Solarmaze.com
 
Bill's Blog Page

Well, you found the place on my web page which is the catch all for the rest of my stuff.
I usually like to be pictured with my wife June.  But as you can see that's just my mug.
Its to let you know that what you read below is from me.
If you want to see my lovely wife, you'll have to go to my Photo Album page.  (I'll leave it to you to find it.)
If you haven't looked around the rest of the place yet, you may want to use the links below to find out more about what makes me tick, then come back.

Bill Mazeika


For comments or questions, send email to bill@mazeika.com

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Blog Archive

2016-07-10  David McClain Publishes “Beyond The Rays Of Hope”

2015-12-31  Star Wars VII – No Spoilers Review

2015-11-20  New Book: "George Washington at War - 1776"

2015-03-14  Goodbye to Hilltop Steakhouse – Saugus, MA


2014-08-19  David McClain Takes the Ice Bucket Challenge


2014-08-17  The Cloud


2014-03-28  Review of the movie "Noah"


2013-10-03  Clueless Whitehouse


2012-08-02  Fruitful DR Trip


2012-07-29  NBC's Crappy Olympic Coverage - AGAIN!


2012-07-01 Creation Science Re-ignited


2012-04-23  David's Updated Testimony


2011-01-22  David Does It Again


2010-12-20  Tron: Legacy


2010-11-29  Remake "True Grit"!?!?


2010-08-04  The Story Goes On


2010-07-04  More About David


2010-06-12  Kathleen's Graduation


2010-06-09  Sarah Palin: Going Rogue


2010-05-29  Equally Yoked


2010-05-23  Kathleen's Song


2010-01-16 Avatar


2010-01-03  The Shack


2009-11-11  Veterans Day in Bristol


2009-11-10  Star Wars In Concert


2009-10-09  Rocking Horse Ranch


2009-09-24  Kampala Children's Center Choir


2009-07-08  Slanted News Coverage


2009-05-09  Star Trek


2009-05-04  Happy Birthday To Me

2009-04-03  The Messiah And Me


2009-03-29  Borrowing from Battlestar Galactica
 

2009-03-11  Gloom and Doom


2009-03-09  Slippery Slope


2009-03-04  More to worry about


2009-02-24  Drug Rant!


2009-02-19  Hitting Home


2008-12-29   One of them is wrong!


2008-12-28   Newt Gingrich on Government Bureaucracy


2008-12-27   Confused


2008-11-08   Depressed

2008-09-02  NBC's China Expert???


2008-08-29   David's Testimony


2008-08-25  NBC's Olympic TV Coverage

2016-07-10  David McClain Publishes “Beyond The Rays Of Hope”

If you look through the content list on the left of this page, you will find a number of entries about my
brother-in-law, David McClain.  For over 10 years now, David has lived with ALS, (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).  David has recently published a book entitled “Beyond The Rays Of Hope.” 

Keep in mind that David currently communicates using a special computer that tracks and responds to his eye movements.  So not only is his voice computer generated, but each character he types is an individual eye blink.  I hope many of you will take advantage of David’s inspirational work and order the book.  It helps the family the most if you place your order directly through AuthorHouse.com  Search for the title, or his name.

Bill Mazeika


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2015-12-31  Star Wars VII – No Spoilers Review

Just to let you know upfront – This is a No Spoilers Review.

         

I waited a week for the crowds to die down, but I finally went to see Star Wars VII “The Force Awakens.”  I have been a Star Wars fan since the original came out in 1977 (now known as episode IV “A New Hope”).  It had a limited release without much fanfare, but it was great!  The effects were outstanding for the time.  As a matter of fact, George Lucas has previously formed “Industrial Light and Magic” in order to create the effects needed for the movie.  The 2 sequels came out within 6 years.  Then there was a 16 year wait for the 3 prequels to begin.  Even though it is rumored that George Lucas originally wanted Star Wars to be a 9 episode series, I think it could have had a satisfactory run if things ended with episode VI “Return of the Jedi.”

I’ll pause here for a commercial break…
When at all possible, when going to watch a movie, I go to Spotlight Theater in Hartford, CT www.spotlighttheatres.com  If you are a big guy like me, you will appreciate the large comfy recliners in each theater…

Back on point… a while back, I started to have some concerns about “The Force Awakens” when a few things happened:
1 – Now that Disney was in charge, would that change the overall feel of the movie.  The answer is Yes.

2 – J.J.Abrams was now involved.  The same J.J.Abrams of the re-booted Star Trek franchise.  Many diehard fans are loyal to only one or the other… and even though they would consider it heresy, my taste in sci-fi can accept them both.  J.J. also did the TV series “Alias”, which was great.  But my biggest concern here was that he also did the TV series “LOST.”  Great show, until you get to the finale!  Even today, it has to be the WORST finale of any television show ever.  What a letdown.

3 – Even before its release, it seemed as though the commercialization of the movie was going wild.  Licensing for toys, clothes, food, and car commercials will perhaps generate more money than any other licensing deal ever.  Not that merchandising is bad, it’s just that if that is what is driving the movie – the movie may not be as creative as it could be… slap anything together just to make some money. 

For whatever the reason, the movie does have some shortcomings.  Because of that, I think it must be rated in 2 categories:
1 – As a standalone movie.
In this sense… It is pretty good.  An enjoyable sci-fi fantasy with action, special effects, etc… And it’s nice to see a battle between good and evil where good triumphs.  It is worth seeing?  Absolutely Yes!

2 – As part of the Star Wars world.
Herein lies the problem.  Even though there are tidbits placed here and there that fans of the other movies will recognize and appreciate, and a chance to see how some of the original characters aged, it is basically a re-boot of the original 1977 Episode IV “A New Hope.”   The same basic premise, storyline, threat, and array of players, makes you feel like the movie was made only to introduce a new generation to the saga.  In that sense, you could make 100 more episodes where evil rises, heroes step up the challenge and win.  As far as acting, yes it was enjoyable to see some of the old faces, but the star of the show was the new droid BB-8.  Especially when you realize that BB-8 was not done by CGI, or with someone inside like C3PO or R2D2, but was an actual remote controlled robot. 

Star Wars Episodes
I   “The Phantom Menace”  (1999)
II  “Attack of the Clones”  (2002)
III  “Revenge of the Sith”  (2005)
IV  “A New Hope”  (1977)
V   “The Empire Strikes Back”  (1980)
VI  “Return of the Jedi”  (1983)
VII “The Force Awakens”  (2015)

Bill Mazeika

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2015-11-20  New Book: "George Washington at War - 1776"

My friend and former co-worker from United Technologies, John Koopman, has just published a book “George Washington At War -  1776”.  John is a Revolutionary War buff who has participated in re-enactments and in portraying General Washington in films including “America – Imagine the World Without Her.”  As an experienced equestrian, the book provides an exciting acknowledgement of horseback riding skills, their value in an emergency, thus appealing to history enthusiasts and horse lovers alike.  Below are more details – some gleaned from Amazon.com

Please Note:
John will be doing a book signing on Saturday 12/5/15 at the First Baptist Church of Lebanon, 694 Trumbull Highway, Lebanon, CT

Also - be sure to check out his website: 
www.johnkoopmaniii.com

                        
    George Washington at War - 1776                               John Koopman as George Washington in the movie:
  by Mr. John Koopman III  November 8, 2015                                 “America – Imagine the World Without Her”
 ISBN-10: 1514287781 / ISBN-13: 978-1514287781


Summary
In this fast-paced, action-packed, historical novel on the early campaigns of the American Revolution, history buff and Revolutionary War re-enactor John Koopman tells the stories of the Siege of Boston and the Battle of Harlem Heights from the soldier’s point of view. Koopman skillfully portrays the crucial maneuvers of the battles while providing insight into the thoughts and emotions of the participants, from the foot soldier to General George Washington himself. The book gives readers a close look at George Washington’s character and his skills as a military strategist, battlefield general, and equestrian.

The Washington portrayed here is not the gray-haired figure so familiar to many Americans but a vital, athletic man at the height of his powers. Readers will also learn of Washington’s great affection for horses — his favorite warhorse, Nelson, in particular — and the crucial role horses and horsemanship played in the war. The exploits of three groups of Continental soldiers in Washington’s Army are also featured. The Abbot brothers of Andover, Massachusetts, joined the fight to avenge the death of their older brother, who was killed at the battle of Bunker Hill. Sergeant Justus Bellamy of Cheshire, Connecticut, shows bold leadership to the men of his company and also suffers a great personal loss. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Knowlton of Ashford, Connecticut, leads his Rangers on dangerous missions. The men who made up the Continental army were not the professional equivalent of their British counterparts, who often referred to the Patriots as Rabble. As Koopman’s story shows, however, they honed their own unique fighting style as they became soldiers. Although George Washington at War — 1776 does not read like a history book, its contents are authenticated by the author’s careful, clearly documented research. Extensive footnotes are provided for those wishing to dig deeper into the period. The book will be an engaging, informative read for both general readers and history buffs.

