Friday, March 27, 2020

The Latest Quarantine Activity For Seniors (And Maybe You Too!)

We are sending out this morning to our quarantined "When Swing Was King" fans the third in our ongoing series of activity sheets. As we've mentioned earlier, this project is to help the residents occupy their time in these boring days of isolation, kindle memories which encourage happiness and self-esteem, and let them know that we are thinking of them and lifting prayers to God in their behalf.

But there is another wonderful possibility in this project. And that is if others (like you!) would get involved. 

You can easily do so by making contact with seniors you know and with local senior care facilities in view of sending to them these activity sheets. Depending on the installment, they will offer trivia relevant to seniors (including baby boomers), quizzes (with answers provided at the end), quotations on various themes (including Scriptures), and even some casually engaging Bible quizzes.

This Vital Signs Blog post ("A Quarantine Activity Option") outlines the plan and gives the first activity sets. The second activity set can be found in this post.

And the latest set of quizzes are printed below.

Have fun -- we know you'll try them yourself! But please do consider using email or postal letter or even the telephone to pass them along to someone who might otherwise be at home or in their lonely assisted living room worrying and twiddling their thumbs.


Hey friends, Denny & Claire here. The quarantine is getting to us all but we are working, reading, walking, and praying our way through it. And, of course, many of our prayers concern our “When Swing Was King” fans. We are asking the Lord to grant you good heath, exceptional patience, and deep spiritual joy even in the midst of this “Great Hunkering Down” period.

In this series we have 30 Multiple Choice questions on a variety of popular culture topics. Those are followed by 40 Matching questions that connect major motion pictures with their stars AND songs to specific singers or bands. The answers to both sets of questions will be there too.  Hope to see you soon but, until then, we will keep in contact with these activity packs. We hope they help pass the time a bit.

Multiple Choice Questions

1) What was Woodstock?
a) an anti-war demonstration
b) a Plymouth station wagon
c) a rock music festival
d) a tree-hugging event

2) What famous baseball player married Marilyn Monroe in 1954?
a) Mickey Mantle
b) Ted Williams
c) Ty Cobb
d) Joe DiMaggio

3) What was Doc Severinsen’s instrument?
a) trumpet
b) flute
c) drums
d) electric guitar

4) Who was the first man on the moon?
a) Buzz Aldrin
b) Neil Armstrong
c) John Glenn
d) Gus Grissom

5) Which of the following is NOT a Johnny Cash hit?
a) “I Walk the Line”
b) “Blue Suede Shoes”
c) “A Boy Named Sue”
d) “Folsom Prison Blues”

6) Which TV game show began in 1956 and is yet running today?
a) The $64,000 Question
b) The Millionaire
c) The Price is Right
d) Hollywood Squares

7) Which of these clergymen did NOT have a very influential TV presence?
a) Billy Sunday
b) Oral Roberts
c) Fulton Sheen
d) Billy Graham

8) In 1952 Dr. Jonas Salk created a vaccine for…
a) polio
b) measles
c) diphtheria
d) malaria

9) Which of the following actors was NOT known for making gangster movies?
a) Jimmy Cagney
b) Humphrey Bogart
c) George Raft
d) Maurice Chevalier

10) What was Jimmy Dorsey’s main instrument?
a) trumpet
b) saxophone
c) clarinet
d) trombone

11) What was the name of the first satellite launched into orbit? It was in 1957 and it was sent up by the USSR.
a) Vostok
b) Sputnik
c) The Motherland
d) Telstar

12) Which of the following was NOT the first name of a First Lady?
a) Mamie
b) Eleanor
c) Jenny
d) Pat

13) What went up in 1961 and came down in 1989?
a) The Manchester Airport Tower
b) The satellite Telstar
c) The stock prices of General Motors
d) The Berlin Wall

14) In Ella Fitzgerald’s hit with Chick Webb, “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,”
what color was her basket?
a) aquamarine
b) deep purple
c) yellow
d) the song doesn’t tell us

15) What was Lionel Hampton’s instrument?
a) vibraphone
b) saxophone
c) clarinet
d) coronet

16) Which rising young movie star died in a 1955 automobile accident?
a) Montgomery Clift
b) Sal Mineo
c) James Dean
d) Jayne Mansfield

