30 May 2008

the car always stops here....

Before I had met my wife, work would take me down Highway 25 to Logansport where I found that chocolate milkshakes from Char-Bett were the perfect remedy for a long drive in the car.
When my wife and I got married and would visit her family in the Lafayette area she would comment how her dad's car would always know to pull into Char-Bett on the way home from Purdue or visiting family. It seems that our car automatically does that too now, much to our children's great pleasure.

If you've never made this stop........you HAVE to. Not just because of the nostalgia, but the ice cream is dang good. Get their Red Indian or Lemon. Char-Bett has been around since the 40's I would speculate, and is located on the north side of Logansport, just before heading out into the country again.

I might also add that Highway 25 is the old Michigan Road between Rochester and Logansport, which also was the Trail of Death down which federal soldiers marched the Pottawatomie's from Plymouth to Kansas. I can only assume had Char-Bett been around in 1838, their travel would have been much more enjoyable as the horses would have known to pull in.

I hate to ask this, but it begs the question, is that where they got the name "Red Indian" for their cinnamon flavored ice cream?

Humility Hulk

"you know what is required of you.......to walk humbly before your Lord"
Micah 6:8

Here's my last superhero character. Unfortunately my compliance with God's command has often come unwillingly; a humility that was forced upon me. I'm learning though. Pride is that one awful ugly that creeps up its head far too often for me. Probably because I'm a know-it-all or have had my pride hurt far too often and in public settings, or because I see others take recognition for my thoughts and work...it's difficult to let humility win.

But, I also have seen the tremendous things that God has done for me or through me, and honestly, it's a great source of humility knowing these have happened not due to my hand. And I need to reflect those to God. This is part of walking humbly.

There is a certain ability to walk tall and remain humble. For a brief period I think I had found that. Lately as cynicism has crept in........I find myself shooting off my mouth as a matter of pride. I promise to work on that.......God knows I don't need another serving of humble pie, or maybe he knows I do. But I'd rather pass and practice humility.

I thought of a great humility story about former Governor Doc Bowen. A buddy and I were visiting him in Washington while he was Secretary of Health and Human Services. His personal secretary relayed her frustration with him because he would sneak out his private office door and make his own photocopies.........she said he used to go through the front offices and ask if anyone else needed anything copied while he was out until they insisted he be waited on.

29 May 2008

was McClellan writing about river city?

Are you following the fall-out from former press secretary Scott McClellan's tell-all book on the Bush White House? I caught the titles of a few of his chapters today on MSN.

Among the interesting chapter titles in the book are: “The Permanent Campaign,” “Deniability,” “Triumph and Illusion,” “Revelation and Humiliation” and “Out of Touch.”

I think McClellan's read my rough draft of "We've Got Trouble, Right here in River City". You could also write any of those of the Daniels administration. McClellan grieves over a missed opportunity of the Bush presidency to change the culture of Washington and instead gave in to the same system of games and deception they set out to change. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that one of two things happens when people of integrity are elected to public office with the intent to really make a difference:

1) the pressure of polticos, the power struggle and the fear of losing the next campaign changes your mindset reducing you to little more than one of those you swore you'd never become, or

2) you hold to your convictions, count the cost, pursue public good......and find yourself on the outside

In either situation the public always loses. Bush succumbed to the system he evidently set out to change......it changed him. I'm watching the current climate of politics in river city going the same direction. A willing and ignorant electorate doesn't help the situation.

Honestly, I don't see a way out of it unless there is an entire implosion of the system and its enablers. Those of you here in river city, imagine what that would look like for our community and our county!

28 May 2008

along the tracks in Hamlet

Holiday weekend report from the field

Some of the family gathered on Memorial Day at the folks house, including an aunt & uncle we haven't seen for a long time. Their son, my cuz, raises seahorses in Florida. The kids did some scientific research in the pond catching tadpoles and some members of the family enjoyed the new camouflaged wood pole lean-to my dad built by the pond. A few pictures from the field.

27 May 2008

Man of Mercy

From life verse, Micah 6:8: you know what is required of you, to act justly, to love mercy......

The second superhero from God's League of Justice is Man of Mercy. We are required to "love mercy". How do we do this? We are not just to extend mercy to others, but we are to love it. Obviously extending mercy to others is an indication that you love mercy because it is being put into practice. But I think scripture goes a little deeper here.

