Sunday, January 31, 2010

Every Child Should Have a Chance

She sounded like a witch doctor.

Some old woman that practiced medicine on her own.

No nurses. No fancy office. Did her own lab and blood work.

Practiced medicine out of her home.

No decent parent would take their precious child there.

When Pete was about three months old, he wasn't gaining weight.

The pediatrician at the nice office on Peachtree Road couldn't figure it out.

Pete's grandpa, his namesake Daddy Pete, suggested we go see this woman.

Reluctantly, I agreed. But only if I was there to observe and make sure she didn't do some hocus pocus on my boy. I knew what real doctors acted like.

I was aghast when we got to her home office.

No receptionist.

No nurses.

Just this tiny, ancient woman in her white starched uniform.

Mothers and screaming children on these hard wooden benches in her "office".

The phone rang incessantly. And she answered it herself.

I asked how old she was. 83 was the answer.

I had heard and seen enough.

"Burks baby", she called out.

I looked at Jackie, and gave the look of, "If she pulls out a chicken bone and starts waving it around, I'm grabbing Pete and running."

She tenderly held him. Weighed him on a scale older than she was.

Pricked his little finger, drew some blood, and started looking him over. In a bit, she went to the little counter (her "lab", ha) and started looking at his blood.

In a few minutes, she came back and said he was just fine. All he needed was mother's milk. And water. Needs a little more water.

No cow's milk. (Now I had her.)

"Are we cows? No, we are humans. Cow's milk is for cows. God put everything we need in mama's milk."

That's it?

"And make sure this baby sleeps on his stomach. You put him on his back and he'll act like a roach on it's back. Legs and arms flailing.

Imagine the position he's been in for the last nine months. He'll think he's falling. He needs the warmth and security of being in that fetal position against the warmth of cotton sheets.

Put a towel under the sheets so he gets plenty of air."

"Ok, how much is the office visit and do you bill the insurance company?"

"That will be ten dollars."

"For what?"

"For everything. Just remember, he came to live with you, not the other way around."

What the heck?

Now my head was really spinning.

And it spun more when her suggestions started working right away.

We had been blessed to meet Dr. Leila Denmark.

One of, if not the first, female doctors in Georgia.

One of the first staff members at Eggleston Hospital at Emory, one of the best children's facilities in the world.

Co-developed the vaccine for whooping cough around 1930 when the disease was killing thousands of children each year.

Dr. Denmark wrote a book that every parent should read.

Every Child Should Have a Chance

More wisdom, common sense, parenting guidance, nutritional information, and peace of mind in a small book than you can imagine if you don't own a copy.

Oh, what we've learned from her, those fortunate enough to have met her.

-"How would you like to suck on a hard piece of rubber all day? No pacifiers."

-"Only water to drink after 8 months. No cow's milk ever. Makes them anemic."

-"Mix their foods together, and slowly add until you have a stew of rice cereal, banana, a meat, and a vegetable. They will eat it all and you won't have to worry about them needing any vitamins."

-"Babies are supposed to cry. Up to 8 hours a day. It's part of the development of their lungs. Let the baby cry now, or you'll be crying after him when he's grown."

-"That baby came to live with you at your house. Have him on your schedule. Three meals a day. Regular bedtime. No snacks between, especially at night. He'll be sleeping thru the night in a few months."

Five times over I can say her plan works. Happy, healthy well-adjusted kids.

Fell in love with her so much, daughter Sarah's middle name is Denmark.

Had the pleasure of spending time with Mr. Denmark on many Saturday afternoons.

He loved the Georgia Bulldogs. And so did I. We had a fine time.

And I learned from him why the office was in the house.

The Denmark's had one daughter. Dr. Denmark said she would quit seeing patients so she could stay home and be a full-time mom.

With the help of Mr. Denmark and some help around the house, Dr. Denmark started seeing patients at home and was able to be full-time mom.

What wisdom. What inspiration.

Mr. Denmark passed away a few years back.

Dr. Denmark turns 112. Today.

She only retired fully about six years ago.

She now lives in Athens, Georgia (where so many good things are) with her daughter.

Happy birthday, Dr. Denmark.

Thank you for changing the lives for the better of hundreds of thousands of children. And parents.

