"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Sunday, December 31, 2006

112 year old Red Sox fan dies. 112!!!

MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Kathryn Gemme, a lifelong Red Sox fan who followed the team since the days of Babe Ruth, has died. She was 112.

Lifelong Red Sox fan Kathryn Gemme watched her first game at Fenway Park in 1912.Gemme died at the Nemasket Healthcare Center in Middleborough on Friday, according to the O'Neill Funeral Home.

As an 18-year-old, she attended her first game at Fenway Park in 1912 shortly after the ballpark opened. At 109, Gemme was greeted by catcher Jason Varitek and former player and coach Johnny Pesky during her last game in May 2004.

Team officials brought the 2004 World Series trophy to her 111th birthday party in November 2005.

"That was a big day of her life,'' her daughter, Lucille Findley of Jacksonville, Ill., told The Boston Globe.

Before the days of television, Gemme would listen to Red Sox games on the radio and take detailed notes that she would later read back to her husband, Ovella, when he returned home from work.

Gemme credited her long life and health to simple living.

"I didn't drink, didn't smoke, I ate regularly. No fancy stuff," she once told The Enterprise of Brockton.

Although her eyesight, hearing and mobility failed, she remained mentally sharp until the end, said Sharon Gosling, Nemasket's activity director.

Born Kathryn Moreau in Chicopee in 1894, she graduated from Chicopee High School and attended a local secretarial school. During World War II she helped prepare parachutes for the Air Force.

Besides her daughter, she is survived by four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

SNMR 2.17: "Men In Black"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Men In Black" (1997, PG-13, 98 minutes), starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D'Onofrio and Rip Torn. The film was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld.

The first time that I watched this film was just after it came out on video. I didn't think it would be as good or as funny as it was, with low expectations going in, and was pleasantly surprised.

From Amazon.com:

Protecting the earth from the scum of the universe, two men who keep an eye on aliens in New York City must try to save the world after the aliens threaten to blow it up. Men in Black follows the exploits of agents Kay (Jones) and Jay (Smith), members of a top-secret organization established to monitor and police alien activity on Earth. The two Men in Black find themselves in the middle of the deadly plot by an intergalactic terrorist (Vincent D'Onofrio) who has arrived on Earth to assassinate two ambassadors from opposing galaxies. In order to prevent worlds from colliding, the MiB must track down the terrorist and prevent the destruction of Earth. It's just another typical day for the Men in Black.

From Martin and Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 729:
This science-fiction comedy, about an unofficial government agency that regulates and polices the secret immigration of outer-space aliens living on Earth, is an enticing romp based on a little known comic book series. Tommy Lee Jones is the ultimate straight man, playing against Will Smith, a darling of contemporary cinema. One of the most flat out entertaining films of the decade. The only reason it doesn't deserve five stars (they rated it with 4 1/2 stars) is because, well it isn't on the level of Citizen Kane.

Comparing this movie to Citizen Kane? That has to be one of the dumbest comparisons my movie book has ever made. The only thing these two films have in common is that they are both movies. They are two totally different genres and there is no reasonable comparison. The special effects and makeup in this film are excellent and the straight man funny man combo of Jones and Smith works very nicely. The story was well written and conceived. Whenever I see Vincent D'Onofrio in something else, I always picture him in this role or in his brief cameo in "Adventures in Babysitting", when the little girl thinks he is the Norse god Thor, her idol. This film rates five out of five stars. Excellent stuff, this.

I suppose we were due for it...

Today, two days before the end of 2006, southern New Hampshire and northeastern Massachusetts received the first significant batch of snow of the winter season.

Granted, only about two inches fell, but it was enough to cover the ground and make the secondary roads hazardous for driving.

Usually it takes one snowfall for me to get my fill of it for another year and today is no exception. If it doesn't snow another flake for the rest of the winter, I'll be happy.

Obviously that won't happen but hey, I can wish, can't I?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Has justice been served?

Former Iraqui dictator Saddam Hussein was scheduled to be hanged today, now, at 22:00 EST (06:00 local Iraqui time). Obviously he was a bad man who had many people killed during his regime. But does he deserve to die and doesn't he deserve a more decent way to die than a hanging?

I say he deserves this death sentence but should be put out in a more humane way. Hanging is so 19th century. But I suppose they still do these things in foreign countries.

Somehow I can imagine that the negative spin on the whole affair will be blamed on someone else. How about the Americans? Everything else that goes wrong in Iraq seems to be blamed on the American forces still in Iraq.

