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Posts from ‘March, 2008’

A Not-So-Grave Matter

Tuesday of this week is April Fools' Day here in the US and in many other countries. What I'm posting today seems as if it could be an April Fools' story, but I've checked in out on snopes.com and found that it's all too true!

Barbara Sue Manire passed away on her 64th birthday in 2005. Her tombstone pictured below is the way it looked for the first year after her burial in the Highland Cemetery in Okemah, Oklahoma.

In case you can't read it clearly, the epitaph reads, "Our mom ... Her humor lives on." Here's why....

Barbara Sue Manire, a women with a great sense of humor, always used to say that when she died she wanted a parking meter on her grave that says 'Expired.' Barbara Sue's daughter, Sherri Ann Weeks confirmed that such an unusual decorative feature on her mother's tombstone was indeed her mother's idea. Sherri said, "Mom always said she wanted a parking meter with 'time expired.' And she wanted to be on the front row of the cemetery so she could see what was going on. We gave her what she wanted. ... Our dad wanted his final inscription to be 'I told 'em I was sick,'" said Weeks, "but we were never sure if he was serious about it. With Mom, she talked about the parking meter all the time. We knew she wanted it."

The parking meter wasn't placed at the time Barbara Sue Manire was buried since they weren't sure if it was the right thing to do after all. Her family mulled the whole idea over for about a year before Sherri's brother, Terry Heiskill, bought the meter on eBay. A hole was drilled in the gravestone to accommodate the parking meter.

Below are two different angles on the meter itself.

You can see the tombstone online by clicking here


chickadee update...

The last several times I've peeked into the bird house, the mama has been on her eggs. So I don't know at this point how many eggs there are currently. More details as they become available....


Give us a sense of humor.
Give us the grace to see a joke,
To get some humor out of life,
And pass it on to other folk.

- author unknown

=^..^= =^..^=

Fools rush in - and get all the best seats.

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Chickadee Nest 2008

Spring seems to have sprung early here in South Carolina. Part of the annual springtime activities at our home is watching the birds nest and raise their young in the bird house in our back yard. We have a great view of it from our kitchen window. Although I didn't chronicle on my blog last year's bird activity, we had two different nest of birds - one right after the other. When the Carolina chickdees were done with the bird house, I cleaned it out and almost immediately we had a nest of house wrens.

I thought it was probably a little early in the season, but last evening I looked to see if birds had begun to build a nest in the bird house - the roof is on hinges to facilitate peeking and eventually cleaning out. Not only had chickadees begun to build, but there were three little eggs in the nest!

This morning I peeked again and got a picture of the mother on her eggs.

If you'd like to see some pictures of the 2006 chickadee nest, click on the birds tag in the "tag cloud" of the sidebar. There are several pages of posts about that year's nest.

I'll post updates throughout the process.

Have a good weekend!


"Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards. If you disgrace yourself you can always write a book." - Ronald Reagan

=^..^= =^..^=

Help Wanted: Telepath. You know where to apply.

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Jewish Perspective

It's been good to be back in classes again this week, though that may sound strange to some. 🙂 As great as Bible Conference was, there's just something nice about the regular routine too. I've been ruminating on what I heard last week as I seek to make applications to my own personal life. I just discovered that, not only could people listen to the conference messages as they streamed online, they can also listen to or download .mp3s of all the messages at http://www.bju.edu/campus/events/bibleconf/2008.html

Although all the speakers were very good, a personal favorite of mine was Craig Hartman. He's a completed Jew, that is, a Jew who has accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, and hence, as Messiah. I love Craig automatically as a person because he's just himself - a man with a highly developed sense of humor and a unique style of speaking. But I love him also as a speaker because of the interesting perspective he gives as one who is totally familiar with the Jewish perspective. Here's something he told the audience at the beginning of his second message of the week, a message where he explained some of what was happening in the John 7:37-43 narrative: "If you want to understand the Bible, don't go back 300 years to Europe. Go back 2,000 years to Israel. That's where the answers are! Opinions of people 300 years ago in Europe may be interesting, they may be challenging, they may be convicting, but to be perfectly honest, in many cases they have absolutely no idea what they're talking about, because many of them had never taken a moment to look into what did the Jews think back in the days that Jesus lived." He went on to tell what the Jews did during the Feast of Tabernacles, and how that explained some of what happened in the event in John. I'd like to encourage you to listen to this message. If you'd like to learn more about Craig's ministry, go to http://shalomnyc.org

