Saturday, December 31, 2005

Lazy way to ring in the New Year....

So, it's after 10pm here on the east coast of the USA, and I'm using the two major Christmas presents for Mom and Dad this year.

Dad: La-Z-Boy
Mom: Laptop

Notice I didn't put up a fight when Mom wanted to use the desktop this evening, so, ah darn, I have to settle for the comfy chair....

I am still trying to get used to toggling on this thing; it's a pain if you ask me.

So, to the business at hand------2005: A Review

Last New Year's Eve's blog was probably more structured and more packed with facts, events, etc. Tonight, it's a laid-back, informal review, followed by questions regarding the new year about to dawn.

BEST DAY OF THE YEAR: Saturday October 20-year high school reunion. Spent all year helping the ladies on the committee plan the event. I spend most of my time working around and with women. I like that---not for the usual "lust-filled" reasons....I have always had more friends that were female than male. It was weird, in that many people who didn't make it to the 10-year reunion in '95 made it to this one, and, vice versa. A few people I saw for the first time in two decades. Wow.

WORST DAY OF THE YEAR: Sunday July 3rd....which should have been a good day, being that the wife turned 39 (let the never-ending teasing begin!), but it all turned around in quick fashion. This was the Sunday morning we discovered our beloved pet, our cat, Katie Pickles, dead at the end of the street, a victim of, for lack of a better term, a "hit and run". A close second in this category would be Tuesday July 5th, the day the kids got home from a holiday weekend at Grandma's and we had to break the news to them.

WE WELCOME......Cody and Zoe! Brother and sister kittens direct from the Hanover pound, two of five in a litter. They're not Katie, very refined---they are just plain ol' cats. So, they and I are having issues, but we're dealing. :) The kids adore them, and that's what really matters.

ARRIVALS: New employee Johni at work. The Bobeau family at church, complete with the most articulate 2/3 year old I've ever met. I'm gonna really miss her. She called me "Pastor Rob" for the first time the night of the Christmas play with a typical conversation with her.

"Pastor Rob, where are you going?" (We were at the front porch of the church, both families leaving)

"I'm going home so I can go to sleep."

"Pastor Rob, where's your coat?"

"It's at home, keeping my coat hanger warm."

Audrey Raines, her Secretary of State father, Erin Driscoll, Habib Marwan. The cast of "Grey's Anatomy" (for Bonnie's sake, and her pitter-patter TV love, Patrick Dempsey...)

WE BID FAREWELL....Johnny Carson, Chuck Thompson, Chris Schenkel, Don Adams (Agent 86), Eddie Guerrero, Dana Jones, Bob Denver (Skipper!!!!), Rosa Parks, Pope John Paul II, Nipsey Russell (my favorite poet), Eddie Albert, Pat Morita (Arnold's!), Richard Pryor, Frank Gorshin, Anne Kincaid, Thomas Cannon, Peter Jennings, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Luther Vandross, Shirley Chisholm, Anne Bancroft, Eugene McCarthy, Johnnie Cochran, Sandra Dee. And, of course, Katie Pickles. Also, Clinton Terrell, Elsie Bresko, and Virginia Tomko.

WE SAID SEE YOU SOON....our church family at Bethlehem Congregational.

WE WATCHED CABLE NEWS FOR....Hurricane Katrina, the horrific aftermath, the blame game, Brownie, Hurricane Rita, the war in Iraq, the Supreme Court, the Vatican watch at the end of one Pope's life, and the naming of another. The typical partisan shouting, etc.

WE AVOIDED: Natalee Holloway after the first couple of weeks of coverage, subsequently, most issues of missing white females. Discussions of sex offenders. The sight of Nancy Peluso and Ted Kennedy.

WE ALSO WATCHED: A Boring Super Bowl....season four of "24", Desperate Housewives, Pardon the Interruption, Wheel and Jeopardy, news, and sports.

SHE WATCHED: NCIS, Grey's Anatomy, The Closer, Desperate Housewives, Lost, Invasion, Alias, 24 (of course), lots of old movies, and "Miss Congeniality" at least 20 times.

ROBBIE AND RACHEL WATCHED: Cartoon Network, Toon Disney, Disney Channel, Nick.

Robbie listened to whatever movie was on in his room at the moment. Rachel listened to Vacation Bible School music, Hilary Duff, and Jesse McCartney.


--Dan Rather's last "courage"
--Jeanne Meserve's incredible report the night after Katrina in New Orleans
--Shepherd Smith on a bridge in New Orleans, a dead body covered on the side of the road behind him.
--very little on wrestling, what a boring, boring year!
--Rachel's second and third boyfriends
--Robbie's girlfriend who sang in the same choir as he
--Field trip to Busch Gardens with Robbie's choral group as they won, lots of awards, at the choral competition there.
--Officiating a wedding at a wayside on the Skyline Drive overlooking the mountains.
--The I-Book stampede.
--Overheating at Kings Dominion.
--Enjoying Busch Gardens.
--Watching the house get new carpet, hardwood flooring, and vinyl siding.
--The fact that my Cougar made it through another year!! YES!!!!
--My high school reunion.
--An undefeated regular season for Patrick Henry.
--Less is More.
--"Are you lonely?"
--My favorite lady on NCIS killed off on the last episode of season two.
--More neighbors move out of the neighborhood.
--More and more frustration with the kids' schools.
--Another nice, quiet birthday. Emphasis on "quiet".
--Continued trend of buying 80s CDs instead of football cards.
--Live 365 at work, especially nights listening to the 80s Hit Machine.
--The Double Whopper knocks Wendy's double off the perch to claim top burger honors.
--The happiness of knowing my son is old enough to mow the yard.
--Too many Saturdays in bed (including this one)
--The New York Giants (Tiki, Eli, Plaxico, and the comeback against Denver.)
--Robbie's first "character" for radio commercials; the school bully in two ads for "Scotty Z Karate".
--Unusually early snow event, early December.
--DOWNPOUR of rain Christmas morning.
--Running over a LOG on I-95 headed to the funeral home.
--The WalMart in Ashland, usually not by choice.
--Rachel's final year leading praise songs during church.
--NC State beating UConn and getting to the Sweet 16.
--Finally seeing Letterman regularly for the first time in YEARS....
--Rupert G's Hello Deli
--"Will It Float?"
--My creative team's trip to New York and Rodney's first night (ask him, not me.)
--The arrival of a really, really big TV.
--The monthly winning numbers.
--My second sleep study.
--and, of course, Star Wars Episode III.

Well, and then there's 2006......

--Hopefully a better year physically, now that we're down to one job for the first time in forever. Can we ditch some these pills we take daily? Can we stop sleeping Saturdays away?

--Enjoying friends: I love the people who work around me; they are such a great team. I pray I have another year to enjoy their company.

--Making new friends: We're on the search for a new home church! As it unfolds, we'll forge new friendships as we find where God wants to plant us.

--Leadership Break: I've had a "leadership" position, either of a Christian radio station, or a church, since 1988. In 2006, wherever we end up worshipping, we will not be volunteering. I desperately need to fill a pew and get fed for awhile.

--The wife hits 4-0. Get those black balloons ready!!

--Robbie begins high school come September.

--Thinking of people in times past, both recent and many years ago, that I miss and would love to see. Especially a few I'd kill to see, but I'm sure I won't.

And so, the clock creeps past 11:30, Rachel's already asleep and I think Robbie's still hanging with us. I'm gonna go to Times Square, virtually as usual, and see how this new year begins.

Looking forward to another year of blogging, laughter, tears, deep thought, and, of course....

.....trying to figure out how Jack Bauer saves the day one more time. :)

PS: Great to see Dick Clark back at Times Square; his story, and about a minute, becomes one of the most inspiring stories of 2005....and only 24 minutes left, too.

Friday, December 30, 2005

King Keith Calls For Resignation, World Yawns....

Keith Olbermann.

Bible scholar?

Pronoun twister?

Ah, you decide. (Click on Keith's name above for his side of the story)

He wants John Gibson of FNC to stop playing in the cable news sandbox because John (like me and billions of others) have definitive beliefs with regard to our religious affiliation.

I'm sure the average Muslim would, being honest, tell you the way to eternal life is through Muhammed. Hindus? Buddists? Etc?

So, Christians are no different. But, in exactly proving John's point, Keith goes ga-ga over a basic tenet of Christianity since it doesn't fit his worldview of "tolerance for everyone". Gee, does that mean I tolerate murderers? Well, I guess if their name is Tookie, but I digress....

Hey, Keith. Said you read the Bible. Forgot this one?
John 14:5-7 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Jesus the Way to the Father

5Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know[a] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."


John 14:7 Some early manuscripts If you really have known me, you will know


Well, maybe Keith got bogged down in Deuteronomy and couldn't move on....

The essential element of Christianity is this: Jesus Christ came to save mankind from their sins. Believe on Jesus, you are saved. So, if I choose to make this my faith, to not assent to it would be absurd. Well, it would actually deny me the very title I attempt to claim.

Let me bring some of the transcript between John and Janet Parshall directly to you:

PARSHALL: I think tolerance means accommodation, but it doesn't necessarily mean acquiescence or wholehearted acceptance.

GIBSON: No, no, no. If you figure that -- listen, we get a little theological here, and it's probably a bit over my head, but I would think if somebody is going to be -- have to answer for following the wrong religion, they're not going to have to answer to me. We know who they're going to have to answer to.


GIBSON: And that's fine. Let 'em. But in the meantime, as long as they're civil and behave, we tolerate the presence of other religions around us without causing trouble, and I think most Americans are fine with that tradition.

Gee. I'm trying to figure out how this is so damning, coming from a Christian perspective. Keith, I understand that's not YOUR perspective. But, your call for Gibson to leave the "ministry of cable news", leaving more room for guys like you, is unreal.

Gibson here has no problem with any/all religions living under the big tent, the melting pot known as the United States. Neither do I. I can't remember ever seeing the Baptists, after a morning worship service and a potluck dinner (complete with chicken, of course) ever then, storm the street of their hometown to head over to the local temple/synagogue/mosque to torch it and yell for the blood of innocent women and children in Jesus' name. No, actually, most of them, by 3pm, are usually at home taking a nap, or, sadly, are on the phone gossiping about whatever did or did not happen at the church earlier in the day.