17) Before becoming a national treasure, this Midwest bandleader led a group called The Hotsy Totsy Boys.
a) Lawrence Welk
b) Shep Fields
c) Bernie Moten
d) Harry James

18) Which of these pairs do NOT fit?
a) The Lone Ranger and Tonto
b) Little Orphan Annie and Lassie
c) Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob
d) The Cisco Kid and Pancho

19) The sweet treat that was, for many years, the sponsor of the Jack Benny Radio Show was…
a) Fig Newtons
b) Jello
c) Kool-Aid
d) Mounds candy bars

20) Capri pants, poodle skirts, Peter Pan collar blouses, and (for guys) leather jackets are all most associated with the fashions of what decade?
a) 1920s
b) 1940s
c) 1950s
d) 1960s

21) America’s project leading towards putting men on the moon was called?
a) Mercury
b) The Great Frontier
c) Apollo
d) Gemini

22) This popular singer was also remarkably skilled in the cowboy art of “quick-drawing” a pistol.
a) Vaughn Monroe
b) Sammy Davis Jr.
c) Elvis Presley
d) Jimmy Dean

23) This popular actor portrayed both Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett on television. He was:
a) James Garner
b) Clint Walker
c) Fess Parker
d) Hugh O’Brien

24) Which of these actresses did NOT co-star in a film with Fred Astaire?
a) Ginger Rogers
b) Audrey Hepburn
c) Petula Clark
d) Juliet Prowse

25) In 1965 Craig Breedlove set a new land speed record of over 600 mph. Where was the track?
a) Daytona, Florida
b) Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah
c) Sebring Raceway, Florida
d) Gran Prix Circuit, Monaco

26) Not only a great bandleader and pianist, this fellow is credited with writing over a thousand songs.
a) Lionel Hampton
b) Count Basie
c) Duke Ellington
d) Eddie Howard

27) “Let’s Dance” was the theme song of what great big band?
a) Benny Goodman Orchestra
b) Freddy Martin Orchestra
c) Louis Armstrong Orchestra
d) Lawrence Welk Orchestra

28) Which of these movie stars was NOT born in Nebraska?
a) Henry Fonda
b) Fred Astaire
c) Donna Reed
d) Robert Taylor

29) What was the most disastrous strategic move Germany made in World War II?
a) Battle of the Bulge
b) Bombing London
c) Aligning with Italy
d) The invasion of Russia

30) Which of the following was NOT a popular hair grooming product of the 1940s and 1950s?
a) Vitalis
b) Oxydol
c) Brylcreem
d) Wildroot Cream Oil

Match the Movie to the Actor

31) Stagecoach _____________ A) Errol Flynn

32) Citizen Kane _____________ B) Bing Crosby

33) Bullitt _____________ C) Orson Welles

34) Maltese Falcon      _____________ D) William Holden

35) Robin Hood _____________ E) Cary Grant

36) To Catch a Thief _____________ F) John Wayne

37) Stalag 17 _____________ G) Burt Lancaster

38) Kings Row _____________ H) Humphrey Bogart

39) Going My Way _____________ I) Ronald Reagan

40) Birdman of Alcatraz  _____________ J) Steve McQueen

Match the Movie to the Actress

41) Singin’ in the Rain _____________ A) Audrey Hepburn

42) Gone with the Wind _____________ B) Grace Kelly

43) Mrs. Miniver _____________ C) Greta Garbo

44) The Seven Year Itch _____________ D) Ingrid Bergman

45) Sound of Music _____________ E) Elizabeth Taylor

46) Breakfast at Tiffany’s _____________ F) Judy Andrews

47) Casablanca _____________ G) Vivien Leigh

48) To Catch a Thief _____________ H) Marilyn Monroe

49) Cleopatra _____________ I) Debbie Reynolds

50) Ninotchka _____________ J) Greer Garson

Match the Song to the Singer or Band

51) "Moon River" _____________ A) Doris Day

52) "Chattanooga Choo Choo" _____________ B) Bing Crosby

53) "Take the 'A' Train" _____________ C) Fred Astaire

54) "Que Sera, Sera" _____________ D) Nat King Cole Trio

55) "Cheek to Cheek" _____________ E) Duke Ellington

56) "Auld Lang Syne" _____________ F) Harry James

57) "Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree" _____________ G) Andy Williams

58) "Swingin’ On a Star" _____________ H) Andrews Sisters

59) "Route 66" _____________ I) Guy Lombardo band

60) "Ciribiribin" _____________ J) Glenn Miller band

61) "Sentimental Journey" _____________ A) Rosemary Clooney

62) "Volare" _____________ B) Sammy Davis Jr.

