Monday, February 27, 2006

Origami Video

Microsoft has registered a website: that has everyone a stir.

The product won't be announced till at least March 2, but there's a Microsoft video floating around that might give some clue about what the new product is.
If it's as cool as the commercial, I've got to get one.

The mug collection

For the one of you who's asked to see all of these... here's the history of "the mug"

Beautiful wallpaper

Atariboy has found a hidden gem for desktop wallpapers.

What if Microsoft redesigned the iPod

This video is getting hits from all over and has already been mirrored several times thanks to it getting dugg.
It asks, what if Microsoft redesigned/repackaged the iPod. What would it look like?

Basketball Mayhem

An autistic manager for a NY basketball team brought mayhem to the court in his first and last game of his high school career.
CBS News had a great story on it.
Click to watch.

New pictures posted

I've posted some pictures from this weekend in San Antonio and Austin on my photo blog.
From the looks of the pictures though, you'd think I spent the whole weekend at the capital.

Daily Light’s ‘Gentle Giant’ remembered

John Hicks: July 10, 1967-Feb. 24, 2006
From Sunday's WDL

Neal White

Words cannot begin to describe the loss we all are feeling at the passing of Daily Light Sports Editor John Hicks.
John’s sudden death on Friday at the age of 38 has left us all in a state of shock and overwhelming sadness. He leaves behind a family including two young children, Connor, 10, and Shelby, 7, scores of co-workers who loved him as a brother and thousands of fans in the Ellis County community.
He was loved and respected by everyone he met.
For both his physical stature and gentle, giving nature, John was a giant among men.
He was devoted to his children, dedicated to his work and genuinely cared about everyone he wrote about. From the smallest rec league players to the high school and college athletes, in his eyes and in his heart, all the kids he covered were “his kids” and he took great pride in reporting their accomplishments.
For the past several weeks, John often talked about the Lady Indians’ current playoff run and his desire to cover the team in the state championship game. He longed to see the team hold up the state trophy — he even had headlines written and ideas on how we could design the front page.
John so loved the students he wrote about in the Daily Light and talked about on the radio as a guest commentator with Ken Roberts at KBEC.
His dedication to his craft and passion for those he covered was evident in his work. An award-winning journalist, John has received numerous awards for his work, including the Texas “Sports Writer of the Year” honors from his peers in the newspaper industry. Throughout his tenure at the Daily Light, John consistently ranked among the top three sports writers in the state for newspapers in our division, having earned more than a dozen awards for excellence in journalism.
Standing six-feet, eight-inches tall, John cast a commanding presence, yet because of his humble, compassionate nature, he had a way of making every-one feel at ease. He was indeed a gentle giant. Through both his words and deeds, John left everyone with the impression his towering figure was always striving to reach up to Heaven and touch the hand of God.
“Everybody loved John,” said Ken Roberts, KBEC vice president as we spoke to him following Friday’s Lady Indians playoff game. “He was the nicest, most gentle man you’d ever want to meet.
“After all these years of covering games together, John would still come up to me the press box and ask if it was OK if he sat beside us. Even though we always saved him a seat, he never took anything for granted,” Roberts said. “I can’t tell you how hard it was to call (Friday’s) game with that empty seat beside me.
“John was one heck of a sports writer,” Roberts added “We loved having him on the show. He knew the stats and he always looked for the positives, always finding something good to say about the players and the coaches. Everyone at KBEC extends our heartfelt condolences to his family and everyone at the Daily Light.”
Several WHS coaches have called to share similar comments, extending their condolences and praising John’s work over the years.
It needs to be said that John was more than a co-worker — he was like a brother to us all. As difficult as this is for our Daily Light family, our hearts and prayers go out to his immediate family as we share in their grief over John’s unexpected passing. May we all find comfort in knowing that John died peacefully in his slumber as God reached down to take his hand and bring him home to the Kingdom of Heaven.
We spoke to John’s parents in Shreveport, La., who are in the process of handling the arrangements. As details of the service arrangements become available, we will share that information with the community.
Without question, John touched so many lives in such a short time.
He made a difference in every aspect of his life.
Godspeed, Big John.
You will be missed.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Another open letter to the Christian Sub-Culture

Dear Christian,
I hate to write this to you in such a public maner, but you’re still making a fool of yourself in many public places.
You’ve been writing letters to the local paper condemning the “immoral heathens” in your community, saying you would be “floored” if they had the “audacity to show up in a church.” It’s surprising you don’t have a bouncer waiting at the door to expell the sinners amongst you.
Just like Simon wanted to expell the woman from his house in Luke 7, you seem to hope the sin drenched people of the world avoid your church entirely.
Yet even as Simon squirmed in his seat, knowing that a known sinner was in his house, Jesus assured Simon, “He that is forgiven much, loves much.”
Jesus spent time accepting the sinner, not casting them out.
The writers of Radical Hospitality write, “Acceptance. Now there's a word loaded with meaning. We tend to confuse it with tolerance or even approval. But acceptance is about receiving, rather than judging. The father, who will not visit his son because his son is living unmarried with a woman, or even another man, might say he doesn't want to condone his son's choices. We feel for him, but we know it's a cover-up because we, too, have rationalized our avoidance of things and situations we would rather not have to face. Then we hide the dissapointment, cover the anger, and justify the rejection. We struggle in our best efforts to hold back judgement and just accept. Acceptance is not about condoning; it is about embracing. When we accept, we take an open stance to the other person. It is more than pios tolerating them. We stand in the same space and appreciate who they are, right at this moment, and affirm the Sacred in them.”
I know it’s easy to judge.
I know it’s easy to throw stones.
And I know it’s easy to say, “You’re not welcome here” when a person makes you uncomfortable.
But keep in mind, the people you’re rejecting are the same people who need Christ the most.
Maybe we can take some lessons for the few who seem to be on the right track.
Last year, a church that was robbed posted the following message on their marquee, “To the person who broke in - God loves you.”
The United Church of Christ made headlines in 2004 when their TV commercial featuring a bouncer at the gates of a church and a voice-over saying, “Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we.” was rejected national TV networks.
A friend recently told me about a church who had gladly welcomed an athiest into their fellowship. Members of the church invited her to visit and she was overcome by the friendliness and attitude she saw.
She wasn’t judged or condemmed because she didn’t believe, she was accepted as another lost soul. She didn’t believe what they believed, she didn’t fit the Christian mold, but she was welcomed into the fellowship.
After several visits she asked the pastor to allow her to work in the nursery, simply because she wanted to be a part of the loving group.
The Apostle Thomas struggled with his faith after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
All of the other disciples had seen the risen Lord, yet Thomas had not and doubted their accounts.
But scripture tells us, the disciples allowed Thomas to continue his fellowship with them.
He simply hung out with them for eight days before Christ personally came to him.
What if Thomas or an Athiest came to your church?
Would they feel the love of Christ abounding? Or would she feel like an “immoral heathen” for not believing the message of a risen Savior?
And what if despite their doubt, their curiosity made them stay? Would they be welcomed or told they must conform or leave?
Samuel Escobar with The New Global Mission writes, “The church exists for mission, and … a church that is only inward looking is not truly the church.”
I write all of this to say, “It’s time to wake up.”
It’s time to start being known for your love, not how pro-prayer, pro-life or pro-Jesus you are.
It’s time to stoop down and reach out to those hurting and starving around you.
It’s time to check your attitude and maintain an attitude as that of Christ.
It’s time to be a relevant example of Christ -- 24-7 and stop judging the sinners around you.
Because if I were “one of them,” I’d have given up and ignored you and “your Savior” a long time ago.
- Signed

Blogging relationships

I meant to post on this a few weeks ago, but forgot.
I just saw it again on the blog.
NPR recently reported on how blogs are changing relationships, including married couples.
Bill and I now judge events in our lives as to whether they are blog-worthy. When we’re together, we have an unspoken agreement as to who gets to blog about whatever cool thing we encounter. … And he’s crestfallen if I haven’t read his entry before we go to bed. A remarkably specific ettiquette is emerging in this uncharted land.

The entry has links to the story and audio version.

