Saturday, March 14, 2009







Love is responsible.

When you judge aqnother, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things. Romans 2:1

Today will be hard. But as you seek God’s strength and wisdom, you will be able to get through it. This day could be a milestone in your marriage if you allow it to be. So resolve to focus on what the Lord may be saying to you, and purpose to follow His leading.

Today is about personal responsibility. It’s something we all agree others should have, but we struggle to maintain it ourselves. We tend to believe that our vies are correct, or at least much more correct than our mate’s. And we don’t believe that anybody, given our same set of circumstances, would act much differently than we have. As far as we’re concerned, we’re doing the best we can. And our spouse just ought to be glad we’re as good to them as we are.

TODAY’S DARE: Take time to pray through your areas of wrongdoing. Ask for God’s forgiveness, then humble yourself enough to admit them to your spouse. Do it sincerely and truthfully. Ask your spouse for forgiveness as well. No matter how they respond, make sure you cover your responsibility in love. Even if they respond with criticism, accept it by receiving it as counsel.

ASK YOURSELF THIS QUESTION: What does your mate need to see in order to believe that your confession was more than just words?


Today is Lips Appreciation Day, a day to do something nice for your lips. Kiss somebody

Today is Freedom of Information Day, when he nation's libraries celebrate the people's right to know

Today is Circus Day. The Barnum & Bailey Circus was formed on this date in 1881. It joined with the Ringling Brothers Circus in 1907.

Act Happy Week begins today ( Also, :National Spring Fever Week, Brain Awareness Week, and Wellderly Week, for senior who never act their age.
597 BC: According to some archaeological calculations, the first conquest of Jerusalem by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar occurred. The event is recorded in the Bible in 2 Kings 24 and 2 Chronicles 36.

In The News…..

Citi Board
Citigroup is accepting nominations to fill four vacancies on its board of directors. The bank is looking for new directors who have extensive experience with panhandling.

Chinese Concerns
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is expressing concerns about the growing U.S. debt. If this keeps up, American consumers might start needing to make their own toys and poisonous dog food.

Sesame Street Layoffs
The economic downturn has forced layoffs at the Children's Television Workshop. It's getting so bad that Ernie and Bert had to move into Oscars' garbage can.

Lost Wealth
A new study shows that Americans have lost 17.9% of their net worth over the past year. Luckily, another study shows that most Americans don't have the basic math skills to understand what 17.9% is.

Former presidential candidate John Edwards spoke to Brown University last night to a crowd of 600 people. Does this seem crazy.. he spoke to the students on poverty and morals! He’s a personal injury lawyer who cheated on his wife!!! What is wrong with people?!!

Last week…Bernie Madoff pleaded guilty to $50 billion in fraud. He told the judge he was deeply sorry and ashamed and the judge said, “Oh,” before sentencing him to probably the rest of his life. I feel bad for the victims, but the guy’s name is “Made-Off.” Seriously — that’s not a red flag? That’s like hiring a guy named “Bernie Hepatitis” to serve you clams.
Tickets for Michael Jackson's 50 London concerts sold out within hours of becoming available. Go figure. Here’s the way I look at it: Would I rather see Michael Jackson in concert or........
a.Having your dentist do a root canal.
b.Be audited by the IRS.
c.Have a colonoscopy.

"President Barack Obama says the nation's decades-old food safety system is a 'hazard to public health' and in need of an overhaul, starting with the selection of a new head of the federal Food and Drug Administration." Personally, I do believe in food safety. I also believe in the importance of daily eating from the four food groups: Fast, Frozen, Instant, and Chocolate.

"Congress' automatic pay raises are in little immediate danger of being scrapped for good, even with the economy slumping and millions of Americans unemployed”. Lawmakers defeated a Senate measure to abolish the automatic pay hikes and force them into the deep discomfort of casting actual votes to give themselves raises." I like what Will Rogers said: "We have the best Congress money can buy."

Miley Cyrus has written her autobiography. Chapter Four is a real tearjerker. That’s the chapter with the sad story of how Miley discovered her dad, Bill Ray Cyrus, is the same Billy Ray Cyrus who recorded "Achy Breaky Heart".

