January 2015

8 articles in January 2015

Tthere once was a little girl named Katie who had a kitty named Fluffy. Fluffy was a very lovable cat whose hair was long and bushed out in every direction. Katie was six years old and loved Fluffy and thought of him as her best friend in the whole world.

She told bedtime stories to him every night. Stretched out across the bed, Katie told Fluffy stories about anything and everything, as she stroked him from head to tail and Fluffy purred and purred during story-time. Katie’s long ripples of golden-brown hair flopped over one of her rosy cheeks as she snuggled close to Fluffy and she jabbered constantly, until they both fell asleep. Bright sunshine rays shone across Katie’s face and woke her.

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Wwebster defines religion as being, “the service and worship of God or the supernatural”. The concept is also defined as being, “a system of religious beliefs and practices.”

Have you every wondered how this concept of religion began? Most anthropologists agree religion was born out of a reality of fear. In the beginning, and I do mean the beginning, people had to ban together in order to survive. Alone a predator would probably eat them. Coming together in groups or tribes they had a better chance to see another day.

The most terrifying time had to be the night. No one could see anything but hear everything. They must have huddled in groups around in circles to keep warm and alive. The only place there was light was the sky. The stars and moon didn’t illuminate much but the earth around them gave no light.

It makes sense their survival had to come from the sky. They began to put sticks in the ground in the center of their circles reaching up to where they thought safety lived. We all know the sticks grew larger through the millenniums until they became steeples and giant centers of religion even though the people watching the sky had little knowledge of what religion was.

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I wondered where that sound came from as I wheeled the stroller out of the playground on York Beach, Maine. The playground is above soft white sand that is incredibly clean.

Since I had to roll the stroller over the sand I pulled it down and decided to roll it on the front wheels. The next sound I heard was a blood-curdling screech coming from the direction of my wife. I still had no clue as to where the ‘Eeeee’ came from. I also noticed the stroller seemed a bit lighter.

Watching my wife run toward me I noticed this slight bump of sand between the lines made by the wheels of the stroller. My wife then scooped up this lump of sand and held it close. I immediately knew the lump of sand had a name and it was my grandson Jack. I later found out as I tipped the stroller gravity took its toll and off slid poor Jack. He was not hurt because he landed in the sand.

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Tthere are many advantages in living on the beautiful coast of New England during the mid-winter months. Where else could one grab their morning paper and not have to spend time to unwrap the plastic wrapping because all one has to do is toss it to the ground at which time the plastic would literally splinter off the paper like a thin piece of glass.

What other part of our nation do you have the capacity to change your shoelaces every other day because they snap off every time you have to tie your boots. Think of all the fashion statements we make every other day by changing the color of our shoelaces.

Walking out onto your driveway is always an adventure. I haven’t taken a step past the inside of my garage door in months because all I have to do is aim my boots toward my truck and inertia will allow me to slide right up to my truck door. Think of all the calories I have saved by not having to put one foot in front of the other.
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Tthe holidays are finally over and all we have left is our hopes and dreams of the coming new year. Why should we care? Every year starts the same way with resolutions. 

They include weight loss, less drinking and smoking, and of course the ever popular, “this is the year that will make the most difference in our lives.”

I’m not promoting cynicism but what makes the year 2015, different from any other year? I’ve been told the best way to understand the present is to look into the past. So, why not discover what was so great about other “15’s of times gone by.

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Aanytime I am confused about a definition of a term I find my old beaten Webster’s Dictionary that is always found on the corner of my desk in order relieve the stress. With war becoming a probable reality and rumbles of peace starting to be heard across our nation a definition of peace becomes very important.

Webster defines peace as being, “a state of calm and quiet. A freedom from disturbing thoughts or emotions and a state of concord between persons or governments.

“Webster continues his definition by stating that, “peace is public security under law and an agreement to end hostilities.” Living in a powerful and prosperous nation the concept of peace is something that most of us take for granted. Not since the beginning of the Vietnam War has the concept of peace lost its value. I don’t think the people of my country have become warlike. I do believe they have forgotten what a loss of peace means.

Still confused over what this tiny powerful word means I started to look up some origins of the term peace. In our Judean past peace in Hebrew is Shalom. Looking further into other origins of the term I discovered that the word peace in Arabic is Salaam. Even the term demonstrates how close the histories of the Jewish and the Arabic worlds are.

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Aleena, a teenage peasant girl, is lured into the mysterious and scary Gleaming Forest of Lost Souls where Good is at war with Evil. Queen Goodwende, ruler of the Good Spirits and the creatures of the countryside, are constantly battling against Archlord Pheande, master of the Evil Spirits.

His army, led by the Knights of Mayhem, is seeking to gain control of the local mortals and eventually those in the world beyond. Queen Goodwende, in order to save Aleena from his clutches, endows her with a power which changes her into a firefly whenever she is in danger.

Unfortunately Tayne, an evil lantern maker who uses fireflies to power his lanterns, catches her and decides to use her extra brightness to power a special golden lantern that he intends to sell to his king.

When Tayne’s cart is damaged, he visits the nearest smithy and meets the blacksmith and his two teenage sons. While he is there, he shows them the lantern and, although not realising that a girl is really the source of its light, the younger son, Kenelm, immediately falls under the spell of the lantern’s beauty. He begs his father to buy it for his birthday but Tayne refuses to sell it.

Later that night, a spellbound Kenelm leaves home to follow Tayne and plead with him to part with the lantern. When they meet, Tayne dupes Kenelm into going to the Land of Farbeyond, to work as his apprentice, by promising to give him the lantern when his apprenticeship is completed.

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Iimust have looked stunned as the woman at the checkout counter at Hannaford’s tried to explain to me the economics of potato chips. She was trying to explain why a bag of Lay’s potato chips were on sale for $1.99 while a bag of FritoLay potato chips were not on sale and would cost me $3.49.

She continued by telling me that if I wanted a bag of Frito potato chips I would only have to pay $2.29 because they were also on sale but if I wanted a bag of Frito Ruffles potato chips, that would be the regular price of $3.99. After a couple of minutes my wife snapped her fingers in front of me because I was starting to drift into a trance. I just couldn’t understand how bags of what are essentially the same product, made by the same company, could have so many different prices. FritoLay makes Fritos, Lay’s and Ruffles and many other similar products – but they all are potato chips.

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