MC Hammer blogging

MC Hammer is blogging now. Sweetness.
He's using his Sidekick phone to post pictures and audio clips.
Check it out. Word to your mother.

A fine young Dutchman

Just returned from San Antonio. Matt and I took a quick trip down there for the night/day as a partial birthday celebration, which was in reality more of just an excuse to get away.
We had a good time in the short time we were there.
We met and had dinner with Sara Draper, which will probably be the last time we see her before her wedding.
Then we cruised the River Walk for awhile looking for something cool to do.
We only found one bar we were interested in, but it was packed so we trudged on.
We finally ended up back at the hotel bar and hung out there as bartenders pushed one of the last legal drugs.
About 30 minutes before closing time we met an interesting Dutch man. There was some sort of horse convention in town and he was there to network at the event.
We talked horses, politics and religion. It was a great conversation – and you can’t get upset when a Danish horseman buys you a round.
It was interesting to hear his take on world events, especially the current issues with the Danish cartoon and Muslim protests.
It was if I was listening to the BBC or news reports from other sides of the world.
He said the Dutch were very much behind America and had been since World War II, but he said after the recent controversy, support was waning.
After other European countries stood behind the Dutch, America was slow to respond and many in the American media seemed to say, “Bad boys. You did wrong this time.”
He said he himself was a fan of America, but the slow response from America on the cartoons disturbed many.
He also was mad that the Muslim clerics (or priests as he called them) had stirred the controversy up.
As you may know, the cartoon depicting the prophet Muhammad as a terrorist originally appeared in Dutch newspapers back in Oct. 2005. They then circulated in other newspapers including some Egyptian papers in Nov. 2005.
But it wasn’t until an Islamic cleric put together the cartoon with cartoons from other papers and presented them before Islamic extremists, that the violence and protests began.
He also spoke about other traveling he had done and how many in Europe hoped to bring the continent under one rule and create a European Union, similar to the United States.
He was shocked to hear that people in America considered the European Union to be what many people considered signs of the end of the world.
”The anti-Christ will come from Europe?” he laughed. “That’s funny. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that.”
We also discussed the conflict in Ireland between the Protestants and Catholics.
He said when he visited the country he asked a taxi driver of his opinion.
Best quote of the night:
“He (the taxi driver) said he didn’t know what the f*ck was going on,” the Dutchman said. “He lives 10 miles from where the bombings are taking place and he said he didn’t understand it. I said how the f*ck am I gonna understand it if he doesn’t?”

As the bartenders prepared to close for the night we parted ways.
Hopefully each of us were a little more understanding of one another and each other’s ways and culture.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Senior Year Songs

So, I got a survey on Myspace today about my senior year. It inspired me to tune into the 90's alternative rock station on Launchcast.
Which in tune, inspired me to come up with the great high school songs of my day.
Not necessarily in any particular order, here are my favorite musical memories from my senior year of high school.

1. Bush - Glycerine
2. Spacehog - In the meantime
3. U2 - Pop Album
4. Cake - The Distance
5. Dave Matthews - Crash into me
6. Verve Pipe - Freshman
7. Counting Crows - A Long December

What are yours?

Memories of Amy

Mom reminded me last night that it was one year ago that Amy first went to the hospital with her headaches. Feb. 23, 2005. I had forgotten it was the 23rd, but I remember the day quite vividly. I was at work at the when I got the call that they were taking her to the hospital. I had to stay there and put the paper together. I remember being frustrated that I was so far away and could do nothing for her.
I was her big brother. I'm supposed to take care of her.
Luckily Matt was able to stand in my sted and did more for her than I probably ever could have.
Little did I know, she would be gone less than a month later.
How time flies and how things change in the blink of an eye.

Barton works to improve medical records

From the WDL
Barton works to improve medical records

By JONATHAN BLUNDELL Daily Light staff writer

In an effort to increase efficiency and save medical costs, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Waxahachie) is helping lead legislation through the Energy and Commerce Committee that would enable health care records to be stored and transferred electronically.
The Wired for Health Care Quality Act, or S 1418, was unanimously passed in the Senate in November and awaits approval from the House.
The bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) in January and is being looked at by the Subcommittee on Health.
A similar bill, HR 4157, was also introduced in the House by Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) in October and was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.
Proponents of the plan say it will enhance the adoption of a nationwide health information technology system and enable health records to be passed quickly from doctor to doctor and health care providers to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
“The general issue is that medical records are in the dark ages,” said Barton, who was admitted briefly to George Washington University Hospital after a heart attack on Dec. 15. “When I was in the hospital last time I had to answer the same questions four or five times. People are still using manual files and manually writing things down. And if they do update the records on the computer, they’re keeping it on their own workstation and not sharing it with other computers.”
Barton said it’s not clear if his committee or the house will move on any one specific bill yet, but the Energy and Commerce Committee expects to hold hearings on the general issue within the next month.
“We may choose one of the bills already introduced as a base bill but we’re still discussing the general issue now,” Barton said. “We have the secretary of health testifying before my committee on the bill this week. He’s been supportive of the concept.”
Barton said he’s also met with the new House Majority Leader, U.S. Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), who is also supportive of the idea.
“I think this is something we can move into play this year,” Barton said. “I believe it will save tens of thousands of dollars with the improvements and you’ll get a lot more efficiency when you transfer records electronically with proper confidentiality agreements.”
But patients’ privacy and confidentiality has Dr. Deborah Peel, founder of Patient Privacy Rights, concerned.
“The only reason people trust the health care system now is that people expect their doctors to protect their information,” Peel said. “But many people don’t realize they had their rights eliminated in 2003.”
In 1996, Congress enacted the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which protects workers’ health isurance coverage when they change or lose their jobs.
But amendments to the bill in 2003 allow certain entities the right to view patients’ records.
“Several hundred thousand entities have the right to look at records without the patient ever knowing,” said Diane Quest, a PPR consultant. “Self-insured employers, insurance companies, pharmacies, doctors and any businesses associated with health care can all view a patient’s records. We’re concerned that the new bills in Congress don’t have any teeth in them in regards to protecting privacy.”
Not only do the entities have the right to look at new records, but older records that patients may have requested to remain private as well.
“The April 2003 amendments are retroactive,” Peel said. “This amendment applies to all records prior to 2003 Ð regardless of whether you signed forms thinking that information was private.”
Quest and Peel both said they’re not against the bills, but are concerned that all aspects are covered.
“When you make records electronic there are good things that happen,” Quest said. “But we’re concerned about the privacy issues. The records will become more accessible to everyone and the bills that they’re considering rely on HIPAA for protecting rights, but HIPAA doesn’t do enough to protect patients.”
One of Peel’s greatest concerns is that patients will never know who has access or who looks at their records.
“None of the bills presented so far give patients the right to see and control who sees their information,” Peel said. “They may never know who’s looking at their private medical records. That might not seem like a big deal, but there are medical conditions a patient may have that you don’t want your pharmacy or employer or just any hospital employee to know about.
“Health practitioners, hospitals, insurance plans and self insured employers all have federal permission to disclose your health care information,” Peel said. “All of them can use and disclose your record even if you object Ð and they don’t have to keep audit trails. We’re in danger where even if patients don’t choose to allow sharing their records people can still see them without permission. The right to consent has been replaced by federal regulatory permission for 600,000 entities to view your information.”
Peel said she is hopeful that Barton will be as stringent with protecting patients’ records as he has been with financial and data information.
“We’re very hopeful that Barton will be a medical privacy hero as he’s been for data breaches and privacy of other kinds of records,” Peel said. “He’s been a powerful advocate for privacy in other areas and we hope he does the right thing in this area, too.”
Barton and the Energy and Commerce Committee recently held hearings on keeping personal phone records private.
“Our e-mail is clogged with spam. Our computers are covertly monitored with spyware. Our personal information is bought and sold by information brokers. And now we learn that a phone number and one hundred dollars can buy you a month’s worth of call information for just about anyone,” Barton said in a press conference following the hearings. “These are very personal and private records of who we call, when we call and how long we spend on the telephone call. This is an invasion into our personal privacy and, if I have anything to do with it, will not be allowed to continue for very much longer.”
“We’re hoping, that as the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Barton will set the bar high for medical records and consumer control as he has for financial and consumer records,” Peel said. “Every survey says people are concerned about their medical privacy. You want people treating you to have the information they need, but you need to have control over who sees that information.”
Peel said a similar issue has arisen within the Veterans Affairs Health Care System.
“We had a VA doctor write his personal position to us,” Peel said. “The VA is a prime example of what this new system could look like. It’s designed for use by doctors and the government essentially for their own uses, without input or consent from the veterans.”
While the system is designed to allow VA doctors the ability to easily share information across the country, Peel said anyone in a VA hospital can see your records.
“If they don’t want info shared they have to be rich enough to go outside the system,” Peel said. “If you have a record in San Diego they can pull it up in Washington, D.C., but anyone with access to the system can read everything. There are many things available on your records that you might never imagine anyone would know about, other than your personal doctor, but they’re available to anyone who picks up your chart.”
Peel said just like credit or financial records, patients need more control over their records.
“Patients should decide who gets to view information,” Peel said. “Every patient doesn’t want each and every one of their doctors to see everything. You may not want your psychologist, and certainly not your employer, to know of certain medical conditions that don’t concern them, such as an STD.”
Another area of concern is between security and privacy of records.
“It’s confusing when you talk about security and privacy protection,” Peel said. “Where as security protection is a firewall and encryption to keep outside users of the data away, privacy matters concern those within the system gaining access to records without a patient’s consent. Obviously there have to be high security areas put in and of course the public is completely petrified of security breaches, but we also need to be as concerned about the privacy of records.”
Barton said while other bills presented lack patient privacy initiatives, he is a supporter of patient privacy and his committee is actively working to protect patients’ rights.
“On the issue of patient privacy, we can work on that,” Barton said. “There’s nothing specific in the Senate bill, but that’s something we’ll improve in the house.”
Barton said fellow committee member Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Florida) was directly working on patient’s privacy for the bill.
The Energy and Commerce committee is expected to continue hearings before a bill is brought before the house.
“The first thing we’ll do is have a legislative or general policy hearing,” Barton said. “Then we’ll hold a mark up on a specific bill before amendments will be added and a vote taken.”
Barton said there was no specific time line on when that vote might come.

