Our Lady of Fatima... Pray for us.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament... Hear us.
Our Lady of the Rosary... Strengthen us.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Funny Guy Friday... Daddy's Little Girl is growing up...

    My little girl is growing up and I don't like it. For years she has been begging us to let her go to Houston so she can visit her cousin. This is the same cousin that she texts every minute of every day. They never talk but they have constant contact with texting, which is something that I just do not get.
    Every time I use texting to communicate with someone, I never know how to end it. Typically, I get a text asking me a question, but it was asked an hour ago, so I never know if I should respond or not. I just think that it is faster and more efficient to call.
    This was scientifically proven last summer in my parents' living room. We were all sitting around having this debate when we decided to resolve the issue once and for all. We created a fake scenario where we had to convey to someone at the grocery store that we needed milk. I called my sister at the same time Grace texted her cousin. I was able to tell my sister that we needed milk before Grace could text that same information. Sort of old school technology v. new school technology in a John Henry v. the steam hammer kind of way---only after I crushed her, I did not die with a hammer/cell phone in my hand.
    Anyway, we let her fly to Houston but not exactly by herself. She traveled with my mother. Neither Grace nor my mom are what you would call worldly travelers so it was kind of the blind leading the blind through the airport---and they had to switch planes in North Carolina. You would have thought that changing planes was as complicated as splitting the atom. I should point out that my mother is a worrier who tends to overreact. I am a worrier that tends to overreact. And surprise, surprise, Grace is a worrier who tends to overreact. Worrying and overreacting are family traits---it is who we are.
   I was very relieved when Grace texted that they had made it to Houston. I texted back that I was glad to see that Mutt and Jeff made it all the way to Houston. This prompted Grace to text back, Uncle Jeff did not come---I don't get it. I called her to explain, which is what I should have done in the first place.
   The trip to Houston is not the only sign that our baby girl is growing up. She is now asking when I am going to let her drive. She will turn fifteen in August so my response is always, "When you turn sixteen." She has informed me that she can get her learner's permit at fifteen and nine months, but she does not want to wait. This was confusing to me, so I had to ask what she expected---she wants to start driving around the neighborhood now, so that she will know how to drive when she gets her license. Sure, no problem, what could possibly go wrong with her driving in a neighborhood full of kids? I'm no lawyer, but I wondered if this were legal. Oh, wait a minute! I am a lawyer, and it turns out that this is, in fact, illegal. But her request makes perfect sense because she always wants whatever she wants befores she actually needs to have it.
    For instance, when she was in 6th grade, she had to have a cell phone to keep "in case of an emergency." We told her no for three years, but then relented when she started high school, as she began to stay after school.
    So far, the only emergency that has come up is that her jeans ripped and she had to text her cousin in Houston. I suppose that qualifies as an emergency to a fourteen-year-old.
    She also had have a laptop to keep up with school, yet I have never seen her actually use her laptop, and more often than not, she "thought that she sent an assignment to her teacher that never actually got to her teacher" because of that laptop. The result was that I found myself patiently waiting for her to get off of my laptop.
    Her latest "have to have" is a Facebook Page.
    My opinion about Facebook is that it is the devil's playground. People write things to the general public that they would never say in mixed company---as if writing something vulgar gives you some cover (Can you say Anthony Wiener?). She needs it because this is how her friends keep up with each other and "invite people to stuff." She can't actually point out what she has missed as a result of not having a Facebook page, but she is sure that she has missed something.
    Anyway, last night, as she and I were driving home, I told her I would consider her request if she could name the band singing the song that was currently on the radio. You see, I have found that this method of decision-making is the best way to avoid making major purchases for my kids. To my shock and horror she correctly named The Cars. I reminded her that I said that I would consider it........but if she could name the next song I may say yes. Again she knew it was The Police. Again I reminded her that I said I may say yes.......but if she got one more, the answer was a probable yes. Who knew she had even heard of Santana? She cried out with glee that she is going to list The Cars, The Police and Santana as her favorite bands on her Facebook page. Not so fast, I said may say yes----plus, mom has veto power.
    Back to the license issue. My girl did not help her cause this past weekend when she mentioned that I should drive faster because she wanted to get back to the hotel where we were staying. Cheryl gently reminded Grace that those big red octogon-shaped objects were called STOP signs and even if I did decide to fly through this 25 mph zone, I would have to stop every other block. Grace correctly observed that nobody was around to catch me speeding and there were no other cars to stop for-----so please hurry it up. She actually argued that if there are no cars around, you don't really have to stop.
    I don't care how old she is, or how old she thinks she is, I just decided to set the record straight. I do not care if Grace can name The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and The Eagles----she is not getting an opportunity to drive through our neighborhood anytime soon. Just to make sure that she is aware of my decision, I will text her, or better yet, I will give her a call---it is way more efficient.  