Memo to Slackers:
Your boss will be impressed with how much you get done if you simply master the art of wasting company time. The Sun Sentinel passed along the concept of DREW SATTEE; he wrote 50 Ways to Look Busy At Work Even When You're Not. Drew calls himself "America's Looking Busy Coach." His tips include:
1. Keeping various digestive medicines visible on your desk. "That way, if you're not at your desk, no one will wonder where you are."
2. . Discreetly spray your face and/or clothes with water once in a while. You'll look like you're working so hard you're actually sweating."
3. "Always be late ... because it says (you are) too busy to be on time."
Before you try any of Drew's ideas, make sure your boss hasn't read his book first.

A South Carolina high school teacher is out of work after firing a gun at one of his students. Twenty-nine-year-old JEFFERY BAKER won't do any jail time though. The Beaufort Gazette reports Mr. Baker fired a foam dart from a plastic Nerf gun at a 14-year-old girl in his science class two weeks ago.Jeff was joking around, but the girl didn't laugh when the dart hit her left shoulder at Battery Creek High School. She instead stood up and slapped her teacher's face.

Her mom wanted to get Mr. Baker charged with assault. The school figured the least they could do was place him on paid leave while everyone calmed down. Last Friday, Jeffery took it a step further and quit.

Does the avalanche of news about layoffs, business losses and a declining stock market have you looking for ways to cut your spending so you can beef up your savings? We're here to help, with suggestions for less-expensive alternatives to ten everyday purchases (for more ideas, go to, which tracks cell-phone plans and credit cards).

Afternoon snacks. Do you munch protein bars as a healthier alternative to a chocolate pick-me-up? You could easily be paying more than $2 per bar and consuming just as much sugar as you would with your favorite candy bar. Stock up on fruit for a fraction of the cost when you do your grocery shopping. You'll be fitter and save a bundle.

Bottled water. Yes, it's important to drink water every day. But picking up the bottled variety with your lunch is an expensive way to stay hydrated. Rather than spend $2 a day for water, buy a pitcher and a filter for about $20 and drink as much as you want for pennies a glass.

A caffeine fix. Can't get through the day without at least one cuppa Joe? Stopping at Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts can set you back as much as $1.65 per cup. Splurge on a pound of gourmet coffee for $8 to $13 and you can make 40 cups for about 20 cents to 33 cents each.

Favorite tunes. Do you rush out to buy the latest CD by your favorite group even though there are only one or two songs you really like? Instead of paying up to $18 for the CD, download those cuts you want from iTunes for 99 cents each, or from Amazon for as little as 79 cents.

A night at the movies. An evening for two at your local theater costs an average of about $20, including the popcorn -- and closer to $30 in major cities. And that doesn't even count the babysitter. For just $5 a month, you can watch two movies from Netflix or pay $9 for unlimited viewing. If you're willing to wait a little longer for new releases, borrow them free from your local library.

Fresh flowers. A bouquet of spring blooms brightens up a room and your mood. But purchasing it from a florist at $25 and up can quickly put a dent in your budget. Check out your local grocery store, which offers a selection of seasonal bouquets for $5 to $10.

Fruits and veggies. Sure, precut vegetables and salad mixes that are washed and bagged save a little time. But you'll pay for the convenience. Broccoli florets and sliced peppers cost $6 per pound, compared with one-third to one-half the price for the uncut versions. Lettuce varieties that are pre-washed and bagged sell for $5.98 a pound. But it takes just minutes to wash and spin dry enough arugula for your evening salad, and you'll pay one-third as much. Buying whole strawberries rather than sliced ones that are prepackaged cuts the price by 75%.

Credit-card fees. Every month, millions of credit-card customers pay their bills late, and they're assessed as much as $39 each time. Set up an automatic debit and you'll never incur another late fee.

ATM fees. Each time you use an out-of-network ATM you pay an average of $3.43. Do that once a week and you'll rack up almost $180 in ATM fees every year. Avoid those charges by selecting a bank with a large ATM network or an online account that reimburses your ATM fees -- such as the eOne no-fee account from Salem Five Direct bank. Another alternative: Get cash back at the grocery store.