Loving mercy has to also mean being able to accept merciful acts and being moved by people who extend mercy. Mercy is defined as compassion, kindness or forgiveness shown especially to somebody a person has power or authority over. How are you at accepting and giving forgiveness? Would you be considered a kind or giving person?

Mercy is an emotion that is put into action. Just like jumping for joy, mercy is being so moved with compassion that action naturally follows. Mercy is being touched so deeply by the missionary from Nepal who rescues young girls from being sold into prostitution by their families that you faithfully give of your resources and find yourself unable to speak of it because of the tears welling up in your eyes and closing your throat.........as I witnessed one guy do at church on Sunday.

Mercy is that kid who throws starfish stranded on the beach back into the ocean.

Mercy may well be one of the greatest superhero strengths out there because it has the ability to save lives from starvation, drugs or prostitution. Are you a man of mercy?

knee deep in mud along the Yellowstone Trail

I was coming back from northwest Indiana and wanted to snap a picture of the Cities Service Station in Wanatah (see earlier picture). I decided to drive into Wanatah since I had never visited and the catholic church tower always drew my interest. Wanatah means "knee deep in mud" in Native American tongue.......seriously.

I drove into town and was making a loop back to U.S. 30 when I drove through a downtown intersection that caused my "historic roads radar" to go off. Something seemed strange about the change in pavement material and width and the directness of the route in and out of town and the commercial buildings along it. I thought, could this be an old alignment of the Lincoln Highway? So I drove east out of town, under U.S. 41 and came to a T and saw that I was traveling the old Yellowstone Trail due to some excellent signage. I took the trail all the way to Plymouth.

What is the Yellowstone Trail? It dates to 1912 as a route that brought travelers across the country with Yellowstone National Park being the main draw. The Trail predates the Lincoln Highway by a year and was created under the same method.

Go to http://www.yellowstonetrail.org/ for more history on the route and maps to the trail in Indiana. Attached are some pictures from the trip that proved the steel bridge from a previous post was a part of the Yellowstone Trail. More travel is required.........be watching for more pictures.

23 May 2008


I think it odd that people wish you a happy Memorial Day. I guess we can and should be grateful in remembering the lives of those we've lost in war or, as it has become, lost who were important to us. The question is how do we remember? Is it by visiting a memorial? To have a moment of silence?

Why do we build memorials? To inspire us? To reflect? How do we memorialize those in our lives who have passed on, but not recognized in the public square such as our service men and women? I've lost grandparents, and while it hurt, two other losses stand out in my mind that more deeply and profoundly affect me and continue to cause reflection today.

One goes back only a few years ago when we were expecting our third child. In viewing the ultrasound and realizing something was wrong, our hearts sank for the child we would never know. And I can't help but think of him anytime we see a family with three kids, I like to think he's riding around on God's shoulders right now. He knew much more than I the moment his tiny heart beat the last time and God gathered him up into his arms, he was already there when we saw his tiny feet and hands for the first time. We planted a tree to remember this little one and I can't help but smile when I look at it now and understand the hope we have in Christ.

I lost one of my good buddies in a motorcycle accident several years ago. I remember reflecting on the idea of memorials then and concluded that the people in our lives build monuments in our hearts. With each interaction placing stone upon stone, and in the case of my friend, left a monument unfinished. We can sit and ponder how it was constructed, each stone in its place, and draw comfort from those moments.....and encourage others to take stones and place them where they will.

We should all be in the business of building memorials in the hearts of others, wherever we go.


I was in the northwest part of the state for the last two days and just wanted to stick in some random pictures from historic routes I traveled along.

The yellow cottages ca. 1930 are part of a travel lodge compound on U.S. 6-Grand Army of the Republic Highway, just west of Westville. They're in great condition.

The Citizens Service Station ca. 1950 is on the Lincoln Highway/U.S. 30 in Wanatah.

The wildflowers-Lupine-are growing along the removed/abandoned section of Lincoln Highway east of Hamlet. I've not seen Lupine growing in any other area around the state, except for this small stretch between Hamlet east to the Marshall County line.

I also did a short stint on the Yellowstone Trail I'll post later.

20 May 2008

Justice Man

from life verse....Micah 6:8:

You know what is required of you......to act JUSTLY, ......

