#9 Dream, I miss John Lennon; My Heavenly shot above the murder scene

Dec 8, 2009 by

So long ago, was it in a dream, was it just a dream that Derrick Kubacki, my best friend in middle school in Atwater, CA called me to tell me what was coming through the TV airways, John Lennon had been shot outside his home, the Dakota, in New York City by some nut named Mark David Chapman.

I was a Beatles fan in my 'tweens and much of high school.  I still am, but I was really a Beatles fan.  I mean I listened to them every day.  I learned to play Yesterday the way it is on the record, not the weird chord structuring that was in the Cherry Hill Music Books back in the 70s and 80s. 

And so when that call came through, I was crushed.  My favorite Beatle then and now remains Paul, but the Beatles wouldn't have been the Beatles without John.  And at the time, I thought I was closer to matching Paul's voice than John's so more of my songs focused on the McCartney material. 

So today, on the anniversary of John's murder, I just wanted to say I missed him. It's time to stop the Christmas music for a few songs and do #9 Dream, Imagine and Strawberry Fields.  And I Am The Walrus, while looking at a Glass Onion, wondering why he had to let it all go.

Sky Above Dakota (1)
The last time I was in NYC I went past the Dakota and over to Strawberry Fields.  This is the view looking toward Heaven, if you can Imagine that.

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Help a fallen police officer’s family this holiday, he was killed last week near Birmingham, AL

Dec 7, 2009 by

The details of this police killing along Interstate 65 just south of Birmingham, AL last week are just nutty.  A guy is driving home late, gets pulled over.  The police officer and guy talk.  The officer goes back and writes a ticket.  Comes back.  The guy tells the officer his brother's a policeman.  The officer says, "why didn't you say so?" and then the guy shoots him in the face, killing him instantly.  After a couple of hours search, the police officer brother drives the guy back toward the city of Pelham allegedly to turn in his brother and the man-hunt is over.  But meanwhile there's a fallen police officer who never will return to this life, leaving behind a wife and kids.

I can't begin to understand what would have caused the guy to shoot the police officer.  The facts as I've read them online just don't make sense.  Phillip-davisjpg-a69062838d14369c_medium

But what I'm asking you to do as you read this is to think about how rough you might have it, but there are likely few instances out there that could be worse at this very moment.  I've heard some really challenging stories the past few days.  And while I have thought 2009 has been a horrible year, nothing that has happened equates to my spouse having been shot to death while out serving the public. 

You know with our Santa Cop program we support here in Balch Springs, we back police officers.  All my adult life when ever I've parted with police, fire and EMT personnel the last thing I say to each of them is "be careful."  And even when they are, apparently it's just not enough.

Please, write a check for $10, $25, $50 or $100 to the address below on behalf of Pelham, Alabama Police Officer Phillip Davis' family.  Christmas is almost upon us, and while that's going to be hard enough on this young family, please also think about the days to come, when the attention from his killing fades and they're left to fend more and more for themselves.  Please, please, please, consider them as part of your holiday giving this year. 

And if you know of other officers out there who have lost their lives this holiday season, please share them with me. I'm happy to post others. 


The Philip Davis Fund has been established at America's First Credit
to assist Davis' family. Donations can made at any of the credit
union's 14 Birmingham-area locations. or by mailing: Logo

  • America's First Federal Credit Union
  • Post Office Box 11349
  • Birmingham, AL 35202
  • Phone: 205-320-4000
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My Top 25 Christmas Songs of All Time–What are yours?

Dec 2, 2009 by

As you might think, I'm big into Christmas.  Always have been.  Part of Christmas to me also is the music that goes along with it.  I can honestly tell you that in the past 30-some-odd years, I've never put up the Christmas tree without playing Christmas Is… by The Percy Faith Orchestra.  I play the whole album and regard it as one of my favorites of all time.  1085261

So in my iTunes Playlists for Christmas, here are my top 25.  I encourage you to try each of them out if you don't already have them.  Which of the 25 is my absolute favorite?  Hm.  I really have no idea.  They're all pretty darned good.

1)  White Christmas, Bing Crosby

2) Do They Know It's Christmas, Band Aid

3)  We Need A Little Christmas, The Percy Faith Orchestra

4)  Sleigh Ride, KT Tunstall

5)  Winter Wonderland, Johnny Mathis

6)  Christmas in Dixie, Alabama

7) Blue Christmas, Cheryl Crowe

8) The Little Drummer Boy, The Harry Simeone Chroale

9) Happy Christmas, War Is Over, John Lennon

10)  All I Want For Christmas Is You, Mariah Carey

11)  Linus & Lucy, Vince Guaraldi Trio

12) Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reigndeer, Burl Ives

13)  Frosty The Snowman, Jimmy Durante

14)  You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch, The MGM Studio Orchestra

15) Merry Christmas Darling, The Carpenters

16)  His Yoke Is Easy, The Royal Philharmonic & Royal Choral Society

17) Wonderful Christmastime, Paul McCartney

18)  Christmas Is … The Percy Faith Orchestra

19)  Home For The Holidays, Perry Como

20)  All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth, The Chipmunks

21)  Maybe Next Year (X-Mas Song), Meiko

22) Baby It's Cold Outside, Tom Jones & Cerys Matthews

23) Tinsel Town, SHeDAISY

24)  Christmas Is Just Around The Corner, Barry Manilow

25)  The Chanukah Song, Adam Sandler

Again, the order of the songs is debatable.  But to me, any Christmas song playlist has to have these 25 in it to have the best of mixes.  Enjoy. 

