9 September, 2012

posted 6 Sep 2012, 08:45 by C S Paul

9 September, 2012

The Toad

 by Jean Simmons

Toad tale' had hoppy ending,

EASTLAND, Texas - He lies in state in the Eastland County Courthouse, resting on purple velvet and white satin

Jerry Don Reeves, "his personal maid," is polishing the glass that protects him. A tour bus is on its way, so clear visibility is important.

For here lies Eastland's most famous corpse: Old Rip, a horned toad.

The oft-told story of Old Rip bears repeating. In 1897, when the cornerstone of the new courthouse was dedicated, Justice of the Peace Earnest Wood, a member of the band, noticed that his son Will was playing with a toad. Let's put him in the cornerstone, he decided. There the toad lived peacefully buried until Feb' 18, 1928, when the courthouse was demolished to make way for a new one.

Three thousand people were on hand, anxious to watch the opening of the cornerstone. Judge E.S. Pritchard removed the Bible and other objects, and at the was the toad. Eugene Day, an oil man, thrust his hand into the cavity and lifted up the dust-covered creature He handed it to Frank S. Singleton, pastor of the First Methodist Church, who passed it on to Judge At chard, who in turn held it up by the tail for all to

Suddenly Old Rip awoke from his 31-year-sleep. No wonder he's called Rip, after Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle. In the months that followed, he was exhibited in various parts of the Uniten States, including visit to President Coolidge in Washington, until he died of pneumonia on Jan. 19, 1929.

A biologist explained how Rip might have survived in the cornerstone: Horned toads, as with many lizards, can slow their metabolism in cool weather, and a crack might have allowed ants to enter, providing food.

After being embalmed, Rip was given a place of honor just inside the main courthouse entrance.

A conventional granite marker outside the building calls attention to what lies just on the other side of an above window: a glass box containing the long-dead toad. A missing leg has been attributed to the late Gov. John Connally, who on a whistle-stop tour in 1962 either picked up the frog while there or took him off to Cisco, where he was retrieved.

County Judge Scott Bailey is Old Rip's guardian angel, keeper of the key to his box. The toad is always referred to as "he," but who really knows? Judge Bailey isn't saying.


by Lew Wallace

Part Three

In Italy, Greek pirate-ships have been looting Roman vessels in the Aegean Sea. The prefect Sejanus orders the Roman Quintus Arrius to take warships to combat the pirates. 

Judah is a galley slave rowing chained on one of the Roman warships. He had survived three hard years, fueled by his passion for vengeance. Arrius is impressed by Judah and finds out more about his life and his story. 

The ship is attacked by pirates and the ship is sunk. Judah uses a plank as a raft. Arrius surfaces besides him and the two of them hold on until a Roman ship appears and rescues them. They return to Misenum and Judah is adopted by the influential Arrius, becoming a Roman citizen.

Part three - CHAPTER VI  continued

The tribune faltered.

"Perpol!" he continued, resolutely. "I am too old to submit to dishonor. In Rome, let them tell how Quintus Arrius, as became a Roman tribune, went down with his ship in the midst of the foe.

This is what I would have thee do. If the galley prove a pirate, push me from the plank and drown me. Dost thou hear? Swear thou wilt do it."

"I will not swear," said Ben-Hur, firmly; "neither will I do the deed. The Law, which is to me most binding, O tribune, would make me answerable for thy life. Take back the ring"--he took the seal from his finger--"take it back, and all thy promises of favour in the event of delivery from this peril. The judgment which sent me to the oar for life made me a slave, yet I am not a slave; no more am I thy freedman. I am a son of Israel, and this moment, at least,
my own master. Take back the ring."

Arrius remained passive.

"Thou wilt not?" Judah continued. "Not in anger, then, nor in any despite, but to free myself from a hateful obligation, I will give thy gift to the sea. See, O tribune!"

He tossed the ring away. Arrius heard the splash where it struck and sank, though he did not look.

