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Peggy McCracken

Do you ever suffer

information overload?

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Information overload!!! That's what would show up on my screen if I had
one in my forehead. The past week has been hectic as heck.

You may recall I ran a little story two weeks ago asking for news
junkies to participate in a month-long survey on electronic publishing.
My phone started ringing as soon as that paper hit the street, and I
signed up everyone I needed right quick.

They've been getting all the news we receive from the Associated Press
daily - that is the news in English. We also have a Spanish wire that
has more interesting stories on it, but I haven't tried downloading
that. It's on another machine and I don't even know how to operate it.

Anyway, I've been dressing up the files in various ways to see which
makes it easier for them to read and to find out what style they prefer.
I've already gotten some good feedback and made improvements they
suggested. It's been fun, but oh my, so much work! I've had to slack off
on my regular work to do it, be¬ cause the wire news comes over in the
morning when we are putting today's paper together. I know Jon Fulbright is getting impatient with me. And Rosie and Mari may be a little tired of picking up the slack. But I appreciate all the cooperation.

What I'm doing is sending the disks out with that day's paper so they
can slip the disk in their computer and read it with the askSam Viewer supplied by my friends Mack and Bea McKinney of Perry, Fla. The program is another in a series they have sent me to write a review on, and I felt like the survey would help me evaluate the program. I was right.

The fun part of askSam is its variety and power. There's not much the
database won't do if you can learn all the ins and outs of it. I haven't
even scratched the surface with their DOS program, and Windows is even
more fascinating. I am learning Windows as I go. Before I'm through with
this survey, I hope to get on the Internet and download some stuff to
see how that works.

And of course, when I finish, I will share with you everything I have
learned. Aren't you excited?

The contact with other computer nuts has stimulated my brain, and I
would like to join the computer users group that formed last week at the
Pecos Chamber of Commerce office. I had two meetings to cover that night
so missed it. But I heard it was interesting.

Don't let anybody tell you an old dog can't learn new tricks.

"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Everything is
meangingless!." Eccl. 12:8 NIV

EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is an Enterprise writer and editor whose column appears each Tuesday.



Peggy McCracken

Watch what you say

in front of a camera

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Did you see the slam against our new federal courthouse on NBC News Wednesday? And on ABC's Nightline Pecos got a black eye once again, and next comes the New York Times. I happen to believe our lovely courthouse is not a boondoggle. But be that as it may, it makes a good story. Those out-of-town re¬ porters don't listen when you tell them about the 60-year-old courthouse that has cracks in the ceiling because it is falling into a hole in the ground and wiring that threatens to burn the place down. They pick out the "facts" that will get big headlines and ignore the rest. Even the New York Times reporter said as much.

I know how they think because I am one of them. But, having been the
victim of sloppy reporting, I am keenly aware of the damage it can do.
For example: Recently a reporter for the Fort Worth Star Telegram called
the Enterprise looking for someone who was here during the
Billie Sol Estes days. Since I am the only one old enough to know Billie
Sol personally, I was put on the spot. My better judgment told me to say
"No Comment," but I hate it when people do that to me. So I told her
about my experience with Billie Sol's hot checks.

We came to Pecos just after Billie Sol did, and I went to work for
Universal CIT Credit Corp., where we financed vehicles. Billie Sol had a
used Mercury (convertible?) financed there, and I had to send him late
notices every month. When he finally paid, the check usually bounced.

Well, comes the day Billie Sol pays off the balance of the note by
check and asks for the title. No, I say. We don't release the title on a
check. He left, but returned about an hour later and asked to talk to
the branch manager, Fred Vanderhoff. It was after banking hours, Billie
Sol explained, and he couldn't get cash.

"He's been named one of the top 10 young men in the nation," Fred
explained to me after Billie Sol left, title in hand.

"Well, he's just a deadbeat to me," I said.

The Fort Worth paper distilled that into one paragraph, but they
failed to mention that I was not the reporter who broke the Estes
story and won a Pulitzer prize for it. And the Associated Press sent the
story nationwide, so now everybody in the country thinks I did in poor
Billie Sol. I got a 21-page fax from a whistleblower in Fort Worth
wanting me to investigate Bell Helicopter. A software publisher who is
suing the Missouri Supreme Court suggested I might want to investigate
them. And an ex-reporter in Colorado wants me to investigate something
having to do with Mexico.

The moral to this story is: don't talk to strangers.