Here are two stories from ABCnews.com regarding the execution: Saddam #1 and Saddam #2

UPDATE: The deed is done, for better or worse. What a way to die.

This video image released by Iraqi state television shows Saddam Hussein's guards wearing ski masks and placing a noose around the deposed leader's neck moments before his execution Saturday Dec. 30. 2006. Clutching a Quran and refusing a hood, Saddam Hussein went to the gallows before sunrise Saturday, executed by vengeful countrymen after a quarter-century of remorseless brutality that killed countless thousands and led Iraq into disastrous wars against the United States and Iran. (AP Photo/IRAQI TV, HO)

Following his execution early Saturday morning, Saddam Hussein's body was covered with a white shroud. It is uncertain where his body will be buried. (APTN)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Finally...my collection is complete.

Last month I advised you that Alias season 5 was out on DVD in a four disc set. It'll run you about $27-$28. You can also buy a boxed set of all five seasons (105 episodes) for around $130.00... Either way you go... highly recommended.

After finagling a bit and returning some clothes that I got from my brother (who should know what size I am not) which were too big, I was able to finally buy my copy....after adding about $5 in cash.

Would you believe I went to three stores and couldn't find it at the first two. When I got to the third store in the chain they had it.... one last copy. I should know - I poured over their DVD's on the rack and in the overstock boxes before I finally found it.

I had to purchase it from this particular chain because the clothes that I returned had no receipt (my brother couldn't find it) so they gave me a gift card with the refund amount as store credit.

Which was fine by me, 'cuz I shop there all of the time anyway. (I've already watched the first disc (episodes 5.1- 5.5))

Speaking of gift cards - don't you hate it when you get a gift card or cards for a store you never shop at? Happened to me this year. But it did enable me to buy some clothing that I wouldn't have ordinarily bought...

When I got home to show off my new threads, the first comment I got was, "Didn't you need some underwear or something?"

To which I replied, "$75.00 worth? Are you serious?"

Hardly. Normally I buy the cheapee underwear. No designer labels for me. I hate spending money on clothes for myself.

Which is why I've got faded t-shirts that are 10+ years old or older.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

An anomaly in American history

Gerald Ford, we hardly knew ye.

The 38th (and only unelected) President in United States history has died at age 93.

Gerald R. Ford (1913-2006) took over the Presidency on August 9, 1974 when Richard Nixon resigned in scandal. He was never elected to that office and served less than 900 days as President. In fact, he was never elected to the Vice Presidency either. Ford assumed that office after Spiro T. Agnew resigned, being chosen under terms of the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution.

Even after leaving the Presidency in January 1977, Mr. Ford was not much of a public figure. You never read about him in the news and unlike his successor, Jimmy Carter, had never - if ever - spoke publicly about any topic.

Unlike Ronald Reagan's absecnce from the public scene due to Alzheimers and other health problems, the American people never really knew how Mr. Ford's health was holding out.

I wonder how much he will be mourned by the American people. I remember when Richard Nixon died in the early 1990's flags were only raised to half staff and all government offices, including the post office, closed in his memory. I suspect Mr. Ford will garner at least as much respect.

There are now just four living Presidents: Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and the lame duck George W. Bush. I'd suspect Carter will be the next to go. Isn't he in his late 80's- early 90's as well?

12/30 Update: I watched most of the funeral service tonight which was held in the Capitol Rotunda. The news people said that Ford's body will lie in state all day Sunday and Monday and on Tuesday all government offices will be closed. Mr. Ford is to be buried at his Presidential Library in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Thursday.

Did you know that the bier on which the Presidential coffin is laid in the Rotunda was originally built for Abraham Lincoln, and has been used by every President since then.

Monday, December 25, 2006

James Brown, music legend, dies at 73.

The music industry lost a legend today.

Here's the article from abcnews.com.

A Candymaker's Witness

A Candymaker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness, so he made the Christmas Candy Cane. This candymaker incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ.

He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus, and the hard to symbolize Solid Rock, the foundation of the church, and firmness of the promises of God.

The candymaker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. It could also represent the staff of the "Good Shepherd" with which He reaches down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray.

Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candymaker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life.

Unfortunately, the candy became known as the Candy Cane - a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas. But the true meaning remains for those who "have eyes to see and ears to hear." May this symbol again be used to witness to the Wonder of Jesus and His Great Love that came down at Christmas and remains the ultimate and dominant force inthe universe today.

