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Obit – Common Sense

I hate to be the bearer of sad news, but....

Today we mourn the passing of an old friend by the name of Common Sense.

Common Sense lived a long life but died from heart failure not far into this new millennium. No one really knows how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He selflessly devoted his life to service in schools, hospitals, homes, factories, and offices, helping folks get jobs done without fanfare and foolishness.

For decades, petty rules, silly laws, and frivolous lawsuits held no power over Common Sense. He was credited with cultivating such valued lessons as to know when to come in out of the rain, the early bird gets the worm, and life isn't always fair.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn), reliable parenting strategies (the adults are in charge, not the kids), and it's okay to come in second (or even last, as long as you gave it your best efforts).

A veteran of the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, and the Technological Revolution, Common Sense survived cultural and educational trends including feminism, body piercing, whole language, and "new math."

But his health declined when he became infected with the "If-it-helps-only-one-person-it's-worth-it" virus. In recent decades his waning strength proved no match for the ravages of well-intentioned overbearing regulation.

He watched in pain as good people became ruled by self-seeking lawyers. His health rapidly deteriorated when schools endlessly implemented zero tolerance policies. Reports of six-year-old boys charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, a teen suspended for using mouthwash after lunch, and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student only worsened his condition. It declined even further when schools had to get parental consent to administer aspirin to a student but cannot inform the parent when the female student is pregnant or wants an abortion.

Finally, Common Sense lost his will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, churches became businesses, criminals received better treatment than victims, and federal judges stuck their noses in everything from Boy Scouts to professional sports. Finally, when a woman, too stupid to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot, was awarded a huge settlement, Common Sense threw in the towel.

As the end neared, Common Sense drifted in and out of logic but was kept informed of developments, regarding questionable regulations for low-flow toilets, "smart" guns, mandatory air bags, most recently incandescent light bulbs, and the potential regulation of rocking chairs.

Finally when told that homeowners associations restricted exterior furniture only to that which enhanced property values, he breathed his last.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers: My Rights, I. M. Tolerant and Ima Whiner.

His funeral was not well attended because so few realized that he was gone.


"Jesus didn't die for the stupid things we do. He died for our sins. If I just call my sin 'something stupid I did,' I'm not truly repentant." - Dr. Jim Berg

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One thing about common sense is that it isn't.


Sometimes we're good at planning and sometimes we're not. Sometimes we make great plans and find that, as has been adapted from the poet Robert Burns, "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry." And sometimes we're not good planners. I've received several things lately that highlight good and poor planning. Then I added a favorite "classic" that illustrates some disastrous results of poor planning.


Dan was a single guy living at home with his father and working in the family business. When he found out he was going to inherit a fortune when his sickly father died, he decided he needed a wife with whom to share his fortune.

One evening at an investment meeting he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her natural beauty took his breath away.

"I may look like just an ordinary man," he said to her, "but in just a few years, my father will die, and I'll inherit 20 million dollars."

Impressed, the woman obtained his business card and three days later, she became his stepmother.

Women are so much better at estate planning than men.


I received this from someone who grew up in Canada and now is a US citizen...

As a country Canada has been much influenced historically by three nations - France, England, and America, and Canadians aren't quite sure of their identity. So they try to have a flavor from all three, but they have made horrible choices.

The story goes like this ... Canadians could have had French cuisine, English culture and American technology but instead chose English food, French technology and American culture.


Dear Sir:

I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block #3 of the accident reporting form. I put "poor planning" as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully and I trust that the following details will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-story building. When I completed my work, I discovered that I had about 500 pounds of bricks left over. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley, which, fortunately, was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow descent of the 500 pounds of bricks. You will note in Block #11 of the accident reporting form that my weight is 135 pounds.

Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now proceeding in a downward direction at an equally impressive rate of speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions, and the broken collarbone, as listed in Section III of the accident reporting form.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were 2 knuckles deep into the pulley, which I mentioned in paragraph #2 of this correspondence. Fortunately, by this time, I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience.

At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground--and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel now weighed approximately 50 pounds. I refer you again to MY weight in Block #11. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth, and the severe lacerations of my legs and lower body.

