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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Martin World News

ITEM:  Before the fun begins, a hockey update:  6th-place Hull beat my Sheffield team in the UK championship... my SonderjyskE topped KC's Esbjerg four games to one in the Danish championship;  My Stavanger team beat Storhamer 4-2 yesterday to take the Norwegian crown; and Trinec and Jyvaskyla remain alive for me in the Czech Republic and Finland, respectively, with Trinec winning in a shootout today to stay alive, down 3 games to 2 in their final.   And SKA St. Petersburg won the Russian title today, beating Kazan 4 games to one with a 6-1 win this morning.  (Timing is relative, I typed this Sunday night.)

ITEM:  A Houston man got his vanity plate rejected by the Texican BMV.  Why?

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles is revoking the personalized license plate issued to a Houston man, because it has now been deemed offensive.

“I had it for more than three years without any problem,” Safer Hassan said.

Hassan recently received an official letter from the state that said his Texas plate, “370H55V,” would be canceled within 30 days.

Texas House lawmakers give preliminary approval to open...
“People have no idea what that plate means. My closest friends don’t even know,” Hassan said.

It is when the license plate is turned upside down that a curse word becomes more evident.

So really Texas, you shouldn't have a problem unless he mounts it upside down, correct?

ITEM:  You REALLY need to know what a Hillary Clinton Presidency will be like???

Kinda like this:

Due to an error in her years-in-the-making presidential announcement, Hillary Clinton’s campaign said Sunday that she has “fought children and families all her career.”

What the campaign meant to say of course is that she’s fought for children and families.

My response?  WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?  This is, after all,  the woman who seems to call education a "non-family enterprise"?

ITEM:  Who's most religious?  Check it out:

New research this Easter shows that worldwide six out of ten (63%) citizens say they are religious, while one in five (22%) say they are not and one in ten (11%) consider themselves convinced atheists. In Africa and the Middle East more than 8 out of 10 people (86% and 82% respectively) portray themselves as religious while 7 out of 10 say so in Eastern Europe and America  (71% and 66% respectively) and 6 out of 10 (62%) in Asia, say they are.

WIN/Gallup International, the world’s leading association in market research and polling, has today published its latest data exploring the religious beliefs of 63,898 people from 65 countries across the globe.

Out of the top ten most religious, 6 are mostly Christian (Armenia and Georgia 93%, Fiji 92, South Africa 91, Kenya 89 and Macedonia 88), one is Buddhist (#1 Thailand, 94), and three are Muslim (Bangladesh and Morocco 93 and Algeria 90).  56% for the US of A, and a shocking 70% of Russians (shocking if you're the type to believe that an atheist government can completely replace faith with secular humanism).

The least religious include five supposedly Christian nations (Sweden 19%, Czech Rep. 23, Netherlands 26, the UK 30, and Germany 34), 4 are oriental (#1 China at 7, Japan 13, Hong Kong and Vietnam 26 ) and then there is Israel, of all places, at 30% (God's blinding of His people is pretty effective, given all the proofs they've had then and now).

Western Europe (51%) and Oceania (49%) are the only regions where approximately half of the population are either not religious or convinced atheist.  The least religious country was found to be China where 61% of people claim to be convinced atheists, approximately twice as many as any other country and 29% say that they are not religious compared to just 7% who are religious. The number of people claiming to be atheists was next highest in Hong Kong and Japan following China with 34% and 31% respectively claiming to be so. The Swedish prove to be the least religious in the Western World with 78% saying they are either not religious or convinced atheists.
In Israel, 65% of those asked said that they are either not religious or convinced atheists compared to just 30% who say that they are religious.  Meanwhile in the Palestinian Territories (West Bank and Gaza) the population is considerably more religious with 75% saying that they are religious compared to 18% who say that they are not religious. (Well, what a surprise, the place where politics and supposed religion go most hand in hand.)

ITEM:  Next, the animal chronicles:

First, how to deal with drones:

ARNHEM, Netherlands (AP) — Beware! Chimp Tushi at the Dutch Burgers' Zoo is a real drone-buster.

When the zoo sent a drone over the chimpanzee enclosure for a better look at how their 14 apes live, the response was swift.

With the unfamiliar intruder coming close to them, 23-year-old female Tushi waited in a tree, gritted her teeth and with two whacks from a long branch, downed the drone. No sweat.

Zoo spokesman Bas Lukkenaar said on Tuesday that "we can write the drone off. It cost about 2,000 euros ($2,100). Then again, it doesn't surprise that Tushi did this. She is very handy with sticks."

Second, beware of armored creatures:

Authorities say a south Georgia man shot an armadillo, but ended up accidentally wounding his mother-in-law when the bullet ricocheted off the mammal known for its hard shell.

Lee County Sheriff's deputies tell WALB-TV that 54-year-old Larry McElroy fired his 9 mm pistol at the armadillo Sunday night.

