• GRACE NOTES 5/16/09: 'Egg-cellent' advice

    Several years ago I wrote a story for the newspaper about two local sisters who raise chickens and sell the eggs.

    As part of my, um, research, I ate some fresh-out-of-the-chicken eggs, sunny-side up, if I recall. That’s the way I like my eggs, but I also like them scrambled with onions and artichoke hearts, or maybe mushrooms.

    I’m so glad eggs are no longer on the Evil Foods list (and if they still are, please don’t tell me). I love eggs!

  • A uniform faith

    It was 1968, the height of the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War.

    The Rev. Larry “Tony” Matthews, a Methodist minister and Air Force chaplain, was stationed at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines.

    “We’d get between 100 and 200 air-evacs a day — a lot of wounded every day,” Matthews, now a retired colonel, said from his home in Citrus Springs. “That was my primary ministry. We had a lot of serious cases. It was a very intense ministry, but very rewarding.

  • Deciphering the mystery of the Alhambra

    GRANADA, Spain - From its every nook and cranny, the Alhambra quietly speaks. Walls, columns, fountains and other pieces of the Moorish citadel boast ornate Arabic inscriptions that even native speakers might struggle to decipher.

    This month Spanish researchers unveiled the first fruits of a gargantuan project to translate and catalog every last carving — an estimated 10,000 — from individual words to poems to verses from the Quran. The goal is to render a seemingly impenetrable slice of medieval history readily accessible with the click of a mouse.

  • JUDI'S JOURNAL 5/2/09: The 10 reasons I love Israel

    An area magazine used to have a feature at the end of its publication entitled “Ten Reasons Why I Love Ocala.” It featured a local notable who gave opinions on the matter.

    In honor of the 61st year of the independence of the state of Israel, I would like to offer my version of this feature by naming 10 reasons (not in any particular order of importance) why I love Israel.

  • GRACE NOTES 5/9/09: Lessons from the 'Gilmore Girls'

    Those who know me know my two grand passions: cake with butter cream frosting and the “Gilmore Girls.”

    Currently, I’m watching season two on DVD.

    For those who don’t know about the “Gilmore Girls,” it’s a now-canceled TV series about a single mother and her teenage daughter who live in Stars Hollow, a quirky little town outside Hartford, Conn. The mother, Lorelai Gilmore, is young, gorgeous, witty, talks a mile a minute, loves movies and TV and eats like a horse.

  • New face, new style

    Burly and teddy-bearish, the Rev. Rob Allen puts people at ease with a down-home, Midwestern warmth and charm.

    A former mechanical contractor, he’s different from the other pastors who have led First Presbyterian Church in Crystal River.

    He still holds membership in the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 136 in Evansville, Ind. He used to race motorcycles and still rides a Yamaha Star Silverado.

    His favorite theologian: Charlie the Tuna, spokesfish for Starkist.

  • GRACE NOTES 5/2/09: The State of My Marriage Address

    While out for our semi-regular Sunday drive, as I flipped through the radio stations I asked my husband what kind of music he liked.

    That’s the kind of questions you ask on a first date, not after 34 years of marriage!

    I’m not sure what that says about the state of our marriage. You don’t even know what kind of music your husband likes?

    Um, not exactly, although I have a good idea what he doesn’t like. I can rule out heavy metal and polka and most music recorded after 1979.

  • What's old is new again

    Even the most jaded and sophisticated 5-year-old can’t resist “Aunt” Grace Thrush’s fiery Bible.

    During a children’s revival crusade, which she conducts with her husband, “Uncle” Wilbur, she pulls out a Bible, and as she says, “God’s Word is powerful and it’s for children of all ages,” she opens it — and it bursts into flames.

    When she closes it, the fire goes out — and the pages don’t get burned.

    It’s been a crowd pleaser for decades.

  • GRACE NOTES 4/25/09: What up, homies?

    My daughter, Alison, is still laughing.

    Her 7-year-old daughter, Caroline, was out on the deck the other day hollering to her friends, “Yo! What up, homies?”

    Alison said she was both horrified and amused. “I don’t remember giving birth to a gangsta,” she said.

    I reminded her of the time we walked to her elementary school to see who her first-grade teacher would be that year. The lists weren’t posted yet and she shook her head and said, “What a bummer.”

  • JUDI'S JOURNAL 4/18/09: Jewish in the Nazi world

    The world has seen the pictures. “Juden Verboten” signs in shop windows and in parks, public humiliation of Jewish citizens in the streets of European cities and towns, desecration of synagogues and Jewish institutions.

    The world has seen the pictures. “The Final Solution.” Jews rounded up and forced into cattle cars for a trip into oblivion, the labor and extermination camps, the emaciated prisoners of the camps, more skeletons than humans.