Monday, December 15, 2008

Use Your Head

This time of year you read about people and families dying or suffering tragic house fires in most cases caused by the lack of common sense than any other cause. Especially around the Holidays it seems more prevalent, and thus a greater sadness.

Our area suffered a major ice storm yesterday leaving many people in the surrounding towns without power. I have heard from some affected it will be Tuesday at the earliest four days from now when power will be restored. Many lost power in the early morning hours on Friday meaning they will be without for five days.

Every year no matter the warnings on television, or radio people always make the same foolish mistakes, it will not happen to me, I know what I am doing. What mistakes are those you ask? The first one is pride I am not going to ask anyone for help I can tough it out on my own. I don't need to go to a shelter for warmth, and running water only wimps and old folks do that. Second, its my house I am staying with it no matter what. This one happens every season not just winter. Third, I know how to survive in the woods I used to, or still camp out in the summer.

These attitudes all though good for some things are not so good when you take risks and use things in away they are not intended to be used. I marveled at the lid on a coffee cup that says "Caution Contents May Be Hot," but in today's litigious society it had to be done. Some moron put a steaming hot cup of coffee between her legs with the lid off and drove off, you know the rest of the story. When people lose power and heat they also seem to lose brain cells.

It is fine to use candles for a romantic dinner or even to help light a room during a black out provided you take the proper precautions. Don't just put up candle sticks over the house so you can see where your going. You should be using the hurricane jar type candle with the proper hood so the glass does not get to hot, and that should be placed on top of a plate designed to hold them. This helps prevent fires from the candle stick falling over, or getting knocked over.

Even more dangerous than fire from candles is when people use items in away not intended to try and stay warm. I am especially talking about those who use camping gear such as propane stoves heaters and charcoal grills in a closed environment such as house. The danger in this is from carbon monoxide an odorless colorless gas you basically fall a sleep and that's the end of life.

People, please use your heads. If you find yourselves
without power and it will be a few days, do the smart thing for your family and go to a hotel or a shelter. Their life may depend on it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Eventful Day

Well, winter is still not here and we have had one of the biggest ice storms in recent memory. Here in town we were very lucky. very little icing, but a lot of water running off the frozen ground causing wet basements and flooded streets. For once the warning from the National Weather Service was accurate. On Thursday afternoon they reported that the valleys would have little to no icing, the upper elevations would have heavy icing they were right.

Every morning before I leave for work my wife and I say our morning prayers yesterday they came in handy. I work in Worcester and in the 9 years the bank I work for has only delayed opening once and that was after a 22 inch snow storm. As alot of people I have several routes to get to work in the morning some slower than others. Drive times range from 35 to 50 minutes depending on lights and school buses. I knew I didn't have to worry about the buses so I was going to go the way with the fewest hills. I left about 6:30 AM and got about four miles from home into West Dudley were I had to turn around because the road at one point had flooded out scratch that route.

I then decided to go over Dresser Hill in Charlton and just like the NWS said, as I went up in elevation the ice was weighing on the trees and power lines. When I reached Charlton Center I had to slow for a power line down across the road. As I proceeded around that obstacle I noticed the road ahead that leads to route 20 was closed. I turned to go on route 31 that also leads to route 20 but that road too was closed. So I went down the little side street that eventually comes out to route 20 following other cars. I got about a half mile down the little country road when traffic a head came to a stop. In good weather I don't get right up to the next car so on days like this I leave even more space good thing. The tree of on my left about three feet in front of my car, and maybe ten feet behind the car in front of me picked that time to lean its top over the road blocking travel. As I finished turning around on this narrow country road I looked in my mirror and down came the tree.

Just then my cell phone rang it was Laura, telling me she had been listening to the radio and that the roads in Worcester were all ice, and to come home. I got home as soon as I could.
I was home just after 7:30 AM I had gone around trip of 18 miles in one hour.

I called work and found out we were opening at 10:00 AM. Shortly thereafter our phone rang it was our son Bill, saying they had lost power, and Nathan's day care in Sturbridge was closed, could we watch him. Of course grandma would be more than happy to watch our little buddy. I knew I had to get groceries on the way home from work tonight but that wasn't good now. So off to the store to pick up needed items. Once I got back it was time to leave for work.

On this ride in the roads were better but I, still ran into one detour, this time in Dudley. The ride in was uneventful as most people decided to stay home for the day.

Once at work I found our mortgage company 800 East West was there. They had lost power at their corporate site in Marlborough, so some of their sales staff came in to set up shop. To show things happen for a reason we had scheduled four people out and another three called in unable to make it. East West had sent seven sales reps out to set up shop in our area until power was restored and their systems were up and running. They had just completed an updated disaster recovery plan two weeks ago.

Four of our branches were closed for power outages and many others were running. on a handful of staff. Our call center staff were busy fielding calls but all in all it was a quiet day with few people out on the roads it means fewer problems with people shopping and doing business.

