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Cool Birthday!

We celebrated our grandson Drew's first birthday this past weekend. I have way too many pictures to pick from, so I will show as much restraint as possible. Here are some of the stories and some pictures....

Grandma and Nora traveled up as planned. They got stuck in a horrible traffic backup in Tennessee, not far from the state line to Kentucky. They got off at the next exit the traffic crept up to to try to find a restroom. Several men from the DOT pulled off to see if they were OK. Becka asked the one man why the traffic was so backed up, thinking he'd say it was an accident since the southbound traffic was flowing fine. He told her that the some of the mountain had caved! Yikes! We were thankful that it had happened before they got that far. He told them that if they continued on the road at that exit, they would come to a gravel road that would eventually take them to Jellico on the other side of the place where the mountain had caved. It was after dark, but they could see well enough to know that the left side of the gravel road was a sheer drop-off! I was very relieved when they called me from Jellico!

On Friday they managed to stay ahead of the snow storm that hammered Ohio. Below is a picture of them at lunch time in Perrysburg, OH, with some of the snow from earlier last week.

What Becka and Nora didn't know was that a few weeks ago I cashed in some frequent-flyer miles to fly up for the weekend too! I was supposed to arrive in Detroit at about midnight, but because of the snow, our pilot was delayed in arriving from his flight from Toronto. So my three hour layover in Chicago O'Hare became a six hour layover! (reminiscent of the theme song of Gilligan's Island ... a three hour tour!) When I arrived in Detroit at about 3:00 a.m. my son-in-law (who was in on my surprise) was there waiting for me. It was so fun when I slipped into our bedroom, kissed Becka to wake her up, and enjoyed her complete surprise!

We all really enjoyed being together on Saturday as preparations were going on for the "friends party" at 5:30 that afternoon. Meg and Jim asked me if I would give Drew his first trim to try to reduce his "baby mullet." Here are a couple of pictures of the process....

"Hey, Grandpa, what are you doing to me?!"

A lot of preparations went on in the kitchen for the food for the party the theme of which was puppies. Nora set up a cookie factory on the kitchen table....

Here's a tray full of the finished product....

Megan made a cute cake she'd seen online....

Drew also got his own cupcake - his first taste of cake! He enjoyed the cake, but he didn't want to touch it.

Drew really enjoyed the presents....

Grandma loved being with her boy....

It's hard to remember his being such a tiny preemie a year ago - he's such a fine, upstanding boy now!

My flights home Sunday were less eventful, and the delay in Chicago O'Hare was shorter than Friday night's delay. What's kind of sad is that 10 hours of my weekend were spent at O'Hare! Yuck! Becka and Nora are driving back to South Carolina today (Tuesday). It will be great to have them home again!


My recent trip up north, where they are experiencing one of their hardest winters in a long time, reminded me of the horrors of global warming and of an e-mail I received recently about the Northern Lights and a frozen Antarctic wave.


Yellowknife, named after copper, is the the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories. Here are a few pictures of the Northern Lights over Yellowknife and living in teepees at 37 degrees below 0....

It's beyond cool!

Below are some pictures of Antarctica. In the e-mail I received, what you see below was attributed to a quick freeze of a wave in super frigid air, but according to snopes it's actually the result of melting and refreezing. Whatever the situation, that's one cold place!


"It's nice to have the things money can buy, as long as you don't lose the things money can't buy." - Kevin Johns

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If it's zero degrees outside today and it's supposed to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold is it going to be?

New License Plate Game

My wife Becka and our daughter Nora will be leaving this evening for Detroit. They plan to drive to Kentucky, spend the night in a hotel, then continue their trip Friday. Their thinking is that if they had decided to drive the whole way up on Friday, they would have arrived in Detroit right at Friday rush hour. They'll drive back here on Tuesday.

They are going up at this time to help celebrate the first birthday of our grandson Drew on Sunday. It's hard to believe that he's a year old already! There will be a friends party on Saturday afternoon and a family party on Sunday afternoon.

When our children were little, we used to pass the time on roadtrips (trying to ward off some of the squabbles) by playing that old favorite - The License Plate Game, seeing if we could see and write down a plate from each of the fifty states before the trip was over. I think the best we ever did was maybe 37 or 38 different states in one trip, surprisingly bagging Alaska and Hawaii on one trip or another!

