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Weather:



167-interviewed-by-news

This evening we all headed out to see the Tulsa River Parks fireworks display and, thanks to our matching patriotic t-shirts and adorable children, channel 8 news stopped to interview us for a montage about people's thoughts on the meaning of the 4th of July.

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Landon couldn't get through the inflatable obstacle course fast enough and would dart off at the end to go get into line again.

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Will was Landon's obstacle course partner. They had a great time racing each other.

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Drew braved the challenge of the Vertical Extreme.

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I'm sure the climbing wall looked even higher from Drew's vantage point.

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It wasn't easy, but Drew never gave up, and made it up to the top!

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And, then the fireworks began. A nice symmetrical double bloom.

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A pretty cool spherical explosion.

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A nice shot showing the ground works on the 23rd street bridge.

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A single with a tail.

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There's a lot going on in this one.

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I like the semi-random squiggly nature of this one.

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This one is my favorite. It looks the most floral to me.

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I like how this one looks like a sea anemone and the color is really unique too.

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This one is really unique, not sure if I've shot one like this before.

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This one is rather psychedelic.

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Rather ordinary, but I thought the dispersal of the blue and white was interesting in how it differs between the two.

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Starting to get close to the finale.

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A few seconds of the grand finale. Happy 4th of July!

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Jul 4 2014

4th of July Parade

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Our neighborhood had its annual 4th of July parade this morning. Everyone decorated their bike, scooters, and other means of transportation and followed a fire truck from our local fire station around our neighborhood to our park.

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The boys got to go inside and on top of the fire truck.

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Landon, Drew and Will sitting on the fire truck in what has become an annual photo (2013, 2012, 2010).

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For the grand finale, the firemen hosed everyone down. Happy 4th of July!

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Apr 20 2014

Happy Easter 2014

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Yesterday, we visited the Easter Bunny at the mall. We were trying to figure out if it was going to be the real Easter Bunny or just a helper. We decided we would be able to tell by the feet. Upon seeing the bunny and his feet, Landon determined that this was in fact the real Easter Bunny!

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Enjoying an escalator ride at the mall.

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There were some flowers outside the mall that were begging for some handsome boys to pose with them.

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Finally, after church today, the boys sitting in front of the altar.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

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After dinner at Funnruckers, we all went to Rhema to see their Christmas lights. The boys on the bridge which lights up in sync with Christmas music playing over speakers.

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The two million lights make a great background for photos.

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Mama joined in for a photo with lights reflecting off a small pool in the background.

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Drew...

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...Will...

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...and Landon.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Dec 25 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

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Merry Christmas to everyone. Here's hoping the celebration of Christ's birth comes with a bounty of peace, love and happiness. The boys are in front of the nativity scene after Christmas eve mass at church.

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Aunt Donelda and her nephews in front of our Christmas tree.

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Three little* elves before getting nestled all snug in their beds.

(At least one of them isn't so "little" anymore.)

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

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Our Christmas tree all decorated and surrounded by presents.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

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Landon started out the tree decorating process by putting the star on top of our Christmas tree...with just a little help from Daddy.

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"Baby brother, you have the most important job of all," says Daddy. "You get to put the star on top of the Christmas tree!"

It's a tradition we started two years ago after reading about Baby Brother in a Sesame Street book who put the star on his family's Christmas tree. If this tradition is going to last much longer, Daddy's gonna have to hit the weight room.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

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The boys visited old Saint Nicholas after church today and filled him in on what they want for Christmas.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Dec 14 2013

Christmas Tree 2013

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We picked out our Christmas tree today. It was cold! They no longer sell them right by our house so we had to drive a bit *cough* *cough* to their new location.

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This year we picked out a Nordmann Fir (Abies nordmanniana) Christmas Tree. They are now being grown in America but originate from the Caucasus Mountains, south and east of the Black Sea in the Republic of Georgia and northern Turkey. Nordmann Fir is a new type of Christmas tree in America but has been used for many years in Europe, and is one of the most commonly grown Christmas tree species in Germany and Norway

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Our Festivus Pole all ready to open like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon.

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They didn't have any really big trees this year, so we had to settle on a nine footer which seems like miles away from our ten foot ceiling. With a thousand lights, a couple hundred ornaments and a big star on top it will, no doubt, be awesome.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

933-thanksgiving-facebook

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are thankful for the endless blessings bestowed on our family and wish all our family and friends are as bountifully blessed.

Our Thanksgiving cartoons from years past:

2012 - Facebook
2011 - You're Next!
2010 - He Seems Nice
2009 - Ralph is Done
2008 - Mooing Turkeys
2007 - Ulterior Motive
2006 - The Truth About Turducken
2005 - Sesame Street Surprise

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Oct 31 2013

Halloween 2013

844-star-wars-halloween-costumes

The boys are all ready to go trick-or-treating. Drew is Captain Rex, Will is Anakin Skywalker and Landon is Obi-wan Kenobi.

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As always, Daddy Darth Vader joined the boys for the house to house quest for candy.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Oct 29 2013

Pumpkin Carving

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The boys getting ready to do some pumpkin carving.

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First up, gutting the pumpkins.

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Smiles all around as Drew, Landon and Will continue to clean out their pumpkins.

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Carving is done. Drew's is the headless horseman. Will's is Spider-Man. And, Landon's is Mickey Mouse.

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The final results on our porch for Halloween.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Oct 26 2013

Pumpkin Town 2013

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This evening we made our annual trek to Pumpkin Town. For the first time, it was at a new location and bigger than ever.

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Will, Drew and Landon with some fine pumpkins...patiently posing until they get the green light to go have fun.

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Drew picked a huge pumpkin for his annual lifting of the pumpkin ritual.

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Will wrangling his pumpkin.

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Landon holding his largest pumpkin to date.

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Pumpkin Town had a huge corn maze for the boys to explore this year.

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Deep in the corn maze.

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Landon playing the part of Charlie Brown.

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The highlight of the evening was the new pumpkin canon. Drew took the first shots. You can see his shot about to make impact just left of the target.

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Will was up next and his shot is also about to nail the target.

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Landon was up last and, with just a little help from Daddy to balance the heavy canon, he made a bullseye!

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Drew and Will on the tractor ride.

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Daddy and Landon pulling up the rear of the tractor ride.

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Drew and Will finished out the evening climbing the hay mountain and capturing the flag at the top. God bless America and Happy Halloween!

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

597-youngmans

Ma and Pa celebrated their 45th Wedding Anniversary today. In a rare occurrence, all of their children and grandchildren were present to help celebrate the day. As Pa said during some remarks he made, nothing is more important than family. We enjoyed a great meal at Ti Amo Ristorante Italiano followed by a delicious cake from Ludger's Bavarian Cakery.

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Ma and Pa with their oldest daughter, Mary and her family...me and the boys.

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All of the family; 5 kids, 9 grandchildren and one of Ma and Pa's closest family friends. Happy anniversary Ma and Pa! See you all again in five years for the big one.

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The butter cream cake that fed everyone with just the right amount left over.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

519-boys-playing-cards.jpg

Mama wasn't feeling well this evening so the boys and I headed off to see fireworks by ourselves. We got to River Parks on the west side of the river just north of the 21st Street bridge with a clear line of sight to the fireworks about an hour before the show was to begin. The boys killed time by playing cards and eating the snacks Mama had packed for them.

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There was a hot air balloon giving short tethered rides to people which we just might have to take advantage of next year.

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Now, if all these photos look just like regular old fireworks photos like last year's or three years ago, then I have completely failed. However, if they look a little more like flowers or just kind of neat, then it was worth the extra effort.

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The photos are just in the order I took them but, already, this is one of my favorites. It is an example of changing the focus from sharp to blurry while the shutter was open. The focus blur technique creates the effect of a dandelion which I think turned out pretty well in this one.

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This one is rather unique from the rest. Not sure if it was a single or double burst, but the result is pretty neat.

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This one looks like a sea anemone to me. It is an example of going from blurred to sharp focus.

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Another blur to sharp. I think this one has some camera shake in it caused by my unsteadily working the camera's focus ring.

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This one could have used a longer exposure, or I just started it too late, or it could have been blurred more in the beginning, or a hand full of other things. Focus blurring fireworks is way more difficult than I though it would be.

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Another dandelion.

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I like how these two look so three-dimensional.

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This heart shaped firework turned out pretty well.

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A dandelion show the problem getting a firework all by itself. As most of the pictures show, even if you are lucky enough to get one firework blurred just right (which this one isn't), the likelihood of having some other firework overlapping in a distracting way is pretty high.

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A good example of a photo being just slightly off. This would have been much better if I had sharpened slower so that more of the firework was blurred.

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This one had potential.

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I though these two side by side were interesting but, again, could have been blurred more. Come to think of it, a lot of the shots could have been blurred more. I think I was seeking more blur in the viewfinder than appeared in the final result...which I can't explain.

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I like how the center of the "flower" looks on this one.

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This firework was huge and way off my camera's frame.

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Another one of my favorites. This one has a nice stem and great center. The flashing firework created a neat dotted pattern.

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A couple together. This one looks much better larger.

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The colors on this one are nice but, again, it exceeded the frame.

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If you can't see a petunia, then you just have no imagination.

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Another great stem and a pretty good flower.

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Two more flowers with stems...just about got a full bouquet.

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Maybe I've been looking at these pics for too long, but I swear those green leaves look like real dracaena leaves.

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A double white flower, fern, anemone...whatever...just don't say firework.

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Two dandelions blowing in the wind.

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Finally, last but not least, the most colorful firework of the night. Might have to try focus blurring again next year. I hopped around a lot on my camera settings but mostly stayed around ISO 100, f11 for 2.5 seconds.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Jul 4 2013

4th of July Parade

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Today our neighborhood had its annual 4th of July parade followed by drinks and frozen pops at the neighborhood park. With the help of Mama, the boys decorated their bike and scooters. Landon did a great job keeping up with his big brothers.

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Will can ride his bike but still prefers his good ol' scooter.

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Drew proudly riding by on his bike. Hmmm...might be time to raise the seat and handle bars a little.

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The local fire department was kind enough to lead our parade again. Before the start, the boys posed beside the fire truck with their preferred methods of locomotion.

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The neighborhood parade on its way.

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Drew, Will and Landon making their way together along the parade.

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The kids on their bikes and scooters were all ahead of the adults as they followed the fire truck on the parade.

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Taking a break at the end of the parade before digging into the frozen pops.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Mar 31 2013

Happy Easter 2013

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After Drew's game yesterday, the boys visited the Easter Bunny at the mall.

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Up early this morning, bed-headed and red-eyed Huey, Dewey and Louie were eager to check our everything the Easter Bunny brought them.

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After church and lunch at Ma and Pa's, the boys hunted for Easter eggs in Ma and Pa's backyard.

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Landon, Drew and Will after a successful Easter egg hunt.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

All on his own, without any prompting from school or anyone, Drew made Valentine's Day cards for all of us. At home, on folded sheets of torn-out notebook paper Drew wrote the following:

Landon

Your always a great buddy
to play with and be funny
I'll always love you
because your my buddy

Happy Valentines day!
Love Drew

Will

Roses are read
Violets are blue
your a great friend,
I love you

Happy Valentines day
from Drew

Mama

Roses are red
violets are blue
shugar tasts great
and so are you

happy valentines day!
I love you
From Drew

daddy

Your always fun
when I'm feeling glum
you make me happy
I love you daddy

Happy Valentines day!
From Drew

Mama cried. (My only edits were line-breaks.)

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Dec 25 2012

Cookies for Santa

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Last night the boys laid out cookies for Santa Claus along with some milk and carrots for Santa's reindeer. Will also left a note reminding Santa of his Christmas wish list.

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This morning, everything was gone! Santa ate the cookies, drank the milk and took the carrots to feed his reindeer.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Dec 25 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

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Happy birthday Jesus!

Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Dec 23 2012

Christmas Tree

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Our Christmas tree all decorated and ready to be surrounded by presents. Its a little leany, but the photo somehow accentuates the fact. The height is perfect with the star just brushing against the 10-foot ceiling. Hoping St. Nicholas will soon be here.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Dec 23 2012

Visiting Santa Claus

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This afternoon we visited Santa Claus at the mall. The boys got their picture taken and then told Santa what they wanted for Christmas. With only two days before Christmas, the elves will have to work fast to fulfill their late (and changing) Christmas wishes!

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With everyone dressed up, we took some family photos when we came home. The boys in their Christmas sweaters.

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Aunt Donelda with her nephews.

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The happy family ready for Christmas.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

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While we set a record for putting up Christmas lights on the house by November 26 and getting the tree pretty early for us on December 8, we've been too busy to put lights on the tree until tonight. And, of course, before we could even start that project, Daddy had to try out another camera trick.

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All the boys held incredibly still while I swung Christmas tree lights around them during a long exposure. Drew and Will then took turns pressing the shutter button.

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All and all, not too bad if I do say so myself. Each boy turned into a living Christmas tree.

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However, the best part of the evening was when Drew and Will, all on their own, filled in breaks between putting light strands on the Christmas tree by playing Christmas song duets on the piano. While they had messed around playing together before, they had never done it for so long. It was AWESOME! It was the most we'd ever seen/heard them play just for the sake and enjoyment of playing. Not as practice or because they had to but just because they and the people listening were enjoying it. It really was a beautiful thing.

Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |

094-bundled-up-for-the-cold.jpg

Tulsa had two parades this evening. A "Holiday" parade downtown celebrating...who knows what. And, a Christmas parade in South Tulsa celebrating Christmas. Since we don't celebrate anything called "Holiday," didn't get a holiday tree today, aren't wrapping holiday presents to put under our holiday tree in hopes that holiday man will come...it was an easy decision as to which parade to attend.

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The parade started with a color guard carrying the United States and Oklahoma flags.

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The parade had several Happy Birthday Jesus floats.

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The parade also had several mangers celebrating the birth of Christ.

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This float proudly declares that Christmas begins with Christ.

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A real Christmas parade attracts the best politicians and several were present including Oklahoma's newest Representative Jim Bridenstine.

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Another Happy Birthday Jesus float.

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This float reminds us that on Christmas day 1776, George Washington crossed the Delaware river to fight battles that were a decisive turning point in the Revolution.

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Oklahoma's Senator Jim Inhofe made an appearance riding a fine steed.

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Santa Claus made his appearance at the end of the parade.

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Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas!

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

074-picking-out-christmas-tree.jpg

Me and the boys in front of the Christmas tree we picked out this year.

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Our Christmas tree getting netted for the trip home.

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Home ready to be taken inside and set up...which is when we found out that the vertical hole drilled in the bottom of the tree that the stand goes in became too short when they put a fresh cut on the bottom of the tree. All my drills were too short to sufficiently lengthen the hole. Not a problem...Grandpa Buller's tools to the rescue. Just a minute with his hand drill and the tree dropped right into its stand.

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Our festivus pole getting its first watering after which we opened it up. The height is perfect, just a few inches from the ceiling which will trim back so that the star just touches the ceiling. Next up, lights!

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Nov 22 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner

063-thanksgiving-dinner.jpg

We all enjoyed another absolutely amazing Thanksgiving dinner at Ma and Pa Youngmans. Every dish was perfect with all of my favorites present. My plate was filled, from top-right: corn casserole, stuffing, candied yams, brocolli rice & chees, and finally a good helping of turkey both dark and white meat.

Thanks to the brilliant intellect and sound logical reasoning of our nation's liberal elites, we now know my fondness for white turkey meat is because I'm racist. At least, that's the opinion of Ron Rosenbaum writing in Slate, The Unbearable Whiteness of White Meat.

Recently, we also learned that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are racist thanks to Verenice Gutierrez, principal at Harvey Scott K-8 School in Portland, Oregon. It gets better...the same guardian of higher learning who believes the sandwich that defines innocuous is a vestige of discrimination, also believes a class/club open only to boys of the right race isn't at all racist, sexist, bigoted or, otherwise, inappropriate.

While I've always believed it was obvious hyperbole to mock liberalism as a mental disease, Rosenbaum and Gutierrez make me reconsider.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

033-thanksgiving-cartoon.jpg

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are so thankful for all the blessings the Lord has bestowed on us. We hope you and your family are as equally blessed.

Our Thanksgiving cartoons from years past:

2011 - You're Next!
2010 - He Seems Nice
2009 - Ralph is Done
2008 - Mooing Turkeys
2007 - Ulterior Motive
2006 - The Truth About Turducken
2005 - Sesame Street Surprise

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Nov 11 2012

Veterans Day 2012

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To all our nation's veterans, thank you for your service and sacrifice without which we would not enjoy the freedom and liberty we so take for granted.

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Oct 31 2012

Halloween 2012

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The boys in their Halloween costumes ready to go trick-or-treating. Landon is Obi-wan Kenobi, Will is Anakin Skywalker and Drew is Captain Rex.

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Finally, Darth Vader joins the boys. There's been some talk among the ranks and rumor has it that Star Wars may be on the way out for Halloween. We'll have to wait and see if something else appears next year...

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Oct 29 2012

Pumpkin Carving

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Our pumpkins before they got gutted, stabbed and carved. No stems this year...a Walmart "feature."

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Landon gutting his pumpkin.

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Drew and Will gutting their pumpkins. They did a great job making the walls of their pumpkins thin for easy carving.

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An iphone pic exchanged with Aunt Donelda as we compared new fridges and made plans for her upcoming visit. Drew and Will both did a great job stabbing the outlines of their designs all by themselves. Good outlines and thin walls made carving by Mama and Daddy relatively easy. (That and we've learned to simply nix some ridiculous designs with overly intricate patterns and next to nothing supporting central elements.)

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Landon's Elmo pumpkin, Will's dragon pumpkin and Drew's witch and cauldron pumpkin.

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The boys' awesome pumpkins all lit up on Halloween night.

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Oct 28 2012

Pumpkin Town 2012

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Today we carried on our Danz Family tradition with our annual visit to Pumpkin Town.

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First activity, the boys' Pumpkin Town photo together. (Drew was a little weepy-eyed as his allergies were really bugging him.)

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Then it was on to the lifting of the pumpkins...must find a greater challenge for Drew.

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Will hefted a massive one this year.

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Landon got a good grip on this one...but it never left the ground.

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Good technique...lifting with the legs, but this one never budged either. And, there were no little pumpkins to be found anywhere, just big ones and tiny-winy ones.

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Will had a good time on the big inflatable slide.

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Drew also enjoyed his time on the inflatable slide.

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Landon wasn't in the mood for sliding, instead occupying his time exploring and climbing.

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Landon climbing high by himself.

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On the way over to the pony ride, I challenged Drew to lift the biggest pumpkin I could find over his head. I didn't think he could pick it up much less get it up to his shoulders. And so it is written; when the last boy can raise the great pumpkin over his head, our days at Pumpkin Town shall have come to an end.

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Landon riding his pony named Sugar.

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Will riding his pony named Rex.

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Will said that he could hold on with just one hand because he's been in the rodeo.

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Drew looking like Eastwood on his pale horse.

The highlight for the boys may still be the pumpkin chuckin' but I only took videos of that and no time this year to put together a video. Unfortunately, the activity may not continue in the future with all the construction that's going on around Pumpkin Town. This year it was restricted to weekends only when there was no active construction going on.

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Mary and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary this evening with a romantic dinner date at the RiverWalk Crossing Melting Pot. We enjoyed the Big Night Out four-course dinner. It was delicious! The photo is the aftermath.

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Dessert was...flamingly awesome!

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After dinner we enjoyed a walk up and down Riverwalk Crossing. All the empty stores were a sad sight. In fact, even taking bankruptcy and subsequent sale into consideration, there were suspiciously too many empty store fronts; somethings up. Unless of course there's something about retail leasing that I don't understand whereby it makes more sense to have a mostly empty mixed-retail location rather than a completely filled one where most everyone is paying less rent than you want.

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Mama made the most delicious 4th of July cake today. It was like eating a strawberry shortcake cake!

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4th of July spirit filled the Danz family home today.

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The boys playing cards and patiently waiting for the fireworks to begin from our vantage point just south of River West Festival Park. We were fortunate enough to park right next to a nice grassy spot with a great view so we waked 10 feet from the car and set up camp.

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One of my better fireworks photos. I had intended to post just a few best shots but my selection process was shall we say, interrupted, so a sky-full follow after the jump in the order they were taken.

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Jul 4 2012

4th of July Parade

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This morning our neighborhood had its annual 4th of July parade. Yesterday, the boys decorated their scooters and bikes. This is Landon proudly riding his scooter he got for his birthday this year.

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Will flying by on his scooter.

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Drew on his nicely decorated bike.

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The family (minus Daddy the photographer) walking, scooting and riding together.

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The parade ended at our neighborhood park where there were plenty of treats for all the kiddos.

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Always a highlight, our local fire department brought their fire engine ladder truck.

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A Tulsa Fire Department fire engine ladder truck.

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Brothers Landon, Will and Drew in their patriotic shirts. Happy 4th of July!

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I literally cannot imagine what it would have been like to exit a landing craft and wade toward a beach under enemy fire.

Three years ago, the President was forced against his will took part in the 65th anniversary ceremonies in Normandy, France. Since then, he has completely ignored this historic day. Well, except for today, when he tweeted about it. Yes, he tweeted a comment about D-Day. That is the culmination of three years of D-Day presidential commemorations...a tweet.

Dear God, please safely remove this man from office next January. Amen.

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May 28 2012

Memorial Day 2012

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Even Wikipedia gets this one right: "Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces." Today is not Veterans Day, nor Armed Forces Day. It is not a day to remember our lost loved ones. Today is a national holiday with a very specific and narrow focus, remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy freedom and liberty--though dwindling--that is still the envy of the world.

God bless our brave soldiers who never came home to their families and their grateful country. You are not forgotten.

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Apr 8 2012

Happy Easter 2012

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Along with their baskets, the Easter Bunny brought each of the boys a stuffed bunny.

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The Easter Bunny also brought the boys water squirters: a shark for Will, an alligator for Landon and a dragon for Drew.

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After church, we went to Ma and Pa's for an awesome lunch and an Easter egg hunt. Finally, when we got home, we had our own Easter egg hunt and then bounced off the walls for a while from all the candy before finally going to bed. (Actually, the boys were all pretty good and we didn't have any problems.)

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Today we visited the Easter Bunny at the mall. Afterward, Landon went up the the Easter Bunny and told him that he wanted "Sarbursts" for Easter. The Easter Bunny nodded his head up and down. I'm sure Landon's basket will be filled with Starbursts tomorrow.

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Happy St. Patrick's Day! No better way to celebrate this holiday than with a McDonald's Shamrock Shake. It's delicious...once a year...more often than that, and its kind of gross. But, once year...awesome! (Got to get a picture next year before they put the lid on.)

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We have had an unusually busy Christmas season this year. As a result, we are just now getting around to seeing the Christmas lights at Rhema Bible College which now appears to go by the official name Rhema Bible Training Center.

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Landon enjoyed the lights more this year than last when he was still being wheeled around in his stroller.

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Will taking a break from the Rhema Christmas lights.

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Drew striking a pose to satisfy Daddy's picture request.

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The family taking a quick break. It wasn't as cold as last year and a lot less crowded on New Year's day (the last day the lights are on), than during the Christmas season.

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A water reflection shot.

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Another reflection shot.

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The centerpiece of Rhema's Christmas lights is their lighted bridge.

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I still have never seen a picture (let alone one of mine) which conveys how truly beautiful the display is that they put on each year.

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The lights change color, flash and move along the length of the bridge all synced to Christmas music play over speakers on the bridge.

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It really is quite a phenomenal display.

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This is just a small taste of the infinite varieties of lights the bridge displays.

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Different multi-colored mixes flash and zip along the bridge to the beat of the music.

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Or, single colors are displayed as well such as this red.

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Or, this green which, if you look carefully, appears to be preceded and followed by a mix of colors.

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No trip to the Rhema Christmas lights would be complete without a photograph in front of the American Flag.

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Dec 25 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

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Happy birthday Jesus! The true reason for the season. Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family.

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Will, Landon and Drew visiting Santa Claus earlier this holiday season.

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I woke up early this morning after Santa Claus had come and snapped this picture of our Christmas tree all decorated with presents and gifts from Santa Claus in front of it.

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Finally, the picture for our Christmas card this year. Merry Christmas!

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Dec 24 2011

Christmas Eve

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When we came home from church this evening, we took a moment for some Christmas Eve pictures. Landon is very excited about Ho-Ho coming!

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Will looking sharp.

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Drew was a great helper again this year putting up our lights, inside and out.

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Aunt Donelda joined her nephews in some matching sweater Christmas spirit.

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Drew, Landon and Will are very excited about Christmas tomorrow.

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They have a lot of little boy energy and are determined to find a way to burn it off, so a little friendly wrestling and whatever this is.

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The fist step in decorating our Christmas tree is putting the star on top. Mama's been reading to Landon a little cardboard page Sesame Street book entitled, "Baby Brother's Christmas." In the book, baby brother is too little to help with any of the Christmas activities until the end:

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"Baby brother, you have the most important job of all," says Daddy. "You get to put the star on top of the Christmas tree!"

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As a result of the story, Landon was very excited to help put the start on top of our Christmas tree. Please realize that I am perilously standing on a chair in this picture. I don't know how many years we'll be able to repeat this act.

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Drew and Landon both helped putting the lights on the Christmas tree. One helped more than the other, but I'm not telling which. We put on a total of 1660 lights, a new record I think.

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Our Elf on the Shelf, Ralph, chose to keep an eye on our boys for a day from a perch high atop our Christmas tree.

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Landon putting on the first ornament.

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Will was next putting an ornament on the Christmas tree.

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Finally, Drew got his turn to put an ornament on the Christmas tree.

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While hanging ornaments, Mama laid down to hang an ornament on a bottom branch. Landon immediately saw this as an opportunity to lay down on Mama. Will followed while Drew wasn't about to be left out. Daddy joined in and Aunt Donelda grabbed the camera just in time to catch a spontaneous family moment. Woe is Mama having to deal with her four boys.

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The final result, one fully decorated Christmas tree.

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This afternoon we all went to pick out our Christmas tree. In keeping with tradition, Mama took what has become one of my favorite photos that of me and our boys at the Christmas tree lot.

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Getting ready to net our tree...not too hard this year.

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All wrapped up and ready to take home.

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The tree looks smaller on top of the truck.

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All set up and ready to have lights strung and ornaments hung. A foot or more away from the ceiling...gotta get a bigger one next year.

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I still believe we have the best automatic tree waterer in the world!

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Oct 31 2011

Happy Halloween 2011

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This was our first all Star Wars Halloween: Will was Obi-Wan Kenobi, Landon was Luke Skywalker and Drew was Commander Fox while Daddy was Darth Vader.