Thursday, July 28, 2011

America's debt lies...

     What a bunch of liars, and hypocrites, the president and the Democrats in power are. And the inarticulate scaredy-cat progressives who call themselves the Republican leadership aren't much better. They themselves are either liars or fools.
     Enough already.
     Here are the facts. Seven myths about the so-called debt crisis, from Romantic Poet.
     The threat of default is a lie. We have enough money coming in to pay for all interest on the debt, plus Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and children's health insurance, defense, federal law enforcement and immigration, all veterans benefits, response to natural disasters, with some money left over for other "crucial operations."
     The president is telling the American people that we will default. But he is telling the banks and our allies, "Don't worry... we won't default."
     Who is the president lying to? Again. Us.
     This guy is a nightmare. He is a destroyer.
     Don't be fooled. We can cover the interest on our loans and more. Any defaulting will be the president's intentional doing.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Funny Guy Friday... I got no place else to go...

     This past Tuesday, I found myself somewhere where I did not want to be. It was 4:00 p.m. and I was sitting at a place with which I was very familiar, but at this time, I felt completely out of place. I had been at this location on a daily basis for more than ten years, but on this day, it felt odd----especially at 4:00 p.m. I felt lonely, sad and depressed. The place felt dark and cold---I was fidgety and uncomfortable. I was sad and confused, and I didn't know what to do with myself. I felt completley helpless---like Richard Gere in the movie Officer and a Gentleman when he cries out, "I got no place else to go!!! I got no place else to go!!!"  Where was I at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, you ask? I was sitting at my desk at work, and not out coaching baseball.
     Unfortunately, we had lost at the Maryland State Little League Tournament, and the season is now concluded---I had nothing to do. Well, I guess I could have done some of the work that had piled up on my desk over the past five weeks, as I would leave at 3:30 every day to make it to a practice, a game or a meeting about baseball, but that isn't fun. I suppose I could have made some phone calls to try to get some cases settled and get some money in this month---that is fun--- but I just didn't feel like it. I suppose I could have gotten better prepared for the trial that I had starting the next day, but that wasn't really challenging. What would have been challenging, and what I had been thinking about for weeks, was the clever excuse that I was going to concoct to continue this trial in the event that we were still playing. The only thing that I could come up with was the truth, and I had the right Judge---a baseball fan who has season tickets to the Nationals. He would have understood, and he would have found a way to accommodate me. Alas, it was not meant to be. Now I had to have my stupid trial.
   For the past five weeks, I had left work early to get to a baseball field to practice or play. I had had a steady diet of hot dogs, sunflower seeds and gatorade. I had changed clothes in my car, in porta-potties and in the parking lot---usually with my wife as a lookout---for the past month. (By the way, changing clothes in a porta-potty is not an easy thing to do. You have to figure out a way to keep your clothes and your feet off of the floor, which is why I typically opted for the parking lot and the lookout---although that did not always work out as on one occasion, my lovely wife got upset with something that I said and walked away from her post, literally leaving me with my pants down.)
   Anyway, I had agonized over which kid to play and how much to play them. Who to pitch, catch and what order do I bat them. My wife thinks that I would wake up in the middle of the night because of work. I am embarrased to tell her it was because I was worried about our outfield, our infield, our hitting or our pitching. The particular worry depended on who did poorly in practice that day.
    We blew through Districts and ran into much stiffer competiton at the State Tournament---not unexpected. With the exception of one game, we played, and coached, pretty well. However, in that one game, our first loss, we all managed to make a lot of mistakes in one inning, causing a lot of runs to score, and causing one coach to have one very sleepless night. Not to worry, when I finally made it to breakfast in the hotel the next day, I was reminded---by a good friend--- that it would have been a closer game if I didn't screw up in that one inning. Thanks pal, make that two or three sleepless nights.
    Although we lost, it was really a great experience. The kids were thrown together after competing against each other in our own Little League. Thirteen kids that were selected by their coaches to participate on an All-Star team. Some of the kids I had known, some I hadn't. As we went through the practices and the games, I think that they, too, had a good experience. I also think that they all became better players. I know that they were all good kids. They were always respectful of the coaches and responsive to what we were trying to do, and more importantly, they were always respectful to each other. They came together very nicely as a team, and never blamed each other when things went bad.
    Although, there was one exchange during a pitching change in the game that we played poorly that struck me as funny. As the new pitcher was warming up, I was chatting with our third baseman.
    "Patrick, we are hitting terribly, we are fielding terribly and we are coaching terribly, what do you have to say about that?"  
   "Coach, I just got in the game, I haven't done anything wrong yet!" 
   "It's early Patrick, you have time," I said with as much encouragement as I could muster.
   This exchange drew a smile from the umpire who was standing next to us eavesdropping on our conversation. It also drew the only smile that I was to have during that game.
    After our second loss, and after being eliminated, we got back to our car, and it would not start. Like my little team, my car was out of gas! The tournament folks were more than happy to come to my aid and provide some gas that they had at the field for their tractor. While we waited, Cheryl had Matthew and Noah get out of our car and into a friend's car to stay cool. I walked over with the lady getting the gas and had an opportunity to speak with and thank some of the volunteers that ran a wonderful tournament.
    Once we got the gas, we were good to go. Cheryl got back in the car and we slowly started to pull out, heading for home, rehashing the game. Suddenly, there was a knock on the window, as we were leaving the parking lot. It was my friend, asking us if we wanted to take our boys with us. The boys weren't important, we had to figure out what went wrong during the game. Who knew, and frankly, who cared that they weren't in the car with us.
    In my conversations with the tournament director and the volunteers, I was happy to hear that they were all very complimentary of our team, our coaches and our parents. After being there for a few days, and seeing how some adults behave, it became clear that some teams, some coaches, and some parents lose sight of the reason why we are there in the first place. You definitely want to win---I definitely wanted to win---but there are limits.
   Let's just say that some people take it way too seriously. In fact, I bet some folks take it so seriously that they lose sleep over it. Others may even forget about the most important thing of all---like making sure that their kids make it into the car and get home from the tournament.
   All I can say is that those type of people are idiots.    

