Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bug's Bleat - - GCF: The Sergeant - - Photos

'69er MHS Cheerleaders Revisited

How did they get me to do this?

But, our cheer was original.

I home no one was traumatized.
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Bug's Bleat - - GCF: The Sergeant


Our "bench" at the High School

Some of our classmates during a tour of the school.

Annette and I at the reunion dinner

My classmates and me at the Friday evening "Meet and Greet"
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Bug's Bleat - - GCF: The Sergeant

Bug's Bleat
The Internet Version of The Ed Sullivan Show
“We never let the truth stand in the way of a Good Story"

Volume 11, Issue 25 Friday, June 19, 2009

Hello All,

Thanks to my kids for a GREAT Father’s Day. They more than fulfilled my wishes for the day.
The Magnolia, Arkansas Senior Class of 1969 celebrated their 40th reunion June 19 & 20. It was really great to visit with “OLD” classmates again. Though I didn’t get to talk with everyone I wanted too. We all had a great time.
It’s really amazing that so many of us enjoy being together. This reunion was our biggest to date (over 70 classmates of 165 graduates.) That’s a lot of folks willing to travel from all over the US to see each other.
Like many others our age, we find that we are happier today than when we graduated. Thanks to my classmates for making my reunion so much fun.
Diabetes is an evil, deadly disease. It will kill you unless you are aggressive in dealing with it. I know many diabetics (as I'm sure y'all do) and they range from those who have the disease completely under control to those who, in denial, are being ravaged by this killer.

Do NOT treat this lightly. Find a good doctor (one who doesn't goof around and who really checks you and your records out each time you see them. My first rule of thumb is that the doctor should look at your feet every time you see them. If they don't, find another doc.) Resolve in your heart to do what is necessary to keep this killer under control.

Do NOT think that you will lose the battle if you don't immediately begin exercising and losing weight. You do need to do those things, but first, find out what you CAN do successfully NOW and DO IT!

I first started small changes in my eating. Then working with my GREAT Doctor (Donna Rushing in Shreveport) we got my medications lined out. Then I started working on losing weight and exercising and modifying my medications as necessary.

If you'll do the things you HAVE to do now and work on the stuff that it would be good for you to do, you can live a LONG FULL LIFE.


P.S. I have always hated getting shots. But the day Donna told me I needed to start injecting Insulin, I said; "I can do this." And I am. I take 29 shots a week and check my blood sugar 4 times a day. If this "Wimp" can do it, you can too.
What do Education, Healthcare and Small Business have in common? Two answers; 1) The US government is bumbling along inadvertently trying to ruin all three and . . . 2) All three are great examples of the problems of distance between management and production and the advantages in reducing that distance.
Over my lifetime, we’ve poured money into healthcare and education and seen both systems totter toward failure. It’s not the money, per se; it’s the federal and corporate oversight that comes with it.
As a “Safety Man” one of my skills is “Root Cause” investigation. And the root cause of our education system failures is supervision by bureaucrat located far far away from the school as well as being more concerned with political issues than education issues. Do you really believe that a Department of Education employee in Washington DC knows what is needed for the students in Columbia County? We’ve got to take back control of our kid’s education. Of course that’s just what parents who send their kids to private school are doing. A private school isn’t just a business for educating kids. It’s a community organization that combines students, parents and educators all working together.
Now, let’s look at health care. Our system of insurance (both private and public) has resulted in a widening divide between our healthcare providers and the patients they treat. A doctor can’t just diagnose a problem and treat it. He has to justify that treatment to someone with an insurance company or Medicare. The problem with this is that the person ruling on the treatment isn’t the person actually seeing the patient. Talk to any healthcare provider about the frustrations of trying to get needed treatment for patients while bureaucrat sit in judgment of that treatment. I remember my mother’s surgeon “venting” about the unnecessary and dangerous test he was required to perform to fulfill a Medicare requirement. Another Dr. told me of risking conviction for Medicare fraud by “lying” on the Medicare submittal to get a patient needed treatment because the government hadn’t caught up with state of the art treatment.
And private insurance isn’t that much different. Most of us have experienced having a treatment or a drug “refused” by our insurance company. In my case, a new drug promised to extend my life when my blood counts started dropping. My insurance company refused to pay for the treatment. After a few months, of back and forth negotiations between my doctor and the company, I wrote the insurer and asked “If you won’t pay for the drug, would you consider putting a little money toward my head stone?” That elicited a quick call from the company and they approved the drug.
Again, the root cause was that a person was making decisions about my health care while they knew next to nothing about me, my doctor or my condition.
But, what about controlling costs? Listen to me. Bureaucrats don’t control costs. They exacerbate costs. A study a few years ago found that removing most oversight from health care plans resulted in lower costs. Several fortune 500 companies instituted a 100% pay healthcare plan. No deductibles, no co pays, just go to the doctor and get treated. The result? 15% to 25% reduction in those companies healthcare costs when the doctor and patient were able to work together on the appropriate treatment without oversight from a third party. And a bonus was healthier employees.
Now, what do these have to do with small business? We’ll, small business is the best example of how things can go RIGHT when management is on the scene and working directly with employees to solve problems. Unlike the government or large health insurance companies or big business, small businesses respond quickly to changing conditions and, as a result, are the true driving force of our economy. They account for the majority of jobs in the U.S. and, at the same time, are being targeted for extinction by recent government policies.
So what can you do? Write, call, fax and email your representative and senators. Let them know that they will be taken out of office unless they stop trying to destroy our small business. Also tell them to work to return control of our schools to the local communities and demand that they work toward a healthcare plan that allows doctors and patients to decide on the appropriate treatment.
The President signed a new law that will “protect” us from credit card companies. For some reason, those of us who’ve paid our cards on time will be penalized by being charged more fees so those who can’t pay their bills will get off the hook.
Hummm ...
How about this? We repeal ALL laws passed in the last 10 years. Then give it a year and see how that works. If, as I suspect will happen, the economy improves and we all do better, then repeal another 10 years worth of laws.
You see, it’s my contention that 99% of the laws passed by congress don’t improve our lives, they harm us. We’d all do better if they just went home and left the country alone.
I’m a registered Democrat. Because, here in the south, if you don’t vote in the Democratic primary, you don’t get to vote for 85% of the elected offices. However, in real life, I vote as an Independent. I guess if you had to pin me down to a party, I’m a member of the “Tea” Party.
My basic political lean is for less government. I don’t think government is bad, just incompetent and corrupt. And I don’t think changing it will improve it. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” - - John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton. As Will Rogers said; “Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.”
Don’t misunderstand. I believe we need government. There are things that only government can do and those it does well. For instance, we needed the Civil Rights Act. It wasn’t perfect by any means but it enabled the average citizen to reject raciest practices such as segregation of public establishments. Prior to this law, a small business couldn’t integrate because of the community backlash. The law gave business an excuse to do what was right.
And we need a national defense establishment, as well as some other concerns, mainly the ones granted in the Constitution. But we also need a citizenry that jealously guards their individual rights and objects to the enactment of laws that abridge those rights.
For instance, we don’t need a law to dictate how much water a toilet uses or whether we buy an incandescent or fluorescent light bulb. Both of those issues were being decided by cost and efficiency before the government stepped in and mandated inefficient, wasteful solutions.
But today, our most important need is for citizens to quit being stupid. Just as our email inboxes are filled with “spam” because a percentage of people are dumb enough to respond to it. Our congress is filled with crooks and incompetents because a large percentage of folks don’t take the time to investigate a candidate and the issues but instead respond to the political “spam” of TV attack ads.
Like Gibbs in NCIS, we need someone to swat the voters on the back of the head when they do stupid stuff. And that someone is you. Talk to your friends about the issues. Help educate folks on the candidates. Eventually, we’ll get an educated electorate. In the meantime, if your congress person does something stupid ... recall the idiots and put someone else up there. We need a “Darwin” method of getting rid of corrupt incompetents and replacing them with folks who will help us instead of themselves. ~~~~~
Memorial Day - - We spent more time thinking about Memorial Day this year than we have for some time. One reason was our youngest grandsons were visiting and we took time to explain what was going on to them.
Vanessa took them to the ceremony in Minden. She reminded me that I’d taken her to the dedication of Columbia County’s war memorial where she met David Wideman. Speaking of David, here’s a posting by another navy man.
This wasn't sent to me by another person or list, nor was it found posted elsewhere. It's just a few thoughts about a holiday which is special to me. It's one of those few times when I share something serious instead of humorous. -Tom

