Much like your parents attic, treasured memories lay within. So, wipe the dust off my ruminations and remembrances, sit back and enjoy!

Robots and Squirrels...the age long enmity

OK...Lisa and I do the 'divide and conquer' method of putting our younger two to bed. She goes in and does her routine with Kyle and I with Hope. Last week, I had finished before Lisa and as I was passing Kyle's bedroom, Kyle said, 'Hey, Vince? Did you know that when God is done with this Earth, He will make a new one? And that when He makes the new Earth, animals will be our friends?' I said, 'Yes, Kyle, that's right. And did you know that the Bible says that the Lion will lay with the Lamb?' 'Yeah,' he said. 'And the robots and squirrels will finally be friends!' ...even I paused at that one...I said (with a barely straight face), 'I...wasn't aware that robots and squirrels were enemies??' Kyle didn't even pause, he said 'Oh, yeah...when a robot whose minding his own business gets too close to a tree, a squirrel will dive on it's head and attack it!' The visual (yes, us men ARE visual) was too much and I just burst out laughing!

So...when God creates the new Earth, the robots will have THAT to look forward to...

~ V

Is it still 'Green' if it kills the family pet?

OK...confession time. I'm really not much of a 'Green' person. Green...you know, the latest societal fad that has everyone from Al Gore (didn't he invent this too?) to the teachers in your child's school doing what they can to help 'Mother Earth'. Now I know that's not a very PC thing to say that and honestly, I do feel it's good to be a wise steward environmentally, but there are people that are fanatical about it.

I heard a radio commercial last week that involved two junior high school aged kids. One pointed out to the other that they weren't using energy saving light bulbs in their bedroom (I don't know about you, but energy saving light bulbs are the LAST thing ANY of my kids are thinking about...especially around their friends!). The 'guilty' kid at first tried to say that this really wasn't his room and then proceeded to try a few other stupid lame excuses. A couple things irritated me about this PSA, one was the obvious attempt to use peer pressure on our kids to get to us...that strikes me as wrong.

The biggest irritant is the lie surrounding these light bulbs. Have you actually sat down and read the packaging on the side? Probably not...after all, why would we? I'm pretty sure none of us needs to read instructions on how to install a light bulb, but you should...here's what it says:

And here is a reprint of a April, 2007 WorldNetDaily Newspaper article:

'Brandy Bridges, of Prospect, Maine, heard the claims of government officials, environmentalists and retailers like Wal-Mart all pushing the idea of replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving and money-saving compact fluorescent lamps.

So, last month, Brandy went out and bought two dozen CFLs and began installing them in her home. One broke. A month later, her daughter's bedroom remains sealed off with plastic like the site of a hazardous materials accident, while Bridges works on a way to pay off a $2,000 estimate by a company specializing in environmentally sound cleanups of the mercury inside the bulb. With the Environmental Protection Agency promoting CFLs as the greatest thing since, well, the light bulb, consumers have been left in the dark about a problem that we will all face eventually – how to get rid of the darn things when they burn out or, worse yet, break.

CFLs are all the rage. They are the spirally shaped, long-lasting bulbs everyone is being urged, cajoled and guilt-tripped into purchasing to replace Thomas Edison's incandescents, which are being compared to SUV’s for their impracticality and energy inefficiency. However, there is no problem disposing of incandescents when their life is over. You can throw them in the trash can and they won't hurt the garbage collector. They won't leak deadly compounds into the air or water. They won't kill people working in the landfills. The same cannot be said about the mercury-containing CFLs. They bear disposal warnings on the packaging. But with limited recycling prospects and the problems experienced by Brandy Bridges sure to be repeated millions of times, some think government, the green community and industry are putting the cart before the horse marketing the new technology so ferociously.

Consider her plight...When the bulb she was installing in a ceiling fixture of her 7-year-old daughter's bedroom crashed to the floor and broke into the shag carpet, she wasn't sure what to do. Knowing about the danger of mercury, she called Home Depot, who sold her the bulbs.

