Thursday, May 31, 2007


I had a great Memorial Day weekend just a few days ago.  I hope you did, too.

There were certainly what I call “some tough news items” to hear about and read about after the weekend was over.  I’ll probably spell his name wrong, but what a tragedy that Marquese Hill died in that freak jetski accident in Louisiana.  He was only 24.  He was apparently trying to save the life of the young woman who was with him, since she could not swim. Even more tragic was the loss of a 16-year-old boy from Central Street, Framingham.  He’d gone to swim at the old Milford quarries.  There have been several tragedies at the Milford quarries over the past couple of decades.  This kid’s death was particularly tragic.  He lost his footing on a steep wooded path, sending him off a cliff.  The boy grabbed a good-sized tree branch but the branch snapped and the boy plunged to his death.  There are all sorts of “editorial comments” I could make and we all could make, but I want to spare the family undue pain.  If we are all honest, most of us did things when we were teenagers which were not wise.  We were fortunate enough to get away with them, but this boy was not.  In addition, as a result of a police high speed chase in Somerville, a bright and well liked man...just an innocent guy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time...was killed.

It DOES seem ironic that these events happened on Memorial Day weekend, because on Memorial Day weekend we remember THE DEAD.  Specifically, we remember our fallen military heroes, but most people use it as a time to remember all of their loved ones who have passed on. 

I know, I know, this is all pretty morbid.  It is.  Don’t get me wrong, because, again, I had a great Memorial Day weekend.  I do believe we should get out there and enjoy life when we can.  But we DO need to be reminded that life is precious and that THIS LIFE can end at any time!

My advice is twofold: 
1.  Live life to the fullest.
2.  In the words of a famous bumper sticker:  “JESUS:  DON’T BE CAUGHT DEAD WITHOUT HIM!”

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44)

If a born-again Christian is honest (and I hope most of them are) they’ll tell you that Matthew 5:44 is one of the hardest verses to fulfill- as important as it is.  This past Sunday morning at our church worship service we used this verse as a basis to pray for those who have recently vandalized our church building.

Last week, our building was vandalized in three ways:
FIRST, a window was smashed.  The damage gave every bit of indication that this was far more than an accident caused by a kid with a ball.  Glass shards were driven over eight feet into the building from the window, and in fact, small glass shards were EVERYWHERE.  I really did not “need” to find that last Tuesday, and it complicated my day.  I believe the smashed glass was an act of irresponsible violence (hate?) against our church.  I thank God that Silton Glass company was very responsive when I called them.  A young man came out and within a couple of hours, he had the glass replaced.  He did a first-class job.  I’ve heard some mixed reviews about Silton Glass, but I have to tell you, they’ve always done a GREAT job on our church building and I’d highly recommend them to any business owner or homeowner.
SECOND, I arrived at the church building on Friday morning to find a huge scrawling of (what I consider) gang graffiti.  It was on the parking lot side of the building.  I am glad I had plenty of extra yellow and brown paint, but this was another headache I didn’t need.  It involved at least  90 minutes of wasted time as I painted out the graffiti.
THIRD, this past Sunday morning, I arrived at the building to find that the “oil fill cap” on the building had been removed.  I thank God I DID find it in the parking lot, and I secured it on with a wrench.  (The oil delivery guys like to just give it a hand turn and not bother with a wrench so it makes things easier for them.  Sorry, Jamie Oil, but from now on your guys have got to use a wrench!) 

Admittedly the third incident was the least serious, although something like that always leaves you wondering if someone dropped dirt or marblesor something into your oil line.  I admit that’s unlikely- but it IS possible.

In the (almost) thirteen years we’ve owned this building we’ve probably experienced 80 acts of  serious vandalism and probably 400 acts of minor vandalism.  (For those who were wondering, items 1 and 2 above are serious vandalism and item 3 above is minor vandalism.)  The thing that surprised me is that we had 3 of them in one week!  THAT MANY in one week is kind of unusual.

A friend asked me if I thought such incidents would be taken more seriously if they happened in Framingham’s northside instead of deep in Framingham’s southside.  My experience is, I think the further north and further west a property is located in Framingham, the more seriously an incident of vandalism would be taken.  I’ve lived in Framingham for twenty years and we’ve had the church located in this deep southside neighborhood for thirteen years, and that attitude (“Well what do you EXPECT in the southside?”) is rampant.

