Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Beautiful Music Of Life!

Funny thing Orrin Woodward and I were just discussing this story the other day while trolling for Sailfish out on the Gulf Stream. Orrin gave me a different perspective on the moral behind this story. He likened the talent of Joshua Bell to the greatness inside all of us, greatness hidden because we are stuck in the bowels of the subway, surrounded by subway people. Give us a stage, and we can give a command performance, a performance worthy of a pricey ticket!

The LIFE opportunity is just that stage. It's our job to lift people out of the subway environment and help them realize their greatness. No longer is it acceptable to be held back by the indifference of the subway people and their microcosm. We have the talent scouts and the mentorship to enhance everyone's ability to shine upon life's stage. No longer will we walk by the beautiful music others are playing trying to be recognized. We are the agent of change, we are the ears seeking that ballad that yearns to be set free. This my friends if what sharing the LIFE opportunity is all about. Go find your Joshua Bell!

God Bless!
Capt. Bill

"A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk.

... A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Time to Heal!

First, senseless tragedy. May God rest their souls, and bring peace to their families and this nation.

I could do a lecture here on taking God out of society. I could rail on the reactive wave of trying to ban guns. I could do this piece on any number of things that apply to this assault on humanity, but it's time to learn how to heal.

My Dad,rest his soul, had a unique way of handling death. He recognized that there needs to be a period of mourning for the loss and an expression of grief. He said, "go ahead and cry, for you've suffered a great loss."

Then came the but.

"But there comes a time when the grief must come to an end, heal your heart, because grief is but a selfish behavior."

His intent was to show that the person who had passed was who the initial grief was for. Their suffering has ended, they are now lifted into eternity. There is no more pain. To continue to grieve is only for our benefit, and by default a selfish emotion. It serves no good, and only continues our suffering. It's time to remember all the good the departed left us, and while we miss them, remember that we will be together in eternity much longer than we will be apart. This is a cause for celebration!

Keep their memories close, and celebrate your reunion in eternity.

God Bless!
Capt. Bill

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Today is December 13th, so if we were to apply The Twelve Days of Christmas and want it to end on the 25th, we should begin today! But America has begun a shift away from the traditional holidays. Many are trying with fervor to take any religious implication out of this time of year, and some have even traded the traditional Santa image for a political figure. From the celebration of the winter solstice, to Brackoclaus, many in this nation try to rewrite the history of our culture.

Let's face the truth, there is no reason to celebrate the change of season, it happens naturally. But if you really want to admit this is truly a marvel, then you have to concede it's by design, ergo there is a divine power and a reason to celebrate. We don't set aside days off for any other seasonal change, only for days when we want to memorialize something out of the ordinary. So either join in the celebration of the Birth of Christ, or get back to work. If you don't recognize our God's influence in creation and salvation, there is no need for you to celebrate, Christmas is a religious holiday, just like the celebration of Hanukkah, and those calendar days are sacred to our citizens who practice their freedom of religion. Don't hijack our day of remembrance as anything but what it is. The Constitution allows us that right.

I've had it with nonbelievers claiming individuals of faith are stomping all over their rights. Freedom of speech, and expression, goes hand in hand with freedom of religion. When you don't believe in God, that is a right. Just as in believing in God is. I don't stop you from expressing your opinion, or celebrating your belief of a non existence of God, just as you shouldn't stop me from believing or expressing my celebration of God. To suppress one's expression of faith or lack of it is wrong. We are free to openly express our faith as guaranteed in the First Amendment, it doesn't matter if your faith is there is no God, or if your faith is, there is a God; they are both beliefs. It's what you have faith in, it's your religion. While your free to express and celebrate that, your not free to suppress it.

Merry Christmas!

God Bless!
Capt. Bill

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

American History Isn't Kind To Bullies!

I saw a post on Facebook today that said, "I stand for the rights of Michigan workers." Obviously pointing to the struggles in Michigan about the right to work laws. I happen to agree with this statement. I stand for the right of everyone to have the option to either participate on not participate in Union representation. I can't understand why, in the freest nation in the world, one would force another to pay for something they don't want in order to gain employment. They should have the option to join if they find it adds value to their life.

This begs the question; why do they have to force people to join the union if it's such a great benefit? Why is it necessary to commit acts of violence while trying to impose your will on a free people? These are the acts of tyranny.