Deputies say the bullet killed the armadillo, but bounced off the animal, hit a fence, traveled through the back door of the mother-in-law's mobile home and the recliner in which she was sitting, striking her in the back.

McElroy's 74-year-old mother-in-law, Carol Johnson, suffered injuries described as non-life-threatening. Lee County sheriff's investigator Bill Smith said she was walking around and talking afterward.

Lee County Sherriff's deputies say McElroy was about 100 yards away from the home when he shot the armadillo.

I'm not sure which part is more of a head-scratcher:  that he "accidentally" got M-I-L, or that we has 100 yards away from the armadillo when he shot.

Finally, the Arizona llamas have started a trend:  Three zebras escaped from an owner in, of all places, Brussels, Belgium.

Bernard Luyckx, a friend of the zebras' owner, said the animals were apparently upset by the sale of some of their stable-mates.
"Some of the horses got sold and the other zebras got mad and trampled the gates and fled into the streets. Luckily there were no injuries, nobody got hurt, the zebras too."

Oh, wait, one more- everybody needs that morning coffee:

UNIONTOWN, Pa., April 17 (UPI) -- Pennsylvania State Police said a woman who crashed her car told investigators she was distracted by her coffee-craving parrot's attempts to get into her cup.
Angel Holyfield, 35, who crashed her car into a guard rail about 4:52 p.m. Tuesday in South Union Township, told police she was distracted when her pet parrot pecked at the lid of her cup in an attempt to reach the coveted coffee inside.

Police said there was bird feed in the cup holder next to the coffee cup and bird feathers were scattered through the vehicle.

The parrot, the article said, was safely rescued from the vehicle.

ITEM:  My favorite story of the day:

MELBOURNE, Fla., April 16 (UPI) -- Authorities in Florida said a man on synthetic drug flakka ran nude, claimed to be the Norse god Thor, attempted a sex act on a tree and fought with police.
Melbourne police said Kenneth Crowder, 41, is believed to have been high on flakka, a synthetic drug rising in popularity in Florida, when was spotted running nude through a neighborhood Friday.

Witnesses told police Crowder shouted that he was a god while running nude through a neighborhood and committed a sex act on a tree.

Police said Crowder was wearing jeans and a T-shirt when he was confronted in the area by a Melbourne officer and the suspect allegedly acted aggressive toward the officer and identified himself as "God."

Crowder was shocked twice with the officer's Taser, but he pulled the probes out of his body and attempted to fight with the officer, police said.

Police said Crowder shouted that he was the Norse god Thor -- also known as a Marvel Comics character portrayed in the company's films by Chris Hemsworth -- and attempted to stab the officer with his own badge.

More officers arrived and were able to subdue Crowder, police said.

Crowder was arrested on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting with violence and assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement officer.

(If you only knew how hard I looked for a pic of Thor with Yggdrasil to put a come-on caption with...)

ITEM: Category- stupidest traditions/Runner up to Spanish Christmas pooping ornaments:

ZURICH, Switzerland, April 14 (UPI) -- The city of Zurich, Switzerland, celebrated winter's end with a traditional burning snowman -- but the slow explosion of the head forecasts a cold summer.
The traditional Sechselauten ceremony in Zurich featured the Boeoegg, a "snowman" actually made of fabric stuffed with explosives, being set aflame atop a large pyre Monday, and residents timed the blaze to see how long it took the effigy's head to explode.

Local tradition holds it will be a warm and sunny summer if the snowman's head explodes within 12 minutes, but Monday's Boeoegg took 20 minutes and 39 seconds to blow its top, leading some to forecast a cold and gray season.

The Boeoegg's weather forecasting abilities appear to be about on par with the U.S. groundhog tradition, as last year's snowman lost its head after only 7 minutes and 23 seconds, but the summer turned out to be cold and rainy.

Apparently, Boeoegg (or Boogg) works out to mean Boogy (as in boogey man... although if you ask Google Translate, it will tell you it is Afrikaans and not German).

ITEM:  Category- things that hopefully not become traditions:

Jon Newport, an employee at Baby's All Right taco bar, decided to promote his restaurant with pal Ben Wilkes by donning the comical suit (as a human taco) and placard and riding around Brooklyn, New York.

But as he careered down a ramp with his placard in hand, Jon appeared to lose complete control of the skateboard and went skidding into a busy main road.
Unable to stop, Jon is seen on video as he smashes into the side of a moving car and falls off his skateboard.

Amazingly, Jon walked away with just a scratch on his hand, although his skateboard was broken.

Jon admitted that he'd been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident, telling Animal New York: "I would not have put that suit on if I had not been drinking.

"I pre-gamed [drank] for three hours."

Seconds later, he "attaches" to the car and disappears behind the fence.
ITEM:  Mom told you not to play with your food.  But...

