The Lumberton Gazette

Circus Comes to City Hall

Rachel Clark : February 22, 2014 2:38 pm : Lumberton Gazette, Politics, Spoofs

LUMBERTON – For a limited time only, a locally-based amateur circus is offering a free show at the Lumberton City Hall.

Featuring clowns, magicians, contortionists, and animals of all kinds, the circus is comprised of talented local folk. Visitors describe it as being a one-ring format, but with multiple performers and a variety of acts. Rumors have it that the show is purposefully in conjunction with Lumberton early voting.

Clowns, wearing brightly colored clothes and dramatic expressions, mingle with the crowd and even hand out trinkets, papers, and balloons.


A collection of clowns waits for guests at the City Hall’s temporary circus.

“Oh, they’re hilarious conversationalists! So talkative, so nonsensical, so fantastical—all this made up stuff, as if they were talking gibberish,” said Earl Boater, who had never voted early before. “It was definitely worth it.”

The contortionists were particularly well-liked, as one spectator described.

“The clowns and the magicians just gathered ‘round those bendy folks,” Betty Clark said, “Obviously they were the most popular of the performers.”

“They were stretching the physical bounds of reality and truth with the contortionist tricks. It was absolutely dazzling the way they could stretch, and if I didn’t know better, I’d say they didn’t have a backbone!” added Liz, a faithful early voter, “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

Magicians, many attendants say, were also quite stunning as they played tricks on early voters and curious onlookers.

“Pointed questions, riddles, muddy references, and so much more,” said Buddy, who isn’t old enough to vote yet, but found out because of his job at Dairy Queen close to City Hall. “I had the time of my life trying to understand them and the tricks. One day I’d like to learn how to do that.”

Children were advised, despite the otherwise kid-friendly show, to avoid the animals, quite a few of which had not been trained and were not caged. Parental guidance was suggested for the snake exhibits and dog show.

“Yeah, the prize pigs are sometimes prone to sling mud around,” said one circus performer, “I would stay away from them if you want to keep clean.”

If you or your family would like to visit the circus, it will make a reappearance on March 4 of this year, with a possible summer review, and the another performance in November.



Reaping What You Sow

Rachel Clark : February 10, 2014 7:23 pm : Columns, Lumberton Gazette, Rachel

What one gets at harvest-time depends on what one plants.

What one gets at harvest-time depends on what one plants.

Meghan is my pal, and I’m proud of that fact. She befriended me the very first time she met me; I cherish her friendship.

She is much younger than I am, but that matters little. I’ve never given much thought to my friends’ ages, much less chosen them because of their ages. For most of my life, I’ve adopted friends older than I am (sometimes old enough to be parents or grandparents).

My pal Meghan holds the same convictions about age. Imagine my delight when she presented me with a most precious gift, a Barbie-doll coat hanger, among other things, and a plastic zebra. It brought a smile to my face because I clearly recall giving similar gifts to my older friends when I was around her age. As my toy animals were very important (big emphasis on very) to me, it gave me an idea about how much this gift meant. Probably more than most things she could give.

It occurred to me that I’m reaping what I sowed—seeing the returns on my long-time investment, so to speak. Although my harvest will not be entirely good, it does bear witness to the fact that the little things come back to you. In my case, it came back to me on earth.

“You reap what you sow” is usually a solemnly interpreted phrase, something likely mentioned when a father corrects his son for misdeeds or irreparable harm has been inflicted on a friend.

I’ve noticed that the phrase has an almost universally negative connotation. The Bible has much to say about getting what you earn (check out Galatians 6:7, Job 4:8, Luke 6:38, Mark 4:24, and Proverbs 22:8, for instance). These verses are far from negative, although for some deeds and for some words, it can be taken as a warning.

Seemingly insignificant things, like baking cookies for a friend, sending a hand-written card in the mail, making a point of talking to someone, or giving gifts for no reason will not only make someone’s day, but will one day make yours–just like Meghan made my day.



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Icepocalypse Traumatizes Texans

Rachel Clark : January 25, 2014 9:54 am : Lumberton Gazette, News, Spoofs

Over three hundred Southeast Texans have ended up in the hospital due to the arctic weather that froze water on these flowers.

