Tuesday, March 31, 2009

K Is For Kaiser

It's time again For ABC Wednesday. If you aren't participating in ABC Wednesday, you are missing out on a lot of fun. This week the letter is "K". K is for Kaiser.

I know that one of the most burning questions being asked today is whatever happened to Kaiser automobiles. Since I am privy to just such information, I thought I would do my civic duty and give you this privileged information.

The Kaiser automobile was the product of the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation. The company was the result of a partnership between automobile executive Joseph W. Frazer and Industrialist Henry J. Kaiser of Kaiser Industries. The company rose from the ashes of the Graham-Paige Motor Company.

38 Graham 3

In August 1944, Joseph Frazer, former president of Willys-Overland, assumed control of Graham-Paige, and announced that the company would resume automobile manufacture after the war with a completely new car. The new car was to be called "Frazer" rather than "Graham". Frazer quickly had Graham humming with activity. While looking for financial backing, Frazer met Henry J. Kaiser who also had plans for a postwar automobile. The two agreed to work together and in August 1945 formed the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation to build a new Kaiser car. Two Kaisers were to be built for every Frazer, which was to remain a Graham-Paige product. Joe Frazer became president of both companies and Henry Kaiser chairman of Kaiser-Frazer.

Graham-Paige was unable to finance its share of expenses, so the company quit the car business, and transferred all of their automotive assets to Kaiser-Frazer. Kaiser automobiles were manufactured from 1946 to 1955, when declining sales forced the closing of Kaiser's domestic automobile operations. At that time production was moved to Argentina and Brazil, where the company turned out a series of sedans, trucks and Jeeps until the 1960's.

Kaiser Carabela Elegant

In 1953 Kaiser bought the Willys-Overland company, the producer of Jeep utility vehicles, and merged the Kaiser and Willys operations. By 1956 the company had stopped building Kaiser automobiles and was only building Jeep utility vehicles. The company changed its name to Kaiser-Jeep in 1963.

By 1969, Kaiser Industries decided to leave the automobile business, which was sold to American Motors in 1970. Included in the sale was the General Products Division, which Kaiser had purchased from Studebaker in 1964. AMC renamed the division AM General, which remains an independent company and government and military contractor. AM General sold the rights to the Hummer name to General Motors in 1999 but continues to build the vehicles for GM.

American Motors Corporation manufactured Jeep vehicles until AMC was purchased by Chrysler in 1987. Chrysler wanted the Jeep vehicle line because of the rising popularity of utility vehicles. In 1998 Chrysler Motors, and Diamler-Benz merged to form Diamler Chrysler Corporation. The Jeep brand was one of the reasons that Diamler was interested in Chrysler.

What happened to Kaiser? If you are driving a Jeep or a Hummer, in reality you are driving a Kaiser. Even though the Kaiser name is no longer used on vehicles, the legacy of Henry J. Kaiser lives on.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Rotary Club

Recently I was asked to give a speech at the local Rotary Club about Relay For Life. This was the text that I prepared.

I have been asked to tell you a bit about Relay For Life. Relay For life is about people making a difference. Here is a story that shows how one person can make a difference.

The idea that became Relay For Life, began in Tacoma, Washington. In the mid-1980s, Dr. Gordy Klatt, a Tacoma surgeon, wanted to enhance the income of his local American Cancer Society office and to show support for all of his patients who had battled cancer. He decided to personally raise money for the fight by doing something he enjoyed – running marathons.

In May 1985, Dr. Klatt spent a grueling 24 hours circling the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. He ran for more than 83 miles. That first year, nearly 300 of Dr. Klatt's friends, family, and patients watched as he ran and walked the course. Throughout the night, friends donated $25 to run or walk with Dr. Klatt for 30 minutes. His efforts raised $27,000 to fight cancer.

While circling the track those 24 hours, Dr. Klatt thought about how others could take part in his mission to fight cancer. He envisioned a 24-hour team relay event that could raise more money to fight cancer. Over the next few months, he pulled together a small committee to plan the first team relay event, known as the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer.

In 1986, 19 teams took part in what was the first team relay event, and raised $33,000. An indescribable spirit prevailed at the track and in the tents that dotted the infield. What started as one man's dream is now an event taking place in over five thousand communities across America as well as in many other countries.