If this was forwarded to you, please consider your own subscription to Good Clean Fun. It's free! Just send an email to:

GCF: Memorial Day 2009

The joke for today has been sent. I want to be serious for a moment and talk about the holiday which will be celebrated here in the United States on Monday.

Memorial Day is on the last Monday in May and honors those men and women who lost their lives serving their country. What we celebrate as Memorial Day today began at the end of the Civil War. Family members of the many soldiers slain in battle would visit the grave sites of their fallen relatives or friends and decorate the graves with flowers.

On May 5, 1868, General John Logan proclaimed this day a holiday through his General Order No. 11. The day was entitled Decoration Day and was first observed on May 30, 1868. The northern states celebrated this day every year, but the southern states celebrated a day similar to this on a different day until sometime after World War I.

In 1882, the name Decoration day was changed to Memorial Day, and in 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday to be held on the last Monday of May every year. Over the years it has come to serve as a day to remember all U.S. men and women killed or missing in action in all wars.

I am truly grateful for the freedoms which we enjoy today. Too often, we take these gifts for granted, little realizing the sacrifice which was involved in ensuring that these freedoms continue to be a part of all of our lives. Be honest, how many of us think of Memorial Day as just another chance for a three-day weekend? A chance to go the lakes or beaches or mountains? A trip to Disneyland or Six Flags or some other amusement park?

If you are here in the United States, please remember to display the flag, not just for the day but for the whole weekend. Let's not forget the real reason for having this holiday. The quote below says it all. Please take the time to read it.

Take care everyone.

(HM2, USN 65-69)

"It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our country in wars far away. The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in our mind as old and wise. We see them as something like the Founding Fathers, grave and gray-haired. But most of them were boys when they died, they gave up two lives -- the one they were living and the one they would have lived. When they died, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chance to be revered old men. They gave up everything for their county, for us. All we can do is remember." -- Ronald Wilson Reagan – Remarks at Veteran's Day ceremony, Arlington National Cemetery Arlington, Virginia, November 11, 1985

This time I wish to share with you a story I received a couple of weeks ago. It was relayed to me as a story from an airline captain about a recent flight.

My lead flight attendant came to me and said, "We have an H.R. on this flight." (H.R. stands for human remains).
"Are they military?" I asked.
"Yes", she said.
"Is there an escort?" I asked.
"Yes, I already assigned him a seat".
"Would you please tell him to come to the flight deck. You can board him early." I said.

A short while later, a young army sergeant entered the flight deck. He was the image of the perfectly dressed soldier. He introduced himself and I asked him about his soldier. The escorts of these fallen soldiers talk about them as if they are still alive and still with us. "My soldier is on his way back to Virginia," he said. He proceeded to answer my questions, but offered no words on his own. I asked him if there was anything I could do for him and he said no. I told him that he had the toughest job in the military and that I appreciated the work that he does for the families of our fallen soldiers. The first officer and I got up out of our seats to shake his hand. He left the flight deck to find his seat.