By the end of the day the ride home was pretty routine. Much of our surrounding area is still without power and will be this way for days. We are okay here, and hope all those less fortunate take the proper steps to protect themselves and their loved ones especially at this time of year.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Getting Together

In a town of some 16,000 people of whom only 1/2 of 1% claim to be Orthodox, we have three separate churches all within one mile of each other. Two of the churches are less than 1/4 mile apart. Good thing alot of our parishioners come from the surrounding towns.

Over 10 years ago, the parish councils of the three churches got together to begin discussion of possibly one day unifying into one strong Orthodox presence in the community. This discussion led to our churches getting together for name days to start.

On Sunday, two of the three Orthodox churches in town got together again to celebrate the feast day of the host church, St. Nicholas Church. Our parish of St. Michael, and St. Nicholas have been getting together to celebrate each others name day for many years now. Over the past four years we have also been getting together for Presanctified Liturgy during Great Lent, as well as for the days of our annual picnics.

These get togethers over the years have been good for the people of both churches. In the beginning after a presanctified we would have a pot luck dinner, and each week the host church would try to out do the other from the week before. A little foolish, but for those of us in attendance well worth it, food was great. Now when we get together it is for a dinner with friends and family, and food is still great.

During his sermon yesterday, Fr. John surprised many of us from St. Michael when he said it is about time that the two churches begin to seriously talk about unifying, not to save money, but to build one strong church for our grand children and great grand children.

St. Nicholas and St. Michael will be having meetings with their parishioners to find out their thoughts, points for and against as well as fears. Some time in February the two parish councils will meet to discuss our common vision for Orthodoxy in the greater community in the years to come.

Holding to the spirit of the founders of our respective churches, those men and women, who came over to a new land and because of their love for God gave of their time, talent, and money to leave for us not only a place to worship but more importantly the Orthodox Faith. We owe it to them to do the same for the coming generations.

Since my wife Laura, and I converted to Orthodoxy over 22 years ago it has been our dream and goal to have one Orthodox Church in the area that draws all Orthodox Christian regardless of ethnicity. We are after all "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church".

God knows the path ahead will be full of many questions, and like a child we want the answer yesterday. If we just let go and let God, all will work out according to His will.

It was a great day and the beginning of many more.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Saint Nicholas Day

Nathan my little grandson who is a month short of his third birthday is looking forward to Santa Claus coming in a few weeks. His parents have told him he needs to be good, and at his young age he is doing his best not to get into trouble at day care, or to hit the other children. The name Santa Claus" is itself derived from the Dutch Sinterklass or Saint Nicholas. Few people however know that today is the feast of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker Bishop of Myra in Lycia. Saint Nicholas is the original Santa Claus.

The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day.

Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas' life and deeds. These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character and why he is so beloved and revered as protector and helper of those in need.
One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman's father had to offer prospective husbands something of value—a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man's daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver.

One of the oldest stories showing St. Nicholas as a protector of children takes place long after his death. The townspeople of Myra were celebrating the good saint on the eve of his feast day when a band of Arab pirates from Crete came into the district. They stole treasures from the Church of Saint Nicholas to take away as booty. As they were leaving town, they snatched a young boy, Basilios, to make into a slave. The emir, or ruler, selected Basilios to be his personal cupbearer, as not knowing the language, Basilios would not understand what the king said to those around him. So, for the next year Basilios waited on the king, bringing his wine in a beautiful golden cup. For Basilios' parents, devastated at the loss of their only child, the year passed slowly, filled with grief. As the next St. Nicholas' feast day approached, Basilios' mother would not join in the festivity, as it was now a day of tragedy. However, she was persuaded to have a simple observance at home—with quiet prayers for Basilios' safekeeping. Meanwhile, as Basilios was fulfilling his tasks serving the emir, he was suddenly whisked up and away. St. Nicholas appeared to the terrified boy, blessed him, and set him down at his home back in Myra. Imagine the joy and wonderment when Basilios amazingly appeared before his parents, still holding the king's golden cup. This is the first story told of St. Nicholas protecting children—which became his primary role in the West.

Sailors, claiming St. Nicholas as patron, carried stories of his favor and protection far and wide. St. Nicholas chapels were built in many seaports. As his popularity spread during the Middle Ages, he became the patron saint of Apulia (Italy), Sicily, Greece, and Lorraine (France), and many cities in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Following his baptism in Constantinople, Vladimir I of Russia brought St. Nicholas' stories and devotion to St. Nicholas to his homeland where Nicholas became the most beloved saint. Nicholas was so widely revered that more than 2,000 churches were named for him, including three hundred in Belgium, thirty-four in Rome, twenty-three in the Netherlands and more than four hundred in England.

