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Things That Matter...

"Stella Awards"

Do you want to know why your insurance and those of whom you do business with have been rising? Take a look at the Stella Awards…………..and weep, that is before you throw something.

Second Place this Year goes to:

Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware who successfully sued the owner of a night club in a neighboring city when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out her two front teeth. This occurred while Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the window in the ladies room to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000 and dental expenses.

Now we come to the FIRST PLACE WINNER:

This year's run away winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mrs. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32-foot Winnebago motorhome. On her first trip home, from an Oklahoma University football game, having driven onto the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70-mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go into the back to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly the RV left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising her in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually do this. The jury awarded her $1,750,000 plus a new motor home. The company actually changed their manuals on the basis of this suit, just in case there were any other complete morons around.

These are but just two, of many, that we will highlight from time-to-time. Don't throw anything at us. Save it for the judges who (1) hear these ridiculous cases, and (2) award those who need help, and not financial help!

"Betcha' Often Wondered"

As you know in George Washington's days there were no cameras. One's image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both arms and both legs. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms and legs are "limbs," therefore painting them would cost the buyer more. Hence the expression, "Okay, but it will cost you an arm and a leg."

As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year, in May and October. Women kept their hair covered, while men shaved their heads, to eliminate lice and bugs, and wore wigs. Wealthy men could aford good wigs made from wool. They couldn't wash the wigs so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and baked it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy. Hence the term "big wig." Today we often use the term "here comes the Big Wig" because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.

In the late 1700s many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded down from the wall, and was used for dining. The "head of the household" always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal. To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the "chair man." Today in business we use the expression or title "Chairman" or "Chairman of the Board."

In olden days personal hygiene left much room for improvement. As a result many women and men had developed acne scars by adulthood. The women would spread bee's wax over their facial skin to smooth out their complexions. When they were speaking to each other, if woman began to stare at another woman's face she was told, "mind your own bee's wax." Should the woman smile, the wax would crack. Hence the term "crack a smile." In addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt………therefore the expression "losing face."

Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in front. A proper and dignified woman, as in "straight laced"…wore a tightly tied lace.

In colonial days common entertainment included playing cards. However there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards, but only applicable to the "Ace of Spades." To avoid paying the tax people would purchase just 51 cards instead. Yet, since most games required 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren't "playing with a full deck."

Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, TV's or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They were told to "go sip some ale" and listen to people's conversations and political concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different times. "you go sip here" and "You go sip there." The two words "go sip" were eventaully combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we have the term "gossip."

At these local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A barmaid's job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in "pints" and who was drinking in "quarts." Hence the term "minding your "P's and Q's."

"Tomb of the Unknown Soldier"

We have all heard of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, but do we really know what transpires there every minute of every day. This truly impressive piece will bring a new and proud meaning to you.

1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns and why?

Twenty-one steps. It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

2. How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and why?

Twenty-one seconds, for the same reason as number one.

3. Why are his gloves wet?

His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle

4. Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time and if not why not?

He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.

5. How often are the guards changed?

Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

6. What are the physical traits of the guard limited to?

For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be between 5′ 10″ and 6′ 2″ tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30."

Other requirements of the Guard: They must commit two years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives. They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform (fighting) or the tomb in any way.

After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as a guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin.

Their shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt. There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror. The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor watch television.

All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred. Among the notables are: President Taft, Joe E. Lewis (the boxer), and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy (the most decorated soldier of World War II) of Hollywood fame.

Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.


In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington, D.C., our Senate and House took two days off with anticipation of the storm. On the ABC Evening News, it was reported that because of the dangers from the hurricane the military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment. They respectfully declined the offer, "No way, Sir!" Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment, it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a serviceperson.

The Tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

"Legends" in American History

Johnny Appleseed: John Chapman was born in 1774, died in 1845. Legend tells us Johnny wandered throughout Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana for forty years sowing seeds along the way that produced the Midwest orchards.

Judge Roy Bean: 1825-1903; was nefarious as a cattle rustler, gambler, frontier trader, and saloon keeper. In 1882, while in Texas, he named himself justice of the peace and set up court in his saloon. He determined the law by unorthodox decisions using his wit, common sense, one law book and his trusty six-shooter.

Billy the Kid: William H. Bonney; 1859-1881; was a cattle rustler and range war gunman who reportedly killed 21 people, the first before he was a teenager.

Nellie Bly: Born Elizabeth Seaman in 1867 she became a New York World reporter who traveled around the world in 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes in 1889-1890 beating the fictional record of Phileas Fogg. She died in 1922.