On the other hand, I do hear of events like this happening around the world against Christians.

Does this mean only Christians are persecuted? NO!!! Other religions persecuted? Just ask hundreds of thousands of Muslims living right here in the good ol' USA after 9/11.

But, back to the main point. When Olbermann determines what can and cannot be thought/believed/spoken of in the public square, he then dons his judge's robe and demands to deliver sentence on the one he pronounced "guilty".


Yes, Keith, don't eat your balled up piece of paper, you do have it on tape. So what? I, as many hundreds of millions of Christians, happen to agree with his statement. I believe, as stated in John 14, not by me, but by a lowly carpenter from Nazareth, that He is the way to God. (And don't say, "he said father, not god! Semantics are worthless here...)

I also happen to believe those saved by the sacrificial atonement of Jesus on the cross and His victory over death at the Resurrection will live with Him for eternity. Those who do not will be eternally separated from God after life on this earth is completed.

Anyone who spent a few hours looking over highlights of the New Testament would understand this.

So, John's statement, to lots of us, is in agreement with regards to our Christian faith.

And, so, for a sincere belief in an absolute way to God, John Gibson should be run out of town, forced to work at Walgreens on third shift somewhere in Iowa for the rest of his life, so his angry, evil, intolerant view won't cause as much damage.

What, Keith---you think Christians will somehow be UPSET if we get to heaven and there's more than one way to get there?? How ridiculous a thought process is that? "But, wait, how did THEY get in here??".

Have Christians committed sickening and disgusting acts in the name of "Christianity" over the past 2,000 years? You betcha. Is adhering to the basic tenet of one's belief in the Messiah one of them? Nope, in fact, it's the act that set me free.

Keith, I know you will not believe this, but I love you. Honest. Otherwise, I'd be going against the basic teaching of my Savior....

Mark 12: 30--31 (New International Version, as stated above...)

30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'[a] 31 The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[b]There is no commandment greater than these."

But, that means I love John, too.

My thanks to for the Scripture props.


Wednesday, December 28, 2005


We here in the Witham Nation hope you and yours enjoyed your Christmas weekend!

Mine was an emotional rollercoaster.

Christmas Eve was our final Candlelight Communion Service at church. It went well, and Silent Night by candlelight always rocks.

Christmas Day was the finale. It POURED RAIN much of the way down (so it wasn't a pretty Christmas, weather-wise). The worship service was great; there were more people attending than what I had anticipated for the holiday.

I kept myself together.....until the benediction. Two huge gasps of breath to calm myself in order to force the words out.

And with that, mission accomplished.

Many came to say farewell. One, specifically, touched my heart, for I didn't see it coming. We have a family with three sisters. They were in 3rd, 2nd, and 1st grade when I arrived. They are now a Senior, Junior, and Sophomore.

The Sophomore came to Christmas service and when she hugged me she just cried and cried. She will never, ever know how much that touched me. We had lunch with some people at a private home, thankfully, of the couple I most dreaded saying "farewell" to. It was MUCH easier at their home as opposed to right after the benediction. :)

So, we're trying to get some of them together with us here in Glen Allen for the first two hours of "24", and we've already penciled in some dates in our minds for when we'll go back and see the gang.

Writing a thank you letter to them tonight created, yep, even more tears. This is going to be a much bigger adjustment than I ever thought.

BUT----I do know the right decision was made. Why?

Coming home Sunday, we hit another pouring rain near the Appomattox River on I-295. I notice some breaking sky to the west. What happens when we hit the bridge?

Yep. Right in front of us. A rainbow.

And the promise of God's covenant continues.....:)


Christmas? Oh, yeah, it was here. Mom got a laptop, I got a recliner (presently occupied by my daughter) and a great series of 1980's wrestling DVD's. Nothing like Starrcade '84 with Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair for the NWA World's Heavyweight Title with Bob Caudle on the mic!! Those were the GOOD days of wrestling.

Robbie got the "real" lightsaber. It cannot be hit by another object, or much money Santa spends in vain! Rachel got a piano, and lessons! Starting January 9th.

Cody and Zoe were disappointed to see the tree come down Sunday evening (so my recliner could find a home!)....but it still wasn't the same without Katie Pickles.


Heavens, so much to type; little energy, so I'll get to it one piece at a time. Wasn't ignoring my blogworld, just got overwhelmed with the one I walk in.

And in closing...

Mama passed away three years ago tonight at age 64. Doesn't seem that long. Then, part of me thinks it's been 100 years since we talked.

Love 'em while they're here, folks. There aren't rainchecks on this earth.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Looking for hot sex??

That's right, hot sex!!

Okay, the title is a "cheap pop".

The term "cheap pop" is taken from professional wrestling, where a wrestler, during his solioquy or interview will say something that he/she knows will get a big fan reaction. For example, mention how happy you are to be in "insert city here", and they'll react with delight.

So, I title this entry with the term "hot sex" for two reasons:

1) I want searchers for said category to find this blog entry.

2) So they'll click on the link above. One of my new favorite websites is The Marriage Bed. What a refreshing discovery, to find believers who don't mind sharing the fact that Christian marriages are not "boring", nor do they have to be. We can pray for another, help each other, and get good advice.

Remember, the word MARRIAGE is in the title for a reason. :)

So, if you haven't seen the site yet, click on "hot sex" above (Ha, a preacher advocating hot sex, I love it!!) and go to their message boards. They're great.

Good night!

PS---In an ironic twist of fate, I'm really tired, so.....I guess you know that means I won't put any knowledge from said website to good use on this evening....

...hee hee...

And now, the final countdown, brought to you by change.....

.....well, Tuesday night was tough enough.

Then, Wednesday pounced me and wouldn't let me go.

Tuesday night was our Christmas play at church. It's the third and final installment in the "Cricket County" Christmas Play series. So, all of us have played our roles three years running. We became a dysfunctional family (in that, some had to be really prodded to reprise their role, etc.)

So, with everyone standing on the platform at the end, our fearless director reminds us that:

A) This would be the final time this ensemble would be together...

B) This was my final play as pastor.

Tears, anyone?

Greta did the crying for us at the service (though I teared up watching Rachel play Mary in the final scene), we enjoyed talking to lots of people at the reception afterward, and started having to say our farewells (for now, of course, not for forever!) as some people will be out of town this weekend.

Then, Wednesday, I couldn't spend ten minutes in my car alone without breaking down, thinking of all the people who have been such a part of my life these past nine years and, all of a sudden, they, on a regular basis, won't be there.

One of my current problems, as I've noted here in the past, is that, as a pastor, you are "not allowed" to have friends at said church, for fear of reprisal, jealousy, anarchy, whatever.

So, I'm happy that, as of Monday, I can finally be "friends" with people who have been my friends for years and years.

At the same time, I remind myself God has another door opening for our family to find a new church home where we can be sheep, and connect with new, cool people who can also impact our lives in positive ways.

There are new friends to make, new experiences to come, and new smiles to make.

But first, we cry.

Tomorrow night is the Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Service. If I make it through Silent Night without a tear, that can ONLY be attributed to the sovereign work of God Almighty.

Then, Sunday morning, Christmas Day, we wrap it up.

Monday? We are all home (no one has to work), and I'm not sure how I'll "feel".

Part of me will be grateful, part of me will be sad, part of me will be tired (that's a constant!!)...

...and I hope part of me is ready to look ahead, which is something I've not wanted to do much in the past few years.

So, who will I know in 12 months who are not a part of my life today?

I don't know......but time, if God allows, will tell. :)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Kleenex stocks should have a good week..... today was my final official "sermon" at church. Next week I'm doing a two-part sermonette, part one on Christmas Eve, and the second the next morning (I don't want to hold people in service too long; trying to be respectful of family and visitor time, too.)

Nothing like wrapping up with Jesus' scathing words to the Pharisees in Matthew 23, coupled with God's reminder to Samuel in I Samuel 16 that, just because someone looks like a leader, doesn't mean they are one.

Afterwards there was a reception for the Witham crew.

They presented us with an absolutely beautiful mounted clock engraved with the final line of I Cornithians 13 on the front, and "1996-2005" on the back. They also gave us a gift card and a beautiful card with great words of thanks.

Kleenex, anyone?? Anyone got a Kleenex???

So, let's see.....we held back tears praying after the sermon, we cried after church, during the reception, and with a couple as they left the reception. Then, before the end of our play rehearsal tonight, I look to the other side of the stage and see my daughter play the part of Mary, remembering that our first Christmas at the church, she was baby Jesus, and fought back tears.

This will be a hard week. Only four days to get five days' worth of work done at the office; last minute presents to get, anticipating the final moments at church, and, to top it off, I'm in a down cycle right now. I'm needlessly, I'm sure (Mr. Obsessive that I am) worrying about a friendship, not wanting to see it in a down cycle, and, of course, Christmas-time is never the same since the nine-day vigil in Mama's hospital room, which began three years ago tomorrow.

But I know, I know, I know that God will see me through, there will be wonderful moments to cherish....

.....and alot more tears to come. :)

As I explained to my daughter at the reception today, sometimes the right decisions are very hard.

Me, being the realist I am, figures; better clue her in now before that reality sideswipes her one day like it did me.

I gotta go night-night.

And then there were three trips left to Disputanta....

Friday, December 16, 2005

Is your church open on Christmas??

I cannot believe all the press and controversy over churches choosing not to hold services on Christmas Day.

Yes, I do fall on the side of "open the church". If we're there for corporate worship every other Sunday of the year, why not on a Sunday that coincides with the day we celebrate the Savior's birth?

This article talks of different church perspectives and reasons why some have chosen not to open.

My problems with this:

A) The pastor at Southland Christian Church in Kentucky defended their church's decision to close discussing the origins of the Christmas holiday as a pagan holiday and how it would be more accurate historically to celebrate Jesus' birth in January or April.