Nicholas' tomb in Myra became a popular place of pilgrimage. Because of the many wars and attacks in the region, some Christians were concerned that access to the tomb might become difficult. For both the religious and commercial advantages of a major pilgrimage site, the Italian cities of Venice and Bari vied to get the Nicholas relics. In the spring of 1087, sailors from Bari succeeded in spiriting away the bones, bringing them to Bari, a seaport on the southeast coast of Italy. An impressive church was built over St. Nicholas' crypt and many faithful journeyed to honor the saint who had rescued children, prisoners, sailors, famine victims, and many others through his compassion, generosity, and the countless miracles attributed to his intercession. The Nicholas shrine in Bari was one of medieval Europe's great pilgrimage centers and Nicholas became known as "Saint in Bari." To this day pilgrims and tourists visit Bari's great Basilica di San Nicola.

In Italy, Saint Nicholas is celebrated twice during the year.
St. Nicholas (San Nicola) is the patron of the city of Bari, where he is buried. Its deeply felt celebration is called the Festa di San Nicola, held on the 7-8-9 of May. In articular on May 8 the relics of the saint are carried on a boat on the sea in front of the city with many boats following (Festa a mare). On December 6 there is a ritual called the Rito delle nubili. The same tradition is currently observed in Sassari, where during the day of Saint Nicholas, patron of the city, gifts are given to young brides who need help before getting married.
In Trieste St. Nicholas (San Nicolò) is celebrated with gifts given to children on the morning of the 6th of December and with a fair called Fiera di San Nicolo during the first weeks of December. Depending on the cultural background, in some families this celebration is more important than Christmas. Trieste is a city on the sea, being one of the main ports of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and is influenced mainly by Italian, Slovenia, and German cultures, but also Greek and Serbian.
The city of Gesualdo celebrates on December, 6th the Festa di San Nicola.

Through the centuries St. Nicholas has continued to be venerated by Catholics and Orthodox and honored by Protestants. By his example of generosity to those in need, especially children, St. Nicholas continues to be a model for the compassionate life.

Widely celebrated in Europe, St. Nicholas' feast day, December 6th, kept alive the stories of his goodness and generosity. In Germany and Poland, boys dressed as bishops begged alms for the poor—and sometimes for themselves! In the Netherlands and Belgium, St. Nicholas arrived on a steamship from Spain to ride a white horse on his gift-giving rounds. December 6th is still the main day for gift giving and merrymaking in much of Europe. For example, in the Netherlands St. Nicholas is celebrated on the 5th, the eve of the day, by sharing candies (thrown in the door), chocolate initial letters, small gifts, and riddles. Dutch children leave carrots and hay in their shoes for the saint's horse, hoping St. Nicholas will exchange them for small gifts. Simple gift-giving in early Advent helps preserve a Christmas Day focus on the Christ Child.

This is the true story of the jolly old elf now known as Santa Claus. Happy Saint Nicholas Day.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

War On Christmas Continues

I have been quiet for the past several weeks due to illness , the flu and bronchitis on top of it. I have not had the energy to do much of anything never mind blogging. Now that I am feeling better I am back at it.

Last night on the O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly brought out that in the state capital in Olympia, Washington Governor Gregoire has allowed a sign to be posted as you enter the building. The sign is sponsored by the group, Freedom From Religion Foundation, and is prominently displayed in front of a Creche and Christmas tree. The sign reads as follows: "At this season of the Winter Solstice may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds".

Here we go again. A small radical fringe group of secular progressives have organized and are attacking those of us that believe in and love God. We continue to allow it to happen without much of a stink.

Some will say they have a right to do this because of freedom of speech. OK, using that logic then on Martin Luther King day, it is OK for a KKK member to burn a cross in front of his grave. Somehow, I think that person would be arrested for a hate crime as he should be. What is the difference? One is not politically correct, the other only offends Christians, and who gives a damn about them?

Several years ago, you may remember Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl's and many other major retailers stopped using the word "Christmas" in their ads substituting holiday. They prohibited their employees from saying "Merry Christmas" to customers as they left the store. Several groups including "" (which I belong to), had their members send letters to these merchants urging them to bring back "Merry Christmas" or they would boycott them. It worked. Wal-Mart and Kohl's responded last year, Target this year. If some of the worlds largest merchants respond to letters from ordinary people, what will politicians do with a large number of calls letters, and e-mails?

To contact Governor Christine Gregoire her office phone is 360-902-4111, Fax number 360-753-4110.
Her mailing address is as follows:
Governor Christine Gregoire
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002

To send an e-mail:

If you contact the Governor be sure to be polite and voice your displeasure with this matter.

I received the following email today from a friend at work. I feel it sums this up very well. It was delivered by Ben Stein on
CBS Sunday Morning, Sunday, August 17, 2008, 11:55 AM. I can only hope we find God again before it is too late!! The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees.. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away. I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat. Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.. In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking. Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?'(regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?' In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK. Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK. Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.' Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd,crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace. Are you laughing yet? Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it. Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards,
Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein

Your thoughts about this and the War on Christmas are welcome.

Friday, November 7, 2008

No Mourning In America

Well, my time for mourning the outcome of Tuesday's election is now over. We Republicans must tip our hat to President - Elect Obama, he ran a great campaign. Sen. McCain gave a valiant effort but in the end, America spoke. Had Sen. McCain campaigned the way he delivered his concession speech things may have been different. The speech was very gracious and the beginning of unifying the country. An attempt to get both parties to work together to solve the problems we face.