63) "Love Letters in the Sand" _____________ C) Lawrence Welk

64) "Stormy Weather" _____________ D) Dean Martin

65) "Catch a Falling Star" _____________ E) McGuire Sisters

66) "Sugartime" _____________         F) Lena Horne

67) "Tammy" _____________ G) Dinah Shore

68) "This Old House" _____________ H) Pat Boone

69) "Bubbles in the Wine" _____________ I) Debbie Reynolds

70) "I Gotta' Be Me" _____________ J) Perry Como


1) C
2) D
3) A
4) B
5) B

6) C
7) A
8) A
9) D
10) B

11) B
12) C
13) D
14) C
15) A

16) C
17) A
18) B
19) B
20) C

21) C
22) B
23) C
24) D
25) B

26) C
27) A
28) C
29) D
30) B

31) F
32) C
33) J
34) H
35) A

36) E
37) D
38) I
39) B
40) G

41) I
42) G
43) J
44) H
45) F

46) A
47) D
48) B
49) E
50) C

51) G
52) J
53) E
54) A
55) C

56) I
57) H
58) B
59) D
60) F

61) G
62) D
63) H
64) F
65) J

66) E
67) I
68) A
69) C
70) B

In-House Reading

Among the most relevant, enlightening, and practically helpful articles around the web are those listed below.

So, take a break from housework, watching yet another episode of Gunsmoke, or whatever and check them out.

* "Where coronavirus outbreak started in Washington state, officials see hope as cases appear to be leveling off" (Robert Klemko, Washington Post)

* "The New Favelas: A West Coast experiment with sanctioned homeless encampments has proved disastrous. And Covid-19 might make it even worse." (Christopher F. Rufo, City Journal)

* "Coronavirus: The European Union Unravels" (Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute)

* "Cheap TVs, Expensive Flu" (Ann Coulter, Town Hall)

* "The Political Media Are Failing America" (David Harsanyi, National Review)

* "Which Story Is Bigger News: Richard Burr, Andrew Gillum, Or Ilhan Omar?" (Francis Menton, Manhattan Contrarian)

* "Pope Francis blames coronavirus on nature ‘having a fit’ over environmental damage" (Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Life Site News)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

A Quarantine Activity Option (The Next Installment)

Last week's Vital Signs Blog post ("A Quarantine Activity Option") outlined our plan to do something for the residents of the 12 senior living/senior care facilities where (due to the China coronavirus quarantines) our "When Swing Was King" shows have been cancelled this month. As I mentioned in that post, we wanted to do a little something to help the residents occupy their time as well as to know that we are thinking of them and lifting prayers to God in their behalf. We print below today's activity project...and please know that the primary reason we do is so that you can copy it and send it along to the seniors in your family, church family, neighborhood, and local senior care facilities.

Here from Denny & Claire, your "When Swing Was King" friends, is our latest activity project. We send it along, of course, in hopes that it might provide a little break from the quarantine blues, but also to remind you that you are all in our thoughts and, more important, our prayers. Hoping to see you soon in person!

1) Which of the following is NOT a Pat Boone hit record?
a) “Lonely Street”
b) “Love Letters in the Sand”
c) “Moody River”
d) “Speedy Gonzalez”

2) What 1942 movie starred Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains, a film that won Oscars for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay?
a) Maltese Falcon
b) This Gun for Hire
c) Sahara
d) Casablanca

3) In a decade with a variety of sports champions (six different NFL champions, five different World Series winners and collegiate football national champions, and eight different college basketball national champions), one sport had only one world champion from 1937 to 1949. The sport was heavyweight-boxing. And who was that longtime champion?
a) Jack Dempsey
b) Sugar Ray Robinson
c) Joe Louis
d) Rocky Marciano