"Thou hast done a foolish thing," he said; "foolish for one placed as thou art. I am not dependent upon thee for death. Life is a thread I can break without thy help; and, if I do, what will become of thee? Men determined on death prefer it at the hands of others, for the reason that the soul which Plato giveth us is rebellious at the thought of self-destruction; that is all. If the ship be a pirate, I will escape from the world. My mind is fixed.

I am a Roman. Success and honor are all in all. Yet I would have served thee; thou wouldst not. The ring was the only witness of my will available in this situation. We are both lost. I will die regretting the victory and glory wrested from me; thou wilt live to die a little later, mourning the pious duties undone because of this folly. I pity thee."

Ben-Hur saw the consequences of his act more distinctly than before, yet he did not falter.

"In the three years of my servitude, O tribune, thou wert the first to look upon me kindly. No, no! There was another." The voice dropped, the eyes became humid, and he saw plainly as if it were then before him the face of the boy who helped him to a drink by the old well at Nazareth. "At least," he proceeded, "thou wert the first to ask me who I was; and if, when I reached out and caught thee, blind and sinking the last time, I, too, had thought of the many ways in which thou couldst be useful to me in my wretchedness, still the act was not all selfish; this I pray you to believe. Moreover, seeing as God giveth me to know, the ends I dream of are to be wrought by fair means alone. As a thing of conscience, I would rather die
with thee than be thy slayer. My mind is firmly set as thine; though thou wert to offer me all Rome, O tribune, and it belonged to thee to make the gift good, I would not kill thee. Thy Cato and Brutus were as little children compared to the Hebrew whose law a Jew must obey."

"But my request. Hast--"

"Thy command would be of more weight, and that would not move me. I have said."

Both became silent, waiting.

Ben-Hur looked often at the coming ship. Arrius rested with closed eyes, indifferent.

"Art thou sure she is an enemy?" Ben-Hur asked.

"I think so," was the reply.

"She stops, and puts a boat over the side."

"Dost thou see her flag?"

"Is there no other sign by which she may be known if Roman?"

"If Roman, she hath a helmet over the mast's top."

"Then be of cheer. I see the helmet."

Still Arrius was not assured.

"The men in the small boat are taking in the people afloat. Pirates are not humane."

"They may need rowers," Arrius replied, recurring, possibly, to times when he had made rescues for the purpose.

Ben-Hur was very watchful of the actions of the strangers.

"The ship moves off," he said.


"Over on our right there is a galley which I take to be deserted. The new-comer heads towards it. Now she is alongside. Now she is sending men aboard."

Then Arrius opened his eyes and threw off his calm.

"Thank thou thy God," he said to Ben-Hur, after a look at the galleys, "thank thou thy God, as I do my many gods. A pirate would sink, not save, yon ship. By the act and the helmet on the mast I know a Roman. The victory is mine. Fortune hath not deserted me.

We are saved. Wave thy hand--call to them--bring them quickly. I shall be duumvir, and thou! I knew thy father, and loved him. 

He was a prince indeed. He taught me a Jew was not a barbarian. I will take thee with me. I will make thee my son. Give thy God thanks, and call the sailors. Haste! The pursuit must be kept.

Not a robber shall escape. Hasten them!"

Judah raised himself upon the plank, and waved his hand, and called with all his might; at last he drew the attention of the sailors in the small boat, and they were speedily taken up.

Arrius was received on the galley with all the honors due a hero so the favorite of Fortune. Upon a couch on the deck he heard the particulars of the conclusion of the fight. When the survivors afloat upon the water were all saved and the prize secured, he spread his flag of commandant anew, and hurried northward to rejoin the fleet and perfect the victory. In due time the fifty vessels coming down the channel closed in upon the fugitive pirates, and crushed them utterly; not one escaped. To swell the tribune's glory, twenty galleys of the enemy were captured.

