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Character
05/13/2010
IconThe Hartford Courant recently published an essay by Justin Verrier on a Connecticut female teenage swimmer. "After swimming laps at a recent practice in the Glastonbury High School pool, Rachel Grusse told her coach, Suzi Hoyt, her shoulder felt sore.' Hoyt responded as she always does to such concerns by her swimmers, instructing Grusse to put on flippers and 'kick for a little while' to rest her arms.' 'I just looked up at her and told her, Um...I don't think I can do that, Grusse said, smiling." Remember the word smiling .' When Grusse was 16 months old, it was discovered that she was born without a spleen, and she contracted a form of bacterial pneumonia that cut off the blood flow to her extremities, which resulted in the cutting off of her legs at the base of her knees, as well as the last joint of her fingers.Now, many teenage girls with just a few pimples would hide in their bedrooms, but not Rachel.' With the help of prosthetic legs, she has participated in all types of sports, including soccer and, most recently, wheelchair basketball, but swimming is her passion.' Since she has to rely on her upper body for swimming, she does a lot of upper body strengthening, like...walking on her hands!Her comment? "I've just heard some people say that I'm an example to other kids.' But to me, I don't feel like I'm any different. I'm just doing what I can, and doing the best that I can. " She swims against "normal" swimmers and rarely wins, but she loves the sport anyway.She swims against others who are disabled and often places, but not always, and she loves the sport anyway.'Since she has no memory of having had legs, for her, it is kind of "normal" - the real amazing quality of hers is her attitude to just do what she can and do the best that she can .Disabled or not, that is the winning attitude in life that ultimately brings you happiness.' She does what she loves and does the best she can at it.' Period.' There is a lesson in that for everyone. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCourageFamily/Relationships - TeensMental HealthSuicideTeensValues
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Tags: CharacterCharacter-Courage-ConscienceMarriageSexSexualityValues
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05/13/2010
IconI'm a female and a Jew.' I personally know something about bias, bigotry, prejudice, and discrimination.' There is no doubt in my mind that I have experienced some (shall we say) "bad luck" in my life because I fall into these two categories, but there is probably not a person on the face of the earth who doesn't have a similar (and probably worse) story to tell with respect to the natural tendency of people to band together based on commonality, from ethnicity to gender to nationalism.' Nonetheless, we have a black President with a Jewish chief-of-staff, and a female Secretary of State.I'm seriously tired of people pulling the race or gender card to explain away their bad behavior.' Ultimately, we are responsible for our own actions.' This brings me to Serena Williams in the U.S. Open.' Serena was losing badly in the semi-finals to unseeded, unranked Kim Clijsters, and Clijsters had just beaten Serena's sister, Venus.' The match was at the point where Clijsters was but one point from victory, and it was Serena's serve.' She faulted on her first serve.' Instead of just going back to the baseline to serve again, she menacingly walked toward the judge, shouting and cursing her, pointing the ball and then the racket at her, as though she were going to strike the woman.' Allegedly, she said, "If I could, I would take this [expletive deleted] ball and shove it down your [expletive deleted] throat." The line judge went over to the chair umpire and tournament referee as the crowd was booing.' According to news reports, Serena said, "Sorry, but there're a lot of people who've said worse.' I didn't say I would kill you.' Are you serious?' I didn't say that." But the line judge said she did say that, and that with the crowd noise, it was difficult for others to hear the specifics.'I saw that video, and having someone with that venomous rage coming at me, screaming and cursing, shaking a racket in my face (especially since Serena had already smashed a racket earlier in the game when she committed an unforced error) would have scared me too.Serena was only penalized a point, which, by destiny of timing, turned out to be the match point.' Clijsters would have won anyway - she was playing an amazing game, and she did go on to win the U.S. Open.So, here's a young woman, used to success, who couldn't handle being humbled, and she robbed Clijsters of the good feeling of trumping a tennis goddess.' This is obviously bad behavior - very bad.' The bad boys of tennis games past were also known to behave badly, but, according to news sources, they never threatened the life or well-being of a judge.' This was scary and horrendous behavior.'The first reaction of some was to scream "racism!"' Oh puleeze.' Was anyone saying she behaved badly because she was black?' NO.' Was anyone saying she was penalized for her behavior because she was black?' YES, and that is downright annoying and dumb.'Online, someone posted a comment after the news item, which I think is "right on."' Here's an excerpt: There are reasons for rules in competitive sports or banking or finance or education or society.' The reasons [for the rules] always have to do with participants being unwilling or unable to manage or discipline their emotions when under duress of any kind.' This duress...almost always manifests