ASKIM, Norway, April 15 (UPI) -- A pair of Swedish brothers strapped a pastry and a video camera to a weather balloon in Norway to chronicle the journey of the "first donut in space."
Alexander and Benjamin Jonsson, who hail from Lysekil, near the Norwegian border, said the doughnut made it nearly 20 miles above the surface of the earth to become the first of its kind "in space" -- although "near space" might be more accurate, as NASA and FAI, the World Air Sports Federation, say space doesn't actually start until 62 miles above the surface.

"We like to do odd things and this felt very different," Alexander Jonsson told Swedish public radio P4 Vast. "It was really fun to watch the video for the first time. We could see the doughnut hovering above the earth"

The brothers said they launched from Askim, Norway, rather than Sweden to avoid the cost of flying permits.

"In Sweden it would have cost 11,000 Swedish kroner [$1,245], but it was free in Norway," Benjamin Jonsson told the Bohuslanningen newspaper. 

My screen grab of the donut sailing above the earth.

ITEM:  Finally, a bit I keep forgetting.  I get this daily e-mail from 100 Years Ago Today ever since I did the WWI posts, and the other day I got a note that tells us all that "military intelligence" means the same today as it did then....

Western Front: British General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien has now been presented with so much evidence of German plans to use asphyxiating gas as soon as the wind direction is right that he confides to his diary: "The details given are so voluminous and exact that I am sure they are untrue" . [Burg & Purcell].

And the sky is, in fact, a lovely green.  See you next time!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Message-David and Jude

(Note: this was written last Sunday, when the one I wrote that Friday was published.  Eventually I will get on the same week.)

This morning, I listened to Allistair Beg doing a sermon on David and Goliath, and the phrase "one smooth stone" kept coming to mind.  So I followed.

You see, we are like Israel (AKA the army of the Living God).  We get stuck in the mud of fear when we don't see the big picture (one army with God vs one army without God), because all we see is ourselves and the 9-foot giant in front of us.  The lesson in David's story was that Goliath was NEVER the problem.   To see what WAS, let me then move to where I went next, my morning reading in the book of Jude.

Jude was talking about false teachers, but he sets it up with three problems we have, personalized in three people that tried to follow God their way and failed.

 11 Woe to them! For they walk in the way of Cain, and abandon themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error, and perish in Korah’s rebellion. 

Now Jude started his exposition out with three other examples that tie into those three- and when I'm done tying, you'll see where this is going for you:

5 Now I desire to remind you, though you were once for all fully informed, that he[b] who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day; 7 just as Sodom and Gomor′rah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

8 Yet in like manner these men in their dreamings defile the flesh, reject authority, and revile the glorious ones.

So what do we have here?  We have three groups of "soldiers in the army of the Living God".  One group, the Cain group, they are like the people coming out of Egypt, and like those that "revile the glorious ones."  The basic problem is they followed, but they DID NOT believe.  They didn't have faith, so when the great obstacle came, they said, "I can't challenge THAT."

Then we have the Balaam group, the Sodom and Gomorrah group, the defile the flesh group.  The key to this group is the phrase "abandon themselves for the sake..."  Where the first group followed but didn't believe, this group follows only themselves and their own lusts.  They look at Goliath and say, "I have better things to do."

The third group is the Korah group, the "angels" group,the reject authority people.  They are the ones who look at the problem, know better what to do, and do the wrong thing anyway, just to be defiant.  They look at their Goliath and say, "I'm not challenging him, YOU challenge him."

But along comes David, and what did he have?

45 David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.’

David threw off the Cain soldiers because he had faith;  he threw off the Balaam soldiers by showing it was zeal for God and not lust for himself that guided him; and he threw off the Korah soldiers by being obedient to God.  He picked up five smooth stones and faced the "great obstacle".

Jude gives us an idea about the five smooth stones we could be using in the latter part of his letter.

 20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; 21 keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And convince some, who doubt; 23 save some, by snatching them out of the fire; on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

1- Build up your faith.  How?  Practice it.  Use it.  Read your Bible, attend your Church, listen to Godly men, and act on your faith.  It's a muscle that must be worked out to strengthen.

2- Pray in the Holy Spirit.  How do you do that?  Here's how, from GotQuestions?.org:

The Greek word translated “pray in” can have several different meanings. It can mean “by means of,” “with the help of,” “in the sphere of,” and “in connection to.” Praying in the Spirit does not refer to the words we are saying. Rather, it refers to how we are praying. Praying in the Spirit is praying according to the Spirit’s leading. It is praying for things the Spirit leads us to pray for. Romans 8:26 tells us, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

Get it?  Not praying in our will, for what we want- praying in God's will, FOR God's will to be done.  It takes time, solitude, concentration- and letting go so the Spirit can have his say.