Fax and mail services. Instead of paying FedEx $1.49 to fax one page, sign up to send free faxes from a provider such as faxZero or Save on shipping with the U.S. Postal Service's priority mail service. You'll pay just $4.95 to mail an envelope or small box anywhere in the U.S., and your parcel is likely to arrive within two days. Larger packages cost $10.35. That saves at least 50% compared with UPS's two-day service, the cost of which varies by weight and distance.

PetMD came up a list of the top 10 smartest canine breeds in the world. See if your dog’s breed makes the grade.

10. Australian cattle dog. Yes, that Australian cattle dog from Down Under. A working dog that is traditionally occupied with controlling and herding cattle, its qualities are exceptional intelligence, alertness, resourcefulness and a fiercely protective loyalty over its property and people. They are agile, strong, active dogs, both physically and mentally, which revel in new experiences. The flip side is that they bore easily and will unintentionally find trouble while looking for activities to occupy themselves with. The cattle dog is very organized; many are known for putting their own toys away after playing.

9. Rottweiler. Another herding dog, the Rottweiler began in Germany as a true work companion. They are still primarily used for work as guard dogs and as police dogs. They are well known for their stoicism, keen perception, courage and unflagging loyalty. They make an excellent addition to the family.

8. Papillon. This deceptively cute, butterfly-eared dog is smarter, tougher and stronger than it appears (it’s like the bionic dog). Often described as big dogs in little bodies, they have the athletic stamina to keep up on long walks, and the bravura of a canine 10 times its size. The papillon is a true companion and watchdog. Although they can be ferociously protective over what belongs to them, their keen intelligence makes it possible to take them anywhere. Let’s not forget they can be litter-trained, a big plus.

7. Labrador Retriever. The Lab, as it is affectionately called, is the most popular breed chosen by families. Another member of the working class of dogs, the Lab is best known for its intelligence, affection, patience and gentility, making them perfect companions for households with kids. They are easily trained, and, in fact, are one of the top dogs chosen for search and rescue, assisting the disabled and police work. They are also known to self-train, observing behaviors in humans and repeating them — a great asset in emergency situations.

6. Shetland sheepdog. Another herding dog, the Shetland takes this ability into the home, showing the same commitment and protectiveness over its human “herd” as the farm raised version does. Highly intelligent, the Sheltie handles life with great efficiency and diligence, learning new commands with little repetition, and making sure that all of the family is safe, sound and in place. They show great devotion to their families, and are happy to live just about anywhere.

5. Doberman pinscher. Due to an inborn fearlessness and deep stamina, the Doberman is one of the most popular of guard dogs. Smart and assertive, they can easily be trained for dominance or docility. Because of their past as war and police dogs, they may appear fearsome, but they are actually quite gentle. Their loyalty and acuity make Dobermans great additions to the family.

4. Golden retriever. A very affectionate and popular breed, the golden retriever is highly regarded for its intelligence. They can learn well over 200 commands, making them indispensable companions, both in the home and in the workplace. Loyal, loving and patient, with a willingness to please and a love of learning, this is a fabulous companion pet to bring into your family.

3. German shepherd. The German shepherd was originally bred specifically for intelligence. Smart, courageous and protective, the shepherd is one of the most dependable of companions. They learn tasks after only a few repetitions, and obey first commands nearly always the first time it is given. They are eager to learn new tasks, as this gives them direction and purpose — very important for a shepherd. Besides being used for herding animals, they are often used as guard dogs, police dogs, search-and-rescue dogs and have even been trained by the military for parachute jumps.

2. Poodle. Easily trainable, steadfast, and sharp-minded, poodles flourish in human company. Even with the frou-frou hairdos, poodles are sometimes made to endure and can be quite effective as guard dogs, especially the standard-sized poodles. In fact, the “poodle clip,” was created specifically for the working poodle, so that it could swim more effectively, while still having fur to protect its organs as it went about the business of hunting and retrieving. The poodle excels at training and obedience, and also loves creative play time. This is what made them so popular as circus performers. But, this can be a drawback as well. If left alone to boredom, poodles can be creative about finding ways to amuse themselves, sometimes finding trouble along the way.

