Worst.President.Ever.


By Unknown – White house, Public Domain, Link

When it comes to political discourse, it appears that we have become a nation of extremes. Many have taken the statement “If you’re not for us, you’re against us” into the political realm and then multiplied it to the extreme. With this type of approach to American politics, anyone who even remotely disagrees with you is obviously anti-American and full of hate. And if the conversation shouting match goes on for any length of time, one side is sure to accuse the other side of sounding like Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia.

Of course, it is inevitable during conversations like this that someone eventually accuses a recent president of being the “worst president ever.” They rarely give many valid reasons why he was the worst president in the history of the US. They just make the blanket statement that he was obviously the worst president we’ve ever seen. Continue reading “Worst.President.Ever.”

2016 in review

this-trumps-everything-in-2016

In the past, I’ve recognized the arrival of a New Year with a retrospective Todd Top Ten List or the announcement of the year’s Matty (formerly known as Ralphie) Awards. After much soul searching and careful consideration, I have decided to indefinitely suspend these events.

Is 2016 the worst year ever?

When we look back on 2016, it’s hard to say it’s been anything but rough. Personally, this has been the most physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually exhausting year I can remember.  This has just plain worn me out.

I don’t think I’m the only one. It appears that 2016 presidential contest sucked the life out of many people. And this transition to a new administration is causing angst on both sides of the aisle. Then there’s Syria. And Russia. Ethiopia has also seen some political unrest and uncertainty. Oh, and then there were horrible terrorist attacks and horrifying mass shootings. And don’t forget the worldwide refugee crisis. I could probably add the hype around the Zika virus and the uproar over the death of Harambe and the wildfires that swept through Gatlinburg.  Don’t get me started on the way social media has turned everyone into an expert about everything from parenting to zoology to political science. And they’re not shy about pouring on the criticism when someone disagrees. It’s awful. It’s really awful.

It feels like we’re sitting on a powder keg. And the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Turkey made many wonder if we were getting a front row seat to early 20th century world history repeating itself.

That’s a scary proposition.

Then you add in all of the well-known people we lost in 2016. Prince. David Bowie. George Michael. Kenny Baker (R2-D2). Erik Bauersfeld (Admiral Ackbar). Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia). Muhammad Ali. Florence Henderson. Alan Thicke. These are just a few of the many celebrity deaths in 2016.

On a personal note, I was heartbroken when I heard about the deaths of David, Sophia, and Ruth Ann Rinehart. We also said goodbye to my Grandma and laid her to rest at the end of 2016.

The hits just kept coming.

When I look back on 2016, it can be tough to argue that it is anything but the worst year ever.

One event changed everything.

Regardless of all of the other events that took place this year, this is what makes 2016 one of the best years ever.

Brothers meeting for the first time.

Todd Family of Six

Todd family of Six

We became a family of SIX in 2016. And that trumps everything else that happened this year.

It’s something worth celebrating.

So let’s dance!

In light of recent worldwide and celebrity tragedies, it feels like we’re limping into 2017. Many are wishing “Good riddance” to 2016. I get that. I really do. So whether you’re celebrating the end of what could be considered a pretty awful year, or whether you’re celebrating the good things that happened this year, let’s dance together as we look forward to what 2017 has in store for us.

Happy New Year, friends!

Crazy Indiana laws

Indiana State Capitol, Indianapolis, Indiana (63614)
As part of my ongoing celebration of Indiana’s 200th birthday, I think it’s fitting to take a few minutes and discuss some of the crazy laws that help make the Hoosier State unique.

The fine people of Kokomo, Indiana, have recently discovered a law that has been on the books for decades. Apparently, pinball has been outlawed in Kokomo since at least the 1970s. There’s actually a good possibility that the law has been on the books since the 1950s.

It was an attempt to curb gambling efforts. But now it’s just a silly law. And and it isn’t even enforced anymore. Although many old, forgotten, unenforced laws just law because nobody bothers to repeal arcane laws like this. Amazingly enough, Kokomo is looking to repeal this law.

I think it’s safe to say that every state has crazy laws like this on the books. Indiana certainly has its fair share. And I’m not even talking about the ridiculous ‘blue’ laws that we still have in Indiana. Some lawmakers seem to think they are still relevant in the 21st century. I wholeheartedly, but politely, disagree. But that’s neither here nor there at this point (although it should probably be addressed in a separate post at some time in the near future). But stores cannot sell on Sunday. Drinks on the house are illegal. Liquor stores can’t sell cold soft drinks. Or milk. I know I said I wouldn’t dwell on it, but it’s kind of ridiculous.

As a public service, I’d like to share some of the crazy laws that are still on the books in Indiana. You never know when someone decides they should be enforced. So consider this a touch of good ol’ Hoosier Hospitality.

Here are just a few of the crazy Indiana laws that are still on the books:

No passing a horse on the street.

Baths may not be taken between October and March.

It’s illegal to catch a fish with your bare hands.

Men are not allowed to stand at a bar.

If any person has a puppet show, wire dancing or tumbling act in the state of Indiana and receives money for it, they will be fined $3 under the Act to Prevent Certain Immoral Practices.