3-5: The final three are all about how you share the faith with others.  Learn to differentiate, because not everyone needs to be shown "hellfire and brimstone".  Be encouraging- "merciful" is the word my Bible uses- to those who are 'on the edge'.  Some you have to 'snatch from the fire', as in an intervention to show them what's wrong in their lives; and some you have to just pray for, so that you yourself don't get stained with their sin.

Bottom line, the bag of faith contains the stones Build, Pray, and Share.  And it only took one to fell Goliath.  Because he's not the problem.  David wasn't focused on Goliath, he was focused on God's victory over the army BEHIND him.  Do you have a goliath?  Maybe you need to stop looking at it as Cain, Balaam, and Korah did, and see it as David did.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Time Machine week 20

Today the Musical Tardis lands (again) in 1963, April 17th to be exact. (Why 1963 again?  New list of random years, dude!)  And today was a day of things that didn't last as long as Pete Rose's ban from baseball. One of them was the suspension of several players, including Green Bay star Paul Hornung and Detroit Lion Alex Karras and five of his teammates for betting on NFL games.  Karras and Hornung (who admitted and was apologetic) missed the 1963 season, but were reinstated after ONE year.  Seems that commissioner Pete Rozelle realizes the difference between fitting punishment and a dead man's grudge.  The other short term deal was the almost uniting of Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq in the United Arab Republic.  Syria and Egypt actually "consummated the union", and they "confederated" with Yemen, while Iraq knocked on the door but couldn't get in.  The deal lasted from 1958-61, and today they tried again... but the problems that caused Egypt's breakup with Syria in 1961 kept the nations from completing the transaction now.  Refusing to give up, Egypt would retain the UAR name until 1971, even though they weren't uniting anymore.

Egypt's Nasser and friends in happier times.

Welcome to this week's Time Machine, and a great show we have this week.  On tap: 4 debuts on the Bottom's Up; a big rout for the panel's #1- but a record 8 different #1 songs; a rather obscure shuffle ten, with no less than 4 album tracks- including the number two from the first 4-timer on the ten; a six degrees that somehow makes its way all the way to Eddie Money; and quite possibly the most bizarre unknown song story I may ever tell!  Put down that pen, light up a cigar (just kidding.  There's pop in the fridge, though), and away we go!

The panel this week includes repeat panelists WLS Chicago, KFWB Los Angeles, and WMCA New York, along with newbies WKBW Buffalo, WRAW Reading, WRIT Milwaukee, KJR Seattle, WWBD Bamberg SC (where ever THAT is), WIBM Jackson MI, WAAT Trenton, WEEZ Chester PA, and WJPS Evansville.

Oh.  That Bamberg...
As I mentioned, these 12 managed to put up 8 different #1 songs, a new record here.  They included The Rocky Fellers with Killer Joe (Jackson), Skeeter Davis' The End Of The World (Evansville), Jackie Wilson's Baby Workout (Trenton), and the Beach Boys' Surfin' USA (LA, natch).  The voting became uneven, though, in that the #1 vote-getter made 10 of the 12 charts, and rolled to a 40-26 victory with only a 3-2 margin in #1 votes.   The top four, then;

With 11 points and the #1 vote from WLS, the week's #10 nationally, the Chantays with Pipeline.

With 19 points and #1 votes from Chester and Reading (those whacky Pennsylvanians), Andy Williams with Can't Get Used To Losing You, the national #2.

With 26 points and the #1s of Seattle and New York, the Chiffons with the national #1, He's So Fine.

And at #1... you know the drill.


This week we are going to start with the six degrees for a change.  And we start it out with everyone's favorite singing cop, Eddie Money.

Eddie's self-titled debut album was produced by Bruce Botnick.  Botnick was also involved with the Doors, and in the liner notes to LA Woman claimed the song Touch Me was originally about a blackjack game with a working title of Hit Me.  The keyboard riff of Touch Me was a direct use of the guitar riff on the Four Seasons hit C'mon Marianne.  That song was written by L. Russell Brown, as were some of Tony Orlando and Dawn's big hits, including Knock Three Times.  K3T was produced by Dave Appell.  Back in the day, Dave was a house writer and session guitarist for Cameo-Parkway records, and led the backing band behind Dee Dee Sharp, the "Mashed Potatoes" girl, on her hit Do The Bird- which was #12 nationally this week but got no love from the panel.


And now, it's Bottoms Up Time!

And this week the best from the bottom of the national Cashbox chart include:

10- Andy Williams (again) with Days Of Wine And Roses, which falls to 34 in it's 5th week.

9- Lou Christie makes his second Bottoms Up with another round of Two Faces Have I, but this time it has climbed to 35 in its 3rd week.

8- After 14 weeks, Eydie Gorme drops to #40 with Blame It On The Bossa Nova.

7- Another 14-weeker and falling is the former top dog for the Four Seasons, Walk Like A Man, sitting at #48.