Then why do we celebrate Christmas? I don't get it. The church takes a pagan holiday, uses it to celebrate a birth, and now uses it to justify why opening a house of worship on a Sunday isn't what they want to do.

B) Read this quote from the first article I linked to above....

Cindy Willison, a spokeswoman for the evangelical Southland Christian Church, said at least 500 volunteers are needed, along with staff, to run Sunday services for the estimated 8,000 people who usually attend. She said many of the volunteers appreciate the chance to spend Christmas with their families instead of working, although she said a few church members complained.

The word "working" bugs the heck out of me. If I volunteer at church, motivated by my love for God and for serving others, why would I even consider it "working"?

BOTTOM LINE: Do we worship 24/7? Yes, we do. Do we have to be in a certain physical structure at a certain time on a certain day of the week to look or be "holy"? No.

But I will say this....churches that choose to close simply because Christmas falls on a Sunday are akin to the NFL if it decided, when Super Sunday came, they would play the Super Bowl, but all television and radio feeds would be blacked out and no one would be allowed in the stands.

Football's biggest day and the impetus for its existence, the fans, not there??

The church where I'm concluding a nine-year pastorate on, ironically, Christmas Day, used to have church service EVERY CHRISTMAS DAY NO MATTER WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK IT FELL ON.

So, people will drive to grandma's house on Christmas Sunday, pass the corner church, see the parking lot empty and think to themselves....

"If it's such a big birthday, why isn't the family of God together to celebrate it?"

Come on, people, the least we could do is worship on Christmas; it hasn't fallen on a Sunday since 1994!

What's next?


Monday, December 12, 2005

Tell us your Godly Vision in 50 words or less....

....soon the Withams will begin accepting applications for a new home church.

Megachurches need not apply. Must have strong childrens/youth program. Small is fine, run by two families not preferred.

Don't preach God's Word? Don't bother. I don't go to the church to get a pat on the head. God's Word should kick me in the butt. Then, after that, I get a great hug from my Heavenly Dad. :)

Oh, and one other thing. If I have to get onto an interstate to get to said church, you're automatically out of consideration.

There now. Let the process begin! Beginning December 26th, here, in the Witham Nation.

And this week's search winner.....

I love how some searches end up with people arriving at this blog...

Today's strange engine search:

"things with ham in it".

I used to be called "With Ham and Cheese" in junior high. Apparently, one of my former classmates is back to haunt me.


Post #300------and so far behind.....

Most days I think of the word "blog", and immediately this thought follows...

"....I really need (want) to blog, but....", then I trail off into thoughts of where's the time gonna come from?

Between work all week, wrapping up church responsibilties, and not sleeping very well, time can be, well, tricky to find.

Had plenty of time Saturday! I slept it away. Part of me really enjoyed it. Part of me hates it with a passion; I'll never get that day back.

So, I wax poetic on this, my 300th post, looking forward to a moment where I can sneak in and discuss pertinent issues near and dear to my heart....

---I haven't blogged about Twila yet..
---Did I make Fantasy Football playoffs...
---We're now under five weeks until Jack Bauer returns!
---Is your church open Christmas Day? Does it matter?
---and, of course, the burning question of all time...

"Paper or Plastic?"


Thursday, December 08, 2005

And now, to dispel the rumor.....

....that I decided to boycott blogging in the month of December.....

....when I don't show here for a few days, the reasons are usually:

A) much time at work
B) much time in bed

...the last several days, it's been A).

So, I am around, and REALLY HAVE ALOT of stuff to blog about, so expect a flood of entries when I do get a chance.

Meanwhile, lest we forget....

November's Winning Numbers: 1, 3, 16, 24 and 30.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Countdown Begins!!!

I will get to Twila soon; little time to blog tonight, I'm afraid (what's new!??!?)

At midnight eastern, Thursday December 1, 2005.....

....45 days and 20 hours until.....

....well? Have you seen Jack in your neighborhood??


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Tomorrow, Twila..... to crying coming home tonight over people I watch over (my two kids) and people who won't be born for another, say, 50 to 75 years.

The word "legacy" comes to mind. So does the music of Twila Paris.

More on the greatest concert I ever have seen/ever will see, and the music that makes Twila so special coming up.


But, first, I don't want to detract from tonight's other post below, since I feel so strongly about it. :)


I'm having a problem with gadgets.... you cannot watch television, read a paper, listen to a radio, etc.....

....without hearing about all the gadgets that people "have to have" this Christmas, you know, the "must-have" best sellers.

Cell phones.
Cell phones with cameras.
Cell phones with mp3 capabilities.
Cell phones with video capabilities.
XBox, version 2009, which swallows your children inside the actual machine. (J/K)
Regular deodorant. (Sorry, brief lapse...)
Digital Cameras of all sorts.
IPod Nano's.

You get the idea.

Millions and millions and millions of dollars being spent on all these "toys" (which is really what they are) this Christmas.

I mean, how do you increase work productivity 25 percent with a cell phone with video? No, you'll decrease it while you're caught up watching soaps, the NFL, Desperate Househusbands, whatever.

Then, I think of the following.... the following from the Tottenham, Wood Green, and Edmonton Journal in Great Britain, and see what some eight and nine year olds are thinking about as the holiday season approaches...

Pupils bake charity treat
16 November 2005
KIND-hearted pupils from Coleridge Primary School cooked up a fundraising treat for children in Niger, in Western Africa.

Year four youngsters from in the school in Crescent Road baked and sold biscuits to sell at school - and made a fantastic £115.72 in just 15 minutes.

Here, in their own words, two pupils tell the story of their charity challenge.

"Brilliant Cakes, brilliant money - cash, cash, cash!" is the story from James Barth, who writes:

A class of eight and nine-year-olds raised more than £100 in less than 20 minutes in Coleridge Primary School for Niger famine relief and they have worked a whole week for this special occasion.

In Niger, 35 per cent of children die before the age of five, so you could call them lifesavers.

James, of 4N, said: "It was fun - and delicious after all the work."

Classmate Eve Aspinall made the following report:

Coleridge Primary School held a biscuit sale last Friday. They raised a whopping £116 to send to the Niger Famine Appeal/Unicef.

Cookies, biscuits, cake and more have been sold on this special day. In Niger, 35 out of 100 die before the age of five.

Eight and nine-year-olds were making biscuits all week, trying to stop malaria from spreading in Niger. "Someone's gotta be there for them," Eve reports, sitting at her desk.

So, while kids in America (and MANY other countries) get whiny about not having the latest Tigger or Bratz doll, video game, whatever....think about these kids. More importantly, think about the kids they helped.

Many of them have no idea what a Christmas is like we do. And, sadly, many of them won't see many of them either.

Here's a place for more hope:

Socialist? NO I AM NOT! Does it make logical sense to take some of our energies and resources and find a better way to solve disease and famine rather than pour and pour it out on getting a slimmer IPod that can handle a thousand more songs? Heck, do you KNOW ANYONE who actually listens to a 1,000-song rotation??

It's just not sitting well with me this year. I want shorts, golf shirts, a decent pair of tennis shoes, and a few 80s CD's.

If I shop carefully, $75, maybe $90. Tops.

I'm not gloating. I gotta save money!! I'm leaving a job, remember???

Dana's story....

The link below will only be good for 14 days, so here, thanks to the Berkshire Eagle, is the story of Dana's passing.

'Voice of Berkshires' dies of heart attack
By Benning W. De La Mater, Berkshire Eagle Staff

Monday, November 28
PITTSFIELD — Dana Jones, the man who greeted Berkshire radio listeners each morning with a baritone voice and a good joke, died Friday at Berkshire Medical Center of a heart attack.
He was 83.

"He seemed indestructible," said WBRK owner and Jones' former boss, Willard "Huck" Hodgkins. "It's a sad day, but I think we can celebrate his life."

Jones was hired at the newly formed WBEC in 1947 and first hit the air on the premier broadcast on March 25. He worked there until 1980, later joining WBRK. He moved to WUHN and finished his career there in 1988.

Jones was known locally as the morning guy for WBEC. He did sportscasts, interviews with visiting dignitaries and politicians and on-the-spot reporting. He also served as the station's program director.

But he was best known for his children's show, "Storytime," and for the humorous characters he invented and interviewed, including Grampa Crabgrass and Uncle Ephraim.

'Quite a phenomenon'

"He had these voices and characters he'd create," Hodgkins said. "He'd come in at 3 in the morning and put the voices on tape. He could carry a conversation with himself like nobody.

"He was quite a phenomenon in Pittsfield for some years."

Jones said his favorite part of broadcasting was speaking to children. Interviewed in The Berkshire Eagle in 1957, Jones said: "I can't see (the children), but from the letters I receive from the parents, I guess the children are my best listeners. I try to make every birthday greeting a personal message. It's not too difficult to smile when you form a mental picture of kids getting your message."

Jones, an only child, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 14, 1922. The day after Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Army.

He was promoted to sergeant and served in New Guinea, the Philippines and Morotai.

After the death of his father, he moved with his mother to 316 North St. Pittsfield. He married the former Marcia Vern Angelo in 1959 and had a son, Kent.

For 12 years, Jones handed off the broadcast to Bill Hickey.

"He was the morning guy, and I was the afternoon guy," said Hickey, 79. "He was our No. 1 guy, and his voice sounded great. And those imitations, wow."

His voice, which was coined as "The Voice of the Berkshires," was deep and distinctive. Hickey said Jones had the opportunity to move up to bigger markets — he was once offered a job in Washington, D.C., but declined.

"He was a hometown boy, and he liked the people here, and the people liked him."

Jones was a huge New York Jets fan, and was once witness to a UFO.

"He told me a story about coming to work one morning and seeing this UFO in the sky," Hodgkins said. "He said he really saw something quite strange, and I believed him."

'He was a character'

Hodgkins said that, of the relatively small fraternity of broadcasters who have graced the local airwaves, Jones should be regarded as one of the best.

"He was a character," Hodgkins said. "A great guy. He made it a three-man show when it was only a one-man show."

Benning W. De La Mater can be reached at bdelamater@berkshire or at (413) 496-6243.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A personal loss; a loss for the Berkshires....