It's been awhile since we lost this badly. As in the past, we must take a good look at what caused this defeat and learn from it. We must return to our core principles, reduce government spending, lower taxes, balance the budget, route out corruption within our party and the government as a whole.

This is not the time to point fingers at one an other or blame any one candidate for the defeat, as some disgruntled aides seem to be doing to Gov. Sarah Palin. As in sports, you win as a team, you loose as a team. Gov. Palin showed well on the national stage for a novice, and should still be considered a rising and bright star for the future of the Republican party. We must work to find and develop our own at the local and state level now, to groom them to take over as the old guard retires. Without this grass roots development, the Republicans will continue to slip not only nationally, but on all levels. Here in Massachusetts the party is almost extinct. The problem in Massachusetts is a post unto itself.

As President - Elect Obama's administration readies to take control of the government, we should take our lead from Sen. McCain and extend our hand in a helping way to work with them. Government has been stagnant and gridlocked for to long now. As the minority party in the eighties, even with Reagan's resounding victories, many things were accomplished for the good of the country. This can be done again. It all begins today, the new race for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in 2012.

In closing, I offer this simple prayer verse for President - elect Obama and the new members of congress: For our public servants, for the government and for all who protect us. Grant them O Lord a peaceful rule that we too in their tranquility may lead a calm and quiet life in all virtue and honor.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Decision 2008

Today we elect a new president. Who ever wins wether it be John McCain, or Barack Obama we must put aside our differences for the betterment of the country. Pray to God that He guide the new president of our great nation for the next 4 years. Holding out hope John McCain wins.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Joe The Vet

I saw this video this morning, and had to share it with all of you. This young man says what I feel that our brave men and women are doing in Iraq.

Thank You Joe for your sacrifice. May God bless you and all our brave men and women of our armed services.

God Bless The U.S.A.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Every Vote Must Count And Count And Count...

It has not stopped since the election of 2000, the cry that every vote must count. Al Gore and the Democratic party in 2000 cherry picked certain precincts in Florida to try to win the presidency. When the recount would prove not to be going their way, they came up with the idea of the hanging chad, and finally on non-punched ballots determine the intent of the voter on what was called the dimpled ballot. This final attempt was what the Supreme Court put a stop to, and sided with George Bush and the Republican Party, and awarded the election to Bush. Throughout this entire recount the chant was "every vote must count," and that people were turned away and not allowed to vote. In the eight years since that election there has not been any confirmed cases where large groups of people were turned away from voting. Sure some people who were not registered, or who could not prove who they were, could not vote. This only makes sense since you want only eligible voters actually voting. This election caused major new Democrat sponsored legislation for voting law changes. In 2004 Sen. Kerry had sent a contingent of lawyers to Ohio to contest the election. When the numbers there were quite obvious that a recount would not be successful, he called off the wolves and conceded.

Here we are in 2008, and the election has not occurred yet, and we have 12 states investigating voter fraud. A college journalist group in Ohio found one address that had 13 people registered and none of these people were actual residences of the state of Ohio and, had no intention of living there. The Secretary of State of Indiana indicated that he had a 105% registration of eligible voters for the election. What are the dead voting now?

We've all heard of ACORN the voter rights and registration group, who registered Mickey Mouse in Florida, and is the chief target of fraud investigations in those 12 states. Well this group has now launched video ads and lawsuits, in many states, claiming voter intimidation and suppression by the Republican party.

Have we so polarized ourselves politically that we can no longer even trust our voting system? Will we have a repeat of 2000? I certainly hope not. Remember election day is November 4, exercise your right vote. Vote early and often, your vote will count.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Decision Time Approaches.

In one week we will end over 18 months of presidential politics. Now is the time to decide what direction this country will take for the next four years. Some have said the decision we make on November 4, is the most important election in our lifetime. Seems I heard this in 2004 as well. Every election of a president is very important, we are picking "the leader of the free world" when we vote. Many of the issues that we face as a nation are not easily solved and cannot be reduced to a thirty second sound byte, or a campaign slogan "Change You Can Believe In."

For over 8 years our federal government has been stagnant at best. For the most part, neither party has been willing to put aside their petty differences to do the actual work of the people. They filibustered appointments, legislation, or just let bills die in committee. Few legislators were willing to reach across the aisle to help solve problems. Some preferred to just ignore them because they didn't want to anger their constituents and contributors. Electing the same old people back to congress is not necessarily the way to go. Look closely at their voting record, what have they actually accomplished while they were there? A good source for voting records is here. If your legislators are not voting the way you feel they should, why should you vote to return them to Washington?

The main choices we have for President are Barack Obama or John McCain. Each man has his good and bad points depending on where you come down on the issues. For information on Barack Obama click here. For information on John McCain click here.