6- The Rivingtons with the quintessentially annoying The Bird's The Word, at #62 in 3 weeks.

5- Sam Cooke debuts at #70 with Another Saturday Night.

4- Double-dipping this week are the Four Seasons, with Ain't That A Shame debuting at #71.

3- The Beach Boys come in at 85 this week with Shut Down in it's 2nd week.

2- The Crystals, with a song made as annoying as The Bird years later by Shaun Cassidy, Da Doo Ron Ron- and this week, one of three songs Cashbox debuted at #100.  And one of the other ones:

1- Barbara Lewis with Hello Stranger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Okay, I've been saving this and I cannot save it no more- the unknown song story.  On perusing the Trenton chart, we find at #4 a song called Memory Lane, by the Tams.  So I go to check it against the national list, and what do I find?  It's there, sitting at #61- by a group called the Hippies.  So what's going on?  Well my first search led me here:

If you look close, the record says "The Hippies (Formerly the Tams)."  So they are one in the same.  But who were they?  Well an article on the etymology of the word Hippie claimed that the Hippies were actually a band called the Stereos.  So, off we go to look up the Stereos.  The story I found said that they started out in Steubenville OH as the Montereys- until they played a gig where there was another band called the Montereys.  So they told the MC, no prob, just introduce us as the Hi-Fis.  They finally get discovered, and get some recording studio time- but by this time they're calling themselves the Buckeyes.  The Bucks made some discs- but they were all labelled "Not for Sale", and were passed out to pimp the band.  Apparently it didn't work, and they became the Stereos, who had some minor R&B success hitting the hot hundred at least once.

But, no connecting it in the story to the Tams or the Hippies.  So I dug some more.  And this is where the story takes a bizarre turn.

I found a blogger's interview of the Hippies/Tams lead singer.  And this blogger was a name I knew, because though we never interacted, he comments on roughly half the same blogs I do.  His name is Shady Dell Knight, and if you click the link, you'll find his wonderful blog AND the exact interview I found.  And in the story, you'll find the Stereos/Hippies/Tams connection... but no Buckeyes?!?  However, you WILL find that this singer, one Carole "Chi Chi" Devine, tells us that the band started out as The Impalas (?).  So me and Shady got commenting back and forth, and with his help, I unravelled MOST of the mystery.

First off, the Montereys/Buckeyes/Stereos were a totally different group, that as I said, were from Steubenville and did hit the charts in 1961 with a #29 called I Really Love You.

The band WE wanted started as the Impalas- until another band called the Impalas made it big with the 1959 #2 Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home).

They then changed to the Stereos briefly, originally releasing Memory Lane in 1959.  But later that same year, the song was either re-released or re-labeled as the Tams.

Another R&B act took the name, and hit the R&B charts first in 1962, landing a top ten on the pop charts in '64 with What Kind Of Fool (Do You Think I Am).  It would be their only pop top 40.  Still, enough to get the Tams to become the Hippies.  Billboard peaked them at 63 after 5 weeks, Cashbox at 57 after 8 weeks, with Memory Lane '63.

Now I'm a big doo-wop sucker, and I think they got short changed... except, thankfully, in Trenton.

BTW, I should throw in that that article on hippie etymology mentioned that the first song that mentioned the word, to their best knowledge, was the Orlons' hit South Street, which was dropping from #6 nationally and just missed our top four.  Of course, they also mention that most people think it says "where do all the HIPPEST meet", rather than "hippies"


Really didn't have a glaring whacky station like the last two weeks, although Evansville popped in with it's number two, Ned Miller's From A Jack To A King, a country tune which had already dropped off the charts elsewhere, and was one of only two of our panel to give some love to the national #5 song, Puff The Magic Dragon.


And now, the shuffle ten!

At #10 is the reggae flavored Dreadlock Holiday by 10cc, which peaked here at #44 in 1978, but was top ten in the UK.  It is allegedly based on a somewhat true story, which happened to band member Eric Stewart and the Moody Blues' Justin Hayward.  From the Justin Hayward forum:

"The song was written about a number of holiday experiences, including one of my own and Eric's. Y'see, we used to go on holiday, um, to the Caribbean and one day Eric decided he wanted to go parasailing. And so we headed off to the middle of the ocean to this parasail raft. And Eric was very, very painfully parasailed up into the sky by a very fast speedboat and I was left on this raft with these three boys. Then one of the boys said to me, 'Hey, I really like those chains around your wrist', y'know, and he said, 'I'll give you a dollar for them'. So I said, 'Well... no, I don't think so'. And, he said, 'Oh, well, in that case, I'll cut your hand off and take them'. So, then, I started to go into this ludicrous explanation about how I got them, and they were a present from me mum, and all of this, and it was a case really of dark and mysterious meets white and pale and getting paler every minute in the middle of the Caribbean." 