However, http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/candycane.asp tells a different story. Decide for yourself what you want to believe. Whether the "Christian" version of the story true or not, I don't like candy canes because they are mint - which makes me gag.

In any case, Merry Christmas, everyone.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

SNMR 2.16: "Home Alone"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Home Alone" (1990, PG, 105 minutes) starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Kathleen O'Hara, John Heard and John Candy. The film was directed by Chris Columbus.

This was not my first choice for a "Christmas" movie for tonight but sometimes plans change. Deal with it. The one thing I remember most about this film was that it was one of my younger sister's favorites when she was growing up. Before tonight, it had been about ten years since I had watched this film, which made the gags funny again. This is probably the best of Macaulay Culkin's movies (along with "The Good Son", which absolutely freaked me out) to date. He didn't handle child actor stardom too well.

From the DVD's dust case:

Eight year old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) has become the man of the house, overnight! Accidentally left behind when his family rushes off on a Christmas vacation, Kevin gets busy decorating the house for the holidays. But he's not decking the halls with tinsel and holly. Two bumbling burglars are trying to break in and Kevin's rigging a bewildering battery of booby-traps to welcome them! The all-star supporting cast includes Catherine O'Hara ("Beetlejuice")and John Heard ("Big")as Kevin's parents. Joe Pesci ("Lethal Weapon 2") and Daniel Stern ("My Blue Heaven") as the burglars , and John Candy ("Uncle Buck") as the "Polka King of the Midwest". Written and produced by John Hughes, this madcap slapstick adventure is one of the top three box-office hits of all time.

From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 515:
A child's eye view of It's a Wonderful Life in which youngsters are reminded of the importance of family and real values. It all begins when 8 year old Kevin McAllister (Macaulay Culkin) wishes his family would just go away, and they, unbeknownst to him, accidentally go on vacation without him. From there on it's a roller-coaster ride of chuckles and chills.

This is an enjoyable film. The cast is decent and the script is good. The slapstick comedy is funny. While this film didn't win any Academy Awards (nominated twice for minor awards) it accomplished it's purpose - decent, mindless entertainment. My kids enjoyed this film for the first time tonight, which made watching it (for me) much more enjoyable. This film gets two and a half out of five stars.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Winter is here

Winter officially arrived this evening, at 19:22 EST.

The Winter Solstice is good. It means that the days are now going to get longer from now until June. And that will be good. I don't like it when its already dark by 16:00. Not a good thing in my book.

And to top it off, this week I've grudgingly welcomed in winter with a lousy head cold. Bad omen? Perhaps... if you believe in that kind of stuff...

Here's an idea: why don't we skip winter and jump right into Spring? Bring on the warm weather!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

SNMR 2.15: "It's a Wonderful Life"

In the spirit of Christmas, tonight's SNMR feature is "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946, NR, B&W, 132 minutes), starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi, Thomas Mitchell, Gloria Grahame, Frank Faylen, Ward Bond, Frank Albertson, H.B. Warner and Todd Karns. The film was directed by Frank Capra.

The first time that I saw this film was as a junior in college. I had heard of it, of course but at that time was prejudiced against black and white movies. My California roommate Steve was dumbfounded that I had never watched this movie before and immediately insisted that I watch it. Since then, I've watched it hundreds of times.

From the DVD's dust case:

No one is born to be a failure. No one is poor who has friends. Simple thoughts that were the inspiration for one of the richest, most uplifting, most beloved American films ever made. Frank Capra's classic tale of George Bailey and his Christmas Eve visit with a guardian angel was nominated for five Oscars (but didn't win any) including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. After more than 50 years it remains as powerful and moving as the day it was made.

From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 574:
Have you ever wished you'd never been born? What if that wish were granted? That's the premise of Frank Capra's heartbreaking, humorous and ultimately heartwwarming It's a Wonderful Life. The story is about a good man who is so busy helping others that life seems to pass him by.

This is one of the best films ever made, in any era. Period. James Stewart (in his first role after returning from fighting in World War II) and Donna Reed headline a superb cast with top notch acting. The story is marvelous and incredibly touching. This is one of those rare films that gets me all weepy at the end, every time. How could you not be? Watch it every Christmas, own it (a must for any movie-buff or film historian). Obviously, this film gets five out of five stars.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hardest thing I've ever had to do

Since now I have totally moved out of my apartment (a temporary situation) into a place that doesn't allow cats, I was forced into giving up my 12 year old cat, Spaz, whom I've had since he was a kitten. We do develop an emotional attachment to our pets which is difficult to undo.