As a kid I remember saying to my folks "that's not fair" and they would say....yep, you know it, "life's not fair". So, what is justice then? It is to make things fair, is it not? Justice is to act on behalf of the widows, the poor, the orphans when they have been treated unfairly. To act justly is to define what is fair and to work toward, or on behalf of those who are not being treated fairly.

Just/Justice is defined as fair, impartial, upright. By and large, I believe most people would consider themselves "just" or impartial-most of us would never consider treating one person wholly different than another. We all have friendships and family that naturally have different relational qualities in which we treat them differently than strangers. So, the directive in Micah 6:8 is followed fairly easily, correct? to act Justly?

Where I believe we fail in acting justly is in two arenas most of us probably do not consider ourselves ingrained in. One is politics and the other is business. When politics and capitalism know no moral absolutes, albeit we should expect them to, then acting justly simply doesn't apply to them. Don't get me wrong, they should! And there are several elected officials and businessmen, my dad & father-in-law being my most astute examples, who were or are just in their dealings. However, as a society, I believe we adhere to "all is fair in love and war" and not issues of integrity. I would love to sit across from some of the partisans I know, or from certain corporate giants and ask them.....do you act justly? They'd show me the door.

I also think that we need to step up our game on issues of social justice. We may qualify ourselves in "acting justly" when it comes to our own individual actions, but what about those who we are also responsible for? What about justice for others who are oppressed? A friend of mine, from right here in river city, is helping the cause of the Tibetan monks. It seemed surreal when he told me what he is doing.....but then I thought, cool! His faith and his commitment to justice for them even outweighs a difference in religion. What if they heard that some Christian from Indiana was giving them props for their cause? What would they think of Christianity then?

A shout out to one Justice Man I know........go KF!

news from around the state.....

Two great news stories from central & southern Indiana:

The I-69 extension from Indy to Evansville is drawing protesters, again. And this time it appears they are lodged in trees along the new path to be cut for the highway extension. Several protesters have camped out in trees along the path of the new interstate to connect southwestern Indiana with the rest of the state.

Logically, it would seem the I-69 extension is something necessary that, as you look at a map, appears should have always been. But then there is the argument that, if I'm correct, the new road would cut less than 20 minutes off the drive from Indy to Evansville. It takes me almost that long to drive around river city sometimes. Wasteful spending? Unnecessary loss of cropland and woodland? There are road extensions I plan to boycott here in river city once they are complete, but I'm not going to promise to boycott I-69.......the trip to Holiday World is a long one with kids.


Hooray for Zionsville! Evidently Zionsville officials have defeated a plan by Wal-Mart to construct a super Wal-Mart on the famed Michigan Road. Quoted as the primary reason was the destructive influence Wal-Mart would have on the charming character of this community. What I think is unfortunate is that it evidently takes well educated and wealthier folks to understand that their community has character. Imagine if the rest of us out here in possum hollow understood the importance of protecting our communities' character. There would be no Wal-Mart.......imagine.

Life verse

I've heard people refer to "life verses". Like famous folks who are interviewed say they have a life verse, or blogs I read post a life verse. So, I figure I can have a life verse. There are a few verses I find myself reflecting on a great deal. Psalms 1:1 is one. But I have to say the verse that I come back to time and time again is Micah 6:8. And it is the verse I try to live by........so, I guess it is my life verse. I've even thought about changing my name to Micah.

So, without further adieu, Hoosier Reborn's life verse,

Micah 6:8:

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

I went looking for pics of justice, mercy and humility. And when I searched "justice" pictures of the Justice League came up. You remember....Saturday morning cartoons? So, what would God's Hall of Justice look like? Justice Man, Man of Mercy, Humility Hulk? I imagine Humility Hulk having supernatural powers to overcome his enemies with sheer humility. "Oh no! Humility Hulk has bowed his knees! There's no stopping him now!" "Villains unite! Man of Mercy is feeding the hungry! He'll have an army soon!"

Guess what? We're in God's Justice League. We can be the superheroes on earth. Which reminds me of my youthful imagination when I called myself the "Tomahawk Kid", I had a t-shirt and special utility belt.....and cowboy boots. Seriously.

I'm way off track. The life verse.........I'll break the verse down into three parts and post on each of the superhero strengths God has given to each of us. But first, the preface, the introduction of the verse. It begins with "He has showed you....what is good". This sets the rules to the game; we have no excuses; we know the rules because God has shown us what is good and we know that we are required to do good. What follows is what is expected of man.