No Obama Nation. If Sen. Obama is elected we have the following to look forward to. Increased government control of your health care. A universal health care plan as proposed by Sen. Obama will lead to even more increased deficits, and fewer medical professionals. What will be the incentive to get into the medical field, if after spending all that time and money, the government will dictate how much you can make? Increased unemployment, as companies will not be able to pay the required premiums and maintain all employees. We have the best health care in the world. People from countries that have universal health care come here, and pay for procedures that will save their lives, because they can't get an appointment with a doctor in their country. Do we want this here? If your sick, need medical attention, and can't pay for it, you will still get treated.

The Obama tax plan, (or redistribution of wealth plan), as I mentioned in a previous post, is his major promise of a tax cut for 95% of all Americans. That's all well and good but 35% of people pay no taxes at all. The Senator has promised to increase taxes on people making over $250, 000.00 and give it to those making under $35,000.00, socialism at its best, welfare at its worst. What will the incentive be for people to work? If you get money and health care for "free" why work? Increasing taxes on corporations, will lead to more unemployment, higher prices for goods and services, and more companies leaving the country to avoid the tax burden. We currently have the second highest corporate tax rate in the world.

Weak foreign policy. Sen. Obama has made it clear he will negotiate directly with many of our most ardent enemies with no preconditions. When you open negotiations with someone you lend legitimacy to their view. You must be willing to give them something in return in negotiations. You cannot negotiate with terrorists and people who are bent on killing you.

With the Election of Sen. Obama, an increase of democratic seats in the congress, and the duet of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, they will go wild with increased spending and government control of our lives. Where will the balance be that we need?

Character associations, if Sen. Obama were not a senator and running for president, he would not be able to get a security clearance with associates like the terrorist Bill Ayers. If you listen to the senator it is not an issue, he didn't really know him, he was a guy in the neighborhood, he thought he was reformed. Sen. Obama launched his political career in Ayers' living room. I always have a party in a guy's living room that I don't know. Yea right. These are just a few of the reasons I can list for not voting for Sen.Obama.

In my opinion, the choice we must make for president is John McCain. Sen. McCain's tax plan to reduce corporate taxes, reduce the tax on capital gains will do more to stimulate the economy. The trickle down effect, as it has been called since Ronald Reagan first introduced it in the 1980's, does work. It is based on the ideals of America. Anybody who works hard can make it here.

A strong foreign policy.
Sen. McCain's policy is to continue the struggle against Islamic fascism. A commitment to our allies to work together in battling this common enemy. Courage to confront any aggression in the world.

Abortion. Sen. McCain will not allow the expansion of abortion rights. He will if given the opportunity, appoint judges who will take a constitutional view to the Supreme Court. They will not be judges who legislate from the bench.

A balance in government with Sen. McCain in the White House it will limit the ability of the loony left to implement their policies unfettered.

These are some of the reason I have for voting for Sen. John McCain. It is all of our responsibilities to be informed voters. Do your homework make your decision and above all on November 4, exercise your right and vote.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Busy Weekend Comes To An End

It's been a few days since I have posted anything, I've been busy and unlike Laura, I was not staying up till 1:30 in the morning to blog. After work Friday, I picked Laura up and went to St. Mike's for the spaghetti and meatball supper. Good turn out many meals were sold. I Had two good size plates myself. The food was good, or I was hungry, probably a little of both. When supper was done it was time to work as the money counter for the turkey party. We had a great crowd this year and had to limit the number of tickets people bought for the first time, in recent memory, so everyone could get a chance. It can get crazy as the runners selling the tickets all come back at once, and you have to make sure they return the right amount of money, while the crowd wants to have the wheel spun and are yelling spin spin... The biggest culprit in enticing the crowd with this chant was Fr. Peter. The night was a good time for all in attendance and we went home happy. No turkey for us though, first time in a while, Laura didn't win one.

Saturday, we got a late start. Laura was up late doing her post the night before. After breakfast, it was off to the store to do my mother's shopping. Every week I take care of her groceries. She's eighty nine, and many years ago, I had to take away her car keys. Not so much to protect her but to protect others from her driving. She scared the hell out of Laura on one trip into Worcester to see her doctor. She ran a stop sign, was in the middle of two lanes, almost didn't stop for a school bus, and that was the last straw, the end of her driving. Once her shopping was done, and a short visit, it was back home and off to the church to help Laura plant bulbs in the church urns in front of the church, which will bloom in spring. When that was finished, it was back home for lunch and to watch some college football. That night, it was off to the Dudley Fire Dept. for an "all you can eat" steak dinner. We met several of our friends from St. Mike's and we all sat at a long table and enjoyed the food and conversation. We got there a little before it started at 5:00 PM and stayed, talking until after it was done at 7:00 PM. When we got home, it was down to the man cave to watch more college football and the world series. It figures, the baseball game wouldn't start until after 10:00 pm and went till 1:50 AM. At least it didn't go extra innings.