We completed our preflight checks, pushed back and performed an uneventful departure. About 30 minutes into our flight I received a call from the lead flight attendant in the cabin. "I just found out the family of the soldier we are carrying is on board," she said. She then proceeded to tell me that the father, mother, wife and 2-year old daughter were escorting their son, husband, and father home. The family was upset because they were unable to see the container that the soldier was in before we left. We were on our way to a major hub at which the family was going to wait four hours for the connecting flight home to Virginia . The father of the soldier told the flight attendant that knowing his son was below him in the cargo compartment and being unable to see him was too much for him and the family to bear. He had asked the flight attendant if there was anything that could be done to allow them to see him upon our arrival. The family wanted to be outside by the cargo door to watch the soldier being taken off the airplane. I could hear the desperation in the flight attendant's voice when she asked me if there was anything I could do. "I'm on it," I said. I told her that I would get back to her.

In-flight communication with my company normally occurs in the form of e-mail like messages. I decided to bypass this system and contact my flight dispatcher directly on a secondary radio. There is a radio operator in the operations control center who connects you to the telephone of the dispatcher. I was in direct contact with the dispatcher. I explained the situation I had onboard with the family and what it was the family wanted. He said he understood and that he would get back to me.

Two hours went by and I had not heard from the dispatcher. We were going to get busy soon and I needed to know what to tell the family. I sent a text message asking for an update. I saved the return message from the dispatcher and what follows is the text:

"Captain, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. There is policy on this now and I had to check on a few things. Upon your arrival a dedicated escort team will meet the aircraft. The team will escort the family to the ramp and planeside. A van will be used to load the remains with a secondary van for the family. The family will be taken to their departure area and escorted into the terminal where the remains can be seen on the ramp. It is a private area for the family only. When the connecting aircraft arrives, the family will be escorted onto the ramp and planeside to watch the remains being loaded for the final flight home. Captain, most of us here in flight control are veterans. Please pass our condolences on to the family. Thanks."

I sent a message back telling flight control thanks for a good job. I printed out the message and gave it to the lead flight attendant to pass on to the father. The lead flight attendant was very thankful and told me, "You have no idea how much this will mean to them." Things started getting busy for the descent, approach and landing. After landing, we cleared the runway and taxied to the ramp area. The ramp is huge with 15 gates on either side of the alleyway. It is always a busy area with aircraft maneuvering every which way to enter and exit. When we entered the ramp and checked in with the ramp controller, we were told that all traffic was being held for us.

"There is a team in place to meet the aircraft," we were told. It looked like it was all coming together, then I realized that once we turned the seat belt sign off, everyone would stand up at once and delay the family from getting off the airplane. As we approached our gate, I asked the copilot to tell the ramp controller we were going to stop short of the gate to make an announcement to the passengers. He did that and the ramp controller said, "Take your time."

I stopped the aircraft and set the parking brake. I pushed the public address button and said, "Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain speaking. I have stopped short of our gate to make a special announcement. We have a passenger on board who deserves our honor and respect. His name is Private XXXXX, a soldier who recently lost his life. Private XXXXX is under your feet in the cargo hold. Escorting him today is Army Sergeant XXXXX. Also, on board are his father, mother, wife, and daughter. Your entire flight crew is asking for all passengers to remain in their seats to allow the family to exit the aircraft first. Thank you."

We continued the turn to the gate, came to a stop and started our shutdown procedures. A couple of minutes later I opened the cockpit door. I found the two forward flight attendants crying, something you just do not see. I was told that after we came to a stop, every passenger on the aircraft stayed in their seats, waiting for the family to exit the aircraft. When the family got up and gathered their things, a passenger slowly started to clap his hands. Moments later more passengers joined in and soon the entire aircraft was clapping. Words of "God Bless You," "I'm sorry," "Thank you," "Be proud," and other kind words were uttered to the family as they made their way down the aisle and out of the airplane. They were escorted down to the ramp to finally be with their loved one. Many of the passengers disembarking thanked me for the announcement I had made. They were just words, I told them, I could say them over and over again, but nothing I say will bring back that brave soldier.
A final thought.....

Over the years the meaning of Memorial Day has faded too much from the public consciousness. From a solemn day of mourning, remembrance, and honor to the men and women who died in providing the freedoms we enjoy, it has been reduced to a weekend of BBQ's, shopping bargains and beaches where only token nods toward our honored dead is given, if at all. Too many don't know what the day stands for.

So, let's not forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice. They are remembered in all our prayers. Also, let's not forget a prayer for the safety of all service men and women, whether they serve at home or overseas. Finally, a heartfelt Semper Fi from this Hospital Corpsman is sent to all the Marines I knew. -Tom
To me, it wouldn’t be an issue about Memorial Day without a word from Joe Galloway.
Joe Galloway: A day to remember the price of freedom, 22 May 2009 - - By Joseph L. Galloway - - McClatchy Newspapers

Memorial Day is upon us, and for most Americans that means the first holiday weekend of a new summer. For most, it's time to dust off the barbecue pit or head to the nearest beach or hit the mall for the big sales.

For those who wear, or have worn, the uniform and those who love them, however, it means something different: It's a time to remember those who've fallen in defense of our country in the 234 years since the first American soldier died in a rebellion against a king.

During this time, some 43 million Americans have served under arms in our wars, 655,000 have died in battle and more than 1.4 million have been wounded in combat.

Our two ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have claimed the lives of 4,963 American troops, and 34,000 others have been wounded in combat.

Those are just the numbers, the statistics. Every one of those numbers has a face and a name. Every one leaves behind someone, often many someones, whose hearts are forever broken and whose lives are forever changed.

For those who've served and are of a certain age, Memorial Day is also a time to think of comrades and brothers-in-arms who answered their last roll call during the past year.

