Friday, December 21, 2007

The Meme-ing of Christmas

The Meaning of Christmas

Michelle tagged me to do a meme about the meaning of Christmas. It is kind of a neat take from different bloggers. The instructions are:

1.Make a paragraph next to the last paragraph in the tag that is passed to you “What is Christmas to you” and put your name at the end of it linking back to your site, or the page that answered this tag.

2. You can use a title that will suit your Christmas idea.

3. Then tag as many as you can.


***

The first entry is from Bahrain:

Christmas is an annual holiday that makes my little wishes come true. A pair of new shoes, new dress and gifts from my Godparents. That’s how I defined Christmas years and years ago until… I came to Bahrain. That’s when I realized what it really means. A special day to commemorate the birth of Jesus.

Here in Bahrain, Christmas is nothing. It’s just an ordinary working day for almost everyone, unless your boss is considerate, he’ll give you at least a half day to celebrate, if there are celebrations happening. But in my case, there’s nothing to celebrate literally. Everyone is at work, that includes my husband and myself. We attend the midnight (Christmas Eve) mass and that’s it, go to sleep and get back to work the next day, on Christmas day. My first Christmas away from home happened in 1999. I came here in October and had the most loneliest Christmas ever in my life - without my family. That made me realized their importance. On how meaningless celebrations would be without them. To cut the story short, for me Christmas is all about Jesus and family. If you have friends to celebrate this special day with you, that’s a bonus! When Silence Speaks

***

A little while ago, I talked to my daughter about this year’s Christmas being different from the other Christmases we had. She asked me why. I explained to her that my husband and I are both undergoing financial difficulties since hubby has just been doing consultancy work since March and that means no extra money for the holiday expenses, not that we give expensive, extravagant gifts, we don’t. She said something like: “It’s okay, we don’t need expensive gifts, what is important is that we are together.” Thank you, Trixie, for making this easier. (Please click on her name to see what she has written in her blog about her thoughts on this.) We have always emphasized about the real meaning of this holy day. That this is about Jesus who came to save us from sins and give us eternal life. We always make it a point to go to church during the morning of Christmas day to give thanks to the Lord. Christmas is not just a holy day, not just a time of giving gifts but a time to thank the Lord for the blessings of life.

***

Christmas is about the decision that God made to save mankind! The piercing truth is that Christmas is about so many decisions. First: It is the decision of God to send us Jesus Christ. Second: It is the decision of Mary to accept the will of God and cooperate in the plan of salvation. Third: Joseph decided to take Mary as his wife despite her condition. Joseph did not understand completely and yet because the angel told him so, he decided to say ‘yes’, too. Sometimes I feel that the yes of Mary overstated and the weight of Joseph’s yes was underestimated. If Joseph did not agree to the angel’s leading, the ‘yes’ of Mary would have resulted in a condemnable pregnancy that could have led to a dead mother and baby. Mary should have been stoned to death if Joseph decided to say no. Joseph’s decision was important. Fourth: It was also the decision of the wise Men to go another way and not collaborate with Herod who wanted to kill the Child Jesus. Fifth: It was the decision, too, of the shepherds to go in haste and tell the others what they have seen. So, for me Christmas is a story of decisions!
Dom

***

hhhhmmmm, ‘what is Christmas to me?’ …..it is something that is very significant to my heart… Christmas to me is approaching Jesus with an offering of simple adornments, not gold or precious stones but a pure and clean heart! It is important to remember though that it is HE who wants to come to me, to us. How we look externally and/or outwardly might not mean as much to HIM but only a pure and contrite heart!…. He wants to look into our hearts because it is there where HE wants to dwell to bring to it beauty and light. His wish is that here, within the deep recesses of our hearts and souls, which HE fashioned with love after HIS own heart, only one STAR shines brightly!…. So our hearts must carry HIM and HIM alone. For HE is the light, like no other. And if we carry HIM in our hearts, there is no need for make-up, jewelry, or even a brand new colorful polo shirt or blouse and skirt because we will radiate with HIS light and beauty and when that happens, there can never be too much.
Gbex

