Friday, March 26, 2010

Orange Roughy, Found in the Frozen Geezer Fish Department of Your Local Grocer

Sunday's column in the newspaper will be about the guy you see pictured above.

Click here to read Clint Pumphrey's take on endangered species of fish, written for Animal Planet/Discovery Channel. It's neat! And you'll learn something.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sermon-on-a-Stick: 'Successfully Navigating Life's Terrible Times'

These are from Sunday night's sermon if you trust my note-taking...Dr. Chris presiding...


(Complete text) Mark 14-15

Mark 14: 35-39 35Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36"Abba,[e] Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
37Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
39Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.

Facing His most gruesome test, Jesus grinded it out with the Father to make sure of the Father's will...Legions of angels could have been summoned by Christ (Mt. 26:53), but He knew the Scriptures and God's will had to be fulfilled.

In Mark 14: 61-65, the trouble snowballs. Jesus flogged in Mark 15.

So why did Christ, in this time, not 'give in'? Because he knew he was in God's will.
A. Rest in/ Get in God's will -- A lot of our pain is because we aren't in God's will
B. Pray, tithe, go to church, pray some more, read the Word, be accountable -- Am I right with God? If I'm not, I'll fold up and give in in the terrible times.
C. Am I where I need to be? -- In my job? In retirement? In my relationships? Jesus could stay the course in his agony because he knew he was where he needed to be.

Mark 15:20: Jesus is mocked and beaten.
Mark 15:24 His clothes are divided
Yet he is still saving people til the very end Luke 23:39-43
Even the centurion believed Mark 15:39 ... it's as if a little revival breaks out around the foot of the cross. Even in his agony, Jesus continued the missioin.

* What is my mission? Love people. Make my church and family and the world better, give all the support they need to improve. Win people and, when you die, be missed by people because you loved them and they knew it.

To make it through terrible times ...
1. Make sure I'm in God's will
2. Keep my eyes on Him/The Cross/The Mission


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Good Hope Road

“About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet,
powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.
The chief priests and our rulers handed him over
to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him;
but we had hoped that he was the one
who was going to redeem Israel.”
Luke 24:20-21a (NIV®)

They walked toward Emmaus on the third day. Everything had gone wrong.

They had thought their leader, their friend, would deliver them from . . . from everything. The Romans. The idols. The unfairness. The have-nots would have and the sinners would repent and the tide of evil would turn and all would be well. And soon. Like by, say, Tuesday.

But now it was the third day and the latest in a long line of prophets, the greatest ever sent to Israel, had met the same faith of the others before. God kept sending Israel prophets. And Israel kept killing them.

“We had hoped he was the one . . .."

The road to Emmaus hasn't changed. The questions and the disappointment and the heartache and the faithlessness spring up like so many billboards. Hope, it seems, is gone.

But think again of our travelers on that third day. They are not unlike us, are they? It was a while into the evening before they realized it, but the hope they thought was gone had been walking with them all along. The hope walks beside us still.

The Passion is as alive today as it was two days before the walk that Luke recorded, as alive as it was 1,000 years later, as alive as it will be this coming Easter. In “The Way of the Cross,” G. K. Chesterton reminds us that the Passion is alive always, alive because “the very blast from this black cloud of death comes upon the world as a wind of everlasting life; by which all things wake and are alive.”

Wake up on the road. It’s time to live. It’s Easter. It always is.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

'Successful Prep for Coming Struggles'

These are my sermon notes from Sunday night, if you trust my note-taking. Dr. Chris presided.

Matthew 26:36-41

36Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." 37He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."
39Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
40Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. 41"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."


We need ...

I. The Big Group (vs. 36) He took all the disciples to the garden. Jesus surrounded himself with people. Luke 4:16 reminds us that Jesus was a regular churchgoer, standing in the synagogue to read. Jesus was 100 percent God, but he was also 100 percent man, and in his humanity, Jesus needed people.

(Illustration: After surgery, one church member missed five weeks of services. She had sermons to listen to on CD and while that was good, she said 'it wasn't like being in church; it's not the same." We need to 'gather together.'

II. The Small Group (v. 37) -- He took his three best friends from that group ahead with him -- Peter, James and John. We need two or three CLOSE Christian friends. Not everyone has that.

How Do Close Friends Benefit Us?

1. Gives us someone to share trouble with

2. Gives us someone to pray with

3. Gives us encouragement; nearness encourages. Friends are a gift from God. Invest your life WITH others; this builds up spiritual muscles.

4. Gives us someone who will be honest with us.

5. Gives us someone who will pray FOR us

If Jesus the man needed to pray and go to church, how much more do WE need that?

