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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Ben Stein - A Very Profound Commentary

I was going back through some emails looking for one in particular, when I came across one sent to me several months ago by a friend. I had glanced over it at the time thinking "Oh crap, not another one." Today I actually read it. It really got me thinking about all the things we did in school that are not allowed any more and the things we were taught by our parents and teachers. We started the school day by singing Oh Canada and reciting the Lord's Prayer. We were punished if we did something wrong. We were taught to respect our elders and to not give them any lip. We were taught that life is precious and that it is not okay to hurt others. When I read this email, I wanted to share it with everyone. So here it is in its entirety. A message from Ben Stein:

My confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'
In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem ( Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it. Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not, then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Holy cow! Where has the time gone??

It is September already and the leaves are turning. The Maple in my backyard is gorgeous in its Autumn Red, and the ferns are turning brown. Time to clean out the dead stuff and get ready for that dreaded "w" word - Winter, and with it the "s" word - snow!! EEWW!! Time to think about putting away the lawn-mower and getting out the snow blower. Now THAT is a depressing thought!

Autumn brings with it - hmmm, what does it bring? I see plants dying, geese heading south, and Christmas decorations in Costco! Christmas!? Already!!?? Three months away and already there is stuff out. WAY too early to be thinking about that. Or is it? If I start now, maybe I will be able to get everything done this year that I had planned on. All the baking, all the gifts I want to make. But then again, I could say to heck and talk the old guy into going away for a week instead. Say, December 23 to 29 or something. I would love to spend Christmas in Disneyland. Spent New Year's there and it was a zoo. But a fantastic zoo!! Or maybe a cruise. Christmas at sea...

Oh well. Keep dreaming. As for now, I am going to keep hoping the snow stays away as long as possible and when it does show up, there is not much of it and it only lasts a few weeks. As I said, keep dreaming...

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Muscles? Is that what they are? They hurt!!

Okay. Been working out at the YMCA for a few months now and have been gaining muscle and losing fat. Note I say losing fat, not losing weight. It turns out fat weighs less than muscle, so the muscle I have gained is keeping my weight up there where I don't want it. Good - my clothes are somewhat looser. Bad - there is still too much fat hanging around.

So I spoke with my trainer and man, did he change up my routine! Monday, Wednesday and Friday now has 20 - 30 minutes of cardio and then weights for a half hour. Upper body Monday and Friday, legs on Wednesday. Tuesday and Thursday are what I now refer to as Torture Days: 45 - 60 mins of cardio and then 10 - 15 mins of abs (side and front planks, pendulum leg lifts and sit ups on a balance board). Anyone who has done planks knows these little beauties are real killers! But I will have Abs of Steel in no time! I hope...

Now I am so tired I can hardly move. I think when I get home tonight, I will have supper and go to bed, and supper is completely optional.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Weather, garage sales, and other stuff

So, could someone please tell me why I continue to live in Alberta? It is May 4th and we have the blizzard of the century going on outside the windows. Y-U-C-K!!!!!! Just yesterday, I saw flower buds on my lilac bushes, and on the weekend people were buying up bedding plants for their gardens. And now this!!??

One of my bus buddies was in Cuba the week before last - when we had the great weather - and ever since he returned, our weather has been awful! Hmmm...Wonder if he will go back there and stay for a month or two...

Going to my sister's after work tomorrow to help her get ready for a major pre-move purge this weekend. It is amazing how much 'stuff' a person accumulates over the course of several years. And why move it when you can sell it and make money to PAY for the move? Sounds logical to me...

Amanda called this morning to say her car - aka my Echo - wouldn't start. Her friend had left the interior light on and the battery ran down. I told her to call Toyota Roadside Service since I paid for the service but have never used it. Her response -"That's okay. I plugged the car in." Oh dear. At least the engine will be warm...

So much for my ramblings today. Stay indoors, and if that is not possible, stay warm!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Health Food, or Healthy Food?

I decided a few days ago, that I would like a smoothie. The guy asked if wanted wheat grass in it. Wheat grass? Do I really look like a cow??!! Okay. Don't answer that. If I wanted to ingest wheat or any other type of grass I would be out in the pasture with Bossie and her bevy of bovine beauties.

