Sunday, June 29, 2008

stories, ideas, truths, fictions - what do you think?

My Way Sunday
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Tony stories #5
finale / finis / denouement
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So, how long does a honeymoon last? How long does the novelty of a new toy keep your attention? How long is it before people no longer notice that 'new' thing?

Life has a way of making that new and exciting thing old and dull. That's the way it was for the owner of the company for which I worked. Even a slot-machine in his office had become an object of foolishness, apparently. I'm not sure whether it was because people just got used to seeing it in his office, or if it was because, as he put it, "The damn thing doesn't work right!"

That's what he told me one day when I had been summoned to his office; "The damn thing doesn't work right!" I wasn't sure if he was blaming me, or looking for help. The natural follow up on my part was to inquire as to the nature of the problem ... and this is what he told me; "It pays off too often - the darn thing makes winners out of just about everyone who comes in here."

"
I thought this was supposed to be an amusement, a novelty, a mindless distraction," I commented. His response was, "Well, it is, but I certainly didn't expect it to cost me money to have it here for the amusement of the people who come in here to see me."

I could hardly believe my ears. He was a successful business man. He owned a couple of thoroughbred race horses. He had a home in the Keys of Florida. Here he was complaining because this slot-machine he wanted - and I helped him obtain - was paying out too much money.

"
Look," he said, "do you know anyone who can help me? Can you find someone who can 'fix' this thing so it pays off less often?"

You guessed it. I called my old friend Tony.

Like the original trip to Detroit to deliver the machine, I arranged for Tony to come into town on a Saturday eve. He stayed at our house, again, then bright and early Sunday morning we headed into the office. The owner had given me a key to his office and a key to one of the conference rooms - the conference room was to become our surgical center.

I was surprised [actually I was naive] to find out that the pay out could be controlled - that a system of weights and levers could control the frequency and amount of 'wins'. With surgical precision, Tony opened up his patient on the conference room table.

He then began to make adjustments that control the rate of spin of the series of wheels that display the various symbols in the front windows of the machine. He then adjusted the duration of spin, and the 'random' [actually more like the 'fixed'] nature of the likelihood that the same symbols could be displayed at the same time.

Sunday in the executive wing of the company headquarters should be a very quiet time of the week. So why was I hearing voices out there somewhere down the hall? Go figure.

I motioned to Tony to keep still and be quiet. I slipped over to the door and pressed the 'lock' button. At least whoever it was wouldn't be able to get into the room - they'd need a key. As the voices got closer, I recognized one of them - it was the owner. It was apparent from the conversation I could hear, that he was giving someone [out-of-town friends, I later learned] a tour of his company office. He was the owner - that was his prerogative - and, of course, he had a key.

We stood motionless as we heard him try the door. The next thing we heard was a key being inserted into the door lock. As he opened the door, ready to show off the conference room to his friends, he - and they - saw us ... and the slot-machine that was partially disassembled on the table.

Waiting to be addressed, and not knowing for sure how I was going to respond, I was caught off guard [so what is new about that?] when the owner commented to his friends as he backed out of the room and was closing the door, "This is our payroll department. They're not usually in here on Sunday."

I heard the voices proceed down the hallway, laughing as they departed. Tony went back to work.
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Tony returned to Chicago that evening. All I had to do was to show up to work on Monday morning and see what the owner thought about, not only the episode on Sunday, but about the now re-adjusted machine in his office.

True to form, I was in my office Monday morning when I heard the familiar call - "Jimmy - come down here - NOW!" Once past the nosy secretaries outside his office, I knew I'd find out quickly where things stood. You remember that feather he knocked me over with once before? Well, he had another one. He apologized for barging into the conference room - he just plain forgot we'd be in there.
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Now, only time would tell how well Tony had done his job. It didn't take much time. By the end of the week, the owner was commenting that it had only paid off once that week, and that was after 15 or 20 people had dropped quarters into it.

Vindication was ours.
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It was probably two or three years until I next saw Tony. We, my wife and I, were in Chicago visiting some of her relatives that particular summer. For old times sake, I got hold of Tony and arranged for us to meet for lunch at our favorite Chicago-style pizza & beer parlor.