Also, this story should keep us humble. Peter, James and John were called to pray at this time and they failed. If they can fail, we know there is a danger of us failing at times, at important, crucial times. Though Peter, James and John had been faithful the day before and the month before, they needed to be available for Jesus on THIS DAY, at this time. And they fumbled. This reminds us that we need time with Jesus each day ... We don't know when the tidal waves of life are coming, but they will come...And as Peter, James and John did days later and the rest of their lives, they remained faithful; they put this fumble behind them and kept following Jesus.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Hurts Me: 'Kilt him a b'ar when he was only 3...'

Fess Parker Dies at 85

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fess Parker, a television icon to a generation of youngsters as Davy Crockett and later Daniel Boone, has died at the age of 85 of natural causes.
Parker, who was also a major California winemaker and developer, died Thursday at his Santa Ynez Valley home, family spokeswoman Sao Anash said. His death came on the 84th birthday of his wife of 50 years, Marcella.
Anash said Parker was coherent and speaking with family just minutes before his death. Funeral arrangements will be announced later.
The 6-foot, 6-inch Parker was quickly embraced by 1950s children as the man in a coonskin cap who stood for the spirit of the American frontier. Baby boomers gripped by the Crockett craze scooped up Davy lunch boxes, toy Old Betsy rifles, buckskin shirts and trademark fur caps. "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" ("Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee...") was a No. 1 hit for singer Bill Hayes while Parker's own version reached No. 5.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Alisa Stingley

The funeral for our friend Alisa Stingley is going on in Shrevepot right now, and as it is, I'm trading notes with Don Walker, who works now at Florida Today and is one of Alisa's best friends. The picture on 7A of today's Times, the one of her and Don and David Westerfield, is priceless.

I have written about Alisa below, but first, this piece of a great note I got from Don. It sums up Alisa better than what I've written and much shorter than what I've written. I miss Alisa's waves from her truck and I cherish the couple of times -- and there were only two -- when me and her got slightly crossways at work, about work. And the honest truth is that once we determined that she was right and I was wrong, things were swell again! She didn't rub it in; she just stood her ground. ... I drove by her house yesterday and her "Happy Easter" flag was out and flowers were blooming ... her wind chimes were on her porch ... it made me want to re-write all I'd turned in to the paper the day before, the day she died. But truly, nothing would have been good enough. This note from Don is close tho...

FROM DON -- I heard you were writing a column about Alisa. I'll never forget Alisa writing a story about the death of sportswriter Robert Wallace (Wallace? I'm thinking I might be wrong on the last name) who drowned in Red River while trying to teach himself how to fish so he could be a true outdoors writer. She sat at her desk typing, crying over every word. She said it was the hardest thing she'd ever written.

I truly adored Alisa. She was such a great supportive, caring and steadfast friend. At a particular hump in my life, she showed up in The Times newsroom one day with a stray dog she had found wandering around in downtown. She insisted I take it home because it was the perfect dog for me and I needed a companion. I took the dog. And she was right. That crazy dog was a special friend to me, just like Alisa was.

She was my mentor through and through, and she was one awesome lunchmate. Each and every tear you shed over her Teddy is worth it.

Teddy column reprinted from The Times today...lots of wonderful vignettes from some of Alisa's friends, too...A FRIEND ALWAYS IN SEASON, ALWAYS IN BLOOM

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Have you hugged your colon today? Or even seen it?

(Reprinted from The Times and The News-Star, March 14)

Reason 402 Why You're Smarter Than I Am: I have
never had good luck with raincoats. When I was 8,
Momma bought me a yellow one.

During a Noah-like storm in 1968 in Dillon County,
I refused to wear it to get on the bus to ride to third
grade. Not my style. This thing stuck to me like a
sausage casing.

Sweetly, my precious mother told my sisters to go
on to school, that I could stay home, and she
coaxed me inside with the promise of a free day.
Women. ... I didn't have to wear the raincoat, but the
whipping I took about 7:35 that morning was
legendary and deserved. (As you have at this point
surmised, I still haven't let that go.)

Scarred, I went most of the next five decades without
a raincoat. (With my hair, it's not that big a deal, but
still...) Then in December, I forked over 50-plus
bucks for the raincoat of my dreams. Hidden
pockets. A hood. Depth at the zipper position.
Waterproof like you wouldn't believe. I'd have even
worn this baby to school.

So Tuesday morning when I stepped outside a little
after 6, met with rain like the proverbial cow weeing
on the literal flat rock, I stepped back inside to get
my raincoat. My mother would have smiled.

Except I couldn't find it. Owned it a short three
months before losing it. My mother should have
whipped me again. Sometimes you just can't win.

Looked in the trunk of the car. Under the bed. At a
couple of restaurants. My Sunday school classroom.
The gym and the gun club. (Just joking about those
last two.) Dry run.

In the middle of this Holy Grail-like search,
someone asked me, "Where's the last place you had
it?" I hate when people say that. I sneered but didn't
cuss. I just continued to get wet all day.