***

What is Christmas? hmmmm… When the month of “ber” comes and it’s getting colder, Christmas is coming and i’m always looking forward for this month and weather. When i was young, Christmas for me is vacation, wearing new clothes, meeting relatives and getting more presents. But it changed when i entered college and got a job. The meaning became saving money, meeting friends and buying presents specially for my godchildren. Generally, we defined Christmas as the birth of Christ. Everyone is busy buying presents but we never thought or gave anything to the Celebrant (Jesus). This Christmas, give your present to God. Surrender your life to Him and this is the best present that you can give.
idealpinkrose

***

We celebrate Christmas because it’s the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. It’s all about Love why HE was born and died on the cross for us. John 3:16-17 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Therefore, for me the true meaning of Christmas is Love and with it comes forgiveness and reconciliation. We also remember His birth by giving each other gifts, worshipping Him, and being especially conscious of the poor and less fortunate.
Thinking Out Loud

***

Christmas for me is the ultimate reminder on how much God loves us, that He gave His only Son Jesus Christ to be our Savior. For me, its a celebration of love and a time to share our blessings to others.. a time for giving and reaching out to the less fortunate and it’s also a wonderful time to be with your family. Christmas is not just all about santa claus or the gifts that you will receive or for shopping, we should always remember that Jesus is the reason for the season and let us reflect on how much God loves us.
Just Let Go/Pieces of Me

***

Christmas is about giving love, forgiving. This remind us how lucky and how God love us when he gave us his only son Jesus Christ. A time for sharing our blessing to our family, friends and to others.
Celebrate Life/My Journey

***

When I was younger, I looked forward to every Christmas because that meant new dresses, new pair of shoes, toys and a lot of presents and money from ninongs and ninangs. Now that I’m older, married, and have my own family, I view Christmas differently. Remembering the birth of Jesus and the real reason why He was given to us by God the Father is the true meaning of Christmas for me. Whether you’re having an extravagant or just plain simple feast on the table, being together as a family especially on this blessed day is what really counts. Giving random acts of kindness to people you meet everyday and touching their lives in your own little way is more than giving expensive presents. These 3 are the true meaning of Christmas for me which I try to teach my children.
Liza of moms…..check nyo & A Simple Life.

***

To me, Christmas means my mom happily cooking to celebrate Jesus Christ's birth. She always sets up a tree, and her eyes shine as she does it - it is quite a treat for any daughter to witness: I love you mom!
MAX
***

For me, Christmas means HOPE. Always has been, always will be. The fallen world has received the greatest hope of all: the birth of Jesus Christ. And since hope is all around, then it's only normal to see so many acts of kindness around Christmastime. In Indo, we never exchanged Christmas gifts, but now I live in Finland and I start to buy gifts for my loved ones. Christmas also means family gathering for me and candlelight service at church. Plus I get to sing Christmas songs and enjoying a Christmas play and dance. Other than that, for me Christmas also means SERENITY. I can feel a different kind of peace in my heart whenever Christmas comes along. And since Christmas is near New Year, it's also time for reflection for me: reflecting all the blessings that the Lord has given me and then thanking God for everything.
Amel

***

As a child Christmas was the love of family holding me safe and stories of magic and miracles.As I got older I grew to realise that there are deeper forms of love and more subtle forms of gift-giving. The love of God giving his son to the world is echoed every day in the love of good people making sacrifices for each other without regrets. The love of friends and family giving time and sharing, understanding and laughter. The love of a life partner giving more than there are words to describe. And the more you embrace that truth of love the more the gifts grow.Christmas is a reminder that love is more than an emotion– it is the energy of miracles.
Michelle

***

Christmas gets played at a lot of different angles for me. Sometimes, it is about money or the lack thereof. Sometimes, it is about Jesus. Othertimes, it is about a feeling. I think mostly Christmas is about an ideal not so much reality. We see in movies like It's a Wonderful Life that it can be about people pulling together and helping one another with a backdrop of snow and holly. I think we all want it to be like that. However, how many stories do you have, personally, that fall into that category. Yet, that ideal is still out there. It hasn't been thrown away - not universally, anyway. That, I think, is the magic of Christmas. Christmas makes us consider the possibility of love for one another to the point of sacrifice. Where does that come from? Ahh, I guess it is about Jesus afterall.