On the Internet:
On the web visit: and

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Technotrash removal

Looking to get rid of your technotrash? Computer disks, CD's, batteries, cellphones, etc?
will send a box and then pickup your technotrash to recycle it at their facilities.
The cost is $30 a box.

GreenDisk began on April 22, 1993 (Earth Day!). Headquartered in Sammamish Washington, the company was founded by high tech industry veterans who had a particular passion for the environment.
GreenDisk provides secured, audited disposal of intellectual property stored on electronic media and other technotrash. The resulting materials are then used to manufacture the GreenDisk branded line of office supplies.  Through a set of strategic alliances, GreenDisk works with both for profit and non-profit companies to create a national network of service providers. Rather than build new manufacturing facilities and recycling centers, GreenDisk partners with these non-profit agencies. This creates jobs for workers with disabilities while creating an innovative set of recycling services along with a new line of recycled products.
Initially, the company focused on the need among software publishers for a secure system of disposal of their unsold packages of obsolete software. Their primary concern was for the destruction of the intellectual property. GreenDisk's concern was for accomplishing this important task in an environmentally responsible manner without compromising security. GreenDisk provides a solution to this problem by offering alternatives that create an audit trail to assure that all intellectual property is destroyed and the materials recycled. In response to demand GreenDisk began to offer its secure disposal services to a wider range of clients. The company now serves publishers, businesses, government agencies and individuals who have similar concerns about their data and their environment. The spectrum of materials recycled has also grown to include everything from a diskette to the whole PC. GreenDisk can now provide full recycling accountability for the entire range of technotrash.   

Getting your church news to the public

The folks behind have written some ideas on how churches can get easy, cheap publicity for their events - by writing press releases.
Don't know what to do? Check out their .

Texans asked to respond

The Campaign has asked Texans to get involved in the fight against AIDS in Africa.
(R - Tex), serves on the budget committee and One is asking Texans to e-mail him to support the propsed AIDS budget.
Right now, we have an opportunity to really help fight global AIDS and poverty. Congress is considering decisions that could create hope and opportunity for people in the world's poorest countries and they needs to hear from YOU! Please join me in showing my support and send an email to your budget committee member at .Thank you!
Take action now at .

Immoral heathens

This letter appeared in our paper today....

To the Editor,
Please stop the madness ... Ellis County can surely can do better than stoop to the infamous “whisper campaign” style that has sadly become a staple in many campaign war rooms in the last decade or so. Remember Ann Richards 1994 re-election bid and John McCain’s 2000 presidential primary bid? Well I sure do!
No one can say what the results would have been without these polarizing (when adultery, race and sexual preference lies are the subject they are most definately polarizing) “whisper campaigns.”
Now it’s insinuated pedophile buddies.
The one thing I can say is that whoever seized on the idea of using the letter, whoever ran off the copies, whoever distributed them or even whoever witnessed it and did nothing needs to really do some soul searching.
I would be floored if anyone involved has the audacity to show up in a church because this is the behavior of immoral heathens.
I am deeply saddened that this is happening here.
Judge Knize and his family are exemplery members of the Ellis County community and this has to stop.
Melissa Geralds,

Now I could go on and on about this letter, but I want to let all you heathens out there know... you're not welcome in our local churches. Nope. None of you. You're gonna have to get saved, come to know Jesus and get your act together before you attend any of our churches.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sprint's PowerVision A900 packs a punch

I’ve always been a big fan of things that make you look cool. And believe me, I need lots of help to make me look cool.
But that’s fine, because new PowerVision Phone A900 does just that.
The phone made by , is only 3.9-inches, by 2-inches, by .06-inches, only slightly larger than Razr phone.
The sleek, ultra-thin design is small enough to fit easily into a shirt pocket but packs a punch with the content available.
The phone offers a great clear sound during phone calls, especially with the earbud-headset that comes with the phone.
From anywhere on the you can download thousands of music tracks, videos and games to the phone.
Naturally I looked at the music options first and was pleased to see a vast library of , and songs.
The built in speakers are good for content playback, but I recommend using the included headset for the best quality.
The songs download quickly to the 47mb hard drive on the phone and within moments you’re listening to your favorite songs on your phone.
Along with downloadable music, there are other music options including music videos and Sirius Radio channels.
The downside though, like most content, is that there is a charge. Most songs cost $2.50, but you can also download the song to your PC at
And there is a monthly access charge for subscription services like and Sports.
But I was definitely impressed when I saw the broad range of content on the phone.
My first night to have the phone I listened to The Squared Circle, a weekly talk show about professional wrestling and news stories from National Public Radio.
Finally two of my favorite things brought together at last.
The phone also features a 1.3-megapixel flash camera and video recorder, a much better quality than the Razr’s VGA camera.
It’s not quite the quality of your typical standalone digital cameras, but one of the best qualities I’ve seen on a cellphone so far. And with built in features, you can order prints of your photos straight from the camera or send the pictures directly to a PictBridge compatible printer.
The video camera will also record up to 30-seconds of audio and video to share with friends and family, and with Bluetooth technology or a USB adapter, the phone will easily transfer those pictures or videos to your home computer, for e-mailing or backup.
The battery life is decent and I’ve been told by several people that you can expect nearly three hours of talk-time between charges. The phone sat on standby for nearly four days before the battery indicator reached it’s last bar. But when using the media-rich content on the phone, I found it was best to leave the phone plugged in when possible.
I was however disappointed in the limited readability of files copied to the phone.
Apparently the phone will only play music files downloaded from Sprint’s Music Store, or video files recorded in the Mpeg-4 format.
I tried copying MP3 music files and WMA (Microsoft’s music file format) to the phone, but they were not playable on the phone. The music files downloaded from Sprint’s Music Store will also not play on any other devices, though you can backup the files on your computer for future use.
Overall, with the size, look and content available, this is one cool phone.
We can only hope it bumps my coolness level a few notches as well.