And don't worry about Dr. D. She won't be having any birthday cake tomorrow. She hasn't had any food with processed sugar in it for over 85 years.

That's one of the reasons she is the oldest validated living person born in 1898.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The never ending hurt

He was 19.

He got his draft notice.

He went to the draft board and asked what he should do.

He was told to pick one.

He picked the Marines.

In a few months, he was in Vietnam.

He's now 60.

He is retired from a good career and plays golf most everyday.

He noticed my memory bracelets today and asked about them.

Immediately, he was 19 again.

He has felt a bullet whizzing past his head.

He has heard a bullet hitting his friend in the head.

He still wonders why it was his friend and not him.

He is 60, but he will forever be 19 and in the jungle of Vietnam.

Godspeed to our veterans.

They have seen Hell on earth.

And they live with it everyday.

Thank you men and women who have served.

I'm guilty.

I turned 18 in 1972.

I got my notice from the Selective Service.

I went to the office in Atlanta and registered.

I got my physical.

I could have volunteered. But, since the draft was over, I didn't have to.

So, I didn't.

The prevailing thought then was to avoid the military at all cost.

I now realize that it was your cost.

I chickened out, because I could.

I'm sorry.

I should have served.

It was no more your duty than mine.

I now understand the hurt. I now understand the concept of shared sacrifice.

Thank you.

Forgive me.

I will spend the rest of my life trying to make it up to you.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Letter to Pat Robertson

Dear Pat,

The word Christian means Christ in me.

When you have Christ in you, you then have the ability to think and act like Him.

Your recent comments on Haiti are not WJWD.

Neither are your frequent messages that I’ve told you about upcoming events that never seem to happen. Neither is owning a half million Thoroughbred.

Jesus, or Y’shua as his name actually was pronounced, was my son.

He was the Messiah, per Hebrew language.

He was the Christ, per Greek language.

He was the promised one.

Whatever you call him, he was my boy.

Take a look at his life if you want to be like him.

He was the son of a carpenter. A very normal,basic life. He could square a corner and drive a nail. Something useful in rebuilding Haiti.

Once he was an adult, he was homeless.

He befriended the prostitutes, the lepers, the poor, the helpless.

He welcomed sinners so that He could teach them how to turn from sin.

He implored those of means to help those without means.

He ran the money changers out of the temple.

He was selfless. To the point of dying a brutal death on a cross that was meant for you.

Selfishness is the root issue of human depravity.

And that includes thinking that you can think like Me.

You aren’t even close.

He was the only human ever like Me.

I love you all.

I made you all.

Some of you get it.

Some of you don’t.

And Pat, you don’t get it.

There is a story of one of my creations, a young kid named Alexander the Great.

One day, a young soldier who had run away from the front lines was brought to him.

“Soldier, what is your name?”

“Alexander, sir.”

In a righteous rage, the leader looked at him and said, “Soldier. Change your ways, or change your name.”

Pat, either change your ways, or change your label. I don’t like being associated with knuckleheads like you.

Pat, get in touch with my Son. You don’t get to Me without going thru Him.

Get on your knees and pray for the poor. Give to the poor. Go help the poor.

Pat, there’s still hope for you.

It’s about having Me live in you, so that you can love like me.

Pat, only about one 6 billionth of what’s happening on earth is about you.

You are looking at things from the wrong perspective.

And Pat, I know how this ends for you. Not going to tell you now. But you might want to step on it.

With unconditional love,


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How to raise a terrorist

You start them early.

You create cartoons showing Jews slaughtering innocent Palestinian children.

You create characters such as Bahlul (Arabic for buffoon) to represent the U.S. backed Palestinian Authority police who literally licks the boots of Israeli soldiers.

This is how Hamas does it in Gaza City on Al Asqa TV.

If you want to see how young minds learn to hate, take 8 minutes and watch this charming video.

This isn't lunatic fringe Islam. This is Hamas. The ruling government in Gaza. Whose stated goal is the elimination of Israel from the map.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wootton Bassett: A Two Part Lesson

Part Two

Meet Anjem Choudary. He is a radical Islamic cleric living in London.

He heads a group called Islam4UK. Or, at least he did until yesterday when the British government made it a crime to belong to the group.