It was a very friendly and congenial visit. My wife and Tony got along great when he stayed at our house on those two occasions. That lunch meeting was no different. Tony could be very charming when he tried.

Another thing that was no different was that Tony had another surprise for me, or should I say 'us'. He had his regular spate of stories - and one that stopped us cold. It was almost enough to make me choke on my beer.

Tony was now married...to a nice little Italian girl...a Catholic Italian girl...and they had a little girl baby. He had changed his ways, he said. He was concentrating on his food vending business and was getting away from all that other stuff - he was going to church, too. He thought it was time to settle down and get away from his wild and dangerous ways.

What a change. It almost seemed unnatural - like another story...and who knows for sure, maybe it was just another story. But he did offer me a piece of information that might have made the rest of it make more sense. As we were saying our goodbyes, and preparing to depart, my wife said she needed to go to the rest-room.

While she was gone, Tony said he wanted to show me something. He scooted around in his chair, pulled up the pant-leg on his left leg [it was summer - he was wearing shorts]. He showed me two scars on the upper part of the thigh - one was from the front entry wound, and the other the rear exit wound, from a bullet he says he took when he got caught where he shouldn't have been doing something he shouldn't have been doing with someone he shouldn't have been with.

Enough of a close call to make him decide he needed to change some things about his life. I haven't seen him since. I do think of him occasionally and hope family life has suited him well - and if you think of it, you can offer a prayer, too ... God will know who Tony is, I'm sure.
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Now, what kinds of a second chance have you had in your life?
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I hope you've learned some things, too, by reading of my experiences with my friend Tony. Thanks for reading them. [Previous Tony stories found on June 15 & 1, and May 25 & 20]
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uncle jim
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are you really sure about that?
Epistemology
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[ 4:16 ]

Thursday, June 26, 2008

how'd that xxx-rated stuff get on my computer?

Cause Way Thursday
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I remember searching under a title having to do with men's health - know what popped-up on my screen? Ever had a similar experience? It is frightening - then it created a loop that was almost impossible to get out of ... and then my wife walked in. [uncle jim]
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our teens are our future -
www dot WhatAreTheyReallyDoing dot com
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Youth Culture Window
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An Inside Look At the Online Lives of Teens
David R. Smith
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Most nights found “Dylan” in front of his laptop looking at online pornography when his parents thought he was asleep. We know that teens love the Internet…so why is it that 41% of parents are still clueless about their kids’ use of it?

Here’s one simple example of the glaring misunderstanding between kids and parents when it comes to kids’ use of the Internet. A new study by Norton Online Living claims that kids spend almost 20 hours online each week. Does that amount shock you? Maybe, maybe not. But it DID shock the parents of the same group of kids who thought their children only spent 2 hours online each week!

Are these 41% of parents just disconnected from their kids, or, do these kids intentionally keep mom and dad in the dark?

A Quick Test
Whether you’re a parent or a youth worker, take a moment and answer each of the following questions?

  1. How much time do your kids spend online in a typical week?

  2. Do your kids have a Facebook and/or MySpace profile? If so, are you a “friend” of theirs?

  3. What are they actually doing when they connect to the WWW?

  4. What are their favorite sites to visit?

Many parents do not have the “right” answers to these questions. Sadly, many more don’t have an answer at all.

What Kids Are Up To Online
We’re aware of most of the dangers associated with the Internet. Like my student “Dylan,” we know that teens can stumble onto porn sites; they might also be solicited by a sexual predator. They could even be a target for the ever-increasing trend known as cyber-bullying, which made news again last week because of its potential connection to this teen’s suicide in the UK.

[boys at left just got "busted" - mom came in the room]

But, they could just be watching hour after hour of goofy streaming videos. (Nielsen says the average for 12-17 year olds is about 132 minutes per month, making them the biggest group of viewers.) Or perhaps they’re spending untold hours simply “hanging” with friends in virtual worlds or social networks. Who knows?