On a down note, this Halloween had the fewest participating homes ever. We were able to cover all the major streets in our neighborhood in just one pass with little street crossing required. Drew and Will's haul at the end of the night didn't begin to compare to last year's haul covering the exact same route. On the other hand, Mary said we had a record number of kids come to our door, nearly 200. I blame Obama.

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The boys checking out our pumpkin carvings.

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Landon trick-or-treated up and down our street with his brothers and then spent the rest of the night helping Mama hand out candy.

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This and the prior photo are an example of the problem I come across whenever I select pictures for the blog or for out best of collection. The previous one is a much better photo with no flash, natural light and the glowing lighsaber but Landon isn't smiling. This photo is a typically washed-out flash photo but Landon has a great smile. I can't decide which I like better...so both get posted.

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Oct 30 2011

Pumpkin Carvings

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After spending the day belatedly celebrating Pa's birthday at Ma and Pa's house (and having the most awesome lunch), we came home this evening to carve pumpkins. The boys quickly got down and dirty gutting the gourds.

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A quick pause in the action while Daddy demands smiles.

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Finally, the result of this evening's pumpkin carvings at the Danz's house: Will's Anakin, Drew's Yoda (originally Captain Rex but it quickly became apparent the design was uncarvable*) and Landon's Pluto. Happy Halloween!

*In fact, a Google image search reveals other identical Anakins and Yodas out there and plenty of Captain Rex heads, but no Captain Rex full bodies like the design in the book. A careful review of the package the designs came in reveals the examples were clearly photoshopped and not actual carvings. If there is a Captain Rex full body pumpkin carving, I'd really like to see it.

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Oct 22 2011

Pumpkin Town 2011

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Today we made our annual visit to Pumpkin Town.

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We always start off with the group pic of the boys before we move on to the fun stuff. No smiles and cooperation...no fun.

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Drew mastered the lifting of the pumpkin last year so, of course, no problem this year.

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This was the first year Will fully lifted his pumpkin off the ground. He was struggling, but he did it.

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Landon is just not yet up to the lifting of the pumpkin challenge.

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I was wrong! He just needed a Landon-sized pumpkin.

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Will was first down the bouncy slide.

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Followed by Drew and his patented method of staying in the center of the slide.

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By far the most fun this year was pumpkin chucking. It was a first for us. We made like Angry Birds and slingshotted mini-pumpkins like crazy towards the target.

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Drew came awfully close to the target a few times.

We had so much fun chucking pumpkins that we went back a second time and took videos of our efforts.

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Landon riding a pony.

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Will wasn't too thrilled that he was riding a girl pony.

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Drew riding his pony.

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Landon navigating the way through the hay bale maze. This way brothers.

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Landon has found the way out.

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It was a great year at Pumpkin Town.

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Jul 4 2011

4th of July 2011

Once we recovered from our early morning arrival, we were off to the Palatine 4th of July festival. There were plenty of carnival rides and great food to keep us busy for the afternoon.

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We started out on the merry go round where Landon rode a black stallion in full battle armor.

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With the warm up out of the way, it was off to the Yoyo swing (a/k/a White Trash Carnie Ride #10...don't take offense, it's not my list). Note, Will's relaxed, cross-legged, demeanor.

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Drew demonstrates his lack of needing to hold on, while Will is like, "Whatever."

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Even Mama got into the act.

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At the start of a simple train ride. The big boys went along to be with their little brother.

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The terrifying dragon ride, spinning nearly out of control, held in only by a flimsy plastic discount store chain...the boys risk their life and limb and flaunt death by raising their hands in the air as if to mock the grim reaper.

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Here's Drew and Will at the start of a nice little ride for kids...

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...that has one spot on each loop that scares the bejesus out of them...much to the delight of parents all around.

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We weren't aware but Landon packed his grumpy-pants for the trip. Actually, he's never one to pose for pictures. Any request to hold still, look at the camera or smile is usually met with the opposite and frequently accompanied by "No!"

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But, with a little bit of work, a happy kid can be found.

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Finally, we wound up in Itasca for what Mary and I thought was the best fireworks show we've ever seen. Donelda did a great job taking us to the festival during the day and the fireworks that night resulting in one of the best 4th of July's ever!

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Apr 24 2011

Happy Easter 2011

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Will, Drew and Landon visiting the Easter Bunny at the mall. Landon was much like he was at Christmas: "Keep someone between me and the scary guy and hold my hand!" Still, a big improvement from last year.

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Will, Landon and Drew after mass today. Happy Easter everyone.

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Besides exchanging cards and small gifts, Mary made the most delicious brownie pie for dessert tonight. I didn't think too much of it as it simply tasted like a really great out-of-the-box brownie mix, but then Mary informed me that she made it completely from scratch! Needless to say it was a huge it with her four boys.

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Dec 25 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

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Will, Drew and Landon visiting Santa Claus at the mall yesterday. Landon was a little overwhelmed seeing Saint Nicholas up close but Santa knew just what to do as he had Landon move off to the end while Drew held his hand.

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Will, Drew and Landon, as well as Mary and I, wish you all a very merry Christmas.

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Will, Landon and Drew in front of the nativity scene at our church. Happy birthday Jesus!

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Our Christmas tree all decorated with 1360 lights! (We counted when we took them down and I edited this post.)

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We don't recall where it came from but our Santa ornament isn't too old. It's a simple figure of Santa Claus putting on his gloves, no doubt suiting up for his busy night. A few years ago I gave him a little more descriptive name...Proctologist Santa! This year he got a new name...TSA Santa.

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Donelda arrived today from Chicago, a day late due to car troubles, driving a rented SUV. This allowed her to bring down Rudolph which had adorned my parents home each Christmas from 1994 to 2002. I was living in Oklahoma City in 1994 and visited Mary in Minneapolis for Thanksgiving. We went to the Mall of America on Black Friday which still stands out in my mind because the mall was not at all crowded despite being the day after Thanksgiving. I bought Rudolph and we took it out to my Ford Taurus but it wouldn't fit in the back seat or the trunk no matter how hard we tried. So, we took it back inside the mall to the store and had them ship it to my parents in Palatine.

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My dad put Rudolph on the roof of the house partly because he was afraid of it being stolen but also because that's just where Rudolph belongs. I never saw him put Rudolph up but am told he had rigged some sort of pulley system to get him up there which he continued to do well into his 70's.

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I didn't have time nor the inclination to stand out in the cold to get a good picture of Rudolph. A still image doesn't do him justice anyway as the lights continually move around the silhouette. Rudolph's red nose originally just consisted of a few red silhouette lights. But, my dad rigged up a red C9 bulb to better show off Rudolph's nose-so-bright. Rudolph was the perfect edition to our Christmas lights which the boys insist we add to each year. Look out Griswolds, the Danzes are coming.

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Tonight, before dinner, we all went to see Rhema's Christmas lights display. Here the lights proclaim, "A Child is Born, a Son is Given."

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The classic Jesus train with the Merry Christmas caboose.

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Mary pointed out a beautiful reflection as we walked around the grounds. Be sure to bundle up well and take time to enjoy a hot chocolate as we did.

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The main pond always provides a photographic opportunity.

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Frosty the Snowman has a big heart.

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Now here's a photographic nightmare...a brightly lit display with two little troopers posing right in front. If you use a flash to light up the foreground subjects, the display gets washed out. Balance the photo so the display looks good and the foreground subjects are too dark. My solution...take a good picture of the display and photoshop the heck out of the boys boosting their brightness and tweaking their contrast. I've seen photos in front of this flag elsewhere on the internet but none any better than this one. Without combining two differently exposed images, I don't know how to get a better image.

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Mama and the boys pose with Santa and the American flag. More pictures after the jump.

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Noah's ark in lights.

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Some children made of lights playing in front of the lights.

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Christmas carolers singing to the visitors.

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The lighted bridge is in the background which changes colors and patterns to Christmas music.

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It really is amazing the number of lights they put up.

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Finally, I tried to play around a little with a shallow focus for an artistic effect. Not bad, but it could be improved (tried not to keep the family waiting too much while I played camera man).

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Today we picked out this year's Christmas tree, a Frasier Fir I think.

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I like to get the tree netted as it makes getting it into the house and into its stand much easier.

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Also, I'm always amazed when the huge tree is squeezed through the chute into its tidy little package.

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That net reminds me of how my clothes fit after the holiday season.

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Behold, our Festivus Pole! The past few years we've scraped our 10-foot ceiling with the Christmas tree but this one isn't more than a few inches over 8 feet.

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As always, we have the best automatic tree waterer around.

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Actually, this year we upgraded to the dual automatic tree waterer!

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Nov 11 2010

Veterans Day 2010

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To all the men and women who have worn the uniform of the greatest country on earth, thank you for your service to our nation. Without you, we simply would not be.

Some great information, history, teachers guide, etc., can be found at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs site.

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Oct 31 2010

Happy Halloween 2010

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For Halloween this year, Drew dressed as Commander Fox, Landon dressed as Winnie the Pooh and Will dressed as Obi Wan Kenobi, while I dressed as Darth Vader.

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Ma and Pa stopped by while Drew, Will and I were out trick-or-treating.

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Landon helped Mama pass out the candy to all the trick-or-treaters. Between doorbell rings, Landon kept going from one bucket to another excitedly rearranging candies all night long.

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While Daddy napped with Landon this afternoon, Drew, Will and Mama carved a pumpkin together.

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Drew won this pumpkin from his teacher at school.

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Oct 27 2010

Pumpkin Town 2010

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Today we made our annual visit to Pumpkin Town!

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Drew, Landon and Will are getting in the Halloween spirit.

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Landon was first up with the annual lifting of the pumpkin. Despite a heroic effort, though, the pumpkin just wouldn't budge.

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Will successfully got his pumpkin off the ground but it didn't last long and he quickly resorted to rolling it around to prove his dominance over the gourd. (Note, I actually looked up whether a pumpkin is a gourd. In doing so, I learned far more than I intended about squash, gourds, and pumpkins. The best line: "pumpkins are a diverse, taxonomically complicated group." As with many things, there is no simple answer, but suffice it to say, pumpkins are gourds.)

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Drew conquered the lifting of the pumpkin!

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Today, Mary and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. Ma and Pa were kind enough to come over and babysit while Mary and I enjoyed a nice quite evening at the Polo Grill where a bouquet with 15 red roses was waiting at the table. The food was amazing and only surpassed by the company.

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After the 4th of July parade this morning and playing at the neighborhood park where there was a jupiter jump, we worked around the house, ran some errands, grilled out and then went to see fireworks at Rhema.

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I took pictures of the fire works and experimented with different settings. I think the above photo came out the best. Click beneath it to see it in its full-size glory. After the jump, an absolutely ridiculous number of other photos from the evenings fireworks show.

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Jul 4 2010

4th of July Parade

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Our neighborhood had a 4th of July parade this morning with a fire engine ladder truck to lead the way. Everyone decorated their bikes and strollers and Drew and Will decorated their scooters. The parade ended at our neighborhood park where everyone enjoyed some frozen treats and the kids got to jupiter jump until they couldn't jump any more.

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It will be a while before Will will be able to reach the pedals.

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Drew is ready to drive the fire engine to the next fire.

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Two patriotic American boys enjoying the 4th of July sitting on the back of a fire engine...it doesn't get much better than this!

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All three boys in their Old Navy American Flag shirts. Landon missed the parade but was waiting at the park at the end, ready to help hand out treats to all the boys and girls. After the jump, see Daddy driving the fire engine.

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Jul 4 2010

4th of July 2010

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Happy birthday United States of America! Sorry the liberals have been giving you such a beating lately. We conservatives know that you have always been, and still are, the greatest nation, unequaled in all the world, the steadfast beacon of liberty. God Bless the USA!

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Apr 4 2010

Happy Easter 2010

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Drew, Landon and Will visiting the Easter Bunny at the mall. As you can see...Landon was not a fan of EB.

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The photo was taken on Valentine's Day in 1991, nineteen years ago. It was Mary and I's first Valentine's Day together and I took her to the Fountains restaurant in Tulsa. They had a photographer who came around to the tables. I don't remember what the options were but we both left with keychain photos about 1 1/2 inches wide. I just scanned the photo and with a little photoshopping to fix fading and scratches, it's clear I found me a purdy one!

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Dec 25 2009

Christmas 2009

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From Landon, Drew and Will and the rest of the Danz family, have a very merry Christmas!

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Will, Landon and Drew visiting Santa Claus.

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Our Christmas tree this year is just a little bit bigger than "normal." It's a little wider and I had to trim quite a bit to get the star properly wedged against the 10 foot ceiling. After the jump, a bonus picture of the boys with Santa.

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Landon checking out Kris Kringle.

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We all went to visit Santa Claus at Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa today along with Aunt Donelda. Will had made out a list asking Santa for a two-sided lightsaber like Darth Maul, Star Wars guys especially Cad Bane and a walkie-talkie. Drew told Santa that he wanted a Nerf Blaster, a two-sided lightsaber and a walkie-talkie.

This year the video is in HD format so be sure to check out the extra detail full-screen. The sound in the busy mall is disappointing, I think we'll have to put a mic on Santa next year. As always, the YouTube version is after the jump.

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We have the world's most awesome automatic tree waterer. Here it is checking the water level. Notice the hat, we learned the hard way that tree sap and little boy's hair do not go well together.

