No. 445



A cluttered mind or a cluttered office can drag you down and that's why I've decided to use today's column to do a little mental house cleaning. I don't know about you, but I function best when things are neat and orderly and I can see very clearly where I am going. One of the new tools that has come into my life over the past few years is the Internet. For the most part the Internet is great and it helps me a lot. For example, when I first started this column back in 1995, I sent the columns to our papers on a disk and later began to send them by e-mail. To be sure, I was still behind the times until a terrific young Webmaster by the name of Robyn Green designed and produced a Website for me.

Now papers all across the country can go to my Website, download my columns and put them on the page in a matter of minutes. I remember one paper in Illinois that made the decision on Tuesday to run this column and it was in the paper the following day. In many ways the Internet is a two-edged sword. It can be good or it can be bad, depending on how we use it. There are crooks, shams and predators on the Internet, just like there are in society at large. We can't see these people and they may be thousands of miles away, so we have to be very careful what information we give and who we get involved with, because we can lose more than just money, we can lose our life.

With that said I want to tell you about a recent experience that demonstrated to me just how powerful the Internet really is. Within a few days of a column running in the newspaper; I got e-mails from two different people who wanted me to send them a set of instructions on "How to Build a Landscape Timber Home."Ê One of these individuals was in Baytown, Texas and the other in Ketchikan, Alaska. Since my column does not run in either of these markets, I wrote and asked how they learned about our Landscape Timber Home.

To my amazement, here is what they told me. They just went to and typed in the words ÔLandscape Timber Home' and up popped the first 20 or so listings from a possible list of almost 10,000 references. When I did the same thing, I found our home listed as number five and when I clicked on the link to my Website, I was right in the middle of my own Website hosted right here in Conway, Arkansas. This is kind of scary. No one asked for permission or told me about it, but there it was for the entire world to see. These two individuals have simply used my e-mail address to contact me. I was glad to comply, but have since added a $5 charge for this service because it's no longer just my readers who are requesting copies.

When I went back to this search engine before starting this column, the listing for our Landscape Timber Home was no longer there, which tells me they change them quite often. By typing in a few key words, I was able to find the column that ran in a paper in Kansas several months ago. Yes, the Internet is powerful. This morning, as I write the column for future publication, there was an article in our local paper advertising Beginning Internet Classes at the Adult Education Center. We fought getting on the Internet for quite a while, but if you are not taking advantage of this great tool, I would certainly recommend it, because it will open up a whole new world to you.

Now to another house cleaning chore that's long overdue. Because I came from a generation when most people were honest and told the truth, I have been very gullible. Many people have sent me what I thought were wonderful stories, and I have passed them along without checking to see whether or not they were true. As a result I have made some mistakes and I am sorry if I have hurt or offended anyone, because this was never my intent. To date I have written 442 columns and there have been less than 10 that I am aware of that would fit this category.Ê

The story of "Taps" about the dead son of Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was a hoax and not true. Same goes for the story about Winston Churchill and Father Fleming who pulled him from a Ôbog' and saved his life. It was sad for me to report in a later column that someone had doctored the television interview with Ann Graham Lotz after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. The real author of "Dirt Roads" is Lee Pitts and not Paul Harvey as many believe, and the column that I heard from most readers about was "The Deck of Cards." It was written by T. Tex Tyler and came out of the WWII era and not from Afghanistan. While I still believe in people, I have learned not to be too trusting. If I have doubts in the future, I will go to or and see if it's a hoax before including it in a column. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)