We went to Living Gallery this afternoon at 4:30. What a powerful message, and what a focus on Christ! Wow!

As I thought about the Jewish perspective, as described above, I looked in my files for something to post. Enjoy!

Yiddish Proverbs and Rules of Life (many have been attributed to Jewish grandmothers)

If you can't say something nice, say it in Yiddish.

Always whisper the names of diseases.

If they give you, take; if they take from you, yell!

Charge nothing, and you'll get a lot of customers.

Don't spit into the well - you might drink from it later.

Do not worry about tomorrow, because you do not even know what may happen to you today.

You can't chew with somebody else's teeth.

If you spit upwards, you're bound to get it back in the face.

Had you gotten up early, you wouldn't have needed to stay up late.

When a fool is silent, he too is counted among the wise.

One who has the reputation of an early riser may safely lie abed 'til noon.

For dying, you always have time.

Silence is the fence around wisdom.

If it tastes good, it's probably not kosher.

No one looks good in a yarmulke.

Why spoil a good meal with a big tip?

WASP's leave and never say good-bye. Jews say good-bye and never leave.

Pork is forbidden, but a pig in a blanket makes a nice hors d'oeuvre.

If you don't eat, it will kill me.

Anything worth saying is worth repeating a thousand times.

Where there's smoke, there may be smoked salmon.

Never leave a restaurant empty-handed.

And what's so wrong with dry turkey?

Spring forward, fall back, winter in Miami Beach.

A bad matzoh ball makes a good paperweight.

Before you read the menu, read the prices.

There comes a time in every man's life when he must stand up and tell his mother he's an adult. This usually happens at around age 45.

No meal is complete without leftovers.

If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it. But if you can afford it, make sure you tell everybody what you paid.

Without Jewish mothers, who would need therapy?


A few centuries ago, the pope decided that all the Jews had to leave Rome. Naturally there was a big uproar from the Jewish community. So the pope made a deal. He would have a religious debate with a member of the Jewish community. If the Jew won, the Jews could stay. If the pope won, the Jews would have to leave.

Being outnumbered, the Jews realized that they had no choice. They looked around for a champion who could defend their faith, but no one wanted to volunteer. It was too risky. So to represent them they finally picked an old man named Moishe who spent his life sweeping up after people. Being old and poor, he had less to lose, so he agreed. He asked only for one addition to the debate. Not being used to saying very much as he cleaned up around the settlement, he asked that neither side be allowed to talk. (A strange debate indeed! Sounds like some of our political debates - where they say so little they're really saying nothing! Enough editorializing....) Reluctantly, the pope agreed to this odd debate format, yet confident that he could win using strong symbolism through hand gestures alone.

The day of the great debate came. Moishe and the pope sat opposite each other for a full minute before the pope raised his hand and showed three fingers.

Moishe looked back at him and raised one finger.

The pope waved his fingers in a circle around his head.

Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat.

The pope pulled out a wafer and a glass of wine. Moishe pulled out an apple.

The pope stood up and said, "I give up. This man is too good! The Jews can stay."

An hour later, the cardinals were all around the pope asking him what happened. The pope said, "First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity.

"He responded by holding up and waving one finger to remind me that there was still one God common to both our religions. Then I waved my finger around me to show him that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground, showing that God was also right here with us. I pulled out the wine and the wafer to show that God absolves us from our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of original sin. He had an answer for everything. What could I do?"