This morning I took him to the Lowell Humane Society, where they told me they'd do their best to find him another home. Much will depend on how he adjusts to this new environment of basically living in a cage. They may end up putting him to sleep but I'll never know if they will or not.

Ideally, I'll be back in a place real soon that allows cats so that I might be able to get my cat back by re-adopting him. I doubt it, though, but never do you know.

An unanticipated difficulty that I ran into while trying to find him a home is that most no-kill shelters will not take cats older than eight years old, due to their readjustment problems.

My ex, after badgering from V and M, reluctantly took back the younger cat, Shadow.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

SNMR 2.14: "Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Tonight's SNMR feature is"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" (2005, PG-13, 135 minutes)

Here's what I wrote after V, M and I went to see it in the movie theater last year:

The movie was excellent and I highly recommend it. Definitely needs to be seen on the big screen, though. The special effects were excellent. I think they did a great job staying true to the book. I don't think they added much, if anything. If you haven't read the book or are generally unfamiliar with the story, I don't want to spoil it for you. So I'm not going to give away any plot details here. I think they did an excellent casting job for the most part, though I would have chosen another actress other than Tilda Swinton to play the white witch Jadis. She wasn't bad in the part, just not as wickedly beautiful as the books make her out to be.

From the DVD's dust case:

Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media present CS Lewis' timeless and beloved adventure. Now - with stunningly enhanced special effects - you'll experience the exploits of Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter, four siblings who find the world of Narnia through a magical wardrobe while playing a game of "hide-and-seek" at the country estate of a mysterious professor. Once there, the children discover a charming, once peaceful land inhabited by talking beasts, dwarfs, fauns, centaurs and giants that has been turned into a world of eternal winter by the evil White Witch, Jadis. Aided by the wise and magnificent lion Aslan, the children lead Narnia into a spectacular, climactic battle to be free of the Witch's glacial powers forever!

From Martin and Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 203:
During World War II, four English children take refuge from the German blitz in a country manor, where they discover a wardrobe that is a portal to a magical world. The first volume of C.S. Lewis' classic series gets a lavish retelling, long but swiftly paced, with terrific special effects and fine performances, especially by the four kids, and most especially by little Georgie Henley as the youngest.

In order to have a great movie, you need a great story with which to work. Add in excellent casting and stunning special effects and you have a film that will be enjoyed for many, many years. This film has it all - plot, suspense, action, drama and a neat musical score to boot. Storywise, this is chronologically the second book in the series, but was written first. I think you should own a copy of this film, which gets a five out of five stars rating from me.

Friday, December 08, 2006

the S word and the F word

Snow Flurries

Woke up this morning to a balmy 20 degrees with a brisk wind and some slight precipitation. It's actually 19 degrees as I write this.

Which means the white stuff has made its first appearance in Nashua, to unofficially kick off the winter of 2006-07.

For the first snowflakes to come here in the second week of December is rather late. According to the guy at the U-Haul place, we had a snowstorm last Thanksgiving and I believe, a flurry in late October, though I can't recall when the first flakes came. I briefly looked back at last year's posts and couldn't find any mention of the first snow, though I'm sure I made a note of it somewhere on the blog.

My plan this morning was to return the truck and walk back to my apartment, about a mile, I think. Of course it felt like both the wind and snow were coming right at me, no matter which way I was walking.

How much snow will northern Massachusetts/ southern New Hampshire see this winter? Obviously that remains to be seen. However, I'll take the positive spin and say that this relatively late snowfall means a light winter.

Because as you all know, I just looooooooooooooove snow!!!!!!

(Ahem, NOT!)


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thanks, man

Even though he'll probably never see this post, I would like to give a big thanks to my brother A and his friend D for helping me move the heavy stuff today. What a pain in the patella moving is. My knees hurt. My back hurts. I need sleep.

Packing, moving and unpacking. Loading the truck, unloading the truck, renting storage space, renting the moving truck. The whole shooting match stinks. I'd love it if I never had to move again. Though I will again and soon (I hope)...

And to make my joy complete (not really), New Hampshire weather forecast calls for the first snowfall of the season tonight and tomorrow morning. Not to worry though, it's not supposed to amount to much.

Or so they say...


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sand sculpture & striptease

Isn't this cool? Gives a whole new meaning to doodling in the sand, wouldn't you say?

