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Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Village Buzz - December 1st...

Germantown, Political, Taxes, Village Board, Village Buzz

Police dog Bosco undergoing surgery

The health of a beloved canine contributor to the community could be at risk.

Germantown Police Department police dog Bosco is having surgery this afternoon to remove a mass that may be cancerous.

Officer Bosco, used by the department for the last four years to detect a variety of drugs and search for suspects and endangered people, has been experiencing health problems, and doctors discovered the mass during an examination Nov. 26.

Germantown Police Chief Peter Hoell said the surgery, at an estimated cost of $2,000 to $3,000, could be the first step in saving the 6-year-old dog.

"We are going to hope for the best and prepare for the worst," Hoell said.

It is unknown whether additional treatment will be necessary, so the department is seeking any help the public is willing to offer to offset the cost of Bosco's medical bills. Checks made payable to the Germantown Police Department K-9 Fund can be mailed to the department, N112 W16877 Mequon Road, Germantown, WI 53022, or dropped off in person.

"At this point we'll take things day by day," Hoell said, adding that the department is committed to doing everything it can to cure Bosco.

For information, call the department at (262) 253-7788.

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Sendik's Food Markets In The News...

Germantown, Quality of Life

Employee’s story spurs record-breaking drive

Sendik’s delivers 50 tons of food, $18,000 to Second Harvest

By JANE FORD-STEWART
jford@cninow.com
Posted: Nov. 25, 2008

The largest one-time retail donation in the 26-year history of America’s Second Harvest of Wisconsin food bank was made last week by the Balistreri-owned Sendik’s Food Markets, headquartered in Whitefish Bay.

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Village Buzz - December 2nd...

County Board, Germantown, Political, Village Buzz, Wisconsin

Meeting With Assembly-person Elect Dan Knodl...

I enjoyed a meeting and cup of coffee with Dan Knodl on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  He had indicated a willingness to meet since we hadn't yet had that opportunity.

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Fun With Words...

Potpourri

Here it goes...

    • You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish.
    • I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger.  Then it hit me.
    • Police were called to a daycare center where a three-year old was resisting a rest.
    • Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off?  He's all right now.
    • The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.
    • When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.
    • A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
    • When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.
    • A thief fell and broke his leg in wet cement.  He became a hardened criminal.
    • The dead batteries were given out free of charge.
    • A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.
    • A bicycle can't stand alone.  It is two tired.
    • A will is a dead giveaway.
    • A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
    • If you don't pay your exorcist, you can get repossessed.
    • You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.
    • A lot of money is tainted; 'taint yours and 'taint mine.
    • Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
    • When you've seen one shopping center, you've seen a mall.
    • When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
    • Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.
    • Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
    • Acupuncture; a jab well done.

We Voted For Change...

Economy, Healthcare, Political, Quality of Life, SCHIP, Taxes, U.S., Wisconsin

And, we're going to get 'change' if the Democrats have their way...and that seems likely.

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) retained his seat in the senate yesterday so the Democrats will not have the magic number necessary to absolutely control the senate.  The outcome in Minnesota is still somewhat in question, but, at the rate that new votes for the Democrat candidate are being 'found', I suspect that he'll prevail.

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Village Buzz - December 3rd...

Education, Germantown, Police, School Board, Village Board, Village Buzz

Open Seats...

Dave Magill has confirmed that he has filed papers indicating he would not be standing for re-election to the Germantown School Board's At Large Seat #1.  His term expires in April, 2009.  So far, I am unaware of any person filing to run for that open seat, but there is still plenty of time for that to happen.

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Recent Readings...

Potpourri, Quality of Life

I find myself reading more contemplative things these days as we move from one political era to the next.  I have long admired Winston Churchill and was reminded, reading some anecdotes, of just how important humor and the ability to use self-deprecation can be in the role of a leader.  Some of those anecdotes follow:

During a visit to America, Churchill was invited to a buffet luncheon at which cold fried chicken was served. Returning for a second helping, he asked politely, "May I have some breast?"   "Mr. Churchill", replied his hostess, "in this country we ask for white meat or dark meat."  Churchill apologized profusely.  The following morning, the lady received a magnificent orchid from her guest of honor.  The accompanying card read: "I would be most obliged if you would pin this on your white meat."

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Too Naive...

Germantown, Police, Potpourri, Quality of Life, U.S.