Mr. Choudary is a British citizen. And he draws $52,936 a year in government income subsidy and housing support because he is paid just a small income from the Muslim group he heads. The UK has generous welfare laws which makes it a haven for foreign nationals to want to immigrate there.

Mr. Choudary is free to express himself as he has under protection of freedom of speech laws in the UK.

Mr. Choudary refers to British soldiers as "murderers", "baby killers", and "like Nazi stormtroopers".

He has links to known terrorists both in the UK and abroad.

He has said Prime Minister Gordon Brown is like Adolf Hitler. He says the UK is guilty of state terrorism because it has sent soldiers into Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr. Choudary and his group have protested at military parades shouting their hate at British soldiers.

And this week, they announced plans to head for Wootton Bassett to protest during the return of fallen British soldiers.

That announcement sent shock waves thru the UK. They finally crossed the line of what the public would allow.

Yesterday, the group was banned from existence by the British government.

Today, Choudary has said his group will agree to not be at Wootton Bassett IF Gordon Brown will debate a convicted terrorist who lives in hiding somewhere in the Middle East.

Choudary has found the limits of the UK's willingness to put up with his hate speech.

It will be interesting to see what happens next. It will be a confrontation between how the courts interpret freedom of speech vs. hate speech. It will be a confrontation between radical Islam and the heart and soul of the people of the UK.

And one of many reasons this is important is that this same thing can happen in the U.S., Canada and most of the countries that are fighting this war.


Freedom of speech and public assembly is a basic right in democracies. But the founding fathers of all of those countries never anticipated radical Islam wanting to establish Sharia law in their countries. And that freedom of speech laws give them the right to spread their hatred, their lies, their warped religious views as they wish.

Think it can't happen?

Well, read on.

There is a group in Topeka, Kansas that calls itself the Westboro Baptist Church.

There website is

They claim that 9/11 was caused by God because America loves fags.

They claim that American soldiers are dying because America loves fags.

Here are some photos from this group protesting at the funerals of fallen American soldiers.

That's correct. They protest and carry these signs at the funerals of fallen American soldiers.

Including my son's.

Two days before Pete's funeral, the local police chief came by the house. He said he needed to show me a letter.

It was from Westboro Baptist Church to the Frisco, Texas city government announcing their plans to protest at Pete's funeral under their federal rights and within the laws of Frisco, Texas.

On a day that was 35 degrees and raining, they were there. All around the church.

Thankfully, the Patriot Guard Riders shielded the immediate family from seeing any of them. As a matter of fact, that's how the PGR was founded. To protect families of fallen soldiers from being assaulted by the hatred, lies and warped religious views of this group.

But other friends and family weren't shielded.

Friends and family were shocked. They couldn't believe their eyes and ears.

The pastor of the church, Dr. Charles Swindoll, was shaken to his core when he saw them.

Chuck is an ex-Marine. And one of the leading expositors of God's word.

He told me he rolled his window down and was about to have an exchange with the group. He was steaming.

Then, discretion took over and he drove past.

He commented about the irony of Pete having died to protect their freedom of speech.

If Westboro Baptist Church can do it, how long before Mr. Choudary or and imam like him follows. (Religion makes strange bedfellows.)

Mr. Choudary's group is saying the same thing in the UK.

"Your son's are dying to protect our freedom of speech", he has the gall to say.

We lovers of freedom have some thinking and some deciding to do.

Are there limits on freedom of speech? If so, where and when and how?

And the haters of freedom have some thinking and deciding to do.

People like Anjem Choudary and Westboro Baptist Church need to know that when you cross the line, there will be a response.

And it's about time there was.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wootton Bassett: A Two Part Lesson

Part One

Wooton Bassett is a town of 12,000 located 80 miles east of London.

The town is near the air base RAF Lyneham.

When British fallen soldiers return home, they are flown into RAF Lyneham.

They are then carried by hearse to another location for preparation before they are returned to their families for burial.

The hearses travel thru the center of Wooton Bassett.

Spontaneously, the town began to honor their fallen heroes.

No one planned it. No emails were sent. No schedules posted.

As the hearses enter the town, the bell of the parish church begins to ring.