New smart phones coming

should be sending me a couple Smart Phones running in the next week or so. I'm really psyched about these phones.
According to the Sprint rep, she's practically replaced her laptop with the new phones.
Oh and I'll have a review on the fairly soon as well.

Looking for a job in Vegas?

I get a couple e-mails telling me about political jobs. I thought this one was interesting.
Any takers?


COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR sought for cutting- edge marijuana policy initiative campaign in Las Vegas. Media relations exp. required. $54K-66K.
 Please see .


I started reading Practitioners at lunch today. I'm intrigued after the first few entries. It's more of a collection of various writings, blog posts and more.
Acceptance. Now there's a word loaded with meaning. We tend to confuse it with tolerance or even approval. But acceptance is about receiving, rather than judging. The father, who will not visit his son because his son is living unmarried with a woman, or even another man, might say he doesn't want to condone his son's choices. We feel for him, but we know it's a cover-up because we, too, have rationalized our avoidance of things and situations we would rather not have to face. Then we hide the dissapointment, cover the anger, and justify the rejection. We struggle in our best efforts to hold back judgement and just accept. Acceptance is not about condoning; it is about embracing. When we accept, we take an open stance to the other person. It is more than pios tolerating them. We stand in the same space and appreciate who they are, right at this moment, and affirm the Sacred in them. - Radical Hospitality

That's hard to do. It's hard to really accept people when we might disagree with everything they say or do.
A hospitable space is determined not by place or location but by practitioners - it is wherever practitioners form. From Starbucks to the local pub, from shopping malls to skid row, from Nepal to the Netherlands, from the theaters to your own homes, practitioners live by rhythms of hospitality. Hospitality is not something you do - it's something you become.

The writer talks about the woman who wept at the feet of Jesus in Luke 7.
He says that Simon, the homeowner was uncomfortable with her even being there. He wanted to get rid of her because of what it might look like to others.
In contrast, Jesus created space. He allowed this woman to be without any judgment, without any conditions, without any confusion. He allowed this woman - He allows the stranger, you and me - to come and sit, knowing that His touch, truth, time and relentless tenderness transform the human heart.

Think about your closest friends. At some point you too were strangers. What made the difference? Hospitality. You each had to reach out of your shell and make a connection.
Can you hear the sounds of the woman quivering at the feet of Jesus? Should we question why the religious didn't extend to her the unconditional warmth, reassurance and assitance of biblical community? In Jesus, we see the raw recognition of her human value come to the forefront and the rebellion of love challenge the systems of moral judgment that haunt the human heart, as well as confront the church policy that unknowningly ousts the broken for fear that those with wealth would exit the doors.

Freedom of Software or disrespect

Eric told me about today. It's built around the Wiki engine and allows user submissions.
I found an interesting photo today - but you tell me: Freedom of software or disrespect to Islam?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

It's official... I know a professional cheerleader

I can feel important now, I actually know a professional cheerleader now:
Laura Shindoll is officially a cheerleader with the CenTex Barracudas in Belton.
Congrats. Hope you enjoy it.

Smells like Updog in here...

Yup... it smells like updog for sure.

Media bias?

Why do people automatically assume the media is biased when they report negative news about a political candidate?
We've had several letters to the editor after we ran some "not-so-flattering" stories about political candidates.
Maybe I'm missing something.

More on religious drugs

As a followup to the Tibetan entry, here's some information on hallucinogenic tea.
The has ruled in favor of a small religious sect to import and use the tea in their worship services.
Members of the religion believe the tea is sacred and that it helps connects them to God.

I think that's what I would be saying too.

Buddhist miracle or really good medicine

is doing a series on medicine. It's interesting as they talk to the local munks and others to hear their thoughts on the medicine. My impression was that the munks and buddhists in the area believe the healing power in the medicine is just as much spiritual as it is medicinal.
At the Kunming Institute of Botany, scientists analyze and synthesize the chemical compounds of China's wealth of medicinal plants. The institute's deputy director, Yang Yongping, says the government's goal is to develop a profitable pharmaceutical industry in Yunnan Province -- and that leads to a firm commitment to conservation, to protect the source of potential new medicines.
"We have a moral responsibility to keep those species in our earth village," he says.
Conservation is already built in to Tibetan culture, where plants are considered both medicinal and spiritual. There is a revival of Tibetan culture in China, and that's led to a renewed interest in traditional medicine rooted in Buddhism.

I have to wonder, in my doubt, which is it more of. I've seen God work do many wonderful things and I've seen medicine clear my headache in seconds. The munks were quoted as believing they were getting Buddha's power into the medicine by burning it in the temple. Wouldn't the same chemical changes happen if they burned it in a Texas Baptist Church as well?

One Nation... Indivisible

I'm amazed that this e-mail is still going around...
Don't buy Pepsi in the new can. Pepsi has a new "patriotic" can
coming out with pictures of the Empire State Building, and the
Pledge of Allegiance on them.
However, Pepsi left out two little words on the pledge,

"Under God."
Pepsi said they didn't want to offend anyone.

In that case, we don't
want to offend anyone at the Pepsi corporate office, either!
So if we don't buy any Pepsi product, they will not be offended
when they don't receive our money that has the word "In God We Trust" on it.

As you may recall, this actually has it's origins with a Dr Pepper can. People were in uproar when Dr Pepper released a patriotic can with the prhase "One nation... Indivisible" on the can in support of the nation after Sept. 11.
But leave it up to the Internet to change the story to their liking.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Is Technorati down?

Is down today?
I can't access it for the life of me. And I had to move the script on my page so it would finish loading.
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Batton down the hatches

This is hillarious. That should be all I have to say about that.
But because it's so funny, here's a clip:
The other day, my 6-year-old son suffered a bout of pants turbulence the likes of which I’d never encountered. It was so violent and so noxious that I wondered aloud whether he needed medical attention. But the boy did not share my concern. To him, it was all a joke. He gleefully sailed from one room of the house to the next, his spinnaker filled with that ill wind, leaving in his wake watery eyes and peeling wallpaper. Seriously, if our co-pay weren’t so high, I’d have taken him to the doctor.

CWF Live

FYI: CWF LIVE - March 4, 2006 at the CWF Warehouse in Rockwall, TX.

CWF LIVE: March 4, 2006 at the CWF Warehouse in Rockwall, TX.
For a printable version click here.

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12 a.m. or 12 p.m.?

Here's an interesting thought for the day.
Do you use 12 a.m. or 12 p.m.?
I personally try to always use noon or midnight.
But then another question is, if you use midnight, which day does it refer to?
If I say I'm leaving at midnight on Feb. 24, do you meet me around 11:55 on Feb. 24 or Feb. 25. Is it the end of the day I mention or the start of the day I mention?


, chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee is working to create a new national health records database.
The system would allow medical records to be stored electronically and transferred from doctor to doctor or hospital to hospital for efficiency and cost reductions.
But with is concerned that too many people will have access to a patient's records without their knowledge or consent.
I think both are very important. I want the doctors who need access, to have every bit of information they need, but if I had a medical condition that did not concern them, I'd prefer to keep those issues private as well.
I wonder what the future of medicine will look like.
Should a psychologist be able to see that I have an STD or an addiction? Should my dentist be able to see that I visit a shrink?
Of course security around the system is important as well. You don't want some teenage boy to be able to hack into the system through .
Firewalls and encryption must be a top priority as well.
But where do you draw the lines and how do you allow limited access?
Hopefully Congress will find the answers before the bill passes.

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Bowling as honorable as golf

Eric over at the Daily Funnel, has an interesting post on .
He talks with a bowling coach who says golf and bowling were very honorable in the beginning, but due to a few decisions, both attract different crowds.
Minshew also knows a great deal about the mechanics, physics, biology and philosophy behind bowling, and she writes, which makes her perfect for the Funnel Method. If that sentence seems ridiculous, that's partly bowling's own fault. Minshew believes that bowling and golf were equally honorable fifty years ago, but that while golf chose to be elite and expensive, bowling chose to be universal and cheap. Bowling provided house shoes, house balls and bumper lanes. As a result, bowling is often thought of as the working-class semi-sport, and golf brings in billions of dollars in television, advertising and in useless office knick-knacks.

