Archive for the ‘Computing’ Category

The Pastor’s Blackberry Tour – Uniquely My Own

In Computing, The Pastor's Blog on September 23, 2009 at 1:00 PM

This is the third time writing about my Blackberry Tour; I just wanted to bring you up-to-date. There is so much you can do with this device, and I probably haven’t even scratched the surface of its potential. Some of that hamstringing is purposeful, as text messaging is blocked at my request – text messaging should be part of the phone package, not an extra cost. That’s just me, though. I couldn’t sleep at night if I charged for something that should be included with the basic package.

One of the most basic questions is why would anyone even want a Blackberry. Let me give you a little background about my journey with cell phones. Land lines are perfectly okay with me even now is this information age full of technology. For years I fought the urge to obtain a cell phone just because everyone else on the planet was wasting their money. How on earth could wireless providers charge such exorbitant prices for something comparable to a land line? It didn’t make sense then, and still doesn’t. When you boil it down to apples and oranges, a cell phone is still a land line without the land line. It’s a device you communicate with.

I caved. After forty forevers (approximately), my wife and I finally decided to buy cell phones for both of us, so we stopped by a store and made the big purchase. It was great! We could talk with each other practically anywhere except when there was no signal. We were pretty happy with our phones; when it was time for an upgrade, we made the jump. This same scenario played out many times over the course of years. Upgrade, upgrade.

When our last phones went out of contract, we were very happy about the situation. I despise having a contract. My wife and I are not the types to jump from one carrier to another, so the contract is kind of an unnecessary irritant. The excuse providers give is that it costs a lot of money to provide phones. How lame! If the provider hooks a customer with a contract, the price of the phone will be way more than recouped over time. To me, a contract and BUYING a phone is just piling on. Provide the phone, get your money back and profit, too. That’s not difficult to understand.

Why a Blackberry? Good question. I wasn’t going to buy one until one of the salesman at a local Verizon kiosk began showing me some of the advantages of owning a BB. I still wasn’t convinced. A few days before the Tour was released to the public, I got to look at one up close. Very nice. After a few weeks, I finally convinced my wife a Blackberry Tour would look good on me. We went into the local Verizon store and each came out with a new phone. She chose a basic phone as that’s all she wanted. I chose the Tour and have been happy with the purchase. BTW, there’s a great article at the Crackberry site about why anyone would purchase a BB.

Capture on 11-12-2009 11-31-01

PrecisionBerry Sense 2 theme from monkeybiz

Themes are the easiest way to customize a Blackberry. Some people are perfectly happy with the stock look of the device, while others can’t stop tweaking the looks of the screen. I fall into the latter camp. There are several themes on my BB now and I change them often. You can see some of them in a previous post. Themes are either free or premium, which means the author gets paid for his work.  I have only one premium theme, Spaces, by Daniels Design. It’s a beautiful and unique offering, but the overall font size makes it difficult for me to use very much.

Currently, the following are on my BB Tour:

  • 3G Tour
  • BBampd ORANGE NOTE : This looks great with FL Gator Football wallpaper! Go, Gators!
  • Blueprint This has the architect look and feel.
  • DashboardOne Tour Makes you feel like you’re sitting behind the wheel of your car.
  • iTour (Active) There are two versions: with iPhone icons and standard icons.
  • ReverieW Tour – This one lets you show off your wallpaper almost full screen. Great idea.
  • SodaBerry Tour – I just like the way this theme is laid out.
  • Verizon Zen – This is one of the stock themes.