4) The comic strip that included the characters of Peppermint Patty, Linus, and Pigpen was:
a) Katzenjammer Kids
b) Family Circus
c) Peanuts
d) Huckleberry Hound

5) Tommy Dorsey's instrument was:
a) trombone
b) clarinet
c) saxophone
d) drums

6) The big band that gave the world such sensational hits as “String of Pearls,” “Little Brown Jug,” “Moonlight Serenade,” and “Pennsylvania 6500” was:
a) Guy Lombardo Orchestra
b) Tommy Dorsey Orchestra
c) Glenn Miller Orchestra
d) Shep Fields Orchestra

7) What award-winning 1947 Christmas movie was set in New York City, began its action on Thanksgiving Day, and featured Kris Kringle hauled into court.
a) Miracle on 34th Street
b) Shop Around The Corner
c) Christmas in Central Park
d) Going My Way

8) What Broadway musical includes the songs “Bali Hai,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” and “I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair”?
a) Brigadoon
b) Kiss Me Kate
c) Kismet
d) South Pacific

9) The 1948 World Series was the first to be televised on a national network.  And it was the first World Series that included an African-American pitcher (Satchel Paige). Who were the teams involved? (Hint: one of these teams would be moved in 1953 to Milwaukee.)
a) New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers
b) Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals
c) Boston Braves and Cleveland Indians
d) New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates

10) The famous "Road pictures" featured what team of Hollywood stars?
a) Laurel & Hardy
b) Crosby, Hope, and Lamour
c) The Marx Brothers
d) The Three Stooges

11) Most of the most popular records in the year 1940 came from the big bands or crooners like Crosby. However, a relative unknown by the name of Cliff Edwards scored a number one hit after singing it for the soundtrack of a Walt Disney movie. What was the song?
a) “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”
b) “As Time Goes By”
c) “When You Wish Upon a Star”
d) “A Tisket a Tasket”

12) And what was the Disney movie referred to in the above question?
a) Pinocchio
b) Song of the South
c) Sleeping Beauty
d) Fantasia

13) Which of the following is NOT a Hank Williams hit record?
a) “Lovesick Blues”
b) “Cold, Cold Heart”
c) “Big Bad John”
d) “I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry”

14) Top radio shows of 1946 included comedy/variety series starring such big names as Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Jack Benny, and Fred Allen. But the top-rated show, was headlined by actual husband-and-wife team Jim and Marian Jordan. The show also featured Gale Gordon as Mayor LaTrivia?
a) Fibber Magee and Molly
b) The Great Gildersleeve
c) Amos and Andy
d) The Bickersons

15) Led by "Mr. Inside" (Doc Blanchard) and "Mr. Outside" (Glenn Davis), two sophomores who would win the Heisman Trophy in 1945 and 1946 respectively, this team was the undefeated NCAA football National Champions in 1944.
a) Army
b) Notre Dame
c) Ohio State
d) USC

16) It was in 1951 that the Topps Company first released what form of collectable items?
a) Hula Hoops
b) Baseball cards
c) Barbie dolls
d) Kewpie dolls

17) What was NOT a popular dance of the 1940's?
a) “Jitterbug”
b) “Lindy Hop”
c) “Charleston”
d) “The Twist”

18) Nat King Cole's instrument was:
a) trombone
b) piano
c) saxophone
d) drums

19) Making its debut as a comic strip in 1948 was a gem by Walt Kelly. Set in the Okefenokee Swamp, its characters included Albert Alligator, Churchy LaFemme, and Howland Owl.
a) Pogo
b) Fearless Fosdick
c) Lil Abner
d) The Katzenjammer Kids

20) What smash Broadway hit contained the songs “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin',” and “People Will Say We're in Love”?
a) Guys and Dolls
b) South Pacific
c) Oklahoma!
d) The King and I

21) Which early TV series was introduced by the music of Rossini's "William Tell Overture"?
a) The Shadow
b) Johnny Dollar
c) Dragnet
d) The Lone Ranger

22) Which of the following is NOT an Elvis hit record?
a) “Love Me Tender”
b) “Only the Lonely”
c) “Jailhouse Rock”
d) “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”