Here my luck began to change slightly. The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks and fortunately, only 3 vertebrae were cracked. I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the pile of bricks in pain, unable to move and watching the empty barrel six stories above me, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope.

Policy # xyz1234567890


I haven't posted any pictures of our grandson Drew for a while, so here are several that Grandma and I like.

Drew in his Exersaucer...

Our little "basket case"...


"God always sees the individual and the inside and deals with each of us accordingly." - Dr. Tim Jordan

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Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.

The Seven Ages of the Married Cold

Often my blog posts are related to something happening in our lives, and this one is no exception. Since Friday morning, I've been battling a head cold - something I haven't done in a long time and something that's making the rounds right now. During classes Friday, I was quite miserable, with a nose that had been replaced by a faucet. After dinner Friday evening, I went to bed at 6:30 and slept for 12 hours straight - something I never do! Our cats - Adelaide and Clementine - were a riot! Adelaide, whom we lovingly call "Florence Nightingale," was curled up next to me the entire 12 hours! At 6:15 Saturday morning, Clementine started digging at the closet door to try to wake me up, and Adelaide started walking around on the bed, crying, and sticking her nose in my face - I guess to see if I were still breathing. I fell back asleep and immediately dreamed that I was staring at a computer, and an e-mail notify message popped up from our two cats, concerned about my having slept so long. I woke up laughing, which felt good. I slept away a lot of the weekend getting 31 hours of sleep totally! But I feel much better this morning to face a week of classes.

My dear wife has been so sweet this weekend. (Can you even imagine her being anything but sweet?!) She made a big pot of her wonderful cabbage soup to help speed my recovery. It made me think of something I've had in my files for a long time. I share that with you today.

Some years ago The Saturday Evening Post ran an article that was entitled “The Seven Ages of the Married Cold.” This article revealed the reactions of a husband to his wife’s colds during their first seven years of marriage. It's a rather humorous look at a not-so-funny reality - the potential decline of a marriage, as seen through the common cold. I hope I do better than the husband in what you're about to read!

The Seven Ages of the Married Cold

First Year: “Sugar dumpling, I’m really worried about my baby girl. You’ve got a bad sniffle and there’s no telling about these things with all this strep going around. I’m putting you in the hospital this afternoon for a general checkup and a good rest. I know the food’s lousy, but I’ll be bringing your meals in from Rossini’s. I’ve already got it all arranged with the floor superintendent.”

Second Year: “Listen darling, I don’t like the sound of that cough. I’ve called Doc Miller and asked him to rush over here. Now you go to bed like a good girl, please, just for papa.”

Third Year: “Maybe you’d better lie down, honey; nothing like a little rest when you feel lousy. I’ll bring you something. Have you got any canned soup?”

Fourth Year: “Now look dear, be sensible. After you’ve fed the kids, washed the dishes, and finished the floors, you’d better lie down.”

Fifth year: “Why don’t take a couple of aspirin?”

Sixth year: “I wish you would just gargle something instead of sitting around all evening barking like a seal.”

Seventh year: “For Pete’s sake, stop sneezing! Are you trying to give me pneumonia?”


I found a great picture online somewhere during the Christmas break - the way one student dealt with the pertussis scare we had at BJU in early December. I hope none of my students come to class looking like this today, fearful of catchin my cold....


"Magnifying God isn't making Something small big. It's focusing on Something that, from our perspective, seems small and seeing how big He is." - Dr. Drew Conley

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If a man caught a cold in the middle of a forest where no one could hear him, would he still make whining sounds?

Art Theft in Paris!

Since many people know I'm a French teacher, they send me a lot of French-related news and humor. I've decided to post one of those news items to my blog today. Prepare yourself - this is pretty shocking!

A thief in Paris planned to steal some paintings from the Louvre.

After much careful planning, he craftily got past security, stole the paintings, and made it safely to his van. However, he was captured only two blocks away when his van ran out of gas!

When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied, "Monsieur that is the reason I stole the paintings.

I had no Monet

to buy Degas

to make the Van Gogh."

This is Rob again. Hope that wasn't too painful for those of you who aren't into puns. I received what I'm posting today by e-mail from several people. I think none of them thought I would have De Gaulle

to post this on my blog, but I figured after everything else I've posted, what have I got Toulouse?