Two different classroom experiences in the past two days have convinced me that I am too naive for my own good.

~~~~~~~~~~

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Zellner Case Shows WEAC Clout...

Education, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, Wisconsin

The case concerning Robert Zellner, a former Cedarburg teacher who has been in and out of the news for some 3 years over the viewing of pornography on a school computer on a Sunday afternoon, shows the clout that is wielded by the state teachers' union, WEAC.

It also gives us a look at binding arbitration which might be handy for us as the whole QEO issue comes at us again given the control exerted by WEAC over elected officials in Wisconsin.

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Village Buzz - December 8th...

Germantown, Police, Quality of Life, Village Buzz

Officer Bosco Update...

I received an e-mail today from Chief Pete Hoell who had this to say:

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Economic Trickle-Down...

Economy, Potpourri, Quality of Life, U.S.

There is debate over whether or not the "trickle-down" theory of economics functions as advertised.  I have a friend whom we'll refer to as John Jones for the purposes of this Blog since he prefers to remain anonymous.  He feels that he can attest to the fact that "trickle-down" is alive and well.

John Jones is a small business owner.  He is a professional and sells his services to clients.  That process often finds him traveling and sometimes traveling for several weeks at a time.  This creates, as you can imagine, some pretty hefty travel bills by the time flights, hotels and meals are all totaled up.

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John Doe Investigation...

Germantown, Police, Quality of Life

A story in the morning Journal Sentinel by Mike Johnson discusses a John Doe investigation ordered by Waukesha County Circuit Judge Ralph Ramirez at the request of a Mr. James M. Hermann who was a Germantown resident at the time of his arrest.

The John Doe is supposedly set so that the judge can compel testimony to determine if Mr. Hermann's rights were violated when he was taken to Community Memorial Hospital where officers ordered that blood be drawn for testing.  The officers supposedly were concerned that he might have been using a controlled substance and sought the blood draw to make that determination.

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A "Simple" Traffic Stop...

Germantown, Police, Quality of Life

Our Citizen Police Academy group went through the next to last week of education last evening and the subject was traffic stops.  Officer Ray Borden had enlisted the aid of two graduates of earlier classes and they posed as drivers and/or passengers in vehicles that we were to stop in mock situations.

I had been on an earlier 'ride along' so I expected to have an edge last evening.  That was a mistake, as I learned pretty quickly.  Even the simplest of traffic stops is a situation in which every police officer must stay fully alert and aware in order to assure his or her own safety and that of the vehicle occupants.  In reality, there is no "simple" traffic stop.

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Village Buzz - December 11th...

Germantown, Police, Political, Village Board, Village Buzz

Officer Bosco Fund Well-Supported...

A morning press release from Chief Pete Hoell brought good news.

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Incongruities...

Economy, Political, Quality of Life, U.S.

I was struck as I read the morning Wall Street Journal with two items appearing on page A2:

California adopted the nation's toughest, most far-reaching greenhouse gas emissions policy yesterday.  It likely will further exacerbate the economic plight in that state by placing new burdens costing untold dollars on the state's businesses while also creating the vaunted cap-and-trade program that is to become effective by 2012.  That will create the market for businesses to sell their capacities for creation of greenhouse gases to others who need more capacity to do the same.  Greenhouse gases are thought to trap heat rising up from the earth, thus adding to the "global warming" that is so far an unproved theory.

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Shame & Pride...

Quality of Life, U.S.

I was on the road this morning during Jay Weber's talk show and heard a discussion between a caller and Jay.  She had recently written a paper for a degree program in which she is/was enrolled and offered some of the things she had uncovered in her research.

The general discussion had to do with people abusing the various safety nets that have been created by government to assist people who have fallen on hard times.  It had begun with a discussion of obesity, spun off to people using food support programs who made poor choices in food purchased, and hit on school meal programs and the waste that occurs.

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Caroling Experience...

Potpourri, Quality of Life

We had the opportunity to go caroling with a group from our church last evening.  There were some twenty of us and we visited three assisted living centers in Menomonee Falls and Germantown.

The experience was uplifting and a bit concerning...all at the same time.  It was uplifting to see the smiles of gratitude and to watch as members of our 'audiences' began to sing along to some of the old favorite Christmas hymns and secular tunes.

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Global Warming Debate...

Economy, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, U.S., Wisconsin

The global warming 'debate' seems to be rather slanted judging from reports in the mainstream media.  We seldom hear from those who question the premise, and those few references tend, from my perspective, to be used in an effort to 'debunk' the debunkers.  (The references to UN IPCC that follow, by the way, are for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.)

The full report of the U.S. Senate Minority includes the dissent of more than 650 scientists, some of whom are former supporters of the premise, as contrasted with the 52 scientists who wrote the Majority report.  Snippets from the Minority report as shown on that website include:

  • "I am a skeptic...Global warming has become a new religion." - Nobel Prize Winner for Physics, Ivar Giaever.
  • "Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly...As a scientist I remain skeptical." - Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology and formerly of NASA who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called "among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years."
  • "Warming fears are the 'worst scientific scandal in the history'...When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists." - UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.
  • "The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn't listen to others.  It doesn't have open minds...I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists." - Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of if UN-supported International Year of the Planet.
  • "The models and forecasts of the UN IPCC 'are incorrect because they are only based on mathematical models and presented results at scenarios that do not include, for example, solar activity." - Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
  • "It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don't buy into anthropogenic global warming." - U.S. Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA.
  • "Even doubling or tripling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact, as water vapour and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide scene and always will." - Geoffrey G. Duffy, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering of the University of Auckland, NZ.
  • "After reading [UN IPCC chairman] Pachauri's asinine comment [comparing skeptics to] Flat Earthers, it's hard to remain quiet." - Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs, who specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation, serves on the American Meteorological Society's Probability and Statistics Committee and as an Associate Editor of Monthly Weather Review.
  • "For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming?  For how many years must cooling go on?" Geologist Dr. David Gee the chairman of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress who has authored 130 plus peer reviewed papers, and is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.
  • "Gore prompted me to start delving into the science again and I quickly found myself solidly in the skeptic camp...Climate models can at best be useful for explaining climate changes after the fact." - Meteorologist Hajo Smit of Holland, who reversed his belief in man-made warming to become a skeptic, is a former member of the Dutch UN IPCC committee.
  • "Many [scientists] are now searching for a way to back out quietly (from promoting warming fears), without having their professional careers ruined." - Atmospheric physicist James A. Peden, formerly of the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh.
  • "Creating an ideology pegged to carbon dioxide is a dangerous nonsense...The present alarm on climate change is an instrument of social control, a pretext for major business and political battle.  It became an ideology, which is concerning." - Environmental Scientist Professor Delagado Domingos of Portugal, the founder of the Numerical Weather Forecast group, has more than 150 published articles.
  • "CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another...Every scientist knows this, but it doesn't pay to say so...Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps Europeans in the driver's seat and developing nations walking barefoot." - Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan.
  • "The [global warming] scaremongering has its justification in the fact that it is something that generates funds." - Award-winning Paleontologist Dr. Eduardo Tonni, of the Committee for Scientific Research in Buenos Aires and head of the Paleontology Department at the University of La Plata.

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I Wonder If...

Political, Quality of Life, Wisconsin

I wonder if these two things are at all related?

I recall hearing several times about military members' absentee ballots not being counted during the past two election cycles.  Having been a military member, that has always rankled me.  It seems unbelievable to me that those people who are defending our freedoms, including the right to vote, would be denied their right to cast their ballot.

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Village Buzz - December 16th...

Police, Quality of Life, Village Buzz

John Doe Investigation Follow-Up...

My Blog of December 10th dealt with the  John Doe investigation ordered by Waukesha County Circuit Judge Ralph Ramirez at the request of a prisoner by the name of James M. Hermann.  Mr. Hermann had been arrested in a disorderly conduct-domestic violence situation and claimed his rights were violated by Germantown Police officers.

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This & That...

Police, Quality of Life

Several things keep coming to mind this morning and I can't choose between them so...

Frivolous Court Actions...

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Potpourri...

Potpourri

Let's Thank Our Military Members...

Xerox, teamed with many other organizations (including Manpower here in Milwaukee) has developed a mechanism through which we each can say thanks to a member of the military serving overseas.  By logging on to the Let's Say Thanks site, you will be given the choice of several card designs and then the verse you wish it to include.

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Citizen Police Academy...

Germantown, Police, Quality of Life

I've mentioned, several times, the fact that I had been participating in the 8th class to go through the Germantown Police Department's Citizen Police Academy (CPA).  Our group 'graduated' last night after our final session which involved Officer Jeff Schnell and Officer Bosco (who sure seems to be healthy in spite of a couple of shaved spots following his recent medical adventure...Bosco, that is; not Jeff Schnell).

The CPA operates under the guidance of Crime Prevention and DARE Officer Ray Borden with Chief Hoell's full support and with the full cooperation of the various officers, detectives and support staff who were our instructors over the past three months, and who all take compensatory time (if it is available at all) instead of overtime for these activities.  A tip of the hat to all will follow at the end of this piece.

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What Better Than Butterflies For A Day Like Today?

Potpourri, Quality of Life

As I sit and ponder the increasing snow depth, the overturned garbage and recycling container curbside and the growing barrier at the end of my driveway, I managed to find something to take me to warmer thoughts:

Stan Sesser has a great article in the morning Wall Street Journal (which I accessed online since I didn't think my mailbox held my copy yet today) about one of my favorite creatures...the Monarch.

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Village Buzz - December 19th...

Germantown, Quality of Life, Village Buzz

Germantown Streets...

Our village employees are doing a great job today on the remains of the snow storm that appeared to dump about 12 inches on my house.  Our street had a swipe taken by about 6:30AM today so that it was passable.  I have resorted to paying to have my driveway plowed and that had been done before 7:30AM.  After some clean-up shoveling, I decided to drive to my office only to find that parking lot full of snow and just beginning to be cleared, so I deferred until later.  The traffic was sparse at that time.

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Coming Winners & Losers...

Economy, Education, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, U.S., Wisconsin

I do not intend to take any sides in this piece, but to simply state the facts as I see them.  If you feel that I stray, please express your thoughts in a comment.

~~~~~~~~~~

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Things You May Not have Known...

Potpourri

In thumbing through the week-end Sunday Post publication of the Conley Group, I came across "Things You May Not Have Known About Christmas" and thought you might find them of interest:

    1. The first manufactured Christmas ornaments were sold in 1880 by what used to be the Woolworth department store.
    2. Christmas trees originally used lighted candles, and a bucket of water was typically kept close by for obvious reasons.
    3. Construction workers first erected an undecorated tree at Rockefeller Center in New York and thus began the tradition celebrated each Christmas.
    4. The shortened form "Xmas", while viewed as being sacrilegious by some, is actually derived from Christ's name and has been popular in Europe since the 1500s; it is believed to be derived from the Greek "Xristos", which means Christ.
    5. Candy canes were always white until the 1950s when a machine was invented that could put red stripes on the canes.  So reports the National Confectioners Association.
    6. The idea of Christmas cards supposedly started in Britain in the 1830s.
    7. Boston banned the celebration of Christmas from 1659 until 1682.

I am happy for some of these things and can easily do without others.  Must be the "Curmudgeon" coming out :-)

Be Careful For What You Wish...

Political, Quality of Life, U.S., Wisconsin

Politicians, of every stripe, tend to make lots of promises in order to get our votes.  Once they are in office, or even as they prepare to assume the office, we begin to see and hear the back-tracking.  That has gotten into full swing already on the national level and is beginning on the state level.

We are being reminded now that the economic downturn may not end in the next year even though we may've been led to believe that while viewing campaign commercials and listening to speeches.  I recall hearing that this could very well be changing by June, 2009, for example.

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Village Buzz - December 23rd...

Germantown, Quality of Life, Taxes, Village Board, Village Buzz

Wow!  It's Snowing Again (Still)...

The last prognostication I heard from the weather professionals this morning indicated that we could have another foot of snow between now and Christmas.

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My Reason For Celebrating...

Potpourri, Quality of Life

From the Contemporary English Version of the New Testament...

About that time Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in record books.  These records were made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

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Reflections - 2008

Potpourri, Quality of Life

I find myself reflecting a bit at this time of year, and I suspect you may be doing so, as well.  Following are some random thoughts from 2008:

~~~Our election again demonstrated to the world that democracies are workable; sometimes a bit boisterous and rancorous but certainly workable.  Governments can be changed without being overthrown by force.

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Caring State Or Hardball Politics?

Political, Quality of Life, U.S., Wisconsin

The State of Wisconsin and Milwaukee County have been dueling over programs to aid the poor.  This involves the county call center over which the County Board and the County Exec have fought for some time, and it involves the awarding of a $2.4 million job training grant.

The players are Lee Holloway, County Board Chairman, and Michael Morgan, a top aide to Governor Doyle, and Karen Timberlake, head of the Department of Health and Human Services.  Morgan and Timberlake are appointees of Governor Doyle.

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Calamitous Weather...

Potpourri, Quality of Life

Calamitous weather seems poised to hit us every day if the weather report teasers are to be believed.  As the thermometer edged upwards to 50+ this morning, I watched local weather reports that were teased with "more snow on the way" and "stay tuned to learn how much we'll get" messages.  The snow "threat" resulted in me learning that we could get all the way from a trace to 1" over night.

Wow!!

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Is The Journal Sentinel In Play?

Economy, Potpourri, Quality of Life

The Journal Sentinel has been going through the throes faced by virtually all in the print media.  Layoffs have been encountered several times, newspaper size has diminished and now the daily news stand prices have been increased with the daily editions going from $.50 to $.75 and the Sunday edition going from $1.75 to $2.00.

I noted a week or so ago an announcement of the hiring of a senior executive and paid relatively little attention to that item.

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Village Buzz - December 29th...

Economy, Germantown, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, Village Buzz

I read an article over the time off following Christmas that puzzled me...not that many don't have that same effect...but this one said that we, Germantown, "thirst for comprehensive water plan".

As I went a bit further, I noted that the vaunted Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission was behind this 'movement' that would result in at least $352 million in construction expense and 53 miles of new water pipe.

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Celebrities Lost In 2008...

Potpourri, Quality of Life

This list is that of those people whom I remember that died in 2008; if I've missed one or more that you think ought be included, please post a comment with the name and background.

~~~

    • January 17th - Bobby Fischer, world chess champion, age 64
    • January 19th - Suzanne Pleshette, actress, age 70
    • January 20th - John Stewart, musician & songwriter (Kingston Trio)
    • February 2nd - Barry Morse, actor (Lt. Gerard on "The Fugitive"), age 89
    • February 5th - Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, taught transcendental meditation to the Beatles, age 96
    • February 10th - Roy Scheider, actor, age 75
    • February 12th - Van Johnson, actor
    • February 27th - William F. Buckley, conservative author and commentator, age 82
    • March 24th - Richard Widmark, actor, age 93
    • April 5th - Charleton Heston, actor, age 84
    • May 29th - Harvey Korman, actor and comedian, age 81
    • June 2nd - Bo Diddley, musician, age 79
    • June 7th - Jim McKay, sportscaster ABC Wide World of Sports
    • June 13th - Tim Russert, political journalist and host of NBC's Meet The Press
    • June 17th - Cyd Charisse, dancer
    • June 22nd - George Carlin, comedian, age 71
    • July 4th - Sen. Jesse Helms, politician, age 86
    • July 12th - Tony Snow, reporter and press secretary, age 53
    • July 22nd - Estelle Getty, actress (The Golden Girls), age 85
    • August 10th - Isaac Hayes, musician (Shaft), age 65
    • September 2nd - Jerry Reed, musician (Smokey & The Bandit), age 71
    • September 26th - Paul Newman, actor, race driver, philanthropist, age 83
    • December 25th - Eartha Kitt, sultry singer (Santa Baby), age 81

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Some Random Thoughts...

Economy, Political, Potpourri, Quality of Life, U.S.

Obama Smoking 'Issue'...

I continue to see little references to the fact that President-Elect Barack Obama has the occasional cigarette, and musings about whether or not he will or even should quit that nasty habit.  (I can say that because I did smoke cigarettes... a lot...and quit many years ago.)

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Thoughts For A Better 2009...

Potpourri, Quality of Life

I received a list of tips for 2009 and decided to post those for you, as well.  There are some good thoughts here, so far as I'm concerned.

  1. Take a 10 to 30 minute walk every day; and, while you walk, smile.  It is the ultimate anti-depressant.
  2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day; buy a lock if necessary.
  3. When you awake in the morning, complete the following thought: "My purpose is to _________ today."
  4. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  5. Don't waste precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you are unable to control. Instead, invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  6. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a college kid with a maxed-out credit card.
  7. Remember that while life isn't fair, it's still good.
  8. Life is too short to hate anyone.
  9. Don't take yourself too seriously; no one else does.
  10. You don't have to win every argument; agree to disagree.
  11. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil your present.
  12. Don't compare your life to others; you've no idea what their journey is all about.
  13. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  14. Frame every so-called disaster with these words:  "In five years, will this matter?"
  15. Forgive everyone for everything.
  16. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  17. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  18. Envy is a waste of time; you already have all you need.
  19. Each night before you go to bed, complete the following statements:  I am thankful for _________.  Today I accomplished __________.
  20. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed!

 I hope you and those you love have a very healthy, happy and prosperous 2009.  May you be truly blessed!

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