Monday, December 24, 2012

Jack Klugman Dies At 90

Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?"  That was the question asked at the beginning of every episode of The Odd Couple.  From 1970 through 1975 my family like thousands of others tuned into watch as the tensions between neat freak Tony Randall   and sloppy Jack Klugman different lifestyles inevitably lead to conflicts and laughs.
Not surprisingly, Klugman won Emmys in 1971 and 1973 for outstanding continued performance by an actor in a leading role in a comedy series.

Klugman’s next role was that of a doctor who solved crimes for the police by medical and scientific deduction in Quincy, M.E.  Klugman earned four Emmy nominations “Quincy, M.E.” which ran on NBC from 1976 to 1983.

In 1974 Klugman was diagnosed with throat cancer. In 1989, he lost a vocal cord to cancer, but continued to act on stage and television, though he was left with a quiet, raspy voice.

Klugman died at the age of 90 at his home in Woodland Hills, California, on December 24, 2012.  He was survived by his sons, David and Adam, and two grandchildren.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

China School Knife Attack Leaves 23 Injured


Evil, violence visited two schools on December 14th. We are all aware of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, but are you aware that a world away in Central China, a man wielding a knife attacked students at an elementary school.  All of the victims survived and were treated at three hospitals, though some were reportedly seriously injured, with fingers or ears cut off, and had to be transferred to larger hospitals for specialized care
 I learned that a series of uncoordinated mass stabbings, hammer attacks, and cleaver attacks in the People's Republic of China began in March 2010. The wave of attacks left at least 25 dead and some 115 injured.
I garnered the following information about these incidents in China:
On March 23, 2010, Zheng Minsheng 41, murdered eight children with a knife in an elementary school in Nanping, Fujian province; The attack was widely reported in Chinese media  sparking fears of copycat crimes. Following a quick trial, Zheng Minsheng was executed about one month later on April 28.
Just a few hours after the execution of Zheng Minsheng in neighboring Fujian Province, in Leizhou, Guangdong another knife-wielding man named Chen Kangbing, 33  at Hongfu Primary School wounded 16 students and a teacher. Chen Kangbing had been a teacher at a different primary school in Leizhou; he was sentenced to death by a court in Zhanjiang in June.
On April 29 in Taixing, Jiangsu, 47-year-old Xu Yuyuan went to Zhongxin Kindergarten and stabbed 28 students, two teachers and one security guard; most of the Taixing students were 4 years old.
On April 30, Wang Yonglai used a hammer to cause head injury to preschool children in Weifang, Shandong, then used gasoline to commit suicide by setting himself on fire.
An attacker named Wu Huanming 48, killed seven children and two adults and injured 11 other persons with a cleaver at a kindergarten in Hanzhong, Shaanxi on May 12, 2010;  early reports were removed from the internet in China, for fear that mass coverage of such violence can provoke copycat attacks. The attacker later committed suicide at his house; he was the landlord of the school, Shengshui Temple private kindergarten, and had been involved in an ongoing dispute with the school administrator about when the school would move out of the building.
On May 18, 2010 at Hainan Institute of Science and Technology, a vocational college in Haikou, Hainan, more than 10 men charged into a dormitory wielding knives around 2:30 am; after attacking the security guard and disabling security cameras, 9 students were injured, 1 seriously. The local men attacked the dorm in an act of revenge and retaliation against college students following conflict the previous day at an off-campus food stall in which 4 students were injured, for a total of 13.
On 4 August 2010, 26-year-old Fang Jiantang slashed more than 20 children and staff with a 60 cm knife, killing 3 children and 1 teacher, at a kindergarten in Zibo, Shandong province. Of the injured, 3 other children and 4 teachers were taken to the hospital. After being caught Fang confessed to the crime; his motive is not yet known.
ht children, all aged four or five, were hurt in Minhang District, Shanghai when an employee at a child-care centre for migrant workers slashed them with a box-cutter.
In September 2011, a young girl and three adults taking their children to nursery school were killed in Gongyi, Henan by 30-year-old Wang Hongbin with an axe. Another child and an adult were seriously wounded but survived. The suspect is a local farmer who is suspected of being mentally ill.
In September 2011, a young girl and three adults taking their children to nursery school were killed in Gongyi, Henan by 30-year-old Wang Hongbin with an axe.  Another child and an adult were seriously wounded but survived. The suspect is a local farmer who is suspected of being mentally ill.
What’s interesting is that after the Chenpeng school attack, the Chinese government began posting security guards in schools throughout the country. It is planned that all schools will have a security guard by 2013.
Meanwhile, here in America there are people who against having an armed security guard in the schools.  I’ve taught for twenty years and for about fifteen of those years I taught in schools that had an armed officer on duty during the school day.  So I for one am not opposed to their presence. 
Mo Canady, National Association of School Resource Officers EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR says: “A well-trained, armed SRO is one of the best defenses against an active shooter. We provide training to school-based police officers on sound tactics that save lives during a shooting attack.
“While an SRO is essential, school safety requires collaboration between multiple agencies and parties. No single group or person, including an SRO, can effectively improve safety alone. We urge involvement by parents, cafeteria staff, janitorial staff, counselors, nurses and even students, as appropriate.”
NASRO recommends that every school have a security team that includes school administrators, teachers, cafeteria staff, janitorial staff, counselors, nurses, students and parents.   School security teams were in place in all the schools where I worked.   Such teams help to make sure training is up-to-date and disseminated to all stakeholders.
Schools must be safe havens for our students.  What are you willing to do to see that this NEVER happens again? 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Forgiving The Unforgiveable