Coming soon...........Justice Man.

report from the field

Just an update from the weekend on my dad's eco-experiment. While hanging out Friday night in search of morels.......which we found zero.........my dad asked if I could help him plant a new perch for the birds in the field.

The perch was a dead elm, 30' tall and took both of us to walk it up once we planted it in the ground. It looks like a lone telephone pole in the middle of the 10 acre plot.

The "pond" is doing well with tadpoles swimmin' and the goldfish warming up. Herons, including a Green Heron (which reminds me of the Green Lantern) have ample supply of food for their visits. They have tree swallows and bluebirds nesting in the birdhouse gourds and have recently picked up pairs of Orchard and Baltimore Orioles.

Dad built a pole lean-to kinda structure over their bench so they can be undetected by wildlife. The feed plots are ready for planting......which I've often wondered if they give concern to passing helicopters of illegal marijuana growing activity.

And finally, one robin thought the artificial Christmas tree located near the pond would make for a swell place to build its nest. I imagine once we've cut down all the trees in river city, we can take comfort in the idea that installing plastic trees will also provide appropriate habitat for wildlife.

We've had our own share of new fowl sightings. The white crowned sparrow, house wren and new to our home-the Swainson's Thrush, have made visits over the last week.

19 May 2008

the planted prayer for unity

I may offend some folks' sensitivity on this one with my sarcasm-but I promise the conclusion will get you thinking.

So, our church is going through some changes. Have you ever noticed that when things start to happen at churches that can create disagreement or difference of opinion a prayer for unity goes up? Forget we may not be unified generally, we get into our cliques every Sunday morning, go our way after service and never really work together to be salt and light.

On our way to a special congregational meeting last night my wife and I were speculating on who would send up the prayer for unity and when. No surprises, it was the first prayer to be prayed. And actually, it was a good friend of mine I love like a brother.

So, why do we pray for unity? Here's some thoughts:

"God, we pray for unity" because people don't see things like I do and they need to know that I'm right, I mean, that you and I are right and people just need to get it.

"God, give us unity in the church" because man, we've screwed up and we don't want to admit it and I sure hope no one starts to question what we've done.

"We pray for unity, oh Lord" the natives don't trust us and are getting restless!

"We pray for unity God" because we like things the way they are, everything kept under the surface and everyone pretending everything's ok

There.......that's my jumping off point. Let's talk about husband and wife, Bob and Betty. Bob and Betty gradually have distanced themselves from each other. They have done and said some hurtful things to each other that has broken trust and now they're just kinda numb. They go on in their unhappy little lives pretending everything is ok. What needs to happen? A prayer for unity? How about if Bob and Betty get all their junk out first, experience healing in their relationship and then move forward..........together, as a family, you know, the word we throw around for our church.

Unity is absolutely essential for the church, the body of Christ. Unity doesn't mean complete agreement, but, it does mean working through issues and healing to provide a healthy church.

Somehow we've "holified" unity. We throw down the unity card when it is convenient or want to trump another's opinion or point of view. It's an unspoken, "if you don't shut up or agree with me, you're creating dissension.........you aren't being biblical........you certainly aren't being holy"

I'm praying for our church like never before. But, I'm praying all the junk gets out and people who have been hurt or disenfranchised experience healing. I'm praying that the power struggle goes away because holding on to each other is more important than holding onto a trump card.

16 May 2008

Social Justice-now that's a big one!

Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy;then it was well.

Is not this to know me? says the Lord.

But your eyes and heart are only on your dishonest gain, for shedding innocent blood, and for practicing oppression and violence.

Jeremiah 22:15-17

Powerful words to read this morning. I can't pretend to do the topic of social justice...justice in one entry. I am encouraged to see more christians understanding and embracing social justice issues........I think Jesus would have, because he did & his directives were to do the same. It is encouraging to see the newly adopted "evangelical manifesto" address such topics as poverty, environment and violence. This is, I hope, the church emergent. It is long overdue for many of our evangelical churches.

I recently landed on a site called God Politics at http://www.blog.beliefnet.com/godspolitics/ and an entry by Derek Webb called "Jesus Following vs. Social Activism".....good stuff. I'll follow this up with my life verse on another entry....Micah 6:8.