In the interest of full disclosure:  When I was a 13-year-old 8th grader, my friend and I entered an open Episcopal church building (I guess it was open for prayer and reflection) and doodled on some of their record books in the office area.  It was what I’d call “minor vandalism”, but it WAS vandalism nonetheless, and it WAS wrong.  Should I apologize to Trinity Episcopal Church in Canton after all these years (39 years, to be exact)?  Maybe. 

On Sunday, the person who led us in prayer prayed that the perpetrator would find Christ as his Personal Savior and maybe even go into the ministry.  Well, considering what happened in my life, I know such a thing IS possible.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?  So run, that ye may obtain.”  (I Corinthians 9:24)

Rhode Island has it all over Missouri - well, at least when it comes to RECYCLING, Rhode Island has it all over Missouri.

I know I previously mentioned I’d be saying more about my May 1-12 trip to Missouri, and so here is some more.  Don’t get me wrong, I actually love Missouri and I’m seriously thinking of retiring there someday (although I have to talk my wife into it).  There are many positive things that can be said about Missouri, but when it comes to how Missouri residents handle trash and recycling, I can only speak negatively.  It is common, in fact, it’s routine for Missouri residents to just throw everything in the trash and not care about recycling.  When I say everything in the trash, I do pretty much mean EVERYTHING.  Sadly, “red states” tend to have bad records when it comes to recycling.  I will say that my friend Ed who lives in suburban Dallas, TX says Texans are really good when it comes to recycling, but Ed admits that his home state of Missouri does an abominable job in this area.  If I lived in Missouri, I’d probably be driving everybody crazy and I’d be thought of as a flaming liberal (I’m actually a conservative Republican) because I’d be pushing the issue of recycling.

I really am not a “recycling nut”.  Sometimes I do throw stuff in the trash which could have been recycled.   But, I probably recycle at least half of my “potentially recyclable” items and that’s a whole lot better than Missourians do.

As good as Massachusetts does when it comes to recycling, there is a state which beats us by a mile:  Rhode Island.   Woonsocket, Rhode Island is instituting the same program which has been in effect for awhile in Warwick, Rhode Island.  It’s a GREAT idea, and I wish Framingham, Massachusetts would adopt it.  Each home is given 3 sixty-four pound capacity trash bins on wheels.  One is green, one is blue and one is gray.  The gray one is for regular old trash.  The others are for recycling, one for paper and one for cans, plastic, etc.  There is an alternating schedule for pickups of the recycling week it’s the green one and one week it’s the blue one.  The gray regular trash bin gets put out every week; and at its side is a green bin or a blue one depending upon the week.  The problem with the circa-1991 style recycling plastic tubs that Framingham uses is they are TOO SMALL.  I really could use two or three of them.  On windy trash pickup days, recyclables are blowing all over the street.   Out of frustration, people also tend to just throw their recyclables in the regular trash when the tub is full.  I’ve sometimes put out large cardboard boxes labeled “recycle” along with my blue tub to make sure I got all the recyclables appropriately put outside, but having those big sixty-four pound bins on wheels would make things SO much easier!

People in Missouri.  I’ve just attempted to “Show You” (pun intended) what recycling can be like.  May you take heed.  And, government officials in Massachusetts, take a lesson from our neighbors in Rhode Island!

Sunday, May 20, 2007


“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:  depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”  (Matthew 7:23)

That verse from Matthew’s Gospel is a “heavy” one.  It describes the plight of some who, in the afterlife, will boast before the Lord of their preaching, and prophesying and mighty spiritual works, only to be told by the Lord, “I never knew you:  depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”  They were fully convinced they belonged in Heaven, and the Lord’s verdict was VERY different.

In a tiny sense, that verse describes how I’ve felt in the past few days.  Oh, don’t get me wrong:  my relationship with God is very secure and I know I’m His child!  I have full “assurance of salvation” as we evangelicals like to say.  But I’ve been SO frustrated trying to post “stuff” to this blog, and each time I’ve tried to post, just feeling so unwanted and rejected.

Despite what you may be thinking, NO the technical problem and inability to post from my “regular” computer is still is not fixed.  I’ve logged on with my wife’s Dell laptop computer, and in THIS way, I’ve been able to post on the blog.  At least this is an option, and I appreciate very much that Mary Ann has helped me in this way.  I’ll be able to post items through her laptop, but since she’s very busy and uses her laptop primarily for work, at least for awhile there will be FEWER posts from me.
I’m NOT happy about it.

