• 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.

  • The granddaddy of all automobile races, the Indianapolis 500, is this coming Sunday, where the racecars go round and round for 500 miles. It’s symbolic of our own automotive experience where we leave home go out and around back to home, sometimes fighting as much traffic and accidents that the racers see.

    Preparation for this year’s race has already seen a number of cars eliminated by mechanical failures and, something new, three were repossessed by Bank of America.

  • Yet another environmental accolade has been added to a growing list of national and state honors earned by On Top of the World Communities with its selection as a finalist in the Sustainable Florida 2011 Best Practices Awards program sponsored by the Collins Center for Public Policy.
     One of just three finalists in the green-building category, On Top of the World, 8445 S.W. 80th St., is the only Florida home builder to reach the finals for displaying “outstanding ... sustainable practice in the built environment.”

  • Do you have what it takes to participate in “The 2011 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest – Fill the Blue Suede Shoes” at the Circle Square Cultural Center on July 9 in Ocala?

  • I am not usually given to protesting much of anything these days. “Live and let live,” is the motto I go by and up until now, it has served me rather well and I have no complaints.

    I must confess, however, that recently I have been challenged in this area of my life. I have tried to keep my cool and have succeeded to a minimal success. I know one of these days I am going to turn into Popeye where he says, “That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands n’more?” Then, look out.

  • Last week I mentioned I was relaxing around the swimming pool contemplating life. Right after that I found out that May is National Meditation Month. So, all week long I have been engaged in thought, contemplation, and thinking about those who engage in transcendental meditation.

    Active Life

    Two middle-aged women met on the street. "How are you?" asked one of them.

    "Fine, thanks," replied the other.

  • I recently received an e-mail, which I would like to share with you. It is a humorous look at Israeli life but it gives you an idea of the day-to-day life that Israelis experience even as it gives you a glimpse of what makes the Jewish State so special. The comments in the parentheses are mine.

  • For the last week, I have been chief cook and bottle washer in the house while the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage was visiting our son and his family in Ohio. I like nothing better than being in charge. Of course, I wonder what in the world I am in charge of when I am the only one in the house.

  • The snowbirds have gone home and the Easter visits by children and grandchildren are over. Swimming pools in the retirement communities have returned to normal where we natives can relax around the pools and contemplate life. I wound up thinking about swimming and water activities; we plunge off of Pun Alley into the nearest water.

    Alone in the water

    A banker fell overboard from a friend’s sailboat. The friend grabbed a life preserver, held it up, not knowing if the banker could swim, and shouted, “Can you float alone?”

  • It was one of the blackest periods of history. The Holocaust. It took the lives of 11 million people. The Holocaust. It was the systematic murder of one and a half million children. The Holocaust. It led to the extermination of two-thirds of the Jews of Europe.  The Holocaust. It destroyed a whole culture and way of life. The Holocaust. It brought out the worst evil in educated, civilized people. The Holocaust. It brought out the best of humanity in those who dared to resist. The Holocaust.  Its very name elicits sadness, terror and despair.

  • On Friday and Saturday, before Mother's Day, members of Joy Lutheran Church volunteered their time to deliver flowers to the many mothers around the Southwest  area. Linda and Greg Smith, owners of Linda's Enchanted Florist in Dunnellon, made up the beautiful mother's day arrangements and the volunteers delivered them to the mothers for whom flowers were ordered.

  • As a child, Gail Bowen wasn’t allowed to have a pet – she’s making up for that now.

    Tigers, lions, a small fox, monkeys, deer, a few bears, cougars, dogs, domestic cats and buzzards have made her place their haven.

    And it is a haven because Bowen operates Endangered Animals Rescue Sanctuary (EARS).

  • Sunday is Mother’s Day, a day when we honor and remember our mothers. Now, as we look back we realize that many things about moms were amusing, if not downright funny.

    Our amble down Pun Alley starts with good advice mothers gave to their children throughout the centuries.

    Paul Revere’s mother: “I don’t care where you think you have to go, young man. Midnight is past your curfew!”

  • I am not one given over to gambling unless you call life a gamble and then all bets are off. I do not even play the lottery because I would end up paying out $1,987.14 in order to win $10. I have a difficult time parting with my money because I am a Pennsylvania Dutchman; at least that is my excuse.

    That being said, there is only one area of my life where I indulge in a certain amount of gambling. That area is Mother’s Day cards. I am at a complete loss when it comes to this and knows not what I doeth.

  • I’m fine now, but such was not the case this past week. Normally, I am not given to procrastination, except when it comes to giving my money away. I am not Mr. Scrooge but I am Mr. Frugal.

    I always pay my income tax but I also wait until the last minute to write that check and autograph it for good old Uncle Sam. I was thankful to have several extra days to do it this year. Instead of April 15, the government extended to April 18. I am not sure the reason nor do I care to know what it is, it is enough that I had several extra days to send in my money.

  • Most people don’t know that back in 1912, Heilman’s mayonnaise was manufactured in England. In fact, the Titanic was carrying 12,000 jars of the condiment scheduled for delivery in Vera Cruz, Mexico, which was to be the next port of call for the great ship after its stop in New York.

    This would have been the largest single shipment of mayonnaise ever delivered to Mexico. But as we know the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank. Mexicans, who were crazy about mayonnaise, and were eagerly awaiting its delivery, were disconsolate at the loss.

  • To anybody who knows me, (and can anybody really know anybody else?), they would readily affirm that I am not addicted to hugging. Let me point out very quickly I am not allergic to it either. I just believe a good hearty handshake says everything I want to say to anybody I meet.

    This is biblical. The Bible talks about extending to one another the right hand of fellowship, and nothing says it better than a firm, hearty handshake. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.