According to the Ellison American, the store warned her not to vacuum the carpet and directed her to call the poison control hotline in Prospect, Maine. Poison control staffers suggested she call the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

The latter sent over a specialist to test the air in her house for mercury levels. While the rest of the house was clear, the area of the accident was contaminated above the level considered safe. The specialist warned Bridges not to clean up the bulb and mercury powder by herself – recommending a local environmental cleanup firm. That company estimated the cleanup cost, conservatively, at $2,000. And, no, her homeowners insurance won't cover the damage.

Since she could not afford the cleanup, Bridges has been forced to seal off her daughter's bedroom with plastic to avoid any dust blowing around. Not even the family pets are permitted in to the bedroom. Her daughter is forced to sleep downstairs in an overcrowded household.

She has continued to call public officials for help – her two U.S. senators included. So far, no one is beating down Bridges' door to help – not even Al Gore, whose Academy Award-winning movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," urges everyone to change to CFLs to save the planet from global warming.'

The whole world, it seems, fearing global warming, is gearing up to ban the incandescent light bulb. It started in Cuba, moved to Venezuela, then Australia, Canada and the European Union. Now individual states in the U.S., including California, Connecticut, North Carolina and Rhode Island, are all in the process of legislating an end to Edison's greatest invention.

The issue with the incandescent is that it uses more energy to produce light. Advocates of CFLs say they save money and energy by producing more light over more time for less money and less energy. They prefer to minimize concerns about cleanup and disposal, usually saying more needs to be done in the area of recycling.

So, in weighing energy and ecological responsibility against the saftey and welfare of my family, well...I guess I'm just not 'green' enough.

THAT is the real Inconvenient Truth!

~ V

Look at the point spread on THAT one!

I absolutely LOVE my wife! Among the many reasons is that she makes me laugh and isn’t afraid in the least to laugh at herself! Last night, Lisa and I went to bed around 11pm and we did our little routine of shutting off the lights, etc and so we found ourselves walking across a dark house towards the hall that leads to our bedroom. I had seen that one of the kids had left an oversized ‘bouncy-ball’ on the landing, just in front of the hallway, so, not wanting Lisa or I to trip over it in the dark, I gave it a little kick and sent it rolling downstairs…Lisa didn’t see the ball, nor did she see me kick it. I heard her pause and she said, ‘Who’s there?’ Not quite sure what she was talking about, I stopped and turned and saw her with her head slightly ‘cocked’ sideways, looking downstairs. Again, she said, ‘Who’s there?...Did you see it?...Was that a Deer?’ At that point, I finally realized what had happened and I said, ‘No dear, that’s a ball! She saw this ‘shadowy figure’ bounding gracefully down the stairs and associated that with a Deer bounding gracefully across a field…

We laughed until our sides hurt and tears came to our eyes!

I LOVE my wife!!!

~ V

Plastic Easter eggs...$.99...The Cross, PRICELESS

Note: Please scroll to the very bottom and PAUSE the music player there before playing this video...

Tomorrow, millions of people all over the world will be celebrating Easter. Easter brings back many memories for me, some religious, some not so religious. I’m not going to go on a tirade about the commercialization of Easter, but I would like each of you to put the thoughts of Easter grass, eggs, baskets, candy and even the Easter bunny aside for a moment and think about the gift freely given & the sacrifice endured some 2000 plus years ago by Gods only son Jesus. Neither Pontius Pilate (the Roman appointed Governor), nor Herod (the figurehead King) could find Jesus guilty of wrong doing, but through pressure from the Jewish religious leaders, Pontius washed his hands of Jesus and told them to do with him as they will. John 19:1 says that Pilate then had Jesus scourged. ‘…and scourged him…’ Just three words ... the mind absorbs them in a second and passes to the next sentence.

The Bible gives no further explanation. There is no footnote explaining what it means. Most of us read over it for years without really contemplating that word...scourged. It was somehow a part of the crucifixion. Maybe we heard a preacher say it was some sort of a whipping. Oh, but it was so much more. Pilate knew the Jews delivered Jesus out of envy (Matthew 27:18), and that He had committed no real crime, certainly not one worthy of death (Luke 23:15). Pilate also knew that something had to be done as these people were far too worked up to go home without any action, so he decided a scourging might satisfy their lust for vengeance. Today’s Humane Society would not allow a dog to be treated the way our Lord was.

