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

2009 - A Men's Fashion Retrospective

From the runway's of Paris to the stages in Milan, 2009 saw some pretty incredible fashion's for men. Not sure exactly what it was, but the fashion sense and the way the designers really captured what the average male wants or needs in a good set of clothes REALLY meshed this year! Well, I could go on, but I'll just let you see for yourself...just keep in mind, these are real designs from real fashion shows...

Introducing the Inspector Clouseau fall/winter line of men's outerwear for 2009.

Whether Gadget, or Clouseau himself, you'll be the envy of detective society in this ensemble.

Nothing says 'smart' like a mismatched hat and fake mustache...

“Vince, I know you're a Network/Computer guru and have access to private databases. I was wondering if you can help me find somebody? When I was in grade school there was this class dork...His mother used to dress him in his dad’s old hat and a big scarf, and she’d put him in a stupid coat that didn’t fasten right. We used to shove him down and take his lunch money. Can you find him for me? Since the economic downturn, times are hard, and I could use some lunch money again.” Mr. Johnson

Well, Mr. Johnson, there’s certainly nothing I enjoy more than helping the school bully. I tracked your dork to Fashion Week in Paris, where he works as a model. I’m sure he’d love to have a sentimental class reunion with you. By the way, he now has a black belt in Karate, and a license to kill. Enjoy...

I can't decide if this guy is some 'fancy-boy' gun-slinger, an extra in a Jonny Depp/Tim Burton movie or a member of the Volturi...

All I know is if I was caught wearing this entering a small town Iowa tavern, I'd soon be introduced to someone's beatin' stick.

I believe designers should be required to include, on every outfit they sell, a label suggesting places where the thing can be worn.

Where I honestly haven't a CLUE where any SANE male would wear any of the above (or below) outfits, I can tell you they are NOT appropriate attire for…

a) A visit with Grams in the nursing home
b) The 6:30 a.m. Delta Shuttle from DC to New York
c) A Vikings home game
d) An appearance on “Ice Road Truckers”, "Deadliest Catch" or "Dirty Jobs"

With all due respect, I am sitting here right now, waiting for a designer to tell me where to go in one. Oh wait...maybe they already did.

Hey! it's Alabama! No...wait, it's the Oak Ridge Boy's! Er...guess not...but that guy on the end looks like the psycho dude from 'I Know What You Did, Last Summer'.

Anyway, here's the latest in 'National Whittlin’ Museum' tour guide attire from Buenos Aires Fashion Week in 2009.

In light of the impending swine flu pandemic, the designers this year had a real dilemma...how to stay safe and yet chic

To be honest, for guys with seriously messed up teeth or breath so bad that it peel's paint, this could be your lucky day!

So check out what designers are offering to help you send the oh so, subtle message: “Hey cutie, remember you said to come back if I was the last man on Earth?”

...Really? Wow...yeah, that pretty much sums it up for me.

Quick quiz: The guy shown here is…

a) The star of a cheap “Tootsie” remake
b) The star of an off-Broadway “Tribute to Corporal Klinger”
c) A dude who lost a really high-stakes election bet
d) An actual model wearing a “creation” from a genuine designer at Milan Fashion Week.

Yeah, this one fooled me, too. Turns out this is really from a men’s collection in Milan, so get ready to go shopping, guys!

It’s kind of an interesting outfit, but it isn’t clear to me whether we’re supposed to wear it to the office, football games, or just for casual evenings out with the family.
Until I sort that out, I’m leaving mine on the hanger...

Here we have the latest in Jihad summer wear fashion.

Out are the plain grey, black or just plain burlap head coverings...in are the cobalt blue scarves and cod pieces!

Who says that Jihad and fashion sense can't mix!

With these men's fashion hits of 2009, I can't wait to see what 2010 brings!

~ V

The Christmas Message I Really Want To Leave...

