All posts by Joshua

The bear that fought in War World II

Ok – I saw this article and couldn't pass it up! Laughing You all have to check out this of a bear that fought along side Polish troops in the Middle East and Europe. It's pretty cool. Cool[@more@]

Honour sought for 'Soldier Bear'

Voytek the bear – Picture courtesy Imperial War Museum
Voytek was billeted in the Borders (Imperial War Museum)

Archive footage
A campaign has been launched to build a permanent memorial to a bear which spent much of its life in Scotland – after fighting in World War II.

The bear – named Voytek – was adopted in the Middle East by Polish troops in 1943, becoming much more than a mascot.

The large animal even helped their armed forces to carry ammunition at the Battle of Monte Cassino.

Voytek – known as the Soldier Bear – later lived near Hutton in the Borders and ended his days at Edinburgh Zoo.

He was found wandering in the hills of Iran by Polish soldiers in 1943.

He liked a cigarette, he liked a bottle of beer – he drank a bottle of beer like any man
Augustyn Karolewski

They adopted him and as he grew he was trained to carry heavy mortar rounds.

When Polish forces were deployed to Europe the only way to take the bear with them was to "enlist" him.

So he was given a name, rank and number and took part in the Italian campaign.

He saw action at Monte Cassino before being billeted – along with about 3,000 other Polish troops – at the army camp in the Scottish Borders.

The soldiers who were stationed with him say that he was easy to get along with.

"He was just like a dog – nobody was scared of him," said Polish veteran Augustyn Karolewski, who still lives near the site of the camp.

Voytek the bear – Picture courtesy Imperial War Museum
The bear travelled with troops (Picture: Imperial War Museum)

"He liked a cigarette, he liked a bottle of beer – he drank a bottle of beer like any man."

When the troops were demobilised, Voytek spent his last days at Edinburgh Zoo.

Mr Karolewski went back to see him on a couple of occasions and found he still responded to the Polish language.

"I went to Edinburgh Zoo once or twice when Voytek was there," he said.

"And as soon as I mentioned his name he would sit on his backside and shake his head wanting a cigarette.

"It wasn't easy to throw a cigarette to him – all the attempts I made until he eventually got one."

Voytek was a major attraction at the zoo until his death in 1963.

Eyemouth High School teacher Garry Paulin is now writing a new book, telling the bear's remarkable story.

'Totally amazing'

Local campaigner Aileen Orr would like to see a memorial created at Holyrood to the bear she says was part of both the community and the area's history.

She first heard about Voytek as a child from her grandfather, who served with the King's Own Scottish Borderers.

"I thought he had made it up to be quite honest but it was only when I got married and came here that I knew in fact he was here, Voytek was here," she said.

"When I heard from the community that so few people knew about him I began to actually research the facts.

"It is just amazing, the story is totally amazing."

Strange kitten leaps out of man's luggage

A KITTEN survived a plane trip halfway across the United States after accidentally ending up in a suitcase, a newspaper reported overnight.

Seth Levy's suitcase, in which 10-month-old tabby Gracie Mae stowed away, was mistakenly picked up by the wrong person after a 2 1/2 hour plane trip from Fort Lauderdale in Florida to Dallas-Fort Worth airport in Texas.

But the man who took the suitcase called the kitten's Florida home and spoke to Mr Levy's wife, Kelly, of Palm Beach Gardens, and agreed to hold the cat until her husband could pick it up, the Sun-Sentinel newspaper said.

"Hi, you're not going to believe this, but I am calling from Fort Worth, Texas. And I accidentally picked up your husband's luggage, and when I opened the luggage a cat jumped out," Mr Levy recalled the man telling her on the phone. – From correspondents in Miami: January 23, 2008 04:43am

You got to wonder…how did the baggage sceeners miss a live cat?

"Hey George, you got to see this! Some nutcase is has a skeleton in his bag!"

"Really?! Let me see!"

"What do you think we should do? Report it?"

"Are you crazy?! That would mean four extra hours of work! Dude, I don't what your talking about – 'cause, I didn't see that thing!"


Help, there's a body in the home I'm robbing!

A BERLIN burglar's break-in took an unexpected turn when he stumbled upon a corpse and felt compelled to call the police.

"He called to say he'd just broken into a flat and found a dead body," said a spokeswoman for Berlin police Thursday. "He gave the address of the place and then hung up."

Officers discovered the 64-year-old resident of the flat dead in his bedroom. The man had passed away about two weeks ago, and authorities are not treating the death as suspicious.