A woman applies finishing touches to a sand sculpture at Las Canteras beach in Spain's Canary Island of Gran Canaria December 5, 2006. REUTERS/Borja Suarez (SPAIN)

OSLO- Dec. 5, 2006 (AFP) - Striptease is an art and should therefore be exempt from value-added tax (VAT), according to a Norwegian appeal court ruling, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

"Striptease, in the way it is practiced in this case, is a form of dance combined with acting" which compares to other stage acts that are exempt from VAT in Norway, three judges ruled unanimously.

The verdict upheld a May 2005 ruling of a district court in favour of Den Blue Engel (The Blue Angel), a company that runs the Diamond Go Go Bar in Oslo, which refused to pay 25 percent tax on entry fees to the club demanded by Norwegian tax authorities.

Lawyers for the Blue Angel argued that other stage performances, such as sword swallowers and a comic making saucy jokes, were not subject to VAT.

The Diamond Go Go Bar's striptease shows were not vulgar and were performed by professional dancers, lawyers for the Blue Angel maintained.

The court ordered Norwegian authorities to meet the Blue Angel's legal costs, estimated at some 160,000 Norwegian kroner (26,216 dollars, 19,675 euros).

Gotta love those Norwegians.

On packing, moving and motivation

I've not really been around much this week because I've been busy packing into boxes all of my books & stuff, disassembling furniture and trying (in vain it seems) to get organized. I'm moving the majority of my stuff out of my apartment on Thursday and will be totally out of here by Saturday.

I hate with a passion the business of packing and moving. Unpacking is not my favorite thing, either.

Therefore have I not the motivation to do it. But do it I must.

I'm only moving locally. So that's a plus, I suppose.


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Monday, December 04, 2006

Dear Abby

As I was sitting at my desk one night last week there was a knock at my door. Some kids were handing out free sample copies of a local newspaper. I took one and immediately pulled out the sports page. At the back of the section on the page across from the comics I noticed this letter in the Dear Abby column, which I don't regularly read. I'm sharing it with you because, as a native New Englander, I can understand the humor in it.

DEAR ABBY: I come from a mid-Atlantic state. I recently met a woman named "Diana" from New England. When Diana introduced herself, she pronounced her name "Di-ann-er."
When I address her, should I pronounce her name as she does? Or should I pronounce it "Di-ann-a" in my normal manner? I don't want to seem like I'm mocking her by mimicking a New England accent, but I also don't want to mispronounce her name.
My friends and family are split on what is the most courteous. What do you think? -Beth in Pennsylvania

DEAR BETH: Your question brought to mind the old song lyric, "You say 'potato' and I say 'po-tah-to.' You say 'tomato' and I sat 'to-mah-to.'" In your case, the polite thing to do is also the safest.
Pronounce Diana's name as you normally would, and you won't get into trouble.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

SNMR 2.13: "Serendipity"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Serendipity" (2001, PG-13, 91 minutes), starring John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Piven, Bridget Moynihan, Molly Shannon, John Corbett and Eugene Levy. The film was directed by Peter Chelsom.

The first time I saw this film was before the ex and I got divorced, shortly after it came out on DVD. I bought it afterwards because both John Cusack and Kate Becinsale are among my favorite actors and the supporting cast is excellent.

From the DVD's dust case:
Irresistable stars John Cusack (America's Sweethearts, High Fidelity) and Kate Beckinsale (Pearl Harbor, Brokedown Palace) are drawn together and take a chance on love in this critically acclaimed romantic comedy! In the course of one magical evening, Jonathan (Cusack) and Sara (Beckinsale) meet unexpectedly.... then part without expectation when she decides they must let fate determine if they are meant to be together. Years later, they are both engaged to others but cannot give up the dream that- deapite time, distance and the obstacles that conspire to keep them apart- they will one day meet again! Also starring Jeremy Piven (The Family Man, Very Bad Things) and Molly Shannon (Superstar, Never Been Kissed) in a stellar supporting cast- your destined to agree with audiences everywhere who fell for the surprising charms of this delightful big-screen romance!

From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2006, p. 1005:
Scripter Marc Klein sets up a chance encounter between John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, who meet while Christmas shopping at Bloomingdale's. Although both are deeply involved with other people, they agree to meet again, if Fate is so inclined. What follows owes much to the sparkling cast and witty script, but since the other two people involved seem equally worthy, we can't help feeling that somebody's gonna wind up with the fuzzy end of the lollipop.