OK...so my wife tells me that my last couple of posts have been on the...sour or bitter side. I guess I was just speaking what was on my mind at the time and let the situation(s) get the best of me. Yes, there's a lot going on in the world right now; stuff that I may not like. Even stuff I believe all Christians should be aware of and object to...but this is the Christmas season, a season of hope of love and of peace. Please take the next 3 minutes and watch this video.

Such a simple message...

To everyone who reads this:

May the light of the Christmas star shine on you,
May the comfort of home and hearth warm you,
May the cheer and good will of friends smile on you,
May the hope of a childlike heart guide you,
May the joy of a thousand angels fill you,
And may the love of the Son and God’s peace dwell in you.

Merry Christmas...

~ V

The Holiday I Love...

I’ve literally sat here, in front of my computer, for over an hour thinking about how to write this post. The subject of Christmas and what has and IS happening to it, haunts me much like Ebenezer’s ghosts did him. I LOVE the Christmas season…I always have. I most likely garnered my love for this holiday from my mother, who loved everything about it from decorating the house and putting up the tree, to the candle light service at our church, which was held every Christmas eve. The mountain of issues, opinions and materials covering both make me unsure where to start and I’m finding it a bit overwhelming, but here goes...

It’s no secret that Christmas can be traced back to a pagan festival (the Roman feast of Saturnalia) and that Pope Liberius added the nativity to the Christian calendar in 354 AD to provide an alternative celebration for new converts and to Christianize the ancient festival. Christmas really wasn’t widely celebrated until the Middle Ages, starting from around 400 AD. Celebrating Christ's birth was not seen as highly important back then. In fact, many rejected the idea of a birthday celebration altogether. Focusing instead on Christ's life, crucifixion and resurrection, which was considered much more important. The December 25th date was observed as early as the third century and became more accepted throughout the fourth century as the Roman Empire converted to Christianity.

While the history of Christmas is fascinating, this is not the point. Critics of Christmas aren’t so much interested in the nature of the holiday itself but how their orientation to it differentiates them from other people. I argue that for the most part people recognize this in themselves and are OK with the differences. They either adjust and open themselves to how Christmas is celebrated in America, or they observe (or don’t observe) it as their cultural heritage taught them. But that’s not good enough for some groups.

There was a time when Christmas played a very different role in the United States. It brought people and families together and everyone did so with joy in their hearts! Many of the secular cultural symbols we associate with Christmas are American creations. For instance, the American writer George Pintard added reindeer to Santa’s sleigh in 1821 and Clement Clarke Moore raised the number to eight in his classic poem ‘A Visit from St Nicholas’. Our modern, bearded fat man with his fur-lined suit was the creation of the cartoonist, Thomas Nast (have you seen some of the older drawings of St. Nicholas? Those pictures of a scrawny, rather serious looking old man are scarry!) , and Santa’s suit is red because the Coca-Cola Company showed it this way in its advertisements. The classic Christmas songs, ‘White Christmas’, ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’, and ‘Silver Bells’ were all written by American composers, who also happened to be Jewish. Indeed, the holiday was celebrated by many Jews and Christians alike, by the native born and by immigrants, all of whom adopted American customs and added some of their own. They didn’t seem to have an issue with it…they didn’t go running to the local court house and demand that the nativity scene that’s been on display for 75 years be taken down because it offended their…what? Sense of being different? I thought that was the banner of this age, being accepting of people’s differences.

Today, we live in an age where businesses and retailers are careful NOT to wish anyone a Merry Christmas, but wishing people a Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa is perfectly acceptable. Right here in my own small home town, the elementary school no longer has a Christmas or even a Holiday program…gone are the picture and video moments where you could capture your child dressed up like a Christmas present and record that kid who sang LOUDLY off key. There was something magical about those moments…that was replaced with a Fall Program where our kids sang songs about: Responsibility, I’m OK You’re OK and Education Rocks…I’m not kidding…I wish I was, but I’m not. It was sad seeing our kids reduced to little Politically Correct mantra repeaters. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe it’s important that we teach our kids to be responsible, to have self respect and to do well in school, but aren’t WE the parents supposed to teach OUR kids those things? We should be teaching our kids about character, respect and values…the school should be teaching our kids about history, math and writing. Sorry, I digress…