Not you if you don’t ask.

Fortunately for us, the Norton Report mentioned above has invested some time into studying teenagers’ Internet habits. Of the students polled in the US:

  • 35% say they “make friends” online. (That percentage increases the older they get.)

  • 76% visit social-networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, and Bebo).

  • 35% of students claimed to be shopping while connected.

  • 42% of them admitted receiving an online request for personal information.

More research just came out of GenDigital’s recent study of teens’ online lives.

  • A whopping 93% of teens use the Internet.

  • 55% of that group has a profile on Facebook and/or MySpace.

  • AddictingGames.com is quickly becoming the leading “casual gaming site” for all youth.

  • Only 16% of teens use email, compared to the prolific use of it by adults.

The More You Know
Sir Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is power.” I prefer “applied knowledge is power,” but regardless, the more we know, the better chance we have of guiding teens through their use of the Internet. We tend to condemn the Internet as a tool of the devil when we hear stories about online predators and identity theft, but we don’t seem to mind having 24-7 access to previous episodes of “Lost,” or real time updates on the NBA Finals… especially when we’re stuck in those exciting church finance meetings.

So, how can we help steer kids through an Internet that offers them the same benefits…and liabilities? First, start talking with them when they're young.

  1. Bring the 41% of parents who don’t know what their kids are doing online up to speed. Scratch that. Inform 100% of parents…just to make sure! When the dark practices of kids’ Internet usage is brought to light, many parents want to blame the Internet instead of conversing with their kids about it. Encourage your parents to have MULTIPLE conversations with their children about their Internet usage. One “talk” is just not good enough!


  2. Share with your kids your own strategies for staying pure and safe while online. No, I’m not referring to your endorsement of spam-filters; I’m talking about the intentional steps you employ to make sure you don’t fall victim to online sin. (Keeping the computer out in the open...only going online when someone else is present…restricting the amount of time you spend online…etc.) Sharing this kind of “inside look” at your life with your students will have multiple positive effects on your kids!


  3. Make students aware of the consequences of ungodly actions while online. This isn’t a scare tactic! But, so many students divorce virtual life from real life, with little understanding of the connection between the two. From “seemingly” harmless activities like posting a sexy pic on their profile, or blogging inappropriately about a friend, many teens are simply na├»ve about the results of their actions, until they feel the pain associated with them. Like our grandmothers always said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

So much of a teenager’s life hinges on the parents. Do all that you can to bring them alongside of you as your greatest ally for transforming teenagers into lifelong disciples of Christ. TheSource4YM.com offers a Parent’s Seminar that helps them deal with more aspects of teen life than just their online habits. For more information on bringing our trained specialists to your community, check out our Parent’s Page.


© 1999-2008 The Source for Youth Ministries
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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Super-Copt takes on Islam - who will take on Global Warming?

Your Way Tuesday
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Too often I find I have too little knowledge of Islam, especially the radical sort. Some religious people in the world have made it a practice and their mission to not only understand, but to fight back. Perhaps this article will encourage the rest of us [read that as "me"] to do a little more than wring my hands and finger my beads.

Here is an excellent site to learn more about the issues.
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Islam’s ‘Public Enemy #1’
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( ... Super-Copt?)

Note: Picture at left
IS NOT Zakaria Botros.
It is an unidentified
anonymous Coptic priest.


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Coptic priest Zakaria Botros
fights fire with fire.

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Though he is little known in the West, Coptic priest Zakaria Botros — named Islam’s “Public Enemy #1” by the Arabic newspaper, al-Insan al-Jadid — has been making waves in the Islamic world. Along with fellow missionaries — mostly Muslim converts — he appears frequently on the Arabic channel al-Hayat (i.e., “Life TV”). There, he addresses controversial topics of theological significance — free from the censorship imposed by Islamic authorities or self-imposed through fear of the zealous mobs who fulminated against the infamous cartoons of Mohammed. Botros’s excurses on little-known but embarrassing aspects of Islamic law and tradition have become a thorn in the side of Islamic leaders throughout the Middle East.
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Typically, Botros’s presentation of the Islamic material is sufficiently detailed that the controversial topic is shown to be an airtight aspect of Islam. Yet, however convincing his proofs, Botros does not flatly conclude that, say, universal jihad or female inferiority are basic tenets of Islam. He treats the question as still open — and humbly invites the ulema, the revered articulators of sharia law, to respond and show the error in his methodology. He does demand, however, that their response be based on “al-dalil we al-burhan,” — “evidence and proof,” one of his frequent refrains — not shout-downs or sophistry.

