Friday, February 23, 2007
Saturday, February 17, 2007
So I decided to expose my kids to what may very well be the next cultural renaissance of our lifetime. Seriously, this thing was a sell-out! We had great seats as we were able to watch these machines come right at us and fly over a bunch of old jalopies and mini-vans. I figure when the day comes that I can buy another Mustang, I'll donate my Dodge Caravan to this show.
As Josh watched all the promo commercials for this event, GraveDigger was definitely the truck to root for. So what happens? The dude comes out and flips during his first stunt. Then, the driver from Safe Auto got a stomach flu and they asked if anyone in the crowd could take over. So- not to disappoint my kids- I took a shot at it...and look at me soar through the air! Impressive, huh?
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
After shoveling what was easily more than a foot of snow, (and by the way, I just love the additional snow that I inherit at the end of my driveway from the city's snow plows!) I returned to work today- just in time for parent teacher conferences. How much additional fun could I ask for? Hard to complain, though, since we're off tomorrow as well as Monday. Josh and Marie definitely enjoyed their snow day yesterday...Josh's riding tractor in the background gives you an idea of how deep the snow actually was.
The priest Valentine was arrested and put into prison. He was incarcerated because he did not worship the Roman gods. After being in prison for many years, he was presented to Claudius II (known as Claudius the Cruel). Valentine stood by his convictions and still refused to worship any other but his God. Claudius II was outraged. The ruler sealed Valentine's fate and condemned him to die.
In the meantime, Valentine had become friends with one of the prison guard’s daughters who was blind. Valentine sent her a note before he was martyred. When the girl opened the note, her sight was restored. She could read the signature of the person who had signed the note. The note was signed "from your Valentine."
Claudius II was interested in building a great army. He recognized that married men would not make effective soldiers because they would be concerned about their wives and families. To stem this problem, Claudius II forbade young couples to marry. Valentine had great empathy for the young couples who wanted to marry. He chose to marry couples in secret. However, Valentine's service was discovered and he was put to death for breaking the law.
Mr. Hallmark was looking to make a quick buck during the cold, dreadful month of February and entice buffoons like me to trod out to his store on the 13th during a blizzard in search of the perfect Valentine. True story: I’m in the Hallmark store yesterday- you know the 13th- and this elderly gentleman scampers in and hollers at the clerk, “Where do you keep the cards for someone whose been married to the same dame for 120 years?” I about fell over backwards laughing.
Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
Friday, February 09, 2007
More than 500 years ago, Prince Vlad "the Impaler" Tepes, aka Dracula, ruled Wallachia on the frontier of the Ottoman Empire and gained notoriety throughout Europe as a fierce and murderous tyrant. How bad was he? Well, his name alone translates as "son of the devil". In 1462, Vlad impaled/ displayed over 20,000 Transylvanian men to simply intimidate the approaching Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Impalement- Vlad style- includes the use of a long wooden stake that was pierced between the legs of a victim's body and then planted in the ground. Over several days, the victim would slide down the stake under the force of his own weight- destroying his internal organs and ultimately bleeding to death. OUCH! Another famous story tells of the time when two ambassadors paid a visit to Vlad's court at Tirgoviste. Refusing to remove their turbans at the presence of Prince Vlad, the ruthless tyrant ordered that their headpieces be nailed to their heads- such that they should never have to remove them again. Nice guy, huh?
Over the centuries, millions of people in Europe read and heard outlandish tales about Vlad Dracula, but the one legend that has probably had the biggest impact on today's society is this: dedicating his life to defending the Church from the Ottoman Empire, Vlad became distraught upon learning of his wife's death while he was away at battle. As a result, he sold his soul to the devil to punish the same God whom he had spent his life defending. The price he had to pay for this act, though, was costly. He was now destined to live the life of a vampire.
Well, this part of Vlad's illustrious life engaged the curiosity of a young Irish novelist. Centuries later, writer Bram Stoker combined the Prince's bloodthirsty historical reputation with popular vampire folklore, and the literary Gothic character Count Dracula was born in 1897.
Please read chapters 1-4 by next Thursday...or somebody may be paying you a nocturnal visit. Vah, ah, ah, ah...