Senate Democrats kill Cut, Cap and Balance...

     On a party line vote to table the House Bill to Cut, Cap and Balance, the Democrats voted to table the bill. John McCain, R-AZ, did not vote.
As one commenter put it, "Now it has been confirmed for history, the [Senate] Democrats care nothing for the nation, only for the usual bloated and ever growing hunger of the federal government. Officially now, they and the President are to blame for anything that causes damage to the nation over the debt limit, and the economy. They have had their chance, the Right presented their case and have worked to make it happen... Mr Obama and the Left, the losses of this nation are now solely on your own hands."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cut, Cap and Balance...

     The House Republican plan called "Cut, Cap and Balance" passed the House last night, and should now move to the Senate for a vote. The president has promised to veto it. Let him.
     I applaud the Conservatives in the House. I am still skeptical because I don't think it goes far enough, but it's a step in the right direction. Here is why some Conservatives voted against it.
     Gang of Six in the Senate, with your proposal for an additional $1 trillion in new taxes, go sit down. That is a leap in the wrong direction. No compromise. Stop playing games. Do the right thing for the country.
     Cut spending. Cap future spending. Balance the budget.
     The Senate will try to block this.
     I am so sick of the weasels, aren't you? You may want to call them. Buckle up. This could get ugly.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Welcome Back Carter...

     Obama and Carter's dueling malaise speeches. Listen here, from the Laura Ingraham Show.
     History repeats itself.

Feds buying up land they flooded...