For our remaining World War II veterans, the days dwindle down to a precious few. Some of their veterans associations held their last reunion this past year; too few are left to gather again. Fewer than 5 million are left of the 15 million who wore the uniform between 1941 and 1945, and they're disappearing from among us at the rate of 30,000 each day.

The passing years also take their toll among veterans of the Korean War, the forgotten war, and they've begun to thin the ranks of those who served and sacrificed in Vietnam.

Two who died this past year left holes in the ranks of my own small brotherhood, the veterans of the battles of the Ia Drang Valley, fought in Vietnam at the dawn of our war there in November 1965.

Maj. Ed (Too Tall to Fly) Freeman died last August in his hometown of Boise, Idaho. He belatedly earned a Medal of Honor in 2001 for flying his Huey helicopter through a storm of enemy fire 14 times in one hot afternoon, bringing in ammunition and taking out wounded Americans.

His wing man and boss, Lt. Col. Bruce (Old Snake) Crandall, who received the Medal of Honor in 2005, was beside Ed's hospital bed that last week saying his goodbyes and continuing their half-century argument over which of them was the "second-best pilot in the world."

Early this year, Medic Randy (Doc) Lose, one of the survivors of the "lost" platoon of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion 7th U.S. Cavalry in the Ia Drang, was buried in the National Cemetery in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Doc Lose earned a Distinguished Service Cross for his actions in saving the lives of a dozen wounded men who were trapped behind enemy lines for over 24 hours. He was wounded four times as he crawled from man to man, plugging their wounds with C-Ration toilet paper after he ran out of bandages.

Doc never got over the experience. The Vietnam War killed him just as certainly as it did the 79 other men of his battalion who died during those three days in the valley of death. May God rest his soul and grant him peace.

Yes, for the 20 million living veterans of America's wars, old and new, and for the families and friends of the fallen, Memorial Day has a very special meaning, and it is a time for reflection and silent tears.

This Memorial Day, 2009, America is mired in two wars. The one in Iraq is supposed to begin winding down this summer, even as the other, in Afghanistan, is building toward a new crescendo.

We have a new President, Barack Obama, who was elected on a promise of change. For those few who wear the uniform of our country, however, nothing has changed. They continue to serve and sacrifice in wars in distant lands whose purpose and goals and eventual end are as fuzzy now as they were when they began in the dawn of this new century.

However you celebrate Memorial Day this year _ however happy or solemn the occasion _ spare a thought and a moment of silence in memory of all those who purchased your freedom with their lives, and of all those who defend it still.

If you are given to prayer, pray that one day our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines will know true peace somewhere short of the grave.
America is not at war. The military is at war. - - America is at the mall, or watching the movie stars.
Each week the Defense Department highlights military personnel who have gone above and beyond in the war. [] - - David Hutchinson - - •Hometown: Brenham, TX - -
•Awarded: The Silver Star

On June 6, 2009, the 65th anniversary of D-Day, SPC David Hutchinson became only the fifth Army Reserve Soldier to receive the Silver Star. While deployed in Afghanistan, he was instrumental in saving the lives of 16 fellow Soldiers.

It was the morning of May 21, 2008; the weather was eighty-nine degrees with unlimited visibility.

The 420th Engineer Brigade Personal Security Detail unit consisted of 17 Army Reservists traveling in a four-vehicle convoy southeast on an ASR jeep headed towards Forward Operating Base Orgun-E.

Then-Private First Class David Hutchinson was serving as a MK19 gunner in the third gun truck when suddenly they were ambushed by determined Anti-Afghan Forces (AAF).

Approximately 15-20 AAF opened fire with an arsenal of rocket propelled grenades, PKM machine guns, and AK-47s. Hutchinson’s unit was also being attacked by sniper rifles hidden in the surrounding Afghanistan mountains approximately 50 to 70 meters away.

The AAF fighters were bold in their efforts to destroy the convoy by attempting to disable the lead and trail gun trucks with RPGs.

Three of the four trucks immediately engaged in combat returning suppressive fire. Being the aggressors, the AAF moved from cover into the open to engage the gun trucks under devastating fire provided by Hutchinson and his fellow soldiers.

The AAF had fire superiority until Hutchinson quickly assessed the PKM machine gun nest on top of a hill. This position was most lethal to Hutchinson and his fellow soldiers in the convoy. His fire was so effective in disrupting the AAF’s efforts to destroy the convoy that they began focusing their wrath specifically on him and his MK19.

Hutchinson stayed in his position under intense fire, placing accurate effective fire on the remaining enemies with total disregard for his own life.

Members of his unit later counted well over 100 bullet strikes on his turret.

Hutchinson expended an entire ammo can destroying a fixed machine gun position and killing no less than five enemy insurgents before he was seriously wounded by a RPG that entered the crew compartment of his M1151 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle.

Shrapnel from the RPG hit his right leg and caused him to collapse from his gunner position into the crew compartment.

After collapsing from his wounds, Hutchinson observed that his First Sergeant was severely injured with gaping shrapnel wounds to the face and head. With total disregard for his own serious injuries and his right leg going numb, he calmly administered first aid to his First Sergeant. His actions controlled the bleeding as the convoy proceeded out of the engagement area.

When the MEDEVAC arrived, despite his own serious wounds, Hutchinson refused to be carried on a litter so that others could carry the wounded First Sergeant. This act freed other soldiers to provide security and reduced the time the MEDEVAC spent on the ground.

Hutchinson was medically evacuated out of Afghanistan with a serious leg injury after being in theater only a week.

His actions contributed to the safety of 16 soldiers and showed extraordinary courage, loyalty and selfless-service under fire beyond expectation.
Bug recommends . . . Kit Lange []
The latest from Michael Yon, the foremost “milnews” blogger on the web.

