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Features

  • The National League of Junior Cotillons (NLJC), a program of etiquette, character education, and social dance training for middle and junior high school students, has announced plans to establish its national program in Marion County.

          Elizabeth Anne Winters, NLJC National Director, said, “We will be selecting a director for a local chapter who will receive complete training and an exclusive territory for expansion.”

  • Born in Jacksonville, on Oct. 5, 1952, and raised in the Jacksonville/Middleburg area, the Rev. Alan Jefferson received a degree in history from the University of North Florida, and a Masters of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Married to Ronda Jo Ryan, they have three children; Becki, married to Shawn Lucas living in Edgewater, with their son, Wyatt; Bo, married to Crystal Wellman, along with 2-year-old Tre (James Alan III), living in Crystal River; and Tim, married to Jessica Bullion, with children Tiffany, and Tyler, living in Lakeland.

  • Occasionally, I hear about somebody objecting to prayer. Usually, it is somebody who has no idea what he or she is talking about. It must be a slow news day when the media highlights this as one of their news stories. I guess nothing else is going on in the world demanding our attention. However, when someone suggests praying in public somebody always rises in open protest. After all, everybody knows how dangerous prayer really is.

  • It started out as an airplane hangar at the original Ocala airport. For years it was an abandoned building. Then it was remodeled into a “home and garden center” business. Now it is a music venue for various famous musical performers.

    Shows at OTOW and Silver Springs add to the music permeating our area. It’s no surprise that some musical notes have found their way to Pun Alley.

    The Strauss family

  • The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly just finished supper and we were resting in the living room watching the TV news. Actually, my wife was watching the news while I was perusing a book. As far as I am concerned, nothing equals the relaxation of a good book after a good supper. My definition of a good book is the one I am reading at the time.

  • Monday is the Fourth of July. Americans will celebrate their independence by enjoying beer imported from Mexico and bratwurst shipped from Germany, and drive their cars made in Korea using gas from Iran to see fireworks made in China.

    America is a great country where we just do things differently.

    Only in America can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.

    Only in America do drug stores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions filled while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

  • In a few days, we will be celebrating Independence Day. Hot dogs will sizzle on the grill, joyful laughter will prevail over countless glasses of sweet tea and flip flops and shorts will be the attire for the day and virtually nobody will be thinking about Moses. Moses? Why, that seems as incongruous as mittens in July but as we will soon see, Moses, has much to do with what we call the American Experience.

  • I do not get as many letters as I used to do, which may be due to the Internet or to the fact that I do not have as many literate friends as I used to. I still like getting a letter, as long as it is a letter and not a bill. Bill used to write me but he was always asking for money.

  • While there are some signs that we are recovering from the great recession, we are now experiencing a downturn. Therefore, house values are still in the cellar. Those heavy investors who once were flipping houses are now flipping burgers. Our trip down Pun Alley takes us to some housing experiences.

    Swamped with good luck

    A couple of months ago Tony entered a contest and won a few acres of low land near the Everglades. Right after that he won a $950,000 house, so naturally he built it on his new land.

  • There is an old saying that to my knowledge nobody has ever taken credit. “A man works from sun up to sun down. A mother’s work is never done.” If I had said that, I would not want any credit for it either.

    Why this anonymous person compares a man with the mother is certainly information that is above my pay scale. It is almost like comparing apples with horses. I like apples and I enjoy riding a horse occasionally, but they sure do not have anything else in common.

  • June has always been the most popular month for a wedding, for it is named after Juno, Roman goddess of marriage. She would bring prosperity and happiness to all who wed in her month. After June, August is next, followed by May.

    May, however, was considered unlucky. “Marry in May and rue the day,” an old proverb goes. But “Marry in September’s shine, your living will be rich and fine.”

    Before the ceremony

  • The running of the Belmont Stakes tomorrow brings to an end this year’s Triple Crown series. While there will be no Triple Crown winner, most fans have been expecting a runoff between Animal Kingdom and Shackleford.

    Since the Preakness I have had my ear to the ground listening for horses but have only come up with some racy stories.

    Give me your answer

  • Most things in life are not always as they seem. For some reason one person will say one thing and the person hearing will hear something altogether different. This appears to be the case between the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly.

    One of the most frequent comments around our residence is, “Did you hear what I just said?”

    Of course, that does not really bother me. What does bother me is when I answer in the affirmative, she will reply by saying, “What did I just say?”

  • Most things in life are not always as they seem. For some reason one person will say one thing and the person hearing will hear something altogether different. This appears to be the case between the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly.

    One of the most frequent comments around our residence is, “Did you hear what I just said?”

    Of course, that does not really bother me. What does bother me is when I answer in the affirmative, she will reply by saying, “What did I just say?”

  • There is a standing Jewish observation about how Jewish people love Asian food. On any given day, the reservation list at a Chinese or Asian Fusion restaurant in any major U.S. city reads like the membership list of a synagogue. The interesting part is, however Jews may love Asian food, you rarely see an Oriental in a kosher deli! While this may not change in the future, at least in South Korea, the study of Talmud, the classic Jewish text of Jewish laws, history, stories and Torah commentary has become a part compulsory school curriculum.

  • I have long been an avid reader of Webster’s New World dictionary of the American language. My well-thumbed copy suggests I have done a lot of reading in it. It is the one book within easy reach of my study. Although I enjoy reading it, it does not have much of a plot.

  • This coming Sunday is National Hot Air Balloon Day, celebrated by enthusiasts filling their balloons with hot air to ascend to new heights and distances. On the ground the day marks an appropriate beginning for hopeful presidential candidates to generate their own hot air.

    Up in the air

  • The College of Central Florida has unveiled its 2011-2012 Performing Arts Series, which features music, dance and more.

                “I’m personally excited about the high quality of these performances. Most of these shows will come to us from an off-Broadway run or fresh off a national tour,” said Jennifer Fryns, director of Visual and Performing Arts at CF.

  • For as long as I can remember, I have always looked forward to Monday. Throughout the years there have been very few Mondays that I have missed, although there are some Mondays I miss. After a long weekend of labor, I enjoy the slow pace that Monday brings with it. I can sleep in as long as I want, do anything my little heart desires and just simply enjoy the day.