     I've been warning about this for a year and a half. Beware of the federal land grab.
     The federal government has been gobbling up the American heartland, rich in natural resources.
     If you don't read Romantic Poet regularly, it is time to start. See this article about how in May, the Army Corps of Engineers blew a Mississippi River levy and flooded precious Missouri farmland, destroying property and crops, only to now offer to buy it from desperate landowners.
     What is the president's new rural council for? Have you read about Agenda 21? It's in my sidebar. It is the stuff of nightmares. Control the farms (grain). Control the food. Control the people. Stalin did it.
     Do you realize what they did? They disregarded private landowners' property rights, in order to carry out the goals of the State. What happened to those farmers' pursuit of happiness?
     “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."
     We must reclaim our Republic. It's not about Democrat versus Republican. It is about the Constitution versus Statism/One World Order. American sovereignty versus global governance. Freedom versus tyranny.
     I've said it before. I'll say it every day. Heaven help us.

Friday, July 15, 2011

"Mr. Speaker... STOP IT."

     Watch this video. Judge Andrew Napolitano reads his open letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives about the debt ceiling. Every American should see this.
     The letter ends with an empassioned plea to Speaker Boehner:

     "Mr. Speaker, you have the opportunity to do something that no standard bearer of small government has ever been able to do in our modern era; get the government to live within its means.  You can do it by standing firm with your colleagues in the Congress who are leading the call for change.  You can stop it.  You can force the Federal Government to make the difficult decisions to bring itself within its means and begin to loosen the chains of debt that have been foisted on our country by a centuries worth of progressive big-government architects.  End it this summer, Mr. Speaker.  Stop it.  Tell the President, “not a penny more.”  Stand up for the American people, bring government within its means, and begin the restoration of our republic. If you do this Mr. Speaker, if you restrain the federal beast, you will become one of history’s great champions and heroes of freedom.  If you don’t, we‘ll all go through this again the next time a president wants to spend beyond the government’s means and chain us all down to more debt."

Funny Guy Friday... Irresponsible and Bad decisions...

    The other day, my 10-year-old baseball team was practicing in preparation for the upcoming State Tournament. It was hot, but not what I would consider a sweltering day. We did a scaled-down version of our running drills, and we did some defensive drills---nothing really taxing.
    About halfway through the practice, one of our players, one that happens to have the same last name as mine, complained that he felt sick. I lovingly told him to sit down and rest, drink some water and see if he felt better. Okay, I may not have been very loving, but I certainly wasn't mad at him as some have suggested! Anyway, he came back to practice, only to sit down again after a few minutes.
    This prompted my inquiry into his diet for the day: "What did you eat? Did you eat mom's egg salad before practice?" Again, not mad, although to some, it may have appeared that I was agitated. Anyway, he claimed that he did not eat anything that would have caused the problem.
    He was not the only one that seemed to be dragging, and we were all going to go watch a 12-year-old team from our organization play at another field, so I stopped practice a bit early. I did tell the kids that there is a very good possibiity that we will play games in hotter weather, and we will need to handle it better than we did at this practice.
    In the middle of this great teaching moment, Matthew threw up at my feet.
    Do you think that Derek Jeter ever threw up on Joe Torre's shoes? I doubt it. You will be proud to hear that I fought through the unpleasant circumstances, stepped aside and finished my speech.
    It turns out that Matthew ate nothing during the day. He forgot to eat because he was at a friend's house. Not to be too disgusting, but it was clear that there was not much in his stomach.
    Now, at the end of my talk, with parents standing around, I decided to ask the moms if it was a bad idea to take Matthew to the game, or should I just take him home. Now, what I thought I heard one of the moms say was: "Ask him how he feels and decide after that." No problem. We got in the car and he looked bad but seemed to be feeling better. In fact, I know that I heard him say, "That was the best throw up that I ever had." Good enough for me, it was game time! I decided his getting sick was a one-time-thing.
    We had a few other topics of discussion during our ride to the game, including, What do we tell mom? "Mom is on a need to know basis," I advised, "but you cannot get sick again." He promised he would not, and that was that---case closed! This is how men handle their business. The women folk don't need to be all up in our business!
    Problem---Mom showed up at the game. She was sitting on one set of bleachers and Matthew was sitting on another set of bleachers. My initial plan was to avoid Cheryl and use the "if she don't ask, I won't tell" policy. Unfortunately, I noticed that she was sitting with a few moms from our team, including the one that gave me the "green light." I had to go into action---I had to infiltrate her bleachers, and see if any of them blabbed. So after avoiding Cheryl for as long as I could, I joined her and was happy to learn that our secret was safe.
    Then she asked me how practice went......
    It was great, we worked on some defensive stuff and did a little running. They did fine------------Matthew might have thrown up. I panicked! I came clean, as clean as I could come with my shoes being kind of messy.
    "Why did you bring him here instead of home?" she asked in a not so nice tone, and without any concern for my shoes.
    Again, I panicked. I looked around and found the mom that basically ordered me to take him to the game, and I pointed at her said, "She told me I could take him... I asked... and she said take him! Extending my point on the she said take him! part for emphasis.
    Apparently, that is not exactly what she had said. In fact, she may have volunteered to take him home for me, and she may have pointed out that he didn't look so good.
    I told her to stop talking to my wife and that if she continued, her son would never play another inning. Apparently, her son's playing time is not all that important to her. She went on... and on... and on. Let's just say that it became clear to me that I may have made an irresponsible and bad decision when I brought Matthew to the game---but I really wanted to watch the game, and I would never impose on someone to drive my sick kid home. Although in retrospect, had I known that this mom wasn't going to have my back, I may have sent Matthew home with her, and I may have had him drink a big ol' glass of water right before he got in her car, just to show her.
    Anyway, it turns out that I was right, and it was a one-time-deal. Our older boys won the game and everyone went home happy----with the possible exception of the son of the mother that ratted me out. Poor boy. He may never play another inning for the rest of the tournament. You see... someone has to pay for his mother's irresponsible and bad decision.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Project Gunrunner...