Excerpt
“Washington tore down the road at a full gallop, but once again, the young thoroughbreds, bred for racing, were gaining on him. He was very close to the American lines, but he was running out of time. . . . Washington made a hard left turn onto the Old Post Road. As the [British] dragoons made the turn, they lined up four abreast. With eight shots among them, they couldn’t miss.”

Unlike other historical fiction, in which horses are mentioned only in passing, in this book one of the main heroes is a horse. For the experienced equestrian, the book will provide an exciting acknowledgement of horseback riding skills, their value in an emergency, and the importance of being one with your horse. For those unfamiliar with horses, the book will provide an interesting insight into horse behavior and riding. As the excerpt shows, a dramatic horse chase is one of the high points of the book.

About the Author
John Koopman III was born and raised in the Boston area. His passion for military history began at an early age. He became involved in Revolutionary War re-enacting in 1998 and since 2006 has been portraying General Washington at reenactments in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, and Virginia. He has also portrayed Washington in documentaries shown at state and national parks, on television, and for national theatrical release, including the Monmouth Battlefield State Park Visitors Center film (2013), The American Revolution (television – for the American Heroes Channel, 2014), and America (in theaters, 2014). He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Elizabeth, and his horse, Abishai, whom he often rides at reenactments. He works as a technician for an alternative energy company. Website: www.johnkoopmaniii.com

Bill Mazeika

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2015-03-14  Goodbye to Hilltop Steakhouse – Saugus, MA

The Hilltop Steakhouse on Route 1 in Saugus, MA had been a long standing destination for carnivores all along the East Coast for 50 years.  You couldn’t miss it.  It became part of the local landscape with its huge plastic cows and 68 foot high cactus standing guard in front of the two story restaurant and butcher shop.  It housed several huge dining rooms with appropriate western names like The Dallas Room.  You couldn’t find a more attentive staff or a better steak dinner.  The football sized backed potatoes and ice cold jumbo salads were great, but they only got you ready for a perfectly grilled hunk of beef.

Thanks to several overnight business trips to the area, I had the opportunity to feast there, sometimes with my family.  If you had been foolish enough to eat any other meal that day before going to Hilltop, you probably ended up with a couple unfinished meals to take back to your hotel.  It was not uncommon for the staff to throw in a couple dinner rolls and actual metal forks and knives so the kids would not have to eat the delectable leftover with their hands.

Recently while reminiscing over this wonderful meat paradise with a co-worker, we went online to remotely refresh our memories.  We were shocked to find that due to economic conditions, it had closed in 2013!  We never had a chance to pay our last respects and gorge one final time.  “Economic conditions!”  How could that be?  I blame it on the rise of left wing vegans!  The closing of Hilltop Steakhouse is truly the sign of an impending zombie apocalypse. 

Bill Mazeika

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2014-08-19  David McClain Takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

If you look through the content list on the left of this page, you will find a number of entries about my brother-in-law, David McClain.  For 12 years now, David has lived with ALS.  Although his body is not functioning properly, his mind and spirit are vibrant.  He has deep spiritual insight and is a prayer warrior for our family and beyond.  Below is a link to an NBC Connecticut News Story they ran on 8/18/14.  I'm not sure how long their link will remain active, so eventually I will copy the full story here.  Please check out this amazing news clip video that was shown on the air.

http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/New-Haven-Man-With-ALS-Takes-the-Ice-Bucket-Challenge-271703921.html

Bill Mazeika

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2014-08-17  The Cloud

The Cloud. That place of virtual storage, somewhere out there, maintained by someone we don’t know, but for some reason we trust. Somewhere you can’t touch, because as soon as information gets to the cloud, it could be spread across thousands of servers across planet earth. Why do we trust the cloud? Because everyone tells us that we should! Everyone from TV commercials to IT departments… We are bombarded by ads saying, “Let us automatically backup all your data to the cloud… Don’t stop at your medical and financial records. Give us your industrial trade secrets, and anything else you don’t want to lose. After all, it’s not a matter of if your computer will crash. It’s a matter of when will your computer crash.”

It's one thing to share photos of the kids with grandma, but it is a different story when it comes to most everything else. We are so eager to share with the world on social media every time we blow our nose, that we open up the floodgates of data to armies of teenage hackers and countries seeking the destruction of our way of life. But, you say, it is secure. Nobody can break into the cloud. I’m sure I don’t have to start listing all the movies you’ve seen where this theme is prevalent. 

All this because we cannot be disciplined enough to backup our own data locally. Plus, we want our phones to be logged simultaneously into every email account we have, just so we don’t have to memorize passwords. People say, “I’m not a techie. Make it easy.” Yeah, so easy that you don’t know what you are opening yourself up to. 

Anyway, what caused my rant about this topic? It’s the Windows Phones. Everything goes on the cloud. You want to sync the contacts and calendar from your local outlook to your phone… No more syncing through your home wifi or a USB cable. Microsoft says NO! You will do it our way! It must be by the cloud! It’s our way or the highway! There are third party add-on programs you can buy to regain local syncing, but they are not very user friendly. No thanks. I’ll stick with an android phone.

Do a little web surfing on this aspect of Windows Phones and you will find a flood of people who do not like this feature. Many people keep person data in the notes section of their contact lists, and use their calendar as a journal which they do not want to delete every new calendar year.

To wrap it up, I came across a quote referring to the cloud from Steve Wozniak. You remember him... Co-founder of Apple, Inc. A person who may know a thing or two about computers.

“I really worry about everything going to the cloud. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years [...] With the cloud, you don’t own anything. You already signed it away [...] A lot of people feel, ‘Oh, everything is really on my computer,’ but I say the more we transfer everything onto the web, onto the cloud, the less we’re going to have control over it.”
- Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, Inc.

Bill Mazeika

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2014-03-28  Review of the movie "Noah"

I have not seen the movie, and after reading the review below, decided not see it, and encourage others to avoid it as well. At first, ads for the movie caught my attention since I have been a longtime enthusiast for Creation Science. Read the review below and you will see that this is not the Noah of the Bible. (Review posted with permission of the author.)

Bill Mazeika

Noah Movie Sinks
Review by Dr. Brad Harrub, Ph.D
* Read Review *


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2013-10-03  Clueless Whitehouse

The US Government is shut down, so National parks are closed. But the WWII monument in DC is an OPEN AIR exhibit. So our clueless Whitehouse SPENDS money to blockade the area! They sent more people to erect the barricade than they sent to protect our embassy in Benghazi.

Bill Mazeika

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2012-08-02  Fruitful DR Trip

Praise the Lord that our son Jacob Mazeika recently returned safely from a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.  What made the trip even more special is the fact that he got to work along side 2 of his cousins: Kathleen and Ben McClain.  

Referring to an earlier blog entry:  2012-04-23  David's Updated Testimony  The team was going to dedicate a constructed house to David McClain.  

Jacob was excited to go on the trip, having recently left the Army after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He was a Sergeant in the 101st Airborne.  While on this trip to the poor village of Batey 50, he was able to work on completing 2 new hurricane proof houses, and starting a third.  He also had a chance to do further work on the unfinished floors of a hospital in La Romana as well as completing about 75% of the structure for a very large water cistern to support the facility. In addition to the construction projects, he was able to help on the food and ministry team one of the days they joined the team at Batey 50.

Being there over the July 4th Holiday was also memorable as he worked with 2 other military veterans on the team.
 
One picture shows the contrast between a new house and the shacks that make up the village.  The other picture shows Jacob, Kathleen, the Father of the family receiving the house, and Ben.

Here are some ways to learn more about the mission trip and see more pictures:
www.drmissionteam.org

www.facebook.com/drmissionteam 

www.facebook.com/l3enmcclain  (Ben's photo section has hundreds of pictures)

Bill Mazeika

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2012-07-29  NBC's Crappy Olympic Coverage - AGAIN!

Well, my first entry in this blog was on 2008-08-25.  I talked about NBC's crappy TV coverage of the 2008 Olympic Games in Bejing.  (See  2008-08-25  NBC's Olympic TV Coverage  and  2008-09-02  NBC's China Expert???.)   

Did NBC learn anything in the past 4 years about covering more events?  NO!  You still only get to see the events and ceremonies that their elite directors want you to see.  Its only 1 day into the Olympics and the nonsense has already begun.  

The US got a silver medal in Archery, and a veteran member of the US Female Skeet Shooting Team got yet another Gold Medal... United State's first gold medal of this year's Olympics!  How would a person know this.  You would record all the NBC cable channels in the wee hours yesterday morning, then sift through hours and hours and hours of the 10,000 meter cycling race.  If you were very lucky, and quick with the remote, you could stop at the point were coverage broke away from the cycling for 17 SECONDS to mention the Archery event!  I do admit, that they did show a single arrow being shot!

Then while going over hours of various heats (not even medal competition), you would get 10 SECONDS of the Shooting Gold Medal event that had previously occurred.  But sadly, not even 1 second of a wining shot or the medal ceremony.   

I know, I know, we all want to see what happens on the gymnastics floor, and how the drama will play out in the pool between Phelps and Lochte.  But with so many channels and so many hours of coverage.... how about showing some Judo, Shooting, Wrestling, Weightlifting, etc...  And oh yeah, we will see some Track and Field.... at least the Track portion.  Forget about Field.  If you trained for Shot Put, Discus, or Javelin... NBC thinks your years of training isn't worth the coverage.  