With Becka and Nora's upcoming roadtrip to Michigan, I thought I'd give them something to do that ramps that game up to a more sophisticated level - identifying a car's home state or home town by looking at the the driver or other car features, before looking at the license plate for verification of your deductive skills. Maybe some of my readers could add comments giving other helpful tips for IDing drivers from their part of the world or tendancies they have noted in various locales....

How to identify where a driver is from...

Changing lanes or turning without using a blinker or speeding up when he sees your blinker rather than letting you change lanes, running red lights, pulling out in front of you from a side street when there's nothing behind you, waiting at a side street halfway out into your lane, driving down the middle of a street rather than in his lane: Greenville, South Carolina

Knee up against steering wheel, one hand on Tim Horton's coffee cup, cell phone in ear, accelerator to the floor, applying makeup, doing crossword puzzle in the morning Free Press, knocking down orange barrels, changing lanes without turn signals: Detroit (please pray for Becka and Nora since this is not the kind of thing they're used to here in Greenville) :-D

One hand on wheel, one hand on horn: Chicago

One hand on wheel, one hand making rude gestures out the window: New York

One hand on wheel, one hand making rude gestures out the window, cutting across all lanes of traffic: New Jersey

One hand on wheel, one hand on newspaper, foot solidly on accelerator: Boston

Foot lightly on the gas pedal (usually driving 5 or more mph under the speed limit), both hands on steering wheel, or if one hand isn't on the steering wheel the other hand holding a cup of Starbuck's coffee, seat pushed all the way up to the steering wheel, driving a Toyota Camry: Cleveland

One hand on wheel, one hand on nonfat double decaf cappuccino, cradling cell phone, brick on accelerator, and with a gun on lap: Southern California

Lowered Honda, can't see over dash, driving too fast or too slow, car sounds like a bee as it goes by: Los Angeles

Both hands on wheel, eyes shut, both feet on brake, quivering in terror: Ohio, but driving in California.

One hand on laptop computer, one hand at on-board navigation/Internet console installed in dash board, cell phone attached to head with microphone earpiece, having a executive meeting with half a dozen people on speaker phone, palm pilot wedged between knees to observe up to date stock quotes, and shoes kicked off, and feet crossed because traffic hasn't moved in the past hour: California (Bay Area / Silicon Valley)

Both hands in air, gesturing, both feet on accelerator, head turned to talk to someone in back seat: Italy

One hand on a 12 oz. double shot latte, one knee on wheel, cradling cell phone, foot on brake, mind on the game on the radio, banging head on steering wheel while stuck in traffic: Seattle

No use of turn signal, or left blinker on for 26 blocks ... also cradling cheap cell phone: Dubuque, Iowa

One hand on wheel, one hand hanging out the window, hunting rifle between legs, feet alternating between both being on the accelerator and both being on the brake, keeping speed steadily at 70mph, driving down the center of the road unless coming around a blind curve, in which case they are on the left side of the road, throwing a McDonald's bag out the window: Texas male

One hand constantly refocusing the rear-view mirror to show different angles of the BIG hair, one hand going between mousse, brush, and rat-tail to keep the helmet hair going, both feet on the accelerator, poodle steering the car, chrome .38 revolver with mother of pearl inlaid handle in the glove compartment: Texas female

Both hands on steering wheel in a relaxed posture, eyes constantly checking the rear-view mirror to watch for visible emissions from their own or another's car: Colorado

One hand on steering wheel, the other hand waving gun out the window and firing repeatedly, keeping a careful eye out for landmarks along the way so as to be able to come back and pick up any bullets that didn't hit other motorists, so as not to litter: Colorado resident on spotting a car with Texas plate

Beat up 1983 Dodge Ram pick-up truck, right hand holding a Dunkin Donuts coffee, cigarette dangling from mouth, greasy hair shoved underneath an oil stained cap, oldies blaring from the radio: Maine

Both hands on the wheel, seat as far forward as possible, head fixed only looking forward, ignoring people behind and beside you, stopping and waiting for the road to fully clear before making any forward progress: Toronto

Both hands clenched on steering wheel, driver staring directly forward, cutting in front of you and slowing down to 40 in a 60 zone then looking in rearview mirror in wonder as to why the car behind is flashing high beams: Ontario

Engaged in heated political discussion with espresso in one hand and croissant in the other, aiming for pedestrians who have the mistaken notion that crosswalks are for them: Quebec