The point is this, millions of dollars and huge amounts of time have been wasted by the ACLU and other groups to try and change American culture. They use bully tactics and threats of law suits to force this change. It no longer matters what the majority wants and honestly, I don’t think they even care what the minority wants…they only care about their agenda. School systems and local governments have limited resources…the ACLU’s coffers run deep…VERY deep. And so, small town America caves to the bully under fear and intimidation. This has gone on for so long that our county boards and education boards second guess everything and erring on the side of caution, tend to throw the baby out with the bath water as it were. Threats; real, perceived or imagined are acted on in a ‘proactive’ manner. Something’s wrong with an America where our children can’t have a Christmas party in school or sing Christmas songs in a Christmas concert. Something’s wrong with an America where we are being told that celebrating and observing cultural traditions that are steeped in American history and make us who we are, is wrong.

…and quite frankly, I’m sick to death of it.

~ V

On my Soap Box about Health Care Reform

When it comes to health care, let me ask you three questions:

1) what are the progressives getting? What are those in Washington gaining by passing this health care bill by any means necessary? Bribery, coercion, lies and deception have all been employed — so what is it that this health care bill is really all about?

2) They say that health care is in trouble; what is the best way to save it?

3) Is this anything that can be found in the Constitution. Would our Founders have done this?

Let's start with question No. 1:
After vowing not to vote for this health care reform debacle, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., lasted nearly all morning — but not quite — before caving in completely. Here's his statement:

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN: 'I'm getting toward that position where I can say what I've wanted to say all along, that I'm ready to vote for health care reform.'

Huh? By the way, that's entirely consistent with what he's said "all along:"

LIEBERMAN: 'Though I was against the public option, I was not against health care reform. And of course, I did that before the finance committee bill came out with this very large and again, I'd say generous, but I supported, system of subsidies to bring basically lower and middle-income people into the health insurance system.'

Is there anybody — one American patriot — who will stand for the republic?

To be fair, I know that enormous pressure was brought to bear on Lieberman — look what they did to his wife. They're so desperate to pass this "reform" that liberal groups went after Hadassah Lieberman, who is the global ambassador for the Susan B. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research, demanding that her salary not be paid or that she be outright fired.

If they can't bribe you, they'll try to destroy you. Which one happened here? I don't know. Was Lieberman promised something or did he cave in to their intimidation tactics?

Remember what they gave Sen. Mary Landrieu?

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU, D-LA.: 'I am not going to be defensive about asking for help in this situation. And it's not a $100 million fix, it's a $300 million fix.'

Excuse me...but if I interpret that correctly, she told them that if THEY wanted her support, it's going to cost them $300 million??? Yes...that's $300 MILLION of your and my tax dollars...

According to the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, once fully implemented, the true cost of this program is $2.5 trillion, it will raise taxes by almost half a trillion dollars and by 2019 it will STILL leave 24 million people uninsured.

Tell me, what's even left in this bill? Why is it so imperative that it pass? Supposedly, there's no public option left and now there's no Medicare expansion? It's all about the structure being built, it's all about control. They don't care what's in the bill. This bill doesn't do what the president said what he wanted it to do, so why bribe, control and coerce? It's about control.

Second question: Is our health care system in crisis even though 80 percent of Americans are happy with their health care? Robert Creamer, the convicted felon, wrote in his "blueprint" that progressives needed to create an atmosphere of crisis. We don't believe there's a crisis, but they keep pounding that message.

The best way to fix health care is to fix it the same way you fix the economy: Get the government out of it; stop protecting people from their own mistakes.
The Democrats are pursuing this bill with absolute reckless abandon. But as usual, as the government tries to protect everyone from harm, they're actually making it more likely we'll be injured.