And the town stops.

Silently, the people line the streets and pay their respects.

"It is a most strange feeling," says Sally Hardy, manager of the Sue Ryder charity shop. "When the bell from the parish church starts to toll and the police stop the traffic, there is just silence. It is a very unusual thing to find in a town. Just about everybody and anybody comes out. It makes me feel there but for the grace of God go my son and daughter."

"Sometimes, people have waited three hours in the rain to pay their respects," says Mayor Steve Bucknell. "These poor guys have no more time to give, so the least we can do is give our time."

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the lives of thousands of heroes.

From the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Austalia, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and 20 other countries. Including the United States.

I don't know for sure, but I suspect there is a Wootton Bassett in each of those countries. I've seen how Canadians turn out in droves to show their respects. It is an amazing show of respect and support.

We'll never forget when Pete came home. He was flown into Addison Airport.

The hearse took him to Frisco.

All along the way, we saw families, store owners, policemen, firemen, retired folks, standing along Preston Road in silent honor.

Patriotism, respect, support for the military, and fighting and winning these wars is not just an American conversation.

Thank God for all of the Wootton Bassett's in this world.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Where is the sandlot?

Kids and sports are meant for each other.

Parents and kids and sports are a different matter altogether.

I've coached baseball, basketball, softball, and soccer from five year olds to high school ages.

Teaching a kid to do something new and seeing them have that breakthrough experience is the best feeling on earth.

Having a dad that wouldn't sign up to coach, but will call pitches from behind home plate when his son is on the mound (and you've called a totally different pitch) is enough to make you chew glass.

I saw the two sides of it this weekend.

Last year, I coached my then 7 year old's team in basketball.

Most of the girls had never played.

In four practices (which some parents bitched about as being excessive), they learned to bounce pass, box out, play zone defense, shoot layups, and get back on defense and stop the dribble.

We went 8-2. One idiot last year accused me of having taught the girls the triangle offense. Crap, the NBA still can't figure out the triangle offense.

The commissioner took notice. His was the only team we didn't play. He commented after the season that he regretted that because his team was pretty stout.

He's the commissioner again this year. And we played his team Saturday.

We won 20-4.

The girls are still learning positions, how to play defense, how to look for the open player, etc.

This year, I'm the assistant and my assistant from last year is the head coach.

The commissioner wasn't thrilled with the outcome.

So today, the commish sends out new rules that the assistant can't coach during the game.

What? We didn't mean to win so big. Sorry that our girls have a bit more instruction and understanding and therefore play better as a team. Our girls didn't even know who won or what the score was. They were much more interested in debating what our team name should be.

They are third graders. They still don't know what a double dribble, traveling, three second rule, a free throw or press is. We get at best one hour of practice a week to teach them. The game is part of the learning process.

His problem is he's a first timer. It's his oldest daughter on the team. He hasn't seen the movie before. He doesn't understand the objective is to teach them to play a complicated game. And have fun in the process.

On the other hand, I watched joy in action happen spontaneously yesterday.

I was in Los Angeles and the weather was amazing. 72 and sunny.

Four 10 year old boys were playing at a park where my daughter and some of her friends were on the monkey bars.

The boys found a football, and the game was on. Two on two. No over-involved dads or moms to screw it up. They laughed. They complimented the other side when a great catch was made. They imagined themselves Tom Brady and Chad Ochocinco. They had fun. Unhampered, spontaneous joy.

I remember the hundreds of times as a kid playing pickup basketball and sneaking into the gym whenever we could. Home run derby at Adams Park. Tackle football with no equipment on. Not a parent or coach in sight. That was fun.

Sadly, we can't let our kids out of our sights today. So we over-organize their lives including their play times.

So many stories from coaching kids.

The worst was t-ball. First time parents, standing behind the little fences screaming at little Bobby to hit it out. Little Bobby didn't know from sic 'em. Little Bobby wasn't sure which way to run. Little Bobby didn't know why people were hollering at him. Little Bobby thought this was supposed to be fun.

T-ball was so bad that my kids refused to umpire those games. They could make $80-$100 on a Saturday umping t-ball games when they were 14. After one season, they refused. They refused to deal with abuse of the coaches and parents. Of 4 and 5 year old little Bobbie's.