poorly, but often successfully.' Serena...lost her composure in the early stages of this match, played poorly, got behind, and faced almost certain defeat.' The foot fault (which many say was correct, many say "iffy," and some say false) was critical, but not pivotal for Serena.' She could have played through it.' She had the serve. But she had first-serve faulted many times, and had lost every second serve point to her opponent.' So, she gave in to panic, which led her to say some astoundingly aggressive things to the line judge, who, to her credit, stayed calm, objective, and within the rules.' The referee made the proper call, and Serena lost, and then lost again by backpedaling after the match, with cover-up comments and lame excuses. But this is an era when elites in all walks of life take the liberty of exposing their true selves without much consequence.' It's called "privilege," and it is, in my mind, the downfall of the American personality, and with it, the downfall of the nation - a little microcosm on a big stage.' Pride comes before a fall. Truth is, she knew she had lost this match, even if that one linesman's call was bad.' Instead of letting her opponent savor the victory point, she surrendered early.' Clijster swamped her and her sister, and Williams acted like a classless brat.' And classless brats come in all colors, genders and religions.' Point...game...match. More >>

Tags: BehaviorCharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenCivilityMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingValues
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05/13/2010
IconThis story is actually four years old, but many people seem to have discovered it only recently, so I did a little investigating, and thought it was worth sharing with you.' Because this has made its way around the Internet, like the game of "Telephone," new things have been added and some things have changed as it's been forwarded.' My staff went back to the original story to verify the facts, and that's the one I'm posting here.'Luke Air Force Base is a little west of Phoenix, and it's surrounded by residential developments.' People have complained about the noise from the base and its planes.' One day in June, 2005, an individual who lives somewhere near the base wrote the local paper complaining about the group of F-16s that disturbed his day.' Here's his Letter to the Editor of The Arizona Republic newspaper: "Question of the day for Luke Air Force Base:' Whom do we thank for the morning air show? Last Wednesday, at precisely 9:11AM, a tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low pass over Arrowhead Mall, continuing west over Bell Road at approximately 500 feet.' Imagine our good fortune! Do the Tom Cruise-wannabes feel we need this wake-up call, or were they trying to impress the cashiers at Mervyns' early-bird special? Any response would be appreciated. Tom MacRae" Mr. MacRae received a response from a commander at Luke Air Force Base which was published in the newspaper the following day, but it's the response from Lt. Col. Scott Pleus, commander of the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base that caught the attention of everyone.' This letter was also published in The Arizona Republic , four days after Mr. MacRae's initial complaint: "Regarding "A wake-up call from Luke's jets": On June 15, at precisely 9:12 a.m., a perfectly timed four-ship of F-16s from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Capt. Jeremy Fresques. Capt. Fresques was an Air Force officer who was previously stationed at Luke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq on May 30, Memorial Day. At 9 a.m., on June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City to mourn the loss of a husband, son and friend. Based on the letter writer's recount of the flyby, and because of the jet noise, I'm sure you didn't hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, or my words to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques as I gave them their son's flag on behalf of the president of the United States and all those veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they have endured. A four-ship flyby is a display of respect the Air Force pays to those who gave their lives in defense of freedom.' We are professional aviators and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writer witnessed was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects. The letter writer asks, 'Whom do we thank for the morning air show?' The 56th Fighter Wing will call for you, and forward your thanks to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques, and thank them for you, for it was in their honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their lives. Lt. Col. Scott PleusLuke Air Force Base" The postscript to all of this is that Mr. MacRae, to his credit, wrote an apology that was published in The Arizona'Republic on July 9: "Regarding 'Flyby honoring fallen comrade' I read with increasing embarrassment and humility the response to my unfortunate letter to The Republic concerning an Air Force flyby. I had no idea of the significance of the flyby, and would never have insulted such a fine and respectful display had I known. I have received many calls from the fine airmen who are serving or have served at Luke, and I have attempted to explain my side and apologized for any discomfort my letter has caused. This was simply an uninformed citizen complaining about noise. I have been made aware in both written and verbal communications of the four-ship flyby, and my heart goes out to each and every lost serviceman and woman in this war in which we are engaged. I have been called un-American by an unknown caller and I feel that I must address that.' I served in the U.S. Navy and am a Vietnam veteran.' I love my country and respect the jobs that the service organizations are doing. Please accept my heartfelt apologies. Tom MacRae" More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter-Courage-ConscienceMilitaryValues