23) What songwriter gave us “Begin the Beguine,” “Anything Goes,” “Night and Day,” “True Love,” “I've Got You Under My Skin,” and many more terrific songs?
a) Irving Berlin
b) Cole Porter
c) Oscar Hammerstein II
d) Hoagy Carmichael

24) It was in 1952 that the first episode aired of a TV show featuring a real-life family. Originally begun on radio, the show would become a huge TV hit. It featured two sons (one who would become a successful pop star) and parents who had been stars in their own right in the big band era. That show was:
a) Make Room for Daddy
b) The Donna Reed Show
c) The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
d) Father Knows Best

25) Harry James' instrument was:
a) trombone
b) clarinet
c) saxophone
d) trumpet

26) Yank magazine named this singer as the man who had done the most for the morale of American soldiers at war during World War II.
a) Bing Crosby
b) Frankie Laine
c) Perry Como
d) Frank Sinatra

27) "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?" was the introduction to one of the top-rated daytime radio shows of all time. That show was?
a) Inner Sanctum
b) The Whistler
c) The Shadow
d) Suspense

28) Which of the following was NOT part of the Jack Benny radio cast?
a) Phil Harris
b) Eddie Anderson
c) Dennis Day
d) Red Skelton

29) In 1945, a young English actress famed for her beautiful eyes starred in a film called National Velvet. Who was she?
a) Olivia DeHaviland
b) Elizabeth Taylor
c) Joan Collins
d) Vivien Leigh

30) Chick Webb's instrument was:
a) trombone
b) clarinet
c) saxophone
d) drums


1) a
2) d
3) c
4) c
5) a

6) c
7) a
8) d
9) c
10) b

11) c
12) a
13) c
14) a
15) a

16) b
17) d
18) b
19) a
20) c

21) d
22) b
23) b
24) c
25) d

26) a
27) c
28) d
29) b
30) d

Monday, March 23, 2020

Writing Letters in the "Great Hunkering Down"

We were scheduled to host at our home tonight this quarter's Vital Signs
Ministries letter-writing party. But with the restrictions from local government as well as some genuine concerns from some of our regulars, we are giving our team effort a couple of different spins.

1) The letters will be written at your own homes.


2) Unlike our other parties where our agenda involves specific legislation, advocacy of pro-life and pro-family issues, principled protests, thank yous for jobs well done, and so on, this time around we are suggesting letter-writers deal with a single area; namely, taking aim at the depression, loneliness, boredom which can so easily arise in the coronavirus quarantines all around us.

To who are we suggesting your letters go?

* Letters and cards to those in your church family who are most affected by the social isolation. We're thinking primarily of seniors but it could include a weary mom or dad who might be stressed out over job worries, taking care of the kids, and all the rest.

* Residents of senior care facilities. In many cases, these folks are even having their meals served in their individual rooms. The need is an aching one for encouragement and spiritual uplift.  Letters, greeting cards, coloring pages made by your kids, Scripture cards -- you name it -- can be collected and sent to a senior care facility that you have contact with. Or, if you don't have one, ask us. You could even introduce your letters as coming from a Vital Signs Ministries event.

Let me give you an example that we learned of just today regarding the power of a single letter.

Last week we sent to all 12 of the facilities where we present our "When Swing Was King" shows (all cancelled, this month...and probably next) an entertainment--activity--encouragement pack which the activity directors then printed off and handed around to residents. Furthermore, we promised we would do something in this line every few days during the "Great Hunkering Down" period. Well, the results are coming in that not only were the activity directors very excited and appreciative about the idea, so are the residents themselves. This thrills us to no end.

And here is a letter that one of the A.D.s sent to us this morning written by one of the "When Swing Was King" fans. It was a direct response to our letter and the accompanying packet.

“Denny, Thank you and your wife for the items. I have told you before that your “Swing” show is my favorite entertainment at Aksarben. As a 93-year old WWII guy (my wife is 91), we related to the 40’s and 50’s songs. Thank you for your concern. Everyone has to 'hang tough' and stay positive!"

The A.D. then added, "I heard many others say how much they appreciated the letter from you! Thanks again!"

As we've said for almost 40 years of pro-life ministry, letters make a difference.