Meanwhile, the Jewish community had crowded around Moishe, amazed that this old, almost feeble-minded man had done what all their scholars had insisted was impossible! "What happened?" they asked.

"Well," said Moishe, "first he said to me that the Jews had three days to get out of here. I told him that not one of us was leaving. Then he told me that this whole city would be cleared of Jews. I let him know that we were staying right here."

"And then?" asked a woman.

"I don't know," said Moishe. "He took out his lunch and I took out mine."


A Jewish boy comes home from school and tells his mother he has been given a part in the school play.

"Wonderful," says the mother, "What part is it?"

The boy replies, "I will play the part of the Jewish husband!"

The mother scowls and says, "Go back and tell your teacher that you want a speaking part!"


"It's amazing how much time we waste that we could have spent in prayer." - Dr. Greg McLaughlin

=^..^= =^..^=

For every credibility gap, there is a gullibility gap.

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Optical Conclusions?

Recently I ran across something on the web that claimed that you could tell whether you were right-brained or left-brained, based on which direction you saw a revolving object spinning. Upon thinking about that, I decided to do a blog post on optical illusions. This post is longer than most, but it's also not much verbiage and mainly images.

Optical Conclusions?

"We are fearfully and wonderfully made!" It is truly fascinating what our brains do with the images that come in through the eyes. For a few years while still in my 40s when I had my last pair of contact lenses, I tried monovision. I was really surprised how quickly my brain adjusted into using my right eye for distance and my left eye for close up.

As I mentioned in the "today's instant vacation" section above, I found something online that supposed helped you know if you were right- or left-brained. Below is the general idea.

If you can imagine having a overhead view of the picture below, which way is the axe spinning for you, clockwise or counter-clockwise?

(I originally put a picture of a spinning brain in the space above, but some people had a hard time seeing a difference in the spinning. I think the axe will make it easier to see.) According to what I read, once you perceive it going in one direction, it's hard to switch but it is possible. Then, once you see it switched, it can be just as hard to get it to switch back! For me, it switches frequently and without my even trying to make it do otherwise.

Supposedly if you see it going counter-clockwise first, you use the right side of your brain more. If you see it going clockwise, you use the left side of your brain more. I'm not sure that that's true. A retired science professor who reads my blog told me that my readers should be skeptical - that it's not terribly scientific. Below are the characteristics - I'll let you decide if you think it's true for you. Maybe it's like horoscopes - so general and glib that the statements could apply to almost anyone.

uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies

uses feeling
"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking

I found another interesting thing focusing on the left-brain/right-brain thing. Look at the chart below and say the COLOR, not the word.

Apparently your right brain tries to say the color, but your left brain insists on reading the word. I'm definitely left-brained on that one!

In the picture below, which square is darker, square A or B?

Believe it or not, square A is exactly the same shade of gray as square B! I couldn't believe it myself, so I used a little utility I have for figuring out colors on websites. According to the utility, both squares are hex color #787878.

In the picture below, the entire horizontal bar is the same color all the way across. In fact, it's the same #787878 as in the two squares of the picture above.

Try to count the gray dots in the image below. I promise, it's not an animated picture at all.

The picture below is also not animated, but most people see all kinds of motion in it.

In the image below the brain also produces motion when you concentrate on the black dot in the center and then move your head forward and backward.

In the three images below, lines that are actually straight appear to be sloping or curved because of what's near them.

In the picture below, which of the center dots is larger?

Actually, the center dots are the same size.

In the picture below, which of the figures do you think would measure the tallest with a ruler?

Look at the the pictures below to see what you see first.

Did you see a duck or a rabbit?

Did you see two faces or a vase?

Which word did you see first?

Did you see a face or a word?

Is the book face up or face down?

Which way are the stairs going? If you look long enough, their direction will change.

Did you see a young wife or an old mother-in-law?

The Tower of Pisa leans slightly more each year. In which picture below is the Tower of Pisa leaning more?

