Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Yesterday I was out in our shed getting some tools, when I heard a bird chirping frantically and noticed a little sparrow was trapped inside the building. When the little bird heard me in the shed it panicked and started flying into the walls and the windows trying depserately to get away and get out. Finally, the little bird landed on the window sill, trembling, exhausted and trying to regain his strength before he tried to break free again.

The a pretty cool thing happened. From outside the shed’s door another little sparrow hoped toward the open door and started chirping as if to call to the other bird and direct him to freedom. And it worked!

When the trapped bird heard the other bird chirping from the door, he perked up, jumped down from the window sill to the work bench and then down to the floor and out the door! He listened first, not yet seeing, but following the call closer and closer.

Do you feel trapped sometimes? I know I do. It’s those times we need to be reminded that the Lord is our way out. We need to trust him, listen to him through his Word and in our quiet time, and work our way to a freedom that only comes through Christ. Even if at first, we don’t understand, or don’t “see” what it is he is doing.

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. Galatians 5:13


Today is “Sickie Day” the day that most employers report employees phone in sick.

Today is National Thank A Mailperson Day. So why not stick a little thank you note in the mailbox today…or leave a snack or something sweet for your mailperson to say how much you appreciate them!

Today is Homemade Soup Day.

Today is USO Day. The United Service Organization, providing worldwide civilian support for U.S. servicemen and women and their families, was created on this date in 1941.

On this date in 1789 George Washington was elected President -- unanimously. It's the first and last time Americans agreed on anything.


Follow up story…2 million people took Denny’s up on their recession buster promotion of offering all Americans a FREE Grand Slam breakfast yesterday! Thank you Denny’s!!

Free Breakfast Creates Egg Shortage

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Customers at a metro Denny’s say the restaurant locked its doors after hundreds of hungry customers showed up for a free breakfast.Managers at the Front Street Denny’s, near Interstate 435, said they ran out of eggs, prompting them to temporarily stop their free breakfast promotion.The national breakfast chain announced earlier this week it would offer a free Grand Slam Breakfast to anyone who comes in today between 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.Managers say they were able to get more eggs to the store and reopened shortly before 11 a .m.There was no immediate word if any other locations had closed their doors. The Grand Slam Breakfast includes two eggs, two pancakes, two strips of bacon and two links of sausage. The chain offered the free promotion at all of its 1,560 locations nationwide.

SAT Study
A new study shows that rising SAT scores may be the result of a drop in the concentration of lead in children's blood. In other words, it's a lot easier to do better on the test if you don't eat your #2 pencil.

CitiField Deal Dying?
Citigroup may back out of its $400 million deal for naming rights to the new Mets stadium. Citi executives realized that if they really wanted to spend $400 million on a losing team, they should just give themselves another bonus.

Tom Daschle Withdraws Appointment Nomination

There huge scientific breakthrough today. Researchers say they’re very close to finding someone from Obama’s Cabinet who’s actually paid their taxes.

Tom Daschle, who President Obama wanted as his secretary of Health and Human Services, apparently did not pay $128,000 in taxes that he owes to the government. Do you realize Obama hasn’t had a Cabinet member with an embarrassing tax problem like this since . . . the last guy they appointed?

The Economic Stimulus Plan Meets Resistance

One of the senators resisting President Obama’s stimulus package the most is John McCain. Apparently, McCain’s biggest problem with the package is it’s not written in a larger font.

Speaking of the Economy

Disturbing news from the Internet. Yahoo is in big trouble -- they made a huge financial loss. They changed their name from Yahoo to Boo-hoo.

Hero pilot SULLY SULENBERGER is now every librarian's hero, too.

When Sully's plane ended up in the Hudson River last month, so did a book he had checked out from the library at Fresno State through his local library in Danville, CA.

Sullenberg contacted the library and asked for an extension and waiver of overdue fees because the book was in the airplane's cargo hold.

