The ground is level at the foot of the cross....recovering addict rescued by the saving grace of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Family Portrait

Here's a recent picture of the family taken just this month.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fritz's Railroad Restaurant

My brother Joe visited us and we went to eat at a restaurant where they served your food using a train. Here's a video of that.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Here are a few recent pics from Grandpa's funeral.

Us and our cousins

My cousin and I

My dad and Zoey

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Doctors use Wii games for rehab therapy

Yet one more reason to love your Wii......


CHICAGO (AP) — Some call it "Wiihabilitation."

Nintendo's Wii video game system, whose popularity already extends beyond the teen gaming set, is fast becoming a craze in rehab therapy for patients recovering from strokes, broken bones, surgery and even combat injuries.

The usual stretching and lifting exercises that help the sick or injured regain strength can be painful, repetitive and downright boring.

In fact, many patients say PT — physical therapy's nickname — really stands for "pain and torture," said James Osborn, who oversees rehabilitation services at Herrin Hospital in southern Illinois.

Using the game console's unique, motion-sensitive controller, Wii games require body movements similar to traditional therapy exercises. But patients become so engrossed mentally they're almost oblivious to the rigor, Osborn said.

"In the Wii system, because it's kind of a game format, it does create this kind of inner competitiveness. Even though you may be boxing or playing tennis against some figure on the screen, it's amazing how many of our patients want to beat their opponent," said Osborn of Southern Illinois Healthcare, which includes the hospital in Herrin. The hospital, about 100 miles southeast of St. Louis, bought a Wii system for rehab patients late last year.

"When people can refocus their attention from the tediousness of the physical task, oftentimes they do much better," Osborn said.

Nintendo Co. doesn't market Wii's potential use in physical therapy, but company representative Anka Dolecki said, "We are happy to see that people are finding added benefit in rehabilitation."

The most popular Wii games in rehab involve sports — baseball, bowling, boxing, golf and tennis. Using the same arm swings required by those sports, players wave a wireless controller that directs the actions of animated athletes on the screen.

The Hines Veterans Affairs Hospital west of Chicago recently bought a Wii system for its spinal cord injury unit.

Pfc. Matthew Turpen, 22, paralyzed from the chest down in a car accident last year while stationed in Germany, plays Wii golf and bowling from his wheelchair at Hines. The Des Moines, Iowa, native says the games help beat the monotony of rehab and seem to be doing his body good, too.

"A lot of guys don't have full finger function so it definitely helps being able to work on using your fingers more and figuring out different ways to use your hands" and arms, Turpen said.

At Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the therapy is well-suited to patients injured during combat in Iraq, who tend to be in the 19 to 25 age range — a group that's "very into" playing video games, said Lt. Col. Stephanie Daugherty, Walter Reed's chief of occupational therapy.

"They think it's for entertainment, but we know it's for therapy," she said.

It's useful in occupational therapy, which helps patients relearn daily living skills including brushing teeth, combing hair and fastening clothes, Daugherty said.

WakeMed Health has been using Wii games at its Raleigh, N.C., hospital for patients as young as 9 "all the way up to people in their 80s," said therapist Elizabeth Penny.

"They're getting improved endurance, strength, coordination. I think it's very entertaining for them," Penny said.

"It really helps the body to loosen up so it can do what it's supposed to do," said Billy Perry, 64, a retired Raleigh police officer. He received Wii therapy at WakeMed after suffering a stroke on Christmas Eve.

Perry said he'd seen his grandchildren play Wii games and was excited when a hospital therapist suggested he try it.

He said Wii tennis and boxing helped him regain strength and feeling in his left arm.

"It's enjoyable. I know I'm going to participate with my grandkids more when I go visit them," Perry said.

While there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that Wii games help in rehab, researcher Lars Oddsson wants to put the games to a real test.

Oddsson is director of the Sister Kenny Research Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. The center bought a Wii system last summer and is working with the University of Minnesota to design a study that will measure patients' function "before and after this 'Wiihab,' as someone called it," Oddsson said.

"You can certainly make a case that some form of endurance related to strength and flexibility and balance and cardio would be challenged when you play the Wii," but hard scientific proof is needed to prove it, Oddsson said.

Meantime, Dr. Julio Bonis of Madrid says he has proof that playing Wii games can have physical effects of another kind.

Bonis calls it acute "Wiiitis" — a condition he says he developed last year after spending several hours playing the Wii tennis game.

Bonis described his ailment in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine — intense pain in his right shoulder that a colleague diagnosed as acute tendonitis, a not uncommon affliction among players of real-life tennis.

Bonis said he recovered after a week of ibuprofen and no Wii, and urged doctors to be aware of Wii overuse.