You don't ever do that, do you? Lose stuff. Misplace
stuff. Or, in my case, clean up too good. Because
Tuesday night before bed, I started to swing my
closet door shut and there it was, my Lost Raincoat,
neatly hung on the back of the door, where I'd
placed it in a wild and uncharacteristic streak of
neatness over the weekend. Turns out, that's the last
place I'd had it. What are the odds? ...

Throw it back: Thoughts on the killer whale
involved in the tragic accident at the Florida water
park recently. As you know, I was raised by the sea
and am pro aquatics.

My question: This whale had already been involved
in two human deaths, so what is the number of
deaths sea park bosses have to reach until they'd
retire a rogue whale? It's not three, because the
whale is still "working." Is it five? Eight? 102?

I have a friend who wants to be a whale trainer, but I
don't know. Killer whales are really big and need to
be in the ocean. Even white sharks don't bother
killer whales.

The adjective in front of "whale" should tell you
something. True, I can't even keep up with my
raincoat, but even I know that. ...

The end is in sight, unfortunately: There was a live
colonoscopy on the early morning television news
this week. (You probably can find it on Youtube,
which is basically what the doctor does during a
colonoscopy: Hetube.)

I like reporter Harry Smith but had to pass on seeing
his anatomy, though I appreciate his in-depth
reporting, etc. And I'm sure he has a nice colon and I
'm glad he has one. They tell me Katie Couric has
one, too. Again, thrilled. I am. I even like mine. (It's
easier to keep up with than my raincoat.)

But I'm not due for my first at-bat until my annual
checkup in October, so I'm going to wait to see one
then. I'm really looking forward to it, which, in the
colon world, isn't easy.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"Joey, do you like to hang around the gymnasium?..."

Peter Graves dead at 83. Hurts me.

Watched 'Airplane' in the bed of a pickup truck, Ruston drive-in, 1980 or '81?...

Roger, Roger...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Go See 'Picnic'

"Picnic" opened last night at the Dixie Theater in Ruston. I loved my "Picnic'! Everybody did good. (What do I look like - a movie critic?! Back off!)

Casey Allen is my offspring and he plays Alan Seymore, who is played in the 1950s movie by a nice guy who I can see in my head but whose name I can't remember right now and I'm not going to look it up, but take my word for it! William Holden was the shirtless guy and Kim Novak was the pretty girl. This is an ensemble cast that gives you drama and unexpected laughs based on 'real life.'

Showtimes tonight and Saturday at 7:30; Sunday matinee at 2:30. Ten Big Ones for adults and not as much for children. Dixie Season T-shirts on sale for $15. Bring some cash and relax and enjoy this American classic! SEEYA!

"'Picnic' takes place in a small town in Kansas in the 1950's where nothing ever happens. However, life will change when a handsome, mysterious stranger jumps off a train and into the lives of the occupants. The story plays out in the backyards of two neighbors. One is struggling to take care of an elderly mother and the other has two teenage daughters and takes in a spinster boarder to make ends meet. Everyone is eagerly anticipating the annual town-wide picnic. 'Picnic' is a story of safety versus temptation and has earned a reputation as one of America's great classic dramas."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hurts me...

Merlin Olsen, a Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman who was part of the Los Angeles Rams' "Fearsome Foursome" line of the 1960s, has died after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 69.

He was beautiful. Calm as a TV announcer, cool on the "Little House" (if that's possible), and I'd forgotten he was Father Murphy! Merlin Olsen rocked. AND, he got to play for the Rams when their uniforms were COOL, back in the Roman Gabriel days. Why they switched unis, I will never ever know...The same uniform people advise the powder blue-less San Diego Chargers, I guess...A shame...

Olsen was a star at Utah State; in December, the school named its football field after him. Utah State is in the same conference as Louisiana Tech, the WAC...

(From ESPN and AP)

...Olsen, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma last year and had been undergoing chemotherapy, died Wednesday night, Utah State assistant athletic media relations director Zach Fisher said.

The burley giant from northern Utah joined Deacon Jones, Lamar Lundy and Rosey Grier on the Rams' storied "Fearsome Foursome" defensive line known for either stopping or knocking backward whatever offenses it faced. The Rams set an NFL record for the fewest yards allowed during a 14-game season in 1968.

Olsen was rookie of the year for the Rams in 1962 and is still the Rams' all-time leader in career tackles with 915. He was named to 14 consecutive Pro Bowls, a string that started his rookie year, and was voted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982.

Olsen was also an established television actor with a role on "Little House on the Prairie," then starring in his own series, "Father Murphy," from 1981 to 1983 and the short-lived "Aaron's Way" in 1988.