Today we were up early to listen to Fr. Peter's radio show, Shepherd of Souls, on WESO 970 AM, at 8:30. Then it was off to Church and Liturgy. After Church and coffee hour, we got home just in time to watch the Patriots play the Rams. Good game for the Pats, now tied for the division lead, after a well-earned win. Matt Cassell threw a late touchdown to Kevin Faulk for the winning points. Deltha O'neil picked off Bulger to ice the game. After the game, it was off to Wal-Mart and Big Y for a few things. Ever notice when you go shopping for a few things it is never that fast? A couple hundred bucks later, we're home and ready for an evening of Fox News shows and then, we will get ready to go back to what my dad used to call, "the salt mines" (work) in the morning.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Well it's that time of year again at St. Michael's Church the big turkey shoot party. The event is this Friday, October 24, at 16 Romanian Ave, in Southbridge MA. The evening begins at 5:00PM to 7:00PM with an all you can eat spaghetti and meatball supper for a paltry amount of $5.00 per person. This year our special guest chef is none other than our pastor himself, Fr. Peter. Only in America can you have a Scotsman cooking Italian food in a Romanian hall. Then at 7:00PM we begin the turkey shoot. For those of you who don't know what I mean by a turkey shoot, it is not actually shooting turkeys (though that may be even more fun. Then again, I wouldn't want some of these guys pointing a gun anywhere near me.) We sell you a ticket for 50 cents which gives you two chances to win. When all the tickets for that game are sold, 60 in all, we spin the wheel. That's when our master of ceremonies Tom Andrea, begins his famous call nummbaar (number), which ever number comes up from 1 to 120, the person with that lucky number wins a turkey. We replay this scenario 25 to 30 times during the evening. Some are special games for $1.00 a ticket, the winner getting a turkey and a basket, or, a 50 50, which means you win half the money collected for that game. (The prize $30.00.) This goes on until about 9:00PM or until all the turkeys are gone. (Guests don't count.) During the evening if you come don't forget to take a chance on the giant food basket raffle again, $1.00 per chance to win a basket of over 100 lbs of food and a 20 lb turkey to boot. Finally for the door prize, all those losing tickets, sign your name, we put them in a bag, shake it up, draw one for another 20 lb bird. The evening goes fast and is a good time for all ages. If your in the neighborhood, please drop on by we'll put a meatball on for you. Who knows maybe you'll go home with a turkey! No ladies, I don't mean your husbands, hope to see you there.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Church Outreach

Fr. Peter has a good discussion going on at his blog about what the Church can do to make things easier for people to go to church. We are not talking about changing the service or the theology of the Church. The changes are more when to hold services. Friday night before people go out to dinner, or mid week for those who have to work weekends. Go on over and leave your thoughts under Everything must change or Everything must change part 2. Click here.

Other things I have heard about the Church reaching out are what Fr. Peter and Fr. Greg have tried which is to go to where the people are, pubs bars etc. to answer basic questions about God rather than just to preach to them.

What are you looking for from the Church? What can It do for You? I am interested in knowing your answers to these questions please leave your thoughts and opinions.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Catholic Bishop On Votiing

I came across this today and felt it was quite interesting. The Orthodox Church is quiet when it comes to political matters and has not given any guidance in this coming election.

I am not a single issue voter and do not promote single issue voting, however, when undecided and the only difference you can find is life you must choose life.

I look forward to your thoughts on this article.

Bishop reminds Catholics to remember Judgment Day in the voting booth
Bishop Robert Herman
St. Louis, Oct 18, 2008 / 08:03 am (CNA).- Bishop Robert J. Herman, the administrator of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, has written a column reminding Catholics that their vote will be a decision weighed on the Day of Judgment. He urged Catholics not to treat the unborn as the neglectful rich man treated Lazarus in the biblical parable.
“Judgment Day is on its way,” the bishop wrote in the St. Louis Review. “We cannot stop it. We don’t know when it will come, but just as surely as the sun rises daily, the Son of Man will come when we least expect.”
“For many, this coming election may very well be judgment day, for this election will measure us,” he continued, referencing Christ’s words of judgment in Matthew 10:32-33:
“Everyone who acknowledges Me before others, I will acknowledge before My heavenly Father. But whoever denies Me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”
Bishop Herman asked the faithful to consider what kind of witness they give to God when they enter the voting booth on Election Day.
“The decision I make in the voting booth will reflect my value system. If I value the good of the economy and my current lifestyle more than I do the right to life itself, then I am in trouble,” the bishop wrote.
He cited Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Christifideles laici, which said outcry on human rights is “false and illusory” if the right to life is not defended to the maximum.
“The right of our children to be protected from destruction is greater than my right to a thriving economy,” Bishop Herman continued.
“My desire for a good economy cannot justify my voting to remove all current restrictions on abortion. My desire to end the war in Iraq cannot justify my voting to remove all current restrictions on abortion.”
Bishop Herman looked to the spiritual dimension as well.
“Those 47 million children our nation destroyed are still living. We have destroyed their bodies, but their souls are still alive. When our Lord comes again, they may very well be there to judge us. Even worse, Jesus tells us that whatever we do to the least of our brethren, we do to Him. We would truly shudder if we heard the words, ‘I was in my mother’s womb but you took my life!’
“It is quite possible that we might see these children, but, depending upon the choices we have made, we may very well be separated from them by a great chasm which cannot be crossed, much as the rich man who ignored Lazarus, the poor man, during his lifetime here on earth but was separated from him after death.”
Bishop Herman said the “deepest problem” with many Catholics is that they have become accustomed to rationalizing away a “life of sinful actions” headed in the wrong direction.
“My goal is not to engage you in some political party way but to engage you with our Savior and His teachings. We need to constantly challenge our accustomed behaviors in the light of the Gospel,” he wrote.
He said the issues of the coming election could help people learn about the teachings of the Catholic Church and to use the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
“When we do this, both we and the heavens will be filled with joy!” he asserted.
“Judgment Day is on its way,” he repeated, encouraging people to pray the family Rosary daily between now and Election Day.
In a previous column for the St. Louis Review, Bishop Herman urged Catholics not to put politics ahead of the Fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.”
“Save our children!” he wrote. “More than anything else, this election is about saving our children or killing our children. This life issue is the overriding issue facing each of us in this coming election. All other issues, including the economy, have to take second place to the issue of life.”

