Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ready To Kindle

For quite some time I have been hearing about e-books and how they are going to revolutionize publishing and reading. I have been a skeptic because I love books and the way they feel and smell and look. I collect old books. How could e-books ever replace that experience?

I recently stumbled across a discovery that made me sit up and take notice. I knew that e-books were supposed to be cheaper than their print counterparts, but I wasn't aware of the huge amount of free books that are available. Over 1.8 million free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are available to read on Kindle. As I browsed through what was available I was amazed. There were so many books that I would not have ever been able to even see a copy of much less read. I love history, and the amount of historical material that is available is staggering. To get an idea of what is available go here.

You don't have to buy an e-book reader to gain access to this amazing treasure. Kindle provides free apps for the i-Phone and i-Pad, Windows and Mac PC's, and Blackberry phones. You can download the free Kindle Apps here. I have used Gina's i-Phone, and it is amazingly easy to read from. Since I downloaded the apps last Thursday I have already read:
The Truth About Henry Ford by Sarah T. Bushnell
Lincoln Letters by Abraham Lincoln
Narrative Of The Life Of J.D. Green, a Runaway Slave by Jacob D. Green
Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.

The Kindle is slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines

It is lightweight: At 10.2 ounces, lighter than a typical paperback

You can be reading in under 60 seconds: Get books delivered wirelessly in less than 60 seconds; no PC required

Includes 3G Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle; no annual contracts, no monthly fees.

The Kindle has a Paper-Like Display: Reads like real paper without glare, even in bright sunlight

You can carry your library wherever you go: The Kindel holds up to 1,500 books

With the experimental Text-to-Speech feature, Kindle can read newspapers, magazines, blogs, and books out loud to you.

With Kindle you get free book samples: Download and read first chapters for free before you decide to buy

I just had to have a Kindle so I ordered one last Thursday. It came today, and I have been pleased with it. I spent most of the evening reading on it, and it is a pleasurable experience. I think that I am going to like it. It's not the same as holding a book in your hands, but the convenience more than makes up for that.

I've gotta go. So many books and so little time. I think I am going to read Ben Franklin's Autobiography next.

Cancer Prevention Study - 3

Hot Springs Relay For Life 4

Friday afternoon Gina and I traveled to Hot spring to attend the Garland County Relay For Life which is the largest Relay in Arkansas. They have over 60 teams with over 730 participants. Even though we were interested in seeing a Relay of that size, the main reason that we attended was so that we could sign up for CPS-3.

CPS-3 stands for Cancer Prevention Study 3. The American Cancer Society first began conducting long-term studies in the 1950s. For these studies, large groups of individuals were recruited through a successful partnership between the American Cancer Society researchers and volunteers. The study population provides information (e.g. lifestyle, medical, or behavioral) and then are followed over time to assess their health outcomes and to determine how those outcomes are related to the previously collected exposure data. The commitment of the study participants and the volunteers who recruited them has been vital to the success of these studies.

Past long-term American Cancer Society follow-up studies have played a major role in cancer prevention at the American Cancer Society, as well as in other national and international efforts. More than 300 scientific articles by American Cancer Society epidemiologists have been published from these studies and findings have significantly contributed to tobacco-related research, and to the understanding of obesity, diet, physical activity, hormone use, air pollution, and various other exposures in relation to cancer and other diseases.

Results from previous American Cancer Society long-term follow-up studies have demonstrated:

* The link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer
* The significant impact of being overweight or obese on risk of cancer occurrence and death
* The impact of hormones, physical activity, diet, various medications and vitamins, and various other factors in relation to cancer risk
* The impact of air pollution on cardiopulmonary conditions motivating the Environmental Protection Agency to propose more stringent limits on particulate air pollution
* the link between aspirin use and reduced risk of colon cancer
* the link between postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy and various gynecologic cancers (such as breast and ovarian cancer)
* the link between diabetes and cancers of the pancreas and colon
* the link between physical activity and lower risk of various cancers (including breast, colon, and aggressive prostate cancer)

American Cancer Society researchers will be studying CPS-3 members for the next 20 to 30 years. The CPS-3 study population will have environmental and lifestyle exposures that may be meaningfully different from previous study populations and will help further advance understanding of the factors that cause or prevent cancer.

Gina and I were proud to be part of such a study. To enroll takes about twenty to thirty minutes. Enrollment consists of filling out a questionnaire that asks a number of lifestyle and medical questions. After filling out the questionnaire medical professional drew four vials of blood from you. Gina was very calm as her blood was drawn.