Over three hundred Southeast Texans have ended up in the hospital due to the arctic weather that froze water on these flowers.


SOUTHEAST TEXAS – A weather phenomenon so rare in Southeast Texas that it has been deemed a “once-in-a-century” occurrence, a trail of snow and ice left by a polar vortex has shut down must commerce and nearly all roads.


Most Texas residents have never experienced such inclement weather in their lives.


Long-time Lumberton resident Donna Wanto Becolde said, “It swept through here on Thursday night and Friday morning, and all the while it was basically a blizzard of snow and sleet and freezing rain. Approximately a quarter inch of frozen stuff bombarded the Lumberton area. It’s a wonder that I live to tell the tale.”


Texas law enforcement officers have been seeking out Southeast Texas residents to ensure that they were still alive in the 33 degree weather.


“Why, we was about to go swimming when all of a sudden, the temperature ducked below 72 degrees. I think my daughter might have gotten frostbite,” said a concerned Silsbee father, detailing the surprising beginning of the incident.


At least three casualties have been reported from the “icepocalypse” or “snowmageddon” – as inconvenienced and suffering Southeast Texas individuals have dubbed it.


“One man walked outside, and unbeknownst to him, the temperature was a lethal 49 degrees. His last words were ‘What is this feeling?’ as he collapsed to the sidewalk – by then strewn with cold raindrops,” said the man’s neighbor.


Despite the casualties, traffic disasters, and power outages associated with weather below freezing, most Southeast Texans have survived. Approximately three hundred have ended up in the hospital because of the weather. One woman suffered a heart attack after seeing a snow flurry.


Authorities have already assured citizens that counseling will be available to traumatized residents who have endured experiences that include the sensation of sleet falling on one’s head, being forced to turn the heater on, and other such uncalled-for cold weather problems.


“It’s far from over,” continued Donna Wanto Becolde, “We’ve still got a lot to deal with before the temperature returns to a reasonable average … I can’t remember having experienced a winter this cold.”


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Life in 2113: Accurate Predictions

Rachel Clark : November 20, 2013 5:13 pm : Lumberton Gazette, News

For hundreds of years, people have made predictions by analyzing data and attempting to trace trends. The rate of innovation, meanwhile, has astounded onlookers and shattered expectations: the founding fathers assumed it would take approximately a thousand years for civilization to reach the Pacific Ocean.

100 years from today, it's hard to predict what will be going on. But it is fairly certain that what you are reading will happen.

100 years from today, it’s hard to predict what will be going on. But it is fairly certain that what you are reading will actually happen.


For 2013 historians, guesses dating back to the 1930s or 1860s merely provide a good laugh (check out this 1930s video) If the best predictions are the funniest ones, it matters little how likely the situation may be or even if the situation is possible. The world of 2013 must maintain the tradition of ridiculous propositions for the future. The generations following ours need this article for reference – or at least for laughs.


Here are five predictions for the year 2113.


  1. The 19th century slapstick comedy series the “The Three Stooges” will be revered and recited just as Shakespeare is today. Entire theaters, built in period 1930s style, will be dedicated to remakes of the show; drama clubs will perform episodes as plays. Schoolchildren will be required to study the complicated and archaic language and vocabulary of the Stooges. Meanwhile, the incredible table manners of the stooges will inspire the 2113 MP – who will consider the three well-mannered and composed.


  1. Khan Academy, a free internet-based education resource for students, teachers, and the general public, has formulated an encouraging problems-for-points systems that is creating an online hierarchy based on the amount of points earned and subjects mastered. When the economy collapses, the KhanAcademy elite will rule the world with their points, establishing a plexus that explains the Star Trek world’s desertion of actual money.


  1. In 2113, the average earth family will have two or three space shuttles. If the husband and wife have jobs on different planets, probably more than two or three. Depending on how many children (and if they also have jobs) the family may even own a starship variant.


  1. Only the 2113 equivalents of 2013 rocket scientists and nuclear physicists will know, or even need to know, pre-algebra. Advanced mathematics will be tended to by iPhones and homeschoolers.