You see in a free market society when a service adds value to an individual's life, it naturally survives and prospers as long as the value exceeds the cost. A great example is electricity. I love the conveniences it provides me, so I gladly pay a company for that service. No one forces me to purchase it. In fact through solar, I could provide myself the same service, but I don't want the hassle or the expense of switching over, yet. If there ever comes a time when the value of the electrical service exceeds what I'm willing to pay, I'll build and install solar panels. I can assure you no one will come knocking at my door and threaten me because I chose to stop using their service. At least no one who values their life.

Union representation is a service. The Michigan bill denies no one the ability to provide or use that service. It simply gives them the option removing the mandatory status for employment. This is how a country of free willed individuals exercise their freedom. We don't bully people with the threat of violence. That's a great way for the "collective" to learn the hard way, tyranny is not acceptable behavior.

So my advice to the union thugs is to stop this emotional immaturity before the freedom loving citizens of this grand republic decide to teach your collective about the right to freedom of choice. "We the people" have had about enough of your socialist agenda and lawless behavior. Actions have consequences, and your current actions do nothing to further your cause. America has a history of dealing with bullies unfavorably. Don't be on the wrong side of history.

God Bless! (bullies included)
Capt. Bill

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Obamacare Reality!

I just got my first taste of the benefits of the Affordable Healthcare Act in the mail.

"These payment adjustments are not based on your individual claim costs. They are based on the combined costs of all company policy holders who have the same plan. Everyone who is covered by this plan in your state is receiving a rate adjustment."

By rate adjustment they mean a 30% increase. Now if I remember correctly the big selling point of this legislation is that it would keep healthcare costs in check. Here's a little more from this bastion of good news...

"We are working hard to provide our customers with high quality insurance at an affordable cost. In spite of our efforts, medical costs continue to go up due to increased use and higher charges for healthcare products and services."

Now I don't want to be the guy who says, "I told you so," but "I told you so!" Part of this premium increase is due to the additional coverage of those with preconditions as the federal government is applying a &63.00/year tax on all healthcare plans to create a slush fund that goes into the Treasury for unspecified reasons. (Note: corporations don't pay taxes, their consumers do). This is another attempt to redistribute the wealth from the "haves" to the "have nots." Backdoor taxation that penalizes those who responsibly carry healthcare insurance.

America is being draw more and more into socialism. We are now redistributing healthcare for the good of the collective. That's a concept taken right out of the Communist Manifesto. We need to refocus on the rights of the individual, fix the problem not the symptom. Healthcare doesn't become affordable by taxing and penalizing those who maintain that responsibility. That just adds an additional burden and creates more without insurance. The solution lies in changing the culture in our country to address the individual, not the collective. You take care of the individual, the collective will be just fine!

God Bless!
Capt. Bill

Monday, December 10, 2012

I Believe!!!!!

Belief is a powerful tool. It's amazing how the body reacts to a simple expression of belief. In fact it's often used to promote gadgets and products that actually do nothing short of instilling a belief in the person who's using them.

How many times have you seen demonstrations for magnets, wristlet, or even "smart water," where they take a volunteer from the crowd and ask them to raise their leg, arm, or do a test of range of motion? Then they strap on the device, or have them drink the magic potion and presto-chango, they can extend further than they did just seconds ago. It's not the potion nor the device that influenced their body to go beyond previous boundaries. It was the hope the host instilled in them that they could. Remove the magnet, wristlet, or magic potion and simply make a belief statement. The body will respond in kind.

So now that you are aware of the consumer alert, use the power of belief to accomplish the things that you've self talked yourself out of accomplishing! You can touch your toes, you can do those extra push-ups, you can demand a better salary, you can fix your marriage, you are worthy! We are a product of what we think. The power of suggestion can, and will, change your results. Now go touch your toes!

God Bless!
Capt. Bill

Sunday, December 9, 2012

No Greater Love!

I absolutely love this story of self sacrifice and love for your fellow man! No greater love has man than to lay down his life for another! Enjoy!

God Bless!

Capt. Bill

The death camp Auschwitz became the killing center during WWII where the largest numbers of European Jews were murdered by the Nazis. One Christian man who died here became a martyr to the truth of evils of Nazism - a true hero for our time, a saint who lived what he preached, total love toward God and man ...

A Polish priest who died as prisoner 16770 in Auschwitz, When a prisoner escaped from the camp, the Nazis selected 10 others to be killed by starvation in reprisal for the escape. One of the 10 selected to die, Franciszek Gajowniczek, began to cry: My wife! My children! I will never see them again! At this Maximilian Kolbe stepped forward and asked to die in his place. His request was granted ...