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Actually those drawing the blood were extremely good. I have an extreme aversion to needles, but the girl who drew my blood did such a good job that I barely noticed. I just looked away and the deed was done. The most painful part for me was removing the tape that was placed over the insertion point. Having blood drawn was a small price to pay for being a part of such an important study.

Gina Gives Blood

CPS-3 researchers need a blood sample to measure things such as hormones, nutrients, vitamins, chemicals, metals, and genetic factors that may be related to the risk of developing cancer. Questionnaire data provides a detailed picture of the participants lifestyle and environment, but the most accurate picture of actual exposures or susceptibility to disease may come from what can be measured in the blood. It is important to collect the blood sample when the participant is first enrolled in the study so that a new health problem does not alter the levels of anything that is measured.

Hot Springs Relay For Life 2

After signing up for the CPS-3 study we stayed for a look around the Relay For Life that was going on. The Garland County Relay is held at the Oaklawn Jockey Club, one of the premier horse racing venues in the South. The event is big! Even getting parked is a time consuming process. The track for the Relay team members to walk on is so big that it doesn't seem like there are that many participants. We enjoyed being there but it just wasn't the same as our smaller hometown Relay where we know most of the people.

Hot Springs Relay For Life

The Survivor Lap was really something to see with that many Survivors lined up in one place to take a lap honoring them. We were a bit disappointed that they weren't given purple survivor t-shirts. The sea of purple shirts would have been awesome.

If you are near a CPS-3 sign up location I would recommend that you become involved in this important study. Click here to see if there is a location near you.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Gavin and Rachel

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Gavin and Rachel's Wedding is just two weeks away. Everyone is getting excited. There will be family there from Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Missouri, Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. There have been lots of preparations but everything is in order. We are leaving this afternoon for Keene, Texas to take Gavin and Rachel a washer and dryer. We purchased the set for them when some dear friends of ours were moving to Oregon.

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Last fall Gina and I took Gavin and Rachel's engagement photos. We went to Janssen Park here in Mena and tried our hand at being professional photographers. Gina would work with them on posing and placement and then we would both take photos. The two camera system worked great. With slightly different angles and more photos to choose from I think that we got better pictures than if just one of us was photographing.

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The old police car is a 1939 Dodge that the city bought from my Dad in the 80's and outfitted as a police car to use in parades, and as an attraction. The car, affectionately known as "Flossie" by the local cops, was used in the movie "The Pardon" that chronicles the story of Toni Jo Henry; the first woman to be executed in the state of Louisana.

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We had a great time taking the photos, and I think that the photos show that the kids enjoyed themselves.

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Gavin and Rachel

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day Weekend

This weekend was a wonderful Mother's Day weekend. Saturday, after Sabbath School, Gina and I, along with our friend Deanna, traveled to Hot Springs where we spent a leisurely afternoon at Garvin Woodland Gardens. On the way to Hot Springs we went through the town of Caddo Gap. I had been wanting to stop in Caddo Gap and take some pictures of the old buildings there. Caddo Gap is in the area in which explorer Hernando de Soto and his forces clashed with the Tula Indians. The expedition described the Tula Indians as the fiercest they had faced during their inward journey into North America. After the battle De Soto then turned to the southeast and descended the Caddo and Ouachita Rivers into what is now Louisiana where he died. Caddo Gap marks the westernmost point of DeSoto's exploration of North America.

Caddo Gap 4

The Town of Caddo Gap was settled before 1850. The first village was located near the natural gap or narrows of the Caddo River. The coming of the Gurdon and Fort Smith Railroad in 1907 led to the construction of the present town on what was formerly the Jim Vaught plantation. For several years Caddo Gap was a popular health resort. Now just a few people live there, and the old buildings appear to be abandoned. I like the tree trunk that is used as a post to support the corner of this building.

Caddo Gap 1

After stopping near Glenwood for a picnic lunch we traveled on to Garvin Woodland Gardens. There were not as many flowers in bloom as there were when we last visited Garvin Woodland Gardens a little over a month ago.

Gina on Bench

Although the gardens were not a striking as they had been when the tulips were in bloom, it was a beautiful day to stroll the grounds. The weather was absolutely perfect. Sunshine and in the low 70's with just as bit of a breeze. It will soon be quite hot for outdoor activities here in Arkansas, but this day was perfect.