Obviously, everyone has different tastes when deciding which applications are needed on a BB. Since the last post, I’ve added a few more, but haven’t really put them through their paces. It’ll take time, but hopefully I’ll be able to learn to use them productively after a while. Currently, the following apps are installed on my Tour:Anagram – quickly and easily add contact information to your address book

  • Anagram – captures personal data from e-mails for your address book
  • BBWeather – a very nice, basic weather app which keeps current conditions on the home screen
  • Bible – This is from YouVersion and is an extremely versatile Bible app. Lots of helpful resources
  • Blackberry App World – a place to get apps for the BB. Similar to other stores like iTunes
  • BuzzMe – Vibrate and ring together
  • dub – an easy to trade contact information with other people
  • edocrab – barcode spelled backwards. Looks up product info using your BB as a scanner
  • Facebook – you know what this is
  • FileScout – manipulate files on your BB
  • Google Maps – free maps that uses the GPS function of the Blackberry
  • Google Sync – Syncs my Google Address Book and Calendar to my Blackberry
  • Poynt – GPS enabled app including Yellow Pages, White Pages and Movies. Excellent
  • QuickPull – Simulates a battery pull in order to reset the device – very handy
  • Sensobi Contacts – unique way to look at your contact information
  • vlingo – use your voice to control your BB. I use this quite often
  • WeatherBug – gets weather for cities you assign
  • Where – handy GPS-enabled app which helps you find all kinds of information
  • ZonaSnap – takes a snapshot of your screen

It’s easy to see just how you can customize your Blackberry to suit your needs and tastes. Make it your own – experiment with different themes and apps to make your Blackberry unique. Go get it!


Blackberry Tour Update

In Computing, The Pastor's Blog on August 31, 2009 at 11:24 AM

I’ve had my Blackberry Tour since early August, and am very satisfied with the quality and features. It’s a great phone which allows me to do a lot of things I find very helpful. For those who have never owned a smart phone, I can tell you, this is a wonderful device. There is a learning curve, but help is easily found if you run into problems or need some information.

Like Linux, the looks are highly customizable; you can make it suit your personal needs or leave it stock. Personally, I enjoy adding new themes and tweaking things for that “just right” look. I don’t have it yet, but it’s almost there. I’m looking for a free Florida Gators theme – does anyone know of one for the Tour?

There are literally hundreds of free ringtones available for the Tour and other phones, too. It’s hard to pick just the right one, though. I have found a great feature on this phone: you can turn any song you have loaded into a ringtone. Some of my favorite genres are Contemporary Christian, Big Band, and Swing. I had “Minnie the Moocher” as a ringtone last week for several days. It was a hoot!

I love the Bible app called “YouVersion” and use it often. If you’re interested, there’s a link on the right side of my blog; drop by the site and see if it suits your needs. There are about 40 bible versions you can choose from, and a host of other features you will enjoy using.

Last week my wife and I were looking for a particular place and the only information we had was the phone number and a road name. No one was home to answer the phone, so we took off trying to find the place. We looked for a while and decided to head back home. Well, my wife was driving and I thought about an app called “poynt”; I fired it up and began looking for the house. It wasn’t long before I had the street address and a map showing directions how to get to the destination. That was a great find.

Text messaging blocked as I don’t use that feature. I would probably do the occasional text, but really see no need for it. There are many people who spend most of their time sending and receiving text messages, but that is something which has no appeal to me.

Anyway, following are a couple of screenshots of my Tour. I’m using an app called ZonaSnap to take pictures of my screen. Hope you enjoy.

BBampd Silver Theme

BBampd Silver Theme

This is my current theme just installed today.

BBampd with Aqua Spidey

BBampd with Aqua Spidey

Priority Fonts Media Theme

Priority Fonts Media Theme

I really like this one, too.

My New Blackberry Tour Smartphone

In Computing, The Pastor's Blog on August 14, 2009 at 5:57 PM

From engadget Mobile

After much deliberation and shopping around, I finally bought a Blackberry smartphone. With so many to choose from, it wasn’t an easy task, but in the end, my wife and both got new phones from the carrier we’ve been with for several years – Verizon. We have had good customer service with them and it is a large carrier with an enormous presence.

These devices are pocket computers and can do so many things. You can send and receive e-mails, post on your blog, surf the net, shop on-line, pay bills, and the list goes on. I like technology.

