Posted in Family

A Blast of the past #103: Sword and Shield birthday

This is September 2008, and the year of the sword and shield birthday cake.  It was also the year we got the party guests play wooden swords from the Renaissance Festival as party favors.  They had a lot of fun with those, both at the party, and in years to come.

Posted in Events

A Look Ahead …

This week is the start of the big tour. And the big tour begins with:


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The Thirtieth LibertyCon starts Friday and goes through Sunday in Chattanooga, TN. For those of us in the SciFi community, it will be a star-studded weekend with some true stars, not just those of the PC-elect.

Master of Ceremonies:  Toni Weisskopf

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Baen Editor & Publisher, Toni Weisskopf, isn’t just one of the most well-known people at LibertyCon, she’s one of the most well-known people in Southern Fandom!  There’s not much to say about her that you don’t already know, so I’m not going to bother…  except to point out that you know how smart, funny and charming this lady can be…  so all I can think is that she’s going to be a heck of a Master of Ceremonies for LC30!

30th Anniversary Literary Guest of Honor:  John Ringo

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John Ringo is not only a world class writer, but is also a very familiar face at LibertyCon.  Every year you can find him sitting and chatting with friends and fans, and now he’s even stepped up his game to take on Todd McCaffrey in the ConSuite with his “Nearly Home-Made Spaghetti” that he brought in for the attendees at LC29!  (I would say all of this is the reason for us having him in as LC30th Anniv. LGoH but really it’s just a ploy so we can hang out with his lovely wife, Miriam)  Wink

You can find out more about John at his website,

Literary Guest of Honor:  Kevin Hearne

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Kevin Hearne is a favorite author of quite a few of the LibertyCon family, and we’re sure that once you check out his work you’ll understand why! We’re really looking forward to meeting him when he comes in as our LC30 Literary Guest of Honor!

You can find out more about Mr. Hearne (And his dogs for that matter!) at his website,

Artist Guest of Honor:  Dan dos Santos

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Dan dos Santos is an incredible artist who covers the field with his work. Although primarily known for his incredible book cover art, he has also worked in comics and film for companies like DC Comics and Disney. You just never know where this guy is going to pop up, but we’re happy that he’s popping up in Chattanooga as our 2017 Artist Guest!

You can learn more about Dan by checking out his website at

Science Guest of Honor:  Dr. Elisa Quintana

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Dr. Elisa Quintana is an award winning scientist that works with both the SETI Institute and the NASA Ames Research Center on the Kepler Mission.  She not only has several advanced degrees in addition to her Ph.D. in Physics, but was also a team lead of the astronomers who confirmed Kepler-186f.  This might not mean much to you said that way, but it was the first  Earth-sized planet found orbiting in another star’s habitable “Goldilocks Zone”!

One thing about it, I can’t wait to see the Mad Scientists’ Panel with her on board!

Special Guest of Honor:  Todd McCaffrey

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Over the past several years, Todd McCaffrey has been a well known face around LibertyCon.  He’s not only a talented author, but also genuinely one of the nicest people around.  (Also we’ve come to look forward to his crepes, which he makes for staff and fans for Saturday morning breakfast.  Really!  We’re not joking, Todd McCaffrey makes our breakfast…  and they’re great!)  We’re looking forward to having him at LibertyCon 30 as our Staff Chef Special Guest of Honor!

You can learn more about Todd by checking out his page at

30th Anniversary Guest:  Faith Hunter

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Another new face on the list of LibertyCon 30 “headliners”, Faith Hunter is the New York Times bestselling author of the Jane Yellowrock Series, the Rogue Mage Series and the Soulwood Series.  We haven’t had the chance to meet Ms. Hunter yet, but by all accounts she should fit right into our little LibertyCon Family!  We can’t wait to see her in 2017!

You can find out more about Faith at her website,

Besides all the guests of honor is a slate of sessions and activities and readings and signings to overflow the day with possibilities. As our second CON, and first LibertyCon, we won’t be quite as green as our first Con, but still gawking our way through the marvels of it all.

World’s of Fun

The second item on look ahead is World’s of Fun. Several items here.

  • This weekend is the big Patriotic Celebration.  Worlds of Fun celebrates the 4th for 4 nights in July with fireworks at 10pm each night, Saturday thru Tuesday. (Please note, the Worlds of Fun Avenue and main parking entrance will be closed from approximately 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm each night. Traffic entering the park will be directed to the Oceans of Fun parking lot.)
  • Family Reunion Days July 1-4, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30 $42.99/person Admission and Meal for Groups of 15 or More. Celebrate your Family Reunion in July at Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun. Enjoy access to both parks, an all-you-can-eat picnic buffet from 2PM – 3PM at one of our picnic pavilions, including Fried Chicken, Sliced Brisket, Potato Salad, Baked Beans, Potato Chips, Assorted Cookies, and drinks from Coca-Cola. All at a reasonable price! With all the rides, slides, shows, and attractions, including the all-new Falcon’s Flight and Mustang Runner there’s no better place to have fun with the entire family. And no simpler way to plan it. Just work with one of our experienced Account Executives, and they’ll take care of everything. You and the family enjoy the day!
  • Military Days –– Worlds of Fun wants to thank the men and women who have served and who are currently serving in our country’s military. Veterans of the American Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard will receive complimentary admission to Worlds of Fun on July 4. Complimentary tickets available for active duty, reserve, or retired military with honorable or medical discharge and government issued ID.  Veterans or active military members only will receive complimentary admission to Worlds of Fun and can bring up to six (6) members of their immediate family on admission at $36.00 + tax each. Please present valid government issued ID at any ticket sales window located at the Worlds of Fun or Oceans of Fun main entrance in order to receive your admission and purchase your immediate family admissions