[ to read the article, 'click here' ]
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excerpts from article
by James Kerian [
James Kerian is a mechanical engineer and small business owner in Grafton, North Dakota]

Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Yellow Science
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...over the last several decades an increasing number of scientists have shed the restraints imposed by the scientific method and begun to proclaim the truth of man-made global warming. This is a hypothesis that remains untested, makes no predictions that can be tested in the near future, and cannot offer a numerical explanation for the limited evidence to which it clings. No equations have been shown to explain the relationship between fossil-fuel emission and global temperature. The only predictions that have been made are apocalyptic, so the hypothesis has to be accepted before it can be tested.
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...the acceptance of man-made global warming as scientific fact has become so prevalent that the secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, recently declared: “The debate is over. It’s time to discuss solutions.” Leaving aside the question of the secretary-general’s qualifications that is certainly one of the most anti-scientific statements ever made. The first question that this raises is why have so many scientists chosen to ignore this glaring failure of the global warming hypothesis to meet the standards of their own profession? The second question is what, if anything, can be done about it?
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...global-warming alarmists have amassed a large group of journalists and politicians ready to silence any critics and endorse whatever boondoggle scheme is prescribed as the cure to our impending climate catastrophe.
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I
f you have interest in this topic, you may read the article by 'clicking here
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Sunday, June 22, 2008

i was lost, but now am found

My Way Sunday
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Busted: Dawn Eden, author of The Thrill of the Chaste
english language version of book now in 6th printing
spanish language version sold-out one week after release
polish language version another sure hit
chinese language version to be introduced July 2008

Journalist talks about her conversion
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by
Bill McGarvey of Busted Halo
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Described by one writer as "a Jewish-born rock journalist turned salty Christian blog queen," Dawn Eden has been a deputy news editor at the New York Daily News for several years. Beginning in early July 2007 she will become the director of the Cardinal Newman Society's new Love and Responsibility program in Washington, DC. A former rock historian Eden has written on music for Mojo, Salon, New York Press and Billboard among others. She has her own blog, The Dawn Patrol, and her writings on non-music topics have appeared in numerous other publications, including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Daily News. Her first book, The Thrill of the Chaste chronicles her conversion to both Christianity and chastity.

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BustedHalo: Dawn, you and I have known each other for a long time. I knew you mainly as a rock and roll journalist, who did liner notes for lots of cd reissues and wrote for a bunch of magazines...

Dawn Eden: (laughs) See, I love this because you having known me for a while can attest to the fact that I’m not just a poser. You know there are plenty of Christian writers who say, “Oh yeah, I was hip once, I was in the rock world once.”

BH: I can vouch for the fact that you were once in the rock world. In fact you and I once worked together when you wrote press releases for my old band and on my solo cds. So this is a big turn for you. Talk to me a little bit about how your book came about, Thrill of the Chaste. And what got you away from rock journalism and into writing a book on chastity.
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read rest of article here
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Saturday, June 21, 2008

gosh, i feel stupid

Any Way Saturday
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Program note:
We're out of town Saturday & Sunday for the 3rd week-end in a row.
Saturday & Sunday posts were done ahead so there is no blank spot on the blog.
I may be able to read and respond from hotel room at times.
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ask the man in red
Who still uses the term, “gibbet”?
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excepts from a post by Terry Nelson at Abbey-Roads2
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I don’t often take the time to write about English translations of the lectionaries, missals, or Bibles, which have been pretty crappy by the way - I leave that to the experts - who unfortunately seem to have no voice with the USCCB on such matters. (Our loss.)