My, how we take things for granted!   It’s like our automobiles.  We just assume they’ll start and just go wherever we want them to.  Then, just let an alternator quit or a water pump stop functioning, and we’re stuck someplace and all our plans are “out the window” as I often say.  I'd been used to posting pieces three or more times a week on this blog for over a year.  As the owner/writer (or whatever I’m called), when I go on the site, there are controls for me to click to post items.  It would take way too long to explain how it ALL WORKS, but as of last Wednesday, the ability to enter new postings on the blog from my home iMac computer was, well, nonexistent.  I tried and tried.  It was just frozen.  Nothing.  I know you may be thinking, “Well, if your home computer is messed up, why don’t you use your church office computer to access your blog.”  Our church’s computer is even older than the home one.  It’s circa 1999 and uses a circa 1999 version of AOL that doesn’t even allow me to read my blog...well, it does, but it’s in such small print that I could never read it without a huge magnifying glass, AND the old computer and old AOL software at church do not allow me to add items to the blog.  (It is very likely the church will have a new, state-of-the-art computer by December 2007, but in the meantime, the church computer is only good for checking and sending e-mail.  A person pretty much cannot go on any websites nor can they do anything “cool” with it.  My home computer is circa 2001- it’s an iMac and uses an early version of MAC Operating System X.  The home computer is actually light-years ahead of the church computer... well about 2 or 3 years worth, which is LIKE light-years when it comes to computers, but even the home computer is dated. 

I had a long phone call with a tech support person from AOL who let me know what OLD hardware and software I had and made it sound like that was at least half the problem.  (I didn’t dare tell him about the older church iMac using ancient operating system 8.6 and AOL 5.0.  I would have felt like I did in the 6th grade- unloved and uncool!) My son Jon and I were pretty convinced initially that what we were really dealing with was an AOL glitch.  We still think that MIGHT be a possibility, but the best evidence at this point strongly suggests something faulty in our old iMac computer or the somewhat dated AOL software.  I did get a follow-up e-mail from AOL with some suggestions but it was all stuff that applied to a P.C. using Windows.  It was no help at all for a MAC.

I wish I could tell you I haven’t been depressed about this, but I have.  The good news is, compared to the way I could POTENTIALLY have been, and the way I WOULD have been about it 2 or 3 years ago, I’ve been great.  Well, at least OUTWARDLY, I’ve tried not to whine too much about it and to just act like I’m taking it all in stride.  INSIDE,  I’m really “bummed” because this blog has been SUCH fun for me and I feel the way I did when I was an 8-year-old and my Dad would take away a favorite toy as a punishment. 

I know the ability to add items to my blog from our home iMac computer may be (as I like to say) “kaput”.  Since I now have to depend on using my wife’s Dell laptop for posting items to the blog, at least for the foreseeable future, there will be fewer entries.  On a positive note, maybe God wants Mary Ann to be more of a part of this blog.

It IS somewhat likely that within a year, we’ll have a new state-of-the-art computer at home with all the bells and whistles, and it is VERY likely that within the next six months, we’ll have a new state-of-the-art computer at the church office with all the bells and whistles. 

In the meantime, I’m going to have to do what I’ve had to do at times over the years when I’ve owned nothing but  old, broken-down cars...  just make do with what I’ve got!!  It’s, as Al Gore would say, “An inconvenient truth”  - but considering people are starving and dying in Africa and Bangladesh and other places, I guess I really have got nothing to complain about.

Friday, May 18, 2007

To my regular readers:
I'm just letting you know there is a technical problem with adding entries to my blog. I can only add (right now) through instant messages. I do not know if the problem which does not let me post regular entries will get corrected or not. It's frustrating! You can e-mail me at

Monday, May 14, 2007


“And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny,; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine”.  (Revelation 6:6)

Revelation 6:6 is kind of difficult to understand in the old King James Version.  “Penny” is the Seventeenth-Century English translation for “denarius” which was a day’s wage in the time of Jesus Christ- maybe like a hundred dollar bill today.  Revelation chapter 6 describes a future time of economic chaos, when (essentially) a loaf of bread will cost $100.  As Billy Graham once said about this passage, “It will be inflation gone mad!”