Upon his return from the cruise, Arrius had warm welcome on the mole at Misenum. The young man attending him very early attracted the attention of his friends there; and to their questions as to who he was the tribune proceeded in the most affectionate manner to tell the story of his rescue and introduce the stranger, omitting carefully all that pertained to the latter's previous history. At the end of the narrative, he called Ben-Hur to him, and said, with a hand resting affectionately upon his shoulder,

"Good friends, this is my son and heir, who, as he is to take my property--if it be the will of the gods that I leave any--shall be known to you by my name. I pray you all to love him as you love me."

Speedily as opportunity permitted, the adoption was formally perfected. And in such manner the brave Roman kept his faith with Ben-Hur, giving him happy introduction into the imperial world. The month succeeding Arrius's return, the armilustrium was celebrated with the utmost magnificence in the theater of Scaurus. One side of the structure was taken up with military trophies; among which by far the most conspicuous and most admired were twenty prows, complemented by their corresponding aplustra, cut bodily from as many galleys; and over them, so as to be legible to the eighty thousand spectators in the seats, was this inscription:

                  QUINTUS ARRIUS,
to be continued

In A Hurry?

Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often?

When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror. The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand. Bob? Bob from Church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse than the coming ticket. A cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little eager to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow.

Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he'd never seen in uniform. "Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this."

"Hello, Jack." No smile.

"Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids."

"Yeah, I guess." Bob seemed uncertain. Good.

"I've seen some long days at the office lately. I'm afraid I bent the rules a bit, just this once." Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. "Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?"

"I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct." Ouch. This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics.

"What'd you clock me at?"

"Seventy. Would you sit back in your car please?"

"Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65." The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket.

"Please, Jack, in the car."

Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window. The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad. Why hadn't he asked for a driver's license?

Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again. A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip.

"Thanks." Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice.

Bob returned to his police car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror. Jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost? Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke? Certainly not a ticket. Jack began to read:

"Dear Jack, Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car. You guessed it, a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters All three of them. I only had one, and I'm going to have to wait until Heaven before I can ever hug her again. A thousand times I've tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now. Pray for me. And be careful, Jack, my son is all I have left." "Bob"

Jack turned around in time to see Bob's car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived.

Life is precious. Handle with care. This is an important message; please pass it along to your friends. Drive safely and carefully. Remember, cars are not the only things recalled by their maker.

Power of Positive Thinking

 by Norman Vincent Peale

Chapter 8 continued

Your subconscious, which always resents any change, may say to you, "You don't believe any such thing." But remember that your subconscious mind in a sense is one of the greatest liars in existence. It concurs in and sends back to you your own errors about your abilities. You have created the negative attitude in your subconscious and it gives this error back to you. So just turn on your subconscious and say to it, "Now look here, I do believe that. I insist upon
believing it." If you talk to your subconscious mind with that positiveness, in due course it will be convinced. One reason is because you are now feeding it positive thoughts. In other
words, you are at last telling the truth to your subconscious.

After a while your subconscious mind will begin to send back the truth to you, the truth being that with the help of Jesus Christ there isn't any obstacle you cannot overcome.

An effective method for making your subconscious positive in character is to eliminate certain expressions of thought and speech which we may call the "little negatives." These so-
called "little negatives" clutter up the average person's conversation, and while each one is seemingly unimportant in itself, the total effect of these attitudes is to condition the mind negatively. When this thought of "little negatives" first occurred to me, I began to analyze my own conversational habits and was shocked by what I found. I discovered that I was making such statements as, "I'm afraid I'll be late," or "I wonder if I'll have a flat tire," or "I don't think I can do that," or "I'll never get through this job. There's so much to do." If something turned out badly, I might say, "Oh, that's just what I expected." Or, again, I might observe a few clouds in the sky and would gloomily state, "I knew it was going to rain."