I absolutely love this movie. The cast is great and the story is excellent. The script is fast paced and well written, so the film has a nice steady flow to it. I like the time-lapse photography sequences- they add a nice touch. This is an excellent romantic comedy and well worth the rental. Since it's been out for five years now, you can find it in stores for cheap money. I'll give this film five out of five stars.

More Burlington High School Football!

Natick, Burlington's opponent in the high school playoffs, hadn't lost a football game since 2004, a span of 26 games. Until last Tuesday, that is:

Burlington pummels Natick, 45-9

Which means that this afternoon, Burlington High School will play in its first ever Super Bowl game against Foxboro. Seeing how Burlington beat up on a previously undefeated and powerful opponent just a few days ago, I have little worry that my alma-mater will be able to win this game this afternoon. My confidence comes from seeing the scores of Burlington's games this season. They have a high powered offense (35.67 ppg) and a stingy defense (11.17 ppg). That combination will win many football games for you.

Saturday, December 2: Eastern Massachusetts Division 2 Super Bowl- Foxboro (9-2) vs. Burlington (12-0) at Acton-Boxboro, 1:30 p.m.

16:45 update: Well, the Super Bowl didn't go quite as planned for Burlington, which lost 21-10 to Foxboro. I was quite surprised to see the score, actually. However there are many positives to take from the season. A 12-1 record is a fantastic accomplishment for a program that had never known such success before. I have no idea how good the team will be next fall, but it will be fun to follow them and see if they can carry over and build on the experiences of this season.

Friday, December 01, 2006

On the Funeral and Committal Services

First of all, I want to thank you all for the prayers, condolences & good wishes left for me in the comments section of my last post. While the last few days have been rough, the support from you, my blogger friends, has been wonderful. I've really appreciated it.

As happens whenever I have to attend a funeral (which isn't very often, thankfully) I'm always amazed at how the morticians make the body of the deceased look as good as can be, even when you're like my grandfather, reduced to basically skin and bones and nothing else.

But what's missing when you go to a funeral? It's a reason for family to get together and friends to join in to mourn the passing of a loved one - to offer their support and love.

But there's still something missing. My grandfather's flesh and bones were lying in that casket but what made him who he was was not. You'll never convince me that humans have no soul or spirit. That, my friends is what is missing. In the case of my grandfather, the vibrancy and love of life, the compassion, the love and support he gave to everyone who crossed his path - and a whole lot more- was gone.

Where did it go? Did that part of him die just as his body did?

If you're a Christian, you know - not believe - KNOW that at the moment immediately after death, that the soul and spirit are in heaven, just as Jesus promised they would be.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." -John 14:1-3 NIV

Jesus spoke these words to his disciples on the day of his crucifixion. (Remember that the Jewish day goes from sunset to sunset, not from midnight to midnight as we reckon it.) Those verses rank among my favorite in the whole Bible because they fill me with such hope and comfort and are the foundation of my faith. Jesus, through His death and resurrection, proved who He claimed to be, and being God in human form, cannot lie.

At the family viewing, I asked the Corps Officer (pastor), of the Corps (church) that my grandfather attended in retirement how my grandfather died. He was visiting my grandfather at the nursing home and was there with him when he breathed his last. He assured me that it was a peaceful passing, having died lying on his bed in his room. The Corps Officer told me that he was honored to be there at my grandfather's side. I wondered after, and probably always will, what that feeling is like- being with someone one minute when they are alive and the next minute being there with just a dead body.

My grandfather's funeral service was beautiful. To hear his sons talk about their father was heartwarming. To hear the testimony of some of the friends and colleagues whose lives my grandfather touched, influenced and impacted was incredible. If I can be half of the man, half of the servant of God that my grandfather was, then I'll be doing well. Such a high standard has been set!

After a lengthy funeral procession, up the Garden State Parkway and into New York we drove, in the rain. The skies opened during the short committal service, and we all quickly became cold, damp and wet, even though the cemetery workers erected a small tent for our use. My grandfather's body was laid to rest amidst the rain and tears, along with my grandmother's remains, awaiting that day written about in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-57, when body and soul are reunited imperishable.

After we had a wonderful family dinner at a nearby restaurant, each of us set out for our homes. For me, the long ride home was tiring and uneventful and I slept through a good part of it, since I was not driving. Though I still had a half hour drive ahead of me, from my parent's house to my apartment.