Saturday, October 31, 2009
In the belief that the dead were raised from the grave, if the Celtic people had to leave the safety of their homes on halloween, they wore masks to scare away the evil spirits.
Trick or Treat as we know it today is a relatively new custom which is enjoyed by young and old alike. Perhaps nowhere is it enjoyed more than at 280 Fifth St NW in Barberton, Ohio. And, no one could enjoy it more than Julie and Donna!
Frick and Frack, as I've come to know them, have been planning, shopping and working for this night for weeks. From giant, lighted Spider Webs, cum Spiders, to miniture lighting around the porch, they have been busy. Spider webs everywhere and, would you believe, flashing eye balls in the shubbery. Well, now, woudn't want to miss the eyeballs floating in their caldren. The house is one huge house of horrors.
The witches waited patiently for their "victims" to arrive. The city set the time from 5:00PM to 7:00PM. The witches were ready with their little boxes of "bait". When the boxes were opened a grizzly message came out that scared the little ones and gave the big kids a chuckle.
Every treat that could be imagined was in the boxes and each "victim" and their parents received two, just to be sure the potion worked.
Did they come? By the ones, by the twos, by the threes and by whole bunches. The sidewalk was jammed at times, going and coming. I'm sure the word got out that this was THE house to hit. At one point I bet there were at least 50 waiting their turn at the witches. There were two sets of twins and one set of triplets. There were big kids. There were little kids.
They came in wagons and on their Dad's shoulders. They came holding their Dad's hands. They came in teenage groups.
There were skeletons, devils, ninja turtles, princesses and you name it. It was here.
It couldn't be halloween without dogs and cats, could it? Well, of course not! One witch had her Hell Hound. And witches on broom sticks. Yep, sure enough! And, you can't have a halloween party without Jack-O-Lanterns, now can you? There were two.
A few of the really little ones needed to use the pottie. Sure, the wicked witches accomodated them.
Are witches always funny? Of course not! Check out this serious looking witch. Her name is Donna. Is she chanting a curse on her husband Benny. No? Well, whatever.
Purple hair, purple eye lashes, purple sash on her hat. Why, who knows, she may be a royal witch. Why would I say that? To avoid having her cast a spell on me, why else?
Why do all this? For the fun of it. Check out this gleeful witch. She is obviously having a good time.
Can't wait to party with her.
Are All Witches Wicked? Why, of course not! Look at this sweet little witch dressed in white. She ended the evil night by coming to see her Grandpa. Her name is Rosebud and she is a Grandpa's girl. Un Huh!!
Bye-the-bye, after the designated trick-or-treat hours, the witches showed just how wicked they really were by paying a visit to a local hospital, bringing joy to those who missed the event due to sickness. What a pair of troopers!
Traditional Scottish Prayer:
"From Ghoulies and Ghosties
And long leggedy beasties
and all things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Neither the leading news agencies of that day nor the wisest of the wise foretold the Great Depression. Folks, I've no reason to think todays news agencies or the wisest of the wise, like Ben Bernake, are any better!
The Boy Scouts have it right: Be Prepared!
The term, the "Great Depression", is, as we know it today in America, a proper noun. It describes a specific historical era in America, and the world.
As fourth generation Irish during that period, my parents were just average citizens in West Virginia, a mostly poor part of the country. I recall the details of the depression vividly and can assure one that the "Great" depression was anything but great! But, that is another story.
Americans normally associate the "Great Depression with President Herbert Hoover but the fact is that America has had many "depressions". "I have no doubt that the current recession may become another world-wide depression", so said James Monroe. What was probably the first depression came just a few years into our new republic.
In 1819 the country had an onslaught of bank failures along with depreciating currency. Sound familiar? President James Monroe was probably the first to coin the phrase "depression" to describe this economic condition in America.
President Ulysses S. Grant referred to the Panic of 1873 with the lack of prosperity in the land as a "depression" in describing the extended loss of industries with the associated hardships.
President Rutherford B. Hayes, before he became a General, then president, was a Company Commander in the 13th West Virginia Volunteers in the Civil War. My great grandfather, Indivan Pierce, was a Private in Company G and served under the younger Hayes. That, also, is another story!
