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  • 7/20/2018 

    When our new washer and dryer arrived last week, I watched as the two behemoths were installed by two other behemoths.

    “Don’t I get instructions?” I asked, as they were packing their tools to leave.

    Expecting a simple tutorial, I was instead handed a 94-page manual. In four languages.

    I stared at the two appliances for several minutes. Our laundry room now looks like the cockpit of a 747. Between the two machines, there are more than three dozen buttons. Each lights up when it’s touched and emits a series of short annoying beeps as if it is trying to communicate with me like the aliens in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

  • 7/20/2018 July. She flew by. I need a do over. 

    Well, not really a do over, I just need another July. Perhaps a July 2.0 would be best. 

    Whatever happened to the dog days of summer? 

    They were the days of my childhood, the days when boredom was an actual thing. “You are bored?” queries my mother, “Go outside.” 

    Back in the day, there were no sport camps, band camps, art camps, theater camps, math camp, etc. We made do, we made our own camp experience; exploring the neighborhood, making art in the dirt, playing sandlot baseball and sometimes just lying in the grass looking at the clouds. 
  • 7/19/2018 Since I featured cats in a column last month, it only seems fair to devote one to dogs, too.

    If you’re around my age, you may recall Sparky, the Noblesville Fire Department’s Dalmatian. For me, he was one of the highlights of the 1960s Christmas parades, riding on the fire engine with a big, beautiful bow tied around his neck.

    Well, Sparky wasn’t the department’s first dog-in-residence. (In fact, he wasn’t even the first Sparky).

    The earliest reference I found to a canine mascot at the Noblesville Fire Department was a dog named McKinley. McKinley popped up in the July 4, 1902, Hamilton County Ledger because the department hadn’t paid his dog tax.
  • 7/15/2018 

    I’ve been thinking on this for a while, and I invite you to think through it with me.

    I grew up in a strong, evangelical, Christian community, and continued in that faith tradition for most of my adult life. Then I had a major crisis that included my faith. So, I walked away and started over figuring things out for myself.

    For a while now, I have been angry at Christianity. I have been angry at all churches regardless of denomination. I have been angry at the way mankind mutilated the message of Jesus and used it as a tool of oppression. I would have said “to hell” with it all, except I wasn’t sure anymore whether hell was real.

    One thing I didn’t expect is that my crisis would affect my political points of view. But when you set out to “look at everything with new eyes,” you have to actually look at everything.

  • 7/15/2018 

    I saw a young athlete two weeks ago who complained of shin pain.

    He had been upping his running mileage; the pain was due to a stress fracture. It is estimated that between five and 30 percent of athletes and military recruits develop a stress fracture each year. Briefhaupt first described the condition in 1855 when examining military recruits.

    Everyone is familiar with bone fractures, especially those that result from acute trauma. These fractures are usually easy for an untrained person to see on an X-ray – the bone looks like a broken stick. Stress fractures, however, can be much more difficult to diagnose.

    Stress fractures result from repeated stress on the bone. This repetitive microtrauma causes disruption of the microscopic structure of the bone over time that eventually exceeds the bone’s ability to heal itself. A tiny crack subsequently develops in the bone that may or may not be obvious on an X-ray. Think of bending a piece of metal over and over; eventually it weakens and breaks.

  • 7/15/2018 The 2018 fair season is here, offering a variety of fun-filled activities for the whole family. Whether visiting for the food, livestock competitions or 4-H displays, check out the Hamilton County Fair July 19-23 for a great time. 

    Each day, exhibits and displays are open from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Stop by the Extension Homemakers’ Flower Show or help save a life at the Indiana Blood Center Blood Drive from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. 

    Also on Thursday, enjoy watching Moana with the family at 9:15 p.m. On Friday, walk a llama and catch the Hunter Smith concert. The Belfry Theatre Apprentice Players are hosting a show from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and at 6 p.m. on Sunday, I hope to see you at one of my most favorite events, the pet parade. The fair concludes on July 23, with a tractor pull, Color Me Green Fun Run and the Supreme Showmanship event. 
  • 7/13/2018 As Mary Ellen and I prepare to move into our new home, she keeps saying we have to “downsize! downsize! downsize!” We are both very stressed from doing this, which is why my wife is down a size and I’ve gone up a few.

    As I described in a previous column, I discarded more than 300 VHS tapes of my past TV segments, but there were a handful I just couldn’t part with. I wrote about a few of those. Here’s the rest of the list:

    A local animal behavior specialist took my beagle Barney (my TV co-host for 13 years) for a few days and claimed he had cured him of his destructive chewing and digging habits. In the middle of the interview with this expert on my front porch step the following week, Barney dug up the landscape bed and gnawed the microphone cable in half while the vet looked on in horror.
  • 7/13/2018 “Yes, I consider myself a Christian, but I do not like organized religion.” 

    I wish I had a dollar every time I heard that phrase. 

    On the other hand, I can say with a clear conscience, “Don’t worry, we are not very organized.” 

    Being a congregation under development, or a mission start gives us a kind of fluidity not found in churches that are more established, or have long held traditions, which in some cases have become sacred cows. 

    Roots of Life is an expression of the ELCA, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Now before you jump to conclusions, we are not the Evangelical, the right-wing extremists, who give Jesus a bad name. 

    No, our expression of evangelical has to do with spreading the Good News that God loves all, no matter. We typically refer to our community as ‘Progressive.’
  • 7/12/2018 A few weeks ago, Elvis Presley was in the news when a plaque commemorating his final concert was returned to the former site of Indianapolis’ Market Square Arena after being absent for a few years due to construction.

    Shortly after that, in one of those weird coincidences that happen sometimes, I stumbled across an old Noblesville Daily Ledger article which described a visit Elvis made to Noblesville. 

    Really!

    Maybe.

    Let me put it this way, the Ledger treated the story as if it was completely legitimate. It ran on the front page of the November 29, 1956, newspaper with the headline, “Noblesville Rocks as Elvis Rolls Into Town.”
  • 7/8/2018 

    This past week, I didn’t celebrate Independence Day with the typical fanfare. Normally, I participate in a local parade, and then attend a carnival with my kids before settling in for the fireworks display.

    But this year, I was out of town on the Fourth. I spent most of the day alone, and deep in contemplation. My mind wandered to the celebrations of my early childhood in small town, USA. I can still remember the sound of crackling grease at our local fish fry. I can smell the burn of the sparklers my young uncle would light for me. I can feel the tug of tightly braided hair, and the joy of discovering that my friends were wearing the same red, white, and blue Garanimals I had donned for the day.

    My grandma and her famous potato salad figure prominently in those childhood memories. I think about her a lot. When she was 48 (the age I am now), I was 7 years old. Because she didn’t have a driver’s license, her world was pretty much confined to church life and the rural home where her nearest neighbor was a mile away.

     
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Saturday, July 21, 2018

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