I know what you're saying.  People who want to watch all that other stuff can use their PC or mobile device to download the special streaming software then watch tiny choppy videos of the non-important events... Sorry, that just doesn't cut it.  

We can only hope that by the time the next Olympic games come around, some other network will have the rights of coverage.

Bill Mazeika

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2012-07-01  Creation Science Re-ignited


Anyone who knows me personally, knows that Creation Science has been one of my long time   interests.  I’ve attended countless seminars, read loads of books, taught numerous classes, co-hosted a TV show, and written several creation-based devotionals… all on the topic of Creation Science. 
See:  www.mazeika.com/cr.htm 
        www.mazeika.com/creation.htm 

Anyway, sometimes an interest needs a boost. Well I got mine yesterday at a great one day free seminar hosted by The Creation Coalition Of Connecticut www.creationct.com   (Watch their site for other upcoming events!) 

The audience of about 500 was treated to presentations by two speakers from The Institute For Creation Research www.icr.org
Dr. John Morris, President ICR
Specialty: Geology, Noah's Ark/Flood, Fossil Record, Age of the Earth, Mount St. Helens
Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson 
Specialty: Biology, Stem Cells

This was the first time I had heard Nathaniel Jeanson speak. It was a great presentation. He is a relatively new addition to the ICR staff. As always, John Morris was absolutely captivating. You definitely want to add hearing him speak to your bucket list. 

Back to needing a boost… I say that just because it’s my opinion that lately, the evangelical church seems to be taking a disturbing step away from emphasizing basic doctrines. Not that we are going to split hairs or fellowship over a pre-trib vs a mid-trib rapture, but creation, including six literal days is a bit different. Still, nothing to cause division, but something to cause concern. 

I think we can look at this issue in two parts, for which I will naturally offer my opinion on each… (You didn’t expect anything less, did you…)

1 – The easing up on doctrine issue: All emphasis nowadays seems to be only on Christian living type of topics. I’ve got no problem with us living a Godly life, but wearing a W W J D rubber band on the wrist just ain’t gonna make it! Sure, we could ask “What would Jesus do.” But whatever He would do would be based upon truth. Truth which is found in His word. That is called doctrine. 

2 – The side stepping of Creation Science is related in that it is doctrine. But the literal six day portion is ridiculed or talked down because Christians just do not know what the Bible-based teachings are on the subject, nor how real science and logic can provide evidence for such a thing. This can be caused by ignorance or laziness. Nothing wrong with ignorance. We are all ignorant on some subject. That can be fixed – STUDY. But laziness, that is the tough one. If you don’t want to study, you can take the fake high road and say you’d rather evangelize rather than get caught up in a discussion of whether or not the days of Genesis are 24 hour periods. OK. How many people have you led to the Lord while you were not arguing? Literalists know the importance of laying down the foundation of creation as a means to present the Gospel of Jesus saves. Without getting into a detailed discussion in this article about the Genesis days, try convincing someone that John 3:16 is literal, but God’s words about the very beginning of our existence are not literal. Time for some real study…

Bill Mazeika

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2012-04-23  David's Updated Testimony


I first posted the testimony of my brother-in-law, David McClain,  on this blog back in August of 2008 (see below).  David has recently updated that letter and I am posting below.

As you read his touching letter, keep in mind the time and patience it took to complete using only his eye movement.

Dave has used the time God has given him to enrich and encourage the lives of those around him.  For our friends and family, he is truly our prayer warrior.  

The picture to the right is of David and some family members at a recent fundraiser in Wallingford, CT for mission teams to the Dominican Republic.  Two of his kids have traveled to the DR to help build houses for people in one of the poorest villages.  At this fundraiser, the DR Mission Team made an announcement that the next house they build would be in honor of David and his wife Donna.  

You can view the inspirational video here:
http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/21506059  (The portion involving David runs from 20:30 - 41:00) 

You can learn more about the mission team here:
http://drmissionteam.org


Bill Mazeika

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From: David McClain
March, 2012

Greetings to each of you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. My name is David Kurt McClain, I was born and raised in North Texas. I came to visit the State of Connecticut back in 1984 and am still visiting. I am the husband of one and the father of three. To those who know me, I thank you for your prayers and encouraging e-mails. To those who don't know me, I ask that you read this e-mail and consider my thoughts. I want to give each of you a quick update on my physical condition, then, I want to share a little something from my heart. I want to share this with you now because I don't know how much longer I have, i may have days, I may have weeks, or, God may grant me with yet another year.

I am still hanging on by a nail which God has not yet trimmed. As most of you know, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease back in 2001, then ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) in 2003. The average life span with ALS is 1 to 3 years. I have been fortunate enough to beat the average. ALS affects the neurons in the brain, as they die off, the body looses communication with all muscular function. The muscles literally "waste" away. Strangely enough, ALS does not affect the mind, vision or hearing. Currently, I have no movement in my tongue. I cannot speak, eat or drink. I am fed through a feeding tube that has been implanted into my stomach. My weight is 117 lbs., I was 200 lbs.  Several times a week my jaw will "lock up" causing me to bite tongue. I cannot stand, walk or sit up. I have about 5 percent movement in my left arm, other than that, I am totally paralyzed and lay motionless for 23 of the 24 hours each day. Most of each day I lay alone with just my thoughts and my memories. It's a strange sensation, in my mind, I can see my muscles moving, in my mind, I can feel my muscles moving, but in reality, nothing moves. I drool uncomfortably and have to bite on a rag to absorb my saliva. the fingers on my left hand have "curled" into my palm while the fingers on my right hand remain straight. Several of my toes have curled as well. The muscles in my arms, hands, legs and feet have wasted to the point where my bones and tendons are starting to protrude out. My muscles "twitch" constantly throughout my whole body. Because my diaphragm muscles are so weak, I had to have a Tracheostomy and am on a ventilation machine just to breathe. I cannot cough and have a special machine called a Cough Assist which pulls the secretions out of my lungs so I can breathe clearly. I have a special computer that enables me to type, speak and go on internet by eye movement only. I am totally dependent on machines and other people to survive each day. I am a prisoner within my own body, an alive mind living in a dead shell. Little things we take for granted like an itch on the foot or a mosquito landing on an arm become a real "nightmare" for me. Ultimately, I will die of suffocation due to lung failure or I will die from pneumonia. I tell you the graphic details to help you understand the disease of ALS and to help you realize just how "feeble" these bodies of ours really are. I DO NOT tell you this for you to feel sorry for me, please don't!!! ALS can take away many things but it CANNOT and WILL NOT touch my attitude, my spirit and most important, my soul!!!!

Now comes the good part! As I now start the journey through the "shadow of death", fear is NOT an option! My Saviour and King, Jesus Christ, has carried me thus far and will continue to carry me until He calls me home. The weaker that I become physically, the stronger I become spiritually because this "raggedy" old corruptable body will soon be incorruptable, this mortal will put on immortality, then, "death will be swallowed up by victory!" (1 Cor.15:54) How awesome is that?! In this world full of hatred, sadness and no hope, there IS a blessed hope through Jesus Christ that Heaven is real. Imagine a place where there will be no more tears, no more sorrows, no more crying, no more pain, no more death and no more mosquitos!!! A place where our earthly bodies will be transformed into glorified bodies just like Jesus was after He arose from the grave. A place where we will know as we are known. A place where we will forever fellowship with family and friends who have gone before us. Heaven is a place where evil CANNOT exist, no more deception and sin. The lion will lay with the lamb, the armordillo with the earthworm. But, above all and most important, Heaven is THE place where Jesus Christ, the very One who took upon Himself our sins and died in our place so we can forever live for and worship Him, REIGNS AS KING!!!! We will live in His radiant glory forever! The lyrics of a song written by Keith Green go something like this, "In 6 days God created the whole world, but He's been working on Heaven 2000 years." In Revelation chapter 21, we get a glimpse of the holy city, New Jearusalem, made of the purest gold and the finest of precious stones. There are 12 gates of the City each made of a single pearl (That is proof that these pearls came from Texas). then, after a few events yet to take place on earth, we will see a "new" earth restored to perfection, just as it was before Satan messed everything up. Point being, for those of us who have trusted Christ as Saviour, the best is yet to come! By the way, things get a little heated for Satan for the rest of eternity, read about it in Revelation 20:10.