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05/13/2010
IconI have often told callers struggling with their fears (real or imagined or exaggerated) that next to character, I admire guts.' Actually, having the fortitude to face the things we're afraid of is a measure of character.A few weeks ago, I was out for only the third time on my new paddleboard.' I was balancing well, in spite of passing motorboats leaving scary wakes in my path.' I was in choppy waters, which was not that smart at my level of experience, and feeling great about what I was doing, when-BAM-I hit the board full flat and hard on my left side and slid underwater.' I was stunned, cold, and worried about becoming a shark snack.' I swam quickly back to the board, pulled myself up, and lay there shaking with cold, shock, and fear. I pulled my knees under me, then got my feet down as I poised in a crouched position, and then stood straight up and paddled nervously for another fifteen minutes.' The point of these actions was that I knew that if I just swam ashore, I might never get on the board again.' My left ribs hurt tremendously, and I'm still healing.' But for me, the main point was getting back up then and there, and scowling directly into the face of fear.This is a small step for a girl like me.' A much bigger step for a little girl is the story of Bethany Hamilton.' She nearly lost her life in a vicious shark attack while surfing off the coast of Hawaii almost six years ago.' The shark attack happened while she was lying on her board with her arm dangling comfortably in the water.' The shark ripped her left arm off just below the shoulder, and she almost died from blood loss - the shark left a sixteen inch "bite" on her surfboard.' Grisly, to say the least.' By the way, they caught the shark.' It was a 14-foot-long tiger shark, which weighed 1400 pounds.What was Ms. Hamilton doing just a month after that shark took her left arm?' Re-training herself to surf competitively with only one arm.' Her positive attitude won her a 2004 EXPY award from ESPN for "Best Comeback Athlete of the Year."' She's now ranked among the top ten professional women surfers in the world.' With one arm.Does this mean she has no fears?' No. "When I'm feeling scared, I just sing a song or pray...or I just try to ignore it.' It's always in my mind, and it always will be, but I've got to keep my mind on having fun and just surfing." She says she sees two or three sharks per year in the water and heads in if she gets scared or thinks she sees a shark.' She doesn't go in the murky water after a storm.' In other words, she uses the common sense that all surfers should employ.She travels the world for surfing competitions, and for causes in which she can help children with fears - like going to Thailand to help young children devastated by the tsunami disaster.' With her unique experience, she has something very important to say about overcoming fears, much less overcoming fear of water.I've always said that one of the best learning tools in the universe is to read to yourself and your family biographies of people who have fought inner and outer demons and prevailed.' This is one of those stories.And you don't have to be afraid of the ocean to benefit.' Life has its disappointments, assaults, devastation, frustrations, challenges, and bad luck.' That's just life.' What you do after that point is the measure of your life. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCourageFearMental HealthPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconDuring his recent African trip, Pope Benedict XVI said that the distribution of condoms would not resolve the AIDS problem.' The Pope has made it clear that abstinence is going to be the best way to fight AIDS.Google "Pope" and "condoms," and you'll never run out of reading material excoriating the man for his observation and opinion.' Many health advocates have gone ballistic in their criticism of his comments.' They feel it is one thing to promote abstinence as part of the Catholic religion, but that it is an entirely different thing to preach it to the world.On a person-by-person basis, wearing a condom does, of course, offer some protection against contracting various venereal diseases and (of course) unwanted pregnancy.' It is also true that condoms sometimes break, slip, or are put on incorrectly (taut to the very end).' Everything has its limitations...except abstinence.I remember listening to a rabbi describing a situation that occurred to his kosher family.' His 7 year old child was invited to a birthday party for a classmate at one of those fast-food hamburger establishments.' When he came to pick up his child at the end of the party, one of the mothers - clearly annoyed - chastised him for the pain he caused his son.' "All the children had hamburgers, chicken nuggets, french fries and dessert, and your little boy had to sit there and eat none of it.' Imagine how terrible your son must have felt?' How could you do this to him?' Food is food.' There is nothing sinful about food.' What you are doing to him is just cruel."' Just about at the end of her tirade, his son bounded up to him, gave him a huge hug around the waist, and said "I had a great time.' This was a fun party."The woman