15 May 2008

one thing we do well

If there is one thing we Hoosiers do well, it is dressing up like folks from 100+years ago. How many re-enactment villages, military encampments, homesteads, etc. do we have in our old state?
What's the allure? Is it the fashion statement? Is it the opportunity to let our craziness come out, kinda like at Halloween? We always attend Fulton County Historical Society's Red Bud Rendezvous (April) and Trail of Courage (September)........mostly because I absolutely love hearing bagpipes. But often my wife and I look at each other and wonder.......who are these people?

Don't get me wrong. I love it. Hey, you want to walk around in deer skin chaps, feel free. I'd appreciate it if you wore something underneath, though. Sometimes I suggest to my beautiful wife that we need to pack up and travel with these folks, like carnies or groupies. The kids would love it. Or, at least, let me buy some cool duds to walk around river city in.

Who's it gonna be?

I saw this illustration on another blog........I loved it!

OK, here's your chance. Who do you think that McCain and Obama (my conclusion for the demo nominee) are going to pick to be their VP's?

I heard Ron Paul on NPR yesterday........I had to apologize to my Paul supporter friend........I think he is only half crazy now.

Could Obama be thinking Edwards now with his endorsement? Maybe, but Obama doesn't need southern strength. He would be wise NOT to take Hillary-maybe Roemer or Bayh? Could McCain pick Romney or Huckabee? McCain needs youth and social conservatives.....I think that rules out Romney.

I predict McCain takes Robertson and Obama takes Wright. Wow-what a campaign that would create!

Michigan Road

You have to visit my friend over at "Down the Road" - see link on the left. He's got some great footage of the Michigan Road in southern Indiana, including a beautiful stone bridge.

The Michigan Road is probably the most overlooked historic resource we have in the state of Indiana. It was the first state commissioned road and connected the whole state, north to south, during the early settlement years - 1820's-1830's. It has a great story that needs to be told and a history that needs to be celebrated.

time to get my blog on.....

I have been stuck in the idiocracy that is INDOT over the last few days, so, my apologies for not getting to more posts.

Let me just say, if there is one state department that reeks of waste and nonsense it is the Indiana Department of Transportation. I spent the last two whole days in training for software that promises to increase my time spent in communicating with INDOT probably 4-fold. Seriously, I have a manual 3 1/2" thick just to navigate through their new system.

And what have I been doing with my lunches and breaks during training? Making phone call after phone call between clients and INDOT in order to straighten out a mess that INDOT created. No kidding, we are on the 5th interpretation of their rules.........this WEEK!

Think about this: contractors and consultants alike double their mark-ups and fees when dealing with INDOT due to the red tape. So, for every contract awarded by INDOT, for every dollar represented in that contract.........about 30 cents goes to "hassle charges" rather than real construction.

I'm going to guess INDOT awards not less than $100 million in contracts each year. That means about $30 million is the "hassle charge". I could be off on my numbers, but you get the idea. Hey, Mitch! Here's a place you can apply some common sense government reduction!

Thank goodness we leased the toll road........it can pay for the inflated prices at INDOT.

12 May 2008

mother's day madness

Two particularly fond memories from past mother's days.

We went to a mini-mega-church in South Bend growing up. The church also broadcasted on tv and radio live every Sunday morning. Tradition held that every mother's day the youngest mother, oldest mother and mother with the most children would receive special recognition and a present.

One mother's day the pastor called for the youngest mother.....mothers under the age of 20....only 3 remained standing. We have 20, and 18! and finally the third??? 13! Pastor was blush. God help her he said tapping the pulpit. Priceless!

The next year, in order to prevent another embarrassing moment, the pastor asked for the youngest MARRIED mother. This time through elimination one was left standing.....how old are you dear? "15!" and married.......... You never know what you'll get in a church of 3,500.

Another mother's day we went shrooming at my mom's old farmstead.....with my mom. It had rained alot the previous days leading up to the hunt. We drove the pickup. I can't remember who it was that got the truck stuck knee-deep in mud down the old lane to the woods. Had to have been my brother. It was a long walk for help-I remember that.
I remember my great grandmother-she was 98(?) when she passed away. She was a strong, strong woman-part of the Christian Women's Temperance Society and she and her three sisters were the backbone of the local Methodist Church. Saint is probably not too far off. I remember my grandmother, who others have called a saint (partly for putting up with gramps), she was the strength of her family and church and couldn't help but love anyone she met. And now I'm hearing the "saint" word being used for my mom-probably for putting up with my dad-she continues to be the strength of our family, taking on far more responsibility for her own family and ours than she should have to shoulder. And finally my wife, and mother to our children, will likely be called a saint one day too for putting up with me.
Happy Mother's Day........God bless you for putting up with us kids and husbands.