     Here is the summary of the scandalous Project Gunrunner, where the American government was selling weapons to Mexican drug cartels. And the guns have been used to kill people.
     The administration knew about it. The funding was in the stimulus. Twenty one million dollars.
     The president has denied knowledge, even though it was his stimulus package... and Attorney General Eric Holder testified before Congress that he only recently learned of it, but actually he bragged about the project two years ago in a speech in Mexico. There is also a video tying Project Gunrunner directly to President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.
     And now it looks like Project Gunrunner may have a cousin: Operation Castaway. It has been reported that the Federal Government, out of an ATF office in Tampa, provided more than 200 weapons to a ruthless group of Hondurans known as the MS-13s. See Michele Malkin's update here, including Congressional letters that outline these problematic programs.
     Guns used in crimes on both sides of the border. All at the taxpayers' expense. And of course the expense of the victims' families.
     This goes high up in the Administration. And they are doing their best to cover it up.
     Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Expect stonewalling anyway.

Don't you worry your pretty little head about the National Debt...

     Okay... this guy is really getting on my nerves. He really does think we little people, the collective, are stupid. 
     President Obama said in a press conference yesterday: "Let, let me distinguish between professional politicians and the public at large. The public is not paying close attention to how a treasury auction goes. They shouldn’t, they’re worrying about their families, they’re worrying about their jobs, they’re worrying about their neighborhood. They’ve got a lot of other things on their plate. We’re paid to worry about it."
     So... We should just go about our business and let the  "professional politicians" take care of everything. I think that is what got us into this mess in the first place.
     And don't try to make us think that Social Security checks would be the first things to go. We "ordinary folks" are a wee bit smarter than you think. It reminds me of, "If you don't fund abortion, the active duty soldiers abroad won't get paid." 
     NO. MORE. I don't care how smart you think you are.
     See the National Debt in my sidebar. It's not pretty.

Obama the tyrant...

     This article from American Thinker just about sums it up. Except for the "spellbinding orator" part. I was never taken in by him. And the part at the end about him being the realization of Martin Luther King's dream. If only the voters had examined the content of his character. He lies repeatedly, and is a Marxist revolutionary would-be dictator who cares nothing for the real America. Did I just write that out loud?
     In the end, America is supposed to hate tyranny, right? In 2012, let's work toward reclaiming our Republic.

Obama dictates new gun restrictions... by Executive Fiat, of course......

     Watch out America... Looks like an Obama back-door gun-control plan...
     First, claim that American gun makers are responsible for most illicit guns in Mexico.
     Then, have your own ATF make gun shop owners sell thousands of weapons to suspected Mexican bad guys. Read about Operation Fast and Furious here, here, herehere, here, here, and here. The guns have been linked to at least one dead American, and crimes within our borders, perpetrated by illegal aliens.
     Now, what do you know. The president needs to crack down on the illegal flow of guns to Mexico, by imposing more restrictions on legitimate American gun sellers. By Executive Order of course. What a farce. What a hypocrite.
     I've said it before... It's good to be king. WAKE UP PLEASE, AMERICA.  
     Power corrupts.
     Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
     I have a suggestion to our Congress. Do your job. CHECK THIS PRESIDENT'S POWER. You took an oath.
     Keep your eyes on the corruption.
     Heaven help us all.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Funny Guy Friday... The 4th of July...