An “examination by scourging” (Acts 22:24, 29) was a legal preliminary to every Roman execution. This brutal flogging was called the “little death” and preceded the “big death” (crucifixion). Only women, Roman senators, and soldiers (except deserters) were exempt. History tells us that a criminal was flogged either by two soldiers (lictors) or by one who alternated positions. Under Hebrew law a penalty was limited to forty strokes (Deuteronomy 25:3), so they normally stopped at thirty-nine in case they miscounted. The Romans, however, imposed no such numerical limitation. A scourging’s severity depended entirely on the lictor’s disposition. The only rule for the lictor who scourged a man about to be crucified was that he was to expire on the cross—not at the stake. Thus he tried to bring his victim to the very verge of death, without crossing that threshold. The scourging post was usually about two feet high. A criminal’s wrists were strapped to an iron ring that projected from two sides near the top. Sometimes the victim’s arms were stretched instead above his head and fastened to a beam. The usual instrument was a short-handled whip (flagrum, flagellum) with several single or braided thongs of variable lengths, on which sharp pieces of sheep bones were tied at intervals. Sometimes the whip instead was made of several thin, iron chains which ended in small weights. Clothing was stripped so the prisoner stood naked, or at the most with a loincloth. (Is it any wonder the Bible says, “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame...” Hebrews 12:2?) The man’s wrists were tightly fixed to the iron rings. He was stretched, face down, with his feet pointed away from the post (or in the case of the beam, he was hoisted vertically). In both cases, the shoulder blades were positioned to provide little protection for the underlying flesh. The tension of awaiting the first blow was cruel. The body was rigid. The muscles knotted in tormenting cramps. Color drained from the cheeks. Lips were drawn tight against the teeth. Then it came ... the whistle of the whip and the dull thud as it made contact with flesh, followed by the burning sensation and the first trickle of blood. Again and again, more rapidly they came, blow after blow. With seemingly unbearable agony the naked back, neck, sometimes face, chest (as the whip was allowed to encircle the body), buttocks, and legs were repeatedly struck. At first, it caused deep bruising. Then, as the lictor continued his well-practiced procedure, the thongs, sheep bones, chains, and weights cut into the skin...ever deeper, with each lash...After what seemed like an eternity to the victim and those who loved Him, His limp body was finally taken down from the post or beam. As was the custom, His wounds were washed but not otherwise medicated.

Afterword they put Jesus’ clothes back on His massacred back. Imagine how uncomfortable it was to have that rough material scratch against His open wounds! As the blood began to clot, His clothing became stiff and dry. The Roman soldiers, amused that this weakened man had claimed to be a king, began to mock Him. One of them fashioned a robe out of some purple material (or perhaps used the one Herod had used earlier); another ran out to a thorn bush and gathered some prickly limbs and formed them into a tight, pointed circle; another found a rod or stout stick to use as a scepter. Just about the time His bleeding stopped, they ripped His clothes off and placed the robe on Him (thus opening the wounds again). Imagine how that must have hurt! Even an area as small as that covered by a Band-Aid hurts terribly if it adheres itself to the Band-Aid. One soldier grabbed His head and forced the thorns down over His scalp. Think of the sharp thorns piercing His skin in dozens of places. Another took the reed and hit Him over the head, thus driving the thorns in more deeply. How He must have hurt! How He must have bled! Since even a small cut to the head bleeds profusely. The soldiers finally had all the fun they wanted with Him and took Him back to Pilate.

Pilate presented Him, beaten, bloodied and weak, to the people. Picture, if you can, Pilate leading this purple-clad Man, with scepter dangling from His hand, and bloody crown on His head, out for these sick people to see. Pilate said simply, “Behold the man!” (John 19:5). He must have thought that surely this would satisfy their hatred. Surely they will say, “You’ve done enough. Let Him go.” But he underestimated them. They wanted more, they wanted him crucified. And so, He was forced to carry a heavy cross (between 75 and 125 lbs just for the crossbar) upon His torn and bleeding back a distance of maybe 1 or 2 miles, tripping and falling who knows how many times and with each fall, jarring His battered body (until he could carry it no farther). Once they got to the top of a hill called Golgotha, the Roman soldier laid Jesus’ unresisting body on top of the cross, stretched out His hands and feet and drove spikes through them to attach Him to it. Can you imagine the pain He felt as the base of the cross slid into place with a thud, when they raised it? Then He hung there for many hours as people spat at Him and cursed Him and the soldiers even gambling for His clothes. In the end, He shouted, ‘My God! My God! Why have You forsaken me?!’ and with a clap of thunder and an earthquake, He surrendered His spirit…