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We spent about three hours walking through the gardens. There is so much to see, and they are constantly expanding. It looks like they are planning a large rose garden and more walking trails.

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I can't remember when I have spent such a lovely day just walking and enjoying the beauty of nature.

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If you are ever in the Hot Springs, Arkansas area I highly recommend a visit to Garvin Woodland Gardens.

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When we returned home Saturday evening we we pleasantly surprised to learn that my Aunt Kathy and cousins Joe and Janie were in town visiting from Texas. We made arrangements to meet for Sunday morning breakfast. We had a wonderful family gathering at a local restaurant. We really enjoyed visiting with everyone, and it was nice to have breakfast with my Mom on Mother's Day.

Mothers Day

After breakfast we headed for Fort Smith where we did some Mothers Day shopping. I must say that I really enjoyed shopping at Dillards, Dress Barn, and Lane Bryant. :)

After shopping we went to our new favorite restaurant in Fort Smith, Fuji Japanese Steakhouse. We enjoy the atmosphere, and the food is great. We I suggested to Gina that we make the trip to Fort Smith for Mother's Day and eating at Fuji, she immediately said, "let's go".

Gina 2


I certainly had a great Mother's Day weekend, and I hope that Gina did too.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Relay Provides Time To Celebrate, Remember

This is an article from the April 29, 2010 edition of The Mena Star written by Andy Philpot


For three consecutive years, the Relay For Life has been on Mena's spring schedule through the organization of Regina and Richie Lawry, as well as a collection of devoted volunteers that have given the residents of Mena an opportunity to celebrate. This is no ordinary celebration though, as it is a chance to celebrate the victories of life, as well as the lives once close to us.

The fact remains that there is currently no cure for cancer, but through the American Cancer society, efforts are continually being made towards defeating the disease, and according to Regina Lawry, to have a day where no one will have to hear the words "you have cancer". Relay For Life has become an annual event in Mena that not only gives locals an opportunity to celebrate, but also to raise funds toward the ongoing battle against cancer as a cure is sought out.

Cancer touches so many of our lives, whether directly, or in the form of having a friend, family member, or loved one who has battled the condition. Relay For Life is organized to give those who have claimed victory against the disease a chance to showcase they are a survivor, as well as recognize the importance of the caregivers who are so crucial in the battle as well.

In the months leading up to the Relay celebration, teams are formed throughout the community to raise funds in a variety of ways, which all go to the American Cancer Society in efforts of reaching a cure. Teams range from businesses across town, to churches, to schools, to organizations, all working toward the same goal of continuing the fight against cancer. The response has been overwhelming over the past three years, with totals this year exceeding $48,000 raised for the American Cancer Society.

As the yearly event kicks off with its welcome from organizer Regina Lawry, the Survivor Walk is truly an inspiration, as local cancer survivors all sporting their purple shirts take laps to showcase their victory over cancer, and the collection of people are your friends, family, and co-workers. The survivor lap is accentuated with smiling faces both of those walking, and those witnessing a sight of celebration of another year of life.

Muzzleloader Fights Back

With musical performances throughout the night, the environment is that of a party, but while there is time to celebrate, there is also a time to remember those who we have lost to cancer. Leading up to the Relay event, luminary bags are purchased, each in honor of someone who has either battled cancer, or has been lost to the disease. When the lights are dimmed, and the candles are aglow within the named luminary bags, the names of all the loved ones are read to remember, honor , and celebrate their life as well.

The luminaries each represent a life, and all have a story within them. While they represent the light of that person's life, it also glows throughout the night to represent the hope that continues that one day there will be a cure for cancer.

The Relay celebration is an all night event that lasts until 10:00 A.M. the following morning, in representation that "cancer never sleeps", and throughout the night, team members can be seen walking laps until the break of dawn.

Last years Relay event, which was scheduled for late April, was postponed due to the tornado and the damage in Janssen Park, but was held in late May. This year's event was relocated to the CMA facility at Iron mountain due to the rainy weather conditions, but the atmosphere was powerful, and the strong support shown by the community was evident by the numbers in attendance, and certainly with the total funds raised.

Relay For Life dates back to May of 1985 when Dr. Gordon Klatt wanted to raise money for the American Cancer Society in honor of his patients, and walked a track for 24 hours, and throughout the night, friends paid $25 to run or walk 30 minutes with him. He walked approximately 83 miles and raised $27,000 to fight cancer. The following year the first official Relay For Life event was organized, and now the event has grown to include nearly four million people over 5,000 communities across the United States.