Well he looked down at my silver chain
He said I'll give you one dollar
I said you've got to be jokin' man
It was a present from me Mother
He said I like it I want it
I'll take it off your hands
And you'll be sorry you crossed me
You'd better understand that you're alone

A long way from home....

Number nine is the classic instrumental that hardly seems like it was a #3 WAAAAY back in 1962- Booker T and the MGs' Green Onions.

#8 was basically a tribute to Roy Orbison's Only The Lonely, a song I grew up with thanks to my mom.  In 1979, JD Souther hit #7 with his song, You're Only Lonely.  And yes, I had the single.

Dr. Hook comes in at #7 with a song that did one notch better in 1972, The Cover Of The Rolling Stone.

Next is a song most of you don't know, but should go find.  If I told you it was co-written by Dennis Lambert, who's other scores included One Tin Soldier, Don't Pull Your Love, Two Divided By Love, Ain't No Woman (Like The One I've Got), and It Only Takes A Minute, would that entice you?  Well, then, look up Glen Campbell's  1975 lp Rhinestone Cowboy, and listen to the track Comeback.  It takes the #6 spot this week.

By this time, you know I fell in love with a Scottish band that never made it over here- Middle Of The Road.  A cut from their 1971 record Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep makes it at #5, their 3rd time in the shuffle ten- I Can't Tell The Bottom From The Top.

Dear, sweet, Sally Carr- I never had that problem...
The New Colony Six seem to be getting a lot of airtime around here lately- their lp cut from their debut Breakthrough comes in at #4- At The River's Edge.

This song hit #3 in 1970, as well as on this week's shuffle ten- Mungo Jerry's In The Summertime.

Well, wonder no more- our first four-timer in the shuffle ten (and not a big surprise- if you saw my playlist, you knew it'd be them or ELO) is Genesis- and for the second time it's a Mike Rutherford comp from the lp And Then There Were Three.  This time, the tune is called Snowbound.

And here they come to play their magic games
Carving names upon your frozen hand.
Here in a world of your own,
Like a sleeper whose eyes
Sees the pain with surprise
As it smothers your cries
They'll never never know.

Hey there's a Snowman
Hey, Hey what a Snowman
Pray for the Snowman...

And, the number one tunes?   Survey says....

Little Peggy March and I Will Follow Him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was at #3 on CB this week, trailing the Chiffons and Andy Williams.

And, Shuffle says....

Leon Russell with Tightrope!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Leon took this song to #11 in 1972.  Back then, I woulda never guessed it was the same guy who later hit with Lady Blue...

That's it for this week!  Come back next week for- 1968!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Martin's 2nd annual amazing A to Z challenge mash up part one

If you remember last year, I celebrated the A to Z blogging challenge by coming up with something suitably (for me) short and idiotic when everyone hit M (or L, I'm not sure), and again at the end.  This year, I thought, "How about I google "Scrappy", followed by a letter, and see what I get".  Along the way, I learned some important lessons on what constitutes a good or bad idea.  And I'll share them as I go along.

Scrappy A is for Ability. Scrappy ability is a Pokemon thing, something about being able to hit a ghost.  If you know what this is, don't bother explaining, because it will not store.

Scrappy B is for Scrappy Brian.  This is the nephew of beloved dog and philosopher Brian on the animated show Family Guy.

You can just see where this was going...

Scrappy C is for Scrappy Coco, which was an alias on Adam Sandler's "Zohan" character.

Scrappy D was, not surprisingly, Scrappy Doo.  The single most annoying cartoon character since Walt Disney's mom was changing poopy diapers.

Scrappy E was Scrappy Exploud, apparently a pokemon character which has Scrappy ability.

At this point I learned a very important lesson:  Scrappy is a very popular thing in pokemon, and if I didn't want to learn far more about pokemon than I cared to, I would have to skip pokemon references and go to the next thing that came up.

Scrappy F is for Scrappy Firework quilts.  Apparently there are a series of quilt kits named Scrappy this or that.  I would have to delete them, as well.

Scrappy G is for the Scrappy Gourmet, a scrapbooking site.  Gee, I see I may have another budding problem.

Scrappy H is for Clinton "Scrappy" Holmes, a high powered Texas Lawyer and partner in Holmes and Moore PLLC.  Kinda put me in mind of Wilford Brimley.

He got the spot instead of yet another pokemon term.  But he was a member of Super Lawyers from 2008-11.

Scrappy I is for "in Spanish", as it decided to translate Scrappy into "deshilvanado" for me.

Scrappy J is for yet another semi-famous Texas resident, Scrappy Jud Newcomb.  He's a guitarist born in Ole Miss and living in Austin.

Not bad, actually.