I wonder if similar things can be found in religion and denominations and other areas of life.
When you think of users, I often think of artsy and high-end graphic users with extra money to spend on proprietaryry system.
But in reality, I can do the exact same things on my PC.
In fact, Apple has recently switched to using the chips that PC's have relied on for years, claiming now the chips can do more in their machines.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Go Kinky

showed the first two episodes of Go Kinky last night.
The show takes a look behind the scenes at run for Texas Governor.
I didn't get a chance to watch it yet and unfortunately no one's really blogged on it yet either.
Did anyone catch it?
I Tivo'd it and plan on watching it tonight after I get off work.
Let me know what you thought if you saw it.

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Anti-semantic comics

's had an interview with Jewish cartoonist yesterday.
Sandy has introduced a new tactic in the angry debate over cartoons depicting religious figures. He's launched a contest for the best anti-Semitic cartoon -- drawn by a Jew.
Yup, you must be a Jew to enter the contest.
Sandy said he's gotten some good and interesting comics from Jewish artists.
I have to say, I'm a big fan of anyone who's willing to make fun of themselves. I think that's what I love about The Simpsons and King of the Hill.
They make fun of everyone, including me.
What would a political/editorial cartoon say about you?

Abortion Sin Tax

Friday's tend to bring out off-the-wall and unusual conversation in the office. This afternoon we were talking about school finance, elections and more and some how came up with the idea of funding schools with a tax on abortion.
That might solve our problems for a while. What do you think?
People would be allowed to have their abortions, but would pay a hefty tax to help fund school education.
One of my co-workers suggested the money could even go towards abstinance training in the schools and the campaign slogan could be, "Putting the US back in Fetus."
We had a good time laughing about it. Like I said, its off-the-wall Fridays.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Kinkster looking for petition collectors

From Kinky Friedman's campaign:
Calling All Signature Collectors and Notaries!
We've had an absolutely terrific response thus far to our request for volunteers to contribute at least one weekend day to help get Kinky on the ballot. Notaries have been volunteering their services in large numbers as well. But we still have room for more of both. Won't you join your fellow Kinky supporters in this historic effort?
The race is now on to see which city will be the first to fill their minimum quota of petitioners for these six one-day, all-day signature collection events during the first three weekends of the petition drive, March 11, 12, 18, 19, 25 and 26. The current standings are: 1. San Antonio 2. Dallas 3. Austin 4. Houston (3/18) 5.Houston (3/19) and 6. Ft. Worth.
We're ending each weekend with a party with Kinky to which every participant will be invited. You'll be able to have fun and help make history at the same time. So show a little city pride and if you have not already done so, please SIGN UP NOW!M It's just one day (or more if your willing).
Are you a notary public who is willing to offer your services at these events or throughout the course of the petition drive? We can use your help too! PLEASE SIGN UP HERE.
Can't make one of the Big Road Show events but still want to help collect signatures in your county? If you have not already volunteered to collect signatures, please fill out our general volunteer form and get involved.
Declare your independence now!
Save yourself for Kinky by not voting in the primaries.

Kinky Field Team

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I've been translated to Spanish

I just found a Spanish blog entry someone wrote on one of my posts a while back.
Interesting to see my thoughts in Spanish, as well as their comments in Spanish.
But of course I cheat and use Google's translator to get a better idea of what they said.

Amazon to tackle iPod

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Amazon is looking to get into the digital music industry.
The service may focus on subscription based options like Napster and Yahoo Music.
The article also suggests Amazon may sell their own players and may give the players away with extended subscription contracts similar to cell phones.
With five million users and the largest online store, Amazon could be stiff competition.

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Will Apple adopt Windows?

John C. Dvorak has a good argument for Apple to drop it's OS X software and ship new Macs with the Windows OS.
Anyone agree?

Microsoft wants new DVD formats to fail?

Ross Robin suggests that Microsoft wants both of the new DVD formats to fail.
Microsoft wants both Blu-ray and HD DVD to lose. You see, before Microsoft and Intel backed HD DVD, Toshiba was just about the only major consumer hardware brand backing HD DVD. Now, since Microsoft and Intel have hopped on to the HD DVD bandwagon and at least dragged HP part of the way there, HD DVD has become a much more viable option.

I wonder if/when Scoble will weigh in.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

5 Minute Challenge

Ok here's the challenge for the day. (I'll see if I can come up with one of these each week day for fun.)
You have 5 minutes to write about a topic.
You can blog about it on your blog and drop me a link in the comments section, or just write about it in the comments section.
You only have 5 minutes. That's it.
Set your watch, start typing and quit wherever you are when the 5 minute mark hits.
Are you ready? Let's see how this goes.
Ready, set, go.
Today's word: Curious

Man confuses elbow for squirrel

Apparently Cheney's not the only one with a gun.
A man was shot and injured when his hunting partner mistook his elbow for a squirrel, authorities said.


Busy day

It's been a busy day - well busy afternoon.
I had a photo opp right after lunch and then got word of a Fire south of Lake Waxahachie.
So now I smell like a chimney... mmmm.
I've also been scrambling on a possible news exclusive, which may or may not be a big story.
And I've talked with Congressman Barton on a new national health information network.
All in all, the kind of day I like. If only it could have lasted all day instead of the last few hours.
For those of you wondering, things are going well on my very un-scientific sleep study. Over the last week I've worked to go to bed as soon as I feel myself drifting off to sleep. My goal is to be asleep within 5-10 minutes of getting into bed. According to the site I read, that's the best idea for knowing when your body says its time to go to sleep. If you're laying in bed awake for longer than that, it's best to get up and do something until you're body is actually ready for sleep.
I've been able to do this pretty regularly, except for a late night at the Jazz Bar Saturday and a late night at work Monday.
I've set my alarm for 6 a.m. each morning and amazingly gotten up at 6 a.m. each morning (except for Sunday and Tuesday).
Several times I've woken up minutes before my alarm went off (even on Tuesday morn, but I chose to roll back over for a couple more hours).
So far I've felt pretty energized during the day. So I must be getting enough sleep. I've cut down on my coffee breaks during the day and keep wishing I had something besides soda and odd-tasting water.
I think I'll invest in a water-filtered bottle soon.
So as week one ends tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.

Oh and as a P.S. I'd be amiss if I didn't add that Matt caught me sleeping Friday morning after getting up at 6 a.m. I got up, got dressed, did a litte reading and found I still had 30 or 40 minutes before I had to head to work. So next thing I knew it was 8:15 and I had fallen asleep listening to the radio.

Sesame Street on Talk Show

Gary Knell, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop was on KERA's Talk Show today at noon. I only caught the tail-end of the program, but it sounded like an interesting show on one of my favorite shows growing up.
You should be able to catch a podcast of the show online.

Cheap therapy offered here

For those of you not wanting to blog your issues or concerns, have no fear, your listeners are here (pun intended).
According to the website, lets people who need a place to vent find people willing to listen - at a small cost.
Not everyone needs a $200/hour therapy session. Some people simply need somewhere to vent, get things off their chest, or just talk. Now you can connect with real people anytime. Anonymously.

When you use the service, listners provide their contact information and the cost for listening to you gripe about whatever's on your heart or mind.
Prices vary, but they've got to be cheaper than a therapist's price.
I wonder if we could find people griping about local politics?
Why should I use the InstantListener Web Community resources?
Most people at some point in their lives need someone to talk with. Talking with an anonymous person, conveniently and privately has many benefits, however talking face-to-face with a professional counselor can be beneficial too. The InstantListener web site is a great place to start. You may only need someone to talk with, or you may determine that you need professional counseling. If you find you need professional counseling, please do yourself a favor and seek out such services in your local phone book. We've also provided Other Resources, as a guide if you would like to consider alternatives.
Talking to a friend, that you may know, may be a good place to start to determine what level of interaction that you may need. The Community may be a great alternative to talking with a friend, but is no substitute for professional care. You may find that Listeners do not have the skills to help you. After all, most in this Web Community are everyday people simply available to lend an ear. However, some high-paid professionals simply lend an ear too. You can spend time and money with a professional counselor with or without results. The same is true at the InstantListener Community, however, we believe that our low cost and easy accessibility is a great place to start on your road to improved well-being.