I know that sounds crazy, but look at the NFL's efforts to protect their players from head injuries. NFL players wear the most protective helmets modern technology can provide. Yet, nearly every week, another player winds up with a concussion or worse. In the Australian Football League (what we call rugby) players don't wear a helmet at all. Yet, head injuries in that league are 25 percent lower than in the NFL. How can that be? In the NFL, the players know they have the best equipment in the world protecting them and it causes them to be more reckless in their behavior on the field. Players are much more likely to lead with their head and engage in head-to-head contact. Aussie rules players know they have to be more careful. So, which is more compassionate: Providing the high-tech helmets or no helmet at all?

Look at the systemic failure here: The more protection large entities provide, the riskier the behavior. You've seen it in the financial institutions: The more they performed collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps, the worse things got. And why? Because the "helmet" of Fannie and Freddie had been put in place; you couldn't fail.

The way to fix health care is to get the government and insurance companies out of the way. The closer the decision and consequences are to you, the closer you'll be to a system that works. A system that will work is a system that says, "I have to run four tests on you" and your response is "How much do they cost and are they necessary?" A system where the doctor can write a script for a generic or name brand without asking, "Is insurance paying for this?" is a system that will control costs. A system that will work is a system where the attorneys won't be rewarded for pursuing a case where a doctor gets sued for not running a test for toe fungus.

The third question is: What would our Founders do?
Ben Franklin was considered perhaps the most important man of his day. He was obviously revered in the Colonies, but he was also so respected around the world, that there was hardly a house in France that didn't have his portrait in it. Franklin was a man with tremendous influence in society. He was so beloved, that during the Constitutional Convention, prisoners carried him back and forth from the Convention everyday on a padded chair, because the pain he was in from kidney stones, made walking on the cobblestone streets too painful. He hated opium — the only serious pain reliever of the time — because he didn't like the effect it had on his mind.
So, this was a man who understood the need for health care and had a vested interest in it. He'd already known about the need for health care in America, for decades. Back in 1751, Franklin and like-minded citizens saw a need and put their money and resources together — yes, private funds — to open America's first public hospital: Pennsylvania Hospital. It's still in operation today. Franklin saw that there really were, at that time, sick people wandering the streets of Philadelphia without anywhere to go. But he didn't expect the government to fix the problem. In fact, he refused money from the politicians and instead went to friends to secure the funding.
So the answer to question No. 3 is no. The Founders could have written it in the original Constitution — they had health care problems back then too — but they knew the answer was private, not the government.

So why are we traveling down this road? Ask yourself three questions:

1) If this plan is not going to cover everyone (as they said it would and MUST but statistics from the Senate Budget Committee shows that it doesn't) and there's no public option (as they said it should and MUST) and it won't move people to Medicare/Medicaid — you're not even fixing those programs, just taking money from them — then what is it doing for us?
If they're dropping everything they've been asking for, why is the president putting all his eggs into this one basket and bringing the political pressure, bribery and blackmail to bear on this issue? What does he get out of it?

2) Why are they strapping helmets on us? Tell the government to stop putting helmets on us; let us feel the small bumps — the pain helps us avoid more serious contact. Yes, we need some protection, but we don't need this. We don't need to recklessly ram our heads, headlong into socialism and have our free market paralyzed and strapped down.

3) Show me specifically where in the Constitution the Congress is empowered to compel an individual to buy something in order to be a citizen in good standing. Where is that?

These members of Congress are now saying: I don't know where it is in the Constitution, we'll have the legal scholars work that out. No, you won't! You've taken an oath of office!

They have it backward: Congress is saying we want to do this and we'll have the weasel lawyers find a way in the Constitution to make it happen. The Constitution should shape the legislation you write, not the other way around! You don't vote on something and then say we'll have the constitutional lawyers work it out later. You determine whether it's constitutional before you vote on it.

We MUST demand that they answer to us — WE the people...remember?. We must demand that they answer to the Constitution!