"Keep falsehood and lies far from me.." Proverbs 30:8a, NIV.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is an Enterprise writer and editor whose column appears each Tuesday.



Peggy McCracken

Improved diet keeps

muscles more flexible

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Arthritis is the leading cause of worker absenteeism. Hm. Wonder if I
could use that stiffness and pain as an excuse to stay home on days I
just don't want to work?

More than 37 million people of all ages in the United States suffer
from one of the more than 100 forms of arthritis, according to the Texas
Occupational Therapy Association Inc.

Early warning signs include persistent pain, tenderness or swelling
in one or more of the joints; joint stiffness in the morning that lasts
for more than two hours; and fatigue.

Now, this group wants you to hunt up an occupational therapist to
help you, and maybe you should. I know the right exercise helps and the
wrong exercise hurts, so you really do need to know which is best.

I have found that I can control my own pain with general exercise that
gets the blood flowing and keeps joints flexible. And I do exercises to
improve muscle strength. One problem I have is in the neck. If I fail to
get my twice-daily walk and neck exercises, it stiffens up and hurts
when I sit too long at the computer.

Lately, I've been getting stiff all over after just sitting or lying
down for a short time. But I seem to have found the remedy for that in
an improved diet.

Maybe it's my imagination, but the stiffness seems to have abated. I
know I have more energy and require less sleep.

Here are some tips for coping with arthritis:

* Relax your grip on objects by enlarging the handles on items you
use frequently, such as pens, knives, cooking pan, etc. Wrap foam, cloth
or tape around handles and secure with more tape.
* Replace round door knobs and faucets with more easily operated levers.
* Dial the telephone with a pencil rather than your finger.
* Use leg extenders to raise the height of your favorite chair so you
can get up more easily.
* Break one big job into several small chores.
* Plan your day to alternate between activity and rest.
* Maintain good body mechanics. Be conscious of your posture and never
lift objects with your back, always lift with your legs.
* Listen to your body. If something hurts, stop, stretch and rest.
* Sit down when possible. Use a barstool to sit on while cooking or
ironing. Do not sit for more than 30 minutes at a time. While watching
TV, stand during commercials.

"The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked
are cut short." Proverbs 10:27, NIV.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is an Enterprise writer and editor whose column appears each Tuesday.



By Peggy McCracken

Taking a look back

through eyes of friend

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Visiting with my ex-boss, O'Ferrall Pauly, and his wife Janet during
their recent return to Pecos did my heart good. First, it was good to
see them so healthy and full of life. Second, it was good to reminisce
about the years we spent at the «MDUL»Enterprise«MDNM» and to bring each
other up-to-date on our current situations.

Their grandparenthood is just in its infancy, while my oldest
granddaughter is planning to make me a great-grandmother in April. He
retired from the news business and travels all over the world, while I
trudge along the same old trails, kicking over the same old cow chips.

O'Farrell and I never did have much in common. He listened to Bach
while I struggled to play simple hymns on the piano. He poured his
energy into painting and refurbishing the office, working 16 hours a
day, while I laid out the paper, then went home as soon as it came off
the press. He took an interest in the community, helping to build a
new hospital and attract the Seventh Day Adventists to manage it. I
wrote about it. He got Alton Hughes to research and publish columns on
the history of Pecos. I edited the columns and have used the results
since. He served on the West of the Pecos Museum board and took an
active interest in its development. I took photos of the exhibits.

While they were here, O'Ferrall, Janet and their guest, Larry Beaton,
toured the museum. It's changed a lot since they were here, thanks to Mike Burkholder and a bunch of other people who scraped up more than $500,000 to open the third floor, add automatic lighting and lots of other good stuff.

I noticed that Mary Barfield has joined the museum staff, and I think
she will be a great asset. Of course, Genora Prewit and Dorinda Venegas
have done a super job for years and years.

Genora tells me that Dorinda "took good pictures all over town," took
them to Odessa to get them enlarged, and made an exhibit for the
Confederate Air Show in Midland. Mary Barfield took the exhibit over and
set it up for the Pecos Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, who manned it
during the show.

Maybe you saw the exhibit in the museum's booth at the Fall Fair. I
hope they will keep it on permanent display at the museum.

Pecos has so many talented and hard-working people. And new ones are
coming in all the time. Every one I talk to who has just moved here
talks about how friendly the people are. Ain't it the truth?