The best was coaching a 10 year old girls basketball team in a summer league.

On purpose, I told the girls no uniforms. It was just for fun. I took duct tape to the games and aggie-rigged numbers on their t-shirts. And just let them play.

The girls coached themselves. Made their own lineups, substitutions, etc. The parents had more fun than ever cause we just let the girls have at it.

We were undefeated thru the first nine games.

Last game of the season, a team rolls in the gym with matching warmups, gymbags, and very nice unis. The coach had himself a fine matching shirt with "Coach Tom" embroidered over his left man-boob.

He argued with the ref before the game that our uniforms were illegal cause they didn't match. Thankfully, the ref got it and told him to shut up.

Our girls ran his out of the place. Oh, what a night.

I've seen mothers bitch slap coaches over playing time for their kids.

I've seen fathers punch umpires over disputed calls.

I've had parents have their son play in two different baseball leagues in the same season so that he could pitch more. His arm was dead at 11 years old.

This over organized sports thing needs re-thinking.

And now, the legal system is poking its nose into it.

Take Me Out To The ... Courtroom
Tuesday, January 05 2010

A Queens, New York, softball player has sued the city and her high school coach, alleging that the coach was negligent in instructing her about proper sliding techniques.

Alina Cerda, 15, filed suit in Queens Supreme Court claiming she busted her ankle because Francis Lewis High School coach Bryan Brown never taught her how to slide. The suit says Cerda needed six screws and a metal plate to fuse the ankle she broke while sliding on a muddy path during a practice. Following the accident, Cerda missed her freshman year of softball.

Cerda’s lawyer, Clay Evall, faults Brown for not providing proper instruction. “He wasn’t instructing them whatsoever,” Evall said. “He told her to watch the older girls do it.”

City lawyers declined to comment.

Earlier this year, a Staten Island family settled a similar lawsuit for $125,000 filed against the New Springville Little League and its parent company, Little League Baseball Incorporated, after a 12-year-old boy suffered a knee injury following a slide into second base. In addition to the leagues, two coaches were named personally in the lawsuit.

—Sources: and

Where is the sandlot?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mr. Jones, you need to learn to count

Strike two my ass.

This war with radical Islam didn't start when President Obama and you took office.

This war has been going on for decades.

Does the Marine barracks bombing in Lebanon not count?

Do the American embassy bombings in Africa not count?

Does the USS Cole not count?

Does 9/11 not count?

Do the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan not count?

This isn't time for scoreboarding, sir. This isn't an issue of your administration versus Bush or Clinton or Bush or Carter or Reagan. All of you along with Congress have missed opportunities in this war declared on us.

But that's not the issue. The issue is how do we fix it. Together.

This is the United States.

Our United States.

This is why The Magnifying Glass Project was started.

Sir, I now know who we are going to deliver many magfnifying glasses to.

You, sir.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Yes, honey, that wedding dress does make you look fat

The January issue of The American Journal of Preventive Medicine reports some astonishing news.

Women who are married or live with a partner gain more weight than women who don't.

Wow. Whoda thunk.

In a study of 6,000 Australian women over a 10 year period ending in 2006, they found women gained:

-20 pounds if she had a partner and a baby

-15 pounds if she had a partner and no baby

-only 11 pounds if she was childless and had no partner

-there was a steady weight gain by all women over the 10 years of study

Duh. Wonder how much this study cost and who paid for it. Could have asked three men in a bar in Brooklyn and they would have come up with the exact same conclusions for free.

More astonishing are the studious conclusions from academics who've read the study.

“It’s interesting and brings out some important points,” said Maureen A. Murtaugh, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Utah who has published widely on weight gain in women. Perhaps, she suggested, a more active social life may help explain why women with partners gain more weight.

(I've checked Ms. Murtaugh out on the world wide interweb. Attractive enough headshot, but no full body photos available. Hmmmmm.)

Perhaps not, perfesser.

Read Freakonomics. People do things because of incentives.

While she is in the hunt, she starves herself, works out, drinks lots of water and anything else necessary to fit into those size 4 jeans.

Once she has captured her prey, it's back to reality. Double caramel macchiatos, expandomatic pants, and three or four square a day. Usually while driving.