Scrappy K is for... well, I got a pokemon thing (Kangaskhan), a scrapbook thing (Scrappy k's designs), and Scrappy kid, which took me to rapper Lil' Scrappy.  None of which made my list.  So I tried "ka" and got Scrappy Kapers, and Scrappy Kat, both of which were scrapbooking sites.  So I tried Scrappy "ke", and I got Scrappy Kea, a scrapbooking blog that hasn't been added to since last September.  Then I tried Scrappy Kerrville and got:

Scrappy is the name of the mascot for a local high school, Tivy, whose nickname is the Antlers. This statue of Scrappy was created by Brett & Tammy Prang of Incredible Metal in Kadoka, south Dakota out of scrap metal. The figure of a full antlered deer, Scrappy stands some 16 feet tall on a smashed car body high above the nearby State Highway. The statue is mounted on concrete pillars behind a limestone facade, making it some 25 feet tall overall. 

Scrappy L is for Scrappy Lambert, a dance band vocalist in the 20's, 30's, and 40's, who was the singer on Cheerio, Cherry Lips, Cheerio, which was the closing theme on the Dr. Demento show.

And finally for part one:  Scrappy M is for Malloys'.  Scrappy Malloys was the bar that the couple met at in Jack Johnson's cover of Ruppert Holmes' Escape (The Pina Colada Song) that was on the Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack.  (Instead of "a bar called O'Malleys").

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Martin World News

(Continuing my Sunday boredom attempts to get posts ahead so I can be lazy all week work more intently on Time Machine and other valuable things, I am doing the MWN Sunday night to post Tuesday.  You won't care, it's always a week behind anyways!)

Bobby, I think we have a squirrel to add (JK)

ITEM:Last year, I had a bunch of fun with Sen. Tom Coburn's Wastebook report, where he brought to light some of the idiotic things your tax money goes to.  Last week, a FB friend posted Congressman Steve Russell of Oklahoma's waste report.  While nowhere near the concise, amusing job that Coburn did, it did have some neat spots.  To wit:

-According to the gerontology research group, there are maybe 35 people in the whole world who have reached the age of 112.  Not so, says the Social Security Administration, who has 6.5 MILLION ACTIVE SS#s that belong to people allegedly over 112.  That would be roughly 2% of the population.

-In a report I've seen in other spots as well, it seems the EPA, concerned over water usage, is working with hotel operators to install a wireless device that will track how much each guest uses in the shower.  Cost?  $15,000.  Um, there already is this thing called a water meter...

- The Missile Defense Administration was trying to get an audit done on a billion dollar 2009 contract.  The Defense Contract Auditing Agency concluded there were some problems and asked for an extension, which MDA approved.  5 days before the report was to deliver the report, MDA signed the contract anyway- costing us at least $11 million on the contract and $130,000 for wasting DCAA's time in compiling the report.

-When I saw the name USAID come up, I thought, this will be a good one, as they by far wasted money on the most stupid projects.  This was a pretty light one, by their standards:  In order to help stop Islamist radicalization in the slums of Morocco's cities, they spent half a million plus on classes and projects designed to teach teenagers non-violent ways to settle disputes.  Thus breeding a kinder, gentler terrorist.

ITEM: Next, I have a couple of lists for you.  First, the USA's most literate cities.
The study, conducted by Dr. Jack Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University, measures "citizens' use of literacy" through criteria including local bookstores, educational levels, Internet and library resources, and newspaper circulation.

Because, in this day and age, a thriving newspaper circulation HAS to be an indicator of literacy.

The top ten:

10- St. Louis (when they're not out shooting cops and unarmed ghetto-dwellers in the 'burbs)

9- Boston

8- San Francisco (reading instead of taking all those business trips to evil Indiana, I suppose)

7- Denver (the A Beer For The Shower boys obviously contributing heavilly there)

6- Pittsburgh

5- Atlanta

4- St Paul ( I was going to say, because the illiterates live in Minneapolis, no doubt- but...)

3- Seattle (see #8)

2- Washington DC (go figure)

and at #1....   Minneapolis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Because, let's face it, whattaya gonna do when it's -20 and five feet of snow most of the year?

The list included just the nation's 77 largest cities, and thus the closest to my home base:

12- Cincinnati (You have to be literate to spell the damn place!)
33- Chicago
37- Indianapolis (with it's own self writing joke- tied for the spot with Newark and Sacramento)

And dear sweet home Fort Wayne made 48th- right between Detroit and Tuscon.

The bottom?  no surprise here- Bakersfield.  Just beating out seven cities from Texas and California.

ITEM:  On another list, we have Gallup polling the 100 most populous urban areas to see who is the happiest place in the US of A.  Results:

10- Winston-Salem NC (where you can still pick up your cigarettes at the factory)

9- Washington DC/Arlington/Alexandria, VA (Where you can pick up cheap hookers as long as you don't work for DOJ)

8- San Jose/Sunnydale/Santa Clara, CA

7- Provo/Orem, UT (mostly due to the Osmond family)

6- Austin/Round Rock TX

5- El Paso, TX

4- Oxnard/Thousand Oaks/Ventura, CA

3- Raleigh, NC (see #10)

2- Urban Honolulu (tell me that's a shocker)

and at #1... North Port/Sarasota/Bradenton, FL!!!!!!!!!!!  (Good job, Barb!)