Now, to the issue at hand:  there is no good reason why the typical price of a gallon of gasoline has gone from roughly $2.20 to roughly $3.05 in the past nine weeks.  Some say, “Well, it’s supply and demand.”  It IS true that gasoline typically goes up ten or fifteen cents a gallon for the summer driving season.  But the “summer driving season” is at least two weeks away.  And, gas has gone up over eighty cents- not fifteen!  The price of gasoline is actually set by speculation- like people playing the stock market.  It DOESN’T have a whole lot to do with supply and demand.  Oh, granted, if Iran suddenly stopped shipping gas to the U.S., prices WOULD go up thirty or forty cents a gallon overnight.  Well, WHAT has happened to cause the eighty-plus cent rise in gasoline prices since Presidents’ Day in February?  CORPORATE GREED!

Most of you have already received e-mails about a national gasoline boycott set for Tuesday, May 15.  Although I’ve started my share of mass e-mailings, I had absolutely nothing to do with this one.  But, I SUPPORT IT!  There is NO WAY that I will buy any gasoline on Tuesday, May 15, and I’m going to TRY to not buy gasoline on Wednesday, May 16 either.  

In the past few days, I’ve seen “economists”, “consumer experts”, television news anchors and others ridiculing the boycott and essentially saying that anyone who boycotts gasoline on Tuesday, May 15 is an idiot.  Well, what else would you expect?  Big oil is VERY powerful- they don’t want this boycott and so they’re subtly pushing the message to ignore the boycott and pushing the idea that anybody who is for the boycott is really stupid.

I guess I’m really stupid because I definitely will not buy gasoline on Tuesday, May 15. I encourage you to join me.


“...I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written...” (from John 21:25)

Mary Ann and I visited many places and did many things in the Missouri Ozarks during our May 1-12 vacation.  In the coming days I want to write about some of them.  I expect this will surprise many of you but I want to mention the public library located in one of Springfield, Missouri’s most modern and prosperous areas.  It’s The Library Center on South Campbell Avenue.  The Library Center is part of the public library system of Greene County and the City of Springfield.  Amy still did not have internet access set up at her new apartment, so a few times, Mary Ann and I went to the library to check our e-mail.

As a person who graduated from a Springfield, Missouri institution of higher learning (Central Bible College) I am greatly bothered by the stereotype that everyone in the Missouri Ozarks is a backward Redneck.  While there are admittedly SOME people in the Ozarks who do live up to that stereotype, there are many highly educated and sophisticated people in the Ozarks.  I know many would picture an Ozarks Public Library as some rundown old building with out-of-date volumes where people leaf through 1959 issues of Life Magazine.  In fact, The Library Center in Springfield, Missouri makes the main branch of the Framingham Public Library look really shabby.  (And, the Framingham Public Library is one of the best in Boston’s suburbs.)  The Library Center was built in 1999.  It actually looks even newer than that.  It’s a sharp looking one-story building featuring a cafe, an auditorium, a gift shop, and a first class library with the latest and best internet access.  I’m not good at estimating square-footage, but I’d say it’s at least as many square feet as the main Framingham Public Library, but probably bigger.  Mary Ann and I LOVED this place.  If I lived in Springfield, Missouri,  I’d frequent this place often.  Seriously, I wish the Framingham Public Library trustees could check this place out.  They’d be impressed!

Sunday, May 13, 2007


“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine:  he feedeth among the lilies.”
(Song of Solomon 6:3)

Last night, my daughter Amy Susanna Baril said “yes” to the marriage proposal of David Julian- on her 22nd birthday.  Thus, Amy is engaged.  She received a third of a karat diamond ring, as well!

A Spring 2008 wedding is planned.

Just thought I’d let you know.

How are the years going by so quickly?

Saturday, May 12, 2007


I don't think I could come up with a song as good as the early 1960s'  "My Boyfriend's Back!"  but I am back from Springfield, Missouri.

I am very proud of my daughter Amy's 2 Bachelor's Degrees and 2 graduation ceremonies.  I'm also proud that I was part of her nurse's "Pinning" ceremony.

As you can imagine, I will have a "phenominal" amount of work to attend to in the next 3-4 days.  When I am able, I will write on the blog and will try to share some highlights from the Springfield, MO trip.

For starters:  Bob Barker of  "The Price is Right" was in Springfield to speak at Drury University's commencement.  It turns out Springfield, Missouri is his home town.  I did not get to see him, but I was close!

Also, did you know Brad Pitt is originally from Springfield, Missouri?  I met someone who has met Brad's mother on several occasions.

Well, I visited an amazing cave in Branson, Missouri and did "tons of stuff".  Hope to share some with you.

As those who read this blog can tell, I really needed this trip.  I don't think I realized how badly burned out I was until I got a vacation.  God did use this to very much refresh and renew me!