One hand on wheel, other hand reaching out window trying to catch the windshield wiper to snap the ice off the blade: Minnesota

Four wheel drive pickup truck, shotgun mounted in rear window, empty cans on floor, squirrel tails attached to antenna: West Virginia male

Junker, driven by someone who previously had a nice car and who is also now wearing a barrel instead of nice clothes: Las Vegas

One hand on the wheel the other waving at every car that passes as if it were his neighbor: North Carolina

One finger on steering wheel of a jacked up 4x4, country music blaring from speakers, dead coyote in back, hay leaves blowing out of bed while going down the highway: Montana

Both hands on wheel, chunks of rust falling off by the pound: Nebraska

Two hands gripping wheel, blue hair barely visible above window level, driving 35 in the left lane on the interstate, with the left blinker on: Florida "seasoned citizen" driver, also known as a "no-see-'em"

Both hands on the reigns: Pennsylvania


"Is the gospel good news for you, or is it just good information?" - Dr. Tim Keesee

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Teach a child to be polite and courteous in the home and, when he grows up, he'll never be able to edge his car out onto a freeway.

Sleeping on the Job?

On the evening news tonight we saw a report about more and more people falling asleep at work. They said that there's an epidemic of Americans not getting sufficient sleep at night. Some "experts" are recommending not only that Americans try to get more sleep, but also that businesses give their employees a little nap break to help them with this problem. Our wellness program at the university seems to be helping many of us with issue. Anyway, this made me think of something to share with you about sleeping on the job....

The 21 best responses if you are found asleep at your desk (not to be used in class, of course)...

21. "Oh, man! I come in at 6 in the morning, and look what happens!"

20. "This is in exchange for the six hours last night when I dreamed about work!"

19. "You don't discriminate against those with Latient Atrophy Zymosis Yeast syndrome, do you?!?"

18. "They told me at the blood bank that this might happen."

17. "Oh, hi there. I was trying to pick up my contact lens without my hands."

16. "This is just a 15 minute power-nap like they raved about in the last time management course you sent me to."

15. "Whew! Guess I left the top off the Liquid Paper."

14. "I was just meditating on the mission statement and envisioning a new paradigm!"

13. "This is one of the seven habits of highly effective people!"

12. "I was testing the keyboard for drool resistance."

11. "I'm doing the Stress Level Elimination Exercise Plan (SLEEP) I learned at the last mandatory seminar you made me attend."

10. "It worked well for Reagan, didn't it?"

9. "Just pacing myself for an all-nighter here at work tonight!"

8. "I was working smarter, not harder."

7. "Auggh! Why did you interrupt me? I had almost figured out a solution to our biggest problem."

6. "I'm in the management training program."

5. "The coffee machine is broken...."

4. "Someone must've put the decaf in the wrong pot this morning."

3. "Boy, that cold medicine I took last night just won't wear off!"

2. "Ah, the unique and unpredictable circadian rhythms of the workaholic!"

1. "...and I especially thank you for my excellent boss. Amen!"

Today I received an interesting picture called "Haircut of the Year" that I thought others might enjoy seeing. Truly bizarre!

Hope you had a nice Bonza Bottler Day today. Mine was just a standard day of classes, except that midterm grades were due.


"The Bible doesn't talk about rights. It talks about responsibility." - John Hutcheson

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Do you ever get tired of sleeping?

Memory Lane

The first year I taught high school, fresh out of college, I had several seniors in my second year French class. Those seniors turned 50 a year or so ago. This year those who were sophomores and in my first year French class that year are now turning 50. Such a sobering reminder that little Drew is not the only one who's aging!

Someone sent me an e-mail recently to test my memory. I either watched too much television as a child or I am really old - surely not both! :-) The e-mail said that the test was a pushover for anyone over 50. You younger readers may struggle with some of these, and some will be a great trip down memory lane for a lot of people.