blanched and walked away.' The rabbi followed her and gently told her the following:' animals will eat whatever is around, even if it will make them unhealthy.' Humans are to rise above animals and become masters of their urges.' Imagine my son in a dorm room where harmful illicit drugs are being passed about.' We already know that peer pressure and urges will not force him to relent and give in to the impulse.' Learning at his early age to control impulse and desire is not a harmful trait - many times, it might be a life-saving one.' Look at him.' He enjoyed the company of your son and the rest of the children without giving up his values.' He looks happy and satisfied.' We really need to bring up our children to be masters of their instincts, not slaves to them, don't you think?The woman scowled, but listened to him.Yes, in any one instance, a condom could protect, but in the overall scheme of humanity, why do so many people wish to push away the enormous protective power of moral values?When the Pope suggests that human beings are best off saving their sexual passion for the stability of a covenant of marriage, he is making a statement that the act of sexuality is elevated by the context, and ultimately protects both man and woman from a myriad of hurtful consequences from venereal diseases to unwanted pregnancies (complete with abortions, abandonment, single-parenthood, and homelessness to name a few).The naysayers all have one thing in common:' they refuse to want, believe or accept that human beings can commit to a higher spiritual state of thought and behavior.' The Pope believes in us more than that.I am not Catholic, so this is no knee-jerk defense of my spiritual leader.' The truth is that he is simply correct and too many people don't want to hear it, because they want to live lives unfettered by rules.' It is sad that they don't realize that this makes them a slave to animal impulse versus a master of human potential. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-Consciencechoose wisely - treat kindlyChoose Wisely-Treat KindlyDatingHealthMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityReligionSexSexualityValues
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05/13/2010
IconKohl's Department Store has signed a deal with Britney Spears for her to "represent" their Juniors clothing line - you know, the line for young girls.' Part of this deal is to promote her music and current tour.' Parents, here's a sample of what Kohl's sees as a great match for your daughter: "Get Naked"My body is calling out for you, bad boyI get the feeling that I just want to be with ya'Baby, I'm a freak and I don't really give a damnI'm crazy as a mother 'effer'Bet that on ya man Get naked...would you mind?Take it off (I took it off)Get naked. Her so-called "Circus" tour is highlighted on YouTube.' Ya gotta love the guys in leather thongs and those tassel pasties she sports.' Frankly, she makes Madonna's Virgin tour look downright virginal.Kohl's Department Store must know that:* Her first marriage lasted 55 hours.* Her second marriage lasted a bit longer* She posed in the nude for Harper's Bazaar* She flashed a naked crotch at photographers getting out of her car* She has been busted for drug use* She lost custody of her children because of child endangerment issues* And on and on....just the role model for our young daughters of today.Did you know that Spears was named the "Most Searched Person" in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2007 and 2009?' Kohl's probably thinks that "attention is attention" - what the hell if it sells junior-size schmatas?One of my listeners wrote a letter of complaint to Kohl's, stating that she is "very sad to learn Britney Spears is a part of your store.' She has had such troubles and still is not in charge of her life, nor has she been found competent to raise her own kids.'' You have elected to reward her and flaunt her irresponsible behavior.' We will no longer shop at Kohl's." I read the (probably) form letter that Kohl's wrote in response, which purported to "regret that you have concerns regarding this decision.' Ms. Spears is an international celebrity and pop culture icon who embodies the spirit of the Candie's brand and personifies the iconic 'Candie's Girl:'' flirty, self-confident, and stylish." Their letter goes on to say that Britney has a right to privacy (are you kidding?' Twisting tongues with Madonna on a stage demonstrates a desire for privacy??), and her personal life does not reflect the views of Kohl's Department Stores.Flirty, self-confident and stylish?' How 'bout "piggish, out of control, and irresponsible parent?"' She is, however, PAYING Kevin Federline (a/k/a "Daddy") some $5,000 per week while she blasts around with this vulgar tour which should make billions.How stupid does Kellogg's now feel for dumping Michael Phelps for sucking up pot through a bong?' They actually thought that values, character and role-model responsibilities mean something!' Silly, silly them.You parents ultimately decide where your children shop and what they buy.' Try being responsible and stand up for values. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingValues
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05/13/2010