My clerk told me a story today about a man who has nearly 4,000 contacts on Twitter (I don’t have that and have never used the app). A short while ago, while sitting in his church, as the pastor was preaching this man was on his mobile device. After the service, the pastor asked about it and the man replied “Pastor, what you said was so good and I wanted all my contacts to hear about it, so I typed and sent it. Another friend did the same thing for about 3,000 contacts. In the church, your message was heard by about 135 people, but in a matter of a couple of minutes, about 7,000 people were able to read about what you spoke.” That’s good enough for me!

Some of you may know of my disdain for Apple products, and I wasn’t about to put money into their coffers again. Admittedly, the iPhone has a certain appeal, and there are scores of apps to choose from. The people I know who own them say nothing but good about quality and ease of use. Those aspects of the Apple design are probably very true, but Apple turned me away some time ago. Their choosing to purposely break the iTunes database so it wouldn’t work in Linux was the clincher for me.

Anyway, after researching for a while, my list came down to the Blackberry 8900 from T-Mobile, the Palm Pre from Sprint or the Blackberry Tour from Verizon or Sprint. Having never used any one of the devices very much, I had to rely on research, and occasionally, users who had similar devices. One of the pastors at our recent PCG Facilitator’s Retreat had the Pre, and it certainly looked nice. The video features alone had me nearly convinced to go with Sprint, but it didn’t happen. I actually got to look at the Tour a few days before it went on sale. I was pretty convinced when that happened.

The folks at the local Verizon store have been very helpful and patient with me as I let the questions fly. After a little over a week, I’m getting the hang of it and am even being productive. There’s lots to learn and new apps to try out. Actually, the salesman I spoke with today at the store was impressed I had so many apps installed; he said most new users take a long time to get the full potential out of their mobile devices. I am no expert, and that’s verifiable.

Here’s what I’ve got installed now in no particular order:

  • Bolt – a fast browser
  • Slacker Radio – internet radio
  • Facebook – you know what this is
  • Blackberry App World
  • Opera Mini – another browser
  • AP News – news from the Associated Press
  • Google Sync – Syncs my Google Address Book and Calendar to Blackberry
  • WeatherBug – gets weather for cities you assign
  • QuickPull – Simulates a battery pull in order to reset the device – very handy
  • Google Maps – free maps that uses the GPS function of the Blackberry
  • Viigo – RSS, Weather, Sports, and tons more. Very nice app.
  • Bible – This is from YouVersion and is an extremely versatile Bible app. Lots of helpful resources.
  • BuzzMe – Buzz and ring together
  • Poynt – GPS enabled app including Yellow Pages, White Pages and Movies. Excellent.

Here’s something I’ll be installing shortly: LifeInPocket

Do you use a Blackberry? Which one? What are some of your favorite apps and why?

Another Reason I Don’t Like Apple

In Computing, The Pastor's Blog on July 16, 2009 at 12:42 AM

My first and last piece of Apple hardware was purchased a couple of years ago for me at Christmas by my lovely bride. It is a silver iPod Classic 80GB model, and it’s a wonderful gadget. What? How does that sync with the title of your post? I’m glad you asked, and by the time you finish reading this post, you will understand.

Those of you who read my blog regularly know by now my computer operating system of choice is Linux with Simply Mepis being the particular distribution. A quick look through my Computer Category will show you several posts written on the subject. Several of those posts have been published in a various internet computer magazines, for which I’m grateful.

The first time I became upset with Apple was shortly after unwrapping my iPod to populate it with music and videos. I dutifully booted into that vastly inferior OS called Windows XP, fired up iTunes, and loaded music to my heart’s content. I had to register the iPod that way and thought that would be as good a way as any to upload content. What a mistake!