By the way, doesn't make any guarantees on the feedback you may receive.

My Lame Sex Life

Think that grabbed your attention? How about this billboard outside a Hooters?

The billboard advertises a website used for a church in South Bend, Ind., Granger Community Church.
Churchmarketingsucks has some more links discussing the campaign and the reasoning behind it.

Foiled again

The Office site on NBC has some hilarious pranks and other pictures of offices around the country. It's a great time waster - not that I would know anything about that.

Savage chickens are on the loose

I think Matt would love this site...

You can check out daily chicken cartoons, or subscribe to the RSS feed for daily updates in your reader.

Become an A List Blogger

Scoble's put together some tips to become an A-List Blogger.
And some of you are asking, "Who cares? Why would I want to become an A-List Blogger?"
Well it may not be for you, but for some who would love to blog full-time or at least get a little income for their blog, it matters.
Without traffic, you can't make money.
So Scoble gives the rest of us "Z Listers" some ideas for you to be an "expert in your field."

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

George Bush at UMHB

Woven and Spun has some really good pics from George Bush Sr's visit to UMHB.

#2 with a bullet

Turns out, Harry Whittington was only peppered by the V-POTUS. He was only inches from being seasoned to death.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Cheney headlines

A Copperas Cove journalist, also known as Larry Hauk, found this headline from a Sydney, Australia paper...

"Cheney hunts quail and everyone else ducks"

I saw, “This buck shots for you” earlier on Google news, but didn’t click on it to see where it was from.
Slate had, “Cheney's Got A Gun”
The Houston Chronicle had “Hit me with your best (buck) shot”
The Washington Post had, “Taking Aim at Cheney”
The Smoking Gun had, “See Dick. Run!”

As of 6:09 pm., CST, there were only 1,693 stories related to the topic.
What headlines did you see or think of yourself?

And here’s another interesting story:

American Journey

Some of you have been asking for this... so here it is until I can get you a hard copy....

By JONATHAN BLUNDELL Daily Light staff writer
Thursday, February 9, 2006 2:41 PM CST

In the fall of 1943, war raged overseas and Americans were landing at Paestum on the Gulf of Salerno, Italy.
The 36th Infantry Division, with National Guard members from Texas and Oklahoma, marched forward through Salerno capturing the land from Agropoli to Altavilla.
As they rested in Salerno, Staff Sgt. Claren “Curly” Thompson, a division cook, befriended a young Italian, Johnny Camera, who was working and camping nearby.
Johnny had been moving from place to place under the assumption that his family had been killed during recent fighting.
Johnny was camping nearby and working for one dollar a year and food and clothes.
Thompson took 11-year-old Camera in and the soldiers accepted him as one of their own, giving him a uniform with the pant legs and shirt sleeves shortened to fit.
Johnny stayed with the division for 11 months during its campaign across Italy.
During that time, Thompson promised Johnny that if he ever made it to America he’d have a home waiting for him in Texas.
“Over there you look for any opportunity you can find, especially if you get to come to America,” Johnny said. “I was separated from my family after one sister was killed. I assumed they were all dead and the thought of going to America looked like a great idea.”
Johnny was left with the 542nd military police battalion just outside Naples, Italy, while the 36th marched on and prepared to invade France.
The MPs left Johnny at a replacement depot where soldiers were being shipped back home to the U.S.
While at the depot, 1st Lt. Howard L. Benyon, with the 542nd MPs, gave Johnny a letter of introduction praising his help as a morale builder and an interpreter.
From there a soldier volunteered to help Johnny onto a ship headed for New York.
“A soldier told me to head toward the ship,” Johnny said. “When a guard stopped me I was to tell him I was coming to see the soldier and he would wave me on.”
The plan worked and Johnny boarded the Claymont Victory headed for New York.
As a stowaway, soldiers on board fed Johnny during the 13-day voyage to America.
On Feb. 2, 1946, the ship docked at Pier 84, on the North River in New York City.
The soldiers left Johnny on board when they arrived in New York City, giving him ideas on how to get off the ship.
With his specially fitted army uniform and $55 that soldiers on board chipped in, Johnny was ready to head to Texas.
“Once we got to New York I had to figure out how to get off the ship,” Johnny said. “I didn’t realize it, but someone on shore was watching me the entire time and right before I bailed off the ship five or six guards came and grabbed me.”
Johnny explained his story to immigration authorities and was sent to Ellis Island where his case awaited trail.
Newspapers at the time reported that many were amazed with the English and Texas drawl that Johnny had learned from Thompson while in Italy.
As the press learned of Johnny’s story, publicity grew and former GIs from Brooklyn to Texas went to work to get Johnny released.
Letters were sent to Attorney General Tom Clark, a Texan himself, and others demanding Johnny be released to Thompson’s care in Texas.
“The publicity got high,” Johnny said. “I never would have imagined how big a deal it became.”
Letters were sent on Johnny’s behalf to a variety of officials by Congressman Luther Johnson, Texas 6th; Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson, Texas 10th; and Acting Special Assistant to the Commissioner James Butterfield among others.
After repeated requests to release Johnny, the attorney general gave Johnny a 60-day release to visit Texas.
“I didn’t know anything about Texas,” Johnny said. “But I knew they loved to fight and Thompson was one of the main guys. He was 6 foot 2 inches and about 240 pounds. I didn’t see anyone who could whip him and he could fight three at a time, so I decided I wanted to be a Texan like Thompson. The Yankees would always stir something up but the Texans would always win.”
So with a ticket purchased by the New York Daily News, Johnny headed to Dallas Love Field, decked out in cowboy garb donated by members of the 36th ID.
Johnny arrived in Texas on Saturday, Feb. 23, with a hero’s welcome, where he was greeted by Texas dignitaries and celebrities, including Thompson’s mother, A.D. Thompson.
Curly Thompson was at home in Waxahachie recovering from an operation.
Johnny’s first full day in Texas was spent at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Waxahachie with a picnic and football in the afternoon.
Johnny was dressed for the occasion in a double-breasted brown suit, new tan oxfords, a white shirt, canary necktie and a new hat; all had been provided by Waxahachie merchants who opened their stores late Saturday night so he could be fitted.
He was promptly enrolled in school at Marvin Elementary, where he learned new American customs and sports.
“Food was one of the hardest things to get used to,” Johnny said. “The customs were also hard to get used to, especially religious customs. I was Catholic and you carry that with you your entire life, but I ended up at a Baptist Church.”
Johnny said the teachers and staff at Marvin made a huge difference in his life.
“I was blessed to have a principal who cared about the kids,” Johnny said. “She wanted to educate us. I had three or four people who worked hard to teach me, including Ms. Rayfile Steel, who was the best economic teacher I ever had.”
Sports gave Johnny a chance to build friendships at school as fellow students taught him how to play various games.
“I’d seen the soldiers play football, baseball and softball overseas, but the kids at school taught me a lot more,” Johnny said. “I was indoctrinated with baseball. Bobby Jordon made up his mind that he’d show me how to play baseball and I was blessed in making good friends like him.”
As Johnny attended school, officials continued to work legalizing his entry into the United States.
And on June 1, Johnny made his second arrival into the United States at Eagle Pass, Texas.
Johnny and Thompson crossed over the international bridge into Piedras Negras, Mexico and obtained an immigration visa at the American consulate.
Bills introduced by Congressman Luther Johnson allowed Johnny to stay in the U.S. and later become a naturalized citizen.
“I had some pretty influential people backing me up,” Johnny said. “Joe Norton also helped me out a lot. He made a lot of connections in Washington to help me.”
After becoming a naturalized citizen, Johnny was officially adopted by Thompson and he took Thompson’s last name.
Johnny continued going to school in Waxahachie and in high school, at 5 feet 2 inches and barely 125 pounds, Johnny played guard for two years at Waxahachie High School.
“School was always fun, but people were always coming to take pictures,” Johnny said. “I would get pulled out of class all the time so people could get pictures of me.”
Stories and pictures of Johnny attending school and growing up in Waxahachie appeared in Life Magazine and countless newspapers across the country.
Johnny graduated from Waxahachie High School in 1952 and later enlisted in the U.S. Navy with a fellow football player from school.
“We just felt like it was the thing to do,” Johnny said. “I had a chance to be in the Army, but we decided to stay together so we both went into the Navy. I knew what it would be like from the time I spent in Italy and decided it was the right thing to do.”
Both Johnny and Oscie Kirkland left for basic training in San Diego, Calif., in 1955.
After their two years in the Navy, Johnny and Kirkland both returned to Texas to look for work.
Kirkland was hired on with Lofland Company in Dallas and Johnny found work there as well in 1960.
“We’ve been together most of our lives,” Johnny said. “I just kind of hung on his coat tails.”
Johnny worked for Lofland Company for 33 years, including several at the Waxahachie plant.
Johnny married his wife, Mary Ellen from Venus, in 1964 and together they have three children, Rosina, Johnny and Johnna, as well as four grandchildren.
And years after he left his home in Italy, Johnny got word that his mother and two of his sisters were still alive.
“My two sisters ended up in England,” Johnny said. “And I eventually heard from my mother. She read about my story in the papers and was able to track me down. I apparently made the news in Italy too and she came to see us in October 1968.”
“It all turned out good,” Johnny said. “I was one of the lucky ones. I owe a lot to a lot of people. Teachers, friends, I owe a lot to them for helping educate me.”
Johnny said their sacrifices helped him strive to be a better person.
“They wouldn’t have wanted me to live badly and I think that’s encouraged me to do well,” Johnny said. “I was blessed to have people who cared and made me aware of so much.”
Today, Johnny spends much of his time at home with his wife in Waxahachie, and enjoys spending time with his grandchildren every chance he gets.
“I spent some time playing golf after I retired,” Johnny said. “But I got too old and got tired too quick. So now I just fiddle around the house, doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that - just trying to stay busy.”
He never returned to Italy after he took his fateful trip in 1946.
“I don’t miss Italy and I never wanted to go back,” Johnny said. “I was invited by a television station to go back, but I didn’t have any desire to do so.”
“He’s been lucky,” Johnny’s wife said. “It’s an amazing story. And not many people would have the drive or ambition to keep going.”
“I wouldn’t change a thing,” Johnny said.