(LOL...I thought I had bragged about my automatic tree waterer before! In fact, if you do a Google search for automatic tree waterer, it comes up the number one image!)

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Will, Landon and Drew with Daddy (and Mama on camera) on our annual trip to pick out this year's Christmas tree.

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Will, Drew and Mama at home with our Christmas tree. (Will is excited about his candy cane that the tree place handed out to each of the boys.) Last year I finally smarted-up and started taking the Christmas tree stand base with us when we looked for a tree so that it could be fitted on the tree by the guys with chainsaws in a few seconds rather than by me hacking away with a handsaw for the better part of an hour.

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The boys, after enjoying the warm weather to play with chalk, next to our ceiling-scraping ten-footer.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Our Thanksgiving cartoon has become a tradition. Here are the cartoons from years past:

2008 - Mooing Turkeys
2007 - Ulterior Motive
2006 - The Truth About Turducken
2005 - Sesame Street Surprise

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Nov 25 2009

Oreo Turkeys

Mary and the boys got crafty yesterday and made some delicious Thanksgiving desserts.

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Officially called Oreo Turkeys the delectable little treats are made with Double Stuffed Oreo Cookies, Candy Corn, Whoppers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, some icing, a little love and a lot of patience.

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Did you know a bunch of turkeys are called a rafter? So, here we have a rafter of Oreo Turkeys.

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Oct 31 2009

Happy Halloween 2009

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For Halloween this year, Drew dressed as Commander Fox, Will dressed as Obi Wan Kenobi and Landon dressed as a pumpkin.

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Commander Fox and Obi Wan Kenobi. More after the jump...

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Landon the Pumpkin stayed home and helped Mama hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters.

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The first house to trick-or-treat was Ma and Pa's.

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Darth Vader, Commander Fox and Obi Wan Kenobi just before they went trick-or-treating.

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Our neighbors, Obi Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Boba Fett joined us at the end of the evening for a group photos.

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Oct 31 2009

Pumpkin Town 2009

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Because we didn't have enough going on today with the Tulsa Run this morning and Halloween this evening, we made our annual trip to Pumpkin Town in between.

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Will, Landon and Drew took a moment to pose with the fall scenery before heading out to enjoy the various activities. Landon saw it as an opportunity to catch up on some sleep.

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After pulling each other around, Will and Drew enjoyed a wagon ride together.

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Will and Drew shared the title of King of the World atop a hay bale stack. More after the jump...

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Will and Drew warmed up on some wooden horses before taking on the real thing.

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Will and Drew riding the ponies.

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One of the most looked-forward to activities is always the inflatable slide. There was no problem for anyone climbing up this year.

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Apparently, we've gown tired of sliding down the "normal" way as Drew and Will quickly experimented with alternate methods of descent. Drew was more methodical in trying out variations of forward and backward while Will brazenly thew himself randomly down the slide with little regard for the consequences. Will described his sideways tumbling method, caught here, as "crazy!"

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Jun 10 2009

5th Blogiversary

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Today the DanzFamily.com blog is 5 years old! Over the past five years I've written 719 posts, received 2105 comments and 70 trakcbacks (anyone still do these?), and put up about 1900 pictures. Over a thousand visitors stop by here each day and well over a million have dropped in since inception. (None of the public counters have been in place the whole time.)

It all started shortly after my first son was born and my father died. Since then, my mom and Mary's last grandparent passed away and two more sons were born as well as three cousins. Friends too have passed away, while new ones have been made. During this time, we traveled as a family from San Francisco to Washington D.C., from Chicago to Dallas and many, many points in between.

Because of this blog, I've gotten to hold the flag that Rick Monday saved from being burned, had an image I created pirated by the Drudge Report and later used with permission by Dennis Miller and I've gotten to meet, in person and online, some truly wonderful people.

Most importantly, I've gotten to document the thing most important to me...no, not that. I hope the next five years are as fun and rewarding.

P.S. According to Google, "blogiversary" appears on the web 143,000 times while "blogoversary" appears 848,000. While the later is more closely related to the accepted term blogosphere, I prefer the former.

[UPDATE:] After this post, I took an unplanned 2+ months off from posting. The longest break since starting this blog, I think. It's been a busy summer. Instead of dumping a whole bunch of posts over a couple of days, I'll put them up with dates corresponding to when the photos were taken.

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Today marks the 65th Anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy, France, during WWII. It remains the largest single-day amphibious invasion of all time involving 195,700 Allied personnel, of which 160,000 were troops, in over 5,000 ships.

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From the National D-Day Memorial Foundation:

"On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied soldiers clambered aboard heaving landing craft and braved six-foot swells, waves of machine gun fire, and more than 6 million mines to claim a stretch of sand at a place called Normandy. Their mission was to carve out an Allied foothold on the edge of Nazi-occupied Europe for the army of more than one million that would follow them in the summer of 1944. This army would burst forth from the beachhead, rolling across Europe into the heart of Germany, liberating millions, toppling a genocidal regime, and ending a nightmare along the way. But it all began on this beach in France, with an army of teenagers on a day called D-Day."

"The 65th anniversary of D-Day will find our youngest D-Day and WWII veterans turning 82 years of age. The years to come will find ever fewer of them among us, and fewer still able to travel and share their stories. Because that day will arrive all too soon, the National D-Day Memorial will present "Overlord Echoes" June 4-7, 2009 to allow veterans and the public to share information and perspectives on D-Day with the larger purpose of preserving the lessons and legacy of that decisive moment in history."

"In its historical and human consequences, D-Day is epic. A turning point in the course of the war, D-Day signaled the beginning of the end of the age of fascism and the return of hope to millions in occupied nations globally. Moreover, as the largest land, air, and sea invasion in history, D-Day drew upon human and military resources on an unprecedented scale, one consequence of which was the creation of an unprecedented number of veterans of a single battle. There are more veterans of D-Day than any other engagement in the Second World War, derived from every sector of our population and reflecting a wide variety of backgrounds, each one with a distinct and unique story of D-Day to share - the story of ordinary men and women living in extraordinary times."

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From the American Battle Monuments Commission:

"The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France is located on the site of the temporary American St. Laurent Cemetery, established by the U.S. First Army on June 8, 1944 and the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. The cemetery site, at the north end of its ½ mile access road, covers 172.5 acres and contains the graves of 9,387 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations. On the Walls of the Missing in a semicircular garden on the east side of the memorial are inscribed 1,557 names."

Finally, from the British Portsmouth's D-Day Museum:

"In April and May 1944, the Allied air forces lost nearly 12,000 men and over 2,000 aircraft in operations which paved the way for D-Day."

"The Allied casualties figures for D-Day have generally been estimated at 10,000, including 2500 dead. Broken down by nationality, the usual D-Day casualty figures are approximately 2700 British, 946 Canadians, and 6603 Americans. However recent painstaking research by the US National D-Day Memorial Foundation has achieved a more accurate - and much higher - figure for the Allied personnel who were killed on D-Day. They have recorded the names of individual Allied personnel killed on 6 June 1944 in Operation Overlord, and so far they have verified 2499 American D-Day fatalities and 1915 from the other Allied nations, a total of 4414 dead (much higher than the traditional figure of 2500 dead). Further research may mean that these numbers will increase slightly in future."

"The [previous] breakdown of US casualties was 1465 dead, 3184 wounded, 1928 missing and 26 captured. Of the total US figure, 2499 casualties were from the US airborne troops (238 of them being deaths). The casualties at Utah Beach were relatively light: 197, including 60 missing. However, the US 1st and 29th Divisions together suffered around 2000 casualties at Omaha Beach."

"Over 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing during the Battle of Normandy. This figure includes over 209,000 Allied casualties, with nearly 37,000 dead amongst the ground forces and a further 16,714 deaths amongst the Allied air forces. Of the Allied casualties, 83,045 were from 21st Army Group (British, Canadian and Polish ground forces), 125,847 from the US ground forces. The losses of the German forces during the Battle of Normandy can only be estimated. Roughly 200,000 German troops were killed or wounded. The Allies also captured 200,000 prisoners of war (not included in the 425,000 total, above). During the fighting around the Falaise Pocket (August 1944) alone, the Germans suffered losses of around 90,000, including prisoners."

"Today, twenty-seven war cemeteries hold the remains of over 110,000 dead from both sides: 77,866 German, 9386 American, 17,769 British, 5002 Canadian and 650 Poles."

"Between 15,000 and 20,000 French civilians were killed, mainly as a result of Allied bombing."

Previous coverage of anniversaries of D-Day in 2005 and 2008.

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With today being the 20th anniversary of the the Chinese government's massacre of innocent protesters at Tiananmen Square, I was curious how President Obama would respond. What words of wisdom would he read from his teleprompters?

*crickets chirping*

Nothing. President Obama is too busy on his second Sorry-Muslims-America-Sucks tour to take notice of the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square. Even if he wasn't busy bad-mouthing American abroad, Obama still wouldn't have said anything. He's too dependent on the Chinese communists to purchase his never ending billions of dollars of debt.

This year alone Obama will rack up a budget deficit -- for just this year -- of $1.8 trillion. That's four times greater than any other year...not 40% greater, which would be outrageous...but, rather, more than 400% greater! Of course he's not going to tweak the Chinese about their abysmal human rights record. He can't, he (we) have sold ourselves to the Chinese.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy-the-Tax-Cheat-Geithner was in China speaking at Peking University. With China being the largest foreign owner of U.S. Treasury bonds they are, understandably, concerned that the United State's mushrooming budget deficit and ultra-loose monetary policy will undermine the value of their investment. Not to mention that our Commander-in-Chief doesn't exactly think a "bond" means what it's supposed to mean as has been evidenced by his screwing of auto industry bond holders in favor of unsecured creditors. Geithner assured the crowd: "Chinese financial assets are very safe." His comment drew laughter from the audience.

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Apr 12 2009

Happy Easter 2009

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Drew and Will set out carrots for the Easter bunny last night. Easter morning Drew and Will looked out our back door but couldn't see any eggs that the Easter bunny might have left. Since it was raining Drew thought that the Easter bunny might have hidden them in the house. So, off we went look for Easter eggs and we found them in the living room!

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After church, we all went to Ma and Pa's for lunch and more egg hunting. This is Will and Drew after their second egg hunt of the day.

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Finally, back home after a long day. Time to enjoy some Easter candy!

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Apr 11 2009

Dyeing Easter Eggs

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After soccer practice, we all dyed Easter eggs. Drew was quite insistent that we were not "coloring" the eggs, rather, we were "dyeing" the eggs.

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The final product: back row, Dudley's Bobbling Eggs (actually from a few years ago), second from back, Sesame Street Easter Eggs, and front, 1 1/2 dozen of PAAS best (does anybody use anything other than PAAS?).

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A few years back I started my annual tradition of never surfing the internet on April 1st. Perhaps I have no sense of humor, or perhaps I have little tolerance for what passes as humor on this day. Either way, I won't be wasting my time on fake news articles, fake gadgets and fake stories of interest. Unfortunately, I checked my email just after midnight and Google's Gmail had a link to their new Autopilot feature. I am right now drafting a letter to Google billing them for one minute of my time wasted. Bah humbug. And, get off my lawn!

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Mar 11 2009

Hallmark E-Card

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We really enjoy receiving Hallmark E-cards. They are very well done and never fail to crack us up. And, that's all I have to say about this particular day.

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Dec 25 2008

Merry Christmas 2008

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Drew, Will, Mama and Daddy wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

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This year's tree is a 9 foot Nobel Fir tree. Compared to last year's Fraser Fir, the needles are more rubbery such that they don't poke your skin while hanging lights and ornaments. Also, this must have been the fullest tree we've ever had. There are only a handful of ornaments hanging inside the tree. It is so full with no gaps or openings that there just wasn't any place or need to hang ornaments deep inside. The few we managed to shove inside practically can't be seen. Other than a top that ends a little abruptly, it's a perfect tree.

After hanging lights, while putting up ornaments, one-half of the very top string of lights started slowly flashing followed by it going out completely. I replaced the bulb at the end of the dark half but to no avail. Somewhere in the half-string is a burnt out bulb. I'll look for it when we take the lights down. So, if you look closely, you can see the very top right of the tree is without lights.

Drew and Will were a hoot hanging ornaments. Will refused to use hooks. We'd tell him, "Will, you need a hook," and Will would respond with confidence, "No, O-A," (his version of OK). Will would then place three ornaments on the very tip of the exact same branch, despite no ornaments being anywhere else on the tree. Together the boys did a terrific job of decorating the bottom-third of the tree.

Click "Continue reading" to see another picture of the boys.

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Dec 22 2008

Visiting Santa Claus

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Drew and Will recently visited Santa Claus to tell him what they wanted for Christmas. They had been practicing for weeks and were very excited. Will brought along a picture of a Star Wars lightsaber and was ready to say "Mace" to let Santa know that he wanted Mace Windu's purple lightsaber. All Drew wanted to ask Santa for was a Star Wars Asajj Ventress action figure.

Unfortunately, it's so incredibly awesome getting to see Santa Claus that the boys got a little shy and weren't able to ask Santa for what they wanted. Fortunately, Drew stepped in to help out Will and Mama helped out Drew. Santa was great, as usual, and I think he knows exactly what the boys want!

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Dec 20 2008

Festivus Pole-Tree

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This is our Festivus Pole-Tree. I'm looking forward to the Airing of Grievances. Unfortunately, I was out voted and I had to let the tree out of its string cocoon.