The excellent reporter David Rohde has escaped his kidnappers. My latest word on Mr. Rohde came on about June 1 during a trip with Secretary Gates, when a very well placed source told me in Singapore that the Pentagon had no word on the whereabouts or condition of David Rohde. I first heard about the escape this morning subsequent an interview request to me from the Washington Post.

I first heard about the kidnapping in late 2008. The initial information came to me in Afghanistan from a source close to Rohde. During a subsequent trip in December with Secretary Gates, I asked a well placed source about the whereabouts and condition of Mr. Rohde. I was told that the information suggested he had been moved from Afghanistan to Pakistan. News about the kidnapping continued to leak, though mainstream outlets kept it quiet. I published a small paragraph several months later, in March 2009, but then archived the paragraph based on a request from concerned parties. Through the months, interesting information about Mr. Rohde has come my way but was always followed by a request to keep it quiet.

Welcome home David Rohde. []

I'm heading to Afghanistan tomorrow. Your support will be crucial. This war is just getting started.

Very Respectfully,
Your correspondent,
Michael Yon

We’ve Watched [Ratings are my own]:

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2009 [5.5] Kevin James
Bride Wars 2009 [6.5] Kate Hudson ... Anne Hathaway
Great Expectations 1946 [8.2] John Mills ... Tony Wager ... Valerie Hobson ... Jean Simmons
Summertime 1955 [7.5]
2001: A Space Odyssey 1968 [9.0]
The Visitor 2007 [5]
Strangers on a Train: 1951 [6.5]
Outsourced 2006 [5]
Swing Shift 1984 [7.5]
Flawless 2007 [5]
Let's Make Love 1960 [6.5]
Strike 2006 [5]
Julian Po 1997 [5]
Murphy's Romance1985 [7.5]
Guarding Tess 1994 [8.0]
Chariots of Fire 1981[10] Nicholas Farrell ... Nigel Havers ... Ian Charleson ... Ben Cross
We’ve recently read; Fugitive : a novel / by Phillip Margolin.
First family / David Baldacci.
Heart of the game : life, death, and mercy in Minor League America / S.L. Price.
Sacred stone / Clive Cussler and Craig Dirgo.
We recommend: Heart of the game : life, death, and mercy in Minor League America / S.L. Price.
Photos on the front of this week’s “Bleat” include my classmates and me at our 40th Senior Class Reunion.
We’ve now got several addresses on the web for "Da Bleat." For the latest issue, go to Last quarter’s issues can be seen at
Our photos are posted at
If you want to see photos of Last April’s train wreck in Magnolia, go to
Feel free to share the "Bleat" with any and all. That's why we publish it.
Dr. Pat Antoon’s Address:
Pat Antoon 06669-010
Federal Prison Camp
P.O. Box 9300
Texarkana, TX 75505
Be sure and keep him in your prayers.
Recipe(s) of the week - - White Chocolate Pie - - Source dLife - - Yields 10 servings
Creamy pie of vanilla pudding and cookie crumbs in a homemade graham cracker crust.

20 Crackers, graham, cinnamon, low fat, crushed into crumbs
1/4 cup sweetener (sugar substitute) (such as Splenda)
1/3 cup margarine, melted
1 oz Pudding, white chocolate, fat & sugar free, instant, serving
2 cup fat free half and half
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
7 Cookies, sandwich, chocolate, with creme, sugar & sodium free, coarsely chopped

Nutrition Facts
Calories 155.2
Total Carbs 22.8g
Dietary Fiber 0.5g
Sugars 12.5g
Total Fat 7.7g
Saturated Fat 1.3g
Unsaturated Fat 6.4g
Potassium 20.6mg
Protein 2.4g
Sodium 267.5mg

Dietary Exchanges
1 1/2 Fat, 1/2 Other Carbohydrate, 1/2 Starch


1 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2 In a medium bowl, mix together the graham crackers crumbs, sugar substitute, and margarine. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of 9-inch pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.
3 In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the pudding mix, half-and-half, and almond extract (if using), until smooth, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chopped cookies.
4 Pour the filling into the crust, cover with foil, and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.