Supe' up your Windows machine

Here are some interesting ideas to help speed up your PC

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The benefits of mustard

This one's for Coy and those of you not fans of mustard... Eric's got some new benefits to the great condiment.
Driving through the Sonoma wine country, one might notice fields of yellow mustard plants growing with the short vines. Mustard is grown near grapes because it has a symbiotic effect on the soil, restoring nitrogen for the grapes to grow.
Mustard is apparently a super food as well.

Boy... I tell you what, there's no telling what you'll find on this blog.
Religion, politics, technology and mustard. Hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Mere Christianity

I started reading Mere Christianity again last night.
In just two chapters I'm again amazed at Lewis' reasoning and thoughts.
I led a study on it several years back and really enjoyed it.
Some of the ideas/thoughts brought up in the first two chapters include morality and a natural moral law.
How do we know there's a natural moral law? Who sets the standard? Is there a moral law? Are we born with it or do we just learn it? What do yall think?
I remember a guest we had on Lighthouse21 one night who believed there was no moral absolute. In fact he argued that there were no absolutes. We asked him if he absolutely believed that. Sure enough - he said "yes." Hmmmm.

Click here for a study guide. I haven't read it or used it, but I found it today while surfing.

WWE asks AJ Pierzynski to appear at WMXXII


Dave Meltzer reported this in his most recent Observer Newsletter and Dixie Carter confirmed it last night in an interview. Recently WWE had contacted Chicago White Sox star AJ Pierzynski to appear at Wrestlemania 22. If the name sounds familiar, that's the same player that appeared on TNA not too long ago. Anyway he turned down WWE's offer, as he realized the spot was more to 'slap TNA in the face' than wanting Pierzynski himself. And you know Pierzynski wasn't interested in the money either as he already makes millions from Major League Baseball.

Getty images to purchase iStockphoto

Getty images has agreed to purchase for $50-million.
According to press releases, Getty plans to continue offering the user submitted, stock photo service.
I wonder if this means Getty will also add some of their high-end, high-priced stock photos to the library.

Ellis County's Best Week Ever

Who's having the best week ever in Ellis County?
The dude covered in pot.
This guy was so loaded down with pot that he had to throw it out all over I-35. And even then, when the cops caught up to him he was covered in what officers described as "green snow."
His story made it world wide through the AP and various media outlets.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Burgler checks e-mail while robbing house

Lori Menzel of the town of Kewaskum said a burglar left his Yahoo account open after checking his personal e-mail on the computer at her home.
"He never logged out," she said, adding: "He made himself at home here. He spent some time in our bedroom trying on my husband's clothes. I could tell he went through some of my clothes."

PowerGlove Mouse

For some reason I feel this PowerGlove Mouse has Drew's name written all over.

Congrats to U2

In case you missed the Grammy's last night (as I did), U2 walked away winning each of their nominations for the year.
What a night at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles as U2 take Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Best Rock Album, sweeping the board in all five categories in which they are nominated.
A year after the band won three awards for Vertigo, the first single from How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, tonight the album itself and the next two singles stole the show.
City of Blinding Lights won Best Rock Song while Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own took Best Vocal Rock Performance.
'I don't know what to say,' said Bono, on one of several trips to the stage. 'This is really a big, big night for our band.'
Edge said it was 'amazing' to be accepting the best rock album award.
'It means a hell of a lot to us. An even more precious gift than the awards is the gift that you've all afforded us to continue to make our music.'
The awards mean U2 have now won twenty one Grammys but this was the first time since 1988 and The Joshua Tree that they have won Album of the Year.
'If you think this is gonna go to our head - too late,' Bono joked, after accepting the award for Song of the Year for Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own, which he dedicated to his late father Bob Hewson.
'How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb is an odd title for album,' he mused. 'We accept that. Actually I was talking about my father Bob. He was the atomic bomb in question. I wanna thank my father Bob for giving me the voice and a bit of attitude to use it ...'
Other winners included Maria Carey, Kanye West and John Legend who won three awards each, while Chemical Brothers also bagged a couple.
Adam took the opportunity to thank the producers of 'Bomb' and it was appropriate that Steve Lillywhite could join them on stage. Steve also went home with a prize - Producer (nonclassical) of the Year for his work on 'Bomb' and Jason Mraz's 'Mr. A-Z'

This was only U2's second album of the year -- the first was 1988's Joshua Tree.

Album of the Year
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb - U2
Also nominated:
The Emancipation of Mimi - Mariah Carey
Chaos and Creation in the Backyard - Paul McCartney
Love.Angel.Music.Baby - Gwen Stefani
Late Registration - Kanye West

Song of the Year
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own - U2
Also nominated:
Bless The Broken Road - Rascal Flatts
Devils & Dust - Bruce Springsteen
Ordinary People - John Legend
We Belong Together - Mariah Carey

Best rock performance by a duo or group with vocal
Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own - U2
Also nominated:
Speed of Sound - Coldplay
Best of You - Foo Fighters
Do You Want To - Franz Ferdinand
All These Things That I've Done - The Killers

Best rock song
City of Blinding Lights - U2
Also nominated:
Best Of You - Foo Fighters
Beverly Hills - Weezer
Devils & Dust - Bruce Springsteen
Speed of Sound - Coldplay

Best rock album
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb - U2
Also nominated:
X&Y - Coldplay
In Your Honor - Foo Fighters
A Bigger Bang - The Rolling Stones
Prairie Wind - Neil Young

Politicizing Eulogies discusses recent political ranting at the funeral of the late Mrs. Martin Luther King.