It wasn’t long until I had booted back into the safe confines of Linux. I fired up one of my media applications to continue uploading music, but to my dismay, the music I had spent time uploading didn’t appear on the device. Here we go! Back to Windows again to fix the database, then back to Linux and the same thing happened. Grrrrrr! Come to find out it was the insidious nature of Apple’s proprietary ways that caused all the commotion. They purposely added some code to the database that made sure you could only use iTunes for Apple or Windows; nothing in Linux. It was iTunes or nothing at all.

It wasn’t long until the bright guys from Linux found a solution and began working on getting the fix out to whoever wanted it. I’ll tell you now, my iPod works better now using a couple of Linux apps far better than it ever did with iTunes. Apple refuses to make iTunes available for Linux, which is another reason to steer clear of them.

I would love to have a smart phone and have been looking at several models. Obviously, Apple’s iPhone is out of the question. Apple is not going to get my money; the more I read about them the more I see how much like Microsoft they are, and that’s not a good thing at all. A few phones that appeal to me are the Blackberry 8900 (T-Mobile), Blackberry Tour (Verizon/Sprint) and the Palm Pre (Sprint). Each one has features which are quite appealing.

According to an AP Hi Tech article posted today by Rachel Metz, those good ol’ boys at Apple are up to their old tricks again. Many would say they saw this coming a mile away, and it’s probably true. Apple purposefully broke the Palm Pre’s ability to sync with iTunes. Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said the update “disables devices falsely pretending to be iPods, including the Palm Pre.” In another article by Jeff Bertolucci of PC World, information is given to help Pre owners work their way around Apple’s kill switch.

To sum it up nicely, I just don’t like Apple’s business model. Come to think of it, I just don’t like Microsoft’s business model, either. Perhaps they make good equipment (many argue there are far superior media players out there), but the way they are so proprietary is troubling to me. Do the words Microsoft, Internet Explorer and monopoly ring a bell with anyone?

Why Would Anyone Buy Windows 7?

In Computing, The Pastor's Blog on July 13, 2009 at 9:38 PM

Many of you know my preference for computer operating systems happens to be Linux and Simply Mepis in particular. I have written several posts about Linux and site real examples of how the OS helps me in my daily work as a pastor of a small church in central Florida.

I made the move to Linux several years ago after a horrible encounter with a virus someone sent me through an e-mail. It was probably my fault for not checking the e-mail for malicious code lurking somewhere, but it was from a friend (at least I think that’s where the virus came from) and I just clicked on the link. About a week later my computer was clean and I was on a search for something better.

Open source software was a big part of my computing needs at the time and OpenOffice was my favorite suite of tools for writing, doing spreadsheets and a host of other things. Firefox was my web browser and Thunderbird was my e-mail client. What more could you need unless you were a professional and just had to own particular software? Some people’s needs go beyond what they perceive Linux offers.

To many, Microsoft Vista was a dismal failure. It didn’t meet the need of scores of people all over the world and was slow to catch on. Unfortunately, it came pre-installed on my laptop, but I quickly installed Simply Mepis on it and have been happy ever since. I like virtually nothing about the Windows OS, no matter which flavor it is. If I had to choose one to keep, though, it would definitely be XP.

A report came out recently from ScriptLogic, which is a software developer specializing in Windows management software. Basically, their summary indicates Windows 7 will not be the success Microsoft wants it to be. Admittedly, there was no analysis provided with the report, but many professionals have already weighed in on the matter.

Microsoft has always had a business model I find irresponsible. That is, offering poorly written software you must keep upgrading to stay current. There’s really no telling how much money people have wasted by purchasing the latest and greatest Microsoft had to offer. I prefer Linux, which costs me nothing and works every bit as good, if not better, than what Microsoft has to offer. Of course, that’s just my take on the matter.

Ed Bott of ZDNet wrote an interesting article about this very subject and includes some common sense evaluation of the new Microsoft offering. He lists several recent articles regarding Windows 7; it is a good read and worth taking a look at. Basically, he concludes lots of people are not going to jump on the Windows 7 bandwagon. Personally, I think that’s a smart move.

