• The subject of reincarnation usually brings out the skeptics but also the closet believers in the uncanny power of déjà vu. But what separates “Soul Survivor” from other reincarnation tales is 1) the age of the child experiencing the event — barely 2, and 2) the determination of the father to discredit the evidence.

  • This past week found me in a bit of trouble with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage ... well, more than normal. It has become rather normal for me to be in trouble with her. No matter how hard I try "not to be," it always is "to be."

    This week was a high point for me getting into trouble. I never relish getting into a pickle with her, but sometimes it is unavoidable.

  • Erin Arnold’s creation of The Ultimate Showdown challenge for the summer FLYP program became a roaring success.

    The game started in June with a total of 64 fictional characters arranged on a bracket grid. Each week, to the squeals and shouts of participants, the choices narrowed down.

  • I cannot tell you how many times the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage has explained the difference between things to remember and things to be forgotten. Without boasting, I believe I could give the lecture back to her word for word.

    I know some things are better put into that great black abyss called forgetfulness, to be remembered no more, not even when they would help win an argument. According to my wife, forgetting some things is more important than winning an argument. I would not know. I never win an argument.

  • We’re now in the middle of summer heat. Weather forecasts are always “highs in the 90s” with showers resulting in high humidity. It’s difficult to get any relief. So, travel down Pun Alley to cool off with some tales of winter.

    What’s That?

    A man walked onto a frozen lake on a bitter cold winter day. He drilled a hole in the ice, put his fishing line in the water and eagerly waited for a bite.

  • What do you get when you cross a rabbit with a kangaroo? Why, a nine-month young Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix named Snoopy, of course. If you like your pups energetic, then Snoopy is the boy for you. He runs like a rabbit when he plays and bounces up and down like a kangaroo to plant kisses on your nose. He is a constant companion who will follow you around the house during the day and sleep in bed with you at night. He’s come a long way in foster care in the housetraining department, but still needs some help and guidance in this area since he’s only a pup.

  • It’s hot out there! Yes, we are having a wonderfully typical Florida summer; lots of heat and lots of rain. This time of year finds gardeners working at sunrise and/or after dinner in the evening in order not to be heat stressed. Plants also can become stressed with these conditions. Palms may show their stress with yellowing of their older leaves. An addition of one pound of magnesium sulphate, commonly known as Epsom salts, may be spread under the tree and watered in thoroughly. This will stop the problem from spreading further.

  • Once a month, members of the Quill and Swill gather for a book discussion. We select our choices by examining book reviews, bestseller lists, and listening to personal recommendations.

    Almost always our conversations are intelligent, stimulating and lively. We represent a variety of backgrounds and personality types and we find each other thought provoking, entertaining and supportive.

  • Did you know the word prom is short for promenade in the United States and Canada? This semi-formal (black tie) dance is usually held at the end of a high school academic year. Since the 1890s, the prom has been considered to be young people’s first formal outing.

  • Second to Christmas, a favorite holiday of mine is the Fourth of July. Perhaps this rings true with many Americans this year. But what year would be complete without the obligatory Fourth of July picnic. I think somewhere in the Constitution our forward thinking forefathers included a clause, making this a required activity for American citizenship.

    I am not one for parades. If you have seen one parade, you have seen them all. I can think of something better to do than standing along the streets with a herd of noisy people I do not know watching silly little floats go by.

  • Lights flash, a siren sounds and a big, red firetruck races down the street. “It’s Marion County Fire Rescue (MCFR) on its way to a fire,” you might think. You watch the truck slow down and are surprised to see it stop at a house that isn’t on fire or even smoking. An MCFR rescue unit has also just arrived and the crew races into the home, the firefighters from the truck following close behind them. Moments later, they run out with a man secured to a stretcher, his wife standing tearfully at the door.

  • According to the Internet site, Bizarre, Crazy, Silly Unknown Holidays, today is Twins Day. There will always be a number of funny stories involving twins, sometimes when one identical twin is mistaken for the other. Pun Alley takes a look at some of these stories to celebrate the twins holiday.

    Patriotic to The End

    A couple had twins, two identical girls, born on the 4th of July. The father, being patriotic, said, “We will name them Liberty and Justice, after the pledge of allegiance.”

  • We are experiencing auto burglaries once again. Most of the cases are around the 103rd Street areas and some in the Sun Valley area.

    As in the past, a vast majority of the entered vehicles are unlocked. The culprits can easily and quietly open the car and steal whatever valuables you have left inside. We have had GPS systems, money and DVD players stolen.

    I have spoken about a term some call these types crimes as “creeping” because someone walks quietly through a neighborhood checking cars to find the unlocked ones.

  • Today is the last day of school. While students are looking forward to their vacation, mothers foresee more work for themselves and are already waiting for the reopening of school. Stories from the school year have found their way to Pun Alley.

    Higher Education

    Two kindergarteners were standing outside of school one morning. “Do you think,” asked one, “that thermonuclear projectiles will pierce the heat barrier?”

    “No,” the second one said, “once a force enters the sub stratosphere - ”

  • One of the longest-standing debates in investing is over the relative merits of active portfolio management versus passive management. With an actively managed portfolio, a manager tries to beat the performance of a given benchmark index by using his or her judgment in selecting individual securities and deciding when to buy and sell them. A passively managed portfolio attempts to match that benchmark performance, and in the process, minimize expenses that can reduce an investor’s net return.

  • Remember Steinhatchee from our list of unusual Florida town names? Courtesy of the Creek Indian forebears, aka meant down or dead, isti meant man and hatchee was their word for creek. They’d be tickled to know the entrance to Steinhatchee River has been named Deadman’s Bay by those pale faces who settled down in the area.

  • I met a woman recently who showed me something special she carried in her Bible. She had never met me before and therefore it was very ironic that when she opened her Bible to show me what she had inserted, I could not help but smile and tell her it was “beshert,” fated, that this was to happen. Inside her Bible was a clipping of one of my columns I had written a while back and it was on tolerance and anti-Semitism. This got me thinking: if we could only focus on the things that unite us instead of the things that divide us, how much better religious relations would be.

  • From patriotic concerts to a bicycle parade, barbecues and fireworks, this area is gearing up for a weekend of red, white and blue fun. For those looking for a way to celebrate Independence Day, there is something for everyone. So here are some ways to celebrate and enjoy and the holiday weekend:

  • Having a good time may not be the highest priority in life but it sure beats hitting your thumb with a hammer. Sometimes, try as we might, having a good time is an elusive dream.

  • Hold on! Hold on! Stop the presses. I need to point something out. It is a common mistake. Maybe “mistake” is not the correct word. I think “occurrence” is probably a better choice. Either way it is something that needs to be addressed.