That said - “they” are trying to finalize approval for a new translation of the Roman Missal in Florida this week, but so far, the Bishops cannot come to a decision. From California Daily:

“The task of providing a new translation of the Mass into English commenced in 2001 after the Holy See issued Liturgiam authenticam, which established new norms for the translation of liturgical texts. New translations, said the Vatican document, were to be more faithful to the Latin original, expressing its “dignity and oratorical rhythm.”

Bishop Galeone said the translation is too slavish to the original text and uses non-colloquial renderings, such as “the gibbet of the Cross.”

“The last time I heard that word [gibbet] was back in 1949, during Stations of the Cross in Lent,” said Galeone, according to a June 13 NCR story. - Source

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(BTW - Last time I checked, the current Roman Missal was selling for around $70. Now there will be a new translation coming out - and it will not be cheap. Do you think these gentlemen would at least have the gallantry and respect for the faithful to get it right this time? People are tired of throwing money away on every new translation that comes off the press.)

[ read entire post here ]

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i never heard of this before
Giants of India
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[ 1:20 ]




'CLICK' on above > and see if you believe it
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Thursday, June 19, 2008

help your child remember to greet the King

Cause Way Thursday
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such a cause
Raising good children is one of the greatest challenges we face as parents. The below post is from a program called "Empowering Parents". They issue a regular e-mailed newsletter full of tips that work for most parents who try them. I encourage you to look at this sample post, look at the newsletter, and subscribe [it is free]. Follow the instructions and you will greatly increase your chances of learning effective behaviors and responses. These in turn will help your child[ren] become the people you want them to be.

uncle jim
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short and sweet - a great 'how to'
Does your child say this?
" I forgot! "

by James Lehman, MSW
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Is your child’s answer to everything, “I forgot?” The fact of the matter is, Boy holding arms out widesometimes children do forget, and certainly a reminder from the parent to do their work or complete a task is appropriate. But when kids use “I forgot” on a regular basis, it becomes a way to justify irresponsible behavior. As an excuse, “I forgot” means the child is avoiding a certain task or responsibility which they don’t feel they can perform and don’t know how to get help with. Or it could be because they’re being lazy and don’t care about it. Laziness causes as much irresponsible behavior on the part of children as any other explanation.

(Read the rest here)
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Have you had any similar experiences. How did it work out?
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he needs no introduction
May I introduce you to...
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[ 3:19 ]



'Click' on the above > and get ready to meet ...
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Alright, how would you do it?
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

something old and something new

Your Way Tuesday
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tridentine mass anyone?
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Tutorial on the Latin Tridentine Mass accorind to the 1962 Missale Romanum (Roman Missal)
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From time to time, you may be reading some one's blog post, or some one's comments to a post, or just be surfing around and come across discussions regarding the Latin Mass. Here is your source site. Everything you wanted to know, and more - just 'click' here to see the whole site.

Do you have any experience with the Latin Mass? Recently? or before Vatican II?

Share your thoughts, comments, memories.
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what did she say? "GBH&KB"
Lingo2word

Lingo2word is devoted to demistifying the new Internet shorthand language of Text messages ,Chat rooms and Emails. We are devoted to the fun of text messaging in all forms, there is a whole new fun language out there just waiting for you!.



Sunday, June 15, 2008

slot machines & weddings

My Way Sunday
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Tony stories #4
It IS who you know that counts
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I had been working out of the company's headquarters in the Detroit area for about a year when my past snuck-up on me. The main part of our office building was pretty plain and straight forward. It was a two story rectangular structure, approximately 150' wide and 75' deep. It was divided into two halves at about the middle across the width - this provided two sections on each floor, with each section approximately 75' by 75' .

The section to the right of center was used by the operations departments: dispatch office, drivers' break room, shower facilities, bunk-rooms for sleeping - all the things needed by an over-the-road trucking company to keep it moving freight.

The section to the left of center housed all the support departments: sales & marketing, personnel, accounting, payroll, pricing, etc.

That was the main part of the building.

