Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

MilesTones • Humbled Writer Regrets Story

This is a very rare occurrance. MilesTones deeply regrets the posting of a story without giving careful consideration to the incident beforehand. So much so that, with hat in hand, this writer with great humility, begs forgiveness from the subject of that recently published entry with a sincere apology for thoughtlessly putting this before the public. To say this lapse of judgement disturbs me is a gross understatement. Critics, enjoy this while you can.

All of us have watched and chuckled over movie clip outakes that show a star fluffing lines, forgetting where he or she is in the program while seemingly unable to control a flow of jangled words. A year ago at the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, several stars, who were obviously so loaded that they could do a high wire act without the wire, could not even put two words together for their acceptence speech or presenter’s introductions. MilesTones did cover that SAG Awards show with a twinkle in the words.  Moreover, when the stars are out of sorts, it is usually because of their own abuse of substance and themelves.

When CBS 2 TV reporter, Serene Branson, recently tried to cover the Grammy Awards on a live telecast, her words were too jumbled to understand. She virtually could not put two words together, and what came out was not words but sounds. The clip of that on-air disaster quickly hit U-Tube which immediately garnered millions of viewers who got quite a laugh out of it. Unfortunately, they include this writer, who posted the video with a tongue-in-cheek take on it.

Later, a doctor testified that this was not a meltdown, but rather a physical abnormality disruption of her cognitive functions, which they first diagnosed as a stroke, since examination showed all the classic symptoms including weakness, loss of vision, dizziness and difficulty speaking.  Having gone through a series of strokes, I know what that can be. It is like an earthquake of the body with the mind being the epicenter. I would never have made fun of amyone battling such health issues.  And I feel ashamed for inadvertently doing so. There was no excuse for it. Especially since I teach my students in Trinity Christian School to never make fun of someone because they talk differently, walk differently, or….are different, but to always be encouragers. I violated my own principles which is inexcusable.

After the telecast,  U-Tube and blog postings immediately appeared.  Dr. Nancy Snyderman stated that she could see that something happened to the circuity of the reporter’s brain which affects speech. Drugs and or alcohol were ruled out.  It turns out that Ms. Branson did not have a stroke. The final diagnosis pinpointed it to “a complex migraine,” which can cause this kind of seizure that has most of the effects of a stroke. In any case, this episode was tied to a severe medical problem. We should have allowed for such a possibility before jumping on the keyboard.. Ms. Branson, I am so very sorry. Please have a speedy recovery and…please…forgive me.  My church will be praying for that migraine problem to be healed.

In the meanwhile, I’m definitely going out for another walk….a vey long one this time.

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