Janice Hall Heck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the month “September, 2012”

Bike MS: City to Shore, September 29, 2012

How many miles can you ride your bike? 25? 45? 76? 100? 150?

Participants in the 2012 Bike MS City to Shore had their choice of routes and miles, but whichever route they chose, they rode with enthusiasm. After pedaling on local back roads through the beautiful countryside of Southern New Jersey with its charming small towns, woodsy areas, Pine Barrens, blueberry fields, bird-filled marshes, the riders finally reached the last two daunting, muscle-challenging hills: the Delores Cooper Bridge and the Ocean City-Longport Bridge. After that, it was an easy ride to the finish line at Fifth Street in Ocean City, NJ.

The final hill, the Ocean City-Longport Bridge

Over 7000 riders (hearsay says 7,700), took on the MS challenge and raised a whopping $4,632,383.29 towards the event goal of $5,200,000.00. Funds will continue to come in over the next few weeks.

Many corporations (Merck, Pfizer, Teva, Novacare, Bank of America, Johnson and Johnson, Campbells V-8, UPHS/PENN, and others), places of worship, organizations, cycling clubs, schools, and individuals participated in this bike-a-thon.

An enthusiastic crowd gathered at the Fifth Street finish line to welcome the tired bikers and make noise with their bam-bams.

Campbell’s V-8 bikers walked their bikes to the staging area after completing the race.

I must admit that I did not ride 75 miles or even 10 miles, but I did volunteer in the VIP Chicken Tent all day along with other Krewe du Kroey family members. A team of volunteers prepped 1300 bbq chicken dinners for VIP riders (riders who have raised over $1000 each). The highest individual fundraiser, rider Phillip Cooper, reportedly raised $23,041, with Andrea Rosenthal following close behind with $20.003.  Virtual participants joined in, too.  Jack Beiter raised $14,760 and Beth Malikowski raised $3,490.

The Krewe du Kroey volunteers for this event every year. Some family members have volunteered for this event for more than ten years. Younger members of the family join right in and work along side the adults.

Maddie (10), MiMi (7), and friend separated and repackaged dinner rolls in preparation for the food line. Mom supervised. Maddie was our most enthusiastic supporter of the bikers. Later, as she placed cups of cole slaw on the chicken platters, she offered continuous encouragement to riders. “Great job riders.” “Thanks for riding.” “Congratulations, riders, you finished a great race.” What a treat to work with her.

The King of Chicken BBQ and his faithful friend, Wallace the Chicken    www.javelincaterers.com

The chef’s assistants cut chickens.

Volunteers plated up the chicken dinners for the hungry VIP riders.

Riders enjoyed their chicken dinners in the VIP dining room under threatening skies. (The rain held off!)

Our friend and neighbor, Roy, rested a few minutes before eating his dinner. Roy rides every year in this even for his wife, Sue, who has MS. Most riders have a very personal attachment to a person with MS and ride in their honor.

The youngest members of the Kroey Krewe (Maddie, MiMi, and Brianna) blew their horns to support the fight for a cure for MS. They worked hard for many hours but took a little time for fun. They loved the MS Bam-Bams! (Of course, the Bams-Bams caused a few headaches for adults. Oh, well.)

Brianna enthusiastically marched around the VIP dining area carrying a sign with the positive news that a cure for MS is in sight. Children can learn the value and positive benefits of volunteering at an early age.

Brianna’s sign says it all, “A cure for MS is in sight.”

Thanks to the 7,700 riders, 1000+ volunteers, vendors, and donors who supported this worthy cause. With such commitment and promise, MS doesn’t have a chance.

Check this out: Eiko, an 85-year-old Asian woman wearing a dress and heels and carrying a purse, rides in the MS Bike City to Shore!


Volunteers and riders all have fun in this event.



What’s been your greatest physical challenge?

Do you know anyone who has MS? What’s their story?