There was, also, an Executive wing, where all the big-shots hung out - the owner, the president, a couple of vice-presidents, associated secretaries, a conference room, main entrance and reception area, etc. This part of the building was connected to the left half of the building, coming off to form an 'L' shape. It was only one floor high, not two.

The two story and the one-story were joined by a common hall-way and a staircase to the 2nd floor of the main part of the building. My office was at the top of the stairs on the left - that kept me closer to the bosses so if they need to chew on me, they didn't need to go as far, or yell as loud.

I mention yelling because the owner - after all he was the owner - would walk out of his office, look around to be sure there were no visitors in the area, turn facing down the hallway towards the stairs, and YELL:

"Jimmy - come down here ... NOW!"

He was the only one who called me "Jimmy".

I
guess that's how he reminded everyone that he was the owner. I don't want to paint a bad picture of him - he liked me ... that's why I was working in our company's headquarters. He was sometimes like a father, or an older brother - always the boss, but friendly at times.

I charged down the stairs, headed down the hallway towards his office, accepting the looks and stares from the secretaries in the area. They knew the owner well enough to know that you could never tell if his yelling up the stairs meant trouble, or not. If the yelling continued once I entered his office, then they knew.

Today, he was charming. He small talked for awhile about nothing in particular; "So, how's everything going today?" "Had any problems with the people at ABC Company lately?" "How's the wife and kids?"

At least there was no more yelling. The secretaries outside could continue working instead of straining their ears to listen to what was going on inside.

Then the weird questions started. "So, how long did we have you working in the Chicago area?" "You probably made a lot of acquaintances while you were there, didn't you? I mean, besides our customers and vendors." "There sure are a lot of different kind of people in that area, aren't there? I mean Detroit is very cosmopolitan, but nothing like Chicago."

I really had no idea where this conversation was going. I was searching for clues in his words - but I was lost. Finally, he got to the point. You could have knocked me over with a feather. Trite, I know, but I was caught off-balance when he asked me: "SO, did you ever meet anyone with connections to the underworld elements of Chicago - like people that might be connected to gambling and stuff like that?"

My mind raced as I tried to figure out why he would ask something like that. Was there something in my past that he had heard about and he was now trying to figure out? Or was he in some kind of trouble? Or...?

I knew he owned a couple of thoroughbred horses - maybe he knew somebody who knew somebody I knew and had heard about Tony ... or worse.

My confusion must have shown. He then came out with what I was looking for - a reason for his weird line of questions.

"Jimmy - what I'm looking for is a slot machine. Do you know anyone who could help you get me a slot machine? I just want it as a conversation piece for my office here. People are fascinated by those things - I just wanted to have one they could drop a few quarters into when they're meeting with me - just a way to loosen them up ... to take the edge off before or after we conduct our business. Do you know anyone?"

Without divulging my connections and sources, I acknowledged that I was confident I could help him out. A few phone calls and two days later a machine was en-route to me ... via my old friend Tony. I never thought I'd see Tony again as an actual customer for his 'other line of equipment'.

Talk about nervous. You should have seen me. An illegal gambling machine in my house overnight. Yep - in my house. Tony arrived Saturday evening. We put him up in our house overnight ... along with the machine. After traveling in the trunk of his car, he said the machine needed to be 'gone through' to make sure all weights and balances and wheels were in place and properly set. He used the bar-counter in our basement family-room as a work bench. He tore that machine almost completely apart. He apparently had learned a few things from his friend the local city cop, Sal.

We had it arranged with the company owner to have access to his office on Sunday afternoon while there were very few people in the building. Once it was delivered, we took Tony out for dinner, and sent him on his way home.

I may have crossed the line but, have you ever seen the look on the face of a small child looking at the toys under the Christmas tree? That's what it was like when the owner came in on Monday morning and saw the present I delivered to him. He was ecstatic. He set it in a very prominent place in his office. It was the talk of the building for weeks. I went up in his esteem ... and my nervousness went away.