For those of you who live in Richmond or know anything about Richmond, you'll know the name Alden Aaroe. To several generations of Richmonders, he just wasn't "on the radio", he WAS Richmond radio.

I had the honor of working with someone of his stature. His name was Dana Jones. He spent his entire radio career in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where I began mine 20 years ago.

Deep, rich baritone voice, very likable, and a whiz at creating characters in the production room. He woke up the Berkshires from 1947 to his retirement in 1988.

My first commercial radio airshift was a Saturday, noon to sign-off, on WUHN. I followed Dana Jones---in the grammatical sense ONLY.

No one followed Dana, just as no one will ever follow Alden here in Richmond.

I learned tonight of Dana's passing last Friday at 83. Take a moment and read the article from the Berkshire Eagle.

He could have easily gone big-market; but liked where he was. I'm so glad to be able to count myself as one of those who were able to watch him at work.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Things I'm thankful for as Thanksgiving winds down.....

Mind you, this list could hardly be called "exhausting", it's just a few thoughts on my mind this evening.

1) I'm thankful that I got out of bed this morning. For those of you who don't know me or have stumbled across this blog, this is meaningful, honest! Yes, I'm thankful God gave me another day, but on many days off the past few years, I simply wouldn't get out of bed (like last Saturday for example.) I'd spend the day sleeping. Bonnie was leaving for Food Lion around 10, I thought for a minute, asked her if she'd mind some company, and got up and went with her!

Then we picked up the kids from Aunt Sherry's, and I don't know what the kids thought when I was actually with their mom. You knew they figured mom would pick us up and "dad would still be in bed". Well, whaddya know.

I did lie down this evening, but not 'til after 6pm, after Thanksgiving w/the in-law crew, and, well, I was having a hard time keeping the eyes open on the recliner at halftime.

2) Which brings us to this: I'm thankful that Denver beat Dallas. Now if the Giants can beat Seattle (can't their annual December swoon start early this year???), we're back in first place all alone! Woo hoo!!

3) I'm thankful that I hate alcohol. Well, I like rubbing alcohol for purposes of deleting ticks from one's body, but.....

...Robbie and I talked about this going to school the other morning. I know the two biggest reasons, for example, I've never tried beer.

---My upbringing (alcohol was sinful, it would only lead to drunkenness or addiction)


As I age, I'm a bit more mellow in my alcohol view (one drinking a beer a day is still not damned to hell if they serve the Lord; but they do suffer from no sense of smell....hee hee....)----I also see no problem with a glass of wine at dinner.

I.E.---God's Word says to not drink to what....."excess". Correct. I'm thankful this has never been a temptation for me. I need to pray more for those I know (and those I don't) who struggle with it every day.

Drinking? Never cared. Smoking? Couldn't if I wanted to due to my allergies. Lust? Now you hit the nerve. That's always been my Achilles Heel sin. I'm thankful that it has had less and less of an effect on me in 2005. So, obviously, I must be letting God do more of the fighting, otherwise I'd keep messing up. :)

Okay----how did Denver/Dallas lead to a confession of sin??? Hee hee....

3) I'm thankful for Mountain Dew. That's my not-so-secret addiction, and source of caffeine (the smell of coffee also drives me nuts!)

4) I'm thankful we discovered my sleep apnea and I have the equipment to help me sleep better. I can't believe it's already been two years since my deviated septum surgery. Now there's a Thanksgiving I won't forget, even though I spent most of it sleeping!! And, it was NOT due to exhaustion or depression!!

Them were some powerful pills they gave me! I had the surgery the day before Thanksgiving, stayed overnight (patients getting this surgery are usually same day, but they held me overnight for observation to make sure my respiration returned to normal after being put under. This is an issue to watch for sleep apnea people like me...), and came home Thanksgiving morning.

Then I remember the following:

--Bonnie brought me food mid-afternoon. I ate, and went back to bed.
--There was football on TV. Obviously I knew Detroit and Dallas were part of it. That's about all I knew.
--One night (either Thursday or Friday) I was awake long enough to watch a Sam Walton biography. Friday night there was basketball on.
--Then, finally, I felt like coming into the living room to lie on the couch on Saturday evening.

Like I said, them were some powerful pills!

But it's one of the best things I've ever done; my allergies have become such a minor part of my life after suffering and suffering from them all of my life. Attacks like the one I had last week is now rare, rather than expected on a usual basis (several times a year, especially spring and fall).

And finally....

5) I'm grateful that my wife gives me a back scratch every night. What a great way to finish a day, no matter how it went. :)

Hope your Thanksgiving was enjoyable, relaxing, tasted good, and was spent with people you love.

If you worked today, thank you for your sacrifice. Police, fire, nurses, doctors, EMT's, radio announcers (I know that feeling well!), pharmacists, just to name a few.

If you worked today in regular retail, your company should have its head examined. We can all live ONE day without a KMart or WalMart being open.

Of course, having said that, I'm reminded that, quite frankly, we could probably live for many years without a KMart open....but that's another discussion.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!!

To begin.....

Between 8am Tuesday and 8pm Wednesday (a 36 hour period), I worked 30 hours.

The things people will do for a day off to eat turkey!! :)

Happy weekend to all, we have MUCH to catch up on, and I'll actually have some time to do so (I'm even off from church Sunday---woo hoo!! Football!!)

Coming up this weekend....

--Patrick Henry's sudden demise in playoff competition
--X's and Oh's for the White House this week
--Gee, 52 inches isn't big enough to watch the Weather Channel (yeah, right!)
--Thanks to Ted Koppel
--How David Letterman is more like Johnny Carson every day
--The 8th grade, AKA, standing on the corner of the gym floor watching them have fun
--My wife's TV schedule.....(is that the first mental step to AARP membership??)
--(just seeing if you were REALLY reading this list...)
--and hopefully, a day with the kids. They haven't been stuck with just Dad for a day in a long, long time.

The kids are at Aunt Sherry's spending the night; we'll see them next at Thanksgiving dinner, as the family gathers to eat, and I find a good seat to watch Michael Vick.

Long live Tryptophan!!


Sunday, November 20, 2005

Lots to catch up on...... soon as my first allergy attack in quite some time goes away.....

Spent yesterday in bed....all day....

Missed the playoff football game on the radio Friday night.....PH lost......

I hate having a dry nose.......

.....and now I've gotta go for three days of work, and still get five days' worth of work done.

So, after resting up and eating some on Thursday, I hope to be here to blog and blog and blog......

.....'cuz I'm not going to Target Friday at 6am. I've made that mistake before!!


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

See? All those hours listening to XL-102 in high school pays off!!!

Rock Star
You scored 98%!
You damn rock star. You know all the basics, and if you got any wrong, I bet it was that stupid Traveling Wilburys question. Your friends are probably intimidated by your knowledge of classic rock and envy your impressive collection. When a classic rock song comes on the radio, you can probably identify it before the vocals kick in most of the time. You probably get good scores on the "maiden name of Clapton's mom" tests, too.

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 67% on notes
Link: The BASIC classic rock Test written by allmydays on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Monday, November 14, 2005

Hey Stubby! Let's call another one!!!

We were, like 90 percent sure of a playoff game for Patrick Henry going into Friday night's showdown with Hermitage, the game we've been looking forward to all season.

Never thought PH would be the favorite, not Hermitage, who was picked to be head and shoulders above the rest of the Colonial District.

Good game, HUGE crowd and a couple of pivotal plays.

It's 6-0 at the half. PH scores on a juggling catch by Robby Daniels to go 13-0. Then Hermitage gets on the board with their own juggling TD catch, and it's 13-7 with four minutes and change to go.

They line up in onside kick formation, deciding to kick to the opposite side of the field, where only one player is lined up to try to recover the ball for Hermitage.

The ball goes squarely to a huge lineman who, obviously, has little experience handling kickoffs. It bounced off him, and the pinball game began. Three or four different players had a hand on it....

....then finally, Johnny on the spot was wide receiver Anthony Muscolino, who came out of nowhere to pounce on the ball at the 50 yard line.

This was the game breaker.

PH proceeds to drive 50 yards in about two minutes and, on fourth down and goal at the one; QB Jordan Harris punched it in.

I've never been so happy to say, "Touchdown, Patrick Henry Patriots!!" on the radio as I was at that moment.

Hermitage gets the ball at midfield down six, and who knows what happens.

Instead, PH puts it away, and finishes an astonishing 10-0 and wins the Colonial District.

And their prize for going unbeaten??


THE VHSL point system set to determine playoff teams is the high school version of the BCS.

Note these facts about our Division 6 Playoffs:

1) Varina was #1 in area polls all season, going 9-0. They finished the season against Highland Springs, who was also undefeated in the District (Capital), but was 7-2 overall. But, winner gets the playoffs since the winner gets the District title. Highland Springs pulls off an incredible upset, 15-14 in double overtime, wins the district, and....

...Varina is now home. 9-1 record. No playoffs. Here's why it's so ridiculous...

...Meadowbrook High School does NOT win their district, finishes 8-2, and is not only in the playoffs....THEY HAVE HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE!!!!!!!


2) Patrick Henry is the only unbeaten team left, and they still get ranked behind two 8-2 teams, one of which is NOT is District title winner.

Need I say more??

Bitter. NO! Shaking my head? You bet, and if you don't agree with me, I invite you to have a conversation with PH Coach Ray Long, the winningest coach in Central Region history. He'd be glad to offer some thoughts on the lunacy that is the VHSL point system.

Nonetheless, they're in----and headed to Chester to play LC Bird (the defending regional champions) on Friday night. Coverage starts at 705pm on WHAN, for those of you in the Greater Ashland Area. :)

OH....and we got to do the post-game show on the field again (I love cell phones!), interviewing quarterback Jordan Harris, blitzman extraordinare linebacker Sam Smith (the most passionate PH player I've ever seen), and, of course, Coach Long. I let Stubby interview Coach...I get the shivers thinking about doing it. It's respect, pure and simple...for a man I knew as a teacher, who I was blessed to see as a student at the beginning of his PH career, and now get to broadcast more victories as his historic career continues.