And finally, a third target group. 3) Caregivers. This would include doctors, nurses, med techs, pharmacists, and other medical workers. These people are also feeling the stress and so a letter or card with a word of thanks, encouragement, and promise to pray could mean an awful lot.

Can we measure the impact of our joint effort in writing letters? Not on this side of heaven. Nevertheless, we can encourage one another by joining in this team effort. You can do this by letting us know if you're in and how many cards or letters you sent. (We're considering the deadline for this particular "party" to be this Thursday noon.) And an added feature is that we are going to host a Zoom video cast get together on Friday evening at 7. If you're interested in that, let us know too.

By the way, if you’d like to see the first of our entertainment-activity-encouragement packets sent to the senior facilities, check out this Vital Signs Blog link

Thursday, March 19, 2020

A Quarantine Activity Option

With all 12 of our "When Swing Was King" shows cancelled this month because of fears of the China coronavirus, we wanted to do a little something to help the residents of these senior care facilities occupy their time as well as to know that we are thinking of them and lifting prayers to God in their behalf. We began today by sending over an entertainment/activity/encouragement pack that the activity directors (who were very excited and appreciative about the idea) could then print off and hand around. We promised that we would do something in this line every few days during the "Great Hunkering Down" period.

Already planned for future installments are quizzes, trivia, quotations (including Scriptures), and even some copyright free crossword puzzles we found. We began today with creating a pop culture quiz, an American history quiz, and a small collection of quotations on friendship. And, for those of you who are interested (as well as those of you who are looking for a little respite from your own "quarantine boredom"), I print below what we sent over today.

By the way, you might want to consider a similar activity with a nursing home, hospital, or even friends that aren't able to get around much.


Hey, friends! We are so sorry that we can’t present a “When Swing Was King”
show for you this month but the “Great Hunkering Down” of Spring 2020 has us all in its grip. And that’s okay. Because of the dangers represented by the Wuhan coronavirus, it makes perfect sense to do what we can to deal with it. Nevertheless, in addition to our fervent and frequent prayers for your safety and health, we also wanted to do something that might relieve a little of the boredom that the quarantine is creating. We thought, therefore, that a few quizzes and trivia might be of some interest to you. If you like them, we will go ahead and send over to you similar “activity items” every few days. May God pour out His mercies on you, on our caregivers and health officials, our political leaders, and on all those already dealing with not only the coronavirus but all other health issues.


Denny and Claire Hartford

American Pop Culture Quiz

1) Who created Desilu Productions?
a) Elvis Presley and Arthur Miller
b) Richard Nixon and Elizabeth Taylor
c) Lucille Ball and Dezi Arnaz
d) Frank Sinatra and John Wayne

2) The character Tonto is from which television show?
a) Dragnet
b) Hopalong Cassidy
c) The Lone Ranger
d) Lassie

3) This 1953 show has three ghosts, one of which can be described as a real booze-hound.
a) Topper
b) The Outer Limits
c) Love That Bob
d) Dark Shadows

4) Which television show is the phrase "Get out of Dodge" from?
a) The Jackie Gleason Show
b) Gunsmoke
c) Dinah Shore Show
d) Leave it to Beaver

5) This children's program had a carrot stealing rabbit and a sleeping/talking clock.
a) Ding Dong School
b) Romper Room
c) Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
d) Captain Kangaroo

6) In this show, you would often hear, "All we want are the facts, ma'am".
a) The Detectives starring Robert Taylor
b) Dragnet
c) The Adventures of Sam Spade
d) Adam 12

7) The sadder the story, the more applause for that person. And the one with the saddest story was usually the winner.
a) You Bet Your Life
b) To Tell The Truth
c) This is Your Life
d) Queen For a Day

8) Who hosted "American Bandstand"?
a) Dick Clark
b) Johnny Cash
c) Wink Martindale
d) Allen Ludden

9) Who narrated "The Twilight Zone"?
a) William Conrad
b) Jack Paar
c) Lowell Thomas
d) Rod Serling

10) Groucho Marx hosted what game show in the '50s?
a) What's My Line?
b) Father Knows Best
c) You Bet Your Life
d) The Today Show

1) c
2) c
3) a
4) b
5) d
6) b
7) d
8) a
9) d
10) c

American History Quiz

1) Who was Jackie Robinson?
2) Who was President of the United States during World War Two? (Look out, this is kind of a trick question.)
3) Who was Benny Goodman?
4) Who was Al Capone?
5) What general led the Confederate armies in the American Civil War?
6) Who led the Rough Riders up San Juan Hill?
7) Who was Clark Gable?
8) What was a U-boat?
9) Who was Charles Lindberg?
10) Who was Wyatt Earp?