So what exactly is Relay For Life? It is much more than a walk around a track, Relay is a time to celebrate those who have battled cancer, remember those lost and get inspired to fight back. Those who have shared the same experience find common ground, hope and healing at Relay.

Union Bank Purple Onions

If you have been into local banks, the hospital, and many other places around town you know that fund raising is what Relay for Life is about. It is true that Relay For Life is the main form of fundraising for the American Cancer Society. Every dollar raised makes a difference to people in our community whose lives are touched by cancer. The Society has contributed to almost every major discovery in cancer research. Millions of lives have been saved as a result, including people you may know. For those people and countless others, the research the Society has funded is resulting in better ways to prevent, detect, and treat cancer.

One of the first things that people ask, and rightly so, is how is the money raised by Relay used. One of the uses is for Cancer research, but as important as that is it is sometimes hard for people to really grasp that idea. There are many services that the American Cancer Society provides to people right here in Polk County. When cancer affects you or someone you love, the American Cancer Society can lessen your fears and provide inspiration through their many programs and services - all free of charge and made possible through Relay For Life donations. Your donations give those touched by cancer answers to their questions and offer places to turn for help in their community through the Society's Web site, http://www.cancer.org/ or their 24-hour toll-free number, 1-800-ACS-2345.

Tuesday evening my wife and I spoke at the Cancer Support Group that meets at RMCC. We learned of very positive experiences people had calling the toll free number.

To give you a bit of an idea of what the money is used for, here are the largest categories. Patient Support 20%; Prevention 20%; Detection and Treatment 16%; Research 14%.

But Relay For Life has another side besides fund raising. Relay brings people together and empowers them. We have a slogan. Celebrate - Remember - Fight Back.

A cancer survivor's recovery involves much more than medical treatments - it takes hope to heal. By participating in the Relay For Life, those touched by cancer can feel empowered to fight back against this disease.

To give you an idea of how Relay helps empower those touched by cancer, let me tell you my wife's story. Her mother died of cancer when Gina was just 21 years old. Her father had colon cancer, and all three of her sisters have had breast cancer. She is the only person in her immediate family that is cancer free.


Several years ago, Gina's sister Roberta got involved with Relay For Life in Enumclaw, Washington. For a number of years, Gina would travel to Enumclaw to be a part of Relay For Life there. Two years ago, she learned that Polk County was going to have a Relay. She got involved in the 2007 Relay, and has been involved ever since. Relay helps her to celebrate her family that are cancer survivors, it gives her a positive way to remember her parents, and it gives her a way to fight back. Because she is such a fighter, she is passionate about Relay For Life. She is Fighting Back.

What is happening right here in Polk County this year? 28 teams are busy raising funds and cancer awareness. These are teams that represent businesses, churches, families, schools, professional organizations, clubs, and community organizations. 350 participants have signed up on our local Relay For Life website. Over 17,000 dollars have been raised. Last year local Relay For Life team members raised over $60,000.00. This year our goal is $64,000.00. Right now these teams are fundraising, but the big event is April 17th and 18th at Janssen Park.

Survivors Lap

What is going to happen that night? The teams will set up at the park with fundraisng ideas. There will be plenty of food, and lots of other fun activities. The entire community is invited to come to the park and help celebrate. The evening kicks off with the Survivor Lap. Relay is a big celebration to celebrate our cancer survivors. Over 100 have signed up with us to walk in that opening Survivor lap. We also honor Caregivers. To be the physical and emotional support for a cancer patient is a tough but very important job, and we honor those individuals. After these special laps around the park, the teams start walking with the goal of keeping at least one person from each team on the track at all times. Relay starts at 6:00 P.M. and continues until Saturday morning with the closing ceremonies starting at 10:00 A.M. We go through the night because cancer never sleeps. All evening there are lots of activities. There will be live music with a great program being put together by Richie Owens.

Highlighting the evening is a luminaria Ceremony of Hope held after dark to honor cancer survivors and to remember loved ones lost to cancer. The luminaria candles line the track and are left burning throughout the night. If you were at last years relay you know what an awesome sight that was. After the quiet reflective time of the luminaria ceremony, the celebration resumes with karaoke and other fun activities lasting all through the night.


At the closing ceremonies there will be drawings for the many items that are being given as prizes by the various teams.