And, besides....not only did I hold the equipment during Coach's interview, I also held his game ball! God knows I'll never have a game ball in a trophy case.....


Stunning news for us wrestling fans yesterday, as I learned last night that Eddie Guerrero had passed away at 38. I noted that especially. I'm 38.

What we forget when we watch the scripted craziness that is wrestling (I don't condone all of it, BTW), these are also people....with families....with battles.

My condolences are to his wife and three children, and his entire blood family, and wrestling family...especially Chris Benoit.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Thank you, Linda!!

Thank you, Linda Hamilton, for your courage to speak on the issue myself, and many, many others deal with every day....Bipolar Disorder.

See first post from Tuesday 11/8 to read the transcript of her interview with Larry King.

"See you sometime?" or "Morse Code to Saints"...

So, I get home moments ago to read the headline that the NFL and various Los Angeles officials have "reached a preliminary agreement on terms to bring a team back to the Los Angeles Coliseum", according to Commissioner Tagliabue.

Read here.....

There could only be two outcomes here, I would think:

1) This was about as monumental as when you see an old friend for the first time in years and tell them, "You know, we really should do lunch sometime....", and they agree. Then, of course, it never happens, but, technically, this could be labeled a "preliminary agreement".

2) Smoke signals, morse code, encryptions, whatever----are being sent to New Orleans via San Antonio via Baton Rouge.

In other words, San Antonio shouldn't even think of getting "comfortable" with having an NFL team even temporarily playing in the Alamodome.

This has to be the first domino in the fall of the New Orleans Saints to be replaced by the Los Angeles Whoevers.

Of course, and rightfully so, New Orleans will scream and holler. It's not like they requested Katrina to come in and destroy the city, and their own dome.

There's been talk of a "Cleveland deal" for New Orleans. But how would that ever work?

The NFL is perfect at 32 teams. Perfectly symmetrical. Go to 34? Then who gets the other team? Does one conference have 18 teams and the other 16, or do both have 17? Playoff expansion, since only 12 of 34 teams would make it under current rules??

Then there's always the "dilution" of quality players across the league theory, which I'm not so sure is merited.

So, I'm going to sit back, watch, pray for football fans in Louisiana (after praying much more and much harder for the people and their recovery!!!!), and think to myself...

....why does the NFL think they still need L.A.? Their best 10 years have been the last ten in terms of popularity, $$$, etc.....and L.A. was nowhere to be found.

THOUGHT: If they DO go to 34 teams, for heaven's sake, put the 34th team where God intended football to be played.....IN COLD WEATHER!

I'm trying to think of a nickname for their expansion franchise in Bangor, Maine... any ideas??

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Six years ago tonight.....

....I tried to go to sleep early, and was scared to death.

For after another round of newspaper delivery, I was to go to my first day at work on Church Hill on THE radio station in Virginia--WRVA.

My mind couldn't comprehend that the following people would be in the same building:

Lou Dean, Tim Timberlake, John Harding, Deanna Malone, Pam Overstreet, Tim Farley, Jerry Lund, Millard the Mallard.....and ME????

I remember arriving the next morning, entering through the electronic door leading downstairs, stopped in the restroom, went into a stall, and thought to myself, "Dear God, what am I doing here?"

Though my time on The Hill wasn't long (before the big changes at 'RVA and subsequent move to the West End), I will have nine months of my life that I wouldn't trade for love nor money.

For all the aforementioned people, plus many, many others who weren't on the air, made me feel like family from day one.

And I'll never forget 'em.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Linda Hamilton: Finally! As promised......

Those of us with bipolar as part of our lives totally understand the life of actress Linda Hamilton and appreciate it when someone speaks publicly about the issue.

Here's the transcript from her Larry King Live appearance recently....

Now 9-0....and the big game is finally here...

Patrick Henry easily took care of business last Friday night, scoring early and often (kinda like how Chicago Democrats vote) to defeat J.R. Tucker 44-0 last Friday to go 9-0.

Simple game; get on the road, take the lead early, finish the game without injuries, and head for home to finally talk Hermitage.

Stubby and I have talked about the Hermitage game since opening night. Now the coaches and players can.

Simple: PH wins, they win the District and go to the Division 6 Playoffs. Lose, and they tie for the title and they go to points to determine playoff team, which, right now, points in Patrick Henry's favor (no pun intended).

So, unless some really freaky things happen Friday night, it looks like we'll be on the air at least one more Friday night, and probably on the road.

That's okay. They'd be in. After thinking another 7-3 season would happen, 10-0 and the playoffs would be beyond many people's dreams.


PS--I try everything to be partial in my play-by-play coverage, really I do....

Presidential Referendum?? No.....and yes.....

So, the Governor's race is, THANKFULLY, over in Virginia.

Stink, one of the Attorney General candidates ran an ad at 659pm on television, a full ONE MINUTE before the polls closed (who's placing those ad buys???)

This has been the most boring Governor's race I've seen in Virginia, and I go back to Godwin, Reynolds, Holton, and Howell circa 1969 and 1973. I only missed the '85 election when I was in college.

Jerry Kilgore, the Republican candidate, does not light a fire and doesn't show passion when he speaks, even if he has it. His campaign has never had a definitive message which would convince the Independent voter they needed to change the occupant of the Governor's Mansion from a Democrat to a Republican.

Tim Kaine, the Democratic candidate, has had the advantage of at least looking like he has a definitive message (though his flip-flopping on the death penalty sure made him look un-leaderlike...), and has the advantage that the outgoing Governor, Mark Warner, has high approval ratings.

Also, many Republicans are, quite frankly, p.o.'ed at party members, especially in the General Assembly, for putting down their principals and voting for the largest tax increase in Virginia history last year. Now, you'll never hear Kaine and Warner call it that....

From comes this spin:

Only after cutting state spending commitments dramatically and reducing the size of government did the administration tackle budget reform. This historic reform package helped create a 2004 budget that was fair to working Virginians. The comprehensive, bipartisan budget reform eliminated the state’s portion of the food tax, and reformed the income tax to eliminate the marriage penalty, increase the personal exemption, and removed 141,000 working Virginians from the tax rolls. To accomplish these objectives required a modest ½ cent increase in the sales tax and increasing the cigarette tax to 35% of the national average.

As Governing Magazine has also pointed out, the administration had also won the public trust by cutting three dollars of state spending for every single dollar raised in the budget reform process.

"Budget reform", and it's the "bi-partisan" part that has hurt Republicans. They haven't been this incohesive since, in my view, the last years of the Byrd Machine.

So, all that to say........

When you hear CNN, MSNBC, et al proudly proclaim how Kaine's victory tonight means another huge defeat for President Bush, they are only partially correct.

All politics is local. I can think of four reasons why Tim Kaine wins before the word "Bush" comes to mind:

1) Current Governor has been popular and has been prominently featured in Kaine's campaign. It's amazing how the "Warner Administration" suddenly became the "Warner/Kaine Administration" sometime this past summer.

2) Republican disarray, disagreement, and discontent over the "budget reform".

3) The least charismatic, least focused candidate in years, and years....

4) The public has apparently seen fit to embrace the aforementioned reform, and are believing in the improvements that are coming to, specifically, education and transportation, that have been touted by the Warner team. I believe some will come to pass (transportation, slowly) and some never will (when's the last time you heard a public school official say, "We have just too much money; let's share!!")

Here's the "yes" regarding President Bush:

Isn't it ironic that, after saying no for awhile, Kilgore finally embraced a Presidential visit, which took place in an airport hangar at RIC Airport as Bush returned from his fan tour of Latin America. So, Bush never left the property of the airport to "show his support".

That's not "firing up the troops". Kilgore sure didn't seem to want this rally in what you would call a public square, either!

So, some Bush effect? Yep. More state and local reasons? Sure.

Either way--Virginia Democrats are back on track, and Republicans better regroup, or their legislative majority will evaporate, too.


President Bush does have something to smile about.....

...he "called" the house over the weekend asking us to vote for Jerry Kilgore, which impressed my daughter to no end. "Daddy, George Bush called us!!", she exclaimed.


At the doctor today for a boring checkup, I read the cover story on Senator George Allen in the latest National Review. They got him absolutely right.

He comes off as very affable. In fact, I remember him being introduced at a Republican rally here in Richmond the night of the 1992 Richmond Presidential Debate, and he wasn't exactly "publicly chizzled" for politics (kinda goofy looking, I thought), even though he'd been in the General Assembly.

A year later, he comes back from 27 points down to destroy Attorney General Mary Sue Terry, becoming the first Republican to win the Governor's race in Virginia since 1977.

His four years were considered very successful. His family is "picture-perfect" for politics, he has "famous" blood (his father was former NFL coaching great George Allen), he is actually a nice guy, and he also has a side of him that takes no prisoners when it comes to winning.

He took over the US Senate seat by dethroning one-time Presidential hopeful, Chuck Robb (son-in-law of former President Johnson) in 2000. Popular Governor Mark Warner, also considered a rising star on the Democratic side for '08, especially among the "Anti-Hillary" crowd, decided not to seek Allen's seat.

Smart move. Both men benefit. Now Warner can begin working on 2008 after leaving the Governorship, and Allen can focus more time on 2008 now, rather than have to spend the next year trying to hold onto his current job.

No prominent Democrat will be able to give him much of a race, so both Allen and Warner are on the fast track.

It's about time. Virginia is the home of Presidents, they say. Well, lately to be eligible you have to be chiseled in granite somewhere.

Time for another Virginia President! President Allen sounds good, and NO I DO NOT MEAN GEENA DAVIS. YEECH!!!!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

News and Notes on November 1st.....

First---the game.

This is my fourth season calling Patrick Henry football games (my alma mater!). I've had the pleasure of calling many victories for the Patriots, and, now, a fourth fantastic game with a fantastic finish.

Deep Run came to Ashland a very surprising 6-1, losing last week to Mills Godwin 10-0. They could stay in the District title race with a win and knock Patrick Henry out of the ranks of the unbeaten.

This was a defensive slugfest. PH's normal running game was pretty much stalled. To be fair, DJ Thomas was hurting most of the second half and played more on heart than legs.

