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A man in Topeka, Kansas decided to write a book about churches around the country.

He started by flying to San Francisco and started working east from there.

Going to a very large church he began taking photographs and making notes. He spotted a golden telephone on the vestibule wall and was intrigued with a sign which read "$10,000 a minute."

Seeking out the pastor he asked about the phone and the sign. The pastor answered that this golden phone is, in fact, a direct line to Heaven and if he pays the price he can talk directly to God. The man thanked the pastor and continued on his way.

As he continued to visit churches in Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, Milwaukee, and around the United States, he found more phones, with the same sign, and the same answer from each pastor.

Finally, he arrived in the lovely mountains of South Carolina. Upon entering a church, behold, he saw the usual golden telephone. But THIS time, the sign read "Calls: 25 cents." Fascinated, he asked to talk to the pastor.

"Reverend, I have been in cities all across the country and in each church I have found this golden telephone and have been told it is a direct line to Heaven and that I could talk to God, but, in the other churches the cost was $10,000 a minute. Your sign reads 25 cents a call. Why?"

The pastor, smiling benignly, replied, "Son, you're in the South now, and it's a local call."

Submitted by Andy, Gettysburg, Pa.

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Sixteen Things That it Took Me 50 Years to Learn
  • You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight-savings time.
  • You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.
  • The most powerful force in the universe is gossip.
  • The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above-average drivers.
  • There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven.
  • There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
  • People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
  • If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."
  • The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to annoy people who are not in them.
  • If there really is a God who created the entire universe with all of its glories, and He decides to deliver a message to humanity, He WILL NOT use, as His messenger, a person on cable TV with a bad hairstyle.
  • You should not confuse your career with your life.
  • A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.
  • No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.
  • When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy.
  • Your friends will love you anyway.
  • Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

Submitted by Sister Wink, the Bronx, NY

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Changing the Channel

By Thomas Friedman

As the fighting between Israelis and Palestinians has intensified, I've found it increasingly impossible to watch TV news. Lately, whenever Middle East stories come on CNN or MSNBC, I reach for the remote and switch to the Golf Channel. Everyone needs a break from the all too real suffering that surrounds this story.

I happened to mention this in a chat with Jim Bouton, the former Yankees pitcher and author of "Ball Four." Mr. Bouton says he's had the same reaction, and as we talked we came up with 10 reasons for why the Golf Channel is actually the perfect antidote to Middle East news:

  1.  All the commentators, particularly the instructors, on the Golf Channel actually know what they're talking about, and no one on the Golf Channel is identified by the phony and meaningless title of "Terrorism Expert." Indeed, the only spin you see on the Golf Channel comes from Titleist and Nike golf balls. You have to perform your way onto the Golf Channel - you don't get on through a P.R. firm or by running for president and losing or by having been part of the O. J. trial.
  2. There's no religion on the Golf Channel. The only time God or Jesus Christ is mentioned is in anger after somebody hits a bad shot. Or when someone wins a tournament and thanks the Almighty One for his/her assistance.
  3. There is no history on the Golf Channel and no arguments about history. As with golf itself, it doesn't really matter what you did yesterday on the Golf Channel; every day starts with a fresh slate. Indeed, success in golf requires that you erase the history of what you did yesterday and focus only on today's round. In golf, unlike Arab-Israeli politics, the future always buries the past - the past doesn't bury the future.
  4. There are long, glorious silences on the Golf Channel. nd the commentators who cover their events - rather than shouting at each other across a split screen - actually spend a lot of their air time whispering, so as not to disturb the players. Nobody interrupts anybody on the Golf Channel.
  5. There are no uniforms on the Golf Channel - only golf shirts with swooshes, alligators and umbrellas - because, refreshingly, the players there represent only themselves and their achievements, not cities, countries or religions. Also, the only flags waved on the Golf Channel are green, with the numbers 1 through 18 on them (except during the European-American Ryder Cup matches).
  6. On the Golf Channel, no one blames another country for everything bad that happens to them. In golf, you alone are responsible for what happens to you. No whining is allowed on the Golf Channel. Your ball ended up in a divot or took a crazy bounce? Too bad, that's golf - that's life. Unlike on CNN, Fox or MSNBC, where guests can wail that whatever went wrong was caused by some conspiracy, on the Golf Channel they tell you to get over it and move on.
  7. On the Golf Channel the only "settlements" are "fairway condos," and "the right of return" is what you ask for after you've played Augusta for the first time. The only bunkers on the Golf Channel are the kind you need a sand wedge to blast out of, not a bazooka. And the only time the Middle East makes the Golf Channel is in March, when the Dubai Desert Classic and Qatar Masters are played in the Persian Golf, err, I mean, Persian Gulf.
  8. The Golf Channel is devoted to a game that respects rules and clearly defines what is inbounds and what is out of bounds. Unlike in the Middle East, where it seems that all the parties cheat as much as they can get away with, in golf you are expected to call penalties on yourself. On the Golf Channel, there are real consequences for cheating, lying or breaking the rules: no one will play with you or have you on the air. In the Middle East, the more outrageously you behave, the more likely you are to be elected to high office or invited to appear on "Crossfire." 9. On the Golf Channel people want to beat up the course, not one another. It's man (and woman) against nature and man against himself, but not man against man.
  9. No one on the Golf Channel is afraid of compromise or change. On the contrary, golf is a game where the very best players engage in never-ending self-criticism, self-reflection and self-correction, constantly adapting to changes in courses, conditions or age. That's all they talk about on the Golf Channel. The best golfers spend a lot of time looking at themselves in the mirror to check their swings - unlike in the Middle East, where self-reflection and self-criticism seem to be as common as a three-hump camel.

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