We hope to have lots of people from the community join in the celebration that is Relay For Life.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Sunday Roast

The Sunday Roast is a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world by David McMahon on his wonderful blog authorblog.

David is a Melbourne-based journalist and internationally-published photographer. His first novel, `Vegemite Vindaloo', was published in April 2006 by Penguin Books India and was on the bestseller lists from July to December. He was born and educated in India, where he finished high school at St Joseph's College, North Point, Darjeeling and university at St Xavier's College, Calcutta. He has lived in Australia for 20 years.

I am the 61st person that has appeared on The Sunday Roast. You can see it here.

On The Sunday Roast, David asks six questions. Here are the answers I gave to his questions.

1. Why do you blog?

I guess that the answer in it's simplest form is "because I'm addicted". The next question would be "How did I get addicted?" Sometime towards the end of August last year, My friend Laurel was visiting in our home. She was excited because her daughter was moving from Canada to Arkansas, and she would be able to see her three grandsons regularly.

She showed me her daughter's blog, Winter's Day In. Because she lived so far away from her daughter, she kept up with he through the blog. I had heard the word "blog", but really had no idea what it was all about.

As I was reading this blog, I noticed at the top of the page that it had a link that said create blog. I had to see what it was all about, so I clicked it. In a few days I had my own blog, and I enjoyed writing and posting pictures to it. I had written a little before starting the blog, but definitely not regularly. I occasionally write a column for the religion page of the local newspaper, and I had posted a few articles on the writing website Helium, but I had never had a "reason" to write before.

Now as I go through my day, I am thinking about what to write about. At first my wife did not understand what in the world I was doing all the time on the computer, but she has resigned herself to the fact that I am now a blogger.

2. What's the story behind your blog name?

I have to admit that very little thought went into the name of my blog. As I was looking at the create blog page in Blogger, just trying to figure out what it was all about, one of the first things that had to be filled in was the title. I spent about thirty seconds thinking, and typed An Arkies Musings. Arkie is slang word for someone who lives in Arkansas.

We used to be officially called Arkansawyers, but now the term is Arkansan. During the Great Depression of the 1930's, Arkansas and Oklahoma were some of the hardest hit states. Many people moved to California trying to get jobs. The terms Arkie and Okie were disparaging terms used by the Californians for people from Oklahoma and Arkansas. Now the term Arkie is most often used to describe a native Arkansan and is often still a bit disparaging. It seems to indicate that someone is unlearned and backward.

I have lived here for 28 years. Though I'm not a native, I am proud to be an Arkansan or even an Arkie. You have to admit that An Arkansan's Musings just doesn't roll off the tongue.

3. What is the best thing about being a blogger?

What I enjoy the most about blogging is the people that I have met, around the world and close to home. It helps me have a greater understanding of the world as a whole. Most of us associate with and are friends with people who are very similar to ourselves. Blogging for the few months that I have has broadened my horizons and really made me think.

I had never experienced internet friendships before, but reading and commenting on people's blogs does help you get to know them. I am a very curious person by nature and reading peoples blogs, especially those from other countries and cultures, has helped satisfy my curiosity and taught me so much.

4. What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Since I am a newbie myself I don't think I am in a position to give advice, but since you asked, here goes. My advice would be to be yourself. I have read blogs where the purpose of the author was to gain readership. They try to pick topics that are popular at the time. Decide what the purpose of your blog is and don't worry what others think. My favorite blogs to read are personal and no holds barred.

5. What is the most significant post you have ever read?

Blackhawk Down, by Captain Cat's Dairies. I read this blog shortly after I started blogging and it was eye-opening for me to find information of such a personal sort that tied into the national issues. It showed me the importance of getting information from many sources and to not rely on the news media alone for your information.

6. What is the most significant post you've ever written?

I'd say Why I Relay. I am very involved with American Cancer Society's Relay For Life. My wife is the chairman of the committee that puts on the Relay For Life in our town. Relay for Life is a community event that raises money for Cancer research.

Just about everyone has been affected by cancer in one way or another. Relay For Life is a fun way to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society. There is probably no other cause that a person can support that touches more lives. Relay celebrates those who have battled cancer, it remembers those who have fallen, and it provides a way to fight back. That is why I am proud to be a part of Relay For Life.