Long Journey Home

Yesterday My wife Laura, and I were fortunate to witness the Chrismation of over 100 people from Emmanuel and St. Stephen's into the Orthodox Church. Emmanuel is located in Warren MA a short drive from here, while St. Stephen's is in Springfield MA. This brought to mind our own conversion to Orthodoxy some 20 plus years ago. Back then I remember Fr. Stephen Siniari telling us that all over the country whole congregations from various faiths were coming into the Orthodox Church. I never thought we would see this in New England. We happened upon their community shortly after they decided to enter the Orthodox church, We have met several of the parishioners at Emmanuel as well as Fr. Ken and Deacon Chris, and were pleased we could be there to share in their love for God, their joy of finding the original unchanged church founded by our Lord and and his apostles.

God calls all of us to Himself through his Son Jesus. It is up to each of us to find our way to Him, so we can share in His love and glory. It is a journey that for many will last a lifetime. The people of Emmanuel and St. Stephen's began their journey several years ago when they decided to find the church founded by Jesus. The Church that is the same today as it was for the first 1,000 years. They had no idea where they would land when they began, through God's grace they were led to the Western Rite of the Orthodox Church. They will be celebrating the oldest Liturgy in the world that of St. Gregory. This Liturgy is the pre-Vatican II Liturgy or Mass. This Liturgy is different than that of the Byzantine Rite, St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil more commonly seen in the Orthodox Church and is just as beautiful.

Laura and I want to welcome home all from Emmanuel and St. Stephen's to the Orthodox Church. May you continue to grow in your love for God and may God grant you all many years.

To learn more about Emmanuel and St. Stephen's click here!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Joe The Plumber Public Enemy #1

Unless you've been under a rock or in outer space for the last week, by now you've heard of Joe the plumber. To recap, Joe Wurzelbacher an Ohio man who works in the plumbing business asked Sen. Obama a simple question about his tax plan. To paraphrase, If elected President, how will your tax policy affect me if I buy a plumbing business and make over $250,000.00? The good Senator answered "I'll spread the wealth around". Obama told Joe, he wanted to give him the money five years ago so he could buy the business, and if he made that kind of money, it was his job as president to be sure that those less fortunate had a share in that money. Given Sen. Obama's answer, Sen. McCain brought Joe up countless times, both at the debate and on the campaign trail.

Poor Joe, ever since the question was asked, he has been getting hammered by the liberal press and blogs. He isn't a licensed plumber, he's divorced, he's a republican, etc.. you get the idea?. It seems to me that the main discussion that we should be having is the answer given by Sen. Obama,"I'll spread the wealth around" rather than it be about Joe. Sen. Obama came into his neighborhood, and Joe who is trying to be an informed voter, (as we all should be) and understand the Senator's tax plan, went outside to ask him about it. Joe didn't drive 100 miles out of his way, wasn't a secret spy sent by those dastardly Republicans to ambush him, he is just a regular citizen asking a question of this leader. So why is this man being so vilified by the liberal press? Simple. An old political ploy when you cannot win the argument on intellectual or factual grounds, you destroy the messenger. Since the liberal media long ago anointed Sen. Obama as the next president they can't take any chances that he will lose, they must change the topic of conversation from what it should be about, and focus it on the person who shed the true light on their chosen one.

I believe we should be focused on the response of Sen. Obama given to an ordinary citizen who asked a question on a policy touted for the last 18 months by a "would be" president. That answer, "I'll spread the wealth around," finally gives us a true look into his ideology one of Socialism more so than one based on Democratic principles.