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Fortunately, we have the best automatic tree-waterer ever invented. Drew and Will are both very enthusiastic about checking the water level and making sure the tree has enough to drink.

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Happy Thanksgiving! OK, so it's *cough* *cough* a little belated. I had to keep up the cartoon tradition. For cartoons from year's past:

2007 - Ulterior Motive
2006 - The Truth About Turducken
2005 - Sesame Street Surprise

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Oct 31 2008

Halloween 2008

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Drew and Will at our annual Pumpkin Town visit earlier this week.

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Will (Buzz Lightyear) and Drew (Obi-Wan Kenobi) before they went trick or treating at Ma and Pa's.

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Drew (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Will (Buzz Lightyear) and Daddy (Darth Vader) before we all went out trick or treating for the evening.

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Oct 30 2008

Pumpkin Carving

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Mary took on the task of carving this year's pumpkin picked up on our annual trek to Pumpkin Town. Will and Drew are excited about the project.

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Drew did a great job of digging out the innards while Will offered encouragement.

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The pattern the boys picked out all poked and transferred to the pumpkin.

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The final product...a spooky Mickey Mouse. They all did a great job!

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Sep 11 2008

Never Forget

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NEVER FORGET

Collection of photos of all but 92 victims of 9/11 attacks from the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui convicted of conspiring to kill Americans, now serving a life sentence in the Federal ADX Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.

Previously:
Remembering Mari-Rae
2,996 Project: Remembering Venesha O. Richards

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Today, Ma and Pa Youngman celebrate their 40th Wedding Anniversary!

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Happy Anniversary!

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From all of the Danz family, Happy 232nd Birthday America!

Happy 4th of July!

God Bless America!

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Jun 14 2008

Flag Day 2008

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It's Flag Day! Are you proudly displaying Old Glory at your home? If so, I'd love to add a picture of it to the American Flag Project where I am collecting pictures of the American flag flying in front of people's homes.

American Flag Project

Email the Flag Project

So send me your picture and I'll add it to the collection. Happy Flag Day!

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Troops in an LCVP landing craft approaching Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

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Troops disembarked from an LCVP landing craft wading toward Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

The outcome of World War II was not a foregone conclusion. The Nazis and the Japs could have won, and would have won, except for brave men who somehow found it within themselves, when the ramp of their landing vehicle fell and they could see where they would likely die...to run towards it. Weighed down with enough equipment to drown them, able to see hundreds of yards of water and sand exploding with gunfire and artillery shells, with no cover in sight, these fragile men went forth to free the world.

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May 26 2008

Memorial Day 2008

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Today is Memorial Day. Unfortunately, many do not know what this day is about. A quick review:

Memorial Day: commemorates U.S. men and women who perished while in military service to their country.

Veterans Day: honors all U.S. military veterans.

Armed Forces Day: recognizes everyone currently serving in the U.S. military forces.

Every other day of the year: feel free to honor lost friends and family who did not die while serving our nation in military service.

Today is not a day to "memorialize" all lost loved ones. Just because the name of the holiday sounds like that may be what it is for...it is not! Two types of people make this mistake. Those that are ignorant and should be very, very, politely be informed as to the very well defined purpose of the holiday. And, those, who should be vilified to no end, those that purposely seek to water down, alter and misdirect the purpose of the holiday away from honoring those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. On this list...the Tulsa World:

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Admittedly, this is from last year which I only learned about after Memorial Day since I long ago canceled my subscription after tiring of the Tulsa World's left-wing bias and local good-old-boy cronyism. Since I don't subscribe, perhaps they noted their error, corrected their ways and spent the last 364 days apologizing to those who gave their lives so the Tulsa World editors could make asses out of themselves...but I doubt it.

Not willing to attribute complete ignorance to the fine folk of the Tulsa world, I am left with no other alternative than to conclude that they willingly desire to spit on our nation's greatest sons and daughters by trying to turn their special day...Memorial Day...into some watered down celebration for "friends, family members and anyone whose memory you still hold dear." Or, as they'd like to say, "anyone but evil soldiers without whom we could all hold hands and dance through fields of daises!" 287tulsawhirled.pngThis is the reason I previously created the Big Stinking Pile version of the Tulsa World logo.

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Mar 23 2008

Happy Easter 2008

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Drew and Will visited the Easter Bunny at the mall on Saturday. Will was a little hesitant to sit in the Easter Bunny's lap which, when you think about it, is pretty smart...after all, why would a six-foot, 200+ pound rabbit necessarily be an herbivore?

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Aunt Catherine came over during the week and helped color eggs with the boys.

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Drew and Will were excited to put our carrots for the Easter Bunny.

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The four of us after a successful Easter egg hunt at Ma and Pa's.

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Mar 22 2008

Easter 45 Years Ago

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Forty-five years ago, in April of 1963 before I was even born, my sister Donelda and my parents celebrated Easter while they were living in Tripoli, Libya. Donelda is just a few days away from being 2 1/2 years old in these pictures.

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Mar 21 2008

When is Easter?

864-easter-calendar.pngAs you may have noticed from this year's "early" Easter, the date of Easter is not fixed but, rather, is a variable date the calculation of which is not all that simple. It is commonly believed, and it is often but not always accurate, that Easter is celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the first full moon after the vernal (spring) equinox. Close, but not exact.

The date of Easter is actually the Sunday immediately following the Paschal Full Moon which does not directly correspond to any astronomical event but, rather, is a historical artifact determined from tables and which may differ from the date of the actual full moon by up to two days. The result places Easter between March 22 and April 25, inclusive.

This year's early Easter, March 23, will not be matched again for over a hundred years, until 2160. But, the earliest possible Easter won't be seen until 2285. The second latest possible Easter, April 24, is just around the corner in 2011. We won't see one on April 25th until 2038. And, for what it's worth, the whole cycle of Easter dates repeats every 5,700,000 years.

Add to all this the fact that, unlike Christmas which everyone the world over celebrates on the same day, Western Christianity uses the Gregorian calendar for their calculations while Eastern Orthodox Churches use the Julian calendar resulting in dates for the celebration of Easter which are sometimes the same but often a week apart.

As for me, I say fix it as the second Sunday in April.

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Mar 11 2008

42

858-answer-to-everything.pngIn The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is: 42. It took the computer Deep Thought, specially built for the task of answering the question, 7½ million years to calculate. Unfortunately, by then, the Ultimate Question itself was forgotten.

The story continues with another more powerful computer, the Earth, being built which can figure out the Ultimate Question. However, the determination of the Ultimate Question gets interrupted when the Earth is destroyed to make way for an intergalactic freeway.

I read the book sometime in high school or maybe college and it is the only book I can ever remember reading which caused me to laugh out loud. But, don't even think about watching the movie, it's beyond horrible: jokes without punchlines, punchlines without jokes, jokes needlessly altered so that they are no longer jokes. A painful disappointment to fans, a ridiculously muddled confusion to newcomers.

[UPDATE I: Holy coincidences Batman! I just learned, after writing this post today, that Douglas Adams' birthday is/was also March 11.]

[UPDATE II: M&M, actually MM&G, sent me a hilarious Hallmark E-Card.]

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After a fine dinner of beef tenderloin lovingly prepared by Mama, we all enjoyed some chocolate cake. Will is letting Mama know she is his number one valentine.

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Aunt Donelda sent some fun-with-foam materials for the boys to make Valentine themed picture frames. They loved picking out, arranging and sticking the foam on the frames.

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Drew and Will were very proud of their completed picture frames, although Drew insisted his wasn't done until there was a picture in it.

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Dec 25 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

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Pacem in Terris

Peace on Earth

Merry Christmas from Don, Mary, Drew and Will Danz.

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Dec 24 2007

Christmas Eve 2007

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The tree this year just may be one of the best we've ever had; perfect size and shape with no gaps or other problems and the limbs are all strong for great ornament hanging. I'm pretty certain my family always had Scotch Pines every year growing up, but I think we're going to be a Fraser Fir family.

The tree is exactly ten feet tall. The star touches the ceiling and, in fact, that is my trick to keep the star from leaning. When Mary saw that she said, "So, that's why the tip of the star of bent." OK, so the "trick" is not without its flaws. The tree has 1100 lights, three triple strands of 100 on one extension cord and one double strand of 100 on another extension cord. We didn't count the ornaments, but we used up all of our hooks.

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Dec 20 2007

Visiting Santa Clause

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Drew and Will visited Santa Clause today at the mall. Drew very quietly asked Santa for a purple lightsaber, Star Wars Transformers - Darth Vader that turns into the Death Star and Darth Vader that turns into his ship, and Qui-Gon Jinn. Last year, Drew asked Santa for, "Darth Maul and Cars movie" and two years ago when Drew was just two years and a month old he asked Santa for "car zoom."

Will, this year, was excited to see Santa Clause while we were waiting in line. He kept pointing to him and grunting letting everyone know that he recognized Saint Nicholas. But, come time to actually sit in Santa's lap, Will was a little apprehensive. Will stuck out his bottom lip and wasn't all too happy about getting up close and personal with Father Christmas.

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We picked out our Christmas tree last weekend, but didn't get a chance to mention it here due to the recent power outage.

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Daddy, Drew and Will pause for moment while picking out this year's Christmas tree to have their picture taken by Momma. (Compare this year to two years ago.)

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The picture is a little distorted, but the tree, a Fraser Fir (abies fraseri), turned out to be just the right size. The very tip is just six inches away from the ten-foot ceiling! The base of the tree's trunk was unusually large even considering the size of the tree and would not fit in the tree stand. Thankfully, Great-Grandpa Spiv's hatchet made short work of narrowing it down.

Also, you can't tell but, immediately before this picture was taken there were two handsome young boys nicely standing together in their "I'm the Big Brother" and "I'm the Little Brother" t-shirts...and then Will got the sillies and insisted on rolling around on the floor laughing.

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(USS Shaw exploding during attack on Pearl Harbor.)

I wrote a pretty good post last year about Pearl Harbor Day. Good thing I checked, as I was about to write a similar piece again.

Let me just say, I can't tell you how thankful I am that we didn't have around back then the same liberal mainstream media, disgraceful Hollywood trash, appeasers, cowards, cut-and-run advocates, surrender monkeys and flat out traitors that we have to deal with now.

As the United States Supreme Court considers today various cases relating to the "War on Terror," consider how America dealt with German Nazi Saboteurs in 1942. On June 27, 1942, eight Germans were caught on American shores before they were able to commit any acts of sabotage as part of the Nazi Operation Pastorius.

Roosevelt realized that neither the death penalty nor secrecy could be guaranteed in a civilian trial, so he issued a proclamation that established a military tribunal...which was held in secret at the Justice Department.

World War II: German Saboteurs Invade America in 1942

Despite the would-be saboteurs pleading innocent, denouncing Hitler and insisting they had no intention of actually engaging in sabotage, they were all sentenced to death. Although, President Roosevelt commuted one sentence to life and another to 30 years for helping in the arrest and prosecution. On August 8, 1942, the remaining 6 of 8 German would-be saboteurs were electrocuted.

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Think about that timeline...caught June 27...tried during July...executed August 8. Further, none of them ever harmed anyone or anything. That's the attitude and actions it took to win World War II.

Oh, and to bring today's little history lesson full circle with the matters being considered by the United States Supreme Court today, the lawyers for the Germans attempted to have the case tried in a civilian court, but were rebuffed by the Supreme Court in Ex Parte Quirin, 317 U.S. 1 (1942), which held:

[T]he law of war draws a distinction between the armed forces and the peaceful populations of belligerent nations and also between those who are lawful and unlawful combatants. Lawful combatants are subject to capture and detention as prisoners of war by opposing military forces. Unlawful combatants are likewise subject to capture and detention, but in addition they are subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals for acts which render their belligerency unlawful. The spy who secretly and without uniform passes the military lines of a belligerent in time of war, seeking to gather military information and communicate it to the enemy, or an enemy combatant who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property, are familiar examples of belligerents who are generally deemed not to be entitled to the status of prisoners of war, but to be offenders against the law of war subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals.

Look for a 5 to 4 decision coming down from our current Supreme Court...the 4 justices being ones that would have lost us WWII and would have us lose whatever it is we're fighting now if they and their ilk had their way.

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Nov 23 2007

Thanksgiving Dinner

For Thanksgiving the four of us drove to Chicago to be with Ma Danz and Aunt Donelda…11 hours, 15 minutes, there and 13 hours back.

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Donelda out did herself with a flawless Thanksgiving dinner.

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Aunt Donelda and Drew enjoying their pumpkin pie. Drew's not a big pumpkin pie fan, but he didn't let it get in the way of him enjoying the whip cream. Will, however, being the chow-hound that he is, downed a ton a pumpkin pie!

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Grandma Danz with her grandsons Drew and Will. A picture of the main course after the jump.

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The picture doesn't begin to show how delicious everything was. I could literally have the same meal forever and never get tired of it. Besides a fifteen pound turkey, Donelda fixed (clockwise), stuffing, bread (the only thing not from scratch), candied yams, corn casserole, mashed potatoes with gravy and green beans. There was also cranberries but which, in keeping with tradition, I passed on.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

This is the third year in a row that I've posted a Thanksgiving cartoon, perhaps it is the start of tradition.

2006 - The Truth About Turducken
2005 - Sesame Street Surprise

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Nov 16 2007

Oklahoma Centennial

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100 years ago today, Oklahoma became a state. Happy birthday Oklahoma!

