Friday, July 26, 2002

Somewhere back in the deep storage of your brain files, you probably remember him from World History class: the emperor Charlemagne. I always thought it was "Charley Magney" until my teacher corrected me. Actually, Charlemagne was the most powerful European ruler of the Middle Ages, leading a people called the Franks to rule most of Europe. Under his rule, many people got baptized into the Church. It was pretty much expected of his soldiers, for example. In fact, they would go down to the river en masse and take the plunge. But one source reports that there was one thing that was a bit unusual about the baptisms of those soldiers. When they would go under the water, they would hold one hand out of the water with their sword in that hand. They didn't want that hand baptized. That was the one they wanted to be free to use to kill whoever they needed to kill.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

When we're out to eat, we like to bring a little light-heartedness into the life of the person who is serving our table. My wife suggests that I'm on the "10 Most Wanted List" of waitresses, but I'm just trying to put a little fun in their day. For example, I tell her we can't order because we don't know her name - my mother told me never to talk to strangers. That helps us get acquainted. Later, when she checks back with us, she'll often ask, "Is your dinner okay?" And I like to say, "Oh, it sure is! You're a great cook." She'll get all flustered and usually answer, "Oh, I don't cook your dinner - I just serve it."

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

We had just reached the town where we were vacationing when our aging van took up smoking - like big black smoke billowing out from under the hood. We had it towed to a friend's garage for a diagnosis and prognosis. He announced that the patient needed a whole new engine - at a cost of about $2,000. We didn't even have $200.00. But somehow the word of that need leaked out to a church in the community, and people kept showing up at the garage with money toward that repair. Miraculously, God supplied the whole amount through His people. And the mechanic replaced the old engine with one that was considerably more powerful. Now, we had chugged up the hills on the way there ... we flew up the hills on the way home.

Tuesday, July 9, 2002

Courtney is the daughter of one of our staff, and she had a miserable cold on her ninth birthday. So, no party, no "happy birthdays" at school. I gave her a quick call that day and I sang "Happy Birthday" to her - which may have made her sicker. But I wanted to do something to cheer her up a little that day. You know, it's tough to be sick on your birthday. Well, Courtney and her seven-year-old brother Eddie were in the office the other day. I joked with them and said, "I guess Courtney's still eight - 'cause if you're sick on your birthday, it doesn't count." Ha ha, very funny. That night as Eddie was wrapping up his day, he told his Mother, "Hey, guess what? Courtney isn't two years older than me after all!" When Mom asked why, Eddie said, "Because Ron said that if you're sick on your birthday, your birthday doesn't count!" He was serious.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

When England's Queen Mother died, the British people poured out their affection and respect by lining up for hours to honor her. Her crown was displayed, including the massive, 105-carat diamond - what is known as the Kohinoor Diamond. Actually, Kohinoor means "mountain of light." The story, as I was told it, is that years ago that diamond was given to Queen Victoria by an Indian maharajah when he was a boy. Later, as a grown man, he visited the queen and requested that the diamond be brought from the Tower of London to Buckingham Palace. Kneeling before the queen, he gave it back to her saying, "Your Majesty, I gave you this jewel when I was a child, too young to know what I was doing. I want to give it to you again in the fullness of my strength, with all of my heart and gratitude, now and forever, fully realizing all that I do."

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Our daughter called the other day and told us that we had to hear what our three-year-old grandson had just said to her - totally unprompted, out of the blue. He got on the phone and simply said, "Ronald." My wife and I cracked up. That's exactly what my wife says to me when I'm doing something weird - which, of course, is very, very rare. It's her lighthearted way of trying to correct this crazy guy she's married to. But our grandson had even mastered the tone of what she says - "Ronald." All this time he's been listening, recording - and now reproducing. Like we should be surprised?

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

The financial collapse of Enron's energy empire sent shock waves through America's financial community. When questions began to arise about the practices of Enron's accounting firm, the damage from the quake spread faster and farther. That firm has been one of America's "Big 5," doing both the accounting and financial consulting for some of this country's biggest corporations. It may take many months, even years, to sort out what really happened. But the questions alone have had a devastating effect, with client after client bailing out of their relationship with the accounting firm, leaving it severely crippled. And it all happened so fast.

Thursday, May 9, 2002

My wife was driving one night recently when she saw a sad sight by the side of a busy interstate. She first noticed a dog standing dangerously close to the edge of the highway. Then she realized that the dog was actually standing over another animal that was lying in front of him. The dog was sniffing his companion, and nuzzling his companion, and apparently pushing it trying to get some response. She said the dog would look up at passing motorists with an expression that seemed to say, "Can anybody do something?" Well, no one could.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Apparently, they were talking about America's reservoirs in terrorist centers in Afghanistan. As al-Qaeda documents were uncovered by American troops there, it became clear that folks who want to attack American interests have been at least considering some of our major water systems. So, security has really been beefed up at those kinds of facilities. And that's a good thing.

Monday, April 8, 2002

The 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City were full of memorable spectacle and, of course, exciting performances. And, as most Olympics, they were tinged with a little controversy. This time the controversy revolved around some of the judging. For several days the headlines focused on the judging of the pairs figure skating competition. Now, most observers thought the Canadian skaters' flawless performance had won them the gold medal. But, much to almost everyone's surprise, the gold went to the Russian skaters. There was some evidence of deal-making between judges and that might have influenced the results. Commentators discussed how similar judging improprieties had actually shown up in other world class skating competitions over the years. Although the Olympic Committee later decided to award duplicate gold medals to both the Canadians and the Russians, that judging controversy - as well as some others - raised a lot of questions about Olympic judging and Olympic results.

            

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