline read, “Editor loses tooth.” Another story was about the death of his pet rabbit: “He had striped ears, and died because, well, I do not know.”

See more pictures and read more of this delightful child here.

Cheers to Finn, for I know it’s not easy to write a little blog every day or so. I can’t imagine producing an entire newspaper…especially at seven years old. Definitely my kind of kid. 🙂 Probably yours, too.


My devotional blog is here.

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Court Orders Starbucks to Pay One Million Dollars

In a file phnoto customers wait for their orders inside a Starbuck's coffee house Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005, in Alameda, Calif.  A Superior Court judge on Thursday, March 20, 2008,  ordered Starbucks Corp. to pay its California baristas more than $100 million in back tips and interest that the coffee chain paid to shift supervisors.    (AP Photo/Ben Margot/file)

A few weeks ago, here on this site, we got to talking about tipping–and during that conversation someone brought up the subject of dropping tips into containers in such places as Starbucks, where, beyond the preparation of the product, little service is given. Well, it seems Starbucks has got themselves into a bit of a bind–at least in one court in California–for the tips have not been going to the barristas, but management has been giving the tips to supervisors. And that appears to be illegal.

SAN DIEGO — A Superior Court judge on Thursday ordered Starbucks Corp. to pay its California baristas more than $100 million in back tips and interest that the coffee chain paid to shift supervisors.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Patricia Cowett also issued an injunction that prevents Starbucks’ shift supervisors from sharing in future tips, saying state law prohibits managers and supervisors from sharing in employee gratuities.

All the details are here and here.

Although I tip well in a restaurant or a hotel, I don’t usually leave a tip in this kind of place, for I don’t feel I am being served–I pick up my own coffee, take it to the table, clean up and so on. I really never considered that the barristas had to count on tips to earn a fair wage. I think I resent that, for these drinks are already pricey to begin with, and I believe Starbucks and other such companies should pay their workers an adequate wage. Someone is making lots of money.

Well, because of this ruling Starbuck’s barristas will get some money back, but by the time the attorneys get their fees for this class-action suit, there will be little left.


My devotional blog is here.

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Drama Woes

I giggled when I read this a few minutes ago, for it always tickles me when professionals have the same kind of troubles as we mere mortals. During these few days before Easter, all over the United States–and in other parts of the world, no doubt–churches are planning Easter dramas, dragging out props, hammering crosses, reciting lines, staking out flowers, fashioning angel wings and sewing peasant frocks.

In addition to the joy of presenting the story, the camaraderie that arises from such production is long-lasting, and glorious memories are indelibly filed in our brain’s special saving spot. When we were pastoring in Rialto, there were lots of very talented people in our congregation, we produced dozens of dramas, and we often played to a packed house. What fun that was! What sheer exhaustion! What challenges we faced!

Once we invited Pastor Berl Stevenson’s church to come up from El Cajon and present special music during intermission, or between acts–can’t quite remember, but this part I vividly recall. His group was singing–beautiful music–when one of our crew got mixed up and let down the curtain we had rigged, completely obliterating the singing group. It was terrible…but they were troopers and kept singing, but now the sound was muffled, all we could see were feet, and across the congregation there was lots of snickering.

Anyway, today I pay tribute to all you who are scurrying about to finish up the Easter dramas, and to give you hope, and to let you know if something goes wrong, you’re in good company.

When the tenor Gary Lehman slid down the raked stage into the prompter’s box on Tuesday night during Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” at the Metropolitan Opera, stopping the show at the start of Act III, he entered a storied history of midperformance mishaps at the opera.

This was the second consecutive time in the six-performance “Tristan” revival that trouble halted the production. Last Friday, Deborah Voigt, who was singing Isolde, left the stage during Act II because of a stomach ailment and was replaced by Janice Baird, her cover, who made her Met debut.

You’ve got to read all this funny stuff over at the New York Times. They titled the article Many Nights at the Opera House Have Involved the Emergency Room


My devotional blog is here.