I had plans to do a more extensive post...but no time. Here's to another 100 years...maybe Drew or Will will be around to see it.

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Nov 11 2007

Veterans Day 2007

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To everyone who has served...an unqualified, whole hearted, completely inadequate, thank you.

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Oct 31 2007

Halloween 2007

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Winnie the Pooh Will and Obi Wan Kenobi Drew visited our house this Halloween.

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Later there was high drama when Darth Vader Daddy took Winnie the Pooh hostage but Obi Wan Kenobi saved the day when he vanquished the evil Lord Vader. More Darth Vader after the jump.

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May the force be with you and Happy Halloween!

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Oct 27 2007

Pumpkin Town 2007

Halloween is fast approaching so it was time yesterday to make the annual visit to Pumpkin Town.

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Drew and Will paused momentarily for a photo before heading off to more fun activities. The picture was taken under a large tent which produced the worst lighting, only after many adjustments in Photoshop are the boys even recognizable. The best displays are under the tent, but maybe next year the "group" photo will be outside.

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The first thing Drew wanted to do was the inflatable slide, he was so excited. Let's just say it wasn't like last year's fun slide. This was Mount Kilimanjaro. First, just getting up to the top was quite a task, there were no steps to speak of just a strap-ladder that was very difficult to climb. Next, the slide was awfully steep. Drew commented at the top, "I don't know about this!" What looked like fun from the ground turned out to be a little too scary on the way down.

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Will's Great-Grandfather was a farmer and I think he just may have a little bit of Spiv in him.

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Despite my urgings to the contrary, Drew insisted the pumpkins were too heavy to lift.

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Will picked a big one for his first attempt in the pumpkin lifting contest. He's going to have to wait a few more years before he can get that one off the ground.

Drew also got to ride a pony named Buster and both boys played in a hay fort, rode around in a wagon and other fun activities. Pumpkin town is always a fall favorite.

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Sep 11 2007

9/11 Six Years Later

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Never Forget
Never Forgive
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Jul 4 2007

4th of July 2007

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694-old-navy-shirts.jpgMary is on our homeowners association board and was in charge of this year's neighborhood 4th of July parade. We handed out American flags, hats and light-up noise makers to everyone and paraded the neighborhood to our park where everyone got all the ice cream sandwiches and red, white and blue popsicles they could eat.

Next year, we think we'll add a boom-box playings some John Philip Sousa and a contest for best decorated bike and stroller.







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We had a great dinner at Ma and Pa's where Will showed off his holiday bib.

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Finally, Ma, Drew and Will posed together to show off their flag shirts.

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Jun 17 2007

Father's Day 2007

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I had a great Father's Day today! As you can see from the photo, Mary got matching embroidered baseball caps for me (Dad), Drew, Will and Pa. In addition to some other gifts, Drew gave me a list of his favorite things to do with Daddy:

     My favorite things to do with Dad are:
          1. Play bad guys
          2. Get a treat (Jamba Juice or milkshake)
          3. Have a pillow fight
          4. Play purple ball
          5. Play Buzz

While the idea was Mama's, Drew came up with the list and order all by himself.

And in keeping with the theme, Kevin Gleeson pointed out this excellent piece:
Boys to Men - Raising three sons has helped me appreciate the masculine virtues.

Also, Uncle Matt recently reminded me of the truly amazing father and son team, Dick and Rick Hoyt.

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Jun 14 2007

Flag Day 2007

Danz Family Flag

It's Flag Day! Are you proudly displaying Old Glory at your home? If so, I'd love to add a picture of it to the American Flag Project where I am collecting pictures of the American flag flying in front of people's homes.

American Flag Project

Email the Flag Project

So send me your picture and I'll add it to the collection. Happy Flag Day!

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May 28 2007

Memorial Day 2007

I had a long meticulously researched post almost complete about the history of Memorial Day, comparing it to Veterans Day and Armed Forces Day along with a good dose of evidence condemning the liberal media. Then I saw this picture of 8 year-old Christian Golczynski receiving the flag from the coffin of his father, Marine Staff Sgt. Marcus "Marc" Golczynski who was killed in Iraq on March 27, 2007...my post can wait until next year.

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Thank you to all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation...and to their families.

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May 13 2007

Mothers Day 2007

Happy Mothers' Day to...

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Ma Danz...

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Ma Youngman...

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and Mama!

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Apr 8 2007

Happy Easter 2007

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Ma Danz with Will and Drew all dressed up in their Easter best.

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Drew and Will posing with the Easter Bunny.

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Apr 7 2007

Easter Egg Coloring

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Ma Danz and Aunt Donelda are in town for Easter and everyone got in on the Easter Egg coloring tonight.

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Drew took a very hands-on approach to his Easter Egg coloring. So, if you see him later this week with blue fingers, you'll know why.

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The result of everyone's hard work and imagination!

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Feb 14 2007

Valentine's Day 2007

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Drew made Valentine's Day cards for everyone...with a little help from Momma.

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And, after dinner, we all enjoyed our Valentine's Day brownies!

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New Year's Eve 2006-2007

On New Year's Eve, for the second time ever in Drew's 3+ years he got sick. He'd previously had a slight fever for an afternoon, but this time he was sick for real, throwing up 9 times. By the end of the day, he was able to hold down some soup, but he was in no condition to ring in the new year. So, once everything settled down, I joined my friends for New Years while Mary, Drew and Will stayed home.

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Harry and Beth really out did themselves this year with perfectly cooked fillets and huge Alaskan King Crab legs along with a number of homemade side dishes. Dessert was a chocolate fountain with everything you could ever think of for dipping. It was a huge success.

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Morgan and Doug really enjoyed the chocolate! Doug's hamming it up...just like his dad.

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On the left, our hosts, Beth and Harry. On the right, Jon was in from California. He's no longer working on the space shuttle's guidance system and is now working on a super-duper secret project he couldn't talk about, only that his work was still guidance related. I'm hoping it's some kind of massive treaty violating space weapon!

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On the left, Henry, Sheila, Morgan and Doug. And, on the right, JR, Lisa and dog.

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Jan 2 2007

Christmas Wrap-Up

Happy New Year!

We traveled to Chicago for Christmas with Ma Danz and Aunt Donelda. Pictures of friends, the Chicago Botanical Garden and from New Years will follow in a couple of days.

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Drew holding Will at Aunt Donelda's after dropping off Christmas gifts. Drew was great and never asked to open his gifts before Christmas. Will just laughed and cooed at everything. Drew even understood that we were exchanging gifts in celebration of Jesus's birthday.

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Drew put out milk and cookies for Santa and thoroughly investigated the scene Christmas morning. The chair was pushed way back...Santa must be a pretty big guy!

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Everyone was dressed up Christmas eve in anticipation of what was to come. Click "continue reading" to see more family photos from Christmas day.

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Mama, Drew and Will on Christmas day.

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Grandma Danz and Aunt Donelda with the boys.

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Daddy, Drew, Mama and Will on Christmas day.

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The entire Danz family later in the week.

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Dec 25 2006

Merry Christmas!

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From the Danz family to you and yours, have a very merry Christmas!

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And, turducken isn't a myth or urban legend, it's for real.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

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Nov 11 2006

Veterans Day 2006

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On this Veterans Day, 2006, our deepest gratitude and admiration is given to all who have served on behalf of our nation. Thank you.

I couldn't help but notice the MSN media coverage of the holiday seemed rather identical to that of a different holiday, Memorial Day, which has a much more narrower focus. Now realize my criticism or just observation is premised by whether you can ever honor too much those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. And, if you want to say you can never honor them too much, I can only agree and the discussion ends here.

My observation is that the MSN coverage was not on all veterans, as dictated by the nature and purpose of Veterans Day, but rather, aside from parade coverage, almost entirely on those who have died complete with images of wounded, coffins, grave markers and the playing of taps. Don't get me wrong, it was all very respectful, but the focus in the multiple coverages that I caught was almost entirely on the dead. In other words, a Memorial Day news story. This leaves the following options:

1) You can never honor too much those that have died in service to our nation so, never mind.
2) The MSM is just ignorant and doesn't actually know the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
3) The MSM knew exactly what they were doing, don't give a crap about honoring those that serve, in fact look down upon the majority of those who serve, and were taking the opportunity of the holiday make a political statement by inordinately focusing on the dead.

I hope it's one, I doubt it's two and, if it's three, there is a special place in hell reserved for those who play politics with valiant souls.

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Nov 1 2006

Halloween Wrap-Up

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551-tigger-costume.jpgFrom the time we first brought up the subject of Halloween and dressing up as something this year, Drew was insistent that he didn't want to wear a costume. After a few weeks of showing him pictures from last year, showing him kids dress up on the internet and reading several books about Halloween, we finally hit on the secret formula to get Drew to dress up as something...costume = candy!

So, with Halloween just a few days away, Mary pulled out the in-case-he-changes-his-mind costume...Tigger However, Drew was adamant that he did not need a nose and whiskers in order to get candy. He had out smarted us as we had failed to include face painting in the candy formula.

Drew and I wound up going trick-or-treating while Will the bumble-bee stayed home and helped give out candy.

Happy Halloween!

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October means it's time for the annual trip to Pumpkin Town to get some pumpkins for Halloween. Drew and Will paused momentarily before heading on to more fun activities...

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As you can see, the highlight of the day was the inflatable slide and the pony ride. Happy Halloween!

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Venesha O. Richards
Forever Age 26
Secretary with Marsh & McLennan
100th floor of 1 World Trade Center
North Brunswick, N.J.


Venesha Richards: A Dream of Paris

When Venesha Rodgers caught a short ride home from work at Bradlees in North Brunswick, N.J., her lift, Hopeton Richards, instantly realized she was just the person he had been looking for: fun, smart, an active Christian and, like Mr. Richards, an émigré from Jamaica. Not only that, she lived around the corner. In July 1998, four years after that five-minute car ride, they were married.

Mrs. Richards was a one-woman power plant. As a young mother, a student in technology systems at Pace University, holding a full-time job, she still helped run trips for her church youth group.

Before baby Kayla was born last year, she and Mr. Richards traveled to Mexico; Key West, Fla.; the Bahamas; and the Poconos. "Ven always wanted to go to Paris," Mr. Richards said.

Mrs. Richards, 26, "was more of a mama to me than I was to her," said Lelith Grant, her mother, who worked night shifts as a nurse so she and Mrs. Richards could swap child-minding chores. On school holidays, Mrs. Richards took her little brother and sister to work at Marsh & McLennan on the 100th floor of 1 World Trade Center.

Heading home, she always made a beeline. "She couldn't wait to see Kayla take her first step," said Mr. Richards. "She took it three days after the incident."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 28, 2001.


Venesha Richards, 26, Mom Who Led a Vibrant Life

During the Brunswick Church of God's annual Labor Day picnic, Venesha Richards was where she loved to be -- surrounded by children.

"She was playing ball with the kids.... You always would see her with the kids," said Ivette Cox, a family friend.

As the church's assistant youth director, Mrs. Richards, 26, spent a lot of time around young people.

"What I loved about her most was that she was so energetic," said Cox, who referred to her as her niece. "When she was pregnant you couldn't tell that she was pregnant even when she was big. She would walk and dance and you couldn't believe it. She was vibrant."

Mrs. Richards enjoyed an active lifestyle, her family and friends said. Among her favorite things to do were to travel -- having been to Europe and more recently to Mexico -- and to chaperon children from her church on an annual South Jersey camping trip.

Mrs. Richards, who moved to New Jersey from Jamaica when she was 9, graduated from Franklin High School in Franklin Township and later received her bachelor's degree from Berkeley College in Woodbridge in 1995.

She landed a job as a secretary at Marsh & McLennan on the 100th floor of the World Trade Center, working in the risk management division. She also was to receive a graduate degree in computer science and information technology at Pace University in New York next year.

"She was the best friend I had. We talked about everything," said her mother, Lelith Bergen of Franklin Township. Because she cared for Mrs. Richards' infant daughter while she was at work, Mrs. Bergen said they saw each other every day.

A whiz with computers, people often turned to her for help. Mrs. Richards helped design and print her church programs. Last month, she helped her mother organize a fashion show fund-raiser by printing the tickets and programs.

The last time her mother saw her was the day before the Sept. 11 attacks. "My last words to her were 'I love you,' and I didn't know it would be the last time I would say that," she said.

Mrs. Richards, who lived with her husband, Hopeton, and her daughter, Kayla, in North Brunswick, spoke about her family often, especially her daughter.

"Not a day would go by that she didn't talk about her family," said Hopeton Richards. They were both looking forward to celebrating their daughter's first birthday on Oct. 24.

"The one thing she really wanted to do was celebrate her daughter's birthday," her husband said. "She wanted to see her walk."

In addition, to her mother, husband and daughter, Mrs. Richards is survived by three brothers, Omar Rogers of North Brunswick, Shaun Rogers of Lawrenceville and Naquan Bergen of Franklin Township; a sister, Queena Bergen of Franklin Township; her father, Stanley Rogers of Baltimore; her maternal grandparents, Hagle Brown of Jamaica and Lloyd Grant of Franklin Township; and her paternal grandmother, Ida Rogers of Jamaica; and several nieces, nephews and other relatives.

A memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday at Brunswick Church of God, 48 Lee Ave., New Brunswick.

Profile by Alicia Grey published in THE STAR-LEDGER.

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The 2,996 Project: on September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers are each honoring an individual victim of 9/11. Also, check out:

Honoring Mari-Rae Sopper, a childhood classmate.