08 May 2008

the David tree

With all this talk of politics, Kendra's comments, switching parties and future runs for office, and some other big thoughts going through my head I've gotten somewhat retrospective......or melancholy......and maybe it is just the weather.

In general terms I have referenced a turning point in my life at the end of 2006 and how it involved politics and faith. I'm going to put myself out there in this so that folks fresh to the site, maybe even Kendra, can better understand my thoughts on politics.

For about 18 months I planned a campaign to run for mayor of river city. At the time I was a sitting R councilman who admittedly did not toe the party line because of deep personal convictions. I am as conservative if not more conservative than any other R party holder locally, and certainly so in terms of social norms (ie: the purpose christians call themselves R's). I did everything right in creating a campaign-talked to the right people, lined up party support, assuage fears, putting together a team, etc.. But the big guys knew I wasn't going to be a yes man, so, regardless of my republican"ness"......they pulled the rug out from under me a month before I planned to announce and got a member of my team to run. I was furious-and it showed.

I fasted and prayed like never before, but I was just numb and angry at God for putting a desire in my heart I thought was a "calling" and then had unethical men sabotage it. Why would God let that happen? The answer came in a book called "Tale of Three Kings" in which I saw a humble and broken David, while a calling on his life to be king, allowed God to work it in His time.

I've touched on this before, but I've never mentioned "the David tree". I don't believe in searching for signs, I really don't. I believe God gives us wisdom to make decisions. But, in the midst of reading this book and fasting and trying to make a decision on whether or not to still run knowing what kind of campaign would be had, I found myself on my folks' property in the "circle of trees" as we called it.........searching for God. After about an hour on a cold November Saturday, the 11th, as I sat on a stump and listened to the wind blow through the reed grass and watching it bob up and down.......something caught my attention.

At the east side of the circle I noticed a strange formation in a tree. Keep in mind, in nearly 35 years of playing and camping in this small wooded circle, I had never noticed this. I walked over to it and realized two large branches on this oak grew together. I only thought it strange I hadn't noticed it before. I went back and spent another hour thinking and praying. As I left the circle, the path took me passed the tree again and this time I looked up and saw the sun shining directly through the form created by the branches. It formed a perfect D.

And that got me thinking.....hmmmmmm......"Do run"? "Don't run"? I was amusing myself with the D possibilities when I finally landed on "Democrat"? God, you want me to run as a Democrat? I highly doubted that at the time. I got back to my folks and was pouring a cup of coffee when it struck me......"David".......God, you want me to be like David. And so I decided not to run for mayor-because what I had become politically could not bring honor to God.

And once I made that decision, my eyes began to open to the world of politics around me. There are unethical men who run our local R party. Winning elections for them has nothing to do with being conservative, being moral or having integrity. I'm not saying it is any better on the other side, but since I call myself Republican-it is my own party I have to resolve myself to. I'm not even suggesting that they should have the ethics I adhere to, for them it is politics and "all is fair in love and war". I can't operate like that.

This is what I believe. I don't care if you call yourself an R or a D. But, if you call yourself a Christian, you had better have a good grasp of who you are voting for and why. In the YEARS I listened to Rush Limbaugh, I cannot think of anytime in his dialogue I ever, EVER, saw the person of Christ being modeled. I'm not saying he should-but don't confuse a calling to live for Christ with a responsibility to vote republican. I could write a book on this, and this is already too long, but, I tell you from personal experience to live for Christ, if that is your goal, is to embrace the teachings of Christ which you will find contradict planks in both parties.

So, a future run or switching parties.....I don't know what awaits. My deepest desire, even after losing my primary to stay on council, has been to help people. I believe my gifts and abilities lend themselves to do that in the public arena.....but, I have to do that in loving my neighbor first and foremost.

07 May 2008

Primary re-cap

Well, not saying I'm a prophet, but I felt pretty good last night (and this morning) as results came in on the election. I guessed every race dead on with the winner, although my percentages were sometimes off.

First, kudos to all Hoosiers who got out to vote. I am impressed that turnout in some areas was double the last presidential election. If we want to succeed as a true representative democracy, then as many as possible must vote.