It was 13-6 at the half. Deep Run scored the only points of the 2nd half. We go to overtime, 13-13.

PH gets the ball first, and scores in two plays from the ten. Extra point is good; 20-13.

Now, Deep Run's turn. Two plays, and they're in.

Deep Run then decides to do what PH decided to do last year in the Hermitage game; you're on the road, go for two and go for the win.

As I call the play, the ball goes to RB Wes McDaniel, who scored the TD on the last play, and my first reaction is he's got a clear seam to the end zone.

Then Stubby said, "No!"

Within a nanosecond, I see McDaniel being halted on the 1 yard line, with a PH defender coming from around the other side of the Deep Run offensive line to grab him by the back of the collar to halt progression, while a second PH defender comes in from the end zone to make sure he doesn't get in.

I see the referee signifying "no good". I go, "No Good! No Good! And Patrick Henry holds on to defeat Deep Run 20 to 19 in Overtime!" (or words to that effect).

It makes all the blowout games worthwhile to be able to call a nail-biter. What a game, and give credit to Deep Run, only in their 3rd year of varsity football. They have a tremendous defense and a great coach.

So, PH is 8-0, with JR Tucker on the road Friday, then the showdown we've all been waiting for: PH/Hermitage on 11/11. Patrick Henry could win this week, lose to Hermitage next week, finish 9-1 and still miss the playoffs while Hermitage, at 8-2, would get in. Long story; explanation later....


And so, the reason why it was good I didn't go to Mama's grave last Friday morning on her birthday?

The van would have died in Louisa County. Later in the day Friday, the van died on Bonnie. Wouldn't start, period. This would most likely have happened to me early on a Friday morning, so, it was disappointing, but good, that I didn't make it.

I will soon, though. It's my favorite place to go for emotional catharsis.


Funeral for Ms. Elsie will be Thursday morning, with visitation Wednesday night. This event has drawn out my "separation emotions" concerning leaving the church pastorate about 50 days before they would hit.

Commence crying.


Very little time to follow news events, only current events comment is the Virginia Gubernatorial election is a week from now, and I CANNOT WAIT until it's over.

I'm ready to hear "I'm Ronald McDonald, and I approve this ad to make you fatter!"

Monday, October 31, 2005

And October closes.....

.....hey folks!

The week has become much busier tonight, for a sad reason.

The oldest member of our congregation passed away tonight at age 96. So, there will be much to do at radio work and church work the next 72 hours.

Still have much to tell you about, ESPECIALLY the Patrick Henry/Deep Run football game last Friday night... why I couldn't, and why it was in my best interest, to not get to Mama's graveside last Friday morning for her birthday.


October's winning numbers: 2, 9, 11 and 17.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

One quick note!

47 years ago today, the world became a better place.

Yo, Bro!!!

Happy Birthday!!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

And to close tonight, a Flintstones moment!

Remember "Rock Roll"?

Ate that do-do egg thing and lost his voice, so Fred had to lip-sync the following:

(William Hanna / Joseph Barbera)
Rock Roll, the famous (what else?) rock 'n' roll star, performs this song in a parody of (what else?) the twist. From the well-known episode "The Twitch".

cow belly, pot of beans
tie a rope around your jeans
tell your mama not to wait
you ain't getting home till late
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
we're gonna Twitch!

verse 1:
Theres a town I know where the hipsters go they call it Bedrock
Twitch! Twitch!
And when you get an itch to do the Twitch in Bedrock
it's a twitchin' town so I'll see you down in Bedrock
Twitch! Twitch!

verse 2:
Well, we'll twitch around the clock tonight in Bedrock
Twitch! Twitch!
And Rock is gonna roll with all his might in Bedrock
Twitch! Twitch!
It's a twtichin town, so I'll seee ya down in Bedrock
Twitch! Twitch!
Yeah the twitchin's fine, have yourself a time in Bedrock
Twitch! Twitch!

Now, you know where to go when ya gotta twitch!

Friend of Louis?

You know, Farrakhan.

Funny, if I hadn't checked out Michele Malkin's blog, I wouldn't have known about this.

I'm sorry the guy was ever associated with the Pack!

Hmmmm.....wonder why this hasn't been plastered all over "Countdown", now known as "Watergate 2005/CIA/Rove/Cheney/Whatever We Can Get On Bush-down"?

Keith? Anyone? Care to let the white population know there was a call to exterminate them on C-SPAN?

That giant silent sound you heard was the MSM pretending this story didn't exist.
Your Personality Profile

You are dependable, popular, and observant.
Deep and thoughtful, you are prone to moodiness.
In fact, your emotions tend to influence everything you do.

You are unique, creative, and expressive.
You don't mind waving your freak flag every once and a while.
And lucky for you, most people find your weird ways charming!


Well.....several points and notes this evening:

First, let's go back to Friday night's PH/Douglas Freeman game....

Patrick Henry was 6-0 going into the game, but their wins were against teams with a combined record of 5-22 and none had a winning record when they took the field to play PH.

So, their #2 ranking in the area Top 10 was considered tenuous by some, undeserved by others. Here was their chance to prove they were for real, against a school that had their number the past three seasons in three wild games.

PH let them hang around in the first half, and tried to shake them early in the third quarter. It was 21-7 at the half, 28-7 quickly into the third quarter, but 28-14 a few minutes later.

Then, DF tries a surprise onside kick, and this proves to be the play of the game. The "big play" isn't always the long pass or the interception return for a TD (each of which we had in this game). This time, it was PH having no sure "hands" players on the front line of the special teams unit as the onside kick comes straight towards a backup lineman, big #77.

Not only did he catch it, he held onto it after taking some hits while being tackled. That was a HUGE play. On the next play, PH scored from 52 yards, and the rout was on.

48-14 is the final, and PH proves they just may belong. The other unbeaten team in the district, Deep Run, lost, so, they come to PH Friday night a game behind, in need of a win. PH wins on their homecoming night, and they're 2 away from a perfect regular season and the district title.

This Friday night should be LOTS of fun.


Ironically enough, I've been VERY groggy the past couple of days. We're trying to figure out why. I have dreamed, ALOT, in recent nights, very, very vividly. That should be a good sign, actually.

Another school of thought would be less stress now that my announcement has been made has caused my body to "come down" (a nice term for "crash"), but I just don't know.

I'm going to bed early again tonight, just to be on the safe side.


Friday, Mama would have turned 67. Usually I would make my annual sunrise trek to her gravesite in Louisa, and hope to do so again this time. The problem will be it is on, well, a Friday, which is a very busy day. But I need those moments with her on that day, so I suspect it'll prevail.

I've always figured if anyone ever wanted to knock me off, there's the perfect chance. Hillcrest Cemetery, Louisa....Route 33 just west of town, 'round sunrise on October 28th. I'm the one sitting on a bleacher pad crying near the back in the center.

Mama's only one reason for doing this, but that's another story...


And, finally, as for decompression, I'm working on getting ready for "life after pastorate". The stuff I'll miss will become more apparent over the long-term, as some of the things I definitely won't miss inevitably arrive at the surface first.

I'm on board 'til 12/26, unless otherwise notified, and I think I've already got a sermon idea for Sunday. Anything I do from now 'til whenever the tenure ends will be targeted with nothing but "forward-thinking" in mind.

The era which God used me is 'bout done. So, the vision needs to be placed in the future God is preparing. Just pray with me the hearts of all the people are willing to be "forward-thinking", too. Yes, their hearts. One can process stuff in the brain all day, but if one doesn't believe in their heart that God can do great things in the future, or, worse yet, refuse to want to adhere to or even listen to God's future plans, then that person is, unfortunately, the loser.

And, no matter how any relationships have ever gone with anyone there over the past almost-decade, I want everyone moving forward with God. It's the only way to go.

Plus, God would kick my tired, overweight rear if I felt otherwise. :)

Monday, October 24, 2005

ALa, just don't change my link name!

In breaking news, I announced my resignation as Pastor yesterday.

Many reasons, which I'll share some here shortly....

...but the day yesterday took so much out of me I almost didn't make it to work today; so I'm turning in early to make sure I have no repeat of that.

Pete and repeat were in a boat....

Saturday, October 22, 2005

A meaningful win....

Patrick Henry went into tonight's game with "unproven" written all over them.

They came out more "proven".

More blogging on the game, and many, many other hot topics and breaking news over the next 48 hours.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Can you feel it?

It's coming....

I can feel it....

More to come....

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Governor Boredom

We have a gubernatorial election this year in Virginia (we and New Jersey are the only ones blessed with the madness...)

This year's candidates are:

Jerry Kilgore--former Republican Attorney General.

Tim Kaine--current Lt. Governor, former Mayor of Richmond; Democratic nominee.

Russell Potts--Former Republican member of General Assembly; sort of a maverick of sorts. (and I can't find a website for the campaign....)

Who do I support?

--Well, the only ads I've seen for Potts consist of people banging on pots yelling, "We want Potts". So, I guess he's winning the war on grime.

--Tim Kaine was once Mayor of Richmond. With Richmond's record, there's no way I'd want him close to the Governor's Mansion.

--Jerry Kilgore is as boring as watching paint dry. There's no real passion, and I can't get fired up about him and his platform.

Kilgore's campaign has done the best job with commercials (probably because they hired a better ad agency); tonight Kaine had an ad calling on Kilgore to "say he's sorry". Can't they meet at the see-saw's at recess and settle this??

It makes me long for the days of:

Henry Howell....(what a voice!)

John Dalton....struck down before his time...

Doug Wilder:....winner of the wildest Governor's race in Virginia modern history in 1989, becoming the first elected African-American Governor in U.S. history....

Howard Carwile....I only added him because he had the most annoying voice in American political history, but look! He actually DID run for Governor.

Yawn. Wake me up November 9th.

Monday, October 17, 2005

I didn't know she was a Democrat!!

And that's how a real journalist acts. Their views are irrelevant, it's the facts that should be brought forth (message to KO).

Check out this great profile on E.D. Hill of Fox and Friends. Also, here's the stunning cover of her brand new book.


Peyton Does It Again!!!!!