1. Border collie. The border collie comes in at No. 1. Because of their extraordinary intelligence and high energy, it is essential to give border collies an occupation or purpose, or you may well find your home wrecked upon your return from a long day at work. They have an intense connection with humans, making them ideal work and home companions. However, keep this in mind: border collies invariably will not do well unless they are with people who are as high energy as they are; they do best with humans who can participate in dog sports with them. Also, because of their background as herding dogs, they may be frustrated by small children, as their inability to herd the children as they deem fit is confounded. For the right human, the border collie is well-behaved, exceptionally good at learning and a true-blue companion.

Find a job takes work. You can expect to spend 30-40 hours a week looking for a job.

SACRAMENTO, CA - Expect to spend 35 to 40 hours a week looking for a job if you've been laid-off, said Friday's Live_Online guest, career counselor Renata Pagliaro.
Pagliaro, who's an executive with the human resources agency Lee Hecht Harrison in Sacramento, gave viewers practical advice in organizing a job search. She said it involves researching companies you'd like to work for, figuring out how your skills can benefit an employer and networking with family, friends and colleagues to learn about possible job leads. She said these days, a job search could last several months at the very least.

Pagliaro put together the following tip sheet to help job seekers stay focused and optimistic:

It's Not Your Fault
Losing one's job is difficult and with the loss comes sadness, anger, denial and a myriad of other emotions. Don't feel like there is something wrong with you because you are experiencing these emotions. If you are aware that some of these negative emotions are normal and to be expected, you might not over-react to them as much as you would without that knowledge. If negativity persists, such as staying in the house without seeing anyone for days or weeks, drinking excessively or feeling depressed, please seek out professional help.

You Have a Lot to Offer
Assess your skills, interests, and values. Be able to clearly and succinctly speak to your skills that you used in your most recent job and how those skills were used on the job. Also think about how you helped your former company succeed. Think about what you know you do well. Even if it is as simple as showing up on time or needing little or no supervision.

Get a Decent Resume Together
Have a clear objective statement at the top (the job you want), a summary statement that shows the skills you have to perform the job, and the professional experience to support that you have done the work in the past.

Network, Network, Network
Spend most of your day with people. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, get out and have coffee meetings with friends, family, former co-workers and bosses. Network at the gym, a volunteer organization, a professional association, chamber of commerce , Employment Development Department, Rotary Club, church groups -- anything you can think of to be around people. Eventually the conversation can lead to job leads, learning information about what different companies do, contacts for informational interviewing, etc. The rest of the day, tidy up your resume, make appointments to meet with people, send thank you notes, research companies that you are interested in working for and apply to jobs online.

Do Your Research
You'll find resources at EDD, One Stop career workshops, and even at the library. The Sacramento Business Journal has tons of information about local companies that you may want to research for information and potential jobs.

Be Optimistic
Even if the unemployment rate is over 10 percent, that means there is still 90 percent. Just stick to your job search.


Every week, tens of millions of Americans tune in religiously to "American Idol" to watch the trials and tribulations of their favorite singers.

This season, though, a large number of those faithful viewers have more than a casual pop-culture interest in the show: They're Christians who are also watching because more than half of this year's crop of finalists — including Danny Gokey, Michael Sarver, Kris Allen, Scott MacIntyre, Matt Giraud and Lil Rounds — either have a strong affiliation with the church or are worship leaders in their communities
"I think that Christians probably watch the show all the time but maybe don't admit it. But this gives them someone to root for in this cast who is not just talented but also follows their faith, and people want to get behind contestants who align with their views," said Joanne Brokaw, who writes the Gospel Soundcheck" column for the spirituality Web site "Christian music has always had this cheesy label attached to it, and this shows that a Christian singer can have artistic integrity and they are people who can really sing."

Brokaw, a freelance writer who contributes to a number of Christian media outlets, began live-blogging "Idol" this year for BeliefNet, and she said the show's inclusion of such worship leaders as front-runner Gokey and Texas roughneck Sarver piqued her interest early on. "I think someone like Danny Gokey allows mainstream audiences to see that Christian music is not scary," she said. "He's not preachy. And the story of how he lost his wife is so heartbreaking, but you can see there is a joy in his performance that speaks to people. He doesn't have to talk about God for people to see that he's a Christian and see past the stereotype."