I have visited the Rutherford B. Hayes Museum and Library and was most impressed by the man's sticking by his word to only serve for one term when he was nominated. In his inaugural address in 1877 Hayes stated that "the depression in all our varied commercial and manufacturing interests thoughout the country still continues".
President Calvin Coolidge referred to the post-WWI recession as the "Great Depression of 1921". Ten years later, in 1931, President Herbert Hoover said "I need not recount to you that the world is passing through a great depression."
In 1952 in a national election President Harry Truman, who claimed "The buck stops here" in fact lambasted the Republicans claiming that they had brought on the "Great Depression" of that day.
And, so, our country has experienced many "Great Depressions". I suspect that President Obama, however, will be much like Hoover in claiming all is well under his presidency. While the depression started in 1929, Hoover claimed as late as December 1930 that "the fundamental strength of the economy is unimpaired." As the world slowly wound down he was forced to admit the truth in 1931, the year of my birth.
If our country was an individual it would be considered bankrupt and it isn't projected to get better, as seen by the deficit amounts above!
To this date and time Obama, like Truman, is still blaming it on the Republicans and President Bush. The fact that it is his administration's spending that has tripled the deficit is not a consideration. He is "spending" our return to prosperity with "borrowed" money. That has been tried before. It does not work for a country anymore than it does for individuals.
This is a train wreck that has already started to happen. Those who have assets not laden with debt will do alright. Even among family and friends, such people in today's America are few and far between.
Those who have been wise enough to avoid excessive debt will also be wise enough to be prepared for a far worse economic downturn, including a devaluation of the dollar, the recall of gold, as well as wage and price controls.
Wage control has already reared it's ugly head! Yes, the camel has his nose under the tent! Stand by for more to come! The challenge will be to protect what you have from the government as well as from your self indulgent neighbors. Uh, tax on juice? Tax on candy bars? We report, you decide!
In a far more simpler day, my Grandma Elliott protected the stores for her family with a seriously mean dog, Old Coley, also with a gun close at hand. At a very early age I learned how important it was to keep away from this vicious dog. Just one look at this determined lady would cause most people to hesitate, huh? (Not a good picture but you get the idea.)
As we found out with the burning of cities by the mob mentality of the the 60's, and since, keeping our assets and stores won't be that easy today. Remember the scenes of looters breaking windows, setting fires and carrying off television sets as the police looked on?
Still and yet, following Grandma Elliott's example of a good dog with a gun close at hand probably wouldn't be a bad idea!Robert J. Ringer, American entrepreneur, motivational speaker and author of several self-help books wrote an excellent book on preparing for extremely difficult economic times. The title tells it all: "How You Can Find Happiness During The Collaspe Of The Western Civilization". Ringer was off in his timing but his advice is dead on.
This book can be bought for one dollar,($1.00) at http://www.eisenbrauns.com/ If you consider the seriousness of the book to be just plain ridiculious, take a moment and consider the debt we owe that we can never repay. Consider the growth and ambition of China, who holds our debts and is not a friend.
There was a movie, which I cannot find, called "Roll Over" which told what happens when the USA's lenders, who know we cannot pay our debt, refuse to roll over the debt and ask to be paid.
So far, we have always overcome. I consider this to be our greatest challenge.
"The wise does at once what the fool does last"
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Some of the finding's comparison between the races are as follow:
1. Blacks are seven times more likely to commit murder.
2. Blacks are eight times more likely to commit robbery.
3. Blacks are three times more likely to use a hand gun.
4. Blacks are two times more likely to use a knife.
5. Blacks are thirty-nine times more likely to commit a violent crime against whites.
6. Blacks are one hundred and thirty-six times more likely to commit robberty agains whites.
7. Blacks are only seven times more likely to go to prison than whites.
8. From 1980 to 2003 U.S. incarceration has tripled.
Why is this all true? Does just being black make people bad? No! Does being white make people good? Of course not!