What do you think? Will you pay good money for another Microsoft product, or will you take the plunge and switch to a superior OS – Linux? Just wondering.

Have You Seen the Beagle Board?

In Computing, The Pastor's Blog on May 10, 2009 at 3:09 PM

This is an incredible find. It’s a computer that can sit in your living room and run an HDTV. Of course, the thing has a Linux kernel at its heart. Watch the video and see what I mean.

Five Most Popular Posts

In Bibles, Computing, The Pastor's Blog on April 17, 2009 at 8:06 AM

Just curious – what are your five most popular posts? I’m not referring to the most comments, just the top five posts hit-wise. Nothing scientific here at all; this idea comes from an observation on my own blog.

The subject matter on this blog is eclectic; there are topics that cover a variety of categories of interest to me, and, hopefully, you. They are:

  • Family
  • A Christian Life
  • Bibles
  • Computing
  • Goals
  • Politics
  • Sermons
  • Sports

This is at about 7:40 this morning. I’ll start the discussion.

  1. Simply Mepis Keeps Getting Better – This post was about Mepis Linux making improvements as it moved forward in the testing cycle.
  2. Simply Mepis 8 Is Looking Good – Another post about Simply Mepis in the beta testing cycle. Warren Woodford was doing a fine job.
  3. Linux – Is It For You? – This post is about the concept of the Linux operating system. Is it suitable for your needs? In all likelihood, the answer is a resounding “yes”, but there are some who just don’t even want to try. Sad, but true.
  4. Chocolate Brown Allan and Sons ESV1 Bible – This post is about probably one of the most well-made bibles on the planet. R. L. Allan and Sons crafts quality bibles in Glasgow, Scotland. There are a few pictures, but you have to hold one of these masterpieces to appreciate the craftsmanship.
  5. Simply Mepis 8 Is Finally Here – This post is about Mepis 8 going gold and my experiences installing it on my computers. I must say, this version is rock solid and a breeze to set up. You should give it a try.

Now, lets get the fingers typing and share your most popular posts.

Simply Mepis 8 is Finally Here

In Computing on February 27, 2009 at 8:04 PM

Finally, after months of betas and release candidates, the wait is over. In my opinion, the finest Linux distribution a person could possibly use is ready for download and use. Simply Mepis is the superlative work of Warren Woodford, known for creating rock solid distros for beginners and more experienced users, too.

According to an announcement on, Simply Mepis 8 was released on Sunday, February 24, 2009 to the delight of people from all over the world.  It didn’t take me long to download both 32-bit and 64-bit iso images, burn them and begin installing them on my HP 6449US laptop. Actually, I had been testing all the way from the earliest betas through version 8 gold, but wanted to do a clean install on both partitions.

If you’d like to read my other posts on Simply Mepis Linux, follow the links: Simply Mepis 8 Is Looking Good, Simply Mepis 8 Keeps Getting Better and Mepis 8 Replaces 7 – A Good Plan. None of the posts are very technical; they are, however, my views and experiences with a wonderful product. You might find something of interest if you care to read.

Installation was simple and without any hiccups. It takes more time to add all my favorite packages than to complete the installation of the OS. Warren has done a great job with the installer; just answer a few questions and it produces the desired results. I did not have to manually partition my hard drive, as it’s already done.

As always, there is a lot of customization that goes into making each desktop a personal computing experience. It’s so easy to make Simply Mepis look just the way you want; a person is limited simply by imagination or lack thereof. Here’s what I generally do to personalize Mepis (in no particular order):

  • Aptitude
  • Remove and replace with the one from OOo’s official site.
  • StarOffice
  • BibleTime
  • SuperKaramba and certain dependencies for Liquid Weather
  • KEdit, KGet, KGamma
  • MySQL-Admin, server and everything else it takes to make OOo and MySQL play nice together
  • Swiftweasel, Opera, Thunderbird, WICD
  • gtkpod, gPodder
  • Kaffeine, k9copy, SMplayer and themes, VLC, xine-ui, codecs, xmms from package sharing
  • Acroread
  • Kuickshow
  • WINE
  • Compiz
  • Fonts
  • KDMtheme – a theme manager, ksplash-engine-moodin

There is a possibility I’ve missed some packages, but you get the general idea. With a list like the one above, you can see how a person can customize the desktop quite easily for personal tastes.