We are told that forgiveness will heal our soul and help us find peace.  For so many of us resentment can be so strong that it can impede our ability to forgive.
Imagine then the power of the words of Robbie Parker, the father of one of the children who was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 
Parker offered comfort and forgiveness to the family of shooter Adam Lanza, saying “I want you to know that our love and support go out to you as well.”
Parker understood that forgiveness did not mean that he condoned what was or that he are absolving the perpetrator of responsibility for his actions. He understood that the family of the shooter was suffering the loss of a mother and a son and he was reaching out to comfort them.
We certainly could understand parents who cannot imagine reaching out to the family of the shooter while they themselves are in the depths of despair.  Sometimes it is very hard to forgive. Sometimes the wrongs are so pernicious and the wounds so painful that forgiveness seems impossible.  We can all hope and pray that the parents of these innocent victims will learn to relieve themselves of the burden of being a victim--let go of the pain and transform themselves from victim to survivor.
Forgiving the unforgivable is a journey with its sight is set on GOD.   GOD has offered forgiveness not just a command but also as a healing. By making the difficult choice to forgive we are freed from the burdens of bitterness, anger, and isolation.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Second December 14th School Rampage Was Adverted

While many of us are still reeling at the latest school shooting we learn that police stopped what would have been a second mass school-shooting on Friday, arresting an Oklahoma teenager plotting to kill dozens of his classmates.

 Sammie Eaglebear Chavez attempted to recruit students to help him carry out a massive school shooting and bombing plot at Bartlesville High School on Wednesday.  He planned to lure students into the school auditorium where he would begin shooting them after chaining the doors shut.  He also planned to place bombs by the auditorium doors and that when police arrived, he would detonate them.
According to the affidavit Chavez had been attempting to obtain a map or diagram of the high school facilities and had been using a school computer to search for information on a Marlin Model 99M — a .22-caliber rifle on a machine gun platform.

Chavez reportedly told a teacher he bought a handgun and spent the weekend shooting it. Witnesses also report they saw Chavez looking at a website on how to build a pipe bomb and caught him researching the Columbine High School massacre.
A quick check of his Facebook page gives you a little background on this young man.  He proudly proclaims:

“im an alcoholic,ive been hurt so much that its all i know,i hate women and men,and i dont leave my house because i have no reason to.”

His favorite quotes include the following:
"Why are you doing this to us?....becuase you were home"-The strangers "What goes on inside a mans head?....I guess we'll just have to bust it open and find out!!!"-Anonymous "Hurting myself only reminds me that i can still feel."-Anonymous "I wanna slit your throat and fuck the wound!!"-Slipknot "Blind them, torture them, kill them"-dennis-ak”

Thank goodness this is one deadly rampage that was stopped before anyone was hurt or killed. 
Chavez is being held on $1 million bail on a charge of conspiring to cause serious bodily harm or death to other students and is due in court January 11th.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Names Of The Victims Of The Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting Released

Below is the list of the victims of the masacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School released by Connecticut State Police.