Olsen was a consensus All-American at Utah State and won the 1961 Outland Trophy as the nation's best interior lineman. The Rams drafted Olsen third overall in 1962 and he spent the next 15 years with the team before retiring in 1976.

Utah State honored Olsen in December by naming the football field at Romney Stadium "Merlin Olsen Field." Because of his illness, Olsen's alma mater didn't want to wait until football season and made the announcement during halftime of a basketball game.

Olsen was well enough to attend, but did not speak at the event. He stood and smiled as he waved to fans during a standing ovation and chants of "Merlin Olsen!" and "Aggie Legend!"

Utah State is also planning a statue of Olsen at the southeast corner of the stadium.

The Rams also honored Olsen during a game Dec. 20, with a video tribute narrated by Dick Enberg, Olsen's longtime broadcast partner. Olsen did not attend because of his health. His name was already part of the Ring of Fame inside the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis along with other franchise standouts.

He was voted NFC defensive lineman of the year in 1973 and the NFL MVP in 1974.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

If Mary Ann and Ginger are on 'The Batchelor,' I'll watch. But until then...

As Billy Shakesbeer once said, "TV, or not TV. That
right there is the question."

It's not hard to come up with the answer these days.
Television has gone stupid. Unless it's The Weather
Channel, a ballgame or an AMC movie, you might
want to steer clear.

Goodbye to the rabbit ear days when three channels
were all you got — but at least there was something
on you could watch with grandma.

This week I ended my first foray into the world of
what they call reality television. I can't tell you a
thing about the Jersey kids or the "Survivor" people
or where the Real Housewives live. Fantasy Island,

But this week, I ended a six-week run of "The
Bachelor." And not a minute too soon. Picked it up
in midseason, vowed to watch it 'til the bitter end at
the invitation of two of my bestest friends, and they
guided me through what was a Barf Fest of epic

I can now say that I have watched what modern
culture calls reality television. Happily, I retire. It's
back to "Green Acres" for me. I don't have enough
game to keep up with modern television.

You've heard of "The Bachelor." It starts with a guy
on a dream date. "A dream date" is defined here as a
date in which the girl and the money and the
wardrobe are provided! The guy just has to show up
relatively sober! The network's got his back! He
doesn't even have to shave!

From a Girl Pool, he whittles the bevy of desperate
females down to One Lucky Girl. Then they in theory
get married. Because they've found True Love. On
national television. On Superficial Island.

Coming soon is the next season of "The
Bachelorette," in which one of the girls who got
deep-sixed on the just-completed "Bachelor" will
pick from a pool of guys who have cashed in all
their vacation days and sick leave at the chance to
find True Love. On national television. On I-Left-
My-Pair-At-Home Island.

These shows are about as real as "Flipper." This is,
if anything, unreality television. On "The Bachelor,"
you are given spending money, accommodations at
exotic resorts, deodorant, and transportation,
including helicopters if needed. But what happens
to the couple's dating life when the network moves
on to another Dynamic Duo? I'll tell you what
happens. Waffle House. An upset stomach. A flat
tire. Reality Island, For Reals.

If "The Bachelor" were reality, at some point the
bachelor would be performing the one-man luge on
a couch in his underwear watching a football game
or a cowboy show and his "date" would be asking
him if he would mind getting on the business end of
a vacuum cleaner or a lawn mower "sometime this
century like you PROMISED!" and he would just
pretend to be deaf and eat some more Cheetos and
things would deteriorate from there. A burb would
be involved. Everyday Island.

And "talking." They would talk on Everyday Island.
Something like, "Remember when you used to take
me helicopter riding and swimming in lagoons?"
And he'd say, "Remember when you used to wear
fancy clothes and tell me I was the only man for you,
even though I was sort of the only man on the show
and you really didn't have a choice?"

Why would these nuts do this on national TV? Why
would a nut like me watch? Brain cramp, I guess.
And I just "HAD to see!" But if I'm going to watch
reality television from now on, I want it to be real. Like "Gilligan's Island" was.


From The Times and The News-Star, March 7, 2010)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Give this guy a hand/arm/elbow

My buddy gets his cast off Monday after six weeks. It's an L-shaped cast, shoulder to wrist. On his right arm. He's right handed. For him, Monday is every Christmas he ever had as a child.

This picture makes me feel better for him as I'd thought, without seeing him (because he's too hideous at this point to look at), that his arm was set more away from his body, like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. Still, this has GOT to be a pain in the a..rm.

His people did him up right when he got his cast in late January. Still, he'll be glad to see the Saints go marching out.

I have been poor in blog time management lately but will tighten up.

Upcoming blogs:

Finish the book of James.

Contagious Christianity series.

Whey the Oscars were good/bad.

Tom Hanks and War in the Pacific Series starting March 14

Who will win the World Series.

Why Delbert McClinton and Wayne Toups are good at what they do.