Archive for April, 2012

Questions That Keep Me Up At Night
April 28, 2012

These are questions that keep me up at night…….

Who was the first guy that saw a chicken drop something out of it’s behind and said, “Hey, I bet we can eat that?”

What person saw a cow with it’s utter and said to a friend, “I bet if we squeeze that, we can drink it”.

What possessed a person to invent SPAM? What is it? Where does it come from?

Who first thought that “Hey, it would be a good idea to cut off the head of this animal I shot and proudly display it on my wall”?

Why do people look at the person in the coffin at the funeral home say, “Wow, he looks good”? My gosh, people, he’s dead.

Why do people always have to touch the object that has a sign on it saying, “Wet paint”? You think someone is pulling your leg?

Why do people continue to push the button on an elevator that says, “Out of order”? Do you think your brute force will make it work?

Who was the first one to say, “Holy crap”? There’s nothing holy about crap.

How do you plant seedless watermelons?

Why does the trucking company “Yellow” have their name on their trucks painted orange?

Why does the word “gazebo” make me giggle? Go ahead, try it.

Who came up with the line “If I should die before I wake” for a little kids’ bedtime prayer? Glad THAT doesn’t instill fear.

Why is Iceland full of greenery and Greenland full of ice?

Why do parents spank their kids to keep them from crying? Wouldn’t that add to the problem?

Why do parents tell their kids, “Just be yourself”, and when they are themselves, the parents punish them?

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck?

Where’s Waldo and why is everyone looking for him?

If lightning really doesn’t strike twice, why wouldn’t we stand at the last spot it hit during a storm?

Who invented gum? Why did they feel a need to chew for such a long period of time?

If I refuse to forgive, will God really not forgive me?




April 21, 2012

As I write this, I have just responded to the screams of my daughter JoJo asking me to intervene between her and her brother Ben. Ben pins her down, as he is bigger and stronger, and she cannot move.

“So what?”, someone asks, “siblings do that.” Yeah…….but JoJo is 24 and Ben is 16. I guess this sib thing continues on throughout life.

Now, I look at my brothers, Jim and Bob, and my sisters, Diane and Kathy. I am the baby of the family. I love being the baby. By the time I was 18, my dad was “done” with raising kids, so I got to do a lot of things that my sibs didn’t. Seriously, letting me take a bus to New York City with my buddy Chuck when we were both 17 just so we could see Yankee Stadium before they remodeled it? We did. (But, looking back, we let JoJo go to Italy when she was 17, so maybe I’m like Dad? Oh, Lord, help me!)

As I am the baby,all my sibs are in their 60’s, Jim rapidly approaching 70. (By rapidly, I mean lightning fast approaching). These are HUGE numbers. Jim said yesterday, “It’s hard to believe in 10 years I’ll almost be 80”. I told him not to skip decades and concentrate on the one he’s landing in.

I look at my kids, and they crack me up. I don’t know if I was ever that cool. I know that their dad is cooler than mine, though.

I remember Luke and JoJo wrestling each other, JoJo giving Ben “boobie twisters” and he wasn’t allowed to give them back, which he thought was totally unfair. Ben and Luke making videos together, the three of them at Presque Isle, Disney, California, But the best memories are home memories.

Coloring Easter eggs, Christmas morning, hunting for Easter eggs. They would sit around on their laptops and share music with each other. It reminds me of when I was home with my sibs. I forced my parents to listen to my Beatles records. They never thanked me, come to think of it.

We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but we had a lot of memories, memories that an only child cannot have. Sharing about first dates, first kiss, hitting a home run (I had ONE in little league), I remember listening to “Mr. Tambourine Man” by the Byrds that my sister Kathy had bought, and playing it over and over again. Then joyfully discovering it was Bob Dylan that wrote it. Teasing my sisters because they ironed their hair to straighten it. That’s what they did “back in the day”.

Going to my first movie with my brother Jim, seeing “Mary Poppins” at the Columbia Theater. Watching Bob play high school football (one of the most underrated football players EVER at Sharon High School). Diane walking me down to Bogolin’s market for the first time. All things only children don’t have.

So when I hear JoJo scream, Ben yell, or Luke say “this is stupid” when he can’t figure out how to get out of a seat belt and his sibs laughing at him, it brings me much joy. Kind of like when I was a kid.

April 20, 2012

Have you ever said things when you were younger like, “When I have kids, I’ll never tell them that”? Then you have kids, and you HEAR what you just said, and then say out loud, “Oh my gosh, I have become my father (mother)”!

Yeah, we all have. So as I enter a new chapter in my life, it’s kind of weird that I’m going vegetarian. Yeah, worked all those years at Burger King, and here I am a vegetarian. Bonnie asked, “Are you doing this for health reasons or are you going through a mid-life crisis?”. I immediately said, “No, silly, for health”, then dusted off my Crosby, Stills, and Nash music, found a protest song from The Hello People, and tried to figure out how a 56 year old bald man could still look cool with a ponytail……and still preach.

Nah, it’s health. I’ve reached desperate times, and desperate times call for desperate measures. I saw a movie called “Forks over Knives”. It was recommended by my two doctors and my CFO at Belmont, Sylvia. Ok, I got the hint.

Now the movie is about Vegan eating. That means not just disassociating from meat, but also anything that comes out of an animal (milk, cheese, eggs, anything Nancy Pelosi says). You get the idea. 

I don’t know if I can do that (other than Pelosi), so after checking with Bonnie, we decided that vegetarian would be best for me. See the movie, because it’s too much to go into. So after three days, I’m vegetarian.