And of course there is our update on the Season Dining Plan Usage:


Total Price Paid $497.44
Total Number of Meals 262
Total Retail $2,699.06
Average Price Per Meal $1.90
Total Drink Price 29.64
Total number of drinks 231
Total Retail $228.00
Average Price Per Drink $0.13

Starlight Theatre — Jersey Boys

I did a late tease on this one Tuesday, but the show goes on through Sunday, July 2.

The strong adult language aside, the show itself was a very good show. The writing was well done. As a musical person, but not one locked into the music of the Jersey Boys’  era, I surprised myself with how much of it was familiar and enjoyable. My wife used her earplugs through the entire thing, and I was tempted to join her, but even with such volume levels it didn’t disturb unduly my ability to follow the weaving of the true-life story and the music that seamlessly told the story with it. This was much more that a musical collage or celebration.

As to the rest of the Starlight experience, I give Starlight a momentary reprise from our growing unease and displeasure at the quality of the experience we have been getting. We arrived earlier to this show than the last, and came in through the 63rd street gate, and were thus parked in grass parking on the correct side of the theatre to be able to get to our dinner reservations without undue circumnavigation of the entire grounds. Of course, we figured that out ourselves, where to come in to park — no one at the theatre suggested it to dining patrons, nor responded to my comments about the same from the previous survey.

The person checking tickets at the gate was having trouble with her reader, but handled the delay in a way that didn’t make us feel disgruntled by the wait. And when we got to the buffet line, there were plates — unlike last time — with a subtle design to remind us of records (thus themed to the evening’s show). Overall there were no glitches to the evening, for once.

All of that is said without being influenced by the other main event of the evening for us.

We won the door prize.

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When they handed us our programs at the gate, each of us looked to see who was sponsoring the show, and then turned to the page with the sponsor’s ad. They always announce that whoever on that page sees the gold Starlight sticker will be the winner of that night’s giveaway.  I turned to that page, saw the star, was subtly startled, closed, opened, gave my wife a peak and then closed the book again, with surreptitious glances.

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We guarded the booklet all through dinner, posed for a surreptitious picture in the our seats, and then went to redeem it at intermission for the $200 in Starlight gift certificates that was our prize.

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And now we still need to decide: will we apply them toward season tickets next year, or just buy individual shows. Will they present us with a good enough season to make season tickets worthwhile next year?


Posted in Music

#205: Once for All!

(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)


Free  from the law — O happy condition!

Jesus bath bled, and there is remission;

Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,

Grace hath redeemed us once for all.


Once for all — O sinner, receive it!

Once for all — O brother, believe it!

Cling to the cross, the burden will fall —

Christ hath redeemed us once for all!


Now are we free — there’s no condemnation!

Jesus provides a perfect salvation;

“Come unto Me –” O hear His sweet call!

Come — and He saves us once for all.



Children of God — O glorious calling!

Surely His grace will keep us from falling;

Passing from death to life at His call,

Blessed salvation — once for all.



Posted in Uncategorized

Jersey Boys

June 27 – July 2, 2017

Show Time: 8 p.m.
Gates Time: 7 p.m.

Duration: 2 hours 40 minutes, with intermission

“Too Good to be True!” raves the New York Post for Jersey Boys, the 2006 Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award®-winning Best Musical about Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi.

This is the true story of how four blue-collar kids became one of the greatest successes in pop music history. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide – all before they were 30! Jersey Boys features their hit songs “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “Oh What a Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” “The Crowd Goes Wild!” cheers The New York Times.
Contains strong adult language and subject matter; national tour recommends for ages 12+


I forgot to mention the above performance, that we are going to see tonight, when I put up the look ahead last Thursday.  I’m sure I’ll comment on the performance, as well as the Starlight experience, and separately.  No use biasing my review of the show by my review of the Starlight experience, which hasn’t been as stellar for us in recent years as it was previously.

Posted in Fitness

Fitness Update: Swim Meet/Tug-of-War

This past week I didn’t have any specific fitness activities: swimming, running, cycling — that was part of my previous planned regimen.

I took vacation for the Kansas City Corporate Challenge Swim meet. I cycled up to the Gladstone community center each evening, and came back afterwards — 11 miles round trip. I swam very little at the swim meet. Nothing worth putting on my tracker.