When I was young, the Democratic party was the party of the working man, (just like Republicans of today), taxes were a necessary evil to give the government the money needed to perform it's function. If tax cuts were so bad for the rich why then did President Kennedy provide them? Somehow the party of FDR, Truman, and Kennedy, men who believed that hard work should be rewarded, not punished, fought for the American way of life, (Capitalism). Socialism had to be defeated. The party has morphed into Johnson, Carter, Clinton, and now possibly, Obama. Men who believe that it is the government's job to be sure all people are equal economically, given free health care, free education, and if you should be fortunate to achieve the American dream, take what you worked hard for and, "I'll spread the wealth around". This is Socialism my friends, plain and simple, Socialism. That was Sen. Obama's answer to Joe the plumber, Socialism. That's the way I see it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


In my job I have been seeing people who feel that they are entitled to get everything for free or take no responsibility for their actions. Part of my job in bank operations is dealing with customers who dispute charges to their accounts with their debit card or automated clearing house (ACH) more commonly referred to as a check over the phone. While debit card and mail (including e-mail) fraud is continuing to grow at a fast pace, an experienced person can tell when a customer is lying about not knowing what the charge on their account is about.

I recently had two people lodge disputes over charges that caused their accounts to go negative and incur insufficient fund fees. The first was a man who rented a car for two months because he was involved in an accident. His insurance company refused to pay the entire amount of the rental. He felt that he should not have been charged by the car rental company at all and the bank should pay him back because it was not authorized. Visa and Master Card both advertise that transactions performed on your account (here are the key words with a lost or stolen card) that are not authorized, are not the customers responsibility. This customer was so adamant that he was defrauded by the car rental company he even filed a police report claiming fraud. (The bank requires this for all unauthorized transactions over $250.00 so that if the actual criminals are caught, they can be prosecuted and the money recovered). The Insurance company refused to pay the bill because his car was ready in two and half weeks, not two months. The customer liked the rental car better than what he had repaired, so instead of returning the car, he kept it for two months and said, "I'm not paying for it'.

The second case, was a father who's teen-age son went online and bought a pocket-rocket mini motor bike. When he first came into the bank, he had no idea what this was. When he came back to file the paperwork, he had contacted the company and knew that his son had indeed pretended to be him online and, again over the phone, made arrangements with the delivery company to deliver the bike when his parents were not home. This man wanted: The bank to pay him back because it was not authorized, and to keep the mini bike because it was originally coming out of his account. Or, The company was to pay him back and absorb all the costs of shipping the bike back across the country.

Both of these people had the same basic attitude. I 'm entitled to keep my money and keep what I bought because it was not my fault. Wrong!! To the first, take responsibility for your actions. You knew your insurance company would only pay while your car was in the shop. Don't expect someone else to cover the cost for your joy ride over the summer. To the second, be a parent. What example are you setting for a child when he sees you try to get something for free at the expense of someone else. If it's going to cost you to return it, and or, keep it, punish the child. Extra chores, no privileges and have the child earn the money to pay for the mini bike.

These are just a few of the most recent examples I've seen recently. People need to get over this "it's somebody else's fault, I'm not responsible for what I do" attitude. We need to go back to the teaching, that you take responsibility for your actions and, you are not entitled to anything, you earn them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bailout or Greed

I don't know about you, but I am seeing more and more people who feel that this bailout was the wrong thing to do. Just look at the bailout, banks, investment companies, insurance companies, and everybody else are all looking for a hand out because they screwed up and gave unqualified people loans, and then invested in them. The people at the top of these companies all walked away with huge amounts of the their troubled companies money. I know in my job if I fouled up one millionth of the amount these executives did I would be fired and most likely prosecuted for fraud and embezzelment. Why then do we not hear cries of outrage and demand of congressional investigations into the actions of these people. No congress has them in to testify on how to correct the problem. Why are we listening to these fools, they are the ones who caused it in the first place.

Our elected officials failed us back in the late 80's and early 90's when they started to relax the regulations on home lending and then caving in to special interest groups for not only political reasons but for one of the oldest reasons greed. Many of our congressmen and senators received below market loans, and or huge donations from these people. (Con. Barney Frank D. MA, Sen. Christopher Dodd D Ct.) We elect these people to do the will of the people not to get fat at our expense.

It seems to me that over the past quarter century more and more of our leaders (Political & Business) are out for one thing and then the other, more and more money which leads to more and more power. What are we to do? Simple! Vote a change get these people out of office and elect people who will not forget that they are there for us not themselves.

Welcome to All

I am finally entering the world of blogging. Following my wife's lead who has been blogging for more than a month now. Visit her blog at the right at Kiss the boo-boo.

In this blog if you are one of those PC people (Politically Correct) you may be offended. People who know me tell me that I tell it as it is. I do not like playing games I see most things as black and white not much is gray.

I hope to spur you to think about the various topics I will blog about( Political, religious, news, etc.) I want your opinion in order to get a good discussion going. We can learn from various views on a subject and should be willing to accept opinions contrary to our own. I hope you enjoy and come back often leaving your thoughts and views.