Though the end of my earthly  journey will bring victory and a new life with Christ, my path still has it's share of "bumps". the toughest part has been preparing my wife and kids. Please pray for them, Josh(25 yrs), Ben(22 yrs), Kathleen(20 yrs), and my wife Donna(never mind!). It brings me much comfort in knowing that each of them have trusted their hearts to the Lord and that someday, we will be reunited again. In Christ, there are no "Good Byes!" Looking back, I think of the things that I would do or try to achieve that would bring happiness to my life. Happiness is based on circumstances. I remember listening to an interview with Tom Brady (QB of the New England Patriot's) after winning his 3rd Superbowl ring, that he still felt "empty", like, something was missing, there must be more. True happiness  joy and fullfillment doesn't come from "thing's" on the outside, but, from Jesus on the inside. The joy of the Lord is my strength and its that strength that carries me through each day. Now, my friend, I beg of you a favor. Please look into your own heart and know that you know that you know that you are saved! Many know OF Christ and think that's good enough to get them to heaven, not so, you must know Christ personally as your Lord and Saviour. If you do know Him, live for Him, love Him and let your life be a reflection of His love. If you don't know Him, realize that you are a sinner and that your sin has condemned you death. Realize that Christ loves you so much and that he died on the cross for your sin. Repent of your sins to the Lord and ask Him to forgive you. Trust your heart and your life to Him and invite Him to be the Lord of your life. If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). When that day comes for your journey to end, I will be waiting and I will rejoice with you when our Lord and Saviour opens His arms and says to you "Well done, my good and faithful servant, ENTER IN!!!!

I will close leaving you with this challenge, regardless of how high the mountains seem before you or how deep the valleys may appear, whatever the heavy weights are that pull you down or whatever the worries that clouds your mind, know that God loves you and knows exactly what you are going through. Give it over to Him!!!!! As for me, be not upset but rejoice with me, death just starts life for eternity! See you on the other side!

-Tex

David Kurt McClain : Texupnorth@msn.com


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To catch up on David's background, here are links to other articles below:

2011-11-22  David Does It Again

2010-08-04  The Story Goes On

2010-07-04  More About David

2010-06-12  Kathleen's Graduation

2010-05-23  Kathleen's Song

2008-08-29   David's Testimony

Bill Mazeika

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2011-01-22  David Does It Again

If you are privileged enough to know my brother-in-law David McClain, you already know what an amazing man he is.  Even though ALS keeps his body trapped in bed, his testimony runs free touching people all over the world.   I don't say it enough David, but I love you and am proud of you, and thank you for writing another beautiful song.  

Emily Adams, a member of the worship team at Calvary Life in Cheshire, CT, took the words of a poem David had written, added another verse along with the music and recorded the amazing result (see below).

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The Next Time I Speak (4:11)
First verse written by David McClain  texupnorth@msn.com 
Second verse written by Emily Adams
Composed and sang bY Emily Adams


The next time I speak, I'll say "Jesus You're my King", a new song to Him, will be the next song I sing.
The next time I stand, will be before the great I AM, my arms will raise up, to Gods perfect Lamb.
The next sunrise I see, will be the Son who rose for me. I'll see His radiant face, and I'll live in His glory. 
The next breath I take, could very well be my last, then, I'll live eternally, and my sorrows will be past. 

I want to run to Your embrace, I want to gaze into Your face, I never saw such beauty, I never saw such beauty,
and sit here at Your table, I am just so grateful, I've never known such freedom, I've never known such freedom,
I want to run to Your embrace, I want to gaze into Your face, I never saw such beauty, I never saw such beauty,
and sit here at Your table, I am just so grateful, I've never known such freedom, I've never known such freedom,
I've never known, I've never known such, freedom. 

The next time I speak, I'll say "Jesus You're my King", a new song to him, will be the next song I sing.


The-Next-Time-I-Speak.m4a


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To catch up on David's background, here are links to other articles below:

2010-08-04  The Story Goes On

2010-07-04  More About David

2010-06-12  Kathleen's Graduation

2010-05-23  Kathleen's Song

2008-08-29   David's Testimony

Bill Mazeika

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2010-12-20  Tron: Legacy

Saw the new Tron movie on opening day this past Friday.  It was  FANTASTIC!!!  A feast for the eyes. Lots of fun. As well as the original held up for 28 years, the sequel is light years ahead for special effects. 

It was one of the few times recently that I was in a theater which was really packed.  We went to the 7pm showing, so the crowd was a mix of all ages... kids who weren't even born when the original came out in 1982, and the older crowd eager to see if this sequel would be worthy of its namesake.  It did not disappoint.  With a run time of just over 2 hours, the time sped by faster than the upgraded light cycles.

The storyline picks up where the original left off.  We get some added insight into the computer world Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) had gotten sucked into back in 1982 vs the grid of the sequel... some interesting and philosophical stuff.  

Not a spoiler, but listen closely to the speech given by Flynn at an Encom meeting at the beginning of the film, and compare it to a speech given by Clu near the end... listen for the word "Destiny."

Anyway, the acting was good, as was the storyline, effects, and the costumes.  No need for a lot of CGI work on the costumes as compared to the original.  Advances in electroluminescent strips made for some wild outfits.  Lots of folks will be searching the net for EL strips and EL wire to make their own Tron creations.  Nerd Alert - Bless my wife who did humor me by braiding some EL wire into her hair and wearing mini glow-stick earrings to the theater.  Note: We were courteous and turned off the EL driver  during the movie.  The mini glow-sticks were the crack and shake cyalume type, and they started to fade anyway.  

Even though it was nice to watch the movie on the huge IMAX screen, It would have been just as good without the annoying 3D glasses... they add some cool effects, but they also cause some reflections and blurs, especially as light from portions of the screen would reflect on the lens; and only some scenes are in 3D. Save a few bucks and see it in 2D. 

I can't wait for the DVD to be available.  You can still find the original Tron on its 25th Anniversary DVD, so that will help pass some of the time.  But you don't have to wait for Tron the game which apparently is being made available now for all platforms... just in time for Christmas... along with tons of action figures I'm sure...

Bill Mazeika

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2010-11-29  Remake "True Grit"!?!?

Remake, Reboot, Re-Imagine True Grit?  You have got to be kidding me!  Some movies should be left as is.  The 1969 movie "True Grit" is a classic... the actors, the lines, the iconic scenes.  Sure it could have been better, what movie could not!?   But it still worked!  Sure there are fine actors nowadays including the cast of this 2010 remake: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin... But can you honestly picture anyone else but John Wayne, Glenn Campbell, Kim Darby, Robert Duvall, and Dennis Hopper uttering the the classic lines of one of the best Westerns ever made... the one that earned the Duke his only Oscar.  

There are lots of old movies I'd like to see remade.  There are lots of bad movies that should be remade.  But from what I have seen in the trailers for this new True Grit, I still hear some of the same classic lines, and I see Jeff Bridges trying to do his best John Wayne imitation.  It's a sad day in movie history.

Bill Mazeika

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2010-08-04  The Story Goes On

Thanks to my nephew Ben, the mission to get Rascal Flatts to sing the song written by Ben's dad David is one step closer to reality!  

As you may or may not know, Ben started a Facebook page called: 

RASCAL FLATTS: SING 4 DAVID!
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=118955458147215

Please go there and join it!

I'll let the message Ben sent out to all its members this week speak for itself.  Also, at the bottom of this article are links to help you learn more about my courageous brother-in-law David McClain.

You can see I posted a couple of pictures from Ben's page.  Go to his page to see lots more! 

One more thing... the "someone Ben never met before" on the big screen, turned out to be my friend's son who had never met Ben or David... No coincidences with God!

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From: Ben McClain August 2 at 5:17pm

As many of you know, this past Saturday was the Rascal Flatts concert at the Comcast Theatre in Hartford, CT. Before the concert, me and my sister Kathleen went to the Westfarms mall because we heard that they were giving away tickets along with backstage passes. While we were waiting for them to announce the winners, out of nowhere the band showed up!! I was able to meet them and very briefly explain the situation and give them a copy of my dad's song!!! This is a prime example of how absolutely perfect God's timing is! Also, throughout the concert, we passed out hundreds of copies of my dad's letter and song, and tried to get on the big screen in order to promote "Sing 4 David" , but somebody beat us to it! I cannot begin to explain how encouraging it was to see someone that I never met before go on the big screen in front of thousands of people trying to get Rascal to sing my dad's song!! It truly was an incredible day and could not have been better! On that note, keep praying that the band's hearts will be touched by the song and that they will sing and record it, which will, most importantly, spread the good news of my fathers testimony around the world! It's all in God's hands now!!!

Sincerely, Ben McClain 

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To catch up on David's background, here are links to articles below:

2010-07-04  More About David

2010-06-12  Kathleen's Graduation

2010-05-23  Kathleen's Song

2008-08-29   David's Testimony

Bill Mazeika

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2010-07-04  More About David

It seems my wonderful brother-in-law David McClain is becoming somewhat of a celebrity... and deservedly so.  David's many friends and family members have know for years what an inspiration he is as he deals with the terrible disease of ALS.  He is a great guy trapped inside a body that refuses to obey his commands.  Yet, spend some time with Dave, and you come away encouraged and blessed.  

Those of you who have read some of my blog entries on David before are familiar with his situation.  If not, check out the links below to catch up.  Today's entry is to let you know about an article that appeared in the New Haven Register newspaper on Father's Day.  It was titled; "His love of family triumphs over this disease today and every day."  Check out the link below.

I also want to mention that David has written another song.  He has several high school classmates who have had or currently have breast cancer. David had been praying for them and I thought of what it must be like for a mother to tell her children she is dying. Then, he thought about his mom years ago and jotted down some words.  I am sure it will be an inspiration to those families.