So here you go, test your memory (or your ability to make intelligent guesses):

1. What builds strong bodies 12 ways?
A. Flintstones vitamins
B. The buttmaster
C. Spaghetti
D. Wonder Bread
E. Orange Juice
F. Milk
G.. Cod Liver Oil

2. Before he was Muhammad Ali, he was...
A. Sugar Ray Robinson
B. Roy Orbison
C. Gene Autry
D. Rudolph Valentino
E. Fabian
F. Mickey Mantle
G. Cassius Clay

3. Pogo, the comic strip character said, "We have met the enemy and...."
A. It's you
B. He is us
C. It's the Grinch
D. He wasn't home
E. He's really mean
F. We quit
G. He surrendered

4. Good night, David.
A. Good night, Chet
B. Sleep well
C. Good Night, Irene
D. Good Night, Gracie
E. See you later, alligator
F. Until tomorrow
G. Good night, Steve

5. You'll wonder where the yellow went,
A. When you wash your clothes with Tide
B. When you lose your crayons
C. When you clean your tub
D. If you paint the room blue
E. If you buy a soft water tank
F. When you use Lady Clairol
G. When you brush your teeth with Pepsodent

6. Before he was the Skipper's Little Buddy, Bob Denver was Dobie's friend,
A. Stuart Whitman
B. Randolph Scott
C. Steve Reeves
D. Maynard G. Krebbs
E. Corky B. Dork
F. Dave the Whale
G. Zippy Zoo

7. Liar, liar...
A. You're a liar
B. Your nose is growing
C. Pants on fire
D. Join the choir
E. Jump up higher
F. On the wire
G. I'm telling Mom

8. Meanwhile, back in Metropolis, Superman fights a never ending battle for truth, justice and...
A. Wheaties
B. Lois Lane
C. Freedom of speech
D. World peace
E. Red tights
F. The American way
G. News headlines

9. Hey, kids, what time is it?
A. It's time for Yogi Bear
B. It's time to do your homework
C. It's Howdy Doody Time
D. It's Time for Romper Room
E. It's bedtime
F. The Mighty Mouse Hour
G. Scoopy Doo Time

10. Lions and tigers and bears...
A. Yikes
B. Oh no
C. Gee whiz
D. I'm scared
E. Oh my
F. Help! Help!
H. Let's run

11. Bob Dylan advised us never to trust anyone
A. Over 40
B. Wearing a uniform
C. Carrying a briefcase
D. Over 30
E. You don't know
F. Who says, "Trust me"
G. Who eats tofu

12. NFL quarterback who appeared in a television commercial wearing women's stockings.
A. Troy Aikman
B. Kenny Stabler
C.. Joe Namath
D. Roger Stauback
E. Joe Montana
F. Steve Young
G. John Elway

13. Brylcream...
A. Smear it on
B. You'll smell great
C. Tame that cowlick
D. Greaseball heaven
E. It's a dream
F. We're on your team
G. A little dab'll do ya

14. I found my thrill...
A. And you can too
B. With my man, Bill
C. Down at the mill
D. Over the windowsill
E. On Blueberry Hill
F. Too late to enjoy
G. With thyme and dill

15. Before Robin Williams, Peter Pan was played by
A. Clark Gable
B. Mary Martin
C. Doris Day
D. Errol Flynn
E. Sally Fields
F. Jim Carey
G. Jay Leno

16. Name the Beatles.
A. John, Steve, George, Ringo
B. John, Paul, George, Roscoe
C. John, Paul, Stacey, Ringo
D. Jay, Paul, George, Ringo
E. Lewis, Peter, George, Ringo
F. Jason, Betty, Skipper, Hazel
G. John, Paul, George, Ringo

17. I wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder who...
A. Who ate the leftovers?
B. Who did the laundry?
C. Who are you?
D. Who wrote the book of love?
E. Who am I?
F. Passed the test?
G. Knocked on the door?

18. I'm strong to the finish...
A. Cause I eats my broccoli
B. Cause I eats me spinach
C. Cause I lift weights
D. Cause I'm the hero
E. And don't you forget it!
F. Cause Olive Oyl loves me
G. And outlast Bruto

19. When it's least expected, you're elected, you're the star today...
A. Smile, you're on Candid Camera
B. Smile, you're on Star Search
C. Smile, you've just won life's lottery
D. Smile, we're watching you
E. Smile, the world sees you
F. Smile, you're a hit
G. Smile, you're on TV

20. You can trust your car to the man who wears the star,...
A. It's the Lone Ranger!
B. And he will take you far
C. Our man Friday
D. He'll have you on the road in no time!
E. Deputy Dog
F. The big bright Texaco star
G. Sheriff Matt Dillon

Now for the answers....