-- Charlotte Bacon, Female, 02-22-06

-- Daniel Barden, Male, 09-25-05

-- Rachel Davino, Female, 07-17-83

-- Olivia Engel, Female, 07-18-06

-- Josephine Gay, Female, 12-11-05

-- Ana Marquez-Greene, Female, 04-04-06

-- Dylan Hockley, Male, 03-08-06

-- Dawn Hockstrung, Female, 06-28-65

-- Madeleine F. Hsu, Female, 07-10-06

-- Catherine V. Hubbard, Female, 06-08-06

-- Chase Kowalski, Male, 10-31-05

-- Jesse Lewis, Male, 06-30-06

-- James Mattioli, Male, 03-22-06

-- Grace McDonnell, Female, 11-04-05

-- Anne Marie Murphy, Female, 07-25-60

-- Emilie Parker, Female, 05-12-06

-- Jack Pinto, Male, 05-06-06

-- Noah Pozner, Male, 11-20-06

-- Caroline Previdi, Female, 09-07-06

-- Jessica Rekos, Female, 05-10-06

-- Avielle Richman, Female, 10-17-06

-- Lauren Russeau, Female, 06-?-82

-- Mary Sherlach, Female, 02-11-56

-- Victoria Soto, Female, 11-04-85

-- Benjamin Wheeler, Male, 09-12-06

-- Allison N. Wyatt, Female, 07-03-06

God bless these innocent little ones and their amazing teachers who laid down their lives to protect them.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Deadly School Shooting At Sandy Hook Elementary School

 Twenty-seven reported dead in a school shooting in Newton, Connecticut including some twenty children.
The first 911 call reportedly came in just after 9:40 a.m., stating that multiple students were trapped in a classroom with a gunman, who authorities say was an adult who had at least two guns. The school locks its exterior doors during the school day, so it is unclear how the gunman or gunmen gained access to the building.

It has been reported that the gunman, now deceased, has been identified as 24 year old Adam Lanza.  It has also been confirmed that the body found in the Newton home of shooting of Nancy J. Lanza, his mother.
A second man was taken out of the woods in handcuffs wearing a black jacket and camouflage pants and telling parents on the scene, “I did not do it.” He has been taken into custody.  Police do not feel that he is connected to the shooting.
According to a witness report, the school's principal and another staffer were killed while the vice principal was shot in the leg after a gunman opened fire in a hallway.
A witness said gunshots were heard in the hallway during a meeting and that "100 rounds" must have been fired, according to CNN. After the shots were fired, three people ran into the hallway but only the vice principal crawled back.
Most of the children dead were in a Kindergarten class. The Principal Dawn Hochsprung  and school psychologist are also among the dead.

Ryan Lanza, 24 year-old brother of Adam is being questioned, but is not considered a suspect.

Today’s shooting comes just two days after a gunman in Oregon shot and killed two people at a crowded Oregon mall. The suspect in that case was identified as 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts. Police say Roberts' took his own life inside a mall store. Authorities in that case are still piecing together a possible motive.
Sandy Hook Elementary School is closed Friday while police continue to investigate the shooting.
My prayers go out to those families who lost children.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Three Dead In Oregon Mall Shooting

It’s the holidays and the Clackamas Town Center is decorated with greenery and seasonal decorations. A jolly Santa is listening while good boys and girls share their Christmas wishes.  It could be a typical December afternoon in any mall across the United States.
A young man parks his 1996 green Volkswagen Jetta in front of the second-floor entrance to Macy’s.  The young man exits his vehicle wearing a hockey-style mask, wearing load-bearing vest and is armed with an Ar-15 semiautomatic rifle.
The young man enters the story and makes his way quickly into the mall.  The Christmas music was interrupted by series of rapid-fire shots in short succession.  The nightmare had begun.
The mall Santa, Brance Wilson, was waiting for the next child's Christmas when shots rang out.   Santa dove for the floor and kept his head down as he heard shots being fired upstairs in the mall.

"I heard two shots and got out of the chair," said Mr Wilson, 68. "I thought a red suit was a pretty good target."

Authorities estimated that 10,000 workers and shoppers were at the Town Center when the shooting began, and workers took quick action to lock down their stores while many shoppers headed to the parking lots for cover.
According to police, the gunman shot himself as police converged on him, but not before fatally shooting Steve Forsyth, 45, of West Linn, Oregon, and Cindy Ann Yule, 54, of Portland.  A third victim, Kristina Shevchenko, remains in a serious condition.
The shooter has been identified as Jacob Tyler Roberts.  According to law enforcement the shooter did not have a criminal record.

I checked out his Facebook page but found nothing that would portend this event. 