And in an interesting turn of events, one of David's sons; Ben, has a friend who wrote a rap song in which David is honored.  It was nice to have someone mention David in song.  Below is a link for you to download that track; "Windows" for free. From Dwell In Possibility, released 29 June 2.  The artist's name is Justin Bencivengo

(track 9) Windows by Jus The Wop
http://justhewop.bandcamp.com/track/windows


But today's story doesn't end there... Ben has also set up a facebook page asking Rascal Flatts to sing the earlier song David wrote; "Kathleen's Song"  (see song link below).  There are already thousands of people who have joined the site... please join via the link below:

RASCAL FLATTS: SING 4 DAVID!
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=118955458147215


That's all for now...

New Haven Father's Day story on David
Here is the link to the online edition which included a short video of David "speaking" via his eye scanning computer:  New Haven Register Article

If that link has expired, here is a copy of the story (minus the video):  Archived copy of Article


To catch up on David's background, here are 3 links to articles below:

2010-06-12  Kathleen's Graduation

2010-05-23  Kathleen's Song

2008-08-29   David's Testimony

Bill Mazeika

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2010-06-12  Kathleen's Graduation

This is another update on my brother-in-law David McClain. He was able to attend his daughter Kathleen's High School graduation this week from West Woods Christian Academy.  This was huge, seeing David has been dealing with the devastating affects of ALS.  It was especially great for Kathleen because it was a total surprise to her.  The New Haven Register newspaper did a very nice story on the event. It was on their front page on 6/11/10.  

Here is the link to the online edition which included a short video:  New Haven Register Article

If that link has expired, here is a copy of the story (minus the video):  Archived copy of Article

To catch up on David's background, here are 2 links to articles below:

2010-05-23  Kathleen's Song

2008-08-29   David's Testimony

Bill Mazeika

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2010-06-09  Sarah Palin: Going Rogue

I just finished reading Sarah Palin's book: "Going Rogue - An American Life"  I loved it!  As much as I wanted Senator McCain and Governor Palin to win the election before, that desire is greatly multiplied now. The book provided insight to Sarah Palin's life and the whole political process that occurred after her VP nomination.  As if it wasn't bad enough for all the lies and problems caused by the liberals, it was even a bigger disappointment to learn of the way she was treated by the faceless, clueless folks at "Republican Headquarters." I am convinced that their mis-management cost them the election.

I am grateful she is a true conservative, and stands for Christian principles. I pray she stays on the political scene.  America needs her.   Anyone who criticizes Governor Palin at this point is admitting they did not read the book, and is not interested in facts.

"Going Rogue - An American Life"  by Sarah Palin  ISBN  978-0-06-193989-1

Bill Mazeika

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2010-05-29  Equally Yoked

This book was written by the Senior Pastor of the church my wife and I attend; Wellspring Church in Kensington, CT  www.wellspring.net 

The full title is actually "Equally Yoked - What the Bible Really Teaches About God's Ideal for the Genders."  The author, Pastor Rick McKinniss has put together a book based on a series of teaching he did at the church several years ago.  Even though many evangelical congregations have embraced the idea of having women serve in some limited capacity, today's church falls short of the guidelines we find in the Bible.

The detailed study put forth in assembling this book will provide the open mind with a new insight into the gender issue.  You may even learn something new about the Apostle Paul, who many think was a master male chauvinist.  

For me, the most important section was Chapter 10 "Facing a Counterattack Upon the Partnership at Ephesus."  So much so, that if I were editing the book, I would have made it Chapter 1; just to grab people's attention.  This chapter gives a great insight into the circumstances surroundings Paul's first letter to Timothy.  I Timothy was written to deal with specific issues the church was dealing with regarding the cult of Artemis.  Ephesus was the site of the huge temple built in her honor.  I knew very well about the spiritual opposition  Paul dealt with in Acts 19, but I never extended that to I Timothy, nor read anyone else who had. That was key to me being even more open minded about the rest of the teaching. I think it is also key to breaking the circular reasoning some hold.  After that, you can really see the roles of responsibility which Paul entrusted to Godly women.  I recommend this book.

"Equally Yoked"  by Rick McKinniss  ISBN  978-1-61579-592-5

Bill Mazeika

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2010-05-23  Kathleen's Song

Many of you have prayed for my dear brother-in-law, David McClain who has lived with the physically devastating effects of ALS for several years now.  By his saving faith in Jesus Christ, he continues to be an inspiration to all who come in contact with him.  He is a prayer warrior.  At this point, most of Dave's communication is done with an eye scanner by which he can control his PC, and Text To Speech Converter.  Consider yourself blessed if you receive an email from Dave.  Besides the fact that he probably had encouraging words to share, it took a long time to bang it out... one eye movement at a time.  Keeping that in mind, Dave recently wrote a song about Kathleen.  She is Dave and Donna's youngest child who graduates from a Christian High School this year.  A friend of Dave's performed it at Kathleen's Senior Banquet Last week.  

Dave has given me permission to post the words and recording below.  I do this so that you may be as blessed as we were when we heard it.  You may first want to learn more or remember about David by first reading his testimony which is also posted below on this page.  It is from August 2008, so David has lost some physical abilities since then.  See  2008-08-29   David's Testimony  below.

May David's testimony and song touch your heart.

Bill Mazeika

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Kathleen’s Song (4:18)
Album: Dave “Tex” McClain  texupnorth@msn.com 
Artist: David Jacob


She blew in like a tumbleweed, Kathleen, my baby girl, 
Lord help me raise her in your love, and protect her from this world.
As she grew and learned to walk, ride a bike, laugh and play,
she'd come to me with a book in hand, then I'd hear her say:

Chorus:
Daddy please read to me, I love to hear your voice,
Stories from the Bible are the stories of my choice. 
Daddy please sit next to me, let me hold your hand,
Daddy don't leave me, please read to me again. 

Now my little tumbleweed, has grown into a rose,
I used to call her KayKay, silly nickname I suppose.
In my mind she'll always be, daddy's little Kay,
I can still see her great big smile, when she used to say:

Chorus:
Daddy please read to me, I love to hear your voice,
Stories from the Bible are the stories of my choice.
Daddy please sit next to me, let me hold your hand,
Daddy don't leave me, please read to me again.

I lay in bed immovable, imprisoned in my shell,
terminally sick, I cannot speak, my days I cannot tell. 
my arms and legs are paralyzed, alone throughout the day,
when she comes I wink and nod, and she can hear me say:

Chorus:
Kathleen please read to me, I love to hear your voice,
stories from the Bible, are the stories of my choice.
Kathleen please sit next to me, let me hold your hand, 
Kathleen don't leave me, please read to me again.

Life is but a vapor, soon I will go home, 
The Lord who is our comfort, will never leave you alone.
When your race is finished, I will great you Kay, 
we'll meet again in glory, then you'll hear me say:

Chorus:
Kathleen I will read to you, yes,you will hear my voice,
I am with the Author of the book that is our choice.
I will sit next to you and I will hold your hand,
I will never leave you, we're in the promised land.


Dave-McClain-Kathleens-Song.mp3

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2010-01-16  Avatar

I love movies.  I don't go as often as I like, so I keep a list of movies I want to see.  That way, when they come out on DVD, I know exactly what I want to rent or buy.  But for some movies, you've just got to go to the theater to see them; either because you just can't wait, or because in the case Avatar, I don't plan on purchasing an HDMI version 1.4 compatible flat screen TV with the not yet released 3D capable Blue-Ray player, once the movie comes out on disc in 6 months... So I when to the theater to see Avatar in 3D.  It was well worth it!

I like Science Fiction.  There are several reasons to like scifi.  Sometimes it is a showcase for 50 minute mini morality plays in space; as was the case with Star Trek the original series.  Or it could be that it provides a peek into the future, or you get to see some really cool techie gear, or you can just be blown away by awesome special effects.  One of the other nice things about  scifi is that you get to see a world totally created by the author; the culture, the science, the people, the culture.  Avatar wasn't real strong on storyline, but it did score in other areas. 

We saw it in 3D... using those special glasses.  It was a feast for the eyes!  The visuals really help you get immersed in the story.  I'm glad it was 2 hours and 40 minutes, it didn't feel rushed.  It was a little on the mother nature side, (super environmentalist, pantheism vs Christianity),  but for the movie, it worked, and the result was quite enjoyable.  It was quite a ride.  

On a side note, my wife, being a nurse, loved the techie medical stuff... Like medical staff floating around in zero gravity checking on crew members coming out of stasis chambers, and hi-tech touch sensitive tablets displaying animated patient status.

See it now in 3D while you can!

Bill Mazeika

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2010-01-03  The Shack

I finished reading Paul Young's novel "The Shack" several months ago, but I hesitated when it came to posting a review.  Admittedly, I'm probably one of the last people on the planet to read the book, but my reason for hesitation was that I had no desire to change my name, address, etc, and go into hiding once I made my comments public : ) 

First of all, I'm glad I read the book.  I do try to keep an open mind, always ready to listen and learn new things.  Especially when it comes to the Evangelical Christian world... who wouldn't want to hear from God in some way.