There is a black community a few blocks from my home. When I was struggling to recover from a slipped disc a few years ago, the compassion I received from this community far exceeded that of my own white neighborhood.
Several black female friends are included in my wife's annual Christmas Party for fellow employees. I thoroughly enjoy cooking fish for a dynamic black mother named Wanda, along with her children. In a group of six with whom my wife makes trips each year is a beautiful black woman. Two wonderful black leaders attend my son's church when they are home from college. These are all good people, not good "black" people. Just good people! Some are well educated, some are not. All are hard working and responsible individuals.
I worked for 27 years with blacks in a tire plant and knew many of them quite well and respected them as much as they did me.
Yet, the above figures are pretty much the way it is.
I think President Obama and the government is using the wrong approach if helping blacks is their true goal. Giving them what they have not earned may retain votes at election time but it most certainly continues the sorry plight of our black population.
The cure for their problem is education and opportunity. Great strides have been made in this area over the last few years which has been reflected in a huge increase in black home ownership and professional attainment by many blacks. But this is only true for those who availed themselves of the favorable educational and employment/business opportunities provided.
Great strides have also been made in the elimination of racial prejudice, although, admittedly, it still exists. Taking away from those who have earned, however, and giving to those who have not earned will surly reverse those gains. Wealth redistribution, by any name, is an anti-American way-of-life. It didn't work for FDR. It won't work for Obama. What it will do is bring about division and resentment.
The majority of single parent families, the black drop out rate in schools, the high pregnacy rate among young, unmarried black women, the drug related violence and crime, the failure to maintain property, the spending habits with total lack of saving, the loss of family values, the number of children being raised by older grandparents--the problems for our black population goes on and on. None of which can be corrected by giving them something which someone else has earned through personal dedication and hard work.
There are some wonderful black leaders, but they are few and far between. Again, although there are wonderful exceptions, too many of the athletes and politicians who should be leading examples are themselves caught up in wrong doing. For every JC Watts, pictured here, there are any number of black congressmen and atheletes trying to keep out of jail themselves.
There is no simple, single answer to this problem. I am convinced, however, that when and if things change for the better it will be through black leadership. Not the kind of leadership that wants to burn down the neighborhood, blatantly stealing from merchants while demanding special concessions or damning America. Leaders are needed to inspire their followers to grasp their own boot straps and pull hard. Leaders who lead by personal examples.
It worked for the Irish in America. It worked for the Oriental in America. It can work for the blacks in America but overall progress is difficult to find. Keeping blacks dependant on government will continue to distroy their own self image and self respect.
Black leaders, and those who should be black leaders, please step up and be counted! You are desperately needed.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Like my Mother, Julie is a very wise woman and I would disregard her suggestion only at my own peril. Here is a blog on the Ant and the Grasshopper. This is a picture of Julie, left, and Mary Kay Pierce, another wise woman.
Aesop's original tale where the grasshopper perishes while the ant survives in comfort, thus demostrating the benefits of delayed gratification and industy, has been well repeated and commented upon by La Fontaine's Fables, La Cigale Et Al Fourmi, and John Updike among others. The following is the current version that Julie received from her coworker, Richard. (There is no indication who authored this version so no credit can be given.)
OLD VERSION: The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsibile for yourself!
NEW VERSION: The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast.
How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so? Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, "It's Not Easy Being Green".
Acorn stages a demostration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing "We Shall Overcome". Rev. Jeremiah Wright then has the group kneel down and pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.
Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.
Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.
The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar.
The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ants food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he doesn't maintain it.
The ant has disappeared in the snow.
The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Be Careful How You Vote In 2010!
I heralded a warning on this subject on April 26, 2009 in a blog titled CHANGE WAS PROMISED: We're About To Get It!
The blog was ended saying "May the good Lord help us, we ants, squirrels and honey bees! The locusts and grasshoppers are on the way, and more than a few rats, too!
In 1607 the first successful English settlement was made in America by 105 men and boys. A year later only 38 had survived. Captain John Smith saved these survivors by insisting that they work or starve. The same good sense saved the settlement in Plymouth Rock.