The story begins on 8 January, 1894 - Raymond Kolbe was born the second son of a poor weaver at Zdunska Wola near Lodz in Poland. In his infancy Raymond seems to have been normally mischievous but one day, after his mother had scolded him for some mischief or other, her words took effect and brought about a radical change in the child's behavior. Later Raymond explained this change:'That night I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both.'

Thus early did the child believe and accept that he was destined for martyrdom. His belief in his dream coloured all his future actions.

In 1910 he became a Franciscan, taking the name Maximilian. He studied at Rome and was ordained in 1919. He returned to Poland and taught Church history in a seminary. He built a friary just west of Warsaw, which eventually housed 762 Franciscans and printed eleven periodicals, one with a circulation of over a million, including a daily newspaper.

In 1930 he went to Asia, where he founded friaries in Nagasaki and in India. In 1936 he was recalled to supervise the original friary near Warsaw. When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, he knew that the friary would be seized, and sent most of the friars home. He was imprisoned briefly and then released, and returned to the friary, where he and the other friars began to organize a shelter for 3,000 Polish refugees, among whom were 2,000 Jews. The friars shared everything they had with the refugees. They housed, fed and clothed them, and brought all their machinery into use in their service.

Inevitably, the community came under suspicion and was watched closely. Then in May 1941 the friary was closed down and Maximilian and four companions were taken to the deathcamp Auschwitz, where they worked with the other prisoners.

On June 15, 1941, he managed to write a letter to his mother...

One day an SS officer found some of the heaviest planks he could lay hold of and personally loaded them on the Franciscan's back, ordering him to run. When he collapsed, the SS officer kicked him in the stomach and face and had his men give him fifty lashes. When the priest lost consciousness the Nazis threw him in the mud and left him for dead. But his companions managed to smuggle him to the camp infirmary - and he recovered. The doctor, Rudolph Diem, later recalled:'I can say with certainty that during my four years in Auschwitz, I never saw such a sublime example of the love of God and one's neighbor.'

Prisoners at Auschwitz were slowly and systematically starved, and their pitiful rations were barely enough to sustain a child: one cup of imitation coffee in the morning, and weak soup and half a loaf of bread after work. When food was brought, everyone struggled to get his place and be sure of a portion. Father Maximilian Kolbe however, stood aside in spite of the ravages of starvation, and frequently there would be none left for him. At other times he shared his meager ration of soup or bread with others.

In the harshness of the slaughterhouse Father Kolbe maintained the gentleness of Christ. At night he seldom would lie down to rest. He moved from bunk to bunk, saying: 'I am a Catholic priest. Can I do anything for you?'

A prisoner later recalled how he and several others often crawled across the floor at night to be near the bed of Father Kolbe, to make their confessions and ask for consolation. Father Kolbe pleaded with his fellow prisoners to forgive their persecutors and to overcome evil with good. When he was beaten by the guards, he never cried out. Instead, he prayed for his tormentors.

A Protestant doctor who treated the patients in Block 12 later recalled how Father Kolbe waited until all the others had been treated before asking for help. He constantly sacrificed himself for the others.

In order to discourage escapes, Auschwitz had a rule that if a man escaped, ten men would be killed in retaliation. In July 1941 a man from Kolbe's bunker escaped. The dreadful irony of the story is that the escaped prisoner was later found drowned in a camp latrine, so the terrible reprisals had been exercised without cause. But the remaining men of the bunker were led out.

'The fugitive has not been found!' the commandant Karl Fritsch screamed. 'You will all pay for this. Ten of you will be locked in the starvation bunker without food or water until they die.' The prisoners trembled in terror. A few days in this bunker without food and water, and a man's intestines dried up and his brain turned to fire.

The ten were selected, including Franciszek Gajowniczek, imprisoned for helping the Polish Resistance. He couldn't help a cry of anguish. 'My poor wife!' he sobbed. 'My poor children! What will they do?' When he uttered this cry of dismay, Maximilian stepped silently forward, took off his cap, and stood before the commandant and said, 'I am a Catholic priest. Let me take his place. I am old. He has a wife and children.'

Astounded, the icy-faced Nazi commandant asked, 'What does this Polish pig want?'

Father Kolbe pointed with his hand to the condemned Franciszek Gajowniczek and repeated 'I am a Catholic priest from Poland; I would like to take his place, because he has a wife and children.'

Observers believed in horror that the commandant would be angered and would refuse the request, or would order the death of both men. The commandant remained silent for a moment. What his thoughts were on being confronted by this brave priest we have no idea. Amazingly, however, he acceded to the request. Apparantly the Nazis had more use for a young worker than for an old one, and was happy to make the exchange. Franciszek Gajowniczek was returned to the ranks, and the priest took his place.