Maybe I would not have judged it so harshly if there had not been so much hype about the book... it built up a lot of false expectations. For a while, you couldn't turn on the TV or radio without hearing some celebrity saying they read it.  When I finally picked it up, I was looking for some personal healing in this book and didn't find it. It was no Pilgrims Progress (nor Christina's Journey). In answer to one question someone had asked me to keep in mind as I read it... "Would I recommend this as an evangelical tool for a non-Christian to read."  I must answer that  I would only recommend it as a read for a mature Christian... best fit being a liberal who liked science fiction, who could also identify with the drug culture of the 1960s.  

Here are some unorganized ramblings:

I wanted to like the book. I was encouraged to read it about one year ago. I must say this; At first, I did like the book; it's characters, style, and story... I liked it up to the point of Mack's returning to the shack.
I do not share Mack's child abuse history, but I actually identified quite a bit with the character, and liked him... up until more of his scriptural ignorances were revealed at the shack. On topics such as the Ten Commandments... Mack's thinking they were rules we were to try and live up to to get into God's good graces, rather than a mirror to show us our need of a savior. 

I must let you know that I am a slow reader, but once I began this book, I finished it in only a few days... somewhat of a record for me.  Part of my non-stop read was because it was so well written... up the shack. I felt like I was on a ride and didn't want to get off. But once at the shack, it simply became one man's podium to rattle off his religious beliefs, making them somewhat less reference-book like by inserting lines like; "...then he took another bite of food...". Another attempt to break up the religious soliloquies was to insert some modern day references like the matrix, fractals, and the time continuum. But it just didn't work.

Whether I am in a class, or reading a book, or listening to a sermon, I try to learn something.  Were there a couple of good one-liners in the book? Yes. Like during the discussion on pain "...when all you can see is your pain, perhaps then you lose sight of me."  ("me" referring to God).

OK, I did have a hard time with any portion of the Trinity having a female personification. Yes, I did understand the whole thing about Mack not being ready for God being a father figure at first... but work around it!  Male references in the Bible are male references. PERIOD.

There were some other doctrinal problems throughout the book. One is the idea of relationship overshadowing the cross. There were also other reoccurring themes, one being hyper Calvinism. Some may not catch that, but I base that judgment partly on the premise that was put forth about God not intervening in human affairs... except of course for the blessed "relationships issue." When the characters got into the issue of whether God could have prevented Missy's abduction, God's response was yes, by not creating, or, by intervening; "...the first choice was not a consideration, the second was not an option..." Not only is that Calvinistic, but now it removes our need to pray all those prayers of protection over our children, our military, etc... Forget about all the teachings of guardian angels in the Bible! The God of the Bible is not so passive when it comes to human affairs.

Then there is that whole thing about us not being able to properly judge good and evil.... Can we judge good and evil? YES, by the scriptures! 

But getting back to the themes the story wanted to teach... dealing with Missy's death, and Mack being able to forgive his father, and then Missy's murderer. I don't think they were properly resolved. We were to accept the whole thing about Missy just because God was with her during that horrible time, and now she is in heaven... a better place. And even though he gave a good description of forgiveness; (taking your hands off of someone's throat), it just wasn't enough. Not that I am minimizing the presence of God in a tragedy, the explanation just falls short in this story.

"The Shack"  by Wm. Paul Young  ISBN  978-0-9647292-3-0

Bill Mazeika

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2009-11-11  Veterans Day in Bristol

Today I attended the Annual Memorial Service for Veterans in my town of Bristol, CT.  Appropriately it takes place on Memorial Boulevard, a place filled with monuments and statements of thanks to our veterans.  Thank God for such a patriotic town that honors those who serve.  You should take the time to check out the Boulevard real soon.  One of the more recent additions is a brick walkway, where residents can purchase an engraved brick honoring a veteran.  We purchased one for June's father (Alexander Mackas; who served in both the Army and the Marines.   And of course one for our son SGT Jacob Mazeika currently in the 101st Airborne.  (Thank you for serving son!).  Thank a veteran today, and everyday.

Bill Mazeika

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2009-11-10  Star Wars In Concert

When I first heard about the whole concept of Star Wars In Concert, I never thought I would be able to attend such an event.  The first venues were in places like London England.  Fortunately for me, they have taken the show on the road!   What a fantastic show.  Basically, its a huge live music video of the 6 Star Wars movies.  There is a live orchestra and choir who perform in front of a large High Definition screen.  You will hear a performance of about 12 memorable musical pieces that blow you away like only a live orchestra can do.  The music is perfectly timed to a collage of movie clips.  At times the big screen shows close up shots of the orchestra via the use of cameras on robotic arms.  To enhance the experience, laser beams can fill the room, or blasts of real flames shoot up at the front of the stage during Anakin's light saber battle by the flowing lava with Obi Wan Kenobi. 

Everything is tied together by the live narration by Anthony Daniels... the soul of C3PO.  Its a total experience.  As an added treat, before and after the show, there are exhibits of movie costumes and props throughout the lobby; some from the private collection of George Lucas.  You can even get your picture taken with a Storm Trooper or Darth Vader.  Check out my photo album page on www.facebook.com/solarmaze for some pictures.  For more information on where the show will be next, check out:  www.starwarsinconcert.com  

Bill Mazeika

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2009-10-09  Rocking Horse Ranch



My wife June and I spent a few days on vacation at Rocking Horse Ranch in Highland, NY.  It was an early 31st Wedding Anniversary time for us.  What a great place!  I whish I knew about Rocking Horse Ranch when our kids were younger, they would have loved it!  Seeing it was early October, it was a bit cool for some outdoor activities.  I can just imagine this place hopping in mid summer!  Even though the outdoor pool was closed, there is a recently expanded indoor water park.  The place is open all year round and there are things to keep you busy every second, or you can relax all you like.  This is an all inclusive resort, so meals and activities are included.

Since my June has been on a horse kick lately, we really went for the trail riding... That's June in the picture.  Check out my photo album page on www.facebook.com/solarmaze for more pictures.  I can't say enough nice things about this place; from the activities, the beautiful western decor, the nightly entertainment, to the great food, the attentive staff.  We can't wait to go back.  Check out their web site at: www.rhranch.com  Don't be misled by the kid's theme on the web site.  This is also a great place for adults and couples.

Bill Mazeika

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2009-09-24  Kampala Children's Center Choir

Last night my wife and I attended this presentation at a church in Middletown.  June was working when the choir was at our home church (Wellspring in Kensington,  www.wellspring.net), so we were glad for the 80+ presentations planned during the next 2 months.  The music and dance was done by a group of children from the Kampala Children's Center in Uganda Africa; a country torn by years of civil war.  It has been estimated that about 1 million children have been left homeless.  Wellspring church has been involved with helping KCC in various ways over the last several years.  

I know, there are thousands of good causes all around us, but if you want to experience an evening of infectious smiles and boundless energy, then you have got to attend one of the upcoming performances to see what God can do to mend the shattered lives of precious children.

I encourage you to visit these web sites to find out more about KCC, and to pick a date to experience a night of hope.  Kampala Children's Center  www.kampalachildren.com   Choir Dates:  www.destinyafrica.org  

In 1908 Winston Churchill visited Uganda and wrote a book in which he said "Uganda is truly the Pearl of Africa." ...referring to the majestic beauty of the vast scale of nature.  The real pearl of Africa are their needy children who hold inimaginable potential and are loved dearly by our God.

Bill Mazeika

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2009-07-08  Slanted News Coverage

As far as I can remember, yesterday's news coverage of the memorial service for Michael Jackson, as well as the days following his death, dwarfs the attention ever given to the passing of other celebrities or Presidents, or Heads of State. But this entry is not about Michael Jackson. Whatever you may think of him, he was a musical genius. The news coverage of him during recent days, and I'm sure of weeks to come, as compared with certain other stories is what bothers me.

Probably the most disturbing lack of recent coverage was for the murder of Army Pvt. William Andrew Long on Monday June 22, 2009.

Pvt. Long age 23, died in an attack that also wounded 18 year old Pvt. Quinton I. Ezeagwula. You say you didn't hear about that attack? Was it in Iraq? Was it in Afghanistan? No, and No. It took place in Little Rock, Arkansas... In the United States Of America!

Who would commit such an act, and why? According to police investigators, the alleged gunman, Abdulhakim Muhammad, said he wanted to kill as many Army personnel as he could "because of what they had done to Muslims in the past."

An attack on the United States military by a Muslim extremist on United States soil! And you didn't hear about it! Well, you might have if you watch Fox News.

And lest we jump to conclusions, even if the murder did not make it big in the news, neither did any statements by Muslim groups condemning the actions of Abdulhakim Muhammad... If there were any.

Makes you wonder what other things are happening that you never hear about.. especially involving terrorists. Whoops. I forgot. According to the new administration we can't use the term "terrorist" anymore. And even further, now the FBI is required to read Miranda rights to captured terrorists; putting them in the same category as a purse snatcher.

P.S. The memorial services for Pvt. Long received an equal lack of coverage.