The grasshoppers were transformed into ants and were saved. We need a Captain John Smith with the wisdom and courage to say "work or starve". Otherwise we are doomed to the fate as discribed in the story Julie brought home.
IS THAT REALLY POSSIBLE? We have been there before in my lifetime! Look at this picture of a soup line in the Great Depression. Do these look like "Grasshoppers"? No, but thats what happens to Ants when the grasshoppers take over.
In addition to being an ant and preparing, you might consider attending a tea party or two. At least be a good citizen and vote to make a REAL change in 2010. Consider the results of your action, or inaction. We report, you decide.
I wish this comparison was just meant to be funny. IHOP or Possum? It isn't. It is a real life comparison.
A favorite family story was of my Mother getting two boys in a jon boat, who had given up on taking a fierce possum off a tree in a flood, to give her a lift out to the tree. Mom didn't try to take hold of the fierce possum. She took the limb on which he was hanging. At home she introduced the possum's neck to a poker as she jerked upward on his tail. Mom wasn't squeamish!
Yup! Fat possom and dumplins in gravy is wonderful fare in a deep depression.
THINK ABOUT THIS, MY FRIENDS.
No, Mother did not like opposum but you must consider, my Mother was a very, very wise Honey Bee! If she was happy to have a possum dont be misiled into thinking that such a thing cannot happen in your life. Yes, things are relatively good for most of us now. Things were great in the "Roaring Twenties", just before the depression came about.
"I'm tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn't work. Of course it doesn't work! We are supposed to work at it".
Sunday, October 18, 2009
He must constantly answer the question, WHATS WITH THE REQUEL? He explains that a prequel is a projection of something that is to happen while a sequel is a repeat of something that has already happened. Requel is the telling of the same story a different way. Church Requel is church a different way as proclaimed on ten billboards across the city.
Retiring from a highly successful career as a Financial Planner, owning his own firm, Mark became the number five pastor of a mega church. After about five years he had progressed to the number two pastor and chief-of-staff. A year or so ago he resigned that position to commence his own church and commenced studies for a second Masters Degree at Ashland Seminary.
Several weeks ago he commenced church in his home with a core group of maybe 30 or 40 people. At his first service tonight there were 72 in attendance, including 9 children of 1st grade or younger ages.
How is Church Requel different? Well, for starters, the worship service takes place on Sunday evening rather that Sunday morning and day-to-day communication with the membership is by way of the internet.
Then, rather than commence the worship in a small but inexpensive typical church building, Mark and his board sought a state-of-the-art facility in which to worship. They found their ideal location in the Mid Ohio Conference Center in Mansfield. The facilities commence for a group of 270 but can grow to accomodate whatever size is needed as the church grows.
Kimberly, his sister, alongwith his nephew, Riley, rode down to Mansfield with me to encourage Mark in his first service. Would people turn out for this new venture. A look at the parking lot answered the question.
Not the only family members to support Mark, his entire family was there. Here are his daughter, Jennifer with her family and Jillian home from college with her boy friend.
As we entered the church there were signs with directions to the auditorium with a welcoming group to point the way. At the entrance to the sanctuary we were met with adults and children passing out programs.
Set up inside the beautiful facilites was band equipment behind the speaker's podium with constantly changing visuals on the wall behind the band. The service is comtemporary with comfortable dress.
The song service was led by Bethany Pierce, Mark's daughter-in-law who has just announced that another grandchild is on the way. She has three boys already. This is a picture of Bethany and Kimberly on the left.
The boy's Dad, Jon, is a highly successful techy, a grad of Asbury College. Jon handled the sound as well as the lighting and visual projections. Not to be missed is daughter Jessica who is out of sight caring for the grade one and under children.
Who attends a "requel" worship service? Perhaps this Dad and children are examples. They came early. Here is a picture of them and a picture of the Mother as she came in later.
A wise person once said that behind every successful man is a good woman. In Mark's case her name is Mary Kay who is shown here coming in at the last moment with a precocious two year old grandson.
