Justice in Italy

My friend, Micah, called me yesterday afternoon so excited to share the news that the court in Italy had freed those two poor young Americans from jail. It has been a horrible tragic story for over four years about how a beautiful English college girl had been raped and murdered in her rented home in a little college town in Italy. The other girl who shared the house came home after an evening with her boyfriend and discovered the body. Then the police went nuts accusing her and her boyfriend of having an orgy gone wrong and threw three kids in jail with almost no evidence and no clear motive. It was horrible and my heart aches for everyone involved.

At least now the girl can come home to America and try to start her lie over again. I hope she gets a huge book and movie deal to make some money and help make up for the four years she had to spend in that awful Italian jail. The whole story makes me not want to ever visit Italy – some place Micah and I’ve always wanted to visit – until now I see how the police treat people.

This one’s not the brightest crayon in the box

A guy walked into a little corner store with a shotgun and demanded all of the cash from the cash drawer. After the cashier put the cash in a bag, the robber saw a bottle of Scotch that he wanted behind the counter on the shelf. He told the cashier to put it in the bag as well, but the cashier refused and said, ‘Because I don’t believe you are over 21.’

The robber said he was, but the clerk still refused to give it to him because she didn’t believe him. At this point, the robber took his driver’s license out of his wallet and gave it to the clerk. The clerk looked it over and agreed that the man was in fact over 21 and she put the Scotch in the bag.

The robber then ran from the store with his loot. The cashier promptly called the police and gave the name and address of the robber that he got off the license. They arrested the robber two hours later.  I bet he’s still wondering how they caught him so fast!!!

I can’t believe Patrick is gone

The entertainment community has lost one of it’s greatest entertainers in my opinion.  Patrick Swayze was the man every woman wanted to dance with after they saw ‘Dirty Dancing’ and even wanted to learn to make pottery on a potters wheel after watching him and Demi Moore in ‘Ghost’.

But more than just an entertainer,  he was a son, husband and brother to the ones that knew him the best.  My heart goes out to his family for the loss of a dearly loved member of their family.  God Bless you Patrick and most of all, God Bless your mother, wife and family.  May you rest in peace.

Ben Stein’s Final Column

Worth repeating:    How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today’s World?

As I begin to write this, I ‘slug’ it, as we writers say, which means I put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This heading is ‘FINAL’, and it gives me a shiver to write it. I have been doing this column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end.

It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and the world’s change have overtaken it. On a small scale, Morton’s, while better than ever, no longer attracts as many stars as it used to.
It still brings in the rich people in droves and definitely some stars.

I saw Samuel L. Jackson there a few days ago, and we had a nice visit, and right before that, I saw and had a splendid talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in which we agreed that Splendor in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton’s is not the star galaxy it once was, though it probably will be again.Beyond that, a bigger change has happened? I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated.

But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.

How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today’s world, if by a ‘star’ we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model? Real stars are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsche’s or getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietnamese girls do their nails.

They can be interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any longer. A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit, Iraq. He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world.

A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a road north of Baghdad. He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him.

A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordnance on a street near where he was guarding a station. He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad.

The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists.

We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our magazines. The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.

I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor values, and I do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that who is eating at Morton’s is a big subject.

There are plenty of other stars in the American firmament. The policemen and women who go off on patrol in South Central and have no idea if they will return alive; the orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who have been in terrible accidents and prepare them for surgery; the teachers and nurses who throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children; the kind men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards.

Think of each and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the World Trade Center as the towers began to collapse. Now you have my idea of a real hero.

I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters. This is my highest and best use as a human. I can put it another way. Years ago, I realized I could never be as great an actor as Olivier or as good a comic as Steve Martin or Martin Mull or Fred Willard–or as good an economist as Samuelson or Friedman or as good a writer as Fitzgerald. Or even remotely close to any of them.

But, I could be a devoted father to my son, husband to my wife and, above all, a good son to the parents who had done so much for me. This came to be my main task in life. I did it moderately well with my son, pretty well with my wife and well indeed with my parents (with my sister’s help). I cared for and paid attention to them in their declining years. I stayed with my father as he got sick, went into extremis and then into a coma and then entered immortality with my sister and me reading him the Psalms.

This was the only point at which my life touched the lives of the soldiers in Iraq or the firefighters in New York. I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty, in return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help others He has placed in my path. This is my highest and best use as a human.

Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that God will.

By Ben Stein

Don’t ever forget to “Seize the Moment”!

Debt is getting a lot of people

I know so many people that are in over their heads with debt due to either losing their jobs or having to take a pay cut just to be able to keep their jobs.  A lot of them have looked into Debt Consolidation Help because without it, they run the chance of not only ruining their credit but possibly losing their homes because of the high interest on their credit cards and the minimum monthly payment keeps going up and up every month it seems.  Luckily there are web sites like this one out there to help so many people.

One of the things I like about this web site is that it is a resource for financial education, credit counseling, and debt management. You can find help with budgeting and a lot of people sure need that, credit card debt, loan modification which a lot of banks now offer, do-it-yourself resources, and they even help you to keep up with the latest in financial news.  Most of the resources they have will even help people that are not in total financial despair yet.  In fact, it could help you before you get there.  I learned a few skills from their web site myself.  Check out their site and you just might learn some things to help you too.

This proves that not all bankers are heartless!!

With the economy in the shape it’s in and the banks being so stingy with the money they are supposed to be lending out, well bankers are appearing as a bit ‘heartless’.  Well when I saw this, I knew that this was one banker that had a heart of gold or he sure wouldn’t have done what he did.  You probably saw it on the news but just in case you didn’t, here it is:

Did you watch it last night????

Well did you?  Did you watch Dancing with the stars last night?  Oh my goodness, Shawn and Mark were incredible.  I can’t wait to see who wins tonight.  The bad thing is that means the show won’t be on again for quite awhile.  I hate that.  It’s about the only thing I watch on TV other than the news and an occasional movie.  Oh well, if you missed their dance, here it is. I thought it was absolutely perfect because it not only showed some of what she has learned through out the competition but it also showed off some of her gymnastics skills. Plus, she’s just so darn cute and sweet and it’s not an act either, you can just tell.

Lousy weather

Well yesterday it rained most of the day and not today, it’s dreary and chilly on top of it.  This is the type of weather that’s only good for one thing and that’s laying around the house watching movies or listening to some good music with a nice pot of homemade soup in the slow cooker.  I don’t know where the heck spring when it sure left here.  Hopefully it will be back tomorrow but I haven’t watched the weather to know.  Guess I’ll find out later on what I need to wear to work tomorrow.  The way it feels right now, I would say a coat!!!

Well it’s a rainy day again!!

Rain has become a real pain lately.  When it all first started, I was really glad to see it but after about a month of it, I’m kind of sick of it.  We had 11 straight days of rain before we had a nice day.  I don’t think we have to worry that we’re in a drought anymore but I’m not sure.  I haven’t heard the weather man say anything about it so we must not have to worry about that now.  I hope not anyway and I also hope that we get a few sunny days soon too.

I’m watching the banks

I used to dabble a little in the stock market until that all went down the tubes.  That’s true of a lot of people too unfortunately.  Now I have been checking online to find the Best CD Rates so I will at least know my money will be there and even gain a little anyway instead of worrying it’ll all be gone.