Gajowniczek later recalled:

'I could only thank him with my eyes. I was stunned and could hardly grasp what was going on. The immensity of it: I, the condemned, am to live and someone else willingly and voluntarily offers his life for me - a stranger. Is this some dream?

I was put back into my place without having had time to say anything to Maximilian Kolbe. I was saved. And I owe to him the fact that I could tell you all this. The news quickly spread all round the camp. It was the first and the last time that such an incident happened in the whole history of Auschwitz.

For a long time I felt remorse when I thought of Maximilian. By allowing myself to be saved, I had signed his death warrant. But now, on reflection, I understood that a man like him could not have done otherwise. Perhaps he thought that as a priest his place was beside the condemned men to help them keep hope. In fact he was with them to the last.'‘

Father Kolbe was thrown down the stairs of Building 13 along with the other victims and simply left there to starve. Hunger and thirst soon gnawed at the men. Some drank their own urine, others licked moisture on the dank walls. Maximilian Kolbe encouraged the others with prayers, psalms, and meditations on the Passion of Christ. After two weeks, only four were alive. The cell was needed for more victims, and the camp executioner, a common criminal called Bock, came in and injected a lethal dose of cabolic acid into the left arm of each of the four dying men. Kolbe was the only one still fully conscious and with a prayer on his lips, the last prisoner raised his arm for the executioner. His wait was over ...

A personal testimony about the way Maximilian Kolbe met death is given by Bruno Borgowiec, one of the few Poles who were assigned to render service to the starvation bunker. He told it to his parish priest before he died in 1947:

'The ten condemned to death went through terrible days. From the underground cell in which they were shut up there continually arose the echo of prayers and canticles. The man in-charge of emptying the buckets of urine found them always empty. Thirst drove the prisoners to drink the contents. Since they had grown very weak, prayers were now only whispered. At every inspection, when almost all the others were now lying on the floor, Father Kolbe was seen kneeling or standing in the centre as he looked cheerfully in the face of the SS men.

Father Kolbe never asked for anything and did not complain, rather he encouraged the others, saying that the fugitive might be found and then they would all be freed. One of the SS guards remarked: this priest is really a great man. We have never seen anyone like him ..

Two weeks passed in this way. Meanwhile one after another they died, until only Father Kolbe was left. This the authorities felt was too long. The cell was needed for new victims. So one day they brought in the head of the sick-quarters, a German named Bock, who gave Father Kolbe an injection of carbolic acid in the vein of his left arm. Father Kolbe, with a prayer on his lips, himself gave his arm to the executioner. Unable to watch this I left under the pretext of work to be done. Immediately after the SS men had left I returned to the cell, where I found Father Kolbe leaning in a sitting position against the back wall with his eyes open and his head drooping sideways. His face was calm and radiant ..'

So it was that Father Maximilian Kolbe was executed on 14 August, 1941 at the age of forty-seven years, a martyr of charity. The death certificate, as always made out with German precision, indicated the hour of death 12.30.

Father Kolbe's body was removed to the crematorium, and without dignity or ceremony was disposed of, like hundreds of thousands who had gone before him, and hundreds of thousands more who would follow.

The heroism of Father Kolbe went echoing through Auschwitz. In that desert of hatred he had sown love. A survivor Jozef Stemler later recalled: 'In the midst of a brutalization of thought, feeling and words such as had never before been known, man indeed became a ravening wolf in his relations with other men. And into this state of affairs came the heroic self-sacrifice of Father Kolbe.' Another survivor Jerzy Bielecki declared that Father Kolbe's death was 'a shock filled with hope, bringing new life and strength ... It was like a powerful shaft of light in the darkness of the camp.'

The cell where Father Kolbe died is now a shrine. Maximilian Kolbe was beatified as Confessor by Paul VI in 1970, and canonized as Martyr by Pope John Paul II in 1981.

But what happened to Gajowniczek - the man Father Kolbe saved?

He died on March 13, 1995, at Brzeg in Poland, 95 years old - and 53 years after Kolbe had saved him. But he was never to forget the ragged monk. After his release from Auschwitz, Gajowniczek made his way back to his hometown, with the dream of seeing his family again. He found his wife but his two sons had been killed during the war.

Every year on August 14 he went back to Auschwitz. He spent the next five decades paying homage to Father Kolbe, honoring the man who died on his behalf.