With everything coming together so smoothly, it’s surprising to run into even minor problems, but this time I did. Honestly, this is unusual for me, but the great people on MEPISlovers Forums are some of the best around. They are helpful and courteous, always willing to lend a hand if you can’t figure something out.

I ran into an issue with my Maxtor 250GB USB hard drive not working properly and even flash drives not being recognized. After some experimenting, I tried changing permissions on the USB devices, and everything cleared up. Now, it’s no problem using any or all of the devices on a regular basis. I don’t know why it happened, but it did, and now it works perfectly.

One more issue I have not been able to fix up to this point is the screen saver. It only works intermittently and I have to change to another one, apply the change and then it functions properly. There is probably a fix on the Mepis forums, but I just haven’t pursued the answer yet. It’s annoying, though, to have to manually tweak the settings several times during the day. With all the positive things I have experienced with Simply Mepis 8, this is a very minor problem.

My laptop came with a web cam, and I’ve never really tried to make it work. Oh, I tried once a long time ago, but that was long before beginning with SM 8. Just for grins, I think I’ll see what it takes to get the web cam up and running; there’s some helpful information on the Mepis wiki, and that’s as good a place to start as any. Many Mepis users report success with this issue, and I might just get to add my name to the list.

In summary, I am extremely pleased with this version of Simply Mepis. It is rock solid, easy to use and easy to maintain. I must not forget to give credit to the guys from the MEPISlovers forums who worked tirelessly producing quality artwork, giving valuable input to Warren. My hat is off to everyone who had a hand in making this distribution the excellent product it is.

If you want to use an outstanding Linux distro, you could do no better than trying this one. Give it a whirl, and you will be glad you did.

Mepis 8 Replaces 7 – A Good Plan

In Computing on February 8, 2009 at 4:11 PM

I wasn’t planning on making the switch quite yet, but it worked out just right, anyway. Simply Mepis (SM) has been my Linux distribution of choice for a long time now, and it’s getting closer to going gold all the time. The anticipation is growing in the Mepis community, but we can wait (I think).

My HP6449US laptop was working quite nicely when I decided to do some modification to the Simply Mepis beta I had installed a couple of months ago. That beta shared the hard drive with Simply Mepis 7 and Vista, for a choice of three in my multi-boot set up. SM 7 was the first item in my grub menu, followed by Vista and then SM 7.9.95-rc2. Actually, I had been spending most of my time with the SM release candidate, and rarely ever booted into SM 7 anymore. Vista just takes up room, and I don’t know why HP even elects putting that OS on a good laptop.

For some strange reason, about a week ago, I began installing the latest on the SM 7.9 partition, and it just wasn’t working the way it was supposed to. There’s a couple of posts about Openoffice in my home office here and here. I always install from the OOo site after removing the one that comes with a SM install. It’s just better for me this way; but most people are probably fine with the Debian version Warren provides. If sound would work, and I could get MySQL to play nicely with the SM version, it would just be part of my basic install.

Anyway, moving along with the story, after several attempts at installing OOo, and it not working, I decided it was time to do a fresh install, so out comes the latest Live CD. It was going to happen sooner or later, so I just installed over my SM 7 partition, keeping my home directory intact. As usual, Warren has done an outstanding job with this soon-to-be full-blown Simply Mepis 8 version; I couldn’t be happier. Well, that’s not altogether the whole picture as getting the web cam to work would be a nice touch. I digress, though.