  1. Texas will have formed its own Republic, eventually taking over the entire world. By 2015, the Republic will have been established and will be ruled by President Chuck Norris and Vice-President Ted Cruz. By 2023, the Republic will conquer Europe and the remainder of the U.S. In 2025, the Republic of Texas will give China (existing until 2029)  New Jersey, California, and Greece. This will lead to the collapse of the rogue country, and Texas at that time will claim the rest of the world. Yankees that cling to their traditional noncompliance will be exiled to a large labor camp in what was once New Jersey.
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Halloween’s Folly

Rebekah Hair : October 30, 2013 12:19 pm : Columns, Lumberton Gazette, Rebekah

Halloween: maybe one of the most disputed holidays of the American Nation.( except maybe Earth Day) With its origins in paganism and its prevalence today, many Christians try to avoid it. After all, it’s a holiday basically in worship of Satan, a day when demons supposedly had the run of the place before All Saints Day when they were driven out. The poor frightened peasants thought that disguises would keep the demons from recognizing them and hurting them.

Now, for small children it is a day for dressing up as either good creatures or foul. (Plus the chance to get free candy.) For older children cruel, dangerous, and even criminal activities are thought of as good fun. It is still a day of darkness and of terror — at least for cat owners. If nothing else, the holiday treats cats the same way it treats monsters, not as the cute, furry pets they are. Because this is a kid-friendly site I’m not going into any more detail.

On Halloween, it is deemed great fun to torment and hurt friendly animals like this one.

On Halloween, it is deemed great fun to torment and hurt friendly animals like this one.

Is it harmless? No way! Is it evil? I would say yes; others would disagree. But what did Paul say in Ephesians? Ephesians 5:11 deals with the works of darkness, and Paul says something very interesting. “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Expose them!

You know what that means. Bring them to the light. Examine them. Show their true colors. Again, in verses 13-14:

“But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,

and arise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.””

So that’s the thing. Don’t take part of this celebration. Do research. Spread the truth. And Christ will shine on you.

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Without The Cacophony

Rachel Clark : October 28, 2013 4:05 pm : Lumberton Gazette, News

Working in a Congressional Office can be challenging. Fast-paced, sometimes hectic, and almost always noisy, Congressman Steve Stockman’s Washington D.C. Office holds many different opportunities for many types of people – including those who cannot hear the usual office cacophony.


Even though they cannot hear, deaf interns come to work with a cheerful attitude, strong work ethic, and big dreams. The interns skillfully feed information into databases, read and sort constituent mail, research legislation, run errands, and much more – their only limitation their inability to answer phone calls. However, many interns are adamant that not answering phone calls is an enormous benefit: “no angry constituents or difficult callers, and no distracting office environment.”


Matthew Bennett (on the left) with two other deaf interns at Congressman Stockman's office.

Matthew Bennett (on the left) with two other deaf interns at Congressman Stockman’s office.

Matthew Bennett, the data-entry team leader, is optimistic, and very motivated: “When I first started working here a month ago, I did data entry and very low level work. However, because I was very dedicated and motivated despite the repetitive work, they decided to test me by assigning me to do a complicated Access database development. After I completed the project and several others, I was promoted to data-entry team leader and now manage a team of interns.”


Matthew manages and works with other deaf interns – “I enjoy working here, because I get to build my managerial experience,” he said.


In addition to his full time internship, Matthew attends college at night, full time and will graduate this December with a perfect GPA.


“Before working here, I worked for the Department of Defense for several years … as a Data Management specialist. After working there, I decided that I want to spend the rest of my life working in government … I decided to get my Masters in Public Administration in order to obtain a supervisory position,” Matthew continued, “After my internship is over I would like to pursue a career here in Congress or go back to the Department of Defense in a … position with high level responsibilities.”


“Due to limited and substandard education for deaf children available in Tennessee when I was a young child, my mother decided to uproot her entire family and relocate to Colorado to ensure I receive an exceptional education,” He said. “If it was not for my mother’s courageous and momentous decision to relocate despite of so many unknowns, I fear I probably would be living in a trailer park and living off on welfare.”


Despite enormous obstacles (some from society and some from people) Matthew has pursued his ambitions and remains an inspiration for others, deaf or not, in the office.


Working together and communicating through sign language, the interns are dedicated to their duties. Many of them aspire to careers in Washington. Allara, who knows two languages and is currently studying at GallaudetUniversity, would like to work for the United Nations. Lily says she would like to either work full time at Congressman Stockman’s office or find a job related to information technology. Greg would like to start a business of his own, providing administration services to non-profit organizations.