***


Since we are running out days to make this meme meaningful, I am having an open tag. If this meme speaks to you, go do it and let me know that you did.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Confessions

The past week has been busy for me. My wife had been gone and that gave me an opportunity to get some things accomplished without the additional demands on my time that she exercises. I took some days off work during that time. She returned home yesterday; I'm back at work today. Now, like the butcher that backed into the meat grinder, I have gotten a little behind in my work. However, I haven't forgotten about Blogland.

Michelle, at Crow's Feet, tagged me for her Confessions meme. Her rules are quite simple. You post five confessions. They don't have to be life-shaking, like sex changes, murders, or that kind of thing. They can be simple or something that may inspire, "Really, that's a weird thing to know about him/her!" She did ask that we keep them to five to seven and we can tag five people, or not.

This is kind of a challenge to me. Sure, I have my quirks in the present and past, but they seem normal to me, so how do I know it is something I should confess? I decided to do it by eras in my life.

Confession #1 from my early childhood: I used to roll my head in bed. Let me explain, I used roll my head back and forth like watching a tennis game in my sleep. I wish I would have gotten some kind of long-term benefit from it, but alas, it was not to be. I can't remember when I stopped, but I can surmise that it probably was about the time I spent the night at friends' houses or vice versa.

Confession #2 from middle childhood: On a few occasions, I would take change from my big brother's jeans while he was asleep. You see, he was seven years older, had a job at a service station that a family friend owned, and he always had money. I never had money as a kid so I would make him share. I justified it because he tormented me like crazy.

Confession #3 from high school: My friend and I used to go to another friend's house for lunch every day. The thing is, the other friend had a different lunch period and didn't know we were going to his house. Somehow, or other, we got a key to the house and drove over there and raided his fridge. I remember one time, my buddy cooked something from the freezer, didn't like it, and put it back into the freezer for someone else to eat. Sick. We did it because we were cheap and we thought it was funny.

Confession #4 from college: I quit dating someone because she kept saying, "Hmm?," as if she was asking me to repeat something that she didn't quite hear. The thing is, it was never after I said something; it was just random and it got on my nerves like crazy. She was very attractive and affectionate, but I just couldn't tolerate her inquiring quirk. In a subsequent summer, I stayed at IU for classes while all my friends and fraternity brothers were gone. I ran into this same girl and decided to give it another shot. However, when "Hmm?" surfaced again, it was a one-and-done deal.

Confession #5 from recent times: I haven't been to my church since they changed the format and times back in October. I have been to other churches, just not mine. I will probably find my way back as part of a New Year's resolution.

Who to tag; who to tag? I want to tag Kristen, Chris, Meg, Sayre, and . . . Hoosiergirl.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

NEWS FLASH #23

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________

NEWS - Well, as someone brought up regarding my predictions, another one (about copycat killing) may have come about when more shootings erupted after the Omaha mall shooting. There have been two since, one was a church killing spree. An armed guard killed the gunman after he killed a number of people in two locations. On the surface, it looks like the guard saved some lives. I can't argue with that. Still, I just don't see a gun-wielding security guard in a church. It just seems so unchristian.

"What would Jesus do?"
"He'd pack heat and blow that mother away, man!"

I just don't see it. Still, I am thankful that the gunman didn't have the opportunity to hurt and kill more people.

ENTERTAINMENT - Has anyone seen "Shrek the Halls"? I missed it the first time and if I hadn't done a little detective work, I would have missed recording it last night. It was listed in the paper and the guide as "To Be Announced". My wife and I like to see Christmas specials. Rudolph, Grinch, Charley Brown, Scrooge (the Alistair Sims one) and George Bailey ("It's a Wonderful Life") are holiday musts for us. I am just wondering if the Shrek special will be that, too. Anyone?

WORK - Work? What work? I have some projects I am working on for February, but things are pretty smooth.