Don’t forget to use GoodSearch [] when you search the Internet!
~~~~~ - - Students Donate Meal Plans; Get Life Lessons
This sure turned out to be a big learning year for UPenn freshman Ricky Oxenhandler. Like a lot of students, he figured out that he didn't want to eat every meal in the dining hall. Ricky, however, is one young man who figured out a way to do something with those extra meals: give it to families who need it. Watch Video >>
Insight into Reality
By Chuck Colson
Chesterton's 'Orthodoxy'

Go into any bookstore and you are sure to find books that insist that “religion poisons everything,” that faith is a “failed hypothesis,” and that God is a “delusion.” Readers are promised tools that will enable them to “break the spell” of religion, in particular Christianity.

What has been called the “new atheism” has become an important publishing niche. These books sold more than a million copies in a single year, making their authors quite rich.

But there is nothing really new here. The only thing that has changed from a century or so ago is the caliber of the atheist. In G.K. Chesterton’s time, the atheists included the likes of George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, and Clarence Darrow—men whose way with words matched their way with an argument.

In books like Heretics, and especially Orthodoxy, Chesterton more than held his own. He achieved his goal of demonstrating that “the central Christian theology (sufficiently summarized in the Apostles’ Creed) is the best root of energy and sound ethics.”

Needless to say, this is a book you ought to read. But it helps to have a guide in your exploration of Chesterton’s ideas—and I can’t think of a better one than my friend Ken Boa.

Boa is correct when he describes Chesterton as an “extraordinary man who defended ordinary things.” Far from being a dry tome filled with lofty ideas, Orthodoxy is as practical and down to earth as it gets. That’s because, Boa observes, Chesterton addresses the one subject most writers and thinkers avoid: that is, who God is. Because once you get your thinking straight about God, that illuminates our thinking about the rest of life.

That’s why in Chesterton’s famous mystery novels, Father Brown always could solve the mystery. He understood God and the way God created us.

By addressing what others have avoided, Boa tells us, Chesterton acquired the “correct insights into reality” that made him a “complete thinker” whose works almost constitute a complete education in themselves.

As Ken points out, Chesterton anticipated the bad ideas and false worldviews that eventually would come to hold our culture in their thrall—relativism and what he called the “insane simplicity” of materialism.

He foresaw the weakening of the family, and that this weakening would pave the way for an ever-growing role for the state. He warned that the growing acceptance of birth control would inevitably lead to promiscuity and the widespread practice of abortion. He was right, of course, on both counts.

The alternative to all of this is Christianity, which Chesterton regarded as the religion most in tune with “common sense.” Is it the “best root” of “energy and sound ethics” because it sees the world and the people in it as they really are.

It was realism that was behind one of Chesterton’s most famous writings. When the Times of London invited leading intellectuals to write about what was wrong with the world, Chesterton’s contribution was a short letter that simply read: “Dear Sirs: I am. Sincerely, G.K. Chesterton.”

It’s difficult to imagine a more succinct articulation of the Christian worldview. Which is why Orthodoxy is one of the 10 best books I’ve ever read and ought to be on your reading list, and why Ken Boa should be your guide.

For Further Reading and Information
G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy.

© 2009 Prison Fellowship - -
Residents of Columbia CountyArkansas are represented in Congress by:
Senator Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D- AR)
Phone 202-224-4843
FAX 202-228-1371
Senator Mark Pryor (D- AR)
Phone 202-224-2353
FAX 202-228-0908
Representative Michael A. Ross (D - 04)
Phone 202-225-3772
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Other states congresspersons can be found at: []
Words of the Week:
cosset: to treat with excessive indulgence; to pamper.
hortatory: serving to encourage or incite.
espy: to see at a glance.
pother: a commotion; a disturbance; also, a cloud of smoke or dust that chokes or smothers.
abstemious: temperate; abstinent; refraining from indulgence.
mores: customs; habits; ways.
oneiric: pertaining to or suggestive of dreams.
tergiversation: evasion; also, desertion of a cause, party, etc.
paragon: a model of excellence or perfection.
disport: to frolic; to amuse (oneself).
redivivus: living again; revived; restored.
megrim: a migraine; also, a fancy or whim; in the plural, low spirits.
prestidigitation: performance of or skill in performing magic or conjuring tricks with the hands; sleight of hand.
aver: to assert as true.
effulgence: the state of being bright and radiant.
salutary: beneficial; also, healthful.
gravid: pregnant.
prescience: knowledge of events before they take place.
nimiety: excess.
equanimity: calmness; composure.
depredation: an act of plundering or ravaging.
fillip: a snap; also, a stimulus.
pejorative: disparaging; belittling.
sagacious: having or showing keen discernment.
avoirdupois: weight; heaviness.
sybarite: a person devoted to luxury and pleasure.
taciturn: not inclined to talk.
venerate: to regard or treat with reverence; revere.
“Don't bother much about your feelings. When they are humble, loving, brave, give thanks for them; when they are conceited, selfish, cowardly, ask to have them altered. In neither case are they you, but only a thing that happens to you. What matters is your intentions and your behavior.” C.S. Lewis - - Thanks to Janet Holiman Dickinson

"All of our final resolutions are made in a state of mind which is not going to last." - Marcel Proust

"No mind is thoroughly well organized that is deficient in a sense of humor." - Samuel Coleridge

"To endeavor to forget anyone is a certain way of thinking of nothing else." - Jean de La Bruyere

"The greater intellect one has, the more originality one finds in men. Ordinary persons find no difference between men." - Blaise Pascal

"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it." - Henry David Thoreau

"Almost all rich veins of original and striking speculation have been opened by systematic half-thinkers." - John Stuart Mill

"There are people who believe everything is sane and sensible that is done with a solemn face." - Georg Lichtenberg

"The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract." - Oliver W. Holmes, Jr.

"A neurosis is a secret that you don't know you are keeping." - Kenneth Tynan

"The inner fire is the most important thing mankind possesses." - Edith Sodergran

"I am extraordinarily patient provided I get my own way in the end." - Margaret Thatcher

"It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument." - William G. McAdoo

"Men are born with two eyes, but only one tongue, in order that they should see twice as much as they say." - Charles Caleb Colton

"Patience is the companion of wisdom." - St. Augustine

"People, when they first come to America, whether as travelers or settlers, become aware of a new and agreeable feeling: that the whole country is their oyster." - Alistair Cooke

"You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question." - Albert Camus

"The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides. Accept life, and you must accept regret." - Henri-Frederic Amiel

"The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority." - Thomas Huxley