According to Brokaw's research, at least six of the remaining top 11 contenders have ties to the church. Among them are Gokey, who she said ran two services in two different cities every Sunday for Faith Builders International until his wife's death; worship leaders Sarver and Allen; gospel-quartet member and churchgoer MacIntrye; Giraud, who has released two Christian CDs; and Rounds, who has said she "grew up in church."

At press time, a spokesperson for "Idol" had not responded to requests for comment for this story.

When Jordin Sparks won the competition two years ago, Brokaw said Christians took notice because of her strong faith and her background in gospel and Christian music. She followed in the footsteps of other avowed Christians Chris Daughtry, who has gained a strong following thanks to his spiritually inclined lyrics, and first-season singer RJ Helton, who represented early on in the show's run but reportedly quit singing inspirational music after coming out as a gay man.

The show also built what Brokaw thought was an overt bridge to its Christian audience last season when the top eight sang the evangelical Christian tune "Shout to the Lord" during the charity fundraiser "Idol Gives Back"; the song was covered by season-two winner Ruben Studdard on his 2004 gospel album, I Need an Angel.

"Even if contestants don't come out and say it, we can all spot someone [who is Christian]. The more that there are contestants that we can connect with — who we can say, 'That person is like me' — the more it will probably help drive viewership this year," Brokaw said, pointing to a moment on Tuesday's performance show when the judges praised Allen for helping other contestants work on their songs, which Brokaw said brought a knowing nod from Christians who know of his church background.

"We see what kind of person he is, and if you talk to people in his church they'll say they're not surprised." Brokaw said. "But people who don't know that he's a worship leader or actively involved in a Christian church might say, 'Why is he doing that? This is a competition!' Those are the values people want. We love it as much as anyone when Simon gets snarky, but watching a contestant perform with integrity and treating fellow contestants with grace and dignity speaks to us."

Just as this season kicked off, freelance writer CJ Casciotta penned an essay for faith site titled "American Idol — Good for TV. Bad for Church," in which he questioned whether the show's shunning of the "awkward, the socially inept, the ugly, the difficult" during the often cruel early rounds shouldn't be a call to action for the rest of us to embrace those whose lives are a struggle.

Casciotta's interest was piqued when he heard "Shout to the Lord" on "Idol" last season, and he suspects that the inclusion was an overt attempt to court Christian viewers. "The people at 'American Idol' are not idiots. They realize that there's this huge percentage of America that watches TV as a family, and a lot of families go to church. ... [The viewers] know worship leaders and musicians in church, and why not bring that aspect to the show?" he said.

He suspected that the inclusion of so many people of faith on "Idol" this year is part of a trend Christian music has been undergoing over the past decade, growing out of its cloistered corner and going more mainstream without losing its core values. "People who are Christians have a platform through 'American Idol' to write their songs and share their stories, and it doesn't have to fit in with the traditional Christian or worship genre," he said.

In fact, Casciotta said, he thinks Christian voters could end up being the deciding factor in this year's finals. "I would hope for people of faith that they would judge solely by talent," he said. "But if it came down to it, and the two [finalists] were equally talented and one was Christian, people would vote for that person who shares our faith."


Scottish doctor is so concerned that Britons are taking after their American cousins in the waistline department that he's recommending the government tax chocolate.

Dr. David Walker, a family doctor and nutritionist, warned in an interview with the BBC that "Obesity is a mushrooming problem. We are heading the same way as the United States.

"There is an explosion of obesity and the related medical conditions, like type 2 diabetes," he told BBC News' Web site. "I see chocolate as a major player in this, and I think a tax on products containing chocolate could make a real difference."

According to Walker, drastic action is needed to jolt the British people out of their sugar-induced "false sense of security."

"I had one patient recently who said to me she thought chocolate was good for you. People are being brainwashed into believing this," he said.

Many people in Britain, the good doctor warns, are consuming their entire caloric intake for the day in chocolate – on top of their regular meals.

He wants to see a tax on chocolate just like the one levied on tobacco and alcohol.

And why not?

I'll tell you why not: There would be widespread mutiny (and I do mean widespread - U.K. leaders would long for the days of the quaint little Boston Tea Party), followed by a very, very brief civil war.

Dr. Walker and his army of nutritionists would not fare well against this densely populated island nation of chocoholics.

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