Actually, it's the same picture twice.

The following is an interesting example of what the brain can do with what our eyes take in. Stare at the four black dots in the center of the image below for 30 to 60 seconds. Then quickly close your eyes and look at something bright (like a lamp or a window with sunlight coming through it). You should see a white circle with an image inside it.

I'll close with an interesting picture I found on an optical illusion website. I don't know if it's actually an optical illusion, and I really don't know how they did it!

The annual Bible Conference was a huge blessing, but it is now past and it's back to classes. It's hard to believe that six weeks from now this school year and graduation will be histoire. So much to do in the next six weeks...!

We received some Easter pictures of our grandson Drew. Here are several...

For anyone interested, our daughter Megan has put out on the web some scrapbook pages she's done on Drew. You can see them by clicking here.


"Our love for God is a reflection of His love for us." - Dr. John Vaughn

=^..^= =^..^=

A baby first laughs at the age of four weeks. By that time his eyes focus well enough to see you clearly.

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A Positive Experience

This was one week where *real* bloggers could have posted something interesting almost every day. Monday was St. Patrick's day. We received some great pictures of Drew for that occasion. Here's one...

Yesterday was the day the swallows come back to Capistrano each year. Here's a bit of the story...

The famous cliff swallows of the Mission San Juan Capistrano, in San Juan, California, leave town every year in a swirling mass near the Day of San Juan (St. John's Day - October 23), They go to their winter home 6,000 miles south in Goya, Corrientes, Argentina. Five months later, almost to the day, they land at the Mission San Juan Capistrano on or around St. Joseph's Day, March 19, to the ringing bells of the old church and a crowd of visitors from all over the world who are in town awaiting their arrival and celebrating with a huge fiesta as well as a parade.

Then today is the first day of spring. Tomorrow is Good Friday, and Sunday is Easter. As I said, bloggers could go wild this week. I'll refrain from doing so. 🙂

Bible Conference has been a huge blessing so far, and there's still more to come! Several have told me how glad they were to learn that they could listen in online as the messages are streamed.

With spring in the air, young people's minds turn to romance. I found something in my files that brought a wry smile to the face, but then I'm a word person. The humor in this one is that the writer has masterfully used the positive version of many of the negative expressions in the English language that, in actuality, have no positive version.

How I Met My Wife - a positive experience
by Jack Winter
Published originally 25 July 1994 in The New Yorker

It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate.

I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way.

I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I'd have to make bones about it since I was travelling cognito. Beknownst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn't be peccable. Only toward and heard-of behavior would do.

Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable. There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or a sung hero were slim. I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion.

So I decided not to risk it. But then, all at once, for some apparent reason, she looked in my direction and smiled in a way that I could make heads or tails of.

I was plussed. It was concerting to see that she was communicado, and it nerved me that she was interested in a pareil like me, sight seen. Normally, I had a domitable spirit, but, being corrigible, I felt capacitated - as if this were something I was great shakes at - and forgot that I had succeeded in situations like this only a told number of times. So, after a terminable delay, I acted with mitigated gall and made my way through the ruly crowd with strong givings.

Nevertheless, since this was all new hat to me and I had no time to prepare a promptu speech, I was petuous. Wanting to make only called-for remarks, I started talking about the hors d'oeuvres, trying to abuse her of the notion that I was sipid, and perhaps even bunk a few myths about myself.

She respsonded well, and I was mayed that she considered me a savory character who was up to some good. She told me who she was. "What a perfect nomer," I said, advertently. The conversation become more and more choate, and we spoke at length to much avail. But I was defatigable, so I had to leave at a godly hour. I asked if she wanted to come with me. To my delight, she was committal. We left the party together and have been together ever since. I have given her my love, and she has requited it.


In a message about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah)... "You will be given many opportunities in life to choose whether to bow or to burn. Choose to burn." - Craig Hartman

=^..^= =^..^=

Boy am I happy! My IQ Test came back negative!

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