De Caf!! De Caf!!
Peyton Manning's back saluting the everyday man in another great MasterCard commercial. Saw it for the first time yesterday and it's just as good as the first one (even has a sly reference to Eli at the end...)

Commercials on TV that are actually entertaining?


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Things That Won't Co-Exist.......

.....The "Insert Amount of Money Here" Pyramid is one of my three favorite all-time game shows. It made you think....quickly, and sensibly.

There are times when complex and "outside the box" are great. With this, though, logic ruled the day (and a mind filled with color pictures that connected clues didn't hurt either....). Most game shows were luck (roll the dice, spin the wheel, buy a vowel, whatever....), but Pyramid stood out.

The following thoughts would fall under my category of "Things That Cannot Co-Exist":

--Hatfields and McCoys
--Dogs and Cats
--Oil and Water
--Yankee Fans and Red Sox Fans
--Cowboys Fans and Redskins Fans

and, a new one I realized today...

--assumption and communication

Talking with Bonnie about today's sermon (she was doing children's church in the back), it occurred to me that when one assumes, it can only be based on one perspective. If I actually went out and sought the thoughts/opinions/facts from others, I then could not assume. I could deny reality or try to explain it away, but I couldn't assume.

Nothing earth-shattering here that changed my life today....just an interesting brain-shower God gave me. It works in marriages, between parents and kids, neighbors, co-workers, churchgoers.....

....if you want an issue settled, it's best to get all sides of the story, rather than assume the actions or motives of other parties. Yep. You won't want to approach them in investigating this, and he/she/they may not honestly answer your questions, but you're the better for trying.

Oh, and the more transparent you are, the less assumption will be made about you by others....unless they just want to murmur and gossip.


The next couple of weeks are filled with "stuff", important events, and other surprises. I promise to be more faithful to my blog, so all three of you will be updated as time goes on.

Oh, my other two favorite game shows of all time?

--and my all-time favorite, Split Second.

Remember it?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Thoughts, notes, and the 30 yard-line.......

Some thinking before my brain shuts down for the evening:

--Coach Ray Long wins #200 last night as Patrick Henry shuts down John Marshall 54-12. JM scored a touchdown on the final play that most people didn't see because everyone was staring at the sideline as the cheerleaders unfurled banners hailing the accomplishment and Coach got the "Gatorade dunk".

Through the magic of portability, and cell phones, Stubby and I were able to take the equipment onto the field during the post-game show and interview Coach Long at about the 30-yard line. Stubby did the honors, and as Coach was reflecting back on the past 24 seasons, I could see a tear develop in his eye and I was moved. Because I came to Patrick Henry that same year he came to be the head coach.

Hard to believe it's been that long; I looked through my sophomore yearbook when I got home for more trips down memory lane. So, we signed off the broadcast on the field at about the 15 yard line, then hustled back to the press box to pack and leave, since the P.A. announcer had to wait for us to leave in order to lock up. I appreciate his patience!

Deep Run beats Douglas Freeman to remain tied atop the District w/PH at 3-0. Freeman comes to Ashland Friday night, holding a three-game winning streak against Patrick Henry. PH has got to make sure it doesn't go to four. Then, if all holds, it's Deep Run/Patrick Henry in Ashland on Mama's birthday, possibly for the District title, but only possibly, since there are two more games to play after that, including a war with an upset Hermitage squad who everyone expected to easily win the title, and now they're in 3rd place.

High school football----gotta love it! OH, and I had a great conversation with my 11th grade English and 12th grade Advance Novel teacher, Nick Liberante, which I really enjoyed. He's on the sidelines every Friday night with camera in town for the school. He hasn't aged in 20 years, either. I'm jealous, like I was two weeks ago at the reunion!!! :)


--Reggie Bush won the Heisman today. The winning play for USC over Notre Dame? See it? I saw the highlight. Leinart doesn't make it.....unless Bush pushes him in. So, for everyone who couldn't decide which guy should strike the pose in December should USC run the table again, the issue is settled.

Well, except a guy named Vince Young way down south has a few words to say, too....


Pumpkin Patch here we come! It's the annual visit to Ashland Berry Farm not far from my hometown, for the hayride, the searching, the selecting, the return hayride, and the adventure to see if Mom can carry all the picked pumpkins and walk three steps with them in order to pay the $20 flat rate fee.

Mom was successful.

Dad?!?! Why didn't YOU DO IT?

Confusicous say----Man with bum shoulder should not carry idol of Linus' worship.


Oh, and I fell trying to get off the ground (I sat while the crew picked; I'm really not the pumpkin-type. No one wants to support my desire. I think a trip to the turnip patch would be wonderful....but I seem to be in the minority.

Finally, prayers to the family of Jason Collier, the Atlanta Hawk who died of a heart attack last night at just 28 years old. Remember his wife, Katie, and children as they must face an unthinkable challenge.

This reminds all of us, just like when we lost a 27 year-old neighbor 10 years ago early one morning, leaving behind her husband and very young daughter, just how precious and fleeting life is.

If you're blessed with tomorrow.....let's try to make the most of it.

And, if you've read this blog any, you know the preceding statement is meant to me first, and then to the world at large.

PS----Linda Hamilton on Larry King last night discussing Bi-Polar. I want to read the transcript and provide thoughts a bit later....

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Thank God!!!

The Yankees are out of the playoffs.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

We've been floored!

And carpeted!

For the first time since moving into our home October 31, 1992....the original carpet and laminate is completely gone.

First up, a new kitchen floors a couple of years back, thanks to a leak in the dishwasher.

We've held off for some time on new carpet; putting off the expense as long as we could. When Bonnie had, well, an accident several weeks back, it provided the perfect opportunity to make the move.

She was home sick one Sunday and turned the water on in the bathroom adjacent to our room to wash her hands, thought of something (remember, she was on heavy meds) and left to do it. Afterwards, she went to her recliner and fell asleep.

Somehow, a towel was draped over the top of the "hole" you have in a sink which prevents overflow....

...and when I and the kids got home from church and I went to change clothes, I found water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.

So, the laminate needed replacing, the wood needed drying, 1/3 of our bedroom carpet was, well, soppy.

So, what better time to upgrade?? :)

So, the new carpet came in yesterday, and we opted for hardwood floor in the foyer and hallway (reminds me of my childhood home). That went in today, along with new bathroom laminate.

So, we've totally, officially been "floored".

Now, to return all the junk we found to its original location......:)



--Patrick Henry made up their Friday rainout last night, with a 48-0 washout of Thomas Jefferson. TJ didn't make an offensive first down until the next to last play of the game. Wasn't pretty.

--We are so thankful for the rain! Now, we find ourselves praying in the opposite direction, asking God to call it off up in the northeast.....

--The Incredibles on Ice. Mediocre at best. I almost fell asleep during the 2nd half, but it was because I'm always sleepy, so let's not be quick to blame the show.

--Patrick Henry's top rival was upset last night, so if PH runs the table, they win the District and go to the playoffs. Oh, and did I mention in their last five games, FOUR of them are home? The one away game is against a very inferior opponent.

--Keith Olbermann's ego strikes again! MSM Lefties are praising him for raising "healthy skepticism" over the terror alert situation for Big Apple Subways the past several days. What's this guy gonna do when he waxes skeptically one too many times and the warning, sadly, becomes true? What does he say to victims and their families? How can he continue being an "anchor" (not that he is one now, anyway...)

Look, skepticism in the press is fine when done in proper context (i.e.--looking for the facts). Keith drew his own conclusion, then went on to "skeptically investigate" the possibility the Bush Administration only sends out alerts to get bad news off page one. Had there been irrefutable evidence against this "conspiracy theory", would he admit it? No way.

Do I have a gripe with him? Nope. It's just that he seems to push, not the right buttons with me, but the stupid buttons that just vault him into the limelight on my media radar.

--I go to bed Sunday afternoon and the Braves/Astros game is like, in the sixth. I wander back into the great room around 615pm, receive permission from the queen to change the channel to football, then proceed to see on the Fox Ticker (or whatever they call it this year...) that the above said game is now in the 16th inning....


I turn over to ESPN, and, while flipping back and forth w/football, watch the rest of the game, until the Astros win in the bottom of the 18th.

It reminded me of an incredible 1986 NLCS game when the Mets clinched the pennant in Houston, but it took them 16 innings to do it. I think the game started when I was on the air in the afternoon, and it didn't end until I was off the air and at the Y playing ball with guys from campus.

The whole 1986 baseball playoffs were unbelievable, but that's for another blog.

It's 10pm, and I made a promise that I'd go night-night at 10pm tonight. So, until later----good night and buy bonds!

Friday, October 07, 2005

And it rained!!!!!!!

Woo hoo!

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch on October 4th:

With a total of only 0.08 inches of rain, last month was the driest September in Richmond's weather record, the Wakefield office said.

The previous driest September here was 1884's, with 0.15 inches of rain.

So, that's why we are shouting glory today as the rain falls, and falls, and falls, and falls.... caused my high school football game to be postponed to Monday night, so we'll be on the air with games twice next week. I took advantage of the "off" time by, what else....WORKING!!!

This weekend?

Saturday: The Incredibles on Ice. Plus plan sermon and work on work stuff from, ah, well, you

Sunday: Church and a trip to work to drop off stuff before....

Monday: Off from work and watching the house kinda be torn to shreds. New carpet comes Monday, nearly 13 years after moving into Witham World Headquarters. The original has served well, but the hallway and selected other areas have taken a beating over the years. The hallway is going wood!! That's Tuesday.

And Tuesday, I'll be at..... get the idea.


Coming up....since I'm so far behind, I'll give you a synopsis of Patrick Henry's football season so far, take a look at my fantasy football teams, offer opinions on some important things and other things which mean absolutely nothing....

....which is basically what this blog has always been about. :)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

September's Winning Numbers!

I keep forgetting to give you the winners!

3, 12, 20, and 27.

Happy October!


While saddened, there are others.....

If you've followed news this past week or so, especially Greta on Fox News, you no doubt have heard of VCU freshman Taylor Behl, missing since Labor Day.