Fresno State library officials say they were so struck by Sullenberger's sense of responsibility that they waived all fees, even lost book fees, and placed a template on the replacement book, dedicating it to him.

The book's subject: Professional ethics. I'm just glad it wasn't "Bird Sanctuaries of North America," or something.

While we're on the subject, if you'd like to try your hand at landing that US Airways passenger jet in the Hudson River — now you can!
There's a free online game called "Hero of the Hudson" available on AddictingGames.com. And as of Sunday night, more than 1.4 million attempts have been made to safely land that plane. Here's how it works: you use the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to gain control of the falling plane before it hits the water from an altitude of 15-hundred feet.

Starbucks Offering Value Meals

NEW YORK (AP) -- The allure of the value meal has long seduced penny-pinchers craving a cheeseburger. Now, as the dismal economy slurps up profits, Starbucks Corp. is hoping to find some sales salvation in its own value meal variety.

The tug of war for coffee drinkers has gotten hotter in recent months, with McDonald's Corp. offering new, lower-priced specialty coffee drinks and Dunkin' Donuts advertising value-minded deals.

"You've got a lot of options right now for the more price-conscious consumer to save money," said Andrew Hetzel, the founder of coffee consulting group Cafemakers.

Starbucks has yet to offer many details about what Chief Executive Howard Schultz described to investors last week as "several breakfast pairings" at "attractive" prices. More details are expected as early as later this week.

But analysts wonder if the plan will be enough to keep value-seeking customers from abandoning the mermaid for the clown.

The McDonald's drinks, which are now in about half of the company's U.S. stores, have already garnered a following among some former Starbucks customers like Maudie West.

Starbucks is looking to rebound from dismal sales in the U.S. as more consumers cut back on spending in the deepening recession. In its fiscal first quarter report last week, same-store sales - a key indicator of a retailer's performance - dropped 10 percent. That's worse than the 8 percent decline in the fiscal fourth quarter.

Not to be outdone, Dunkin' Donuts is trying to attract value-conscious consumers with specially priced coffee and food combinations, such as a medium drip coffee and an egg white flatbread sandwich for $1.99. The company, which is privately held, doesn't report financial results and declined to give specific figures.

Much of Dunkin's market base is price-sensitive customers, whereas Starbucks' customer base still includes a die-hard core that may be unwilling to trade down on their coffee.

Michael W. Smith Enters GMA Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Michael W. Smith hopes his induction into the Gospel Music Association's Hall of Fame doesn't make people think his career is over.

Smith and Dolly Parton were among the new inductees honored at a ceremony last night in Nashville.

After 26 years in Christian music, Smith says he still feels like the best is yet to come.
Asked what he's most proud of, Michael W. Smith says it's simply that he's "survived success."
For that, he credits his faith, his wife and family, friends and management. Smith says they've kept him "pretty well grounded" in a business where people are always telling you how great you are.

Sasha & Malia Beanie Babies “Renamed”

OAK BROOK, Ill. (AP) — The toy company that makes the popular Beanie Babies is retiring the names "Marvelous Malia" and "Sweet Sasha" from its Ty Girlz collection.

CEO Ty Warner of Oak Brook-based Ty Inc. says in a statement Tuesday that the dolls have been renamed "Marvelous Mariah" and "Sweet Sydney."

Warner says the original names were inspired by what he calls "this historic time in our nation's history," but the dolls weren't intended to bear the likeness of President Barack Obama's daughters.

Warner says Ty is changing the monikers in deference to the Obama family after first lady Michelle Obama said using her daughters' names was inappropriate.


The mat contains a total of 70 pieces of ball, island and forest moss measuring 2.4in (6cm) each in diameter.

It feels soft underfoot and does not smell when it gets damp.

Each piece of moss is cut into a foam frame, which prevents the moss from spreading or growing out of control.

Its designer, Nguyen La Chanh, from Switzerland, says the mat is very relaxing and needs little care.

She said: "The idea was to find a new way of having your plants inside.