So, you see, 'it is who you know that counts' - well sometimes, anyways. I'll tell another Tony story in a future post.
[Previous Tony Stories found on June 1, May 25, and May 20 posts]
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unity sand
A wedding on the north-coast shore
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The Erie Islands Inn & Marina Resort
Port Clinton Ohio on Lake Erie
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There's the west-coast, and the east-coast, and the gulf-coast. Ever been to the north-coast?

The Great Lakes are our nation's north-coast.

Yesterday, Saturday, on the shores of Lake Erie, the southern most and shallowest of the Great Lakes, between Toledo and Cleveland Ohio, we attended the wedding of one of our nephews. Outdoors at a resort Inn and marina, on a platform overlooking the water, on one of the most beautiful days of the year, our nephew committed to traditional marriage vows and married his sweetheart. They've been together for a couple of years now and decided they wanted to commit to each other for the rest of their natural lives.

The minister, a woman who was a family friend of the bride, gave a very nice reflection on how a 'complete' man and a 'complete' woman can come together in marriage and use the power and the energy and the 'vibrations' of the Creator of the universe to become one. Each supports and challenges and draws from and gives to the other. They tune-in to the other's energy, and vibrations, to key-in to the power they possess to make each other the very best each can be.

A friend of the bride gave a reading of a poem on love. An Aunt of the groom gave a reading from the Christan Bible in 1 Corinthians 13. The minister offered prayer to 'the Lord' and made it in "...your name"...she just never mentioned His name.

Instead of the now traditional Unity Candle, they used "Unity Sand". There were two clear crystal [or maybe plastic] decanters filled with layered different colored sands - one decanter for each of the two families represented in the marriage.

First, the mothers each poured from one of the decanters into a common receptacle. The colors all blended together as they poured, and the two families were now symbolically joined.

Then came the couple to be married. They each poured the last of the layers, now a solid common color, from their respective decanter into the top of the receiving container. They were now symbolically joined. In a few minutes, after repeating vows to each other, they would in fact be joined.

A beautiful setting, a beautiful couple, a chance for life to be better for two people in love. I'm very happy we could be there.
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Saturday, June 14, 2008

front porch evangelism and arctic tundra

SA - Program Note: Tony stories returns this Sunday
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Any Way Saturday

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Who’s That Knocking on the Door?
Research Examines the Faith of Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses
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May 12, 2008
(Ventura, California) - Two religious groups, in particular, are known for knocking on people’s front door to discuss religious beliefs: Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. While both groups consider themselves to be Christian, many organizations have labeled each a cult in response to some of their unorthodox beliefs and practices. A new study from The Barna Group explores the religious and demographic background of these two groups and shows that they differ significantly from the born again Christian population in a variety of respects.

A Profile of Jehovah’s Witnesses

About the only perspective that Witnesses share with the larger body of born again Christians is a belief that their religious faith is very important in their life, a view held by nine out of ten people from both groups. After that point of concurrence, the gap widens. [rest of article]


A Profile of Mormons

The Mormon faith perspective parallels the prevailing born again view in various ways. For instance, more than nine out of ten Mormons have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that they describe as being important in their life; nine out of ten say their religious faith is very important in their life; and two-thirds affirm the sinless life of Christ on earth. [rest of article]

Religion and the Fine Line

George Barna, who conducted the research and presented the findings, noted that in the religious world seemingly small matters can make a big difference. "All three of these groups claim to be Christian, uphold the importance of faith and spirituality, are active in their churches, generally believe in the same God, and accept the holiness of Jesus Christ," Barna commented. "Beyond that, there are huge difference related to central doctrines such as the means to eternal salvation or the reliability and authority of the Bible. Millions of adults, however, shut the door when Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses come visiting without having any real idea what they or we believe - or caring enough to pursue such insights." [rest of article]

About the Research

This report is based upon telephone interviews conducted by The Barna Group with a series of nationwide random samples among adults, from which interviews with 323 Mormons and 186 Jehovah’s Witnesses were isolated for analysis. The maximum margin of sampling error associated with the aggregate sample of Mormons is ±5.6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The maximum margin of sampling error associated with the aggregate sample of Jehovah’s Witnesses is ±7.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. [rest of article]

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What do you think? Any comments?