Yeah, yeah. It is supposed to be healthy, but there is a limit. So this begs the question, why does healthy food have the consistency and taste of a hunk of cardboard? "Healthy" seems to be low/no fat, low/no salt, low/no sugar, so where is the taste?? Oh sure. All those fancy cookbooks say to use other spices for flavouring, but ya' know? I really found all I tasted was the spice and not the actual food. So far, the only book I have found with good tasting recipes is the Looney Spoons. The South Beach Diet is a close second. But if I ate all the fruit and veggies they say, my poor innards wouldn't know what to do! I'd be on the pot for hours at a time! (Yeah, okay. Eeeewwww!!)

I have been told the trick is to GRADUALLY get into it. Add more each day until you are up to the recommended limit. So that's the plan. Today I have a banana, an apple and an orange. Not sure if they will all be eaten, since this cherry danish sitting on my desk looks mighty tempting. Hey! It has cherries in it! They are high in vitamin C so I don't feel TOTALLY guilty...

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Spring, Glorious Spring!

Yeah, yeah. We still have snow. But not as much as last year at this time! According to my favourite weather man, Josh Classen, March 23 had a high of -2 and a low of -10 last year. We had temperatures in the -20's last March, with a record being set at the International Airport when it hit -41.5 one night! Yowch!!

So, here we are on March 23 with hardly any snow left because it has been so warm. We have even had a few "shirt sleeve" days here and there! And the barbecue has been dusted off and put to use on a couple of evenings. My garden looks hideous, but that will be taken care of when the ground warms up some more. There is still a lot of snow in the sheltered spots in the yard (both front and back) so it will be a while before I am ready to start planting anything.

I can always tell it is finally Spring when I see the first gopher. While on my way to mom's for tea on the weekend, a little brown blur raced across the road, fat little butt in the air and all fours working like mad to get him out of harms way! Then I saw four geese on my way home! They appeared to be flying south, hopefully just looking for a place to eat! But the A-number one, first class way to tell it is Spring is by the amount of mud the dogs track in the house after they go outside to do their business. The more mud there is, the more the snow has melted. At least that is my logic...

So we look forward to longer, warmer days, full of flies, mosquitoes, and wasps; to barbecuing steaks, burgers, chicken and pretty much whatever else we can put on the grill without it falling through; to the Edmonton Indy, Capital Ex and Heritage Days. Keep smiling! It will be here soon and gone far to fast!

Friday, 19 March 2010

Memories of Long Ago

I was helping mom with her word processing software last night and when we were done and having a cup of tea, mom reminded me that tomorrow, March 20, will be the anniversary of us leaving England. 53 years. Man! That makes me feel old!

Mom, Dad, Keith and I came to Canada aboard the Queen Mary, leaving Portsmouth on March 20, 1957. It was a month before I turned 5, so I don't remember too much about the trip, except being sea sick and throwing up all over the table in the dining room during supper one evening. I sort of remember the tea party on board in the First Class dining room and trying to walk down the corridor of the ship which was being tossed around pretty good on the mid-March Atlantic Ocean.

We arrived in New York on March 25, and had to wait all day for the train to Montreal so we could board the CN Super Continental (now Via Rail) to Edmonton. While waiting, dad wanted to visit the Empire State Building with another fellow who been on the ship, so mom stayed with Keith and I at the station. While Dad was off sight-seeing, mom was approached by an elderly man (and after hearing what mom told me, I hesitate to use the workd gentleman) who tried to come on to her. "I've been looking all my life for a young woman with two young children," he said, scaring the daylights out of mom. He kept on in this way until mom saw dad coming through the station and told him her husband was on his way back. Mom said the old guy took off like a shot! When she told dad about it, he laughed hysterically!