     Matthew has often mentioned that the 4th of July is one of his favorite holidays, right up there with Thanksgiving. The reason is that you don't really have to do a whole lot on either holiday except eat and play football on Thanksgiving... and eat and watch fireworks on the 4th of July. Eating and doing nothing are two great traits for a holiday.
     This past week we celebrated our great country's birthday the same way we have celebrated for the past three years, by eating and watching fireworks at a friend's house (see last year's FGF.....Poor Aunt Dot). We visited our friend's home on the water in Pasadena on July 3rd and then had family over to eat and watch some more fireworks on July 4th. The weekend was full of great highlights.
     As we drove to our friend's cookout on the 3rd we contemplated stopping at Wendy's to get some "real food" to eat before the cookout. You see, last year, I recalled being very hungry and just wanting to get there so I could eat a nice grilled hamburger. When we arrived, we were greeted by a menu that was highlighted by veggie burgers. Seriously, is this the food that our country was founded on? I doubt very seriously that the signers of the Declaration of Independence celebrated their historical event by gathering at the local pub and ordering up a round of veggie burgers.
Hancock:  You know Ben, that the veggie burger is better for your heart than that old hamburger that you ordered... and by the way, the Turkey as the national bird was just a stupid idea.
Franklin: Well John, that veggie burger has no taste... and don't you think that your signature was just a bit over the top? 
     Fortunately, we did a little recon work with our spy on the inside. My brother-in-law was already at the party and gave a flattering report on the party chow. Hot dogs and shrimp kabobs were the highlighted items. No hamburgers, but they did have salmon burgers. Not the same thing... as the key to a real burger is the ham (aka MEAT)!!! not the veggie, tofu or salmon. Without the real meat, basically you have air in patty form. Not a perfect menu, but certainly not deserving of a pre-meal meal at Wendy's.    
     Once again, the fireworks were spectacular with no less than six different groups setting off fireworks on the other side of the river. We watched for more than an hour before having to leave... while the fireworks display continued. That night, the owner of the home advised that a similar "pyrotechnic" event occurred the night before and still another would occur the on the 4th. Awesome night.
     The next day, the actual 4th, we had the family over for a "real" cookout with flank steak, grilled chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs. As an added bonus, my sister brought a bushel of crabs. This prompted me to comment that if I knew that we were going to have crabs, I never would have invited Cheryl's family to the party. Matthew had a better idea, invite them----but give them a later starting time----a post crab feast starting time. A chip off the old block.
    By the way, thank God that we live in a country that figured out how to steam a crab. Think about that. Who figured that you could eat such a creature after steaming it in a mixture of water, beer and old bay seasoning. Our Founding Fathers were brilliant; forget about the Declaration of Independence, give me the guy that figured out that you could steam a crab.
     Speaking of preparing food, there is nothing hotter on a humid 95 degree day than cooking food on a 375 degree grill with the breeze changing directions every second so that the smoke and the heat smack you directly in the face-----no matter where you stand.  In spite of the heat, the food was spectacular, if I do say so myself.
     After our feast, when the sun went down, my brother-in-law broke out fireworks that he recently purchased at one of those temporary stands that you see in store parking lots. These were not the kind of fireworks that fly in the sky; instead, they stay on the ground and shoot colored sparks into the air. It is the kind of fireworks that we always had when we were kids. In fact, as I sat next to my two boys and watched the show, several thoughts ran through my mind. First, this is what we used to do on the 4th of July when we were kids. We had friends and family over, we ate, and when the sun went down, my dad would set off the fireworks. I missed my dad and I knew that he would have enjoyed this day. It did not matter what the occasion, he loved being with his family.
     I also realized that I am a lot like him, in that I love being with my family (including my crab stealing in-laws) and I am always happiest when we are together. I really do love them all, but with that being said, I do want to send a special shout out to my sister who not only buys the crabs, but she picks the crabs for others and does not eat the crab meat. My dad used to do the same thing, so it was always a strategic move to grab a seat next to my dad at the crabbing table. Now everyone snuggles up to my sister. Typically, this spot is reserved for the youngest family member or the most inexperienced crab picker at the table.
     I also hoped that my kids would remember these days and these traditions. I look forward to a day when Cheryl and I are invited over to one of our kids' homes for a 4th of July cookout and fireworks. I want the best seat in the house, not for the fireworks, but so I can watch my kids sit with their kids while they watch the fireworks. It will be great---I won't have to get the yard ready, I won't have to clean, I won't have to grill. My only responsibility will be to  sit and clean crabs for my grandkids.
     Our country is changing. Some of those changes are good and others not so good. But we  live in a great country where opportunities are limitless and anything is possible. I want my kids to take advantage of all that is available to them, but when all is said and done, personally, I hope that the more things change, the more things will stay the same.
     I hope everyone had a great 4th of July. As you can see, we did. We sat around and did nothing but eat and watch fireworks. A perfect holiday. I can't wait for Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