According to some reports, Roberts had planned to go into the Navy after he graduated from high school, but he hurt his leg, so he wasn’t eligible.  After that, everything kind of fell apart for him.
My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.  It's amazing that more people weree not hurt or killed in this senseless act of violence.  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's A Life & It's Wonderful

Today I attended my first Christmas Musical at Gateway Church.  It definitely it won't be my last. 

According to Gateway 39,000 attended "It's a Life & It's Wonderful"! Even better, 545 made first-time salvation decisions and 149 recommitted their lives to Jesus!

I hope that you get the opportunity to watch this show and are blessed by its message.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

10 Jolly Ways to Celebrate the Holidays at Fernbank Museum

1)  Winter">">Winter Wonderland
: Stroll through the museum as you enjoy dozens of trees decorated by our cultural partners to celebrate holidays and traditions around the world. Be sure to also check out special artwork created by local branches of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta.
2)  Santa-saurus">Santa-saurus
>: This Santa has claws! Look for our new holiday mascot Santa-Saurus on select days during the holiday season.  Giggy A. Dinosaur and his giant Santa hat help spread some joy to the world.
3)  Santa-saurus">">Santa-saurus Express Train Rides
: All aboard this special dinosaur-themed holiday train for a merry ride around Fernbank’s Dinosaur Plaza. (Train ride is additional $3)
4)  Genghis">">Genghis Khan
: Where would your holiday cards be without Genghis? He’s not usually referred to as “jolly,” but Genghis Khan did impart some gifts to the modern world—from hamburgers to passports, and from pants to postal delivery. See this incredible exhibition before Khan is Gone!
5)  To">">To the Arctic
: ‘Tis the season for polar bears on the IMAX® screen!
6)  Holiday">">Holiday Photo Opps
: Forget waiting in long lines for that typical pic of St. Nick awkwardly holding a crying baby. Instead come to Fernbank for a holiday photo with a variety of backdrops—from sledding with Santa–saurus to standing under the mistletoe with Giganotosaurus. (Photo is additional $15)
7)  Laughing Pizza Holiday Concert: Don’t miss this award-winning family band performing a variety of original holiday tunes on December 8. Fernbank will also feature special performances by the Atlanta Circus Camp and ornament-making crafts.

8)  Holiday Membership Sale: Now through Dec. 24, Family Advantage and IMAX Advantage Memberships are on sale. More fun. Less cost. Great gift.

9)  Salsa Night: On December 21, Fernbank adds an extra Martinis & IMAX Salsa Night to the schedule. There’s no better way to burn off those extra holiday nibbles and entertain your out-of-town guests.

10)  Appy Holidays: Free Wi-Fi and the new Fernbank Meridian App are now available to add some extra cheer to your Museum visit!

Fernbank Museum of Natural History is located at 767 Clifton Road, NE in Atlanta. For tickets and visitor information, visit or call 404.929.6300.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Prepper’s Guide To Holiday Shopping 4 Tips for Protecting Your Family’s Future

Corrupt bankers, a practically valueless dollar,  hyper-unemployment and underemployment, home-grown terrorism, the uptick in natural disasters and the overall lack of trust in our most important institutions – these are some of the reasons all Americans should be very, very concerned, according to Peter Dash (, a world-traveled researcher for Harvard University's Center for International Affairs.

“I predict a brutal world ahead of us,” says Dash, author of “ZUrabia,”, a book about rogue forces taking over the world’s most important institutions.

“Unfortunately, I have been right since my research at Harvard in 1986, when I questioned the viability of government institutions to meet general needs and growing problems, both domestically and abroad.”

The pragmatic holiday shopper this year will purchase items to safeguard their families against these threats, which have been long in the making and won’t disappear quickly, he says.

“Terrorism wasn’t inaugurated with 9-11; extremism in Muslim sects has been growing for decades, and Neo-Nazi groups are starting to flourish in failing states like Greece,” he says. “The dollar has been steadily losing its value since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913; climate change has been on the radar for quite a while; and there have been greedy bankers since, well, banks have existed.”