"Not only plants in pots quietly standing in the corner of a living room but alive plants, evolving in the house.

"I think this mat would appeal people who miss a corner of nature in their appartment - perhaps if they live in an urban environment, far from parks and nature areas.

"It's relaxing, feels lovely and soft under the feet and doesn't need much care."

Miss Nguyen is looking for financial backing so she can mass produce the mat for less than the £220 it cost her to make.

So Does Ninetendo’s Wii Fit Really help you Get in Shape and Lose Weight?

Nintendo's (other-otc: NTDOY.PK - news - people) exercise game Wii Fit is still flying off retail shelves eight months after its U.S. release last May. The all-in-one instructional tool, weight tracker and fitness coach advertises itself as a painless way for the whole family to get healthy thanks to the game's "balance board," which measures players' movement. Offering a selection of activities--from running to push-ups to yoga--Wii Fit is now in almost 1.5 million homes across the country. But is anyone actually using it?

Not really, says Brian Crecente, managing editor of the popular gaming blog Kotaku. Despite optimistic predictions that Nintendo had unleashed a new era of videogames, Crecente calls Wii Fit little more than an exercise fad that's bound to come and go like any other. "I don't know a single person who has bought the game who uses it routinely after a month," he claims, stressing that getting results from the game requires dedication and real physical exertion. "What Nintendo did is they tapped into that desire people have to be healthier... Everyone wants to work out, but nobody really wants to put the effort into it."

One of the things that's made Wii Fit so popular is the excitement Nintendo has stirred up with people who don't normally play. For Crecente, that excitement--and the let down that often comes with it--hit home. "My mom and step dad both tried Wii Fit before it came out," he says, "and like every other middle-aged American, they loved it." In fact, they loved it so much they went out and bought a Wii of their own. Months later, though, when Crecente stopped by for a visit, he didn't need to ask if they'd set foot on their balance board. Their Wii had never even been set up. So much for physical fitness.

Don't blame Nintendo for people's sloth, observers say. The company has marketed its new cash cow brilliantly, and it's not responsible for whether consumers play the game or not. Nintendo declined to comment for this article, but Wii Fit creator Shigeru Miyamoto has previously gone on record and said that the game is less about people losing weight and more about broadening the videogame market. Still, it seems a little disingenuous for Nintendo to heavily market a fitness tool that's sitting in more than a million American living rooms collecting dust.

That's not to say Wii Fit doesn't work--if you play it. Brian Ashcraft, another Kotaku editor, tried the game out faithfully for a month when it was first released in order to review it. The results: He enjoyed the yoga, and started to feel more in shape. But the novelty wore off, and Ashcraft admits he hasn't picked up the game in a long, long time.

Not everyone, however, is prepared to give up on Wii Fit. Instead of relying on anecdotal evidence, Scott Owens, a professor of exercise science at the University of Mississippi, has started a six-month study to uncover whether placing Wii Fit in a home will actually improve a family's physical fitness. By donating the game to local participants for three months at a time, then taking it away for another three months, Owens will be able to observe how the game impacts cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and balance. How often families use Wii Fit will be up to them.

Of course, the overall goal of Owens' study isn't to question Wii Fit's effectiveness--it's to provide more insight into the American obesity epidemic. Right now, Owens speculates that playing traditional videogames might be a contributing factor because it's a sedentary activity. Results of his study are expected to come out this June.

In the meantime, gamers like Crecente remain skeptical about the Wii Fit hype, predicting that this, too, will pass into fitness fad history. When a neighbor mentioned heading out to buy a Wii Fit recently, Crecente's advice was simple: Don't do it. "I have to keep reminding people," he sighs, "even though it's a videogame, it's still exercise. It might be fun a little bit, but it's work."

Former First Children of The White House…Where are They Now?

As the White House changes hands and new kids on the block, Sasha and Malia, take hold of America's most famous address, ghosts of recent presidential children past and their legacies tell tales of success, arrests, and funny pet names. Here's a look of some of their stories, then and now.


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