And thank goodness there is now scientific proof of this. Think of how much of our culture and industry depends on this.

Yo momma so fat jokes. There are multiple websites dedicated to them.

Control top pantyhose.

You know the words to at least one rap song. "I like big butts and I cannot lie."

The greatest television comedy in history, In Living Color, wouldn't have been nearly as funny without Mr. Brooks saying to Mrs. Brooks, "Looks like someone hit you in the ass with a waffle iron."

Diet foods, pills, drinks and books.

Dove soap ads featuring women with lots and lots of skin.

And great jokes such as, how do you make love to a fat girl? Ask the nearest man to tell you the punch line.

I met a woman of great stature at a Christmas party. She was seated beside the snack table and had claimed the guacamole for herself.

She looked at me and said, "I know what your thinking. But you are wrong. I'm not fat. I'm fluffy."

That put things in perspective.

This study included only women, but the researchers cited one earlier study that showed an increase in obesity among men who had children, adding further evidence that social and behavioral factors are part of the explanation.

Like hanging out in beer joints to get away from their fluffy wives.

The fact that I am writing this is proof of two further things.

My decision to take up with the bois d'arc in my backyard a few months ago was prescient.

And it proves why there are more men than women in the CIA.

Men are much better at hiding their intelligence.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Office Space

Pete had three dream jobs.

A tour guide in Nice and Paris.

A 2LT in the U.S. Army.

And an internship with the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Desperados.

The internship turned out to be a bad dream.

He quickly figured out that if you aren't playing or coaching, it's just bidness.

Here is his take on corporate life.

Also explains why eating MREs in Taji were more satisfying to his soul.

Intern Is Bored at Work: Cites boredom due to possible lack of significant things to do
March 2005

by Pete Burks/Associated Press

IRVING - In the midst of saying the usual ''Hey, how's it going,'' ''What's up Jerry

(indirect point),'' and other nonsensical superficial jargon, it occurred to intern

Pete Burks, of Celina, TX, that he has nothing to do at work.

''Well, basically, I come in and sit at my desk, surf the web until I get to the end

of the internet, and then proceed to zone out for a few hours after lunch,'' said


It seems that the phenomenon known as lackofpurpose-it is, aka, ''office boredom,''

is the latest in a series of epidemics to sweep Corporate America. Lately, Corporate

America has been accused of ''soul sucking,'' ''extreme greed,'' and ''greasing the

gears of capitalism with the blood of the workers.''

According to Corporate America's official policy website (, in a

world of such exciting things as Microsoft Outlook Express, creating Xcel

spreadheets, and keeping expense reports, one would think that the average American

worker would find plenty of fulfillment during the average 8-5 experience. Not so,

says Burks.

''I find that most of the day, I end up reading about everything from the Dallas

Desperados to the Gross Domestic Product growth rate of China,'' said Burks. ''Call

it a problem of motivation. Most of the time, office work feels like this. I blame

it all on THE MAN.''

When asked just who ''THE MAN'' was, Burks described ''THE MAN'' as ''THE

ESTABLISHMENT'' that tries to ''KEEP HIM DOWN.'' Burks also speculated that ''THE

MAN'' sometimes goes by the alias of ''Tad McCrotch.''

When reached at the corporate headquarters of Corporate America USA, co. inc., ''THE

MAN'' had no commnet. However, official spokesperson for ''THE MAN,'' public

relations middle managment investment analyst coordinator, John Stewart, defended

''THE MAN'S'' ''beat you into submission'' policies.

''I go to work every day in a nicely pressed shirt, tie, and suit, and I have no

problem with the fact that I schmooze as much as possible while trying to lean on

the water cooler and point and wink at as many people as possible all day long''

quipped Stewart. ''When it comes down to it, being falsely enthused about what you

do to make that extra dollar is how work is supposed to be.''

When asked about the possibility that he might be wasting his life away inside the

confines of an office and thereby watching the inner flame of his soul

extinguished, Stewart said,''What soul is there outside the coporate soul? I just

don't see the issue.....excuse me while I massage the numbers a bit.''

- The office storage space of the Dallas Desperados contributed heavily to this report