We don't have a revenue problem... We have a spending problem...

     Steny Hoyer, unfortunately my so-called "representative" in Congress, calls lawmakers who will not raise taxes in order to raise the debt ceiling to allow for still more spending "irresponsible" and "sunshine patriots." Read this from CNS News.
     As one reader commented, "It can't be said enough. We don't have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem. The spending is by far extreme and excessive." Not to mention unconstitutional. And, ironically, irresponsible.
     When will Marylanders wake up and stop voting for lawmakers with little common sense?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Immaculate Heart of Mary...

     Father, you prepared the heart of the Virgin Mary to be a fitting home for your Holy Spirit. By her prayers may we become a more worthy temple of your glory. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
     For more prayers and activities, go to Catholic Culture.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs bans God...

     The Constitution states that Americans have the right to exercise their faith freely... through the spoken word if they wish.
     "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." First Amendment
     The State cannot establish a national religion. But it cannot abolish religion either. Somebody needs to tell the Obama Administration, so they can tell the V.A.
     Read about what happened recently at Houston National Cemetery.
     The federal government said, "Sorry. No God allowed."
     I say WE THE PEOPLE say different.
     I suppose one could argue that technically Congress did not do this. The Executive Branch did.
     Hmmm. More fundamental transformation. Render Congress irrelevant and rule by executive fiat. Who cares about separation of powers. Pay no attention to that pesky Constitution. 
     I suppose it is good to be king. It just isn't America.
     I already have a King anyway.
     Dear God, I'm on your team. Please hold me close.

"Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father.”
Matthew 10

Friday, July 1, 2011

Funny Guy Friday... Tournament Time...