SPIRIT - This could double as the NEWS portion like last time, but I am just not getting Mitt Romney. He states he is proud of his LDS faith. Fine. However, when asked about certain things about it, he dodges like someone NOT proud of it. I don't get it. Ask me anything you want about my beliefs and I will tell you. Some of it, I don't think you would understand or accept on the surface, but so be it. Truth is truth. I would think that Romney would welcome the opportunity to set the record straight instead of having people believe the worst of it, but no. He says it isn't an issue. BUT IT IS! He even made a speech about it because he KNOWS it is an issue - whether it should be or not. If I were him, I would announce that I was going to hold ONE press conference for anyone to ask me about my LDS beliefs and will only address the presidential issues after that day. I would have some clergy member up there with me since I wouldn't be expected to have all the answers. I would give these questions two hours and then be done with it.

FAMILY - I don't think I am ever going to have kids. I am too much of an expert in how to raise other people's kids to have that kind of responsibility that will only serve to hurt my credibility as a child rearing expert.

My friend has a kid that he brings to ballgames with me. However, she hates me because I am seen as competition for her dad's attention. I try to include her into the conversations, I bribed her with a stuffed bulldog (the team mascot), and other treats. No good. She still wants her daddy all to herself and says hateful things to me. I could deal with it a couple of years ago when she was eight-years-old. Now she is ten and there is NO DIFFERENCE.

My friend doesn't like it, either, but told me that he doesn't know what to do about it. I told him that he needs to tell her if she wants to continue to come to the games that she needs to be polite (and she is the rudest child I have ever seen). If she can't be nice, she won't come to the next game. He told me that he does tell her that. Then I responded, BUT YOU STILL TAKE HER THE NEXT TIME!! She doesn't believe a word you are saying so she has no incentive to modify her behavior.

He just changed the subject.

LOVE - The last few days have been marvelous. Of course, my wife has been out of town since Saturday. Anyone want to come and hang out with me in Evansville for a few days? I have the house to myself for another week - when she gets back from seeing her brother graduate from basic training.

ANGUISH - It's Christmas season and the seasonal stuff is all over the radio. However, there are a few tunes that I must turn off when I hear them. One is "Feliz Navidad". UGH, the repetitiveness and harshness of voice burn into my brain. Another one is the "Twelve Days of Christmas". I hate repetiveness; do you see a pattern here? Finally, I can't stand "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer". It is so white trashy that it makes my skin crawl. There! I got that off my chest.

SPORTS - There is a big rivalry here between Indiana and Kentucky college basketball. I love it when IU beats UK like they did Saturday. They beat them like a drum. I didn't get the same kind of enjoyment out of it this year, though. Despite my intern having to wear an IU shirt all day in the heart of UK territory (she lost the bet), I can't enjoy my team beating a team so bad as UK was. It was like the varsity over the masters in rugby from "Monty Python's Meaning of Life". Ahh, just go rent it!

HOME - I am growing a dislike for property. Too much money, too much responsibility. If my marriage fails (and I am hoping it does NOT), I am going to move into an apartment and stay there the rest of my life. No maintenance, no taxes, no trap. I will move if I want without obligation. Apartments are the way to go. I have been so foolish!












<

Friday, December 07, 2007

Hanging Up the Crystal Ball

Last January I posted a number of predictions I had for 2007 on this blog. Some were pretty accurate, some COULD have been with a stretch or so. Some just missed.

However, there was a couple that I really FELT at the time that came to pass. To tell you the truth, I am not liking it. Here are the two predictions that has caused me to hang up my crystal ball and retire from the psychic game:

* A female celebrity will die and it will be drug/alcohol related. (Rest in Peace, Anna Nicole Smith)

* Something will happen in Omaha, Nebraska that will put it on the news for a number of days.

When I saw on the news about the man who killed eight in the mall there before turning the gun on himself, I got sick. I don't feel responsible for it, but I feel "CONNECTED" to it. I don't like that feeling. Every morning for the past couple of days, I have to watch the Today Show rehash and interview victims and family of this outrageous event.