Chronicles of Narnia

I finished reading the entire Chronicles of Narnia series last night. It only took almost 27 years to finish the series, but it is finished.
There was so much I'd love to talk about in the series, but I'd rather you read it first.
And if you're a lazy bumb like Mike Watt, you can even buy the whole series on CD now and listen to it (unabridged).
I will say that "The Last Battle" was probably my favorite book in the series by C.S. Lewis with "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" coming in at a close second.
From the audio cover:

The Complete Chronicles of Narnia Journeys to the end of the world, fantastic creatures, and epic battles between good and evil—what more could any reader ask for? THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, written in 1949 by Clive Staples Lewis, had all this and more. But Lewis did not stop there. Six more books followed, and together they became known as The Chronicles of Narnia. For the past fifty years, The Chronicles of Narnia have transcended the fantasy genre to become part of the canon of classic literature. Each of the seven books is a masterpiece, drawing the reader into a land where magic meets reality, and the result is a fictional world whose scope has fascinated generations. Now, some of the most noted actors of our times have come together to read these extraordinary works. This timeless boxed set includes all seven unabridged recordings: THE MAGICIAN’S NEPHEW; THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE; THE HORSE AND HIS BOY; PRINCE CASPIAN; THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER; THE SILVER CHAIR; THE LAST BATTLE. Deceptively simple and direct, The Chronicles of Narnia continue to captivate fans with adventures, characters, and truths that speak to readers of all ages, more than fifty years after they were first published.

Desktop 3 released

Straight from the Google Blogosphere:
Today we're very pleased to announce the launch of Google Desktop 3 Beta. The new version comes loaded with features that make finding and sharing information even easier and more fun than before.
As a Sidebar user, you can now customize and view personalized information anywhere on the the desktop by clicking and dragging your favorite panels wherever you like. Furthermore, you can now easily share information from your Sidebar panels with your contacts by sending it to them through email, chat or directly to their Sidebar. As an added bonus you and your contacts can also play online games through the Sidebar.
We also provided the means to access your data no matter where it resides. The Search Across Computers feature makes it seamless to search the content of your documents and web history from any of your computers.
For developers we have packed the Google Desktop SDK with new APIs and tools to enable the development of applications that leverage the product's new indexing, display and communication capabilities. These include a Query API, a Communication API, improved Script API support, plug-in logging support, and new code samples.
Other new features include the addition of a Search Lock, an advanced search form, spelling suggestions, zip file indexing, and an improved preferences page.
As always we would love to hear your comments, suggestions, opinions, and testimonials.

Peter Jackson to direct new Halo movie

For all you Halo fans, Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings Triology and King Kong) is set to be the executive director of the new Halo movie, set to be released in 2007.
He visited Bungee Studios this past week to talk about the movie.

John 1

I was reading this morning in John and came across John 1:14.
"The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish." - the message
"Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw his glory – the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father." - new english translation

I was taken back by "took up residence among us."
I'm not sure what it was about that phrase, but it stood out.
Jesus came and lived in our neighborhood. I wonder if I would have gotten to know Him if He lived next door. Would He have come to my house to introduce Himself or wait for me to come to Him?
The notes in the NET point out that Jesus was God's Shakana Glory in the flesh.
He was God, living on the earth and taking up residence with us.
Now He stands at the door and knocks. Will you let Him in?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

West Wing DVD

I'm testing a couple new things with Amazon.
What do you think?
Hover over the links below.

Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5
Season 6

New thoughts on sleeping

I'm quite certain I have at least partial sleep apnea. A condition where you stop breathing while you're sleeping - usually caused by a number of conditions. But one of the side effects I've seen is trouble waking in the morning as well as occasional waking in the night. Now granted I don't know if these symptoms are directly attributed to sleep apnea, or maybe just having a late night once or twice a week, or maybe that I just really like to sleep once I'm in bed.
But anyways, I'm always intrigued by sleep studies and information on sleep habbits.
So when atariboy dropped some links on a few sleep ideas I jumped on them.
You might find them interesting as well.
They're each from blogger Steve Pavlina:
How to become an early riser
How to become an early riser - Part II
and maybe the most interesting of all:
Polyphasic Sleep - getting 3 hours of sleep a day with four or five naps a day.

fd Tools fun

Check out Fd's Flickr Tools

Fear of Girls

From Atariboy
Fear of Girls - A very funny Google video, done in the same style as the Office and Extras, but about role playing nerds

This is either ingenious or hillarious... you decide

There's a fine line between creativity and stupidity...

What do you think?
Some of the comments on this product are hillarious... but not for all ages.

Dang Cartoonist


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

West Wing Season 6

Warner Home Video have announced the Region 1 DVD release of The West Wing: The Complete Sixth Season for 9th May 2006 priced at $59.98 SRP. Fans can relive the drama as the Bartlett administration enters its last year in the oval office with the release of Season 6. The six-disc collector’s set includes all 22 episodes along with never-before-seen footage from the critically acclaimed sixth season, which garnered five Emmy Award nominations including one for Outstanding Dramatic Series.
Special features include:
C.J.Cregg: From Press Secretary to Chief of Staff, a featurette on the Emmy-winning Allison Janney’s portrayal of C.J. Cregg during her years in the Bartlet Administration.
Easter Egg – A Conversation with John Spencer.
Producer, director, writer, and cast commentary on three episodes, including “King Corn,” “In God We Trust,” and “2162 Votes.”

This week's tech column: Working together to fight spam

If you’re like me, one of the most annoying issues with e-mail is all the spam and fraudulent e-mails you receive everyday.
I can’t begin to think about the time I’ve wasted while having to surf through junk mail.
My buddy Michael even has an entire blog dedicated to fighting spam.
Luckily my hosting service has recently installed an improved spam fighter that reduces a large amount of that time.
Every suspect e-mail that comes to my inbox is marked with [SPAM] in the subject line.
With a simple rule in Microsoft Outlook, the mail is automatically sent to a special junk folder in Outlook.
From time to time I will scan the folder to be sure my legitimate e-mail is not being trashed, but the majority of the time, only junk mail is caught and quarantined.
For the occasional times when legitimate e-mail is tagged, a quick e-mail to my hosting service will usually un-tag future e-mails from that sender.
But what about those of you who don’t want to mess with Outlook rules and need a simple easy to use solution?
I’ve found some software that I think you’ll all love.
Cloudmark Desktop, formerly SafetyBar, for Outlook and Outlook Express installs quickly as a toolbar within the Microsoft e-mail clients.
Cloudmark was released to the open source community in 1999 and the commercial product became available in 2001, with improvements continuing along the way.
Within minutes of downloading the software, you’re up and running and connected to a larger network of users to help combat spam and fraudulent e-mails.
According to Cloudmark, the software blocks 98 percent of spam from ever reaching your inbox.
When an e-mail is received, a special fingerprint is generated and compared with information on Cloudmark’s servers.
Fingerprints based on feedback from more than 50 million Cloudmark mailboxes are scanned and the e-mail is blocked if it matches other undesirable e-mail.
E-mail that is identified as spam is moved to a folder labeled spam, or you can customize the software to move the e-mail elsewhere.
If the e-mail is incorrectly identified, the user simply clicks "unblock" or "block" and the fingerprint is sent back to Cloudmark for future e-mails.
The process is quick and barely noticeable.
As the number of Cloudmark users continue to grow, the software should continue to improve as more and more people block spam senders.
"We base our spam on the votes of our users," Amy Baker, a spokesperson for Cloudmark said. "The moment one person says 'That’s spam,' it’s collaborated with other users. Other software uses a series of rules to pick out spam. No one opens it, it’s just based on very specific rules.
"An e-mail might look like spam but you can’t always tell. That’s the real difference; we’re only blocking what the real users say is spam," she said.
Users can download the software for free from and if you continue to use the software after a 15-day free trail, you can extend the use of the software for $3.99 a month or $39.99 a year.
Other products based on the technology are also available.
A server-based application is available for installation on Exchange servers and Internet service providers can purchase a program that adds the coding for their users.
The product has already impressed a number of people in the industry.
Last year it was named one of the Top 100 products of 2005 by PC World Magazine, as well as one of the Top 100 Products by Datamation.
There are other options available, but so far this is by far the easiest and best option I have found for cutting down e-mail with Outlook and Outlook Express.
Oh and sorry Mac users, there’s no plan for a Mac version of Cloudmark yet.

Jonathan Blundell is a reporter with the Waxahachie Daily Light.