Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Song Posting

Obviously, anyone who has read this blog for some period of time knows that the music I'm usually most interested in, lyrically-speaking, is music that chronicles the human journey but often incorporates the spiritual (Christian) aspect. I don't listen to the radio that much, so I'm usually late coming across songs, and such is the case here - so you've probably heard the song. Nonetheless, I heard Carolina Liar's Show Me What I'm Looking For for the FIRST TIME last night, and I immediately thought I'd post it on the blog.

For me, the message is pretty simple. I'm all mixed up and messed up. I need the Lord. Don't know if that's the songwriter's (songwriters'?) message per se, but that's what I derived from it. And in general, that pretty much sums it up for me on my own human journey.

Hope you enjoy!

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sherlock Hemlock

Got an e-mail from the Diabolical Genius today. I've copied and will paste it:

Saw Sherlock Holmes movie. It was great. Highly recommend it.

Brief and to the point. That's our Ken!

Waitasec! Do I have the right picture here. Oh no. Wait. This is better. Here we go:

Edit: And this is why we love Ken! For his on-the-spot reviews!

On his word, I went and saw Sherlock Holmes last night, and I thought it was fantastic. Really enjoyed the interplay between Holmes and Watson. Rachel McAdams played Irene Adler very well. And the spin to make Holmes and Watson more physical instead of merely cerebral both modernized the characters and made for a more action-oriented film, which I enjoyed. Lastly, there was Holmes nemesis, Moriarty, lurking in the background for a possible sequel, and director Guy Ritchie did a swell job of keeping him in the background yet making him seem the most menacing and dangerous of all the villians.

So, two thumbs up for Sherlock Holmes from the guys at The Realm!

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

How Do the Presents Get There?

You're all probably well aware of the physics to debunk Santa Claus. If not, here's one of many links to what was originally a cynic's argument to do just that, with quite a few rebuttals from physicists, engineers, mathematicians, and other folks that likely did not want the lump o' coal in their stocking. I'm not going to print all the rebuttals (although a couple of them warrant perusement), but I will print the original assertions below.

1) No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.

2) There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.

3) Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west(which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc. This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

4) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see point #1) could pull TEN TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison- this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.

5) 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as space crafts re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greaterthan gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim)would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.

In conclusion - If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.

Now, not sludging into much of the fallacious reasoning asserted in this argument (i.e. flying reindeer only being credited with pulling 10 times the amount of non-talking, non-flying reindeer [HUH???], the incredibly high [these days] amount of children on the "naughty list", omitting elvin assistance [and all that implies], etc.), any essay containing both the words "Santa" and "joules" -- although "Santa" and "payload" deserves it's due credit -- within should be summarily dismissed. Has no one learned the folly of the Burgermeister Meisterburger and the distribution of Christmas toys?

Flying reindeer, dragging what must be an incredibly gargantuan sleigh, that somehow avoid all the anti-aircraft, fighter jets, ground-to-air missles that have to come along with the job in this Call of Duty Modern Warfare Age; magical, toy-making elves (and "toy-making" is a loose term that denotes all the modern techno gadgetry in which these sprites have quite possibly led the Technological Age) that abide in a sub-zero degree climate and darkness most of the year; a crystal ball that illuminates the activities of roughly 2.9 billion children twenty-four hours a day, seven-days a week, 364 days a year not including Christmas - and 365 on Leap Years; ten zillion presents a year both packed and taken out in a logical child-by-child order starting at the first house in Japan (according to the NORAD tracker) to the last house in Hawaii, including automobiles for sixteen year olds, weights and benches for athletes, pre-assembled drum sets, bikes, toy trains, etc., that are somehow encased (and rarely broken) in an unbreakable burlap sack that miraculously stays in an uncovered sleigh going near or at the speed of light; a five hundred lb., one-thousand year old Kringle that spryly slides down and nimbly clambers back up chimneys with the greatest of speed, agility, and ease (or slips in windows when chimneys are not of avail) all while lugging a bag many times the size of himself, not to mention the fact that he's been a pipe smoker for all these years without a hint of lung problems; treating peoples to aforementioned presents on six continents not including islands nor scientists holed up in Antartica...

...I mean, what's not to believe here? I believe.

So to all you cynics, skeptics, and pseudo-scientists that try to debunk what happens every December 24th like clockwork, I pose the question used in the title of this post. If my mom and dad don't put them there -- and they don't -- and I don't put them there, then how...?

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Christmas Card for Everyone!

To steal a quote from one of my movie favs: Unforgiven (ironically enough):

"Deserve's got nothing to do with it."



God With Us!
Prince of Peace!
King of Kings!
Lord of Lords!
First and Last!

Feel free to add on!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Work Christmas Breakfast

Here at work, each day of December one or two folks sign up to bring some breakfast dish for everyone to enjoy. Tomorrow is my day - me and a friend. I luck out in this, because the one thing I can cook is a breakfast food. Tomorrow, my workplace can revel in this great, great food:

My friend's bringing Froot Loops and milk. We rock!

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Going to Nashville for the Dolphins / Titans Game on Sunday


I'm for the Dolphins! How about you?

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Yo Quiero Taco Bell - Folk Style

Got an e-mail from Doug with this link. Thought I'd share the humor:

Muchas gracias, DugALug!

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hate to Hear This - Chris Henry Died

Wouldn't normally post a random NFL football player's death, but I know Doug (DugALug) is a big Cincinnati Bengals fan. Sorry to hear about this, Douglas. Apparently on the backside of a domestic dispute with his fiance, and he falling out of the back of a pickup truck, Chris Henry has passed away. Chris Henry has had his share of life's problems and his NFL reputation wasn't the best, but at such a young age, you can always turn it around. And I was hoping he was.

I was talking to a guy at work, and maybe it's the masses and masses of media where we know almost everything that happens almost anyplace (or so it seems), but man, it just seems like there's something every single day that just makes you scratch your head. Anyways... sad. 26 years old.

Peace to his family, friends, and fans.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Positive Trends!

Hey! Looking at our blog post-per-month trend pattern, since we've been back in the cyber-air, it appears that we've had some positive and negatives in our content output. As far as general posts, here's the data:

June -- 7 (better than none)
July -- 38 (big upspike)
August -- 35 (minor downturn)
September -- 31 (trending down, but still over a post a day)
October -- 12 (red flag)
November -- 7 (an appauling low)
December -- 12 (uptick at 13, with this post, and counting)

Our all-time record for a month is the very first month, January 2006, after we started this blog. The number of posts we had that month was 86. Wow. Ken must have had a lot to say. Not sure if that record will ever get broken, but maybe we oughta just take a month and try (that would take some major league begging from you, our three commenters, if we were going to try that). We trended down every month except March/April, 42 then 43 respectively, until we took our hiatus in September. At that time, there was much rejoicing. We've quelled that rejoicing quite well, though, in our major league comeback (very few sentences have two words starting with "Q" in them, but this last sentence I wrote managed that feat QUITE effortlessly - get ready for another upcoming "q-word" in the next sentence).

Now, as far as sheer quality posts, well, we're still looking for our first one of those. Please do us the favor of telling us if you read one.

What does all this meaningless drivel mean? Well, one, it scores another post for us so in a year when we chart stats again, it'll look like we were really writing it up last December!

More critically, though, it means Ken needs to post a lot more.

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A What-If Scenario

Suppose you had a young friend, maybe someone for whom you babysat a good deal, someone you mentored, or someone you taught or coached, who -- as many kids in his/her same unfortunate environment do when they get a little older -- made tragic and destructive decisions (perhaps armed assault, manslaughter, drug trafficking, etc. -- pick one or name another) that landed them in prison with a lengthy sentence but one that most likely will be reduced. Obviously, you care about your friend a good deal, but at the same time, you're not in your friend's inner confidences and not necessarily one of the persons he or she is most apt to turn to for help.

When this person is released from incarceration, the most likely avenues for livelihood your friend (add in his/her child(ren)) will have, now with a permanent soiled police record, is going back to the same destructive practices that got him/her into his/her current predicament. Initially, your friend has made the promise-to-self not to go back to the same way of life, but as far as actually getting out, what are the real means there?

With all this in mind, that's not what you want for your friend. Certainly, there has to be something better than the dead-end job that Red (played by Morgan Freeman) received in The Shawshank Redemption that couldn't support one person, much less a person with children. Especially when a person's young. Prison's not a rehabilitator, but we/you/I, as part of The Church (if you include yourself in That), need to be the Love of God in an instance like this, right? I think this is a tough question that is rooted in many of our societal ills, but for us as individuals, we have to take on questions like these, that are real to us, on case-by-case bases.

What's the answer or what are some answers, then?

Because if I/you/we aren't going to try to do something, then sure as death, nobody else is, either.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Randy Moss Quit on My Fantasy Football Team

My Fantasy Football team finished second in the league, made the playoffs, and was favored to beat the seventh-seeded team...

...and then Randy Moss quit on me.

I'm gone! Out! Done! Finished!

A FF coach can draft and make moves taking risks on players that get injured historically, play up and down, or are young possible sleepers and possibly not. But does a coach ever factor in a player quitting on him? That's what I get trusting a Patriot.


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Monday, December 14, 2009

So... Avatar?

Most folks inhabiting The Realm have certainly heard tell or scene the previews of the upcoming Avatar movie. I believe it's out in theaters this weekend.

A synopsis (warning: some spoilers) from IMBD is here. A little bit more brief plot summary I pulled off the Web without the spoilers would be: a crippled ex-Marine is chosen to make contact with the mysterious people as a remotely controlled avatar.

James Cameron, writer and director of other sci-fi flicks such as The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, The Abyss, Aliens -- some of which I'd rate as classics -- writes, produces, and directs this film. And then, of course, he also is an Oscar winner for his efforts on Titanic. Early reviews for Avatar seem positive enough, and as far as special effects, there have been some reviews that are off the charts.

Personally, on one hand, this movie is one I'm somewhat looking forward to and certainly plan to see, but my expectations haven't been that high, for whatever reason. Back in the day, I sort of felt the same way about Aliens going into the movie, and lo and behold I was blown away, as Aliens is one of my all time favorite movies. One of the cool factors in Aliens was the characterizations of the marine outfit involved, and marines are used again in Avatar, so I've got a feeling Cameron will do well there. Also, I give high marks for the appearance of the alien race, the Na'vi, employed in Avatar.

Perhaps, I'm lost in my own world, but I just haven't heard the word of mouth at work, church, in the community, etc. on this film. Of course, I've seen a few promotionals and a trailer, but it's not like Spider-Man IV is coming out.

What about you guys and gals? What's the word you're hearing? And what are your thoughts on Avatar? Anyone dying to be there the first night? Anyone thinking, "I'll just skip this one"? I look forward to hearing anyone's thoughts on this one. I'd like to be psyched up!

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Why I Can't Stand Mainstream Radio Anymore

Billboard put out its Top 200 Albums of the Decade. Guess who topped it without looking at the pic. I have to go pretty far down the list to even find a CD I might enjoy.

Really, I have no words.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Favorites: Music

"It's's like ANOTHER favorite, but not as much.not as MUCH favorite.but, they're both good.they're BOTH good." -- Brian Regan

Just like Brian, I have favorites. And least favorites. Unique, I know. Favorites are like opinions, which are like bellybuttons, which are like other various and sundry other unnamed body parts. Everybody has one.

But that's the beauty of the blogosphere. I tell you mine. You tell me yours. And we revel in the sameness or debate the differentness.

And that's what I'll do in this series that I'll call -- wait for it -- wait for it -- "Favorites". In this episode, our hero (The Diabolical Genius) much like Maria Von Trapp will reveal of few of his Favorite Things (BTW, I don't know how the Sound of Music and the Wizard of Oz became holiday movies, but I digress).

Here are my MOST favorites and LEAST favorites in the world of music. And unlike David Letterman, they are presented in Top 5 format. 5 is the number, not 10, 5. It's 5, I tell you.

Least Favorites

5. The Remix. Dance remixes. Radio remixes. Pop remixes. Hip Hop remixes. Yeech.
4. Voice gymnastics, especially when accompanied by hand gestures (thank you no, Mariah and Christina)
3. Song lyrics that either try to make a word rhyme with another just by pronouncing them strangely (i.e. Flo-rida's show and flo') or lyrics that are even more desperate and unoriginal that they rhyme a word with itself (i.e. "I don't mind if you change your mind)
2. Rod Stewart -- the sound, the look, the lyrics, anything
1. Steel Guitar

Most Favorites

5. The bass clef
4. 60's music
3. Penny whistles and bagpipes
2. Epic movie scores (LOTR, Star Wars, Braveheart, etc, etc)
1. Christmas songs. Hymns, classics, silly ones, new classics. Any of them (except 12 days of Christmas)

Very well. There you have it. Discuss amongst yourselves.

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Smoking Cigarettes and Watching Captain (Kaaaaang) Kangaroo

Sorry to offend, if I did, with the old Statler Brothers "Counting Flowers on the Wall" number as a post title that I'm still sometimes subjected to when riding passenger in my dad's car. Actually, that's probably the Statler Bros. tune I enjoy the most, so I shouldn't crack on it. Some of the other artists I'm lucky enough to be exposed to in when in my dad's ride -- or he's cranking his music at our family get-togethers:

Oak Ridge Boys
Anne Murray
Elvis Presley (YES!!!)
Freddie Fender

If I'm lucky, I get some:

Johnny Cash
Emmylou Harris

And my brother has since introduced him to:

Over the Rhine

which he likes, and I can be very,very thankful for that. Dad seems to get annoyed when I put my music in, and I still can't figure that out, but oh well.

Now, growing up, the kids in my family heard more than our share of Anne Murray, who seemed to be his favorite, but we also had a lot of this:

Vicki Carr
Tom Jones
Bobby Gentry (one album I remember with Glenn Campbell)
Crystal Gayle
The Kingston Trio (who were his favs)
The Brothers Four (was that the Kingston Trio plus one?)
Roger Miller (whom I still look fondly upon)
Roy Clark
Waylon Jennings
Barbara Steisand

Let me just say for the record, the Vicki Carr lounge lizard stuff:

You're just too good to be true,
Can't take my eyes off of you,
You're like heaven to touch,
I just want to hold you so much,
You're just to be good to be true,
Can't take my eyes off of you.



Yeah, that stuff. That stuff was merciless. So, too, was Babs, for the most part.

But my questions to The Realm at large are these:

1) What was the music your parents listened to?

and, more importantly (relatively speaking)

2) How do you look back on it?

As major or minor influences in your life or music appreciation? As those silly folks of mine? As in "Please, please no, not that... THE HORRRR-RRRRRRAH!!!"? As in thank you Mom and/or Dad for this or that but NOT THAT?! As in you never give it a second thought? As in "My parents were cool"?

And then the reciprocal question for those that might have children:

What do you think your kids think of your musical tastes now and what will they think when they're older?

Because, despite what I'm saying about my dad, I'm just sure, sure, sure, SURE, SURE... that my kids will think"

"My dad is COOL!!!"

Well, they better.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Joseph's Lament

Traveled too far for the girl to end up like this,
bent in pain, tears mixed with sweat, and totally spent.
The cries of the child, this child not mine, in such darkness,
echoing against the stone walls, rising above the lows and bleats.
Cries that rend my soul.

For a dream did I stake this union, sure that I had heard from the Most High.
Yet, the house filled above, while she and I outcast with beast,
lying in straw and dung, searching desperately for cloths to cover the infant,
speak to the lucidity of my vision.
I am undone.

The arguing in halls overhead stirs the ass beside us.
Handing her the strips I find, she wraps the babe.
Sets him in the swine trough after I clear the refuse.
Footsteps descend from the stairs above, and slurred voices rise.
Who now, at this time of night?

She pulls her garment across her body just as they step into the lower room.
The stench betrays these men as herders, nomads.
I go to stop them when one grasps my arm.
Another trods past and falls to the flooring before the boy.
More follow, speaking of the sign.

Fit near rage, I break from the man's grip,
but then I stop.
These sheepherders, these outcasts, they groan praises.
Praises to the child. To this King. Praises to the Lord God of Hosts.
In this moment I am struck.
Who am I to do this?

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Monday, December 07, 2009

Good News Update... the Here's Another Little Something post about one of my co-workers, albeit living in a different state than I do, that I wrote a couple days ago.

Bob Sumrall was found! After seven days!!! Here's an article regarding him being found by a couple of ranchers, and here's another how he managed to stay alive. Apparently, he was lying face down fifteen miles from where his car had been found, and his dog, Zulu, a black labrador retriever, was sitting atop him, and that warmth saved his life. When the ranchers approached, the dog ran away, which is an ongoing story in this whole episode. As the matter of fact, a $2,600 reward has been posted for anyone that finds the dog. Hopefully, they find Zulu!!!

At first, Bob was unconscious, in critical condition, and treated for hypothermia. from another co-worker that he might lose some toes because of the frostbite he endured. He's since come around, and I think is in somewhat better condition.

So praises for that. Thanks to everyone who prayed. And we'll keep our fingers crossed for Zulu!

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Friday, December 04, 2009

Bests and Worsts # 1

Name your best and worst of the following:

The Best Kevin Costner Movie:
The Worst Kevin Costner Movie:

The Best Stephen King Novel/Story:
The Best Worst Stephen King Novel/Story:

The Best Seinfeld Episode:
The Worst Seinfeld Episode:

The Best Rolling Stones Song:
The Worst Rolling Stones Song:

The Best Saturday Morning Cartoon Character:
The Worst Saturday Morning Cartoon Character:

The Best Holiday Dessert:
The Worst Holiday Dessert:

The Best Movie/TV Cowboy:
The Worst Movie/TV Cowboy:

The Best of the Newspaper Comic Strips:
The Worst of the Newspaper Comic Strips:

The Best of Superman's foes:
The Worst of Superman's foes:

The Best Christmas Gift You Ever Received:
The Worst Christmas Gift You Ever Received:

That's ten and enough for this round. Feel free, if you want, to add the whys and whatfors regarding your choices. Those tidbits are generally fun to hear.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Go Ode Yourself

Let's see if I have this correctly. The last post crafted up by the Diabolical Genius sounded something a little, a little something, almost exactamentally, close to word-for-word, and something a lot like this. It reads similarly to this:

Where, O where, has my little Rich gone,
Where, O where, can he be,
Not in the parlor, not on the lawn,
Not in the loo to wee.
Poor Richard does not an almanac write,
Young Dick, he nevermore posts,
No clacking of keys and no scrawl of the pen.
The virus has swallowed his byte,
The Trojan has given the Realm up to ghosts,
But the worm cannot shut up ol’ Ken.

Is anyone else catching the irony here? "Irony" is a big word and sometimes misunderstood. Let me e'splain. By my count, since this frolicking, self-serving little poetic injustice here, sixteen posts, including this one, have been penned by the the selfsame victim of this verse. The sum total written at the hand of the author of this "Ode to a Madman" post is a grand, whopping total of negative one (plus one). Zero.

Again, back to the irony. The DG scribes: But the worm cannot shut up ol' Ken.

Apparently, something other than a worm has busted ol' Ken in the proverbial chops. And just on a little bit different tack, all the "Young Dick", "wee" and "Trojan" references...

...please Kenneth. This is a family blog. And we're children's book writers.

Back on point, where is this Lord-O'-Limerick now? Where can be found the Viceroy of Verse? The Sultan of the Sonnet? Or should I say, the Queen of the Quatraine?

Anyhow, I love the irony. Don't you?

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Here's Another Little Something

Over the years, on news telecasts and such, I've heard about people getting lost in mountains or when volcanoes blow or in rockslides, etc. I've heard about them. Heard. On the other hand, I've never really known or spoken with those people.

Well, for an unwelcome change, that's not the case anymore. Here's a news clipping on someone that works for one of my business' sister companies that went hiking with his dog out in the mountains of New Mexico. He didn't make it home on time, and then a blizzard hit dropping over ten inches of snow. His wife called him missing the morning after the evening he should have returned home, and the search teams started Sunday afternoon. To this point, no luck. In fact, the latest article here states that the search has failed.

Now, I don't know Bob very well, really don't know him-know him at all, but I have spoken to him on occasion for business-related subjects. I met him when he came to Huntsville once. Now, he's been missing for five days.

Just an odd, odd story. Familiar by other stories of this nature, but nontheless weird. Because it hits a little closer to home, I feel for the family. Prayers for him and his family would be welcome, I'm pretty sure.

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Silent Monks Singing Halleluia Chorus

Let's start off the Advent Season here at the blog with this YouTube. A good friend sent it to me, and it's worth a look:

Whattaya think?

Christmas is coming!!!

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