Bonnie and Clyde: Bonnie Parker, 1910-1934, and Clyde Barrow, 1909-1934 were outlaws that terrorized the Southwest in their two-year robbery spree that resulted in 12 murders.

Lizzie Borden: 1860-1927; although perceived as guilty by most this 32-year-old spinster was tried and found not guilty of hacking her stepmother and father to death by use of an ax.

Jim Bowie: 1796-1836; this frontiersman, soldier, hero of the Texas Revolution and inventor of the popular Bowie knife was killed in the battle of the Alamo.

Diamond Jim Brady: James Buchanan Brady, 1856-1917; this man of considerable girth was a financier and a bon vivant well-known for his lavish and conspicuously extravagant lifestyle.

Buffalo Bill: William Frederick Cody, 1846-1917; this U.S. Army scout, buffalo hunter, Indian fighter and showman organized the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show which featured Chief Sitting Bull and fancy shooting by Annie Oakley.

Paul Bunyan: this legendary lumberjack was noted for his perceived fantastic size and strength and became the hero of numerous tall tales in the western timber country. His size gave birth to the term Bunyanesque when describing a person of great size and strength.

Kit Carson: Christopher Carson, 1809-1868; this frontiersman, soldier, scout and Indian agent guided John C. Fremont's expedition in what is now Wyoming and California in 1842-46.

Calamity Jane: Martha Jane Canary Burke was born in 1852. This frontier character was a noted markswoman who appeared in Deadwood, South Dakota in 1876 dressed in men's clothes. She boasted of her exploits as a pony express rider and U.S. Army scout. She died in 1903.

Casey Jones: John Luther Jones, 1864-1900. This locomotive engineer got his nickname from his workplace, Cayce, Kentucky where he drove the Cannonball Express train from Memphis to Canton, Missisippi. In a wreck in Vaughn, Missisippi he applied the brakes in time to save his passengers, but was killed. He has been immortalized in song to this day.

Wyatt Earp: Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp; 1848-1929; This law officer and gunfighter was involved with his brothers and friend Doc Holliday in the famous Gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona in 1881.

Wild Bill Hickok: James Butler Hickok, 1837-1876; This frontiersman and marshall in Hays and Abilene, Kansas, gained fame as a marksman and then a legend upon his murder in Deadwood, South Dakota by outlaw Jack McCall.

Hiawatha: believed to have been born around 1550 he became the chief of the Onandaga Indians and was credited with founding the Iroquois Confederacy. He later became the hero of the well-known poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Jesse James: Jesse Woodson James was born in 1847. He led an outlaw gang in daring bank and train robberies in the Midwest from 1866. He was murdered in 1882 by Robert Ford, a member of his gang.

Annie Oakley: Phoebe Anne Oakley Moses was born in 1860 and became a rifle and shotgun markswoman and was a star attraction in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show from 1885 to 1902. She died in 1926.

Pocahontas: 1595-1617; this daughter of Chief Powhatan was said to have saved the life of Capt. John Smith at Jamestown as Powhatan was about to execute him. She was later held hostage for the return of her father's English prisoners. She became a Christian and in 1614 married a settler, John Rolfe. She went to England in 1616 and upon her death in 1617 was buried at Gravesend, England.

Belle Starr: Myra Belle Shirley was born in 1848 and became an outlaw who led a band of cattle rustlers and horse thieves that raided ranches throughout Oklahoma. She died young, at 41, in 1889.

Good motto to live by …

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body,
but rather to skid in sideways, Champagne in one hand – strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming

WOO HOO – What a Ride!"

An Old Story But Worth The Read …

His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog.

There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman"s sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.

"I want to repay you," said the nobleman. "You saved my son's life."

"No, I can't accept payment for what I did," the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel.

"Is that your son?" the nobleman asked.

"Yes," the farmer replied proudly.

"I'll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of." And that he did.

Farmer Fleming's son attended the very best schools and in time,graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.

Years afterward, the same nobleman"s son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia.

What saved his life this time? Pencillin.

The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son's name?

Sir Winston Churchill.

Someone once said: What goes around comes around.

Hands …

An old man, probably some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the park bench. He didn't move, just sat with his head down staring at his hands.

When I sat down beside him he didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if he was ok.

Finally, not really wanting to disturb him, but wanting to check on him at the same time, I asked him if he was ok. He raised his head and looked at me and smiled.

"Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking," he said in a clear strong voice.

"I didn't mean to disturb you, sir, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were ok," I explained to him.