     Well, it is baseball season, and I am in full tournament mode... when everything I do is either work-related or baseball-related. This is much different from regular season baseball mode when baseball is only a relatively small part of the day. Tournament time is filled with phone calls and conferences---90% of which have absolutely nothing to do with work.
     In fact, I told someone the other day that I spend my days concentrating on work and baseball. More specifically, I spend my days figuring out how I am going to get out of work to go coach baseball. My secretary blocked me out every afternoon of tournament week and everyday I have feared that one of my afternoon cases may go to trial causing me to be late for a game or practice. Look Judge, you can put this guy in jail on another day, I have got to get going because I have a 5:45 game in Baltimore. It's not that bad... but it's close.
     Actually, believe it or not, having to coach has actually helped me in Court. The Prosecutor makes an offer and my client turns it down. I go to the Prosecutor and advise them that my client said no, and I have a little problem---I have to be in Baltimore at 5:45 for a game that I am coaching. We then talk about baseball and the Prosecutor sweetens the deal with a comment similar to this: "Well lets see if we can get you out of here. Will your client accept a plea to a lesser charge with no jail time? This schtick works so well, my clients might be better served if I take up coaching basketball, football, field hockey, chess and competitive cheerleading so I have to be somewhere every night.
     The team I am coaching is an All-Star team made up of kids chosen by their Little League coaches. I had coached most of them on a different team during the season and knew what kind of players they were, but I had never met some of the kids, and there were others I had seen play only a handful of times. They were good, I thought, but I was not overly impressed. Frankly, I did not know what to expect.
    Initially, after our first practice, I thought we were going to struggle. When I reported this to Cheryl she was not surprised: "You say that about every team that you coach and your teams always do well," and then she added, "God put each one of these boys with you for a reason... there is something that you are going to give to them... or they are going to give to you... so figure that out and just do your best." Great. Now I had to coach this ragtag team and worry about God's plans too. This was too much pressure.
    As the week of practice progressed, and I watched the kids practice every night, for three hours each night, as one parent commented, I could see that I may have been wrong... we might be pretty good. Of course I worried, Where can I play this particular kid? or That kid may not be able to hit good pitching, but it was clear to see that the kids were pretty good. In fact, every single one of the new kids was better than I had thought, and the kids that I had coached before continued to play well. The pieces were coming together. Now if the coaches don't mess anything up, we might be okay.   
     I am coaching the team with two assistant coaches. Two very different assistant coaches.
     Assistant One I have coached with, on and off, for about fifteen years. He does not have a kid on the team, in fact he has no kids at all. He rarely questions anything that I do, and he never calls me on the phone to discuss our strategy.
     Assistant Two I have coached with for one season, and he has twin boys on the team (very talented twin boys). He questions everything that I do, and we talk on the phone four or five times a day----in at least four of those five conversations, he finds a way to slip in that he coached his Little League team to a 16-3 record and the 10U championship. Big deal, he has two good players for the price of one---kind of inspires me to talk Cheryl into having twins so I can enjoy that same kind of success. Most of the time he ends up frustrated with me because I tend to put off making a decision until the last minute, and he wants to know everything right now. Anal is not the right word, but then is.
     The difference in the two coaches became clear when Assitant Two advised that he purchased a white dry erase board for the dugout. Great, no problem. But then he wanted to get together after practice to review how we were going to use the dry erase board. Sure, but can we do it over burgers and dogs at my house after practice? I don't want the parents to see us practicing how we are going to use the dry erase board before the tournament. This will not instill confidence. This was a good idea because in addition to practice using the board, we could continue our strategy discussions, he thought.
     I asked Assistant One if he would like to join us and he replied, "I have 100% confidence that our supreme leader will make the right decisions. He has operated from the seat of his pants for 48 years and has done quite well for himself. The only thing that I see him doing with the dry erase board is breaking it over his knee like Belushi in the movie Animal House. I will pass!"  
    Did I mention that Assistant Two has two very talented twin boys on the team? Why else would I put up with this?
    Anyway, I am happy to report that we are now three games into the tournament, and we have won every game. The fretting and the worry have all been for naught, as the kids have been playing great. There have been very few decisions to make, and very little for me to do, as they are winning by wide margins. We need to win one more game to advance to the State Tournament but so far, so good. In fact, the only hiccup has been with the dry erase board.
     I will admit that the board came in handy in the first two games, as we were able to record our changes and make sure that every player met his playing requirements. But last night the marker would not write on the board. This had our dugout in a panic. I thought quickly, and advised my assistant coach to get a pad of paper and a pencil and write out our lineup and our changes, using the pencil and the paper. It worked. Imagine that, it worked. The one managerial decision that I had to make in the heat of battle, and it worked like a charm. You see, you may not know this about me, but I have been flying by the seat of my pants for 48 years and have done quite well for myself. Sometimes flying by the seat of your pants can come in quite handy.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus...

Merciful Jesus...
I consecrate myself today and always,
To your Most Sacred Heart.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
I implore that I may ever love You
More and more...

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
I trust in You!
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Have mercy on us!
Sacred Heart of Jesus
I believe in Your love for me,
Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
Make my heart like Your Heart. Amen.
     From Catholic Culture... an explanation of the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus:
     "I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment." (Jesus to St. Margaret Mary).
     Sixteenth century Calvinism and seventeenth century Jansenism preached a distorted Christianity that substituted for God's love and sacrifice of His Son for all men the fearful idea that a whole section of humanity was inexorably damned.
     The Church always countered this view with the infinite love of our Savior who died on the cross for all men. The institution of the feast of the Sacred Heart was soon to contribute to the creation among the faithful of a powerful current of devotion which since then has grown steadily stronger. 
     The first Office and Mass of the Sacred Heart were composed by St. John Eudes, but the institution of the feast was a result of the appearances of our Lord to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1675. The celebration of the feast was extended to the general calendar of the Church by Pius IX in 1856.
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