These are "little negatives" to be sure, and a big thought is of course more powerful than a little one, but it must never be forgotten that "mighty oaks from little acorns grow," and if a
mass of "little negatives" clutter up your conversation, they are bound to seep into your mind. It is surprising how they accumulate in force, and presently, before you know it, they will grow into "big negatives." So I determined to go to work on the "little negatives" and root them out of my conversation. I found that the best way to eliminate them was deliberately to say a positive word about everything. When you keep asserting that things are going to work out well, that you can do the job, that you will not have a flat tire, that you will get there on time, by talking up good results you invoke the law of positive effects and good results occur. Things do turn out well.

On a roadside billboard I saw an advertisement of a certain brand of motor oil. The slogan read, "A clean engine always delivers power." So will a mind free of negatives produce
positives, that is to say, a clean mind will deliver power.

Therefore flush out your thoughts, give yourself a clean mental engine, remembering that a clean mind, even as a clean engine, always delivers power.  
So to overcome your obstacles and live the "I don't believe in defeat" philosophy, cultivate a positive-idea pattern deeply in your consciousness. What we do with obstacles is directly
determined by our mental attitude. Most of our obstacles, as a matter of fact, are mental in character.

"Ah," you may object, "mine are not mental, mine are real."Perhaps so, but your attitude toward them is mental. The only possible way you can have an attitude is by the mental
process, and what you think about your obstacles largely determines what you do about them. Form the mental attitude that you cannot remove an obstacle and you will not
remove it, not if you think you can't. But get the idea firmly fixed that the obstacle is not so great as you previously considered it to be. Hold the idea that it is removable, and however faintly you entertain this positive thought, from the very moment you begin to think in this manner, the process is inaugurated which will lead to its ultimate removal.

If you have been long defeated by a difficulty, it is probably because you have told yourself for weeks, months, and even for years that there is nothing you can do about it. You have
so emphasized your inability to yourself that your mind gradually accepted the conclusion upon which you have insisted, and when your mind is convinced, you are
convinced, for as you think so are you.

But, on the contrary, when you employ this new and creative concept, "I can do all things through Christ," then you develop a new mental slant. Emphasize and re-emphasize
that positive attitude and you will finally convince your own consciousness that you can do something about difficulties.

When at last your mind becomes convinced, astonishing results will begin to happen. Of a sudden you discover that you have the power you would never acknowledge.

to be continued

Just for Laughs

Church Pew Position

A couple who usually sat in the back whenever they attended the church service.

One one particular Sunday they decided to move up to the front in order to be sure to hear the sermon.

Even though they had been attending the church for several years, the long time church member they sat next to did not recognize them, but cheerfully said, "Good to have ya with us! Where y'all from?" Taken by surprise, the husband mumbled, "The back."

"Buy a television".

A young lady signed up on an Internet dating service. 

She got to the section of the application that asked, "What exactly are you looking for?"

This was her description: "He needs to be good-looking, polite, humorous, sporty, knowledgeable, good at singing and dancing. Willing to accompany me the whole day at home if I don't go out. Be able to tell me interesting stories when I need a companion for conversation and be silent when I want to rest."

In a matter of moments, the results were returned to the woman: "Buy a television".

Did you know ?

  • The shortest scheduled airline flight is made between the island of Westray to Papa Westray off Scotland. The flight lasts 2 minutes.
  • In 1913, the Russian Airline became the first to introduce a toilet on board.
  • In 1620, Dutch inventor Cornelius van Drebbel launched the world’s first submarine in the Thames.
  • More than 60 million people annually visit France, a country of 60 million people.
  • The first motorcycle speedway race was held in Maitland, Australia, in 1925.
  • Mercedes Benz cars are named after Mercedes Jellinek.
  • It is said that, in 1941 the Ford motor company produced an experimental automobile with a plastic body composed of 70% cellulose fibers from hemp. The car body could absorb blows 10 times as great as steel without denting. The car was designed to run on hemp fuel. Because of the ban on both hemp and alcohol, the car was never mass produced.
  • There are more than 16,400 parking meters in Manhattan, New York.