1) Jackie Robinson was the first African-American allowed to play in major league baseball.
2) The Presidents of the United States during World War Two were Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman.
3) Benny Goodman was a big band clarinetist and bandleader.
4) Al Capone was a Chicago gangster of the 1920’s and 1930’s.
5) The general who led the Confederate forces in America's War Between the States was Robert E. Lee.
6) The Rough Riders were led up San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War by Teddy Roosevelt.
7) Clark Gable was a movie star.
8) A U-boat was a German submarine.
9) Charles Lindbergh was a pioneer aviator; the first to fly solo over the Atlantic.
10) Wyatt Earp was an Old West lawman and gunfighter.

Wit & Wisdom -- On Friendship

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”
(St. Thomas Aquinas)

“A friend is one who overlooks your broken fence and
admires the flowers in your garden.” (Anonymous)

“A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.”
(Proverbs 17:17)

“Friendship is one of the sweetest joys of life.
Many might have failed beneath the bitterness of their trial had they not found a friend.”(Charles H. Spurgeon)

“Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness.”

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
(Colossians 3:13)

“Sometimes being with your best friend
is all the therapy you need.” (Anonymous)

“No friendship is an accident.” (O. Henry)

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way,
you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

“Friendship is the only thing in the world concerning the
usefulness of which all mankind are agreed.” (Cicero)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Alternatives to the "Great Hunkering Down"

Church being cancelled last Sunday was the shot across the bow.  Yesterday’s directives from the governor and mayor prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people hit even closer.  But then this morning, when I pulled up at 6 in the Panera parking lot only to find that the public was locked out (except the drive-through), I realized there was going to be no escape from “The Great Hunkering Down” of Spring 2020.

Are we dealing here with an inevitable plague, the sword of the Wuhan CV dangling above us by a hair?  Or is this an overreaction steeped in panic, politics, corruption, conspiracy, nanny state bureaucracy, the domino effect of peer pressure, or a combination of any or all of the above?

Who knows? Not me, certainly. However, whatever the cause, there is no denying that the world is facing a terribly severe crisis.  So far in the U.S. this has meant economic disaster – no small thing, certainly – but (particularly in Italy), the Wuhan Coronavirus has taken thousands of lives.  Thus it is a plague of horrible proportions dealing out suffering and death, widespread economic erosion that could well become ruin, and increasing fear and despair.

How then should we respond?  Well, at the close of this note, I’m posting 4 links where I’ve found particularly helpful answers to this crucial question.  They are meaningful, hopeful, and imminently practical messages from Joni Eareckson Tada, Sean McDowell, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and Dr. Abdhu Sharkawy. Please check them out.

The perspectives of these people spell out our basic and most important responsibilities in this present crisis.  Indeed, they are foundational.  However, I also think it helpful that we make plans to deal with the “Great Hunkering Down” part of the challenge; that is, how do we best “redeem the time” (as Scripture puts it) in these next few weeks in which school closings, event cancellations, quarantines, work from home orders, and social distancing are part of the scene.

So it is that my counsel here doesn’t concern hand-washing techniques, but rather how to avoid hand-wringing in worry or, what is sometimes just as bad, thumb-twiddling in boredom for the duration.  I have four general suggestions.

1)  Find better uses for your extra time than “binge watching” a television series which, as you are well aware, is one of the main recommendations popping up on your computer screens.  Instead of wasting these days in cultivating mindlessness, do something productive.  Have any home projects or your to-do list?  Anything like cleaning the windows?  Clearing out the drawers?  Lightening the load in your storage room, basement, or garage?  Preparation for lawn and garden projects?  Even in your entertainment choices, think creatively and in terms of true, lasting value.  Work on a jigsaw puzzle with the family.  Put a model together.  Read quality books.  Think of how much better off you’ll be, if and when normalcy returns, with productive projects completed and time well invested.