Thanks so much, David, for being an internet friend and including me in your circle.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Six Month Anniversary

This March, An Arkie's Musings passed the six month mark. Blogging has become an important part of my life, and it now seems like I have been blogging for much longer than six months. In the past half a year I have made over 130 posts, but more importantly I have made many friends from all around the globe. As a fairly new blogger, the blog community never ceases to amaze me. I have met such wonderful and inspirational people. Over 4000 unique visitors have read An Arkie's Musings and they have come from 65 different countries. Computers have really made the world smaller.

To mark the six month anniversary, I thought that I would repost one of the very first posts I made. It is a theme that I think is one of the most important there is. I originally titled the post "What Matters Most".

The First Kiss

What matters most to you? On the surface, this would seem an easy question. To some of us it is whether our favorite sports team does well. That the political candidate we favor will win. That our children do well in school and make us proud--and are happy. Whether God is pleased with us. Whether we have left our mark, however small or subtle, upon the human race.

As a Christian, I knew that for me what matters most is “God”, or at least it should be. But “God” is such a big subject, that surely there is a way to be more concise.

One day an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students and to drive home a point he used an illustration those students will never forget. As he stood in front of high-powered over-achievers he said, “Okay, time for a quiz.”

He picked up a one gallon, wide mouth Mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. Then he took some fist-sized rocks and placed them one by one in the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and he could fit in no more rocks he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class said “yes.” He said, “Really?”

He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in, shook the jar, causing the pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. Then he asked them once more, “Is this jar full?” By this time, the class was on to him. “Probably not.” one of the students said.

He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all the spaces that were left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?” “No.” the class shouted and he said, “Good.”

Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was full to the brim. Then the expert in time management looked at the class and asked, “What’s the point of this illustration?” One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is if you try really hard you can always fit more things in to it.”

“No.” said the speaker. “That is not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is this—If you don’t put the big rocks in first you will never get them in at all.”

What are the big rocks in your life? Your children, your religion, your loved ones, your education, your dreams, a worthy cause, teaching or mentoring others, doing things that you love, your health, your spouse?

Remember to put these big rocks in first or you will never get them in at all. If you sweat the little stuff, the gravel, the sand, you will fill your life with little worries that don’t really matter. You will never have the real quality time that you need to spend on the big stuff.

What is the biggest rock of all? What matters most? In Matthew 22:36-38 we read, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

What matters most in life is love. The Apostle John tells us in 1John 4:16 “We have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”

Love should be your top priority, primary objective, and greatest ambition. Love is not just something good in your life; it’s the most important part. Love should be what matters most.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:1 To let love be your highest goal. It’s not enough to say “One of the things I want in life is to be loving” as if it’s in your top ten list. Loving relationships must have priority in your life above everything else. Let love be your highest goal. Why? Because life without love is really worthless.

Paul makes this point in Corinthians 13:2,3 “I may have the gift of prophecy. I may understand all the secret things of God and have all knowledge, and I may have faith so great I can move mountains. But even with all these things, if I do not have love, then I am nothing. I may give away everything I have to the poor, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned. But if I didn’t love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.”

Mother Teresa said, “It’s not what you do, but how much love you put into it that matters.”

Barbara Bush said, “What matters most is how you treat others and not what you have done”.

It is not enough just to say that love is important, we must prove it by investing time in our relationships with God and people.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Purple Day - Epilepsy Awareness

Purple Day was started in 2008, by nine-year-old Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia, Canada. It is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. On March 26, people from around the globe are asked to wear purple and spread the word about epilepsy.

Epilepsy affects over 50 million people worldwide. That's more than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson's disease combined.

When I was a boy I suffered from a mild form of epilepsy. I had episodes called petit mals. A petit mal seizure is the term commonly given to a staring spell, most commonly called an "absence seizure." It is a brief (usually less than 15 seconds) disturbance of brain function due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. I had no idea that other people did not experience them. I could feel them coming on and knew to sit down or hold on to something for a few seconds.

School Photo

The first time that my Mother witnessed one of my petit mals she was very scared. I guess that my eyes rolled back in my head. I knew that for those few seconds that I could not see, but did not know that my eyes rolled back. I didn't think that it was a big deal, but we had to see the doctor as soon as possible. The doctors were able to control the petit mals with medication, and told me that I would most likely outgrow them by the time I was 20. Fortunately I did, and was taken off of the medication by the time I was 18 or 19.