IconI read this email on the air, but it's so good, I wanted to share it with everyone: Dr. Laura: You gave me a most wonderful 79th birthday present today, in the form of a caller who showed the typical stupidity of the male.' He was married to his second wife for 25 years, and was concerned, because, while he still enjoyed her, he was not sure that he still really LOVED her. I have enjoyed your daily "classes" for years, and have learned much.' But there is one class I believe I am uniquely prepared to present. The ladies learn much about "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" from your book and daily sessions.' You tell the ladies how to work us guys, and of your power over us. Right back at you, my dear!' I have had my magnificent lady eating out of my hands for 57 years, and once in a while, I still playfully remind her that she is just my "first" wife.' You gals aren't all that complicated.' The answer is simple:' as you get what you need or want, you are more willing to give.' That's the same principle you preach to the girls. What does it take?' Really, not much - just a little TLC gets big payoffs.' Try: 1.' FLOWERS - for no special occasion or guilty conscience.' A single rose willWork.' No greater mileage for $1.50. 2."I LOVE YOU" - Tell her or show her at least 10 times every day.' It's easy.' There are so many ways to say it, and even more important, to show it. 3.' COFFEE IN BED - No big deal.' The coffee maker is automatic, and the payoff at my house is BIG.' It always begins with a "thank you" that sounds like it was the first time ever.' She gets this treatment most every day, and if I sleep in, well, then I get to say "thank you!" 4.' REASSURE HER - Tell her how good she is, and back her up every time you can.' She will thank you for it. Does it really work?' YES!' My LADY loves to tell her friends who often bemoan their love lives and multiple "whatever's."' She tells them "The best thing I could wish for you is to be married to my Don for a week." Making love to my 75 year old lady is wonderful, and I have the thrill of making her enjoy her sex. (Wow.)' My greatest honor was to be invited into her body so long ago.' She was all mine at 18 and still is.' As the subtle changes came along in her life and body, I was happy, because I knew that I was part of each of them.' She still has great looking "boobs" and a beautiful behind.' I love handing her the towel as she steps out of the shower with that great welcoming smile. Tomorrow, after breakfast of coffee in bed at 6AM with toast, fruit, and melon, I plan to "have my way" with her once again.' And I have a rose that says it will work! The luckiest guy you will ever hear from, Don P.S.' Thanks for being there when we really needed your guidance. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter-Courage-ConscienceMarriageQuote of the WeekSexSexualityValues
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05/13/2010
IconAsked by the Pew Research Organization why they choose to eat so much junk food, the respondents overwhelmingly say it's due to its convenience.' The second most common reason is junk food's good flavor, and the third reason is because it is so heavily advertised.' Fourth is its affordability, and the final reason why people eat so much junk food is "ignorance of food values."' Yeah, I really believe that last reason!Since approximately three-quarters of the respondents eat junk food out of convenience, it seems a good time for them to re-work their lives so that breakfast and dinner are family meals at home, and lunch is considered a lighter repast to keep the engines going during the day.Want to really relieve stress?' Take off your figurative plate all the overscheduling - running around with too many activities and piling on too many responsibilities.' Two-career homes leave little time for the lovely, "home-y" amenities.' Rethink your lives and you'll probably live longer, while being healthier and happier.' Having lots of personal possessions and living beyond your means is a disastrous recipe for stress that leads to all kinds of self-destructive behaviors. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter-Courage-ConscienceHealthSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
Icon"Beijing officials have distributed 4.3 million copies of an etiquette book, outlining rules on good manners and foreign customs, including rules about what not to wear," according to The Wall Street Journal (8/1/08)' "Among the no-nos:' more than three color shades in an outfit, white socks with black shoes, and pajamas and slippers in public." It should be interesting for the Chinese citizens who obey these rules to see the foreigners in sweat pants, jeans and flip-flops.Another issue for the Chinese government is the crackdown on any protesting during the Olympics.' China just doesn't want to look bad to the almost half-million tourists who are there for the festivities.' According to the Associated Press, probably several thousand Chinese protestors have already been locked up for the duration so they don't behave "inappropriately."' Also, protestors had to apply for permission to demonstrate some five days in advance and had to acknowledge that they would not harm national interests.' They were supposed to be relegated to one of three parks which are several miles from the main Olympic stadium, but in a report on Saturday, August 8 in the Los Angeles Times , the three parks where demonstrators were to be allowed were totally quiet.' There were no signs of protest areas or of protesters, and, according to the Times ,' there were more security personnel than visitors at the parks.' Foreigners who protested over the past week were deported, and the heavy security measures have forced most of the demonstrations to be held in other countries, including Tibet, India, Hong Kong, England, France, and Germany. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter-Courage-ConsciencePoliticsSocial IssuesValues
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