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Caution: slippery when wet


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Thursday, June 12, 2008

who wants to be a Bishop?

TH - Program Note: Tony stories returns this Sunday
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Cause Way Thursday
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Receiving Messages from God in Ireland?
by Deal W. Hudson
06/11/08
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In a remote city in central Ireland lives an alleged locutionist named "Anne." For the past five years she says she has been receiving auditory messages from Jesus Christ, His mother, His father on earth, and a variety of saints, including the great mystic St. Teresa of Avila. Anne's apostolate, Directions for Our Times, has "lay apostles" in 31 countries and sponsors monthly prayer groups in 43 of the United States.

Over 700,000 of the books containing these messages have been distributed throughout the world in English, French, and Spanish, while versions in Chinese, Dutch, German, Lithuanian, Polish, and Portuguese are nearly complete.

Married to a farmer and the mother of six children, Anne does not travel much and has not traveled at all in the last 18 months. "I only travel when I am specifically told to," she told me a few days ago when I interviewed her in the living room of her mission. When she does, it is usually to participate in Eucharistic Days of Renewal, which she leads with permission from her bishop.

[Read entire article by 'clicking' here ]

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Baltimore archbishop restricts Legionaries' work

Baltimore, Jun. 11, 2008 (CWNews.com)
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Archbishop Edwin O'Brien of Baltimore, Maryland, has sent a "letter of understanding" to Father Alvaro Corcuera, the superior general of the Legionaries of Christ, setting forth the conditions under which he will allow the group to be active in the Baltimore archdiocese. The archbishop's letter, written after a meeting with leaders of the Legionaries, is posted on the web site of the Baltimore archdiocese.

"Knowing that your willingess to accept the discernment of ecclesiastical authority is but a further proof of the authenticity of the charisms of the Legionaries and Regnum Christi, as pastor of the local Church in Baltimore I need the following from you," Archbishop O'Brien wrote, adding a list of stipulations.

[ Read article by 'clicking' here ]
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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

the hound of heaven wins

His Way Tuesday
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pictures from a gallery: ordination and first Mass
Ordination and 1st Mass

Bishop with aides


Bishop with Deacon Dennis


Being vested as a priest


Bishop anointing Fr. Dennis
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Fr. Dennis at 1st Mass
during the consecration


Fr. Dennis giving Communion during 1st Mass

--------------------------------------------------Reception - Fr. Dennis with
his brothers Doug and David


Fr. Dennis with Dawn Eden



Dawn Eden with Sister of the Divine Word
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Dawn Eden visits Sun Records markers in Memphis
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Monday, June 9, 2008

getting there and and getting back

Update Way Monday
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Ordination account
Dennis Schenkel during his presbyteral ordination
Saturday June 7, 2008
Memphis TN

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You can read an on-line account at whispers in the loggia by 'clicking' here, and in the local Memphis newspaper, the Commercial Appeal .
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travelers' mercies granted
safe passage assured in spite of midwest storms
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The fastest route from Memphis TN to east central IN is one which takes the traveler from Memphis TN westward into AR, thence north into MO, thence north and east into IL, thence north and east into IN. A quick look at the weather channel showed we would be in severe storms almost all the way. If we took that route we should have made the trip in approximately 9 hours.

We opted for a route that was both longer in distance and time: Memphis east to Nashville, thence north to and through KY to Louisville, thence north into and through the southern part of IN to Indianapolis, then NE to east central IN. This allowed us to stay in front of the trailing southern end of the storm, and then not encounter the northern leading edge until we got into central IN just south of Indianapolis.

We departed Memphis at 7:30am [CDT] / 8:30am [EDT] and arrived home 10-1/2 hours later. Of course this included necessary stops for fuel and relief and one sit-down meal [40 minutes] in Louisville. We've now been home for about 45 minutes.

I need to unpack, and we'll see if I can get something on for early tomorrow morning - but not guaranteed at this point.
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