Swim meets are all about sitting around for a long time, and then swimming for a minute or less in your event. From the physical exertion perspective, it takes a lot less time and effort than most of the other events in the Corporate Challenge, running, cycling, etc.

So I was able to log bicycle miles.

On Saturday morning the KCCC had its tug-of-war competition. I was on my company’s team. It was held out at the Longview Lake Swim Beach. Durning my second pull I found turtle eggs in the hole I was using to anchor myself. To preserve the remaining eggs they moved all pulls from that rope to another one.

Tug-of-war is another event that doesn’t take a lot of time.  Both our pulls were less that 15 seconds.  A full tug is only a minute, and then they decide which side moved the most.

So I didn’t do any running.

But I did add some “leisure” swimming at Oceans of Fun. On Sunday, after everything was done, I did three laps of the Caribbean Cooler for 800 yards of qualified swimming.


Posted in Music

#204: Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus

(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)


O soul, are you weary and troubled?

No light in the darkness you see?

There’s light for a look at the Savior,

And life more abundant and free!


Turn you eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face, (wonderful face,)

And the things of earth will grow strangely him

In the light of His glory and grace.


Thru death into life everlasting

He passed, and we follow him there;

Over us sin no more hath dominion —

For more than conq’rors  we are!



His word shall not fail you — He promised;

Believe Him, and all will be well;

Then go to a world that is dying,

His perfect salvation to tell!


Posted in Avondale United Methodist Church, Events, Music

Chiming in …

I’ve been living life, some of which will come up in Monday’s fitness blog, but haven’t spent time chronicling it, so instead today, before I run out of day without posting anything, I’ve decided to throw up an older video clip from a Easter service several years ago. Hallelujah just seems appropriate in thanks for all the good things in life I have experienced today…

Posted in Family

A Blast of the Past #102: Hannibal

On the way back from our meeting with family in Ohio, and tour of the parks, we stopped to see some sights in Hannibal.  We always prefer going across Missouri on Route 36 (eventually Interstate I-72?) through Hannibal rather than I-70 to St. Louis.

For the first time, for me and the kids, not sure about Betsy, we toured the Mark Twain caves, or whatever they were called.  It was a fun tour, but as Betsy pointed out, they talked about it as if everything had actually happened, instead of being stories that Mark Twain made up based on the caves.

So here are our pictures:


Before we did Hannibal, we also hit a campground in Indiana where we took some neat photos, so here they are:

Posted in Avondale United Methodist Church, Events

A Look Ahead …

This week’s look ahead has four items, including glance ahead teasers …


AUMC — Vacation Bible School


Avondale United Methodist Church Invites Families to Rome: Paul and the Underground Church

[Kansas City, MO] A summer family event called Rome: Paul and the Underground Church will be hosted at Avondale United Methodist Church. Families step back in time at Rome, exploring the life of the apostle Paul and the underground church. Kids and adults participate in a memorable Bible-times marketplace, sing catchy songs, play teamwork-building games, dig in to Roman eats, visit Paul while he’s under house arrest, and collect Bible Memory Makers to remind them of God’s Word. Each day concludes at Extollo—a time of upbeat worship that gets everyone involved.

Kids and adults at Rome will join The Missouri United Methodist Conference in the “Water for Haiti” project—a project that provides water filters to families in Haiti. With this service opportunity, families’ donations will change the lives of other families across the globe by helping provide them with safe drinking water.

Rome will begin on Friday, June 23, with supper at 6:00 p.m. and conclude at 8:30.  Saturday, June 24, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.  Sunday, June 25, 9:30-Noon. For more information, call 816-452-3518.

Please register both adults and children using forms located in the foyer or by calling the church office.  We encourage parents and grandparents to accompany children as we learn about Paul’s Rome.  All church members of any age are welcome to attend with or without children!

Worlds of Fun

The big events coming up all relate to a week from now, with Celebrate America on the July 4th weekend, and Family Reunion Days and a Military Day all packed into the July 4th celebrations.

KCCC Tug of War

This week, the final week of the Kansas City Corporate Challenge, has been the swim meet, the penultimate competition,  since Monday night.  Tonight is the final event: freestyle — both 50 individual and 200 relay.

Saturday is the ultimate event — the tug-of-war.  I might even be doing it again  for my company this year, for the second time.  We are still trying to put together our team. Event itself starts 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the Longview Lake Swim Beach.

Teaser — Liberty Con

And finally the real look ahead teaser.  More to come next week:

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Posted in Music

#203: Whosoever Will

(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)


“Whosoever heareth” — shot, shot the sound!

Spread the blessed tidings all the world around;

Tell the joyful news wherever man is found:

“Whosoever will may come”.


“Whosoever will, whosoever will!”

Send the proclamation over vale and hill;

‘Tis a loving Father calls the wand’rer home —

“Whosoever will may come.”


Whosoever cometh need not delay,

Now the door is open — enter while you may;

Jesus is the true, the only Living Way:

“Whosoever will may come”.



“Whosoever will” — the promise is secure,

“Whosoever will” forever must endure;

“Whosoever will” — ’tis life forever more:

“Whosoever will may come”.