Honoring Vincent Danz, same name but unrelated.

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491-11th-anniversary.jpgMary and I celebrated our 11th anniversary today. We dropped the munchkins off at Mary's parents and enjoyed an absolutely incredible dinner at the Tulsa Warren Duck Club for nearly three hours laughing the whole time. Some of the humor was the result of the success of last year's 10th anniversary surprise (not blogged due to travel) pulled off with the assistance of many individuals across several states all working together flawlessly.

After driving to Chicago for Labor Day weekend last year, Mary and I went out to an incredible steakhouse where ten red roses were waiting on the table. The evening was topped off when the waitress brought out dessert (with half the restaurant’s staff watching) which included a diamond anniversary band for all the years Mary has put up with me. Mary was overwhelmed by my sneakiness orchestrated with the assistance of the jeweler, florist, restaurant staff and my sister.

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By contrast, this year was simply a fine dinner out with eleven roses waiting on the table. Despite my explicit instructions to a local florist...spellings included...the card with the flowers was for Mary Danza and, even better, it wished her a "Happy 11th Anniversary, Love Dawn." And, despite my explaining the whole one flower for each year thing, there were a full dozen roses. We wound up laughing the whole evening. Fortunately, the dinner and service at the Duck Club were incredible. We couldn't decide on an appetizer so we ordered two along with salads, entrees and dessert:

493-duck-it-up.jpgDuck Fromage (four cheese blend with duck, herbs, and spices served with toasted pita points), Mushroom Ragout and Polenta (domestic and wild mushrooms cooked in butter, red wine and herbs, served over parmesan polenta with white truffle oil), Mary-Duck Club Salad (seasonal greens, candied walnuts, pears, gorgonzola and yellow tomatoes tossed in sweet poppy seed dressing), Don-Ceasar Salad (made table-side with fresh garlic, eggs...skipped the anchovy), Mary-Blackened Beef Tenderloin (dusted with cajun seasoning, served with bearnaise sauce, whipped potatoes and chef's vegetables), Don-Signature Sampler Blackened Beef Tenderloin (same as Mary's) and Rotisserie Duck (Long Island duck bathed in blend of spices, rotisserie roasted and served with orange sauce), Chocolate Torte Dessert with a chocolate Happy Anniversary banner. (Leftovers are wrapped up in their signature foil duck.)

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May 29 2006

Memorial Day 2006

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I took the above photo at Arlington National Cemetery on July 3, 2005. I was trying to take some photographs that would convey how the headstones went on seemingly without end. I've visited Arlington three times and even aerial photographs can't fully portray its enormity.

Memorial Day is a sacred holiday with a very narrowly defined purpose: to honor those that have died serving our country in the military. Second perhaps only to the 4th of July or to certain religious holidays, Memorial Day honors those that made the ultimate sacrifice to make everything else possible. If there were only farmers, teachers, lawyers and doctors there would be no Independence Day and, just as certain, we wouldn't be celebrating the religious holidays of our choosing. Last year, I gave an example of how many people, even smart well educated persons, don't have the slightest clue what Memorial Day is about. I suppose ignorance is included in the freedoms that so many have died for.

439-dogpile-jump.pngThis year, I found something else that annoyed me. The homepage on my computer is Google.com and I clicked on it today expecting to see one of Google's famous holiday logos. After all, Google has already had specialty logos this year for, in order: New Years, Louis Braille's Birthday, Martin Luther King Day, Mozart's Birthday, the Lunar New Year, the Winter Games, Percival Lowell's Birthday, St. Patrick's Day, the Persian New Year, Mother's Day and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Birthday.

440-dogpile-ball.pngIn the past, Google has also seen fit to honor with special logos such deserving subjects as: National Library Week, World Water Day, SpaceShipOne winning the the X Prize, Bloomsday (I had to look this one up), Venus Transit, Gaston Julia's Birthday, and Piet Mondrian's Birthday. (No, I didn't make any of those up.) And rest assured, Google has no problem honoring holidays which are only pertinent to one nation as they do each year for America's 4th of July and have also done for such other holidays as Canada Day, France's Bastille Day and Swiss National Day.

I surfed around to other internet search engines. Most don't recognize special holidays thus avoiding Google's error of omission. However, two search engines deserve special recognition: Ask.com and Dogpile. Ask.com had a very respective American flag ribbon which linked to their search results for Memorial Day. Dogpile, however, wins the day with their normally playful mascot sitting in reverence by the Vietnam War Memorial with a bouquet of flowers at his feet and the American flag flying in the background. Dogpile also had a link to its search results for Memorial Day. Well done Dogpile, shame on you Google.

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Every time I learn something new about Google's political slant, I'm bothered more and more. In the last presidential election, 98% of Google's employees donated to Democrats. Lately, Google has been purging conservative news sites from its hand-picked Google News service under the guise that such sources contain hate speech while refusing to eliminate Muslim sites that preach Islamic supremacism, jihad ideology and anti-semitism which are much more virulent and hateful than most any of the purged conservative websites. I think I'll change my homepage for a week and see if I can get used to using another search engine.

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May 20 2006

Armed Forces Day 2006

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Our flag holder broke this week during some high winds despite it being a fairly sturdy all metal bracket. We always try to take our flag down before a storm but, in Oklahoma, you don't always have much notice before some high winds come along. A broken flag pole holder is simply the cost of doing business...if your business is flying a flag 24-7.

I hadn't had time to replace the holder yet. So, this morning Drew and I went out and we planted two small flags in the ground near our front door and two on either side of our mailbox. After putting the last one in the ground, I looked up and down both sides of our street...nothing...not a flag in sight. How sad. Hopefully, things will be be different on the 29th.

To everyone serving in our Armed Forces, from everyone in the Danz family...Thank You.

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Apr 16 2006

Happy Easter

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Happy Easter everyone!

(More pics from Easter after the jump.)

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Drew preparing for the Easter Bunny's visit by coloring eggs and setting out carrots.

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It looks like the carrots were a success in attracting the Easter Bunny. He left lots of great gifts for one good little boy.

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Drew on an Easter egg hunt at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

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The end of a happy Easter Day.

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Dec 25 2005

Christmas 2005

Happy Birthday Jesus

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And Merry Christmas to All!


"'Is the Christmas spirit still alive?' some ask. Well, you bet it is. The Christmas spirit of peace, hope, and love is the spirit Americans carry with them all year round, everywhere we go."

Ronald Reagan - Radio Address to the Nation, December 24, 1983.

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After we saw Santa Clause on Friday night went to see RHEMA Bible Church's Christmas Lights Extravaganza. It's a holiday must see in Tulsa. The 110 acre Broken Arrow campus is covered with millions of lights each year. Admission is free and carriage rides are available. Here are three pics, six more after the jump.

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317pickingouttree.jpgToday we picked out our Christmas tree. I squatted down for a picture with Drew and he squatted down with me. We are both wearing our University of Illinois hats. Go Illini!

Now, you'd think all the commotion associated with bringing a ten foot Christmas tree into the house would scare away Joey our cat, otherwise known as Mr. Run-Cowering-Under-The-
Bed-At-The-Slightest-Sound-Of-Distant-Thunder. However, to say he was very interested would be an understatement. Immediately, upon dropping the tree down into its holder, he was underneath sniffing and...mapping a route up!

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Click "continue reading" to see what happened next [updated].

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Joey worked his way about six feet up and laid his head down just as happy as he could be. He used to be an outdoor cat in the middle of nowhere and tree climbing was one of his favorite activities. It wasn't uncommon to see him race 20 or 30 feet up a tree, sniff around a little, climb down, sprint across the ground to another tree and repeat the process. Now, he's afraid to stay outside more then five minutes at a time before he's crying at the door to be let back in. I'll bet the tree brought back great memories for him. I just hope he's gotten the need to climb this one out of his system. (The picture quality is low because it is a video frame.)

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After we hung lights on the top of the tree using a ladder, we put the ladder aside, and Joey took the opportunity to use it as a perch for watching our activities. We've had a tree with Joey around before but it's been a few years due to a number of circumstances. I'm sure things will calm down and the tree and cat will get along fine...*fingers crossed*.

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[Update] Joey has not thought about climbing the tree since we put the lights on. He's happy just to sit under it and dream about the treats and toys that Santa will bring him.

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Nov 29 2005

Thanksgiving 2005

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The three of us drove up to Chicago (Palatine) for Thanksgiving. We got in after midnight Wednesday night/Thursday morning. I then got up at 6:30am so that I could race in the 5 mile Turkey Trot with my best friend Harry. (We like to do stupid things together.) The temperature was 17 degrees with 20 mph sustained winds and 30+ mph gusts resulting in a wind chill well below zero...perfect running weather.

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We all, including the Turkey Trot Turkey, then went to the hospital to visit my mom. She had presents ready for Drew's birthday.



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Drew opened his presents, read some books with his Grandma (Ma Danz) and thanked her with a bunch of kisses.



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That evening we went to Donelda's where Drew got to celebrate his birthday for a third time. By then, he had become an expert package opener.



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Friday, mom got out of the hospital and we all went to Donelda's for a day late Thanksgiving dinner. Drew got in some more time reading with Grandma.





Donelda did a phenomenal job making from scratch: turkey, stuffing, corn casserole, mashed yams with marshmallows, mashed potatoes, fresh beans, cranberries, gravy, rolls and a pumpkin pie!

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Nov 24 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

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Nov 11 2005

Veterans Day 2005

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                     It is the soldier, not the reporter,
                     who has given us freedom of the press.

                     It is the soldier, not the poet,
                     who has given us freedom of speech.

                     It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
                     who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

                     It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
                     who has given us the right to a fair trial.

                     It is the soldier, who salutes the flag,
                     who serves under the flag,
                     and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
                     who allows the protester to burn the flag.

                     - Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC

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Oct 31 2005

Happy Halloween

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Sep 2 2005

Ten Years Ago Today

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Jun 19 2005

Father's Day 2005

223whosyourdaddy.jpgI had a great Father's Day. We went to church where Drew was entertained by a little boy who was sitting alone because his parents were in the choir and helping out elsewhere.

After lunch we saw Star Wars Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and picked up some free "Who's Your Daddy" posters and then enjoyed burgers and dogs at the in-laws, followed by going to bed early and getting a rare nine hours of sleep.







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Jun 14 2005

Flag Day 2005

Danz Family Flag

In recognition of Flag Day, I am starting the Flag Project wherein I will post a collection of pictures of the American Flag flying at people's homes. I am not interested in any flag other than Old Glory. I am also not interested in American flags flying just anywhere. I want a picture of your flag, flying in front of where you live.

It would help if you would make the picture 300 pixels wide. But, if you have trouble doing that, I will do it for you. Send your pictures to:

Email the Flag Project

The permanent address of the Flag Project is: www.danzfamily.com/flag.htm

(Of course, I reserve the right to alter, edit, not use, blah, blah, blah, your photo or anything else you send me in any way I want.)

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220happybday.jpgOne year ago today, I put up the first posts on the Danz Family blog. I've maintained the Danzfamily.com website since 2002 and had some form of internet presence since 1998 (primarily through a now defunct fee service). This is my 180th entry. I've received 424 comments and 32 trackbacks from approximately 28,000 visitors (blog only).

Besides an introductory post, my first post was about the passing of President Ronald Reagan and the opportunity I had to meet him. The most popular post, by far, was about Sgt. Rafael Peralta and the incredible sacrifice he made while fighting in Iraq which has so far received 31 comments and several thousand visitors.

My better half now refers to my efforts here as my "scrapbooking" after I compared it to her real world scrapbooking hobby. I've greatly enjoyed the interaction I've had with my readers and the ability to keep family and friends updated. I'm looking forward to another year...

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It is hard to conceive the epic scope of this decisive battle that foreshadowed the end of Hitler's dream of Nazi domination. Operation Overlord was the largest air, land, and sea operation ever undertaken before or since June 6, 1944. The landing included over 5,000 ships, 11,000 airplanes, and over 150,000 service men.

217ddaylogo.pngAfter years of meticulous planning and seemingly endless training, for the Allied Forces, it all came down to this: The boat ramp goes down, then jump, swim, run, and crawl to the cliffs. Many of the first young men (most not yet 20 years old) entered the surf carrying eighty pounds of equipment. They faced over 200 yards of open beach before reaching the first natural feature offering any protection. Blanketed by small-arms fire and bracketed by artillery, they found themselves in hell.

When it was over, the Allied Forces had suffered nearly 10,000 casualties; more than 4,000 were dead. Yet somehow, due to planning and preparation, and due to the valor, fidelity, and sacrifice of the Allied Forces, Fortress Europe had been breached.

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Ronald ReaganOn this the first anniversary of President Ronald Reagan's death, I replayed one of my favorite speeches of his. In all the memorials after his death, there were many montages of videos and sound bites taken from his various speeches. However, I heard almost nothing quoted from this speech, although it is easily one of his greatest. Simple oversight or evidence of the networks' outright hatred of religion--I have my opinion. It's fifteen minutes long but well worth a listen: President Reagan's remarks at an ecumenical prayer breakfast in Dallas, Texas on August 23, 1984.

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May 30 2005

Memorial Day 2005

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Last year, just before Memorial Day, I was in a meeting with an attorney who, although born, raised and educated in the United States was completely clueless as to what Memorial Day was all about. Despite being highly educated and easily more intelligent than myself, she believed Memorial Day was a day to remember any and all lost loved ones.