"The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook." - William James

"The mind's direction is more important than its progress."Joseph Joubert

"Man is what he believes." - Anton Chekhov

"To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man." - Oliver W. Holmes, Jr.

"Very simple ideas lie within the reach only of complex minds." - Remy de Gourmont

"Colleges hate geniuses, just as convents hate saints." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"To want to forget something is to think of it. - French Proverb

"A wise man will live as much within his wit as his income." - Lord Philip Chesterfield

"There is a kinship, a kind of freemasonry, between all persons of intelligence, however antagonistic their moral outlook." - Norman Douglas

"Our most important thoughts are those which contradict our emotions." - Paul Valery

"Dogma does not mean the absence of thought, but the end of thought." - Gilbert Chesterton

"Madness is to think of too many things in succession too fast, or of one thing too exclusively." - Voltaire

"It is a profitable thing, if one is wise, to seem foolish." - Aeschylus

"Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught." - Oscar Wilde

"We are less hurt by the contempt of fools than by the lukewarm approval of men of intelligence." - Luc de Clapiers de Vanvenargues

"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought." - Alert von Szent-Gyorgyi

Father's Day Began from a Daughter's Admiration for her Father
Aimee Herd (June 21, 2009)
A single dad's devotion to his six children was the inspiration for this day honoring the role of a father.
Skeptics occasionally complain that some holidays' origins must be part of a marketing conspiracy by the greeting card companies. However, upon looking into the beginnings of Father's Day, I was happy to find that the holiday is routed in a daughter's desire to publicly honor her father, and his important role in his family.

According to several sources which agree, the idea to set aside a day solely to celebrate dads began in the heart of Sonora Louise Smart Dodd, of Spokane, Washington. (Photo:

Sonora was the only daughter—with 5 brothers—of William Jackson Smart, a Civil War Veteran. Her mother had died giving birth to her last brother, and Sonora shared the task of helping her father raise his children as a single parent.

As the story goes, Sonora had heard a Mother's Day message, and wondered why there was no special day to honor fathers. She reportedly embarked on an ardent lobbying campaign to institute a Father's Day holiday.

According to sources, the first official Father's Day in Spokane happened on June 19th, 1910, with the help of the local YMCA and the Spokane Ministerial Association.

The special day caught on and in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father's Day. Then, in 1972, President Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the 3rd Sunday of June each year.

310 2nd Ave SE
Albany, Oregon 97321
US Orders: 1-866-358-7426
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GCF: The Sergeant

Emailed to me a friend (Thanks, John) -Tom

If this was forwarded to you, please consider your own subscription to Good Clean Fun. It's free! Just send an email to:

"Well," snarled the tough old sergeant to the bewildered private. "I suppose after you get discharged from the Army, you'll just be waiting for me to die so you can come and spit on my grave."

"Not me, Sarge!" the private replied. "Once I get out of the Army, I'm never going to stand in line again!"
_ ____________________________ _

GCF: Drawing Blood

Emailed to me another humor list (Tickled by Tony - Clean) -Tom Subscribe to the Tickled by Tony list by sending an email to:

During a visit to a military medical clinic, I was sent to the lab to have blood drawn.

The technician there was friendly and mentioned that his mood improved every day because he was due to leave the service in two months.

As he applied the tourniquet on my arm, he told me that taking the blood wouldn't hurt much. Then, noticing my Air Force T-shirt he asked me what my husband did.

When I replied that he was a recruiter, the technician smiled slyly and said, "This might hurt a little more than I thought."
_ ____________________________ _

GCF: How To Lie To The Bathroom Scale

Emailed to me a friend (Thanks, Vicki) -Tom

1. Weigh yourself with clothes on, after dinner ... as well as in the morning, without clothes, before breakfast, because it's nice to see how much weight you've lost overnight.

2. Never weigh yourself with wet hair.

3. When weighing, remove everything, including glasses. In this case, blurred vision is an asset. Don't forget the earrings, these things can weigh at least a pound.

4. Use cheap scales only, never the medical kind, because they are always five pounds off ... to your advantage.

5. Always go to the bathroom first.

6. Stand with arms raised, making pressure on the scale lighter.

7. Don't eat or drink in the morning until AFTER you've weighed in, completely naked, of course.

8. Weigh yourself after a haircut, this is good for at least half a pound of hair (hopefully).

9. Exhale with all your might BEFORE stepping onto the scale (air has to weigh something, right?).

10. Start out with just one foot on the scale, then holding onto the towel rack in front of you, slowly edge your other foot on and slowly let off of the rack. Admittedly, this takes time, but it's worth it. You will weigh at least two pounds less than if you'd stepped on normally.
_ ____________________________ _

GCF: A Woman's Week at the Gym

Emailed to me a friend (Thanks, Nancy) -Tom

If you read this without laughing out loud, there is something wrong with you. This is dedicated to everyone who ever attempted to get into a regular workout routine.

Dear Diary,
For my birthday this year, my husband gave me a week of personal training at the local health club. Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try. I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Christo, who identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear. Friends seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.
Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Christo waiting for me. He is something of a Greek god -- with blond hair, dancing eyes, and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!! Christo gave me a tour and showed me the machines. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring! Christo was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time he was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!
I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Christo made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then he put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. His rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT! It's a whole new life for me.
The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot. Christo was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. His voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and when he scolds, he gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying. My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Christo put me on the stair monster. Why would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Christo told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. He said some other stuff too.
Christo was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as his thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late -- it took me that long to tie my shoes. He took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. He sent some skinny girl to find me. Then, as punishment, he put me on the rowing machine -- which I sank.