The install went as planned and now the rc is on two partitions: the one SM 7 used to occupy, and the one that had been used for SM 8 from beta through rc. Cool! I can now boot into the rc, the rc or Vista. After setting up the older rc install just the way I wanted, it time to set up my primary Linux partition – the one where SM 7 use to be. Remember, I kept the /home directory intact, and that had me concerned just a little. As it turns out, there weren’t very many changes that had to be made even switching to SM 8-rc from SM 7. A tweak here and a tweak there got things up and running in no time at all.

I can’t begin to tell you how pleased I am with this release candidate. Everything of interest to me works flawlessly. Wireless has been made quite painless, and installing 3D acceleration could not have been easier. Several of the Lenny apps work much better than their Etch counterparts, such as gtkpod and gPodder. One of my favorite apps, BibleTime is a gem to use here, too. Some of the people from the MEPISlover’s forum have created a repository of apps they’ve built for both SM 7 and SM 8 – they’ve done an outstanding job, too. One of the apps they worked on is WINE, and that’s on this install, too. I use it to run a few Windows programs, and they work very well. BTW, this version of WINE has even got sound working. Good job, guys!

Simply Mepis 9.9.95-rc2 is now my main Linux install, and there are no regrets. I’m thankful OOo was giving me a hard time installing, because that was the fuel needed to press on with the new setup. I suppose my next project will be to install SM 8 -64 on the older SM partition to see how well it works. Many of the people who frequent MEPISlovers tell me they are please with it; we’ll have to wait and see.

Lastly, I recently had an experience with a local office supply store, and wrote a post on MEPISlovers. If you would like to read about it, you would be most welcome.

Now that the Simply Mepis 8 is nearly final, do you think you will give it a try? It wouldn’t hurt downloading the Live CD and giving it a spin.

No More Christmas Plays – PC Gone Mad!

In A Christian Life, Bibles, Computing, Family, The Pastor's Blog on December 16, 2008 at 9:16 PM

My wife and I just got home a few minutes ago after seeing our granddaughter’s 5th grade Christmas program. Wait a minute, that’s not exactly right. We saw our granddaughter’s holiday program. Mind you, both the director and kids did an exceptional job, and should be commended for all the hard work they put into the program. Here is where political correctness has gone completely mad, and I don’t think it’s right. Did I mention the fact they all did a phenomenal job?

After the program, my wife signed up to purchase one of the DVDs which will be made available in a day or so; we can hardly wait to get our hands on it so we can watch in a more comfortable environment. We’re old and need to be able to sit on the couch and not a hard bench. The old part was a joke, as I’m really not old.

I got to talk with Mrs. Band Director for a few minutes, and passed along our delight in the program. After a short while, I could no longer contain myself, and made my observation clear. “Political correctness has ruined this country,” was my reply. I bemoaned the fact I heard very little about “Christmas” in what I thought was supposed to be a Christmas program. Mrs. Band Director informed me the school is not allowed to have a Christmas program and that only a holiday program is permissible. Now, I know things are pretty bad, but this is just too much.

What was the excuse? “There are lots of different faiths attending the school, and we don’t want to offend anyone,” was the answer I was given. Oh, my! We have certainly fallen a long way from the tree, IMHO. Without trying to be insensitive, I believe it would be easy to do just that right about now. We are never going to please everyone, and if someone is offended by the words “Christmas program”, then perhaps they need to find another place to live. At the very least, be tolerant of the vast majority of Americans who claim to want a Christmas program.

Political correctness waters down reality. In other words, in order to be all things to everyone and make sure no one is left out, Christmas programs have been replaced with holiday programs. The janitor in the school is no longer called by that name. They are now “sanitation engineers.” Political correctness dictates teachers can no longer use red as a means of indicating an incorrect response on a test; a different color has to be used so the child won’t feel so bad.

Bottom line is this: if you are offended by having a Christmas program, then stay at home during the night of the presentation. The handful of people should in way dictate the name and tenor of the Christmas program. Political correctness has certainly gone overboard, and should be buried. Please, let the children and parents enjoy a Christmas program.