The Act for the Prevention of Gaming calls for a three dollar fine per pack will be imposed on anyone playing cards.

Oral sex is illegal.

Thinking about crossing a highway? Make sure you don’t wear tail lights. It’s illegal for pedestrians to wear them while crossing a highway.

Backing your vehicle into a parking spot is illegal.

For guys who have a tendency to habitually kiss other people, mustaches are strictly forbidden.

If you’re going to visit a hypnotist for any reason other than quitting smoking or losing weight, a referral from a licensed physician is required.

“Spiteful gossip” and “talking behind one’s back” are also illegal. Man, I wish more people knew that.

All males 18-50 must work six days a year on public roads.

Crazy.

There they are. Some of these laws are pretty crazy. But they’re not as crazy as some laws. You know, like the one that bans carrying an ice cream cone in your back pocket in Alabama. Or the urban legend about throwing rocks in New Mexico.

I’ve broken a few of these. You probably have, too. But I’ve never crossed the highway while wearing tail lights. That’s a new one I might have to add to my bucket list.

Thanks to Weird Facts, Dumb Laws, Valpo Life, 106.1 fm in Evansville, and Real Police for sharing these laws with us.

Happy 200th Birthday, Indiana!

Flag map of Indiana

OK, it’s not quite Indiana’s birthday. But it’s close. It’s only a few days away. December 11, to be exact. That’s the date Indiana was admitted into the Union in 1816. So we’re celebrating 200 years of being a state!

While there are many things that frustrate me about Indiana, I also have a deep, deep appreciation for the Hoosier State. I will openly criticize my home state, but I will defend Indiana with all my heart if you aren’t a Hoosier and try to say something negative about the State I love. That’s probably a fault of mine. But I’m OK with that because I really do love our state. Honest to goodness.

I have been to many parts of Indiana over the years and here is much to love about our state. As we celebrate Indiana’s 200th birthday, I want to share with you some of the great things that make our state amazing. There really is more than corn in Indiana. There’s also more to this state than a race track. Amazingly enough, there are some people who don’t really care that much about the Indianapolis 500, even though it’s been part of the state’s story for more than 100 years.  And although basketball has a pretty special place in our collective consciousness, there’s more to Indiana than just basketball.

Indiana is a special place. And I want to relish in its specialness. So, in celebration of Indiana’s 200th birthday, I’ll be publishing several posts during the month of December that will hopefully remind us how great this state can be. Because that’s what happens when you wander Indiana. You find some great stories. You also find some pretty amazing people and some beautiful scenery. I hope these things are reflected in our journey through the Hoosier State. I also hope that I’m able to figure out a way to share a heapin’ helping of Hoosier Hospitality as we wander through the state together.

Still inspired by Lincoln at Gettysburg

Gettysburg Address
As we recognize the 150th anniversary of the delivery of the Gettysburg Address, I hope we remember that thousands of people have continued to die so that this nation might live. I hope we are able to strengthen our resolve to find ways to work together instead of against each other so that this new nation –  one of the people, by the people, and for the people – shall not perish from this earth.

It only took a few minutes. And even though it was extremely short, Lincoln delivered one of the greatest speeches in American rhetoric. And it’s only 10 sentences long. It’s a powerful example of how words matter. It’s also a poignant reminder that even greatness can have its critics. And while their criticism may have seemed warranted at the time, they seem pretty short-sighted and petty now.

150 years later, I think these words still ring true. They’re more than just a speech that I had to memorize in middle school. They still inspire. They still challenge. Lincoln says more in 271 words than most politicians say in their lifetime.

 

Who are YOUR heroes?

Superman revealing the S on his costumeI’ve been reading a few biographies recently and have come to realize that several of the subjects are heroes of mine. I never really classified them as “heroes” until I started reading more about them. I’m working on a post about who those heroes are (and why they’re my heroes). But that post isn’t ready yet. So while I’m working on it, I have a question for you:

Who are your heroes? Who inspires you?

For a variety of reasons, I’d like to limit this to the realm of those who are no longer with us. I’m pretty sure I’ve asked this before, but I know it’s been a while so it’s worth asking again.

I’m looking forward to knowing who inspires you.

Coming Soon…

Do you remember that list of 46 people I want to make sure my children know about?

Well, I’ve decided to try a little experiment. Aiden, Alyson, and I are going to write mini-biographies about each of these people and publish them on a new blog, aptly titled

So keep your eyes peeled. Aiden’s already working on the first post. He’s pretty excited! This should be fun.

Just don’t tell them that they’ll be learning anything this Summer. 😉

Under the Sun…

When I was in fourth grade, the Space Shuttle program was shelved indefinitely in the aftermath of the Challenger disaster.

Now, 25 years later, Aiden is in the fourth grade and Discovery has flown its last mission. Endeavor and Atlantis won’t be far behind.

When I was in fourth grade, the President announced over the air that US forces had attacked Libya. Yesterday, the US joined NATO forces in attacking Libya.

What has been will be again,
What has been done will be done again;
There is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9