"Have you ever looked at your hands he asked? I mean really looked at your hands." I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them.

I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands, as I tried to figure out the point he was making.

Then he smiled and related this story:

"Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and embrace life. They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They dried the tears of my children and caressed the love of my life. They held my rifle and wiped my tears when I went off to war. They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special. They wrote the letters home and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse and walked my daughter down the aisle.

Yet, they were strong and sure when I dug my buddy out of a foxhole and lifted a plow off of my best friends foot. They have held children, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand. They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of my life.

But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. And He won't care about where these hands have been or what they have done. What He will care about is to whom these hands belong and how much He loves these hands. And with these hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ."

No doubt I will never look at my hands the same again.

I never saw the old man again after I left the park that day but I will never forget him and the words he spoke. When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and wife I think of the man in the park. I have a feeling he has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God.

"What If The United States Never Existed?"

Rowdy Richard

Imagine if you will a world, just as it is geographically positioned today, but with what is now North America devoid of the landmass, which is the United States, and without its over 260,000,000 people. Canada would remain where it is, but its southern border would be Mexico.

The United States, as a country, geographically, politically, morally, economically, and physically just didn't exist. Never had. Now think for a moment as to what the condition of the world would be in today.

We know by actions, words, and polls that our country is hated by some, and disapproved of by others. If anyone is looking for the reason for that it appears to be quite simple. For the most part, although not entirely, it comes down to envy and jealousy, pure and simple.

When will the nations of the world admit to themselves, be they kingdoms, dictatorships, democracies or other politically controlled governments, that what the United States has accomplished in just over two centuries, compared to the rest of the world, is truly remarkable and worth emulating. Why won't they, figuratively, just step back and look in the mirror at their own countries and try to achieve what we have achieved?

We will, and have, as a nation, as a people, by our generous nature, tried to help others less fortunate to achieve the same standard of living as we ourselves enjoy. We are not interested in conquering other lands and subjugating their people. Why should we? We have it so good here we don't have to look to other areas for improvement. Our way of life, although not perfect, is just fine, thank you.

Let us then raise twenty questions for the world to answer:

  1. Who else would have stepped in during World War I to send an expeditionary force and material across a vast ocean to help quell the Kaiser and the Germans in their expansionistic desires?
  2. Who would have been the dominant force providing the manpower and material, once again, to face down and destroy the evil that arose by the actions of the Axis powers of Hitler and Mussolini in Europe, and Tojo in Japan, who were looking for world conquest during World War II? Had the Axis won would Hitler and Tojo have divided up the world to live in peace and harmony?
  3. Who, after the tremendous destruction of World War II, could and would have provided the wherewithal, through a Marshall Plan, to rebuild Europe and those other parts of the world destroyed by war?
  4. Who was ready, willing, and able to face down the powerful Soviet Union, in their expansionist desires? It was done under the threat of nuclear war and the possible extermination of our nation and parts of the world. We successfully prevailed in the Cold War thereby thwarting their desire to spread communism and impose their tyranny and submission on other parts of the world?
  5. Who else would have stepped in, losing 50,000 of its young men and women, to once again supply its manpower and material to stop the spread of communism into South Korea?
  6. Who else stepped into Vietnam, maybe not covering ourselves with glory politically, but certainly doing so with the efforts of our troops, to make the Communists of Southeast Asia think twice and then dismiss any further thoughts of future aggression and expansion in that part of the world?
  7. Who sent servicemen and women into Haiti, Panama, and Grenada to topple dictatorial regimes that subjugated citizens, jailed and killed political opponents, and then went on to establish a free society for these people?
  8. Who took on Saddam Hussein and expelled his Iraqi troops from Kuwait, freeing those people from his occupational forces, and protecting Saudi Arabia and other contiguous nations from his intended continuous advances? When Hussein set fire to the oil wells in his scorched earth retreat across the desert the United States was looked to for the dangerous mission of extinguishing those fires. Not a drop of the oil that was preserved, by the way, was given to us in thanks for what we did by those nations that then purchased it from Iraq and benefited from our efforts. We still pay OPEC their asking price for that oil with hard dollars that those countries very much need and want.
  9. Who organized a coalition of a few nations and took the lead to go into the Balkans to try to help settle a centuries-old conflict that should have been settled by the European community. We put down a civil war, stopped mass killings and "ethnic cleansing" while at the same time dethroning and bringing to justice the evil perpetrators of such horrible acts. No one in Europe had the ability nor the courage to do anything without our leadership and military forces.
  10. How do the peoples of the world explain, and in some instances justify, the tremendous and despicable attacks on two of the major cities of our country on September 11, 2001? We had been attacked, without warning nor provocation, by those same people that resent and are jealous of our way of living and the success that we have established in our country. They strive to take us down. People who are hundreds, and in some cases thousands of years older than our nation, yet live without advancement of their culture and society into the 21st century. By their act they threw down the gauntlet. They challenged our way of life, and the lives of the free world, thinking that by past inactions of the previous administration that we would again ignore their actions and acquiescence to their demands and wishes. They seriously misjudged the people in charge of our current government and the people of this nation. For what their acts did was to ignite a fire among the American people that will not be extinguished until the evil of terrorism is no longer a threat to our country and to the world community. We took action immediately and are currently engaged in a global war, sacrificing our young men and women to keep the world free from terrorism. Many nations are with us, others lack the courage and the resourcefulness and thus are reticent to join in the fight that will, without doubt, be on their doorstep if they ignore the possibility of it touching their people. Once again many, certainly not all, will allow the United States to do the dirty work of ridding the world of these monsters, but then are only too willing to reap the rewards and benefits that will follow. Once again some of the larger nations of the world look to us to be the leader in putting the world back into a peaceful mode. We are up to it, and shall prevail. But what if we had never existed, who then, would rise up to be the leader? There are those who have said that we went to war with Iraq for the oil reserves. Now just imagine a country that has done all of the above wanting to preserve much of the world's oil reserves. Of course we do, not only for ourselves but for the rest of the world as well who are dependent on the Middle East for petroleum to run their societies. Yes, a stable Middle East is to our advantage as it is to the rest of the world, but we are not looking to capture the oil reserves for ourselves but are willing to pay for our oil and have the money to do it. Let us not forget, however, that we were the ones, many years ago, who went to the Middle East, explored for oil, found it, sunk the wells to raise it from the ground, and refined it thus allowing the nations of the area to enjoy riches never dreamed of by their former way of living, that being off the vast wasteland of sand.
  11. Who has been the provider of food to the world, eliminating or reducing famine in its many parts, especially third world countries, so that their populace might not starve to death?
  12. Who has been the leader in the creation of new products and services that have enriched lives throughout the world? The model for raising the level of national and personal success and well being never before seen in the world?
  13. Who has been the leader in the world showing how a nation with citizens of multiple ethnicity can live well, safely, freely, comfortably and in harmony under the Four Freedoms, i.e. Speech, Press, Assembly, and Religion?
  14. Who has been not only the leader in the creation of many new life-saving drugs, but also the provider to the world, oftentimes free of charge, of these critical medicines and the people to administer them?
  15. Who continually comes to the financial, material and personnel aid to nations throughout the world when natural disasters strike?
  16. Who, when other nations were on the brink of financial disaster, through mismanagement of fiscal policies, stepped in with outright gifts of financial aid or loans, which we might add, have gone mostly unpaid, unappreciated but Forgiven?
  17. Who has graciously and generously opened its doors for entrance into this country for those seeking freedom, political asylum, education or a better way of life? Thousands of students from around the world come to the United States each year, more than to any other country to benefit and learn from how we do things so successfully.
  18. Who has acted as a "parent" or a "surrogate welfare provider to the world of nations that, at times, seems to emulate an overly indulged child?
  19. Who was the leader that brought the nations of the world? together, provided the initial financial and moral support and the permanent headquarters site for the United Nations, sustaining it for years while other nations ignored their financial obligations?
  20. When there is a world problem of any kind to whom do the nations of the world look to for its resolution? A problem solver that has asked little or nothing in return.

The answers to the above questions are easily answered by those who look objectively at the United States, who are devoid of malice, but are obviously difficult to accept or acknowledge by the other members of the world community. What must annoy them is the fact that we have accomplished this in a fraction of the time it has taken many other nations to even have a small portion of what we enjoy as a nation. As we continue to provide a better life for our people their people, not entirely, but for the most part, just drift through life like so many welfare recipients taking whatever they can, giving little or nothing back, to their governments or to Uncle Sam.

Just look around at the various countries of the world, most, many hundreds or in some cases a thousand years older than ourselves. They still live in ancient times with backward societies, repressed people, and unstable governments, seemingly caring little about the welfare or growth of their societies or people.

The old axiom of "those that can, do, those that can't sit back and criticize" seems to aptly apply to many of the world's peoples. Jealousy is one of the ten deadly sins. Pity those who are so afflicted.