Bill Mazeika

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2009-05-09  Star Trek

OK.  I admit it.  I'm a Trekkie.  I have been since the original 1966 series.  Then we had to wait 13 years for the first motion picture.  When Star Trek first hit the big screen, do you remember the awe as the shuttle approached the newly refurbished Enterprise in space dock?  This movie rekindles that same amazement.  There have been some good Trek series and movies, and some not so great.  I got choked up watching Captain Kirk die  in Generations (movie #7).  But after just watching Star Trek Zero as it has been called, I can say the franchise, and James T. Kirk are both alive and well!

Director J.J. Abrams (of Lost and Alias fame) has really done it this time.  Often times when you have seen nothing but killer clips for months on end, its usually a sign that you've seen the best part of a disappointing movie.  Not so this time.  Star Trek is great stuff!  The actors who play younger versions of characters with whom we are so familiar really captured something special about each one.

Sure, you will love this movie no matter who you are, but... if you are a trekkie or trekker, you will be rewarded with names, lines, and events that will urge you to whisper the inside stories to your non-initiated viewing partner.  But don't!  Pay attention to the screen.  You won't want to miss a second of the action.  I could go on and on about the great parts of this movie, but that would require simply narrating the entire thing.  So just go and see it!

Bill Mazeika

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2009-05-04  Happy Birthday To Me

It was 34 years ago that I made the decision to become a Born Again Christian.  <See how here>.  It hasn't meant a fairy tale life for me, but I am guaranteed of a happy ending.  The fat lady, or in my case, the fat man hasn't sung yet!  There have been blessings and heartache.  Its not the script that I would have written, but then again, life seldom turns out the way you planned.  The only certainty is that everyone must make the God decision for them self.  Its been said that God doesn't have any grandchildren.  That means you can't ride the coattails of your parents, your priest, or your friend into heaven.  You have to become a child of God on your own... as a conscience act of acceptance.

Bill Mazeika

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2009-04-03  The Messiah And Me

I just finished reading a book titled "The Messiah And Me."  I'll let the cover text explain the details: "How a Jewish girl from New Jersey survived the sixties and found faith where she least expected."  It's about this woman's faith journey, resulting in her acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior.  Linda's writing style quickly draw you into her world.  You feel more like you're sitting down having a conversation with her, rather than just reading what she has penned.  Knowing the author, I can say that she writes like she speaks.  It's a fast enjoyable read which can also be a useful evangelical tool.  

You can find it online at places like authorhouse.com, amazon.com, or order it from your local book store.  

"The Messiah And Me"  by Linda Pike  ISBN  978-1-4343-6337-4

Bill Mazeika

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2009-03-29  Borrowing from Battlestar Galactica

"All this has happened before, and all this will happen again."  Just survived another layoff.  I now have my 11th boss in nearly 26 years at this job...

Bill Mazeika

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2009-03-11  Gloom and Doom

I admit it.  I'm a glass half empty rather than a glass half full kind of guy.  Some would call that being a pessimist.  I call it being a realist.  Maybe it comes from being disillusioned or disappointed so many times in the past.  In any case, if you are like me, you really look forward to good news.  Not just a good spin on bad news, but real good news.  Well, I haven't heard any lately.  As if having your savings decimated after 40 years of work isn't enough, President Obama, who prior to taking the oath of office, was a fountain of hope, change and a brighter future, is now the master of communicating depression, despair, and hopelessness.  How about a little encouragement!  But it doesn't stop there.  The CEO of the major corporation I work for just announced massive layoffs, and told us how bad things are and will be.  He did end his statement with a comment about withstanding current challenges, but it still didn't instill confidence in the workforce who is left wondering if they will be among those axed.  Even at the local level, managers seem to have taken courses on how not to encourage employees. Hope is a fragile thing.  Even though many politicians and executives could benefit from the Biblical verses about salvation, at the very least, they should study passages like; Pro 13:12 "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick..."

Bill Mazeika

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2009-03-09  Slippery Slope

Now it begins... Today President Obama signed the bill allowing for Federal Funds to be spent on embryonic stem cell research.  One has to wonder why?  Especially since the most progress to date in stem cell research has been made via adult stem cells... and there are other alternative avenues of research that do not involve destroying human life; including cells recovered from embryonic fluid or the umbilical cord.  Hold on.  Watch for the next steps that infringe upon human life. 

On a related note, if you haven't seen it yet, here is the one of the best pro-life clips I have seen.  You can't find any fault with it!
www.catholicevote.org
or
www.youtube.com/watcht?v=V2CaBR3z85c

Bill Mazeika

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2009-03-04  More to worry about

War, the economy, jobs, healthcare, and now... the earth nearly being hit by an asteroid!  No wonder we're all a nervous wreck.  On Monday 3/2/09 an asteroid came within 35,000 miles of hitting the earth.  That might not sound too close, but that is in the range of our orbiting satellites.  It would have hit the earth with the force of a 20 megaton hydrogen bomb.  This asteroid was about the same size as the one that exploded in the earth's atmosphere in 1908 destroying 800 square miles of forest in Siberia. 

Why weren't we warned?  You would think there are hundreds of astronomers keeping watch over us at night.  However there are not that many keeping an eye on the nighttime sky, and there are literally thousands of objects to track; including man-made objects.  Even if the alarm was sounded, there's not much that could be done.  We can't land on it to set charges, or even blow it up from a distance.  This isn't the movies!  Its thought that perhaps we could launch a rocket to nudge such a threat off course, but that possibility could still be decades away.

In order to avoid a total mental breakdown, looks like the only sure fire cure remains in the Bible.  1Pe 5:7 talking about God says: "Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you." 

Bill Mazeika

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2009-02-24  Drug Rant!

I don't understand it.  Just walking in, I can go to Price Chopper's pharmacy, and with a prescription, a number of the maintenance drugs I take are available for $9.99 for a 3 month supply.  On the flip side, if I use the discount mail order service which is part of my the healthcare plan I pay thousands of dollars for through my employer, a 3 month supply of the same drug costs me $24.99!!! 

As if that wasn't enough, I'm also aggravated by the fact that prescription drugs are advertised on television!  That's crazy!  Its not like I can go an buy them without a prescription.  Am I supposed to want to buy them because of the good looking people in the ads?  Or am I surpassed to do, go in and tell my doctor which drugs to prescribe for me?  I would hope he would know better.  Isn't that why he went to medical school?  Then again... are the prescriptions written based on which drug company provides the best trinkets?

On another point, do the doctors really know about all the interactions that could take place between several drugs you may be taking.  Even if you are diligent enough to keep all your doctors up to date on the different prescriptions each of them give you, I doubt if they know about all the interactions.  Its mathematically impossible.  Back in the 1970s I worked in Field Service for the now defunct Digital Equipment Corporation.  Several of my accounts were at Yale Medical School.  I remember one of the doctors was working on a massive database program to track any possible interactions between the thousands of drugs on the market.  This is something a human mind could not track.  I don't know if he ever finished the project.  In any case, since then, thousands of more drugs have probably come to market.  I think about the old TV show MacGuyver.  He was the guy who could make a weapon or bomb out of common kitchen items.  Someday, if posts stop appearing on this page it may be because I made the mistake of doing something like eating a peanut butter sandwich while standing under a fluorescent light.  Who knows??? that combined with my prescriptions may cause me to explode!

Bill Mazeika

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2009-02-19  Hitting Home


I'm trying to get on with my life.  I'm not happy about the liberals being in control of DC.  I've geared way down on the time I spend watching the news... even FOX News... I just don't want to know anything more! Then I feel like Al Pacino in The Godfather part 3 "...they drag me back in..."

I can't escape the mess we are in.  I had my performance review at work today.  Got the same rating as last year: "Exceptional Performer"... No brag.  Just Fact.  So what was my raise?  Zero.  Zippo.  Big Goose Egg.  Nada.  Times are tough, so the company is postponing any merit increases.  (I wonder if the big boys will be forfeiting any stock options or bonuses this year... I doubt it!) 

Then I made the mistake of looking at my 401K.  Whoops.  Big mistake... talk about being depressed.  I'm not one of those people who move funds around every hour.  I'm in it for the long haul.  Pick some safe conservative funds, and let time do its job.  Its always worked in the past... except not now.  We're not in Kansas anymore. 

I don't know the answer.  but it sure is tough hiding your head in the sand when when everything starts hitting home.

Bill Mazeika

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2008-12-29   One of them is wrong!

I was listening to the local (only) Christian radio station this morning as I was riding in the car with my wife.  She had radio control, otherwise I'd probably have the thing set to XM Praise or something.  Anyway, I listened to the interview of the president of a Presbyterian college who was ecstatic about the current religious freedom afforded Christians in China... even to the point of the government building churches for them.  Sounded great.  But then about an hour later on the same station was a news story about praying for some Christians suffering in labor camps in China because of their faith.  Hmmm... what's really going on here?!

Bill Mazeika

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2008-12-28   Newt Gingrich on Government Bureaucracy

This video clip is great!  Come on... take 3 minutes to watch:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=15D3ElV1Jzw

Bill Mazeika

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2008-12-27   Confused


 I really hit me today while browsing the news channels.  You no longer hear ANYONE say ANYTHING about President elect Obama's past association with Wright, Ayers, Kaladi, and others.   I am a patriot, and I understand the respect due the office of the President of the United States.  But if it mattered before, why doesn't it matter anymore?  It is more that just forgetting about it... it is more of selective forgetting.  As the case often is with liberals vs conservatives.  Former President Clinton is unscathed by his past indiscretions, yet decades later there seems to be renewed efforts to malign Former President Nixon.