Congressional internships not only offer valuable experience in the legislative process, they provide a chance to become familiar with typical office proceedings. Meeting leaders and learning how to become one as well, these interns are overcoming significant challenges to achieve their goals.


Interning with Congressman Stockman in particular offers special opportunities to deaf interns.


“My favorite part of working here is the friendly people and learning experiences.” Greg said.


“My first impression of Congressman Stockman was that he is a very approachable man, kind to everyone regardless of their position,” Matthew concluded. “This is a very important part of being a leader. Everything he has done since the first day I met him clearly demonstrates his exceptional leadership.”


George Washington’s Hoecakes

Rachel Clark : October 24, 2013 8:16 pm : Lumberton Gazette, The Chaotic Kitchen


President Washington had a good taste in breakfast foods.

President Washington had a good taste in breakfast foods.

Here is George Washington’s breakfast of choice: hoecakes. The recipe is a tad hard to follow, but you can manage. It’s a slightly modernized adaptation.


  • 8 3/4 cups white cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • Warm water
  • Shortening or other cooking grease
  • Honey & Butter


In large container, mix together 4 cups white cornmeal, 1 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast, and enough warm water to give the mixture the consistency of pancake batter (probably 3-4 cups). Cover and set on the stove or counter overnight.


In the morning, gradually add remaining cornmeal, egg and enough warm water to give the mixture the consistency of pancake batter (3-4 cups). Cover and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes.


Add cooking grease to a griddle or skillet and heat until water sprinkled onto it will bead up.


Pour batter, by the spoonful, onto the hot griddle. (Note: since the batter has a tendency to separate, you will need to stir it well before pouring each batch.) When the hoecake is brown on one side, turn it over and brown the other. Serve warm with butter and honey.


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To Boldly Edit

Rachel Clark : October 17, 2013 5:20 pm : Lumberton Gazette

Will the rules have changed in a couple of centuries?

“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”


Any fan of  Star Trek will recall William Shatner reading these words at the beginning of every TOS episode. However, Grammar Nazis have been recollecting something far different about the Original Series: a grammatical blunder of immense (most of us would say diminutive) proportions.


To go is a basic example of an infinitive, perhaps known to schoolchildren as the most easily identified verbal. However, if one learns about infinitives, one must also learn about their usage: because infinitives are counted as a single word, inserting a word into an infinitive would be obviously incorrect.


The phrase to boldly go is errant on the same grounds that exp boldly lore would be incorrect. Modifying adjectives can be placed in a variety of locations, but not in the middle of the word. This is why Grammar Nazis call this error a split infinitive. 


The duty of Grammar Nazis: to boldly edit where most people don’t want to even go.



Garlic Green Beans

Rachel Clark : October 13, 2013 4:11 pm : Lumberton Gazette, The Chaotic Kitchen

This green bean recipe is a favorite at the Outpost. We hope you enjoy it, too:

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pound of green beans, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce (optional)

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add salt and green beans; cook for 3 minutes, until tender but still somewhat crisp. Drain.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add oil and swirl pan to coat. Add green beans and cook, stirring frequently, until spotted with brown – after that, cook for a couple minutes more. Make a well in the center of the pan and add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Stir continuously until fragrant (about 30 seconds) and then mix together with the green beans. Stir in the soy sauce, if you’re using it. Serve immediately.

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Flakey Biscuits

Rachel Clark : October 8, 2013 8:20 pm : Lumberton Gazette, The Chaotic Kitchen

Homemade biscuits are about the best-tasting thing a person can eat for breakfast. Here’s a special recipe for them:

Sift the following ingredients together in a large mixer bowl:

  • 4 cups soft whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Whip in 1 cup of chilled butter in small chunks. Mix in 1 1/2 cups milk.

In this recipe you won’t want to mix very much after adding the milk, or else you could end up with a tough biscuit that does not rise enough. Heat your oven to 375 degrees.

Roll the biscuit dough into proportionate balls and flatten them to about 2 inches thick. Don’t be afraid to put them close together. Bake for 11 minutes, and serve with butter and honey.

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One Comment

  1. I love it! Good dog, Coming right up!

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