Many here in the US are enjoying a nice break from global warming recently with absolutely frigid temps. It's supposed to get down into the teens here tonight! I know for some of you, that would be a nice spring day, but for those of us here in South Carolina, that is very cold!

For those of you who receive my blog posts by e-mail, any pictures that I include in blog posts should come through in the e-mail version. Some people have to click on something in their e-mail to make the images load. Sometimes that is found in a little bar at the very top of the e-mail - it all depends on the e-mail program you're using. In the last week or so, I have also inserted a couple of video clips into my blog posts - one of tractor square dancing and another of a man singing the song I mentioned in my last blog post. In order to view those, you must go to the blog. You can do that by clicking on the words "latest post to ivman's blague" or on the title of that blog post - both of those links are in the body of the e-mail message.


"If heaven wouldn't be heaven without God, how can this life be good without Him?" - Dr. Drew Conley

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Nothing is fool-proof to a sufficiently talented fool.

I’m My Own Grandpa

Last week a teaching colleague who has a 4-year-old daughter and who is one of my friends on Facebook wrote on my Facebook wall, "Today at lunch, Kirsten said: There's that man that I love! I was pretty sure that I knew who she meant, but to be sure, I said: which man? She said: The one with the silver hair. :)"

In addition to giving me a good laugh, it totally made my day! Kirsten's mama further explained to me this morning that little Kirsten says her own hair is "silver," which made me even happier.

Thinking about silver hair, as I was looking through some stuff in my files, I found a version of a the story "I'm my own grandpa." I had heard the song once at the Wilds, and I decided to see what I could find out about it before posting it to my blog. It's really an interesting tale based on a real life story. Not quite as convoluted as that story is something from my own family - my uncle and his uncle (my great-uncle) married sisters. So then my uncle's sister-in-law was also his aunt, and his uncle was also his brother-in-law. The sisters were not only sisters, but also aunt and niece. (I should probably pass on redneck humor very carefully, considering my own family history!) Anyway, on to the blog post....

I'm My Own Grandpa

An article in a New England newspaper - "A Man His Own Grandfather," The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Mass.), 30 July 1877 - reported an interesting story about the suicide note of a man named William Harmen:

A man at Titusville, Pa., recently committed suicide in his horror at finding that he was his own grandfather. The way it was thus told in his dying statement: "I married a widow who had a grown-up daughter. My father visited our house very often, fell in love with my step-daughter and married her. So my father became my son-in-law, and my step-daughter my mother, because she was my father’s wife. Sometime afterward my wife had a son; he was my father’s brother-in-law, and my uncle for he was the brother of my stepmother. My father’s wife - i.e., my stepmother - had also a son; he was, of course, my brother, and in the meantime my grandchild, for he was the son of my daughter. My wife was my grandmother, because she was my mother’s mother. I was my wife’s husband and grandchild at the same time. And as the husband of a person’s grandmother is his grandfather, I am my own grandfather."

An article in Wikipedia, speaking of the song that comes from this story, affirms:

Although the song continues to mention that both the narrator's wife and daughter had children by the narrator and his father, respectively, the narrator actually becomes "his own grandpa" once his father marries the woman's daughter.

* The narrator marries the older woman. - This results in the woman's daughter becoming his stepdaughter.
* Subsequently, the narrator's father marries the older woman's daughter.
* The woman's daughter, being the new wife of the narrator's father, is now both his stepdaughter and his stepmother. Concurrently, the narrator's father, being his stepdaughter's husband, is also his stepson-in-law.
* The narrator's wife, being the mother of his stepmother, makes her both spouse and step-grandmother.
* The husband of the narrator's wife would then be the narrator's step-grandfather. Since the narrator is that person, he has managed to become his own (step-)grandfather.

I'm not quite sure I followed that, but....

An interesting history of this story and how it has resurfaced and evolved through the years, attributed to various sources - including Mark Twain - can be found at http://www.genealogymagazine.com/grandpa.html

If you'd like to hear the song (downloaded from YouTube) performed by Dennis Warner, you can do so below.


"Humility is a low opinion of my own opinion." - Dr. Greg Mazak

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Lead your life so you wouldn't be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.