Bill Mazeika

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2008-11-08   Depressed

I admit it.  I'm depressed.  I really thought McCain and Palin would win at the last minute.   As a religious and political conservative, its been a long time since I was so excited about an election.  Well, the country got what it voted for.  Maybe that is what we need to see real change in 2012.

Bill Mazeika

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2008-09-02  NBC's China Expert???

From: Bill Mazeika
Date: Tuesday, September 02, 2008 7:29 PM
Subject: Olympics - China Expert???
To: 'nbcolympicsfeedback@nbcuni.com'

I've previously written in to complain about the lack of coverage for certain sports during prime time, but this is a different comment.

While I was recently re-watching the Olympic opening ceremonies, I was reminded that your China "Expert"; Joshua Cooper Ramo made a ridiculous statement. It was during the portion of the program where school children were surrounded by 2008 martial arts performers who were practicing TaiChi. At one point they transitioned into wushu (kung fu) movements. While explaining the symbolism of the whole presentation, your expert referred to the "bunch of guys doing karate."

FYI... That may have been considered kind of an insult to the Chinese, since karate is a Japanese (Okinawan) martial art... which wasn't even close to what was being performed.

Warmest Regards,
Bill Mazeika

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2008-08-29   David's Testimony

Below is an email I received from my brother-in-law who has ALS; David McClain, (my little sister's husband).  He sent it to many friends and relatives.  I am posting it here to update the many who have prayed for him, and with the hope that others will be touched by his testimony.

Knowing his current condition I would guess it took him the better part of a day to type the message below.  This is the same man I served with in church for many years. Besides the serious stuff, no New Year's eve celebration was complete unless Dave and I took center stage in any number of crazy skits. He is also a black belt in TaeKwonDo. Our families traveled to many tournaments together bringing home carloads of trophies.

Thank you for praying for David.

Bill Mazeika

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From: David McClain mailto: texupnorth@msn.com 
Sent: Friday, August 29, 2008 4:09 PM
Subject: FW: Health Update

Greetings to each of you whom I love dearly. Many of you have e-mailed me and I apologize for not getting back to you. Due to my condition, it takes me a while to type. Many of you I have known from the "Good Ole" Rockwall days, many from work, many from my 23 year visit to Connecticut, some I am related to and some of you I have just met. I thank you so much for your encouraging e-mails and prayers, I cannot begin to tell you how I have been strengthened by them. There are many more that I wanted to send this to, but, regretfully I didn't have there e-mail address. I want to give you each an update on my physical condition then share a little something from my heart. I want to share this now with you because I don't know how much longer I have, I may have days, I may have weeks, or, God may bless me with yet another year.

I am still hanging on by a nail which God has not yet trimmed. As most of you know, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease back in 2001, then ALS (Lou Gehrigs disease) in 2003. The average life span for ALS is 1 to 3 years. I have been fortunate enough to beat the average. However, recently the disease has become very aggressive. ALS affects the neurons in the brain, as they die off, one looses communication with all muscular function. The muscles literally "waste" away. Strangely enough, ALS does not affect my mind, vision or hearing. Currently, I have no movement of my tongue, I cannot speak, eat or drink, I am fed through a feeding tube that has been implanted in my stomach. My weight is 117 pounds. My jaw occasionally will "lock up" and twice I almost bit the tip of my tongue off. While sitting up, I drool uncontrollably and usually bite on a rag to absorb the saliva. I have lost most of the movement in my right arm and right hand. My left arm still has movement and 3 of my 4 left hand fingers have "curled" under my palm and only my pointing finger works, which however, is the one I use for typing. I can no longer walk but I am able to stand with the help and support of my wife. The toes on my right foot have "curled" as well, while my left foot toes remain straight. The muscles in my arms, hands, legs and feet have wasted to a point that the bones and tendons are starting to protrude out. My muscles "twitch" constantly throughout my whole body. Back in November I had a Tracheostomy and was put on a ventilator to help assist my breathing. I lay in bed on the vent for 22 of the 24 hours each day. My breathing has become labored and several times a day I have to have the secretions sucked out of my lungs by a special machine. I am slowly becoming a prisoner within my own body. Little things we take for granted such as an itch on the foot or a mosquito landing on an arm becomes a real nightmare for me. Ultimately, I will die of suffocation due to my diaphragm muscles failing or I will die of pneumonia. I tell you the graphic details to help you understand the disease of ALS and to realize just how "feeble" these bodies of ours really are. I DO NOT tell you this for you to feel sorry for me, please don't!! ALS can take away many things but it cannot and will not touch my attitude and spirit!!!

Now comes the good part! As I now start the journey through the "shadow of death", fear is not an option! My Savior and King, Jesus Christ, has carried me thus far and will continue to carry me until I am home. The weaker I become physically, the stronger I become spiritually because this "raggedy" old corruptible body will soon be incorruptible, this mortal will put on immortality, then, "death shall be swallowed up in victory"! (1 Cor.15:54) How awesome is that!! In a world full of hatred, sadness and dispare, we have a blessed hope in Christ that Heaven is real. Imagine a place where there will be no more tears, no more sorrow, no more crying, no pain, no death and no more mosquito's!! A place where we will know as we are known. A place where we will forever fellowship with friends and family who have gone before us. Heaven is a place where evil cannot exist, no more deception or sin. The lion will lay with the lamb, the armadillo with the earthworm. But, above all and most important, Heaven is the place where Jesus Christ, the very one who took upon Himself our sins and died in our place so we can forever live and worship Him, reigns as King. We will live in His radiant Glory forever! The lyrics of a song written by Keith Green go something like this, "In 6 days God created the whole earth but He's been working on heaven 2000 years". In Revelation chapter 21, we get a glimpse of the holy city, New Jerusalem, made of pure gold and the finest of precious stones. There are 12 gates of the city each made of a single pearl (that's proof that these pearls came from Texas!). Then, after a few events yet to take place on this earth, we will see a "new" heaven and "new" earth restored to perfection, just how it was before Satan screwed everything up. Point being, for those of us who have accepted Christ as Savior, the best is yet to come! 

Though the end of my journey will bring victory, the path still has it's shares of "bumps". The toughest part has been preparing my wife and kids. Please pray for them, Josh(22 yrs), Ben(19 yrs), Kathleen(17 yrs) and my wife Donna (never mind!). It brings me great comfort knowing that each of them have given there heart's to the Lord and that we will someday be reunited again. In Christ, there are no "Good Bye's"!! Looking back, I think of the things I would do or try to achieve that would bring happiness to my life. Happiness is based on circumstance. I remember listening to an interview with Tom Brady (QB of the New England Patriots) after winning his 3rd Superbowl ring, that he still felt "empty", like, something was missing, there must be more. True happiness, joy and fullfilment doesn't come from "things" on the outside, but, from Him on the inside. The joy of the Lord is our strength, and it's that strength that has carried me through. Now, my friend, I beg of you a favor, please look into your own heart and know that you know that you know that you are saved! Many know of Christ and think that's good enough to get them to heaven, not so, you must know Him personally as Lord and Savior. If you do know Him, live for Him, love Him and let your life be a reflection of His love. If you don't know Him, simply repent of your sins to the Lord, ask Him to forgive you and invite Him into your heart. If you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved! (Romans 10:9) When that day comes for your journey to end, I will be waiting and I will rejoice with you when our Savior opens His arms and says to you "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter in!"

I will close leaving you with this challenge, regardless of how high the mountains seem before you or how deep the valleys may appear, whatever the heavy weights are that drag you down or the worries that cloud your mind, know that God loves you and knows exactly what you are facing. Give it over to Him!!! As for me, be not upset but rejoice with me, death just starts life for eternity! See you on the other side!

Tex

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2008-08-25  NBC's Olympic TV Coverage

From: Bill Mazeika 
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2008 12:39:10 +0000
Subject: Olympic News Flash
To: nbcolympicsfeedback@nbcuni.com

You obviously did not know this but there are a number of sporting events that are actually part of the summer Olympics including: boxing, equestrian, fencing, judo, Taekwondo, weightlifting, wrestling, and more!!!

You may say TV coverage was given to these second rate sports but I don't count 3:30am on MSNBC!

OK, they are not this year's most popular events, and don't have any darling standout heroes, but how about this? in 30 minutes or less during EACH NIGHT OF PRIME TIME ON THE MAIN NBC STATION, you could have given a summary of all of the ignored sports. I think people would have been interested in such coverage even if USA did not medal in them. 

Giving "online" coverage does not fulfill you obligation for balanced coverage. I'm sure the athletes in those sports and their families would feel the same way.

In all fairness, in 18 months I do not want to see 4 hours of curling, but in the past, time spent covering that event was monumental compared to the ignored events of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Warmest Regards,
Bill Mazeika

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For comments or questions, send email to bill@mazeika.com

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