Seniors event is gearing up in Fairview Heights

News-DemocratAugust 9, 2013 

In the past, Fairview Heights has put on a senior picnic every September at Moody (Longacre) Park. I called the city's parks department, but they said they had turned it over to someone else this year and did not know if it would continue. So, will it? My senior group, Young at Hearts, look forward to it! -- Doris Smith, of Collinsville

Tell your frisky young-at-hearters to shine up their party shoes, because Lydia Cruez is finally ready to boogie.

The former alderwoman says the city changed a few rules this year, causing her to spend extra time organizing your senior soiree. But now with all her i's dotted and the insurance purchased (thanks to groups and businesses stepping up to the financial plate), she's ready to help you party hearty.

This year's picnic will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 11 at Moody Park at Longacre Drive and Ruby Lane. You'll be treated to free popcorn, coffee, donuts and ice cream along with bingo, attendance prizes and music by St. Clair County bailiff (and popular area entertainer) Forest Bevineau.

The only thing you'll have to spring for is the lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs and other picnic fixins, but, at $3 or so, it won't break the bank, so just get ready to enjoy another fun get-together.

Incredible, but false: My recent trivia question about the longest and shortest verses in the Bible prompted Burton Stumpf to send me a fascinating piece of Bible trivia.

According to a church newsletter he once read, the shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 117 while the longest is Psalm 119. Amazingly, the very center chapter of the Bible is Psalm 118 with 594 chapters before and 594 after.

Even more amazing, according to the article, if you multiply 594 times two, you come up with 1,188. And guess which verse is at the very center of the Bible? Psalm 118:8! And what does that verse say? "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man" -- one of the Bible's core messages in a nutshell.

Not only that, but the verse is 14 words long -- or two times seven, a number of spiritual perfection. And, the middle two words of the verse (and, thus, the Bible) are "the Lord." Absolutely astounding -- if it were only true.

Please don't hate me, Mr. Stumpf, but you know the Answer Man always has to look every gift submission in the mouth. And even though these "facts" continue to make the rounds in widely circulated emails and even on religious websites, they are largely wrong, so help me God.

Here's the proof: Yes, the shortest chapter is Psalm 117 (2 verses), the longest chapter is Psalms 119 (176), and there are 1,189 chapters in the King James, which would leave 594 chapters before and after the middle one.

But here's where that popular misconception runs into trouble. There are 478 chapters through the book of Job. That means the middle chapter -- No. 595 -- would be Psalm 117, not 118.

The alleged center verse is even more off. Now, admittedly, there are different verse counts floating around. I've seen everything from 31,000 to 31,175. But no matter which one of those you use, the center verse apparently still would wind up somewhere between Psalm 101 and 105.

However, if we sort of split the difference and choose 31,102, an oft-quoted figure, I can leave you with these middle verses from Psalm 103:1-2, which are no less comforting: "Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits."

Hot jams: People who can't get their fill of bluegrass music need to make their way to Millersburg (East Pierron), Terri Weiss tells me.

Every Sunday from 4:30 to 9 p.m., Joe and Rhonda Rench apparently put on a hootenanny at the Millersburg General Store at 613 Illinois Route 143, south of Pocahontas.

"They have some awesome players and singers that show up," Weiss says.

You might want to call 669-2155 to confirm.

Another reader suggests checking out Old Salt Union, a NEWgrass group that plays frequent local concerts. They'll be at Lindenwood Sept. 4 and Seven's in Belleville Sept. 15, according to the band's schedule at oldsaltunion.com.

Today's trivia

What was the most expensive silent film ever made (prior to 2011, that is)?

Answer to Thursday's trivia: People around the world get excited when Halley's Comet passes near Earth every 75 years or so. Well, when the ancient Greeks saw Halley's (or some other similar object) the long, beautiful tail apparently reminded them of a woman's long hair, flowing out behind her in the wind. So, they called such objects "kometes," literally meaning "wearing long hair" from "kome" for "hair." The word turned into the Latin "cometes," the Middle English "comete" and, finally, the present-day word for the icy balls that orbit our sun.

Send your questions to Roger Schlueter, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427 or rschlueter@bnd.com or call 239-2465.

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