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Mike Huckabee’s ‘A Simple Christmas’ is Simply Special & Worth Buying

Nov 29, 2009 by

Throughout much of 2009, I've had the opportunity to hear the Huckabee reports as they've played on the local talk radio station, WBAP, here in Dallas.  Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who ran for president last go-around, has authored "A Simple Christmas," a 205-page book containing 12 special Christmas stories about his life and each of them are worth the read. 

The book is available in print from The Penguin Group and in many forms.  You can get it in print, get it in eReader on Barnes and Noble, Kindle, and then download the audio off of iTunes and listen to Huckabee read it, which in and of itself, adds a dimension one isn't normally accustomed to with a book. 51yM-zeFJIL._SL500_AA240_

I enjoyed this book from Page 1 of the Preface where Huckabee points out the humble beginnings of Christ's birth–basically in a barnyard, and the fact that the manager, was "An animal's food dish." 

Writes Huckabee: "The 'manger' was nowhere near as romantic as it sounds. It was simply a rough wood water or feed trough for the animals. Not long before the son of God was placed in it, livestock had eaten grain out of it. God spent His first few moments as a human in a food dish."  If that doesn't bring it home, then there's one more point he makes.

The whole bit about Silent Night, has to have been a farce.  We're talking about a teen mother here, having her baby in a barn, with no doctor, hot water and the cliche-ish plenty of towels.  No epidurals, sterile beds, and the question would have been who would have been louder?  Mary having the baby or Jesus coming into this world?

But this book takes its readers on a journey of the challenges/opportunities that sometimes present themselves in our lives, and this Christian man's approach to dealing with them in a simple way in faith and reverence to God. 

I felt a few times he walked right of the edge of the book feeling a little too political, but at it's heart, it's a pure book to help give a reader insight on what Christmas ought to be–less stress, and more about how you've been blessed.

I'll read this book each year and play it on iTunes at various times as I endure the challenges of the future and use it to refocus my attentions back on the importance of my faith, the message that our Lord God in human form began his life on earth as a baby born in the simplest of fashion and with the knowledge that no matter how feel it feels God has wandered from me, most likely it's me who has wandered from him.

I encourage you to pick this book up this holiday season. Huckabee is on a nationwide book tour and was here in Dallas Friday night, though I couldn't head over there to see him because I was out in front being the neighborhood's Santa.  But it'd be worth your time to go see him if you can and thank him for letting God use him to tell such a powerful story, a simple story, about what it's like to have A Simple Christmas.

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Do you have enough lights on your Christmas Tree? How to know if you need more…

Nov 29, 2009 by

Oh Christmas tree, oh, Christmas tree, do you have enough lights on thee?

It’s an important question to ask.  Do you know the secret to being able to answer this question?

And what about those LED lights that Wal-Mart is selling this year?  What effect do they provide?

The answers are all in this video:

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Balch Springs “Reindeer” for upcoming Youth Theatre performance

Nov 13, 2009 by

I've got to say, these are some of the cutest "reindeer" that I've ever seen.  Two of my daughters are getting ready to be in the local play.  They've been working hard on their lines and the practices.  I think they're learning a lot from this new activity in their lives.  And they came upon it fortuitously.  

I volunteered to take photos for the theater company to help be supportive in my local community.  When I arrived to shoot the first shots, they asked the girls if they wanted to be in it.  That's all it took.

This has been a good experience for me, too.  Only after close inspection would one even notice that I've blanked out much of the background, including a person behind one of the reindeer.  All this was done using Aperture 2

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“We don’t realize that God is all we need until God is all we’ve got”

Nov 13, 2009 by

I just saw this post on Twitter.  It's been retweeted several times already this morning, but this could not be more true.  "We don't realize that God is all we need until God is all we've got."  I couldn't tell who it was attributed to, but it says it all.

And I would guess that some of us soon forget this once other things start returning to our daily lives. 

There have been times in 2009 when I thought that I didn't even have God.  It's been a horrific year for our family; the depths of which we shall not soon recover.  Clearly, we'll never be who we were at the beginning of the year.  So many things have affected us. 

Satan has been attacking us and I've said in this space, and my soon-to-be retired blog over on www.DadsCenter.org, that at times I felt like a modern-day Job

Please keep praying for our family.  The forces of evil have struck us with some considerable blows this year, but with God in our lives, we shall prevail.  Thank you, God.  With you, we don't need anything else.

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