“If you’re confident that everything is sure to be okay, then you’re not paying attention,” he says.
He offers a four-point survival strategy for holiday shopping:

• Gold is good: The dollar has lost 95 percent of its value in 100 years, and it will continue losing value. As   the Reserve continues to flood money into the system, thereby reducing current   or potential value, more inflation is inevitable, acting as yet another tax on wages. So, collect and buy any gold that you can and consider spending federal notes while they’re still worth something to businesses. Think about your jewelry, and buying more. Silver is a good option if gold is too expensive, and there are Exchange Traded Funds, or ETFs, that are backed by physical gold. A reputable banker or broker can help explain for those who are interested. “TD Ameritrade or Charles Schwab may be good places to start getting information on gold and silver ETF trading,” according to Dash.
• Inflation: Spend your money now or smartly invest it before you lose it. Remember, banks often give clients less than one percent on many accounts, but inflation on food and real items we use, like gasoline, are going up by much more. In essence, your banker is stealing your money through the assistance of the Fed, which is killing your savings rate by cheapening money. As if to pour salt on this wound, the bank, in many cases, lends money at four percent or higher. Rerouting some bank savings/wages by investing in canned food, for example, may protect you against the scourge of food inflation, as well as other disasters.
• Worthy purchases: With food and water, a failed society puts a premium on additional goods. They include home insulation, gardening tools and materials, computer programs and language learning kits – perhaps Spanish or Chinese – because of the increasing prominence of other cultures. Guns, security systems and other measures to protect one’s home will likely prove extremely valuable should law enforcement be spread too thin, or fail as an institution.
• Buy in bulk: Places like Wal-Mart or Costco will help you get the most value with large purchases of food. It’s important to be well-stocked if something happens that results in the emptying   of grocery markets, but remember to have adequate space in your house, apartment or cabin for a “safe” room, which is part of a sound strategy for protecting you and your family.

About Peter Dash

Peter Dash has been a teacher, professor and corporate trainer for the last 17 years, working in Saudi Arabia, the former Soviet Union and China. He has an applied science degree in forestry from the University of British Columbia and a Masters in applied teaching from Southern Queensland in Australia. He was a researcher in world (dis) order and youth groups at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs, started by Henry Kissinger. He follows the investment field intensely, focusing on commodity funds and trends. Fifteen percent of his book’s royalties will go to needy students consistent to the many years Dash has worked in assisting voluntary youth organizations. He lives on a small tropical island that is stocked with the finest well water, fish and food. Dash invests in Gold ETFs and commodity trading companies.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Missing Cousins Elizabeth & Lyric - Update

Cousins,  Elizabeth Collins, of Evansdale, Iowa and Lyric Cook-Morrissey of Waterloo, Iowa have been missing from Evansdale since July 13.   The girls disappeared while riding bikes in Evansdale, about 110 miles northeast of Des Moines, near a popular recreational lake in the middle of town.

Investigators had located the girls' bikes and one of their purses later that day on a nature trail that runs along Meyers Lake.  Despite many large-scale searches the girls' whereabouts remained a mystery.

Sadly we learn today that hunters found two bodies were found in an undisclosed wooded area about 12:45 p.m. Wednesday.  The bodies are believed to be that of the missing cousins. 

The bodies have been taken to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy and to get a positive identification.

This is definitely not the outcome that anyone was hoping for.  I feel so badly for these two families. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Portable North Pole – Give Your Kids A Personalized Message From Santa!

Do your little ones still believe in Santa?  What better way to share the start of the holiday season than with a fun, fully-personalized experience from Santa for kids and young-at-heart adults!

For the past five years, Portable NorthPole has allowed parents all over the world to create personalized, downloadable video messages from Santa Claus for their children. This year, Portable North Pole has all new offerings, including customizable gifts, to send to children and loved ones for the holidays.

I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to check out the Portable North Pole for the little ones in my life.  It was so easy to create a personalized video greeting. Just upload a few photos and some information about your child and they create a video that had my grandkids smiling from ear to ear.

Portable North Pole’s standard Santa’s Video is a FREE personalized video message from Santa Claus, filled with magic and exciting discoveries for your loved ones. It includes a brand new story and a sneak peek at never-before-seen North Pole locations!

Make Christmas even more memorable with the Personalized Premium Video package.  The Personalized Premium Video package features a personal message from Santa with exclusive video sequences, a personalized Christmas carol with your child or children’s names, photos of your children and a several surprises from Santa and his helpers!

The Interactive Letter Package includes a one-of-a-kind personalized, printed note from Santa to your child or loved one based on the customized information that you provide. Sprinkled with a great pinch of Christmas magic, the letter has an interactive webcam-enabled feature for even further Christmas delight in which your child takes a delightful virtual trip to Santa’s village post office!

Because I still believe in Santa and because the look on your little’s face when Santa says his name is priceless I give the Portable North Pole experience a holly-jolly four stars!

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free code to try Portable North Pole for review purposed. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.