The burglar has not been heard of since. Local media said he fled the apartment empty-handed, but police could not confirm this., January 18, 2008 11:23am 

 For those with a calendar, I posted this on January 22nd – but since I had a lot of other news to share with you all… I decided to postpone the article until the 27th.  

Pure Sex: God's Way Life Fellowship in Orange Park, Florida found a new way to get people into the pews: advertise using sexually 'charged' billboards.  Full article here

The good news – it worked! The pastor specially mentioned that church attendance has increased since the billboards hit the streets. Note that the signs are promoting a new sermon series about "Pure Sex: God's Way".   

However, not everyone is happy with the billboards (as one might of guess). [interesting enough, I found an online political forum talking about this story..]

My view: cool. The church needs to be talking about sex – and putting it on a billboard to bring in new folks – brilliant. Smile

A Quote from Bede

Some people like CS Lewis, others like Stephen King – still others prefer Shakespeare (these are the folks hanging around the shawdows of society). Me – I like Bede.

Who? Did you say that dreaded three letter word?!!! Be still my heart – do not fail me now – for some people have not culture or knowledge of the finer things in life (possum pie anyone?)

Bede – otherwise know as the Venerable Bede (sidenote – how cool would it be to have a name like Venerable Josh? or Venerable Ardell?) – was seventh century monk who wrote the first history book about the British Isles. His book, A History of the English Church and People, written in 731 AD is one of the five most influential books I’ve ever read (yeah – it’s that good).

Now, I must leave – yet, before I go, please enjoy a piece of wisdom from Bede:

“For if history records good things of good men, the thoughtful hearer is encouraged to imitate what is good; or if it records evil of wicked men, the good, religious listener or reader is encouraged to avoid all that is sinful and perverse, and to follow what he knows to be good and pleasing to God.”


Do I have to LISTEN? A brief looking into a world of history

For those of you who don’t know me (ok – let’s face it, if your reading this, you already know me…and are probably wounding if it’s too late to deny all knowledge of the being named Ardell), I like missions history – especially as it deals with early church history. As such, I have been studying the topic off-and-on for the last eight or nine years. At different times throughout those years I have found folks (I believe the number is six) who actually enjoyed listening/talking about this subject.

Well, to the relief of my wife and all sane beings in Idaho, the Good Lord (who is also probably tired of hearing me talk) allows me to co-teach a class about the subject.

Yelp – I am now teaching a class about Missions History, World Religion and Cross Culture Adaptation to fifteen VCOM (Vineyard College of Mission) students. Seeing that the class is mandatory, they have to show up ever week! (Now if they would only stay awake...)

Now I know you are all dieing to know what I’m teaching this poor blessed students. As such, I have posted part of my outline for last week below for you all to drool over. Lord willing, I will continue to post more information about the class was we work are way through this semester (hold on, stop! Slow down – poking your eyes out won’t solve anything… you don’t have to keep reading if you don’t want too. That’s right; put the folk back on the table. Thank you).


I) Apostolic Period: 33-95 AD

a. The Apostles – forced out of Jerusalem in 70 AD

i. Thomas – India

ii. Simon the Canaanite– Africa and Britain

iii. Simon Peter – Samaria; Roman; other places?

iv. Bartholomew – Armenia and India

v. John – Asia Minor (modern day Turkey)

vi. Andrew – North between the Caspian and Black Seas

vii. Matthew – Ethiopia, Egypt

viii. Philip –Asia Minor (modern day Turkey)

ix. James the son of Alphaeus – Spain?

II) Post Apostolic 95-313 AD

a. J. Herbert Kane, A Concise History of the Christian World Mission (1987)

“Coming to the second and third centuries we find that information regarding the expansion of the Christian church is even more meager. We read of large and influential churches in Alexandria, Carthage, and Edessa; but we do not know when or by whom they were established. Here again there are wide gaps in our knowledge. It would seem that Christianity continued to spread along the main roads and rivers of the empire: eastward by way of Damascus and Edessa into Mesopotamia; southward through Bosra and Petra into Arabia; westward though Alexandria and Carthage into North Africa; and northward through Antioch into Armenia, Pontus, and Bithynia. Later still it reached Spain, Gaul, and Britain before crossing the borders of the empire into more remote parts such as Ireland, Ethiopia, and China.”