1. d - Wonder Bread
2. g - Cassius Clay
3. b - He Is Us
4. a - Good night, Chet
5. g - When you brush your teeth with Pepsodent
6. d - Maynard G. Krebbs
7. c - Pants On Fire
8. f - The American Way
9. c - It's Howdy Doody Time
10. e - Oh my
11. d - Over 30
12. c - Joe Namath
13. g - A little dab'll do ya
14. g - On Blueberry Hill
15. b - Mary Martin
16. g - John, Paul, George, Ringo
17. d - Who wrote the book of Love
18. b - Cause I eats me spinach
19. a - Smile, you're on Candid Camera
20. f - The big bright Texaco star

For those who don't know Pogo...

This has been a good week - much less busy and hectic than recent weeks have been. A week from Sunday (March 9) our grandson Drew will be a year old already! Those of you who were reading my blog at the time of his birth will be amazed that his premature birth was almost a year ago! He's doing very well - crawling all over, smiling with six teeth, and pulling himself up on furniture. Grandma and Aunt Nora will be driving up for a long weekend to help celebrate his birthday. Grandpa will be holding down the fort here, quenching his students' thirst for knowledge and feeding the livestock (our herd of two cats). I'm sure they'll send me pictures to post.


"We often minimize our sin because we don't see it as an act of defiance against God." - Dr. Drew Conley

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If Barbie was so popular, why did you have to buy her friends?

The Parachute Paradigm

As I was looking through my files, trying to decide what to post, I ran across something I thought most of my readers will not have seen how two people look at the one remaining parachute.

The Parachute Paradigm

You are one of two people on a malfunctioning airplane, and there's only one parachute. Here's how you would handle the situation if you were a member of one of the following professions or philosophical outlooks...

Pessimist - you refuse the parachute because you might die in the jump anyway.

Optimist - you refuse the parachute because people have survived crashes like this before.

Procrastinator - you play a game of Monopoly - the winner gets the parachute.

Bureaucrat - you order a feasibility study on parachute use in multi-engine aircraft under code red conditions.

Lawyer - you agree to handle a lawsuit against the airline for a fee of one parachute.

Doctor - you tell your fellow traveler that you need to run more tests, then take the parachute in order to make it to your next appointment.

Sales executive - you sell the parachute to your fellow traveler at top retail rates and get the names of their friends and relatives who might like one too.

Internal Revenue Service - you confiscate the parachute along with your fellow traveler's luggage, wallet, and gold fillings.

Engineer - you make another parachute out of aisle curtains and dental floss.

Scientist - you give your fellow traveler the parachute and ask him to send you a report on how well it worked.

Mathematician - you refuse to accept the parachute without proof that it will work in all cases.

Philosopher - you ask how one can know that the parachute actually exists.

English major - you explicate simile and metaphor in the parachute instructions.

Comparative Linguist - you read the parachute instructions in all four languages.

Computer Scientist - you design a machine capable of operating a parachute as well as a human being could.

Economist - you plot a demand curve by asking your fellow traveler, at regular intervals, how much he would pay for a parachute.

Psychoanalyst - you ask your fellow traveler what the shape of a parachute reminds him of.

Actor - you tie your fellow traveler down so they can watch you develop the character of a person stuck on a falling plane without a parachute, before trying to find a stunt man to jump out for you at the last possible moment.

Artist - you hang the parachute on the wall and sign it.

Republican - as you jump out with the parachute, you tell your fellow traveler to work hard and not expect handouts.

Democrat - you extract a dollar from your fellow traveler to buy scissors so you can cut the parachute into two equal pieces.

Libertarian - after reminding your fellow traveler of his constitutional right to have a parachute, you take it and jump out.

Ross Perot - you tell your fellow traveler not to worry, since it won't take you long to learn how to fix a plane.

Surgeon General - you issue a warning that skydiving can be hazardous to your health.

Association of Tobacco Growers - you explain very patiently that despite a number of remarkable coincidences, studies have shown no link whatsoever between airplane crashes and death.

Environmentalist - you refuse to use the parachute unless it is biodegradable.

Auto Mechanic - you immediately start to look at the plane engine since, as long as you are looking at it, it works fine.


The Modern Language Department plays went very well Saturday evening. I was particularly proud of my students in the French play. Their hard work was evident, and everyone seemed to enjoy our play. Below is a picture of the cast members and directors of the three plays. Most of those involved with the French play are in the top row.

Here's the cast of the French play. What a fun group!


"The gospel is about what God has done. ... The gospel rescues those who know they can't make it." - Dr. Drew Conley

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If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you!