Happy New Year! Observance of the New Year is the granddaddy of all holidays. The people in ancient Babylon celebrated it 4,000 years ago. The Babylonian New Year began with the first new moon (actually the first visible crescent) after the vernal equinox (first day of spring). The Babylonian New Year holiday lasted for 11 days, each day with its particular mode of celebration. Modern New Year’s Eve festivities pale in comparison. The beginning of spring is a logical time to start a new year. After all, it is the season of rebirth, of blossoming, and of planting new crops. January, on the other hand, has no astronomical or agricultural significance. Placing the New Year’s beginning in that month is purely arbitrary. There may be an explanation. After the fullness of summer and the richness of fall, the sun fades away. It must have been scary. Then, around January, the sun slowly begins to come back. Surely a time for celebration! Food for thought in 2010 Why do banks charge a fee on “insufficient funds” when they know there’s not enough money? Do prison doctors use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection? If the professor on Gilligan’s Island could make a radio out of a coconut, why didn’t he fix the hole in the boat? Grandkid wisdom The grandson asked his granddad how old he was. The granddad teasingly replied, “I’m not sure.” “Look in your underwear, Grandpa,” advised the child. “Mine says I’m four to six.” Somebody asked the boy where his grandmother lived. “Oh,” he said, “she lives at the airport. When we want her, we just go get her. Then, when we’re done with her, we take her back to the airport.” Grownup wisdom The statistics on sanity tells us that one out of every four persons suffers from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they’re okay, then it’s you. Reality is only an illusion that occurs due to a lack of alcohol. When you work here at the paper, you can name your own salary. I named mine “Fred.” Last joke of 2009 An old building was being torn down to make room for a new skyscraper. While dismantling on the 49th floor, two […]
Fight for your freedom, rights A good friend of mine, Al Kraker, recently gave me a book authored by John W. Whitehead, executive director of the Rutherford Institute, entitled “Stand and Fight.” Whitehead, a constitutional attorney, founded the Rutherford Institute in 1982 with the mission of specializing in cases that involve the curtailment of American’s religious freedoms and civil liberties. This is a complicated area. What one person perceives as a curtailment of his religious freedom is perceived by another person as a violation of his civil rights. For example, there are 100 people in attendance at a banquet; 60 are Christians, 15 are members of various other religious organizations, 23 don’t practice any religion, and two are agnostics. The speaker is a Christian and, as is his custom, says an invocation before the meal, asking God to bless the food and bless the activities of the evening. The 60 Christians are okay with that, and 30 of the remaining 40 are also okay with that, but that leaves 10 people who are offended by this gesture of seeming goodwill. Of such things, in today’s litigious society, court cases are made. One of the 10 offended people is so deeply offended that he sues the organization sponsoring the banquet to stop this outrageous activity of seeming goodwill. The next time a banquet is held at that place, when the speaker starts to say an invocation, he is told he can’t do that because they were sued the last time it happened. The speaker can’t say an invocation even though 90 people, the overwhelming majority, favored the invocation. When one person overrules 90, the tail is wagging the dog, so to speak. Of such things, more court cases are made. This is where the Rutherford Institute might step in and offer to defend the speaker’s right to say an invocation. The book details many such cases going on right now throughout the country. All of them are difficult. I heard a speaker one time say, “My name is not Solomon. I just do the best that I can.” I like that saying. Well, none of the judges deciding these difficult cases are named Solomon either, but let’s hope they are doing the best they can […]
Several new members have chosen to join the Rockford Rotary club over the past several months. The group has about 50 members and meets weekly at the Community Cabin on Monroe Street in downtown Rockford on Tuesdays at noon. One of the new members is Jim Hale. Hale is married to wife Helene and father of three children, Caleb, 4, Cora, 2, and Lynnae, 4 months. “We enjoy spending time together as a family and with friends,” Hale stated. “Currently we attend Blythefield Hills Baptist Church and enjoy being part of the Rockford community.” Hale is the vice president and branch manager of Mercantile Bank of Michigan. “Rockford Rotary is a great way for me to get plugged in to our community and give back where I can,” Hale said. Rotary is a service organization that is world wide and responsible for both local and international projects. Area professionals are welcomed to find out more about the Rockford group of Rotary, individuals who donate time and energy for a wide variety of causes.