I hate that jerk Christo more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic, little aerobic instructor. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat him with it. Christo wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich. The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?
Satan left a message on my answering machine in his grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing his voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.
I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank God that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my husband will choose a gift for me that is fun -- like a root canal or a hysterectomy. I still say, if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!
_ ____________________________ _

GCF: Found Money

Emailed to me a friend (Thanks, Victor) -Tom

#1: "Last Sunday I found a wallet packed with money down by the church."

#2: "Did you give it back?"

#1: "Not yet. I'm still trying to decide if it's a temptation from the devil or the answer to a prayer."
_ ____________________________ _

GCF: Oops!

Emailed to me a friend (Thanks, Lena) -Tom

"Dear," said the wife. "What would you do if I died?"
"Why, dear, I would be extremely upset," said the husband. "Why do you ask such a question?"
"Would you remarry?" persevered the wife.
"No, of couse not, dear," said the husband.
"Don't you like being married?" said the wife.
"Of course I do, dear," he said.
"Then why wouldn't you remarry?"
"Alright," said the husband, "I'd remarry."
"You would?" said the wife, looking vaguely hurt.
"Yes," said the husband.
"Would you sleep with her in our bed?" said the wife after a long pause.
"Well yes, I suppose I would." replied the husband.
"I see," said the wife indignantly. " And would you let her wear my old clothes?"
"I suppose, if she wanted to," said the husband.
"Really," said the wife icily. "And would you take down the pictures of me and replace them with pictures of her?"
"Yes. I think that would be the correct thing to do."
"Is that so?" said the wife, leaping to her feet. "And I suppose you'd let her play with my golf clubs, too."
"Of course not, dear," said the husband. "She's left-handed."
_ ____________________________ _
(((\ \>|_/ )___________________( \_|\\\\ \_/ / \ \_/ ////
\ / Be thankful we're not \ /
\ _/ getting all the government \_ /
/ / we're paying for. \ \
- Will Rogers
(((\ \>|_/ )___________________( \_|\\\\ \_/ / \ \_/ ////
\ / Originality is the art of \ /
\ _/ concealing your source. \_ /
/ / \ \
(((\ \>|_/ )___________________( \_|\\\\ \_/ / \ \_/ ////
\ / Dilbert is not a comic strip, \ /
\ _/ it's a documentary. \_ /
/ / \ \
(((\ \>|_/ )___________________( \_|\\\\ \_/ / \ \_/ ////
\ / If the shoe fits, \ /
\ _/ it's ugly. \_ /
/ / \ \
(((\ \>|_/ )___________________( \_|\\\\ \_/ / \ \_/ ////
\ / A journey of a thousand miles \ /
\ _/ begins with a cash advance. \_ /
/ / \ \
(((\ \>|_/ )___________________( \_|\\\\ \_/ / \ \_/ ////
\ / Any moron can write Haiku. \ /
\ _/ Just stop at the \_ /
/ / seventeenth syllab. \ \
_ ____________________________ _
/ )| Thomas S. Ellsworth |( \
/ / | | \ \
_( (_ | | _) )_
(((\ \>|_/ )___________________( \_| ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><>
The first joke I can remember was the one every kid I met in Swifton told me the summer we moved there in 1959: We have a six-foot weevil in the cotton patch. The town of Swifton surrounded a five-acre cotton patch with an old dog-run house in the middle of it. In the house was a six-foot "weevil" - Branfort Wieville.

Daddy came home from work one night that summer and told us the history of the Wieville brothers. Branfort and Arliss Wieville owned half the cotton acreage in Jackson County in the 1920s. They were popular young men and often entertained at parties where Branfort played ragtime on the piano, and Arliss would sing, dance and tell jokes.

They were so good at entertaining that Arliss insisted they play Vaudville. Brantford refused, and so the two split their plantation.

Arliss sold his half. Played Vaudeville. Was a big success. He used his popularity to enter politics. In 1964, when we were living in Swifton, Arliss Wieville was senior senator to Edmond Muskie from Maine,

Branfort stayed with his half of the plantation, and it failed miserably. Drought, pestilence, flooding, late frost - anything that could ruin a crop - ruined the cotton on Branfort́s land. Piecemeal he sold it to pay for taxes and ended up with the five-acre cotton patch in Swifton.

But Branford did receive the international recognition that was never accorded his more successful sibling: everyonés heard of the lesser of two Wievilles.

Thanks to Chuck Jackson
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Are You Hiring?

A woman walked up to the manager of a department store. "Are you hiring any help?" she asked.

"No," he said. "We already have all the staff we need."

"Then would you mind getting someone to wait on me?" she asked.

Received from Thomas Ellsworth.


Toy Computer

I was recently attending a birthday party for my mother-in-law, when my three-year-old grandson came to me with a Strawberry Shortcake toy computer that can help with spelling and some other things. He wanted me to turn it on for him. I opened it up, looked around for an on/off switch, and slid a couple of switches left and right, but it wouldn't come on. I gave it back to him saying that I couldn't help him.

He took the computer and gave it to the mother of the little girl it belonged to. She opened it up and pushed a button, it came on, and she gave it back to him.

I asked her what she had pushed to get it to come on. She replied, "On/Off." When I said I couldn't figure it out and I work on computers for a living, she replied, "I wouldn't tell that to anyone."

Received from Bob Maitland.


Are They Cheating?

/* Feel free to substitute your favorite rivalry. */

Once upon a time, long, long ago there was a season when neither the Packers nor the Vikings made the post season playoffs. It seemed so unusual that the management of both teams got together and decided that there should be some sort of competition between the two teams, because of their great rivalry. So, they decided on a week long ice fishing competition. The team that catches the most fish at the end of the week wins.

So on a cold northern Wisconsin lake they began their contest.

The first day after 8 hours of fishing the Vikings had caught 100 fish and the Packers had 0. At the end of the 2nd day the Vikings had caught 200 fish and the Packers 0.

That evening the Packers coach got his team together and said, "I suspect some kind of cheating is taking place." So the next morning he dressed one of his players in purple and gold and sent him over to the Viking camp to act as a spy. At the end of the day he came back to report to the coach. The coach asked, "Well, how about it, are they cheating?"

"They sure are!" the player reported. "They're cutting holes in the ice."

Received from Thomas Ellsworth.


Cannibals Talk

Two cannibals were sitting around the campfire talking. One of the cannibals said, "You know, I can't stand my mother-in-law."

To which the other replied, "Then just eat the noodles."

Received from Ed Buckner.
Two Cannibals captured a clown. That evening, when they were eating supper, one said to the other; “Does this taste funny to you?”


Music To My Ears

I was a percussion major when I was in college, and during a rehearsal of the student orchestra, my section kept making mistakes.

"When you're too dumb to play anything," the professor conducting us sneered, "they give you a couple of sticks, put you in the back, and call you a percussionist."

A friend next to me whispered, "And if you're too dumb to hang on to both sticks, they take one away, put you in the front, and call you a conductor."

Received from Jim Lopardo.


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