We finally got to Edmonton March 28 and settled in with some friends of mom and dad's, then moved to our own place on 85th Street and 93 Avenue. I started Grade one at Hollyrood School, where a boy in my class pushed me on the school steps and I fell and broke my arm. No one from the school called mom to tell her, and I eventually made my way home with my poor arm all swollen and sore. Mom took me to the hospital where it was x-rayed and a cast slapped on it. Nowadays, if the parents weren't notified of a child being injured as school, they would be sued from here to next year!

So, 53 years later, here we are. I moved away for a while but came back to the Edmonton area. Mom and dad spent time in Winnipeg, but they, too, came back. We have all been back to England for visits at some time, but Edmonton is home. I could do with a lot less snow in the winter, but for now, this is where I live.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Bits and Pieces

I was reading an e-book on the way to work this morning (nothing unusual with that. I do it every morning) when all of a sudden I realized lots of people were getting off the bus. Then I realized we were one stop away from where I get off! How the heck did we get here so fast?? Must be a good book. I am currently reading Larry Niven's Ringworld (book 1). It is a story about an unlikely and very mismatched team of intergalactic explorers on their way to a rather strange and interesting planet. The planet is a long ribbon-like structure shaped into a circle around a sun. It has walls a few thousand feet high that keep everything in place, as well as lakes, rivers, mountains, and other geological features. When I started reading this book a few days ago, I wasn't really too interested, but I find now that I just want to keep reading. If you are into Science Fiction/Fantasy type books, you may want to try this series (4 books in all).

Another book I recently finished was David Baldacci's First Family. This is an excellent read! Another one that was very difficult to put down. It involves the kidnapping of the rather precocious 11 year old niece of the US President and a seemingly random woman, both of whom are held hostage in an abandoned coal mine somewhere in the South Eastern United States. There are many twists and turns, and the ending is quite a surprise. Well worth reading!

For the Nora Roberts fans, try Black hills. "Lil Chance fell in love with Cooper Sullivan pretty much the first time she saw him, an awkward teenager staying with his grandparents on their cattle ranch in Montana while his parents went through a messy divorce. They spent every summer together, treking in the Black Hills, tracking cougar and falling in love. Then Cooper broke her heart and moved back to New York City. Ten years later and Cooper has given up his job in the police force to run the ranch after his grandfather is injured in a fall. Lil has stayed true to her love of cougars and of the Black Hills and opened an animal sanctuary. She has been targeted by animal rights campaigners in the past but this time someone seems intent on murder. As hikers are killed, animals mutiliated and a family member goes missing, Lil knows that she has no choice but to turn to Cooper for help in her fight for survival." (from the webiste Fantastic Fiction)

That's it for now. I will discuss a few more books next time. Happy reading!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Our Hearts go out to Haiti

I was sitting in the dentist's chair yesterday morning with the hygenist cleaning my teeth when I heard the news anchor on the tv say something about a devastating earthquake. (Yes, my dentist has TVs in the rooms so the patients can watch while getting work done.) It was when I got to work and went to CTV's website that I saw the destruction in Haiti and read that there are fears the death toll could go over 100,000. That is just inconceivable! That is about a third of the entire island population!

The pictures that have come out of Haiti are absolutely heart-wrenching. Children who have lost parents, parents who have lost children. Entire families gone. I can't imagine the terror and feelings of hopelessness these poor people are going through.

I have experienced four earthquakes in my life - one in Vancouver when Mt. St. Helens blew its top, and three in Anaheim last April. All of them caused shaking, but nothing major. The windows rattled, the furniture shook, but that was about it. But to actually have a building come down around you, or worse, on top of you?

This makes me even more thankful for my family and friends. Some of them make me want to smack them upside the head, but what would I do if they were taken from me? How would I feel knowing I would never see their smile, hear their voice, or laugh with them again? Maybe some of them do make my blood boil, but can't I put aside the annoyances and enjoy the person underneath? I can sure try.

So think about your families and friends, and tell them you love them and you are glad they are who they are, quirks, foibles, and all. Make amends with those who have upset you in the past and instead, think of the things they do or have done to help you, no matter how small. Give them a big hug and tell them they are valued.

I love and value all my family and my friends, and want them around for a good long time to come. Take care, everyone.