"Like cold water to a weary soul is good news froom a distant land.
Proverbs 25:25, NIV.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is an Enterprise writer and editor whose column appears each Tuesday.



Peggy McCracken

Rains leave their mark

with patches of mildew

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Sneezin' season is here!

Even if you aren't plagued with allergies, you are likely in the same
room with someone who is. Take pity on them. It's no fun to have itchy
eyes, runny nose, sinus drainage and sneeze after sneeze.

When I noticed last week that my sneezing was worse inside the house -
even with ragweed blooming all over my micro farm - I got suspicious of
the thick layer of dust on just about everything. It seemed to be worse
right in front of the air-conditioner vents. And it was greenish white powder.

Oh my Lord, I had a mildew invasion one summer, and it took me weeks to
move everything outside a little at a time, wash it with bleach water
and let the sun kill what spores the bleach didn't. This time, I caught
it before it got too bad. So far I've found two leather belts in the
off-season closet with small amounts of mildew growing. And white fuzzy
dots on the bottom of a chair and the inside of the doors on a storage

The big offender was my bathroom, which I habitually neglect until it
shouts that it needs a cleaning. When I cleaned it Saturday, I noticed
the fuzz on the floor rolled up into strings as I mopped. After I washed
all the bath mats in both bathrooms and shined the lavatories and commodes, dusted my office, bedroom and darkroom, and vacuumed out the air-conditioner ducts I could get to easily, my sneezing stopped.

That is, until I turned on the air conditioner three days later. I
checked the pads this past weekend and found them covered with green
gunk. Bleach took care of that, too.

I'm not telling you all this to remind you what a lousy housekeeper I
am. Rather, I want to alert you to the danger of mildew when the weather
is rainy like it has been lately. For the record, it rained on eight
days in September. That was spread out just enough to keep it humid all
through the middle of the month. If you have evaporative cooling, as I
do, the humidity is worse. If you're sneezing as you read this, look
around for greenish-white "dust." If it's growing, grab the bleach
bottle and the elbow grease.

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth more than
rubies...She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for
her tasks." Proverbs 31:10,17 NIV.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is an Enterprise writer and editor whose column appears each Tuesday.



By Peggy McCracken

Death frees spirit

from this earthly body

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I met Barbara Cooper in my first year as a reporter and Family Page
editor 24 years ago. She was an English teacher at East Pecos Junior
High (now Zavala 7th grade), and she also had a class on life skills for
girls. They fed me some cookies they had made in class.

That same year, I did a story about a shop class taught by Barbara's
husband, W.C. "Cat" Cooper. Both have long since retired, and she
re-joined my church a few years ago. She played the organ until a stroke
made it too much for her, and she was always cheerful and optimistic. It
was my privilege to play the organ for her funeral last week as family
and friends gathered to say goodbye.

Barbara went to a better place, and we should be happy for her even
while we miss her presence with us, Bro. James Sain said. Certainly,
he's right. As soon as her spirit broke free from that diseased body,
God ushered her into His heavenly home.

I've never had a problem believing that we who accept the free pardon
of sin offered by Jesus will be better off when we leave this old body.
The Bible says it quite plainly. Back when I was a freshman in college
(age 40), my philosophy prof scoffed at my beliefs about a soul that
would spend eternity in heaven. He went on and on about matter just
being a bunch of atomic particles swirling around. People, he said, are
made of the same matter that rocks and desks are made of.

Well, along comes a guy I never heard of who says much the same thing.
Only he believes that particulate matter forms not only the body, but
also the spirit and soul.

Dr. Richard Steinpach, in Why We Live After Death, has
described in detail just how it works. The real man is not his body, Dr.
Steinpach said. The real "self" is the spirit, and it is clothed in an
ethereal substance known as the soul.

Linking the mortal body and the soul is the "astral body," similar to
but different from the earthly body. Although the mortal, astral and
ethereal elements cannot fuse, they are held together by radiation
(those swirling atoms). When the earthly body is destroyed by disease or
weakened by old age, it loses its radiation power and falls away from
the spirit.

Those near-death experiences people tell about are when the mortal body
loses its radiation power and the astral body takes over, Steinpach
said. We've read about people traveling at the speed of light in that
astral body, then returning to the mortal body and coming back to life.

Maybe Steinpach is right, maybe not. But it's interesting to think

"He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live
together with him." 1 Thess. 5:10, NIV.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is an Enterprise writer and editor whose
column appears each Tuesday.

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