2) Service to others.  We will all be experiencing various degrees of quarantine (either self-imposed or frustratingly imposed upon us by others) but that doesn’t mean we can’t spend some of our “hunkering down” time in meaningful ministry.  Among the options?  Writing letters and cards.  Phone calls, especially to those who could use an uplifting word of encouragement.  Baking cookies or preparing in-home meals for seniors and others – even if the “social distancing” might mean you freeze them for later distribution.  You get the idea.  Look for opportunities and the Lord will provide them.

3) Be careful where you get your news.  A major reason for the panic being felt by the American public is because of the panic-heavy agenda promoted by the alarm-loving, leftist media.  So, for your own sakes as well as all of those in your sphere of influence, find the best (that is, fact-based) information on the virus and its effects.  My recommendations?  Power Line, The Federalist, Daily Signal, Fox News, the Stream and yes, the White House website.

And finally, and certainly not the least crucial, 4) Prayer.  However, this isn’t just a repetition of the theme as you’ll see it in the links I’m providing below.  No, here too I’d like to encourage you with a few practical helps.  For instance, connect your worries to quick prayers; that is, throughout the day, as you hear or read virus-related news items, pause and say a prayer.  But also take two or three times a day to more carefully pray for God’s deliverance, strength, and holy purposes to be revealed to mankind.  Thank Him for His sovereignty and wisdom.  Thank Him for the glorious and secure reality of heaven.  And pray that the crisis be a marvelous awakening of non-believers and backslidden Christians.  Other options?  Take a prayer walk.  Make a call and spend a few minutes in prayer with a friend.  Be a bright example to your kids of how to go confidently and joyfully before God in moments of trial.

Guys, the “Great Hunkering Down” doesn’t have to be the description of our lives in these next few weeks. Instead, it can be a time of spiritual peace, growth, and genuine accomplishment.  And, as we pursue holy purposes in this time of challenge, we are presenting a winsome witness to a frightened, confused world.  Let’s do it.

Those links?

1) A Calming Word During the Coronavirus by Joni Eareckson-Tada

2) A Calming Word During the Coronavirus by Sean McDowell

3) 3 Billy Graham Quotes to Help Fight Coronavirus Fears from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

4) Letter from Toronto: An Infectious Diseases Specialist Reflects on COVID-19 by Dr. Abdhu Sharkawy.

Friday, March 13, 2020

The "Musts" from the "Must Read" File

Okay, my "must read' list has been growing higher and higher in my bookmarks file until I finally got round to it this afternoon. The result? I've pared down the 38 "must reads" into the 8 "must must reads." How's that for discipline? Here they are, all of them articles of insight, eloquence, and practicality.

* "The Greatest Fear Is Fear Itself" (Conrad Black, American Greatness)

* "Abortion Industry To Supreme Court: Women Don’t Need Safety Standards When Their Wombs Are Being Scraped Out" (Margot Cleveland, Federalist)

* "'Trump Lies' -- And Other Misleading Statements We Are Fed" (Shane Idelman, The Stream)

* "How Bad Is Antisemitism In Europe? Surveys Suggest It’s Rampant" (Melissa Langsam Braunstein, Federalist)

* "How Democrats Get Away with Justifying Infanticide" (Alexandra DeSanctis, National Review)

* "California Is a Cruel Medieval State" (Victor Davis Hanson, American Greatness)

* "Setting the Record Straight on the Climate Debate" (Mark Mendlovitz, The Pipeline)

* "Obama’s Homeland Security IG Indicted On Fraud, Theft Charges" (Tristan Justice, Federalist)

Friday, March 06, 2020

The Next P.A.L. Night Is Coming Soon!

Hey -- mark your calendars.

The next Vital Signs Ministries letter-writing party (a terrific event proven over the last 35 years to be an effective way to advocate for pro-life and pro-family causes) will be held at Denny & Claire Hartford's home on Monday evening, March 23rd at 7:00 PM.

We provide letter targets, relevant information, stationary and cards, envelopes, stamps, and delicious treats to sustain your writing strength and uplift your spirits!

Interested in joining the team for this splendid outreach? Let us know!