Second, case in point on voter ID, a few nuns in their 80's-90's were not permitted to vote at ND. Maybe they were illegals, I'm not sure why they didn't have valid ID.

Third. Whoa! Talk about a close one for both Jill and Hillary. I can only assume, if "operation chaos" was in full swing (hate to give that much credence to it) that legitimately Obama would have ended up with a victory, but I believe it a for-gone conclusion he will be the D nominee in the fall. Chaos more accurately reflects the last four years of Bush, but I digress. And the D's have a good candidate in Jill Long Thompson, but have a difficult run ahead.

Finally, I was quite pleased to see a couple local county results because it gave me faith in a system, while broken, cannot be completely controlled by any single faction. There are several 'ol boys in river city licking their wounds this morning. It has me thinking that a return to public office may be in my future, even as a disgruntled, independent thinking republican.
On to November.

06 May 2008

Down the Road

Here is another site I frequent......added to the left side.

Stuff Christians Like

Finally I figured this one out.....well, someone figured it out for me. The "stuff christians like" site never came up at the left, so, here it is, the actual address and I've fixed it too. You have to visit this site.


a great big shout out to the proprietor of the site, Prodigal Jon. I promise it will make you laugh!

I shouldn't have to travel to Michigan for fonn.

We got outa Dodge last Friday with some friends and headed to a cottage in South Haven, MI for the weekend. The weather cooperated, the cottage was sweet, the friends were tolerable (except a short dialogue about Mitch), the food was good and the photo opportunities were great. I enjoy being on the lake-although the walk to the lighthouse was a bit nippy. I spent a lot of time at Warren Dunes and Silver Beach at St. Joe during my college years-great places. I had a bad experience at Indiana Dunes, but am willing to try it again.

THE highlight was attending a small box style theater Saturday night featuring a celtic music band called "fonn mor". I love celtic music and this was some of the best I have heard. Their by-line is "21st Century sounds from the Celtic traditions". They had a woman drummer/percussionist that easily is the hardest working drummer I have ever seen. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves......to the extent of cutting the rug with jigs from a few reels.
I also thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with an old guy sitting in front of us. He turned around and asked if we like folk music. Yes, I said....then told me he bought a guitar for $75 30 years ago and that folk music tells a story, not like that love music today....hee hee hee. We talked a little while longer and he said, I bought a guitar for $75 30 years ago and folk music tells a story, not like that love music today....hee hee hee. He mentioned this at least four more times while we were talking. I just smiled and laughed with him.

I'm not sure why it is we can't have this kind of cultural outlet in river city. There's a pony-tailed hippie type guy who has been wishing for a box theater for these venues for a long time. Maybe I'll join forces with him. We need a Center for the Arts.......desperately.

And I'm just joking about the friends being "tolerable". They were great. And I'm bringing Fonn Mor to town for a big birthday bash.

Primary Day (a republican ho-hum)

I haven't voted yet. I don't really care frankly.....sad to say it, but the GOP primary in Indiana can be nothing more than a protest vote or a choice between the lesser of two evils for me.

I'll go in and cast a protest vote for president by voting for Huckabee. A protest vote for governor by not voting at all. I have a choice of 3 candidates for state representative 1) a nazi sympathizer 2) someone who wants to legalize drugs and 3) a raging unqualified fundamentalist. Lesser of three evils.

Locally I have the choice between one county commissioner whose integrity is lacking because of what he did to me personally or another whose integrity is lacking because of criminal activity. Then I have a choice of county council members where I'm just trying to figure out who is in whose pocket.

So, if I could vote vicariously through my Democrat friends........I would vote for Obama and Jill. I will go and vote-I promised my 7 year old son who is closely following the elections I would wait until after school and take him so he can be part of the process.

For your enjoyment, you have to visit a blog I read all the time and click on the youtube entry...it is the election done Star Wars style. Great stuff.


05 May 2008

morel weekend

Our kids had great fun at their grandparents this weekend.....even my five year old daughter found some mushrooms. My son, who also enjoys a good mushroom hunt, would have much rather been at the Clinton rally in river city. Is he my child?

02 May 2008



Evidently local radio and television stations are reporting on an explosive development in the Hillary camp with regard to the Indiana primary and comments made by a senior advisor on her staff.