National Punctuation Day: The Common Period Makes a Dramatic Stand

September 24 is National Punctuation Day.

To celebrate this special day, I herewith honor a most humble punctuation mark, the common, everyday… *drum roll*


This homely little fellow is so insignificant it merits only a few small paragraphs in most grammar and style books.  It’s kind of a ho-hum topic and just a bit, well, boring.

Willian Zinsser commented about the period in his book On Writing Well:

There’s not much to be said about the period except that most people don’t reach it soon enough.

The period doesn’t even rate any cute nicknames, though it is sometimes called an end stop, a full stop, and a terminal mark. Lately, with the advent of URL addresses, it is called a dot. Those names all sound deadly dull with perhaps the exception of Dot. She sounds kinda cute.

Because it is so common, the period earns the Dullest Punctuation Mark Award. It is, after all, used far more than those other two boorish terminal punctuation marks: the question mark and the exclamation mark.

Only the King of the Punctuation Pack, the comma, beats out the period for title of Most Used Punctuation Mark. Of course, the comma does earn this by cheating. People (wrongly) throw in commas whenever they make a slight pause in their writing.

Whoever started that nasty rumor about putting a comma in whenever you pause needs to be hung up by their toes. Imagine the poor non-fluent reader who pauses after every word or two. That breathy comma rule only causes distractions and unfairly and artificially punches up the comma count!

But no matter. The period has hidden talents, and that’s the point of this post. This ubiquitous little dot has more power and cleverness than you might imagine.

Traditionally, the period has three jobs, maybe a few more if you want to nit-pick a bit.

  • It ends a complete sentence.

Apple Computer started selling its sleek new iPhone 5 this week.

People lined up at dawn to be among the first to buy this new iPhone.

  • It ends an indirect question.

Rachel asked Lisa when she purchased her new iPhone.

Isabelle asked her father if she could have his old iPhone.

  • It ends a mild  command.

Isabelle, turn your iPhone off and do your homework.

  • It is used with abbreviations; initials in names; and after Roman numerals, letters, and numbers in  outlines.

Okay, so those rules are pretty ho-hum, but let’s  take a look at what this common little black speck at the end of a sentence can do when it wants to stir up the action.

It controls time. It controls pace. It controls suspense. It controls drama. It controls tension. It carries emotion.

Did you notice how you slowed down when you read these short sentences? Did you stop to consider each idea? (Yes, I agree. I overused the short sentences here to make a point. You might not want to wear out this technique in your best-selling novel.)

The shortest verse in the Bible carries these features (pace, drama, tension, emotion) in two strong words and a period.

Jesus wept.    John 11:35

A period can speed up your reading and writing, and it can slow it down. Used effectively, a writer can hold you in suspense just by making a sentence longer, putting the subject and verb at the end, and delaying the period. (Of course, selection of words is crucial, too.) This type of sentence is called, guess what?, a periodic sentence. You just don’t know what is going to happen until you get to the very end of the sentence. Here’s an example from a song I used to sing in elementary school many years ago (not telling how many years ago that was!).

Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house             we go.

Here’s my little long-eared poochy friend to demonstrate how to show emotion (irritation and determination) by using periods. You can read more about him and his fellow pooches in the annual Ocean City Doo Dah Parade here.

I.   Will.   Not.   Go.   One.   More.   Step.   And.   You.   Can’t.   Make.   Me.

You are right. The above example is not a traditional sentence with all those periods. But don’t tell the pooch. He has made an emphatic statement, and he won’t change his mind.

Now a few sticklers out there thought I should mention a few more picky principles for using periods. Just humor them.

1. Put periods inside quotation marks in the U.S. (The Brits put them outside the quotes. Go figure.)

“Isabelle, I told you to turn off your iPhone.”

2. Put only one space after the period at the end of a sentence. (This is for you antiquers who learned to type on a SmithCorona!)

That’s it for now.


How do you use this little power-packed punctuation mark?  What’s your favorite punctuation mark?

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: