Monday, May 30, 2011

Some Gave All

Billy Ray Cyrus had the hit song that told of a veteran who reminded the songwriter about the importance of the service to this nation of the men and women who serve in our armed forces. The chorus goes like this:

"All gave some and some gave all. And some stood through for the red, white and blue, and some had to fall. If you ever think of me, Think of all your liberties and recall Some gave all."

All of our veterans have contributed to the freedoms we enjoy, but some have literally given their lives for the cause. That is why we celebrate today in a holiday that we call Memorial Day.

Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the Civil War, by the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not. However, the original intent was to honor our war dead. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. Service Members who died while in the military service. The first Decoration day was enacted by freed slaves in South Carolina to honor the Union soldiers of the Civil War. After World War I it was extended to recognize Americans who have died in all wars. Here is a breakdown of the American War Dead. The totals are staggering.

American Revolution, 25,000

Northwest Indian War, 1056

Quasi - War, 514

First Barbary War, 74

Other action against pirates, 194

Chesapeake-Leopard Affair, 3

War of 1812, 19,260

Marquesas Expedition, 305

Second Barbary War, 138

First Seminole War, 47

First Sumatran Expedition, 2

Black Hawk War, 305

Second Seminole War, 1535

Mexican American War, 13,283

Third Seminole War, 26

American Civil War -

Union, 365,511

Confederate 260,000

Dakota War of 1862, 113

Shimonskeki Straits 5

Snake Indian War, 30

Red Cloud's War, 126

Korea (1871), 3

Modoc War, 56

Great Sioux War, 314

Nez Perce War 134

Bannock War, 12

Ute War, 15

Ghost Dance War, 35

Sugar Point (Chippewa Indians), 7

Spanish American War, 1622

Philippine American War, 2930

Boxer Rebellion, 131

Mexican Revolution 35

Occupation of Haiti, 148

World War I, 116,516

North Russia Campaign, 424

Siberian Expedition, 328

China 5

US Occupation of Nicaragua 48

World War II, 405,399

China (1945-1947), 13

Berlin Blockade, 31

Korean War, 53,686

Cold War (with USSR) 32

Cold War (with China) 16

Vietnam War 58,209

1958 Lebanon Crisis 6

Bay of Pigs Invasion 4

Dominican Republic 13

Iran (1980) 8

El Salvador Civil War 37

Beirut Deployment 266

Persian Gulf escorts 39

Invasion of Grenada 19

1986 Bombing of Lybia 2

Invasion of Panama 40

First Gulf War 258

Somalia 43

Haiti 4

Colombia 8

Bosnia-Herzegovina 12

Kosovo 20

Afghanistan 1413

Iraq 4430

Total American War Dead 1,343,812

Some of these wars are well known, some, virtually forgotten. Some considered to be "just wars", others for the wrong motives. Some have been popular with the public, others, terribly unpopular. Regardless, the blood of young American men and women flowed in each of these actions, as they died in service to their country.

So, this year, as you hit the swimming pool, mow the grass, have a picnic, go to a parade, play a round of golf, or take the family on an extended weekend trip, remember - freedom isn't free.

All gave some. Some Gave All!

Friday, May 27, 2011

20,000 Visits Since December 2009

On June 20, 2007 I opened a weblog entitled, “For What It’s Worth” with a post about memories of my Dad, entitled “The Giant”. The purpose of my blog was more or less an online journal which gave me opportunity to share my thoughts – not on paper, but on the net.

I had been following some other blogs at the time. Some involved the goings on of the Southern Baptist Convention, and were quite controversial in their content. They got hundreds, or in some cases thousands, of hits every day, and spawned scores of comments. While I had some interest in the goings on of the convention, I didn’t intend for my blog to be a commentary on SBC life.

I’m a bit of a political junkie, but I didn’t want my blog to be political in nature. I love sports of all kinds, but really didn’t want to use the blog as a sports forum. I’m tremendously proud of my family, and I love to brag on them. Yet I had no illusion that everyone out there in cyperspace were anxiously awaiting the latest news on my grandsons and their adventures. Like everyone else, I see humor, love, sadness, outrage, irony, and tragedy in the world around me. All these are things I thought I would write about in my electronic journal.

Someone once said opinions are like noses – everybody’s got one, and some are more outrageous than others. The value of my opinion is no more important than that of anyone else, but it is just that, my opinion. It is what it is. So I settled on a format that would simply offer some articles, essays, opinions, and observations from a Baptist pastor in the Kentucky/Ohio/West Virginia tri state area – “For What It’s Worth”.

How many total hits have we had since June 20, 2007? I do not have a clue! In December 2009 I decided to put a counter gadget on my blog, just out of curiosity to see how many visits my site was getting. Why did I wait over two years to put the counter on? Simple. I am fairly technologically challenged and it just took me that long to figure out how to insert a counter on the site. (no kidding). At any rate, I knew from some of the comments, that I was picking up new visitors from time to time, and I learned that some folks were checking in often. The counter would give me an idea of how many people were visiting the blog each day.

Early this morning we received the 20,000th hit to the blog, (since December 2009). Now, in the vast scheme of things in the blogosphere, 20,000 visits is probably small potatoes. But to this pastor, it is humbling to know that whether it be out of curiosity, enjoyment, or to just to find reason to ridicule, some folks have cared enough to stop by 20,000 times in the last year and a half. I feel honored and thankful that they have.

Thanks for visiting. I hope we can get together this way for a long time to come. If you care enough to continue to visit, I’ll continue ruminating – “For What It’s Worth”…

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Are You Seeking?

The man sat in my office with tears welling up in his eyes.

He was a member of the church. At least nominally so. His name had been on the membership roll since long before I came to that church and so had the name of his wife. They were a couple who had grown up in the community and had also grown up in the church. Yet to say that they were detached from the fellowship would be a huge understatement. They readily told anyone who might inquire, that they were members of the church, yet their actions belied any appearance of really being part of the body.

Every church has folks just like these, and every pastor is familiar with them. They faithfully attend services – on Easter, Christmas, and Mother’s Day! On the remaining 49 Lord’s Day’s they are the ecclesiastical equivalent of the military’s MIA. Along with their absence from corporate worship, they take no part in any of the ministries of the church. There are little or no relationships with other members, so they are missing out on the fellowship aspect of being part of the “family”. Financial support of the church and its mission in the world is virtually non existent. Membership Committees and visitation participants initiate most of the contact they have with the church – that is until there is a tragedy or crisis in the family – or someone is in the hospital or a family member dies.

Then the call comes to the pastor.

This gentleman sat across the desk from me and poured out his heart “Pastor, I’m at the end of my rope!”, he said desperately. “I work hard to provide for my family. I make a good income. My wife also works to supplement our income. We should be living the good life, yet we just can’t seem to make ends meet. We just keep getting farther and farther behind on our bills. We live in a nice house, but it’s really smaller than what we want, and we would like to be in a more prestigious neighborhood. Our vehicles are so outdated that I’m almost ashamed to drive them. We love our boat, but it seems like I’m spending every dollar I have on repairs.”

He went on to talk about other family issues. “The wife wants more. My job situation is very difficult and I’m not sure how long I may be able to stay there. Our son is becoming more rebellious, and I just don’t understand why we are not prospering.”

He went on with a laundry list of other problems.

He seemed broken, and my heart hurt for him and his family.

“Tell me ___________ , how is your personal walk with God?” I asked.


“Your personal relationship with the Father. How is your walk with Him?”

“You mean do I pray?”

“I mean what kind of relationship do your have with Him? How often do you pray – really pray? What do you ask for in prayer? How much time do you spend with Him in His Word? Do you value a relationship with Him and His church? What are you truly looking for in life?”

“I just want to be happy”, he said. “I just want to feel like I can provide for my family and that we have the things we need. I just want my family to get along. I don’t understand why God is not taking care of us and meeting our needs. Does’t the Bible say He will supply our needs?”

I sighed to myself. How many times have I heard similar questions from people who profess faith in Christ? It was painfully obvious through his behavior over the years, that the material things of life were of much more value to this man than his was his personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It was borne out by his fixation on stuff rather than the Savior. He had no time for the Lord or for His church.

My thoughts went back to the earlier question I had asked. “What are you looking for?” That is a question that every believer should consider from time to time. Are you looking for “the good life” or abundant life? It’s a valid question each of us should consider!

Jesus addresses the same subject in the midst of the passage of scripture that we know as The Sermon On The Mount. In Matthew chapter six (just after revealing the right way to give, the right way to pray, and the right way to fast) the Great Teacher goes into a discourse about how we relate to God and to material things.

He talks about treasure. He compares and contrasts the value between laying up treasures in the temporal, terrestrial realm, as opposed to investing in the spiritual. Are your treasures laid up in Heaven, or on earth? You can’t have it both ways. Jesus sums it up by saying, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (v. 21)

He shows us a comparison of light and darkness in our lives, and then He moves on to talk about the futility of trying to serve two masters.

Many years ago, I worked as a buyer trainee in the retail clothing business. The way the Men’s Department of that great store was structured, I was required to learn all ends of the men’s clothing division, and the men’s furnishings section. Each of the two sections had a department manager/buyer, and I answered equally to both of them. Both were great guys. I enjoyed my personal and business relationship with both men. But it was virtually impossible to divide my time, attention, and allegiance equally between them. I just couldn’t. One would give me certain tasks to perform, the other would do the same and it was impossible to give 100% to either.

Jesus uses the same example when it comes to our relationship to material things and to the things of God. You can only have one master! Our utmost loyalty cannot be divided between the material and the spiritual. You will always show preference to one or the other. Jesus nails down the truth very succinctly in v. 24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Then He comes down to the teaching that the gentleman in my office needed to learn, and the lesson that we all should receive:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Vs. 25-32.

The words of Jesus, here, need no interpretation. They plainly set out the premise that unfettered concerns about the material are both foolish and futile. God most certainly is aware of our needs. Trusting Him in every aspect of our lives is mandatory. We cannot change a single thing with worry and fixation on what we will wear, eat, or drink. In our day the same principle also includes what we drive, where we live, and what we want.

Jesus gives a very simple yet profound formula of how you can know that you will receive all the material blessings you require in this life.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “ v. 33.

How about it? What are you seeking? Is all of your time, effort and worry focused on the natural material things, or are you seeking first a close intimate relationship with Christ? Are you focused on His Kingdom? Are you wearing His righteousness through faith?
Your loyalties cannot be divided. If He is not Lord OF all in your life, He is not Lord AT all!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What Is A Mudbug?

Please allow me a moment of personal indulgence as I say a word about my oldest grandson, Caudle Jerry Adkins, V (or "Quint" as he is known to family and friends).

All grandparents are ga ga over their grandkids. My personal friends and other readers of this blog know that I am especially proud of my four grandsons (as well as the expected fifth one whom I am looking forward to meeting in about 6 more weeks). Quint is the firstborn of these five, and at the age of 11, is becoming a fine young man.

Quint is an extremely intelligent young man. He is quite mature for his young age. He is already becoming an excellent drummer, he likes soccer, and is involved in Boy Scouts. He was a "senior" (fifth grader) this year at his elementary school, the Marrero Academy for Advanced Studies. Marrero Academy is a Magnet School in Jefferson Parish, just across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. The school mascot is the "Mudbug". For those not familiar with south Louisiana, mudbug is the common name for the crawfish (called crawdads in these parts).

Anyway, yesterday was graduation day at Marrero Academy. Quint was chosen to give the final speech. His Momma has shared it with us, and it is something I wanted to share with you. So here 'tis:

5th grade speech
Quint Adkins

What is a mudbug? To many, they are miniature lobster-looking bottom feeders that, when seasoned just right, make for a delicious Louisiana meal. To others, however, a mudbug is a mascot that represents academic excellence. An emblem chosen to be worn by students of one of the top performing schools in Jefferson Parish.

Some of us came to Marrero Academy as the very first fourth graders to ever wear the small crustacean. Now, at the end of our elementary experience, the time has come for us to say good-bye to our school and to the tiny red creature we wear on our chest.

Over the last two years we’ve experienced many different emotions. We have celebrated, we have cried, we have laughed, we have gotten on each other’s nerves. We have learned to appreciate the funny things that make us who we are. We all have strengths. We all have weaknesses. But together we can accomplish any task.

To those we leave behind, we would like to encourage you to learn to accept the differences in your classmates and to use those differences to work together to make a positive impact here at Marerro Academy.

To the fourth graders, enjoy time as the big fish in the pond, because this time next year you will be starting over as a little fish in a much bigger pond.

To our teachers, thank you for helping us to become who we are. Mrs. Gordon, you made up songs to help us learn and by doing so, made leaning fun. Mrs. Kringus, you danced with us and taught us how to be better writers. Mrs. Gibbs, you taught us to speak to another culture. Mrs. Murden, you read to us and encouraged us to read. Mr. Roche, you challenged us to be more responsible in our work. Mrs. Gaubert, you have helped us to see life as it is with all its good and bad. For all this and more, we are thankful.

We still have a long way to go in school. Each of us hope to be successful in our future studies. As we leave here we know that we will walk different paths, but no matter where we go or what we will do, we will never forget our time as Marerro Mudbugs.

We are not just a group of students who have taken tests and eaten lunch together. We are friends, nay… We are family. We are the Mudbugs of Marerro Academy. Long live the mudbugs!

Good job, Quint! We are so proud of you, sonny boy! Enjoy your summer, and good luck in Middle School.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Satisfied With What You Got?

The 32nd chapter of the Old Testament Book of Numbers reveals an interesting study of Human nature. We see two tribes of Israel, (the people of Reuben and Gad) who longed to settle down in a comfortable land, before the job was complete. We see the stern counsel of their leader, and the challenge he placed before them. And we see that they eventually did the right thing.

The descendants of the patriarch, Israel (formerly known as Jacob) were coming to a critical place in their forty year journey from slavery in Egypt to the land that God had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their descendants – forever. The multitude of refugees were on the east side of the Jordan River knowing that they were next scheduled to cross the river and go in and occupy the land. The problem arose when they recognized that the land of Gilead was a lush, well watered place that was very hospitable to herds of cattle and flocks of sheep. These folks possessed livestock, and were naturally drawn to the verdant fields.

The leaders of the tribes came to their leader, Moses, and told him that the land was good for livestock, and they had lots of livestock. Their request was a simple one. “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants for a possession. Do not take us across the Jordan.” It made sense to them at the time, and many of us would have probably felt the same. Basically they were satisfied with what they had.

Moses’ answer was short and to the point. “Shall your brothers go to the war while you sit here? Why will you discourage the heart of the people of Israel from going over into the land that the Lord has given them? Your fathers did this, when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to see the land.” He likened their request to the paralysis of faith by the previous generation of Israelites nearly 40 years earlier.

Wow! Probably not what they expected to hear.

Moses instructed them that the exodus would not be complete until the children of Israel had crossed the Jordan, and subdued the entire land that God had promised their ancestors. There were still battles to fight… still cities to conquer… still much territory to possess. Moses knew that the task was great before them, and that all the fighting men of Israel would be needed to finish the job.

He bristled at the request of the Rubenites and Gadites to settle down now, while there were still battles to be fought. Should he allow them to bail out before the work was complete, it would be nothing short of sin on their part. “So Moses said to them, “If you will do this, if you will take up arms to go before the Lord for the war, and every armed man of you will pass over the Jordan before the Lord, until he has driven out his enemies from before him and the land is subdued before the Lord; then after that you shall return and be free of obligation to the Lord and to Israel, and this land shall be your possession before the Lord. But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.” (vs. 20-23)

The people of the two tribes agreed that they would build folds and corrals for their livestock and leave their families behind in Gilead, and accompany the other ten tribes across Jordan and fight alongside them until the land was subdued. Then they would be allowed to return to their families and farms on the east side of the river if that is what they chose to do.

I’m sure you know the rest of the story!

Did you ever feel that way in the work of the Lord? Ever feel satisfied with what you’ve got right now? Ever feel that you have really done all you care to do in the work, and want to settle down before the task is complete?

Others seem willing and able to go ahead with the fight and complete the work, but you would just like to forget about that and enjoy the blessings - oblivious to the fact that you are needed in the fight.

Don’t let the other church members shoulder the load alone.

Put on the armor. Leave the comfort zone. Take up the sword and march side by side with your brothers into the fight. You’re needed – more than you know. As Moses told those folks of old, “…if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.”

You can settle down to rest when the job is done, but for now, it is not over! God has some great things in store for His people, but He needs them all on board to complete the job. Let’s get busy. There is something you can do. God has gifted you to be an integral part of the force. Find your place, and let’s get to work!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Should you ever happen to see four police cruisers on a public highway, lights flashing, with a single vehicle pulled over, and you happen to have your camera with you, and you think this would make an interesting picture, you might want to think again. I’ve learned the hard way that some of our public servants frown on us citizens making photos of them, while doing their public duty to serve and protect.

Last Saturday, Linda and I were on our way home from our grandson’s sixth birthday swim party at the YMCA. At the place where Blackburn Avenue intersects with U.S. Rt 23 she announced that she needed a few things from the Dollar General Store for her upcoming trip to New Orleans. I was thankful that we only had to go to the Dollar General, rather than all the way to the WalMart across town. So, instead of turning right on the highway to head for home, I gladly made the left turn and headed for the little store only a half mile or so down the road.

That is when I saw the flashing blue lights – four sets of them! The police cruisers were all in the right lane of the four lane highway, and the heavy northbound traffic was being funneled into the inside lane.

“Wow!” I told Linda, “there must really be a big wreck up there near the store.”

As we approached the little shopping area, I saw the nature of the police action. The four police officers had an older model SUV pulled over, and the lone occupant (a red haired lady) was outside the vehicle, talking to the officers. One of the officers appeared to be filling out a report, while the woman seemed to be carrying on a conversation with the other three officers. All four units were from the local sheriff’s office, and although the action was inside the city limits, no Ashland city police units were on the scene.

It was obvious that there was no damage to the vehicle, and no other civilian vehicles were present, so apparently there was no accident. My curiosity was piqued. Was she simply broken down on the busy highway? That was possible, and one often sees police cruisers with flashing lights, serving as protection for stalled motorists in such a predicament. But four cruisers? And one officer did seem to be filling out some kind of paperwork.

Perhaps there had been some kind of high speed chase… but if that had been the case I would suspect that there might be some city police cruisers on the scene as well, plus, everybody involved seemed to be pretty calm and the red haired lady wasn’t handcuffed or physically subdued in any way.

At any rate, I thought it was an interesting sight.

Linda asked me if I wanted to go in to the store with her. The parking lot was full, and I assumed that the store was too. I really had no desire to squeeze through the narrow aisles in the crowded store while Linda grazed through the merchandise, filling a shopping cart with shampoo, deodorant, and who knows what else in the way of “travel necessities”.

“No”, I replied. “I think I’ll just stay out here and see what’s going on with the police over there.”

In my previous life of 24 years in the insurance business I had been accustomed to having a camera in the car most of the time. Over the years I had opportunity to make some interesting photos by having that Polaroid handy. My new Canon camera was in the car, bearing numerous birthday party photos, so I grabbed it and thought this might be a good opportunity to check out the zoom lens.

A handful of people were standing around on my side of the street, both at the Dollar store and the large pawn shop in the adjacent parking lot, watching the curious police drama unfold on the other side of the highway. I walked to the corner of the parking lot and began snapping some photos.

Frankly, the scene was pretty calm, so, after catching a few images, I turned my attention (and the camera viewfinder) on some of the other surrounding scenery. Got a good close up of the big blue inflatable gorilla on the roof of the pawn shop - a photo of the Cintas uniform center across the tracks, some images of a passing train, and a shot of the AK Steel Coke Plant which is due to close in a month or so.

I walked back to our Ford Taurus, leaned up against the car, crossed my arms and continued to watch the police action across the street, wondering to myself how long Linda would be in the store.

Within minutes a tow truck arrived to remove the SUV from the scene, and the woman was ushered to the back seat of one of the cruisers. I watched as two of the deputies got into the two rear cruisers and headed toward Ashland. Both immediately turned into the Dollar General parking lot, where, I assumed, they were simply turning to head back into Catlettsburg (where the Sheriff’s office is located).


The first cruiser parked in one of the spaces along the highway and the deputy got out of the car and headed in the general direction of the store. The other cruiser pulled in right behind my vehicle and stopped. The first deputy walked directly to me and asked me if I was the one who had been making pictures.

Standing there with the Canon in my hand, I thought that would be pretty obvious. I stated that I was, and the dialog went something like this.

“Who are you?”

“C.J. Adkins”

“Who do you work for?”

Now I wanted to say “A Jewish Carpenter” but the officer did not seem to be in the mood for levity, so I simply answered, “Westmoreland Baptist Church”. I thought he might buy that, since the shirt I was wearing had the church logo prominently displayed on it.

“Where is that?”


“What are you doing here?”

“Waiting for my wife who is shopping inside.”

“Why did you stop here?”

“Because that’s where she wanted to stop.”

By now I was beginning to feel a little uncomfortable, but also a little put out.

“Where do you live?” he asked with a very serious expression on his face.

“About four blocks up the road on 49th Street. Do you need to see my driver’s license or anything?”

He ignored my question.

“Why were you making pictures of us?” he queried.

I explained that I thought it was interesting that four police cruisers had a single vehicle pulled over. I thought something big might be going on. I happened to have my camera in the car, so I got some photos.

“Have I done something wrong or illegal?”

Again he ignored my question. I looked over my shoulder and the officer was looking at my license plate and doing something in his cruiser.

“Why do you have a camera with you?”

I explained that I often have a camera in the car and in this case had just come from my grandson’s birthday party. I offered to show him the photos from the party and those I had taken in the last few minutes.

“I don’t understand why you were making pictures of us. Do you know that woman?”

Again I explained that it was only a curiosity. I had no intention of doing anything illegal or out of order, but I didn’t think that there was anything wrong with making photos of a public servant doing his job in a public place.

Again I asked, “Did I do anything illegal?”

Once again he did not answer the question, but he did go into an explanation about how police officers have to be very careful of folks making photos or videos of their actions in the line of duty. “They could be an accomplice to the crime” he said, or there could be other dangers.

I mentioned that the hundreds of people with cell phones had probably passed by while the scene was playing out. Any of them could have snapped photos or made video images. I wasn’t trying to hide anything. Heck, I had walked to the corner and made photos out in the open, and didn’t think I had done anything wrong.

He suggested that I not do that anymore, and walked to his cruiser and both of the officers drove away.
I’m generally a law abiding citizen (with a few speed limit indiscretions not withstanding) and I have great respect for our police officers. I have numbered many of them as my personal friends over the years. It is a dangerous job that they do, and I appreciate the fact that they often put themselves in harm’s way for our sake. They deserve our respect, and most likely better pay for the dangerous jobs they do. I appreciate their service to us much as I do that of our military personnel.

While I think I understand the potential concerns that the officers may have felt with an unknown individual making photos of them on the job, there is still something unsettling about the confrontation that took place after the incident that took place a week ago.

I hadn’t given it much thought for the last couple of days until I read the paper this morning. A columnist, David Sirota, had an interesting take on a similar issue. Click on the link and check it out. I’d be interested in hearing your take on the issue.

One thing for sure. If I ever decide to make photos of a curious looking police scene – I’ll be a little more discreet about it!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Random Thoughts On A Friday Morning

Don Gorske, a retired prison guard from Fon du Lac, Wisconsin recently consumed his 25,000th Big Mac. It has taken Mr. Gorske only 39 years to accomplish this feat. Can you imagine that?
In one of the greatest understatements, ever, Gorske said, "I just like Big Mac's". Ya think?

He was featured in the 2004 documentary, "Super Size Me", which looked into the impact of the fast food industry upon our culture. One would expect this guy to weight about 400 pounds, but in reality, he is trim and fit, walks a couple of miles a day, and has been pronounced by his doctors to be in top shape. His heart is in good shape, cholesterol is low, and blood pressure normal. I chuckled when I read that the doctors, however "did not recommend his diet".

Gorske said he ate his first Big Mac in May, 1972. It was on the occasion of purchasing his first car. To celebrate, he went to McDonald's and ordered three Big Mac's. (apparently it takes three of the sandwiches to trigger an addiction) He liked the Big Mac's so much that he went back to the Golden Arches twice more in the same day. By days end, he had scarfed down NINE of the double decker sandwiches, and he was well on the way to addiction to a strange combination of "two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun".

I offer my congratulations to Mr. Gorske for leaving his mark in the Junk Food Hall of Fame. He continues to add to his world record daily, and was quoted as saying, "I'll eat Big Mac's till the day I die!" My guess is that he probably do exactly that - (continue to eat Big Mac's - and eventually die - even though it may be of old age and not from hamburger poisoning.)

It is a tremendous feat to consume 25,000 Big Mac's in just under four decades, but to me, the most amazing thing in the whole story is the fact that he ate nine of the sandwiches in one day!


Our President, yesterday, managed to enrage both sides in the age old Arab-Israeli conflict. His support for the so called "Arab Spring" revolutions was not well received by the ruling governments of numerous Arab states. And his remarks about Israel throws a real pall over the prospects of his meetings today with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mr. Obama says that Israel should "return to the pre 1967 borders" as a good faith gesture in negotiating for peace with the Palestinian authority. Part of the Palestinian "government" consist of the militant terrorist group, Hamas - the sworn enemy of the Jewish state. How does one negotiate with a party that not only refuses to recognize your right to exist, but has sworn to drive you into the sea?

The present borders were established after the Six Day War of 1967, when Israel was attacked from all sides by hostile Arab neighbors. In a swift, powerful victory over an overwhelming number of enemy forces, Israel soundly defeated their adversaries. The Gaza Strip and West Bank territories were added to the Israeli map, and Jerusalem (previously divided) was united, and the holiest Jewish sites were once again open to the Israeli people.

I can remember watching the grainy black and white satellite feed as Israeli General Moshe Dyan (the guy with the black patch over his eye) marched victoriously to the "Wailing Wall", which is the remaining foundation of Herod's Temple, which had been destroyed in 70AD. "We have come back to our most holy site..." Dyan said, "... Never again to leave."

Do you think Israel is about to give back any portion of the city that had been David's capital? Do you suppose they would even consider ceding away the territory that would leave the country only 12 miles wide in the middle? Territory that they regained through the sacrifice of the men and women who gave their lives to protect their homeland from forces who sought its destruction? Do you think for a minute that the "Children of Abraham" are inclined to give up their inheritance of a "Promised Land"? I think not.

Several U.S. Presidents have supported the creation of a Palestinian state. But Barack Obama is the first to tell Israel that we, as a nation, support Israel's return to the pre 1967 borders. I am appalled. For years we have stood alone as Israel's only major ally. Now, one can only wonder where U.S. Israeli policy will go under this administration.

In the Book of Genesis, God promised that particular land to Abraham and "his descendants, forever". He also promised Abraham "I will bless them that bless you, and curse them that curse you." I pray that our nation will continue to support the nation of Israel. But, with us, or without our support, a sovereign God will care for His Chosen people.


Mom's birthday is coming up next Monday. She'll be 82. We celebrated Dad's 84th birthday this past week. He's had quite a full life. My two brothers and I have been blessed to have been born to such special parents. Dad has made an impact in thousands of lives during the 60+ years of his ministry. He has left some of himself in each of us boys. Carl got his smile and easygoing people skills... Bruce got his inner strength and resolve... I got his name. After 60 years, I am still hoping I can live up to it.


Well, tomorrow is the big day - the day we've all been looking for. According to Harold Camping, an elderly civil enginer, and part time radio preacher, the rapture of the church will happen tomorrow - Saturday, May 21, 2011. This is actually Camping's revised rapture prediction. He had earlier predicted the coming of Christ to happen in 1994. That prediction was a bust, and considering that Jesus said "no one knows the day and the hour" when all of this will take place. I am inclined to believe Jesus, over Harold Camping.

Whereas, serious Bible students tend to laugh off predictions of Camping and other false prophets, one fact does remain. One day Christ IS coming for His church. Take a moment to look at your calendar and your watch. One of these days, one of these hours, one of these minutes, the Bride of Christ is going home.

If we knew it would be tomorrow, how much of a sense of urgency should we have? Shouldn't we have that same sense of anticipation every day?

Perhaps today?

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Name Game

My son and daughter in law are expecting their third child (another boy) in early August, and he already has a name - Nathaniel Ray. Now, there is really nothing unusual about picking out a name for baby in advance. Linda and I had boys and girls names picked out for both of our kids well in advance of their births. In those "pre ultrasound" days, one had to chose both masculine and feminine names, since only God knew the gender of the baby in advance. Granted, many of the older ladies were quick to tell you what you were going to have, based on how the Momma to be was "carrying it", how bad the morning sickness was, whether or not she had heartburn on a regular basis, or the nature of the food she craved during a certain period of the pregnancy. Still, there were some brave souls were known to wait till the baby was born before picking a moniker for the little darling. Some of the reasons - "We're praying about it", "We just haven't been able to decide on a name" and the ever popular - "Let's see what it looks like before we pick out a name". (I never really quite understood that one...)
It has long been a point of interest for me as to why people name babies the names they do.

Of course there is the "family factor". I was named after both grandfathers, and called by initials so as to not offend either by calling me by the other's name. Both sides of my family have their share of handing down family names to succeeding generations. My oldest grandson actually carries the Roman numeral "V" after his name, since he is the fifth boy in the line with the same name. (Fortunately they just call him, "Quint" since he is the fifth successive Caudle Adkins).

Other factors include may include the parent's fondness for popular sports figures or entertainment stars, or characters from movies or television. I have a friend who named his son Ryne, after his favorite player on his favorite baseball team. The boy didn't grow up to play for the Chicago Cubs, but he did turn out to be a fine young man.
Bible names are often popular with both Jewish and Christian folks. Four of our (soon to be five) grandsons carry the Biblical names of Benjamin, Josiah, Asher, and Nathaniel. Even mythology can come into play when naming youngins. Yesterday evening two of my grandsons were playing basketball in the back yard with a couple of brothers named Zeus and Thor. I kid you not!
Back in the days of my grandparents, there seemed to be an interest in naming children geographically. There was a Memphis Tennessee Garrison, and I have heard of other ladies of that generation carrying names such as Arizona, Montana, Missouri, and Georgia. In fact, one of the most colorful Major League Baseball Commissioners of days gone by was named for a topographical feature in that same state of Georgia - Keenesaw Mountain Landis!

The "trendy" and "cool" factors cannot be ignored, either. Although my own given name is strange in its own right, I managed to escape ridicule by using my initials or my middle name, Jerry. Back in my grade school days, one could only feel sorry for the poor kids who got saddled with names like, Elmer, Henrietta, Delbert, Lucretia, Waldo, or Mavis. I know now, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with those names, but boy did those kids live hard back in the late 50's and early 60's!

My children grew up with a number of Scotts, Jays, Megans, Christys, Chads, and Leigh Annes. Their kids go to school with a spate of Bradens, Zachs, Bradys, Chloes, Madisons and Zoes.

The factors that impact children's names are forever changing. There are numerous books to help parents pick out just the right name for their little heirs. One resource is "40,001 Best Baby Names". If those are not enough choices for you, you might try the ever popular, "The Baby Name Bible". That one offers "50,000+ baby names"!

For anyone who doubts how names have changed over the years, compare this top ten lists of baby names from my birth year of 1950 to the current top tens of 2011:

In 1950 the top ten names for boys were, James, Robert, John, Michael, David, William, Richard, Thomas, Charles, and Gary. I went to school with EVERY one of these guys. The most popular girls monikers at mid century were, Linda, Mary, Patricia, Barbara, Susan, Nancy, Deborah, Sandra, Carol, and Kathleen. I knew all of them, too. In fact, my wife bears names numbers one and nine on the list.

The corresponding top ten for 2011 are as follows:

For the boys, there's Mason, Jacob, Liam, Ethan, Noah, Logan, Jackson, Aiden, Jack, and Ryan. The top female names are Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Isabella, Ava, Madison, Emily, Ella, Abigail, and Addison.

There is a lot to be said for unusual family names. My first name, Caudle, is also a somewhat common surname. It is also the given name of my father and grandfather (and my son and grandson). The word is derived from the name of a warm ale, consumed in the British Isles. I don't know how my grandfather came to earn that one, but our Adkins clan does go back to Wales, so maybe that played into it some way. I've had my share of adventures with the name. There is the usual reaction of, "What? Where did you get a name like that?", to which I have become quite accustomed. There is the typical spate of misspellings and mispronunciations that go with it. I have long answered to such variations as "Claude", "Caudill", and the ever popular "Claudell" (among others).

I got my first clue on the first day of first grade at Gallaher Elementary School. All of the incoming first graders were assembled in the gymnasium with our mothers as we were being informed as to which class we were being assigned. The principal, Mr. Lea, stood at the podium and asked one of the first grade teachers, Mrs. Donaldson, to raise her hand for identification. In his Ben Stein like monotone, Mr. Lea began reading the list as to who would follow Mrs. Donaldson to her classroom.

"Karen Adams... CANDLE Jerry Adkins..."

"Wow!" I thought. "That kid's name is almost like mine, but weirder."

Mom stood, took me by the hand, and said, "Come on, that's us." I was shocked. That's kind of a traumatic blow to a five year old in the midst of a bunch of strangers named John, William, and Richard.

One kind neighbor lady tried to sooth my bruised ego by saying, "He probably called you 'Candle' because you are so bright."

I wasn’t buying it. (even then)!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Praying Mother

Hot and thirsty, I ran through the back door into the kitchen of the little four room house on Gallaher Street to get a drink of cold water. (This was before the kitchen was remodeled, and years before the addition had been built on the back of the house which doubled its size).

The kitchen was where Mom was usually found in those days. She may have been cooking, washing dishes, mopping the floor, defrosting the refrigerator, feeding my little brother, cleaning the oven, or ironing a basket of clothes that had just been taken in from the clothesline in the back yard. It was her turf, and it was unusual to find that she was not there.

I got my drink, and then curiously looked about for Mom.

She wasn't in the small living room.

I looked in our bedroom. My little brother lay napping on the bed, but no sign of Mom.

The only other possibility was her bedroom, and a quick trip to that room revealed that she wasn't there either.

That's when I heard her voice coming from the bathroom.

Now, we all have to go at one time or another, and Moms are certainly no different. However, it was far beyond the norm for her to be talking to someone in the bathroom! "Who could she be talking to?" I wondered.

The curiosity was more than I could bear, so I walked quietly across her room and gently put my ear to the door - just in time to hear her say my name!

She was praying. My eavesdropping was just in time to hear her praying for me! She was asking God to bless me, and keep me safe, and to use me for His glory and for His purposes. She prayed for the wisdom to be the kind of mother that He would have her to be to me and my brother.

I slipped quietly away from the bathroom door and made my way back to the kitchen. The old screen door slammed shut behind me as I ran out to rejoin my friends in the back yard for some more serious play time. Although it was just a brief slice of time in my childhood, the memory of my mother praying for me in the bathroom is one that I have taken with me for more than half a century.

Looking back on the incident today, I have to believe it was a Divine appointment. God brought me to that place just at the right time, so I would know that my mother was praying for me. And I know it wasn't a one time event. The power of her prayers has had a tremendous effect on my life. I know that she has lifted u[ me, my Dad, and both brothers (and our respective families) in prayer every day.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. Thirteen days later, we will celebrate Mom's 82nd birthday. Each day Mom slips deeper and deeper into the darkness of Alzheimer's Disease. It has robbed her of much of her memory, and now, even close family members are sometimes just "strangers" to her. She now thinks she lives in Logan (the town where she grew up and was married in 1949). She asks about the whereabouts of her parents, who have been gone for many years. There are days when she doesn't even recognize Dad.

Some things haven't changed. She still loves Jesus. She still loves to come to church. She still has a smile and a kind word for everyone, and she still has that same sweet spirit. My guess is that she still prays, too. I can't imagine what her prayers are like today, but I'm sure she still talks to God. Perhaps she still mentions our names in prayer. Only God knows...

Years ago, when first diagnosed with the disease, Mom teared up and said, "I'm afraid the time will come when I won't know my family". My brother, Bruce, put his arm around her and said, "Maybe so, Mom, but we'll know who YOU are!"

Patsy Ruth Stidham Adkins in many ways is just a shell of the mother we have known and loved, but we do know who she is, and we thank God that He gave her to us as our mother.

She doesn't know that tomorrow is Mother's Day, but we do, and we honor her.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

We love you.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Amazing Grace!

I was privileged to be in this chapel service and to have lunch that day with the folks from Angola and LCFW. My heart was touched and the tears flowed down my cheeks to see and hear these wonderful examples of the redemptive power of our God.

I am so proud of NOBS and the pioneering work they have done in providing theological education for those who are considered "throw away people" by many.

Please click on the link below, and read this story from Baptist Press and be blessed!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Memories Came Flooding Back

It's hard to say what made the most lasting impression on me.

Could be the dazed look still on the faces of many New Yorkers. Perhaps it was the overpowering presence of police officers who were everywhere. Then there was the dust. It still lay heavily on windowsills, ledges, and tops of wall surrounding the grounds of the City Hall. I can still see the long tandem trucks that rolled incessantly through the gate of the makeshift security fence that had been hastily erected around what came to be known as "Ground Zero". Each truck's trailer was piled high with chunks of concrete and twisted steel. One after another they came, around the clock, heading, we were told, for a landfill on Staten Island. As the endless caravan of loaded vehicles exited, another string of empty trailers headed back inside the fence for the next load of debris.

Perhaps the most sobering sight were the hundreds, no, thousands, of "Missing Posters" that adorned the walls of buildings up and down Broadway and the side streets that intersected it. Photo after photo, with names of those who were missing, along with contact information were literally everywhere. These posters helped put a personal face on the huge tragedy we had all witnessed a week earlier on live TV.

We stood silently on Broadway, just off the Fulton Street subway station. A river of humanity passed by on the wide sidewalks, as survivors were trying to get their lives back on track a week after the worst attack ever perpetrated on American soil. The faces were all different, yet eerily similar. They wore expressions of worry, despair, apprehension, or just blank looks as they stared straight ahead. Many, like our small group, simply stood reverently, looking down the block at the huge piles of rubble that only a week ago were the twin sparkling buildings that had stood 110 stories tall. Now it was the scene of destruction, and the tomb of thousands. The sound of heavy equipment and jackhammers echoed through the man made canyons. The only traffic sounds were those made by emergency vehicles and the trucks that kept coming and going from the site of the former World Trade Center's Twin Towers. There was no other vehicular traffic allowed in lower Manhattan. In fact, the subway had just opened that morning. Previously the only way to get from Brooklyn to Manhattan had been to walk across the landmark Brooklyn Bridge.

We weren't there to rubberneck. Rather, we had come to help, and this was our "morning off" after working the midnight shift of helping to prepare thousands of meals for the first responders, and recovery personnel who were working around the clock, just across the river from our work site in Brooklyn. The Kentucky Baptist Convention had a huge Disaster Relief kitchen unit on site, where thousands of hot meals were being prepared each day, to be taken across the river by Red Cross ERVs to fee the hundreds of relief workers on the job around Ground Zero.

Two van loads of us had come from some of eastern Kentucky's Greenup Baptist Association's churches to help with the task. We had arrived in the New York area at a Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief staging area in New Jersey, around midnight on Monday evening. Worn out from the day long drive, several of us felt that we should spend the night in the Baptist Church there, but the younger guys pressed us to go on over into the city and roll out our sleeping bags in the temporary Disaster Relief "camp site". Even though we weren't exactly sure where it was, at the urging of the young guys we pressed on.

We were told in the staging area that the DR HQ was "near the Brooklyn Bridge", and with guidance from the Lord, and the help of the ever present NYPD officers, we eventually found the three story warehouse that would serve as our home for the next week. It was not only "near" the Brooklyn Bridge, it was literally UNDER the span. The first floor was a beehive of activity (even at that late hour) as thousands of boxes of clothing. and innumerable cases of bottled water were being moved around by volunteers on fork lifts.

We signed in with the DR "Blue Hat" that was in charge, and were issued a Red Cross cot and told that our sleeping quarters were on the second floor. Before going upstairs for some badly needed sleep, we walked over to the railing at the river's edge and looked quietly across at the skyline of lower Manhattan. In the area where the Twin Towers had once stood, now was a cloud of dust and smoke, still rising from the ruins, illuminated by the halogen lights that surrounded the work area. It was the same view (with the Brooklyn Bridge soaring above) that I had seen hundreds of time in movies and television shows over the years. The notable exception was the empty space where the towers had stood until the previous week.

Our sleeping facility was as dark as a coal mine. Fortunately someone had brought a flashlight and we found a sparsely taken area where we set up our cots. I was asleep before my head hit the cot. When we woke at first light, it was possible to see what the lodging situation was. In a word, crowded. The warehouse was a huge open area with large concrete pillars separating the concrete floor from the concrete ceiling. There were probably 150 people who had set up campsites there. Meals were taken as we prepared the meals to go out to the relief workers, and shower facilities were in a Virginia Baptist Convention Disaster Relief trailer parked on the premises.

I could write volumes on what we saw and experienced that week - but time and space does not allow. Quite frankly, the 9 1/2 years that have passed, my six year battle with cancer, three new grandchildren, and the grind of every day life had served to dim the memories a bit. But they all came flooding back late Sunday night when the breaking news on the television declared that Osama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan by U.S. military personnel.

This was the man who embodied the evil that cost more than 3,000 lives of innocent people in New York City, Washington, D.C. and in a field outside of Shanksville, PA. He is the guy, along with his radical Islamic followers, who gave us the TSA, Homeland Security, Terror Alerts, and basically changed our way of life in America, forever.

While the death of bin Laden cannot bring back even one of the 911 victims, I pray that it does bring a sense of justice to the families of those who were murdered by his demented minions. It took 9 1/2 years to track him down and dispatch him from this world into the next. I thank God that Presidents Bush and Obama, respectively started and completed the search. Kudos to our military for a job well done.


Monday, May 2, 2011

A Model Mom

May is a month that is special for our family. We will celebrate three birthdays and a wedding anniversary. The end of the month brings the Memorial Day holiday, and the unofficial beginning of Summer. May is also special to most all of us, because that is the month in which we observe Mother’s Day. There is no name on earth that is more dear to most of us than, “Mother”. Much of what we learn in our formative years is taught to us by our mothers.

Jesus’ mother, Mary, was not perfect or sinless, but she was a good example of sound parenting for all of us. Consider the following things about Mary that make her such a model mother.

First, consider her character. She was a woman who trusted God. The first chapter of Luke’s gospel tells us, “… the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. (vs. 26-30) ESV. Mary was a woman who was the object of God’s Grace.

Her courage was also great. Verses 30-38 tells us that even though she didn’t fully understand, she was willing to be used of God. No doubt she knew she would be falsely accused of immorality, but she (and Joseph) showed great courage and faith in God.

She was also a woman who contemplated on the mysteries of God and all the unknowns that surrounded this Holy Child she had been given. Look at verses 19 and 52 from Luke chapter 2. “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” And “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.” Mary meditated on what was said about Jesus, and what was said by Him. She attempted to understand. Understanding is something that all parents need.

Then consider her confidence. John 2:1-11 tells the story about Jesus and His mother being at a wedding feast in the Galilean town of Cana. You may remember the story, about the crisis that arose when the host ran out of wine. This would have been a tremendous embarrassment to the host of the wedding feast. When Mary heard of the crisis, she came to Jesus and told Him of the need. After telling Him of the need, notice what Mary said (in verse 5) to the servants at the feast. “His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” She obviously believed in her son and knew He would do the right thing. Every parent should desire to have such confidence.

Finally, we see Mary’s commitment to Jesus. At Calvary we find Mary there at the foot of the cross. In John 19:25-27 we see Mary there with the Apostle John among others who followed Him. One of Jesus’ final seven sayings from the cross was directed to them. “but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.” Mary stayed committed to her son all the way to the cross – and beyond! Acts 1 tells us that after Jesus had ascended back to Heaven, that the disciples came back to Jerusalem and waited for the promise of the Spirit that He had given them. Notice who was also with the group – “Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet … All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.”

Oh, for more Godly mothers today, who would exhibit the character, courage, contemplation, and commitment that Mary did!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Cult of Celebrity

At the time of this writing, the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was 63 hours ago. Yet here on Sunday evening, after two and a half days, two of the three 24 hour news channels I receive are showing their entire wedding coverage from this past Friday - for the umpteenth time!

It was a lovely affair, and, I suppose, a storybook tale about the beautiful girl whose "commoner" family hails from a coal mining town, who marries a young man who will one day be King of England. It makes a nice story and there was no shortage of pomp and pageantry (those Brits really know how to put on a great show!) But how long is this incessant coverage going to go on?

Granted, these Royal Weddings don't happen every day, and for the British Commonwealth, I suppose it is all a matter of national pride. News reports say that 2.9 billion (that's 1/3 of the planet's population!) watched the ceremony live. That is incredible when you think about it.

The hype building up to this event, even here in America, was unbelievable. The wedding plans were talked about on morning news shows for weeks. Cable news channels counted down the days and hours until the nuptials would be accomplished. By midweek last week, every broadcast news organization had anchor people on site in London, and their major news shows originated from places like Trafalgar Square or Hyde Park. The design of Kate Middleton's wedding gown was a greater secret than the formula for Coca Cola, or the ingredients in a nuclear bomb. By Friday morning the live coverage was spread across all the network feeds. In fact, here in Huntington, WV, the local morning newscast anchors were decked out in formal wear!

What is it that causes otherwise reasonable people to fixate on such an event?

My first guess is that it has something to do with the fairy tales that were read to us as children. Every young girl back in the 50's dreamed of the day when one day her prince would come to carry her away on a big white horse. You remember the stories. They all ended with them all "living happily ever after".

My brother would suggest that it's all a big deal for folks who "didn't get enough dress up", and make believe when they were kids.

For some, the interest might be historical. For others it might be the love story involved. To many people, it was all about the Prince's late mother. One friend actually said, "This world needs Diana and her seed!" (whatever that means).

My personal opinion is that it all has more to do with the cult of celebrity that seems to have engulfed our society. We have become a nation of voyeurs. Television, the Internet, and social media have enabled us to view the lives of celebrities 24/7. Celebrity award programs abound, giving these icons an opportunity to preen for us on the red carpet, and for them to steal the spotlight in the self congratulatory awards ceremonies. Many sit glued to their televisions to view "Dancing with the Stars" and "Celebrity Apprentice". Water cooler conversations swirl around who was voted off and who was fired. Apparently many folks live vicariously through an escape from reality, by obsessing on the lives of cinema stars, sports heroes, and others like Paris Hilton or the Kardashians, who somehow have become famous, just for being famous!

Can anybody answer my question, Why?

Why has this dominated the news for days?

During the same time, seven states in the southeastern U.S. have been declared disaster areas from the effect of severe storms and tornadoes. Hundreds of people are dead, entire towns have been demolished, thousands are injured and homeless. Yet the public obsesses over a marriage of a beautiful young lady to a fellow who happened to be born into the gene pool of an outdated monarchy, who happens to be the son of a dead celebrity, himself. In the vast scheme of things, this wedding, while interesting, should be less than a blip on the radar screen of human events. Instead, we are inundated with it, ad nauseum, two and a half days after the fact.

I certainly wish the Prince and his bride (I guess they are the Duke and Duchess of somewhere now) a long and happy life together. I wish the same for the thousands of couples who repeated similar vows in much smaller ceremonies all around the globe on the same day - in fact on any day.

Beyond the passing interest that is understandable, and for those who obsess over this. I would humbly suggest that you get a life.

For those of us here in "the Colonies", who are enthralled with the whole monarchy idea, keep in mind that is what we revolted against 235 years ago!

Enough already!