The main reason for my Purple Day Epilepsy Awareness post is because of my blog friend Michele over at Rocky Mountain Retreat Photography. Take a look at her blog and you will see some of the most outstanding photography you will find anywhere. I always enjoy her blog. Michele is an excellent photographer, but she battles epilepsy and suffers from tonic clonic (gran mal) seizures.

Michele says that she has been suffering seizures since she was a young person. People with seizures often suffer more from the attitudes of those around them than from the seizures itself. Michele is in my prayers daily as she battles the seizures.

Please take the time to learn more about this condition that affects over 50 million people worldwide. Based on recent surveys, The Center For Disease Control estimates that nearly 2.5 million people in the United States have epilepsy, with 150,000 developing the condition each year.

For answers to questions frequently asked about epilepsy and seizures go here.


I am very involved in my local Relay For Life. You can view my Relay For Life Blog here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

J Is For Judith

It's time again For ABC Wednesday. If you aren't participating in ABC Wednesday, you are missing out on a lot of fun. This week the letter is "J". J is for Judith.

Judith and I

I first met Judith in the spring of 2004 when a group from my church traveled to San Pedro Belize to help build a church. Gina and I made friends with her and her family. Gina never lets me forget that I once told her that Judith was the most beautiful woman in San Pedro.


Every time we have visited in Belize we make sure that we get to spend some time with Judith and her kids. She has a lovely family.

Judith and Family

On one trip to Belize we were able to bring Judith's son Andrew a nebulizer which he needed for his asthma. The machines are very expensive in Belize, but we were able to get one at wholesale through a friend who was the administrator of a nursing home. Another friend had 144 doses of the medicine that was needed for use in the nebulizer because of a mistaken shipment that the company would not take back. Before we went through customs in Belize we said a prayer and asked that God would help us get through without paying duty. The one suitcase they opened was the one with the nebulizer and medicine. They asked what it was , and Gina told them it was for asthma. They wanted to know how much medicine was there. Gina told them I hope enough. They let us go through.

New Horizons Seventh Day Adventist School Kids San Pedro Belize

Judith is active in her church. The Belizeans have a tradition that during the church service, two deacons stand at the front of the church just in front of the pulpit on either side. One church service a year is designated as Womens' Service, and the women are in charge. We happened to be visiting that week, and the women in the church asked Gina to speak. Judith was one of the deaconesses that stood in front of the church during the service. Her daughter wanted to stand with her.

Deaconess Judith

Gina and I love to visit in Judith's home and see her kids. We always try to bring some clothes with us that will fit her kids. They love to try on the clothes and have a little fashion show. When Wal-Mart is having end of summer clearance, we buy clothes and save them for our next trip to Belize.

Judith At Home

Gina and Friends

The last time that we were in Belize, Judith and her daughter walked over a mile from her house to our motel to see us off as we were leaving. I am humbled and amazed by the kindness and friendliness of the Belizean people, and am proud that Judith counts me a a friend.

Judith 2

Just the other day I was reading the San Pedro Sun Blog, and there in the first picture of the blog was Judith with two of her kids. What a pleasant surprise. It made me want to see her and all of our other friends in Belize.

You can see the original post with this photo here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

No Flash Photography

This is my entry in a neat meme called I Heart Faces. Click on this button to check it out

The theme this week is No Flash. I like natural lighting, so this week should have lots of great photos.

Belizean Girl Plays in the Dump

While I was walking one morning in the San Pedrito area of Ambergris Caye in Belize I came upon this little girl playing beside her house. The area that her family lived in was very run down. The lot next to her house was used as a dump with all kinds of trash. To this little girl it was her own playground. I am always amazed by the resiliency of children. I have noticed many times that even in what we would consider terrible circumstances, children figure out a way to have fun.

Keeper Of The Flame

I really like this photo of my Daddy. One evening we had been burning a brush pile. He was watching the fire and making sure that no sparks escaped and started anything on fire. When I am watching a fire it is almost mesmerizing, and it looks like Daddy was mesmerized. I took the photo with just the light of the fire. It gives the photo a warm reddish glow. With the low light situation and a hand held shot, the photo isn't sharp, but but I feel that it adds to the warmth and naturalness of the shot.