It appears on a YouTube clip that this senior advisor made a comment about Hoosiers in general, during the 1992 campaign, that in Indiana we "don't know sh!#*t"

Nice.........it might be ok for me to say that, but not you stuffed shirt Washington liberals! Vote Obama.

why Hoosiers don't get massages

I have a terrible habit of holding the telephone between my head and shoulder while at work, because usually someone needs me to pull something up on the computer and I must have two hands free. This has resulted in reoccurring neck and shoulder pain that usually goes away in a day or two. But Monday night, after I did my workout, I realized I aggravated something and it never went away. So, given that we are going away this weekend and my wife didn't want me irritable, she said go get a massage.

In my nearly 40 years I've never had one. I left that up to the sissy's and metro-male guys. Hoosier men do not get massages......the hair on our backs and our inability to lie flat on the table due to the battle of the bulge alone should be a deterrent. However, I offer to share my experience with you so that based on my rating scale, you can decide if the massage experience is for you.

I got to my appointment 10 minutes early. Upon entry I realized the place had a relaxing metropolitan feel (+5) which I liked at first then realized this decor seemed out of place in river city (-3). The receptionist was attractive and friendly (+5) and I only waited five minutes before being taken to the consultation room (+3). I waited a long time in the consultation room (-3) before the doctor, a man I assumed would be doing the massage, (-5) walked in the room and with a double-take on my personal forms said "39? you look like you're 20" (+8).

He explained the procedure which he thought should also include acupuncture (-5) then had the receptionist explain the bill and payment method (-8). But, being in pain, I agreed and was escorted to the first room for x-rays. Then I was escorted to a large second room lined with tables for electro-stimulation-creepy-(-3), but it felt good (+5). It was a little awkward with other people going in and out and particularly with the old guy next to me talking about his hernia (-8). Then I was escorted to another room for the massage.

This is when a stocky guy named Brent took over (-8). Oh man, did it feel good (+10) but the small talk was awkward (-1).....can attractive women not exert enough force for an effective massage? Regardless, Brent asked if I wanted soothing ointment on my muscles after he was done......."sure". It felt good (+2) but I still smell like peppermint (-2).

I was taken from there to another room where the doctor man was waiting with my x-rays. He felt like there was no cause for alarm, but pain could be improved with a few sessions (+3). Then he asked if I had ever been adjusted....."no". Lie down and get ready for some pops he said (-5). But, oh my word.........(+8). When he wrapped up I asked if he was related to someone I know because he looked familiar. He was their son.........huh. That was pretty cool. (+5)

Total score: +3

You Hoosiers out there decide if it's worth it. Our pappy never got a massage when he was kicked by a horse and he lived to be 83.

at fever pitch!

You know something's going on in river city when you're sitting at a cafe' downtown for lunch and you see a fellow walking up and down the Main Street sidewalk holding an Obama sign over his head.

And rumors are rampant! First it was Hillary using the park, then it was Obama stopping at a diner, and now it appears we will be graced with Bill's presence at the high school tomorrow. I don't know how much more excitement our little town can take. The last presidential candidate to visit river city was during the 1970's. Without doubt, this is an historic event for presidential politics and while I might not like the guy, for a former president to visit our sleepy little town, that's worth seeing.

Yes, river city has been hit with campaign fever. Question........have any of the governor candidates been here? What's up with that?

01 May 2008

Green Oversight

I made an egregious oversight last week in that I did not make mention of either Earth Day or Arbor Day. Here in river city I am known as the chief tree hugger for reasons I will not go into here......although I will say it never involved chains.

There's nothing better than a grand old tree reflecting character, history and strength. And there are so many reasons why we should protect, plant and care for our trees in both rural and urban areas that I could start a tree blog on that alone. But instead I will let one of my most respected authors say it by poem.

by Wendell Berry

I part the out thrusting branches
and come in beneath
the blessed and the blessing trees.
Though I am silent
there is singing around me.
Though I am dark
there is vision around me.
Though I am heavy
there is flight around me.

For The Future
by Wendell Berry

Planting trees early in spring,
we make a place for birds to sing
in time to come.
How do we know?
They are singing here now.
There is no other guarantee
that singing will ever be.

From Collected Poems, 1957-1982. North Point Press, New York (1985). This poem first appeared in A Part (1980). Reknown essayist, poet, novelist and farmer, Wendell Berry is the author of more than thirty books and has emerged as an eloquent spokesman for conservation, common sense and sustainable agriculture. He lives and works with his wife, Tanya, on their farm in in Henry County, Kentucky.