In discussing everyone's plans for the upcoming holiday, I commented that I didn't have any plans other than being sure to put our flag out and to remember all those that had died so that we could be there that day. She responded that her and her family would be remembering her aunt that had passed away at an early age. I was somewhat confused and asked if her aunt had been in the military. She responded that her aunt had not been in the service. I replied that Memorial Day was really about remembering those who have died in our nation's service. She responded confidently that Memorial Day (she emphasized "Memorial" as if this would make it clearer to me) was about remembering everyone who has died. I just silently nodded and tried to hide my disappointment and disbelief.

Let's get one thing perfectly clear. And, on this there is no debate. Memorial Day is a very specific well defined day of remembrance solely for those who have died in our nation's service. It's not even about honoring those that are currently serving in our armed forces. That day is Armed Forces Day which was just held on the 21st of last month. And, this most sacred of all days, certainly isn't about remembering some aunt who never saw the inside of a barracks or held a rifle and who didn't selflessly and heroically lay down her life so that the American people could enjoy the freedoms that are the envy of the world.

Sure, you can celebrate the weighing of people name Chris or Christine on December 25. You can celebrate everyone's birthday on January 1 and you can celebrate how much you love Doritos on July 4. It's a free country. We're not going to chop your head off as happens in some other countries if you don't toe the line. But, if you want to be right and show some respect for those that paid the ultimate price so that we could sit back and be dumb, fat and lazy if we so choose, then you'll spend a few minutes today remembering those who have died in our nation's service. Ideally, you will take a few moments at 3:00 p.m. (local time) during the "National Moment of Remembrance" to pay your respect.

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Ten years ago today, sometime around 6:30 am, I broke snuck into an unoccupied floor of the City Place Building in downtown Oklahoma City. It was the building I worked in at my first job in Oklahoma City so I was familiar with the view it offered and I knew I would have a fairly descent view of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building implosion scheduled for 7:00 am that morning. I set up my Canon EOS 650 with a telephoto lens on a tripod, took some wide angle photos, zoomed in, took one more photo, set the camera to continuous exposure (approximately 3 frames a second), got reasonably comfortable, put my finger on the shutter button, looked toward what remained of the Murrah Building and waited.

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Less than 150 pounds of explosives had been carefully placed at 420 locations by CDI (Controlled Demolition, Inc.). At 7:01 am, the button was pushed to implode the building. A split second later, I pushed and held the shutter button on my camera. Seven seconds later it was done. The second photo below is the first one I took of the implosion. The next three photos are 3, 8 and 12 frames later. I waited some time for the smoke to clear before taking the last photo.

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Shortly after the implosion, the bodies of the remaining three victims of the April 19th bombing were removed from the rubble. My story about the day of the bombing.

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May 21 2005

Armed Forces Day 2005

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President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.

On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department--the Department of Defense.

It is fitting and proper that we devote one day each year to paying special tribute to those whose constancy and courage constitute one of the bulwarks guarding the freedom of this nation and the peace of the free world.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953

Today let us, as Americans, honor the American fighting man. For it is he--the soldier, the sailor, the Airman, the Marine--who has fought to preserve freedom. It is his valor that has given renewed hope to the free world that by working together in discipline and faith our ideals of freedom will always prevail.

Admiral Forrest P. Sherman

Word to the Nation: Guard zealously your right to serve in the Armed Forces, for without them, there will be no other rights to guard.

President John F. Kennedy, 1962

This is the day on which we have the welcome opportunity to pay special tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces...to all the individuals who are in the service of their country all over the world. Armed Forces Day won't be a matter of parades and receptions for a good many of them. They will all be in line of duty and some of them may give their lives in that duty.

It is our most earnest hope that those who are in positions of peril, that those who have made exceptional sacrifices, yes, and those who are afflicted with plain drudgery and boredom, may somehow know that we hold them in exceptional esteem. Perhaps if we are a little more conscious of our debt of honored affection they may be a little more aware of how much we think of them.

New York Times, May 17, 1952

(Armed Forces Day is celebrated annually on the third Saturday of May. Armed Forces Week begins on the second Saturday of May and ends on the third Sunday of May, the day after Armed Forces Day. Because of their unique training schedules, National Guard and Reserve units may celebrate Armed Forces Day/Week over any period in May.)

America Supports YouNews About the War on Terrorism

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178desertone.jpgTwenty-five years ago today eight of our nation's finest died during Operation Eagle Claw, an aborted attempt to rescue American hostages held captive in Iran. Three Marines died aboard a modified CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter which collided with a C-130 Hercules aircraft killing five airmen aboard it. The staging area inside Iran where the collision took place was Desert one.

Capt. Richard L. Bakke, 34, Long Beach, CA. Air Force.
Sgt. John D. Harvey, 21, Roanoke, VA. Marine Corps.
Cpl. George N. Holmes, Jr., 22, Pine Bluff, AR. Marine Corps.
Staff Sgt. Dewey L. Johnson, 32, Jacksonville, NC. Marine Corps.
Capt. Harold L. Lewis, 35, Mansfield, CT. Air Force.
Tech. Sgt. Joel C. Mayo, 34, Bonifay, FL. Air Force.
Capt. Lynn D. McIntosh, 33, Valdosta, GA. Air Force.
Capt. Charles T. McMillan II, 28, Corrytown, TN. Air Force.

I believe it was one of the lowest points in modern American military history and no small contributor to President Carter's subsequent defeat. After 444 days in captivity, the hostages were released immediately after President Reagan took the oath of office.

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Ten years ago today at 9:02 am I was sitting in my office in Oklahoma City when I heard an explosion that literally shook my desk. I was on the twelfth floor of a twelve story building and my first thought was that a boiler had exploded on the roof or possibly a tanker truck had exploded at street level immediately in front of my building. I would have doubted the explosion could have come from a block away and thought it impossible that it had happened four blocks away.

I got up from my desk and walked out of my office where I met a coworker who had just left his office. I had been with the firm for just five weeks and asked my coworker jokingly, “Does this happen often here?” He smiled and responded that it did not.

A secretary whose station faced north alerted everyone to the cloud of smoke which appeared to be rising from the Federal Court House three blocks north of our building.

In the aerial photo, my building, the Robinson Renaissance is at the bottom with my office in yellow, the Federal Bankruptcy Court House is three blocks north with the red roof, the Federal Court House is attached to the north side of it and the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building is represented by the top red rectangle.

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At this point it was apparent that this was a significant event and it appeared that the Federal Court House which I had just been in the previous week was the site of the explosion. My father, in Illinois, was always on top of the news often alerting me to Oklahoma weather conditions prior to my learning of them. I realized that sometime during the day he would hear about an explosion at a court house in Oklahoma City. I decided to call him to let him know that I was OK so that he and, more likely my mother, would not worry. I called home, my father answered and I relayed to him what little we knew or thought we knew at the time and assured him that I was alright. He was very thankful that I had called and said that he’d relay the information to my mom and sister.

I then called my wife, fiancée at the time, in Tulsa to tell her the same information. Unlike my dad, her attitude was much more casual and she initially refused to relay the information to her parents. Within five minutes after the explosion I had notified those that mattered of the events and that I was not involved which was a good thing since ten minutes later the phone lines in and out of Oklahoma City were so jammed that no calls got through for the next day or so.

Everyone in the office was glued to the windows watching the smoke rise and emergency vehicles converge. Several radios were on but they offered little more information than what we could already observe. The father of a young associate in the office was a federal judge and at this point in time we still thought that the explosion had taken place in the Federal Court House. The associate was indecisive about what she should do as she was obviously very concerned about her father. She expressed a desire to go to the court house but was hesitant. I offered to go with her and she accepted. She and I made our way towards the Federal Court House but were intercepted by police who were already in the process of cordoning off the area. After wandering around the perimeter for a while we eventually ran into her father in the lobby of a building. He was in the process of looking for his two daughters who worked downtown. Remember, by then, there was no phone service.

I eventually went back to the office where after a while we were all told to go home. Even four blocks away there were many building with windows broken. The severity of the damage away from the federal building is one of the lesser known effects of the Oklahoma City bombing. People who toured the area shortly afterwards often commented how they didn’t realize the extent of the damage to other buildings. Several other buildings had collapsed or subsequently had to be torn down due to structural damage and over 300 buildings suffered some form of damage including ones as far as ten blocks away.

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The diagram shows the Murrah Building in the center with damaged buildings in brown.

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Jan 1 2005

Happy New Year 2005

Happy New Year


May the new year be peaceful and prosperous to you and yours.

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Dec 25 2004

Merry Christmas 2004

Happy Birthday Jesus


And Merry Christmas to All!


"'Is the Christmas spirit still alive?' some ask. Well, you bet it is. The Christmas spirit of peace, hope, and love is the spirit Americans carry with them all year round, everywhere we go."

Ronald Reagan - Radio Address to the Nation, December 24, 1983.

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Nov 11 2004

Veterans Day 2004

                     It is the soldier, not the reporter,
                     who has given us freedom of the press.

                     It is the soldier, not the poet,
                     who has given us freedom of speech.

                     It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
                     who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

                     It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
                     who has given us the right to a fair trial.

                     It is the soldier, who salutes the flag,
                     who serves under the flag,
                     and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
                     who allows the protester to burn the flag.

                     - Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC

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On this Veterans Day, my words are far too insufficient to express the level of gratitude I have for each of America's 25 million living veterans. I can only say, inadequately: Thank You.

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228 Years Ago Today...

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On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted 12-0 -- New York abstained -- in favor of Richard Henry Lee's resolution "that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States."

On July 4, the Declaration of Independence drafted by Thomas Jefferson -- heavily edited by Congress -- was adopted without dissent. On July 8, the Declaration was publicly proclaimed in Philadelphia. On July 15, Congress learned that the New York Legislature had decided to endorse the Declaration. On Aug. 2, a parchment copy was presented to the Congress for signature. Most of the 56 men who put their name to the document did so that day.

And then?

We tend to forget that to sign the Declaration of Independence was to commit an act of treason -- and the punishment for treason was death. To publicly accuse George III of "repeated injuries and usurpations," to announce that Americans were therefore "Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown," was a move fraught with danger -- so much so that the names of the signers were kept secret for six months.

They were risking everything, and they knew it. That is the meaning of the Declaration's soaring last sentence:

"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

Most of the signers survived the war; several went on to illustrious careers.

Two of them became presidents of the United States, and among the others were future vice presidents, senators, and governors. But not all were so fortunate.

Nine of the 56 died during the Revolution, and never tasted American independence.

Five were captured by the British.

Eighteen had their homes -- great estates, some of them - looted or burnt by the enemy.

Some lost everything they owned.

Two were wounded in battle.

Two others were the fathers of sons killed or captured during the war.

"Our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." It was not just a rhetorical flourish.

We all recognize John Hancock's signature, but who ever notices the names beneath his? William Ellery, Thomas Nelson, Richard Stockton, Button Gwinnett, Francis Lewis -- to most of us, these are names without meaning.

But each represents a real human being, some of whom paid dearly "for the support of this Declaration" and American independence.

Lewis Morris of New York, for example, must have known when he signed the Declaration that he was signing away his fortune. Within weeks, the British ravaged his estate, destroyed his vast woodlands, butchered his cattle, and sent his family fleeing for their lives.

Another New Yorker, William Floyd, was also forced to flee when the British plundered his property. He and his family lived as refugees for seven years without income. The strain told on his wife; she died two years before the war ended.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, an aristocratic planter who had invested heavily in shipping, saw most of his vessels captured by the British navy. His estates were largely ruined, and by the end of his life he was a pauper.

The home of William Ellery, a Rhode Island delegate, was burned to the ground during the occupation of Newport.

Thomas Heyward Jr., Edward Rutledge, and Arthur Middleton, three members of the South Carolina delegation, all suffered the destruction or vandalizing of their homes at the hands of enemy troops. All three were captured when Charleston fell in 1780, and spent a year in a British prison.

"Our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

Thomas Nelson Jr. of Virginia raised $2 million for the patriots' cause on his own personal credit. The government never reimbursed him, and repaying the loans wiped out his entire estate. During the battle of Yorktown, his house, which had been seized by the British, was occupied by General Cornwallis. Nelson quietly urged the gunners to fire on his own home. They did so, destroying it. He was never again a man of wealth. He died bankrupt and was buried in an unmarked grave.

Richard Stockton, a judge on New Jersey's supreme court, was betrayed by loyalist neighbors. He was dragged from his bed and thrown in prison, where he was brutally beaten and starved. His lands were devastated, his horses stolen, his library burnt. He was freed in 1777, but his health had so deteriorated that he died within five years. His family lived on charity for the rest of their lives.

In the British assault on New York, Francis Lewis's home and property were pillaged. His wife was captured and imprisoned; so harshly was she treated that she died soon after her release. Lewis spent the remainder of his days in relative poverty.

And then there was John Hart. The speaker of the New Jersey Assembly, he was forced to flee in the winter of 1776, at the age of 65, from his dying wife's bedside. While he hid in forests and caves, his home was demolished, his fields and mill laid waste, and his 13 children put to flight. When it was finally safe for him to return, he found his wife dead, his children missing, and his property decimated. He never saw any of his family again and died, a shattered man, in 1779.

The men who signed that piece of parchment in 1776 were the elite of their colonies. They were men of means and social standing, but for the sake of liberty, they pledged it all -- their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

"Our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor"
Our Founding Fathers paid the price for the United States of America.
By Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe Columnist

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