So, this year, I am not going to make what I thought was going to be yearly predictions. I thought it would be fun to look back and see how close I got. Guess what? It isn't fun.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Talk What You Know

One of the things that drive me crazy is when someone with only a passive amount of knowledge in my areas, tries to tell me with some kind of authority about my own areas. For instance, many people try to tell me about politics or civil rights law when I know they have no credentials for either. Oh, I don't mind opinion, but I am talking about lecturing with some kind of authority. The reason it bothers me is that I have a degree in political science with emphasis on constitutional law.
This background is why I am an independent. I have an understanding that the parties have two or three legitimate issue stances and the rest of their issues are agenda driven. If you are reading this and think that the Republicans have all the correct views on the issues, or the Democrats know what is right in all matters of policy, you are caught up in the agenda game. They get you with one or two issues and sweep you in to all of the other ones because they gained credibility with you on the couple of items that you feel really strong about. But I digress . . .

What brings me to this topic today is a column I read by Richard Cohen of the Washington Post. I am not linking it, because I think you have to register to see content there (as I did), and I refuse to bait you into that.

Cohen attacks Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee because he wouldn't answer whether or not fellow candidate Mitt Romney is a Christian. Romney is a Mormon. Cohen contends that Huckabee, a Baptist minister, had a chance to show religious tolerance but bailed out instead. Huckabee just said that the interviewer should ask Romney, not him.

Since when is not commenting on someone else's religion intolerant? The term "Christian" is defined by different people in various ways. What definition applies here? Huckabee doesn't know. The term means something completely different to a baptist minister than it does to a Jew (like Cohen), or even an agnostic.

As Mark Mattison, from True Life Ministries, of Auburn University puts it, "What is a Christian, anyway? Someone of European descent? A persecutor of Jews? Someone who votes for only the most conservative Republicans? At times all of these answers have seemed plausible. Some use these definitions to this day.

In Christian circles the answers are no clearer. A Christian is sometimes said to be someone who has made a decision; sometimes, someone who belongs to a church; far too often, someone who confesses the right creeds. Which brings us right back to our question: What, really, is a Christian?"

I can only guess, but I would say that Huckabee's definition is along the lines of someone who has been "born again". How would he know if Romney made that decision and step? There is no way. Shoot, I don't even know if my wife is truly a Christian according to this definition - and she claims to believe primarily as I do.

I believe that Huckabee was being baited by the question. There was nothing he could say that would have been accepted by EVERYONE. If he would have answered, "Yes, Romney is a Christian," then many conservative evangelical Christians would wonder about Huckabee's own faith. You may think, "Big deal", but that is the man's political base. If he says, "No, Mormons cannot be true Christians," he would be labeled as an intolerant bigot - much like Cohen is labeling him now for just being noncommittal and probably even honest.
What is interesting about that is that Cohen in his column writes, "the Republican presidential field has some feeble minds and some dangerous ones as well, but none has done as much damage as Huckabee has. Religion does not belong in the political arena." Then why is Cohen and the interviewer (I think George Stephanopoulis) shoving that question in Huckabee's face? Cohen is being hypocritical here.

To conservative Christians, Mormons are heretics because of many conflicting (with fundemental Christianity) beliefs. These fundementalist claim that the Mormons deny the deity of Christ, exhalt the deity of man, and that God lives on the planet Kolob and mormons will someday be god of their own planet. Now I say that some FUNDEMENTALISTS believe these things because I don't truly know enough about mormon theology to say what they really believe. I choose to just talk what I know.

NOTE: I am not a Huckabee supporter. I can't foresee a scenario where he will be able to garner my vote.








Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Blame Game

A friend of mine recently asked me how I deal with anger. This was my reply:

The secret of dealing with anger is putting the things that cause your anger in perspective. Anger CAN be a good thing, but most often it is not. It is good if it motivates you to do something positive as a result of it. However, the other outcomes of anger are harmful. One can stew in their anger and put stress on their minds and bodies. Or, anger can motivate people to do something DEstructive. So, if you play the odds, the best thing to do is to let go of it.

That is where perspective comes in. I am having trouble with finances right now. That makes me upset and angry if I allow it to. The first thing we like to do is blame. I could blame my wife. She had a part in it, by quitting a job, being unemployed for months, and then taking only a part-time job when she did go back to work. On top of that, she spends too much, in my opinion.