b. Pantaens of Alexandria went to India in 180 AD (found a church founded by Bartholomew)

c. Gregory the Illuminator – Missionary to Armenia

i. Converted Armenian’s King, King Tiridates

ii. Still exists – one of the oldest churches in Christendom

iii. New Testament first appeared in the Armenian language in 410 AD

III) Christianity become corrupt: 313-500 AD

a. Key Dates

i. Conversion of Emperor Constantine (323 AD)

1. Christianity when from the tombs to the palace almost overnight

2. People became ‘Christianity’ for political reasons, not because of a personal faith.

ii. Christianity becomes the “official” religion of the Roman Empire

It is Our Will that all the people We rule shall practice that religion which the divine Peter the Apostle transmitted to the Romans. We shall believe in the single Deity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, under the concept of equal majesty and of the Holy Trinity. We command that those persons who follow this rule shall embrace the name of Catholic Christians. The rest, however, whom We adjudge demented and insane, shall sustain the infamy of heretical dogmas, their meeting places shall not receive the name of churches, and they shall be smitten first by divine vengeance and secondly by the retribution of Our own initiative, which We shall assume in accordance with divine judgment.

Emperor Theodosius 380 AD

b. Patrick, missionary to Ireland (389? – 461?)

i. Evangelical Celtic believer from Britain (not connected to the Roman Church)

ii. Father was a ‘deacon’; Grandfather was a priest in the Celtic church

iii. Patrick did not become a believer until he was captive by an Irish raiding party and became a slave in Ireland

iv. Escaped after 6 years; went to Gaul to study; in 432 AD went back to Ireland as a missionary

v. Changed Ireland for God

vi. Unlike Roman Catholics, Patrick and the Celtic missionaries that followed placed a lot of emphasis on spiritual growth.

c. Frumentius – missionary to Ethiopia

i. Going to India with his uncle and a friend

ii. Seized by pirates in the Red Seas; sold as slaves to the King of Ethiopia

iii. Became the virtual ruler of Ethiopia upon kings death; ruled on behalf of the kings son, Ezana

iv. When the new king was old enough, Frumentius and his friend was set free; went to Alexandria

v. Commissioned as a bishop and returned as a missionary

vi. Converted Ezana to Christianity

vii. Ethiopian church is the only African church that was not conquered by Islam

Orange or Camo? Part 2

Due to popular demand (and a strong warning from my wife including the words: "couch", "dog house", "below zero weather"), I have decided to always wear hunters orange. Yelp – that's me – the model of modern man in orange camo. Tongue out

(Note from The Editor: Please note that my client's wife did not say any of the above words or making any known threats. My client has a history of mental instability and manufactures conversations within his mind. In other words, Em – please to not be upset with my client as he knows not what he does. Thank you.)


Elk, Deer and Wolves, Oh My!

You know you're out west when your neighbors start talking about sighting wolves and elk. And I'm not talking about "Hey Bob, I saw an elk three years ago when I drove through Yellowstone." 

I'm talking about: "George, four elk cows crossed by the barn this morning with a pair of wolves on their tails. If I had my gun…."

That's rights folks – this is Idaho. Not the pansy, city-slicking treasure valley – this is Sweet, Idaho – where critters run wild and wolves are a plenty.

Now, if only I didn't have to walk outside every morning in the dark….  Undecided


Orange or Camo?

Twelve years ago while in Oklahoma I took a hunter education course with the hopes of becoming an elephant hunter in deepest Africa (think about it – big gun, big man-eating, half mad animals and a three ton mass moving in high gear towards you. What's not to love?).  Due to unforeseen circumstances (mainly the inability to locate a big enough gun), I laid down my ambitions to brave the jungles of Africa (now I just want to seek the huge 7-ton half mad critters without a gun… I must be getting loco in my old age).

To date my biggest hunting accomplishment has been the dropping of a huge, 25-ton bird with a single shot (note from the editor: Please forgive the ramblings of my client, things always seem larger the older one gets. This so-called "25-ton bird" was a poor innocent quail who was trying to survive in a cruel world).  However, this amazing accomplishment of marksmanship will soon be replaces as I have now passed the Idaho Hunters Education Program. Yes – soon, I, Ardell – dreaded marksmanship of three states, will be combing over the wild mountains of Idaho looking for red meat (Another note from the editor: We apologize for the rude comments of our client. We recognize the rights of all Vegan and Vegetarians).

Only one choice remains to be answered before danger is released into the hills of Sweet: do I wear orange or camo?[@more@]