Is there a need for a "requel" church? When approximately 80% of Americans are Christian but only about 30% attend church, one might conclude there is something wrong that perhaps a requel church might address.
I prefer a quiet traditional worship service, singing the old hymns with an organ, at home in the Easton United Methodist Church. I must acknowledge, however, that while hundreds come for a Bean Supper, on Sunday morning the empty pews far outnumber the full ones.
In the weeks following 9-11 church attendance in America nearly doubled but as time passed and no additional attacks befell us, attendance slowly dwindled away. And, this was true in all major denominations.
Although our country was clearly founded on Christian principles, there is a highly successful movement by a minority of people to deny all things Christian. Prayer is forbidden in public events and in schools. Christian symbols are prohibited in public places. Even the very word, Christmas, has been under attack.
From George Washington to Abraham Lincoln, our founding fathers clearly praised God and considered America to be His blessing. Any and all attempts to reestablish America as a Christian nation should be welcomed.
May God bless Church Requel!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Sure, and now I believe in the Wee People. Isn't me name Walsine? Who but the Irish could handle such a name?
The picture on the left was taken of me in County Kerry in 1989 surrounded by the wee folk. Did I actually see a Leprechaun? Of course not! You don't see Leprechauns. Like you don't see the wind. But you can see the results of the wind and you can see the results of the Wee People. I know!
Take me present life, for instance. The Irish love to dance. Wasn't I to a wedding recently and didn't I get caught up in watching the line dancing. I decided I had to do that. Now, getting ever closer to being 80, I should just be growing old gracefully? To remind me of that truth didn't one of the Wee Folk touch me left hip and slow me down to a hobble. Like I said, I believe in the Wee Folk. I can't see them but I see their work.
Did I forward the poem to anyone? Nah! And now you may be asking why not? Would you be believing that I've already used up all the magic in this particular poem. It is a long poem but I be knowing it by heart. I've probably recited it to hundreds over the years.
Didn't I say it at me oldest grand daughter's own wedding? Wasn't I blessed with two delightful great granddaughters for me effort? This Irish beauty is Cisley and isn't her sister named Ro'si'ne, which is in the Irish and means Dark Rose. Does the blessing work? Sure and you can be certain it does. Mike and Jen just celebrated their 7th wedding anniversary, didn't they?
Sure, and I believe. I mean, haven't I watched the movie "Quiet Man" at least a hundred times. Don't I share it with friends when Julie and I host our Romantic Dinner on Valentine's Day? Haven't I, in fact now, toured the "Innisfree" setting for the movie at Cong in County Mayo? To be sure, I have.
Why, now you should know, I have actually visited Ashford Castle. This Irish strong hold was built in the 12th century and is still in use as a resort today. It is a place for the rich and famous but, like the Irishman that I am, I fooled them all into thinking I belonged.
Corn beef and cabbage? You betcha! I actually ate it at a pub that has been active since the 1600's. In Galway I knelt at the same stone altar where Christopher Columbus knelt before he left Europe in his first westward exploration.
Yes, I've "Watched the sun go down on Galway Bay" and crossed the Shannon River to old Claddagh town.
Didn't I "shoot the gap" at Dunloe in a horse drawn "trap", boat down the Lakes of Kilarny, and stand in awe of the Book of Kells in Christ Church in Dublin. I have, I have!
Sure and now, I've trod the old Sod from Cong down to Old Dingle Town, from Galway across to Dublin. From the smell of a peat fire, the sight of rock walls in the greenest of green and the ring of Irish laugher, Ireland is unique in the world. So are its people.
Fight at the drop-of-a-hat or sing and dance, it's all the same to the Irish. The two most common sayings may be "God Bless All Here" or "Is This A Private Fight Or Can Anyone Join In".
The "spit-in-the-eye" or "Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story" attitudes which I have inherited from my folks from Ireland has carried the day many times for me. My children are full to the brim and over flowing with it and I see it in the attitudes of my grandchildren. I am thankful.
An Old Irish Blessing:
"May those who love us love us, and for those who don't love us, may God turn their hearts. And, if He can't turn their hearts, may He turn their ankles so we may know them by their limping"