Still, as a Wii fan, he said in an e-mail that he could imagine more moderate use would be helpful in physical therapy "because of the motivation that the game can provide to the patient."

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Berkeley to Marines: You're 'not welcome in our city'

I found this aticle on CNN. As member of the Armed Services that has proudly served for 12 year I'm sworn to defend the Constitution and the rights inherent to that document. This includes the freedom of speech which the people of Berkeley are obviously happy to utilize. However, while I'm proud to defend such rights, I find it truly disgusting what the city council of Berkeley has done here. I wonder if this city would request the assistance of the same Armed Services that they scorn in a nautural disaster? Please continue to support the brave men and women who risk their lives everday despite the public ridicule and condemnation that they receive from ungrateful people such as the townsfolk of Berkeley.

By Wayne Drash

(CNN) -- Berkeley, the famously liberal college town in California, has taken aim at Marine recruiters, saying they are "not welcome in our city."

Republican lawmakers in Washington fired back this week, threatening to take back more than $2 million of federal funding to the city as well as money designated for the University of California-Berkeley, the campus that became a haven of protests during the Vietnam War.

The battle erupted after the Berkeley City Council approved a measure last week urging the Marine recruiters to leave their downtown office.

"If recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders," the item says.

It goes on to say the council applauds residents and organizations that "volunteer to impede, passively or actively, by nonviolent means, the work of any military recruiting office located in the City of Berkeley." See photos of protesters camped outside Marine office »

Outside the Shattuck Avenue recruiting station earlier this week, a handful of protesters with the anti-war group Code Pink camped out, strumming a guitar as they sang anti-war songs and held signs against the Iraq war.

"Time to end the war, time to end the war, time to end the war right now," they sang to the beat of "I've Been Working on the Railroad." Watch protesters sing "I Ain't Afraid" »

One giant sign said, "No Military Predators in Our Town." Another message on a pink placard read, "Join the Marines. Travel to Exotic Lands. Meet Exciting and Unusual People -- And Kill Them."

Zanne Joi peered out from under her straw hat. "This Marine recruiting station is trying to recruit our youth to go to Iraq to kill and be killed. And we are against that," said Joi, a member of Code Pink Women for Peace.

"This is part of a multi-pronged effort to end this war."

Protester Sharon Adams added: "This recruiting station recruits people to go fight and then once they fight and they serve their country, our country doesn't take care of them. That's a shame."

But not everyone here supports the protesters.Watch young men confront protesters »

Forrest Smith, who described himself as a veteran of U.S. Special Forces, said his son recently returned from a tour in Iraq and his daughter served in Afghanistan.

"My position on this is the Marines are the best thing we have," said Smith, decked out in Army fatigues.

He blasted the City Council for its action. "It's clearly an abuse of power."

A group of young students who strolled down the sidewalk shared that sentiment. They derided one of the protesters who argued the United States was involved in an illegal war in Iraq.

"Where's the logic in that whatsoever?" one of the young men said. "That's our national security, and you're here protesting the Marines."

Another said, "It makes me sick. It makes me sick."

Gunnery Sgt. Pauline Franklin, a spokeswoman for the Marine Corps Recruiting Command, told CNN there is "no plan for that office to move."

She said recruiters are there to "provide information to qualified men and women who are looking for opportunities that they may benefit from by serving in the military."

"The Marine Corps is here to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, which does guarantee the freedom of speech," Franklin said. "In terms of the situation in Berkeley, the City Council and the protesters are exercising their right to do so."

In Washington, a group of Republican lawmakers have introduced the Semper Fi Act of 2008 -- named after the Marine motto -- to rescind more than $2 million of funds for Berkeley and transfer it to the Marine Corps.

"Like most Americans, I really get disturbed when taxpayer money goes to institutions which proceed to take votes, make policy or make statements that really denigrate the military," said Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, a co-sponsor of the bill.

He told CNN he believes the bill will pass. "I think it's going to have significant support."

The bill's co-sponsor, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, said in a written statement, "Berkeley needs to learn that their actions have consequences."

Berkeley's declaration, which was introduced by the city's Peace and Justice Commission, accuses the United States of having a history of "launching illegal, immoral and unprovoked wars of aggression and the Bush administration launched the most recent of those wars in Iraq and is threatening the possibility of war in Iran."

It adds, "Military recruiters are salespeople known to lie to and seduce minors and young adults into contracting themselves into military service with false promises regarding jobs, job training, education and other benefits."

Out on Shattuck Avenue, it appears the protesters have no plans to leave anytime soon. "We are the civilian population; we control the military," Adams said. "We the people have to take back our control of the military."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Halloween '07 video

I love this video because it captures one of those casual moments with conversations about nothing.