Sadly, a body was found yesterday in a shallow grave in Matthews County, some two hours from Richmond, and it was identified as her today. Certainly this is not the closure anyone would want.

I'm truly saddened for the family, and want officials to get the perpetrator, try, convict, then execute them. (She's not able to live, why should he/she??)


There are also other missing kids.

For example, go here for more on another Richmond teen missing since September 18th.

Yes, this may be a "skip town to meet someone met on line" deal, and maybe not.

My point is....look at her description.

Now, I'm NOT the first person to cry bigotry, have no respect for the "Jesse & Sharpton" wing of the African-American community, and strongly believe conservatism is the political way to truly empower all people, no matter from what background, to work hard, be rewarded, and either get out of poverty or simply do better than what your parents did, so your children are poised to do the same.

But Monica is short, overweight....and African-American.

And I'm sorry, but something's just not quite right. So, the next time news breaks about someone missing, tell me if it fits the profile of young Caucasian woman. Then check the police web site of that locality to see if others are reported missing.

In my supermarket each morning, I pass a "missing" sign for both of these children. Taylor's fate is now known. Monica's is not. And, also, Monica's case should be known by the community as well as Taylor's was. Go to Yahoo! and search Monica's name under news, and the most updated article about her was September 23rd.

Am I claiming conspiracy? Absolutely not. Profiling? Doubt it very, very seriously. But in our saturated 24-hour news society, the basic need is no longer "inform the public", it's "fill the time and get ratings". Pretty young women suddenly disappearing can make for good stories. But why didn't Monica's?

Do I say all this to cheapen the Taylor Behls and Natalee Holloways of the world??


I'm just looking for all of God's people to be looked upon equally, whether white, black, Hispanic, male, female, straight, gay, tall, short, fat (like me), skinny, physically or mentally challenged....

....and it takes individuals thinking rather than using subconscious filters to do so successfully.

God bless Taylor's family, and I pray Monica comes home soon.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

RIP, Mr. Poem....

...a game show fan as big as me, especially in the 1970's, mourns today.

Nipsey Russell is gone. I pray he's gone to the winners circle.....:)

For one night....welcome back to 1985....

...and I didn't even need a DeLorean.....

Arguably the most planned and anticipated event of the year took place Saturday night. The class of 1985 from Patrick Henry High School (well, about 20 percent of us...) came together for one night to compare looks, jobs, hairlines, tummies, or whatever else one comes to a reunion for.

I had already made my explanation regarding the obvious change in weight gain. I was a 132 pound stick in 1985 (and in 1988 when I got married, actually), but I'm not near that now.

But, much to my surprise, it wasn't the was all about the hair!!!

I have naturally curly hair. Not the "pretty" kind, mind you, the kind that drives you nuts. So, there are two choices to deal with it:

1) In junior high and high school, I got perms. Yep, perms. So, I had a "curly bush" of sorts (insert Three Stooges/President George W combo-joke here....)

2) You get a "number one all the way" at Great Clips and call it a day. That's been my mantra since 2001.

So, incredibly, person after person would look at my name tag, which proudly sported my senior year photo, then to me, and would exclaim, "WHERE'S THE HAIR??!!??"

So, that caught me by, well, pleasant surprise. :)

Highlights of the evening:

1) The ABC License: Yes, the minister applied for the ABC License. And as of Friday afternoon, we still didn't have it. Thankfully, it was in SATURDAY'S mail. So, upon arriving at the Center, I was immediately barraged by committee members with the only question that mattered to them at the moment----"DO YOU HAVE THE LICENSE??"

2) Settin' up: I didn't get to go help set up on Friday thanks to continual avalanches of work at, well, ah, work, so I just helped do a few little things before the event began.

3) Door, please?: Committee members were going to take turns minding the door, handing out stuff, etc. Bonnie and I ended up doing it all. We wanted to. Bonnie had every instruction memorized to a "T", and voraciously announced them to incoming guests (what did she care---she didn't graduate with us!!), while I checked the list and took last second payments. Why is this "good"? You see everybody as they arrive!!

4) People.....after all, it's what the reunion is all about. And since several attendees weren't at the 10 year reunion, it made the night all the more anticipated.

I'll only use first names, since I don't have "permission" to give you all the details on someone.....

--Sharon: One of the two people I most looked forward to seeing, because I last saw her on Graduation Night, 1985. Now engaged and a program director at a day care center armed with a Masters Degree and owner of two wonderful cats. She was (and is) one of the sweetest, most level-headed people I've ever known, and made a profound statement during a conversation we had that I needed to hear.

In discussing how she does NOT like to get on the phone alot at night after work (and I second that emotion), she noted how real friends "don't worry about how much they talk to each other; if they know someone likes to have private time, they respect it because, well, they're a friend! Amen! Friendship is quality, not quantity. She looked wonderful, by the way!

--Kim: Long-time friend of Sharon's (and me!) who came with her beau; I knew she was coming when she called the house this summer inquiring about the event (my wife talked to her). She's one of the ladies who fell into the category of "she looks the same as she did in 1985". Time has been extremely kind.

--Nancy: She was at the ten-year, but she married since then, so I enjoyed my first conversation with her hubby, as it revolved alot on radio and digital editing. She's a director of music and worship at a Presbyterian church (you know, a denomination not scared of letting a woman do something...) (ooh, did I just type that??), and she, too, looks 18 still. It's just not fair. :) She sneaks up from behind while the DJ played Wham's, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go", and asked if it "sounded familiar". Since it was the opening number in our show choir's routine our senior year, the answer was, well, "vaguely, yes." :)

--Angie: ANOTHER non-ager? Yep. Got to meet her oldest daughter for the first time; in fact she spent lots of time talking with Bonnie during the night. She's so level-headed and I was so glad to see her after all these years.

--John: Ah, John. The Tar Heel fan. First I had to confess to stealing his team name for the my fantasy football team. In the 1980's version of "POF", he had a team and it was called "The Shish-Ka-Bobs". They even had a fight song:

"Go Fighting Skewers, march down the line...
We'll be the victors every single time...
We'll beat the worst and we'll beat the best...
and if we don't win the game we'll stab them in the chest..."

So, I used, in the current POF, "The Shish-Ka-Robs". Forgiveness and permission were granted. :)

I met his new wife; he's now in North Carolina (UNC fan who lives a three-pointer away from Duke's campus....HA!) and is a PI. You know, like Magnum. Except minus the moustache....

His wit still as sharp as a tack, and hilarious----Lord, it was good to see him.

--Dee Dee: Now in the banking world (she actually spent a week in training with my wife about 15 years ago at the old Signet Bank), she looked, well, yeah, you know. She looked EIGHTEEN for heaven's sake!! In fact, she won the award for "looking closest to she just took off the cap 'n gown".

--Kim (yep, another Kim!) This is by far the most incredible story of the event. Kim was saved after high school, and is now in the ministry with many years of service with the Salvation Army. She lived in Mandeville, Louisiana. I guess you know what's next by seeing the word "Louisiana"....

Her house was not flooded (she lives north of New Orleans), but four trees tore through her house. The Salvation Army's new store in New Orleans, which provided lots of their needed revenue, was damaged. Their office, incredibly was about spared.

With no more home and no more New Orleans base, she's sent to Atlanta, partially to help re-locatees.

GET THIS: Saturday morning, she woke up. She had earlier decided not to try to get to the reunion because of all that was happening in her life (sounds reasonable to me), but then, at the last minute, thought, "Hey, I paid to go, I want to go, I'm going." So, she came.

Oh, but did I tell you she woke up Saturday morning in ATLANTA???

Her faith and stability while talking to me and showing me photos of everything was absolutely overwhelming, leaving me not to question, but to know without a doubt that I could not have had the same faith, the same peace she experienced and continues to experience, based on where I am right now. I marvel at God's handiwork through her. What a journey.

Other notes:

--The biggest surprise of the night came when a lady approaches me and asks if I remember attending church with her. I was completely clueless. Come to find out I last saw her at Dad's church in Beaverdam 20 years ago when she was, oh, probably around 10 to 13 years old!! I couldn't believe it! We had a wonderful conversation.

--I successfully stayed away from the booze (aren't you proud?!?); but I think only Muriel and I were sober from the committee by midnight. :)

--Don't ask about the DJ; disaster city (when you have to threaten him/her with losing part of their payment for not following instructions...that's not a good thing.)

--Food? Awesome! Wonderful catering.

--How did so many nametags fall off people only to be stepped on and therefore become terribly affixed to the floor? Talk about panicking during clean-up!!

--Did I tell you the ABC license came in Saturday?

--I didn't realize dance moves were basically now simulated sex. I know, some of you, like a co-worker today, thought I was STILL living in 1985. Hey, I don't make it to the club scene like I used to....wait a minute....I never made it to the club I got a quick eye-opening lesson in dancing circa 2005. Yikes!

I could go on and on, but, I've about covered, I think, the basics. More will still come into the mind, I'm sure.

I'm so glad I went; glad I volunteered, and was overjoyed to see friends again.

I just wish more than 20 percent of the class would have come. Interestingly, the few classmates I've kept up with the best over these two decades weren't there. :(

In closing, where else can you spend the evening hearing:

"Atomic Dog"---Why must I feel like that; Oh, why must I chase the cat....(George Clinton)

"You Dropped A Bomb On Me"---You turned me out, you turned me on; And then you dropped me to the ground...You dropped a bomb on me. (The Gap Band)

"Burn Rubber On Me"---She won’t put the medal to the metal; And burn rubber, burn rubber on me, Charlie, No, no, no, no. (The Gap Band again!)

All we need was Neil Diamond's "America", Jan Hammer's "Miami Vice Theme", "Islands in the Stream" by Kenny and Dolly and "We Are The World" and we'd have been set. :)

Check out this list of the Top Songs of 1985....


I'll take #4, #14, #33, #34, #35, #39, #41, #45, #60, #64, #65, #67, #70, #75, #84, #92, #97 and #99.

On the other hand, the world would be a better place today without #100.

Alright, Doc----88 mph----let's get back to '05 and count my gray hairs!! Woo hoo!!