I consult other vegetarians, who give great pointers. Some simplify it too much, like “Don’t eat meat”.Oh, thank you sir. Truly wisdom will die with you.

So, now the question is recipes. Bonnie has been phenomenal, checking out cookbooks, going on line, watching Veggie Tales, just above and beyond. 

I haven’t lost much weight, but have noticed a difference in my body. I have more gas than an OPEC nation. I go to the bathroom like a racehorse. But the main thing is that I’m not hungry as much. Veggies and fruit sort of fill me up. Also, I eat whole grain bread. Now that is really filling. So, change is good.

A guy who is about 25 years younger than me was into healthy eating. He said it was too late for me. Not so. It’s never too late.  

So why now? Well, the light clicked on. My friend at work has had a couple toes amputated because of diabetes. The foot is not healing and open to infections. I don’t want to lose body parts. Weight, yes, but not body parts. 

God gives us warnings and sometimes we ignore them, or at least don’t address them right away. I’m addressing my warning now. I’m not putting it off. From now on, when I’m “veggin'” at home, it’s a good thing.

When I was 19
April 13, 2012

When I was 19, you either could make a living and raise a family by working in the steel mill, go to college, or join the military. (Vietnam had just ended).

When I was 19, we got into fights without weapons, just fists. Nobody shot anyone, stabbed anyone, or bludgeoned anyone.

When I was 19, it was a THRILL to see your favorite rock band on television. There weren’t music videos. (MTV didn’t come around until I was 26!)

When I was 19, FM radio just started to become popular. It surpassed AM radio in my 20’s.

When I was 19, you could legally drink beer (although it was 3.2 % alcohol) in Ohio, but not Pennsylvania.

When I was 19, I bought my first car, a 1964 Lincoln Continental for $400. (“I’m the friendly stranger in the black sedan, won’t you hop inside my car?”)

When I was 19, I thought my parents would live forever, never realizing that my mother would die just 12 years later.

When I was 19, I didn’t know that Bonnie Bateman existed, let alone that I’d marry her 10 years later.

When I was 19, my father was stupid and I knew everything.

When I was 19, I had hair. LONG hair down to my shoulders and parted down the middle.

When I was 19, I was drinking heavily and smoking pot. I was not a happy hippie.

When I was 19, I was a democrat and liberal.

When I was 19, I saw the play “Jesus Christ Superstar” and thought it was biblical.

When I was 19, the Yankees had won only 20 World Series titles.

When I was 19, I prayed the Beatles would get back together.

When I was 19, I knew everything about women.

When I was 19, $2.00 gave me a half tank of gas and $5.00 filled it up….even the Lincoln.

When I was 19, I thought that if Carly Simon met me, she’d divorce James Taylor for me.

When I was 19, I viewed Cat Steven’s “Father and Son” from the Son’s perspective.

When I was 19, I was going to change the world.

When I was 19, I never thought I’d live to be this old.

Why I like/love Jesus
April 6, 2012

I’ve been reflecting, and it’s good. Not like when I hold my I-Phone in the sun and get it to reflect the light into Benny’s eyes, although that is fun, but reflecting on what I believe and why I believe it.

My reflection was on the question, “Why do I love Jesus”? Other than the fact that He saved me from HELL FOR ETERNITY, which is sort of a huge deal, what do I like about Him?

1. He was who He was. He changed for nobody. He came with a belief that could not be shaken, a faith that surpassed human knowledge, a love that extended to the world, and loved those that hated Him. Man, I wish I could be like that. I’m trying to love a guy that treats his son like crap, and it’s hard. While I wish that God would smite him, God continues to love him and bless him. God’s like that.

2. He didn’t shove His offer of salvation down people’s throats. He said, ‘those who have ears to hear’ would listen to Him. I find it like Christ brought this huge buffet for everyone to enjoy. Some passed by without eating, some looked but didn’t taste, some tasted and walked away, and some pulled a chair up to the buffet and devoured it! Then Jesus would move on, then present it to others. Basically He said, “I’m offering eternal life. I’m not going to beg you to take it. Oh, yeah, by the way, I already paid for it.”

3. He left no middle ground on who He was. He was either God or He was a nut! How can someone say that He was a great teacher but not God, when He taught and said He was God? If my teacher gives me all these gems and says, “Did I mention that I’m God also?”, chances are real good that either:

a. He is really God. Or

b. He is crazier than a loon, and how can I believe anything He says? That would be like me preaching a sermon and saying, “Oh yeah, forgot to mention, I am Napoleon Bonapart. How do I get to Waterloo?”

4. He loved the poor. You might be reading this and thinking, ‘well, I’m poor’. Do you have a computer? Less than 3% of the world has a computer. You’re rich. Jesus said how hard it is for the rich to enter heaven. Beware, my rich friend, that you enter the narrow gate and not the wide path.

Jesus always looked out for the poor. He taught about giving “all your possessions to the poor and follw me”.  I love how Jesus became poor to make us rich in Him.

5. Jesus, everytime His crowd of followers got larger and larger, would hit them with a teaching about giving up their flesh lives and follow Him in the Spirit. Give up your homes, your rights, your attittudes, your sexual activities, your addictions, your “holier than thou” thoughts and follow Me. He wasn’t into large crowds of followers. He was into faithful crowds of followers.

That’s just some of the reasons I love Jesus. Oh, and He died for me. (Drop the mike and walk off stage)