This was taken from a transcript from Glenn Beck's show and like him or not, what he's saying here is 100% spot on. I think we ALL agree that Health Care costs are out of control and even that those who need access to Health Care but can't afford it, should have it...but this 'Push forward at ALL cost' approach is neither wise, nor patriotic.

~ V

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

Today was a lot of fun! Woke up to 17 inches of snow...and because we had 40 mph windgusts...4 foot snow drifts to boot! Everyone hunkered down and we FINALLY put up our trees and decorated them. It was a nice bonus day and the kids played in the snow for awhile and of course needed hot cocoa when they came in...here is some photo highlights

The top of our grill on our deck had about two and a half feet of snow on it when we woke up this morning.

Trying out the macro-lens on Lisa's camera...

...still testing...

Now you know why I was testing! Here are some of my collection of Star Trek ornaments...beautiful aren't they! (you're a little jealous aren't you? Come on...you can tell me!)

...And here are the rest of them. In the past I had never put the character ones out on the tree...this year Lisa talked me into it (I'm still not sure if this was for support or to get an extra laugh...)

And of course, Kirby joined in the fun too!

~ V

What our kids do when we're not watching...

Send your own ElfYourself eCards


The sun that dim November day
Had failed to kiss the clouds away
From quiet Nature's furrowed face,
Where autumn tears had left their trace.

And, by and by, on fields of brown
The feathered flakes came floating down
From Heaven to this world of ours,
Like spirits of departed flowers.

And fast and faster through the night,
Till Morn arose on meadows white,
And o'er the landscape lightly stepped
Where tired Nature, smiling, slept.
- Albert Bigelow Paine

Lisa captured the miracle that is a snowflake, in her photo above. It was more than just a dusting on Friday, but nothing more than an 1/8 or possibly a 1/4 inch snow fall...but it was BEAUTIFUL! As I went out to my van to drive home, I could feel the crunch of the snow under my feet and smell the crisp, cool air...it's almost as if the snowfall itself cleaned the air. I stood there for a moment, watching the snow fall against the back lighting of the street lamp...it was truly miraculous!

Think about it...it's a well known fact that no two snowflakes are alike. Each crystalline structure and shape are unique. Now think about how incredibly tiny they are and how many billions of them (piled up) it takes to fill just YOUR driveway...and how many billions of trillions of them fall each year over the whole Earth...no two alike...each of them unique. But have you ever stopped to think why they're unique? Their beauty and symmetry and uniqueness testify not only about a God who is almighty and all powerful...but also about a God who cares about the tiniest of details...and if He, the God of ALL creation cares about the design and structure of each and every snowflake, how much more must He care about you and I...

~ V

For an incredibly mind boggling article on snowflakes and how their structures are mathematically echoed within the creation account, read the CREATION SNOWFLAKE

Just another manic Monday...er, Wednesday...

I feel like I've been on roller skates with a jet-pack strapped to my back ALL week! Part of it comes from having Wednesday through Sunday off last week. Isn't it funny how none of YOUR work gets done while you're off from work? It just piles up; papers, emails, voice mails...I'm not sure about you, but I take time off because I need just simply need some time away! But what's the point if you have to work TWICE as hard when you get back just to get caught up!...not so funny after all...oh well.

Vinny entered the realm of teenager-dom yesterday...I honestly can't believe it! Actually I can, because he's been showing ALL the signs...getting taller (either that or his pants are getting shorter...) and his voice has been cracking lately...A LOT actually! And it's been pretty funny teasing him about it! I know I don't say this nearly enough to him, but I love him... He can be quite impulsive at times and not very nice to his younger siblings, but he's a good sport, LOVES to laugh and deep down, he really does have a heart of gold...He cares and I love that about him. It's weird (and dangerous!) to think that in 3 years he'll be driving...he's growing up SO fast and I NEVER agreed to allow that!

On a side note, the Christmas season was always my mom's favorite time of the year and mine as well...I really miss her this time of the year and always have, but for some reason I especially miss her this year. But, more on that later...

~ V