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In Grimm’s Fairy Tales, there is a story called The Robber Bridegroom. Written in 1812, at a time when books were rare, the most common book was the Bible. The Grimm Brothers, primitive librarians, were trying to preserve tales of the storytellers in Germany. These fairy tales, which included some magic, had been propagated by mouth for hundreds of years partly because they contained teachings and advice for the common people.… More

A Church that got up and out of the pews -First of all, about 600 folks from a local church called Sagebrush met at 8 am on Saturday morning. Their job was to distribute presents in four Albuquerque locations to parents who have no money to buy Christmas presents this year. Also, to provide lunch for them and their kids.

200 people-of-the-pews headed to a local high school, where adults and their children pitched in to help. For example, wrapping presents, cutting sandwiches and cake, decorating the rooms, and laying out games and arts and crafts for the kids of the visitors.… More

We live in a time when there is some pressure to remove Christmas symbols from public areas. Despite the history and culture of the USA, just in case it might offend someone. The story below is a sobering reminder of the value placed on Christmas by troops in World War I who were fighting under horrible conditions.… More

Last weekend I hiked with friends in Big Bend National Park. Situated at the bottom of Texas, the Chisos Mountains reach for the sky, and structure a striking basin surrounded by peaks which soar to 8,000 feet. Very isolated and refreshingly tranquil, the Park lies about 10 hours driving time from the hustle and bustle of Houston. In the middle of the basin lies a restaurant and a lodge, and the rooms have no TV and no phones.… More

I watched a movie called “Pollock”, which was the life story of the famous American painter who began his career after WW2. It revealed how he discovered a new technique: to paint on a canvas laid out on the ground by dripping paint from a stick and swirling the stick around (without touching the canvas) to form an abstract design, which was embellished in different colors.

Although his wife offered continuous support, it was a long struggle before Time-Life magazine wrote a story on him, and his paintings took off. Because of the movie, I have to admit that I gained an appreciation for this form of “modern art”.… More

I am gazing over the tarmac at Pittsburgh International Airport, on my way home from a conference about shale-gas (where I gave a presentation). Pittsburgh is in the heart of the Marcellus shale, where things are rockin’ and rollin’.… More

Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Whitney Houston is best known for the love-song ballad “I will Always Love You”. Her voice damaged in recent years by her drug addiction, she died just before V-Day at 48, much too young. At the Grammy Awards, dressed in a sleek black gown, Jennifer Hudson sang once again this magnificent song, tenderly and poignantly.… More

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