I could blame God. He could arrange it so I would get a heavy winfall from someplace.

Or, the most painful, I could blame myself. Blaming the self is the least likely place people target in the blame game. We like to be victims, don't we? If someone else is doing something to us, we don't have near the hit on the ego and we can fantasize that if life was fair, we would be happy.

I would say blaming God is the most prevalent of the targets we have. There SEEMS to be no negative outcome. We don't have to deal with the friction blaming someone in our lives would cause; we wouldn't have to deal with self-worth and all the ugliness and pain that goes with that, either. No, we build a straw man (God) and blame Him. That way we get to blame, but do not suffer the physical consequence of it.

There are spiritual consequences, however. Oh, it isn't that God will punish us for blaming Him. He is bigger than that - and more loving. No, instead we separate ourselves further from the only One that can really help us with the problem, or the peace we need as a result of the problem. More importantly than that, we separate ourselves from a life of grace and communion with our Creator.

So, I let the anger go by putting it into perspective. I try to discover the actual source of the problem, not to blame, but to gain understanding. With understanding, comes peace. I, then, look at how things could be worse. I praise God that I have the blessings that I DO. I pray that I will see, understand, and learn from the trial - that I may be better as a result of it and that I will shine as a result of this "polishing".

Monday, December 03, 2007

NEWS FLASH #22

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:



News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (also considered should be contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.
___________________________________________________________________

This one, I am afraid, is not as upbeat as last week's.

NEWS - Obama is making a run at Hillary for the Democratic nomination. Never underestimate the power of Oprah. She is actively campaigning for him now. I am not sure Obama is the best choice. He may be, I don't know. I never considered voting for someone in the past whose first name sound like a belch. It may be better for everyone if he gained a little more experience in the senate before getting baptized by fire in the Oval Office. Since he can only serve two terms, why waste them NOW when he may be a better president with more experience and the wisdom that comes with it.

ENTERTAINMENT - Yesterday the wife and I went to our local philharmonic orchestra's Peppermint Pops. It is the annual Christmas program that features local singers and dancers in addition to a national singer that accompanies our orchestra. It was exceptional. We look forward to it every year and it never disappoints. My wife's mother always sends us tickets to it as a part of her Christmas gifts. Our seats this year were fifth row, center. They were fantastic.

WORK - I am going to shift to my second job soon. I am tutoring kids as a part of the "No Child Left Behind" program. The parents have been difficult to get in touch with so far, but one is particularly excited to get help for his son, so that is a good sign. The school personnel hate the tutors and the program and I am still trying to figure out why. We can only HELP the kids in their classes. Don't we want the same things? Teachers, care to explain?

SPIRIT - I think there is something more to Christmas than a holiday where people go broke buying for each other. When getting to the real meaning of the holiday, I have seen even confessed agnostics touched by it.

FAMILY - My little sister with MS is in the hospital. The doctor wants to put her in a nursing home, but no one - especially my sister, wants that. I'm sure it will work out.

LOVE - Suffice to say that someone in the relationship can't stand prosperity.

ANGUISH - I'm running out of cars. The driver's side door of my Jeep is about to fall off. I need to get it fixed, but money is tight right now. So, for the time being, I have locked it up and am crawling over to the passengert side to enter and exit the vehicle. All that has done is rimind me that it is time to diet again.

SPORTS - There is a lot to complain about this week from my Bengals (who I am thinking of breaking up with) and my fantasy team that bottomed out this week. However, instead I am going to talk of my alma mater's football team finally going to a bowl game. Indiana will face Oklahoma State in the Insight Bowl in Tempe, Arizona on New Year's Eve. IU hasn't been to bowl game since 1993, so there is finally some excitement in Bloomington around the Cream and Crimson's football program. Go Hoosiers!

HOME - my tenant moved in last week. He gave me his "rent" a few days ago. He called me yesteday to tell me the front guttering has fallen off and the wood underneath is rotten. Now, I am going to have to go into more debt to repair it. I guess it is going to work out. What choice does it have?