But it didn’t end there…Why did Jesus go through this? He didn’t have to. He could have called down 100 legions of Angels to rescue Him. With a single word, He could have removed Himself from the cross and restored His own body...why, then? Why did he suffer such agony, such humiliation? Because He loved us and wanted to save us. And He still does to this day. John 3:16 says, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.’ This means that God offered up His only son (Jesus) as a one-time sacrifice for ALL sins (past, present & future) and that if we truly believe that Jesus is the son of God & that He died for our sins and rose again, that we will not go to hell, but will go to our glory in heaven.…Three days after Jesus’ broken, pierced body was taken down from the cross and buried in the tomb, He rose from the dead! He appeared before over 500 witnesses and even had Thomas (one of the disciples who doubted) touch the wounds on His hands and put his hand in His side.…

Buddha didn't suffer for you...Muhammad didn't die for your sins...Krishna didn't fulfill over 200 prophesies written about him...Confucius didn't face death by the very ones he came to save and said, 'Father, forgive them, they do not know what they do...'

Christ did...Jesus Christ, the only son of God fulfilled ALL of these things and much much more...
He loves you and patiently waits for you...

He is risen indeed!

~ V

something that makes me scratch my head...

Ok...can anyone tell me what's wrong with this picture???

~ V

Speaking of American Idol

Ok, now that I've had my fun. I want to share with you two of my favorite performances so far from this season. The first is by Adam Lambert, who in my opinion (win or lose) is already well on his way to an incredible career. Here he performs HIS version (notice I stress HIS) of Johnny Cash's iconic 'Ring of Fire' I found this incredibly unique...see if you agree! Oh, don't forget to scroll to the bottom and PAUSE the music player first! (trying to listen to two music files at once is extremely annoying!)


Here is Kris Allen. He's been growing on me (no, NOT like a fungus!) This performance of 'To Make You Feel My Love' a song that I wasn't familiar with (originally sung by Bob Dylan), made me sit-up and take notice of him...VERY heart felt.


Two firsts for Trevor that I thought I'd share. This past week, he officially entered the ranks of 'Gainfully Employed' as Mc Donalds hired him on the spot after his interview! Congrats Trev!
And last night, he went to the first concert by himself! He and Whitney went to see Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Second Hand Seranade. Fun!

~ V

Let's play 'Who's the Idol'

American Idol...how many of you watch this show? It's one of Lisa's favorites and I like to watch it as well...however, I must admit part of the appeal for me is watching the initial couple of weeks during the try outs. Honestly now...how can some of these people actually think they're good?? Yeah, there are some who make it a complete joke...these people know they're bad and they actually play that up. But there are those who come in, perform seriously and have absolutely NO clue as to how incredibly bad they are. It's kind of like watching a train wreck, you know you should turn your head, you KNOW it's going to be horrific, but you just can't help but watch...

Well, a few weeks ago, I started noticing that this years contestants, either looked like or reminded of some other well known people...or "ahem", icons. See if you agree!

Ok, here's the first one. Compare the following two photos. Which one is Scott MacIntyre and whic is Art Garfunkel?

Number two: Who is M. Night Shyamalan and who is Anoop Desai (yes...that's a real name)

And we're now on to Number 3: Wherever Art shows up, Paul Simon can't be far behind, which of these is indeed Paul and which is Kris Allen?

Here's number 4: I've seen both of these guys, one while I was a kid and the other on Amer. Idol. Who is Eddie Munster and who is Adam Lambert??

Last, but not least, #5: Although they have matching hair, these pictures are NOT the same person. Which is Allison Iraheta and which is the loveable Troll Doll?

Ridiculous? Sure! But BOY was it fun!!!
~ V