Taking a swing at ignorance is bliss, I see #5 El Paso was second from the bottom on the literacy list...

None of the close areas made the happy top fifty... though Toledo OH was 3rd lowest (not surprising from what Roland and Mad Jack tell me), with Dayton, Columbus, and yes, Cincinnati not far behind.

ITEM:  Animal kingdom, not being bright.  First, where else but Australia...

...would a poisonous brown snake get his head stuck trying to have a beer?  A Mawson Lakes woman found the tableaux on her back porch, as the viper tried to sample a Carlton.  In the mean time, in lovely Nuenen, Netherlands...

...a lion gets his head stuck in a feeding barrel, providing several minutes of entertainment to his fellow Leonids.  Both were eventually freed... I wonder if that Squirrel ever got back to dry land Sunday?

ITEM:  And in a case of animal karma, a puppy named Timmy fell down the well, and had to be rescued by firemen in Fresno, CA.  No word on whether Lassie was involved.

ITEM: Next, the most unlikely and yet true excuse for breaking into a home, courtesy the HuffPost:

A San Francisco man accused of burglarizing an apartment last May was acquitted earlier this week after his attorneys successfully argued that the suspect was actually attempting to board a spaceship he thought was on its roof.

Public defender Jeff Adachi told the court that Santonio Aviles, 41, was suffering meth-induced psychosis and believed the end of the world was nigh, CBS San Francisco reports.

Aviles somehow convinced a resident of the building to let him into the complex. Once inside, he climbed onto the fire escape and found an open window that he used to enter an apartment and take a short nap.

When Aviles awoke, he threw an inflatable exercise ball onto the fire escape figuring he could use it as transportation into the next galaxy. He also stole a backpack from the apartment and loaded it with a passport and earthquake kit, reports.

The passport wasn't Aviles'. It belonged to a woman who, like him, had long dark hair. Aviles testified that he believed the passport would ensure his seat on the spaceship, according to a release by the San Francisco Public Defender's Office.

At some point while Aviles was getting ready to leave Earth forever, the apartment resident and his girlfriend woke up to see a strange man in their home.

The resident tackled Aviles and began punching while the woman hit the suspect with a baseball bat. Then the pair called 911.

Aviles suffered a black eye and various bruises, scratches and scrapes, according to the release. The man who lived in the apartment suffered an injured toe and developed a rash from the encounter.

During the trial, public defender Jacque Wilson argued that Aviles did not enter the building to rob or hurt anyone, but was suffering a meth-induced mental health crisis, according to

Meanwhile, back on earth, the excuse was enough to get felony charges dropped in favor of misdemeanor assault and burglary.  Beware... aliens use baseball bats.

ITEM:  Finally ( I do have two other leads I may use next week), the latest great accomplishments from North Korea and its amazing leader Kim Jong Un.  A new textbook was sent to elementary school classes titled Kim Jong Un's Revolutionary Activities, replacing the standard text for history class.  In it, among other things, we learn that Kim learned to drive when he was three... which means that this should be no surprise:

"At the age of 9, Kim Jong Un raced the chief executive of a foreign yacht company, who was visiting North Korea at the time," the text reads in translation, adding that Kim won the race despite the odds.

Lee Seok-young, the South Korean director of Radio Free Chosun, a media outlet that covers North Korea, said the text brings into question how the teachers are expected to deliver the incredible statements to students in a school setting.  At least with a straight face, eh?

Monday, April 13, 2015

"Either we're complete morons, or we make this way too hard..."

The story I am about to start with has several wrinkles of utter stupidity, but to tell them all would push the stupid squirrel pictures right off the post.  Therefore, I shall shorten this in the best way I can...

Let me make one thing clear.  I love my job (albeit I don't want to LIVE there).  It makes my last job look like something Fred Flintstone would laugh at me for working at.  But there are parts of the ordering process, the inventory process, the engineering process, that seem downright arcane.  This is a story of such.

Since our biggest customer often has a hard time separating butt from brain, it was decided we would take on some work from one of our other plants to fill in the dead spots.  They set us up to help them with another customer who evidently orders items by the metric shit-ton.  This is new to us, as we ship one thing at a time to our biggie... and apparently it confuses us.  But I jump ahead.

One of the many problems with doing these covers is that the fabric used, provided by Chinese vendors who admittedly are making far below the minimum wage, has a bad tendency.  It seems that is difficult for them to roll fabric so that it comes off straight.  A minor problem on most fabrics, it is a huge honking mess on this fabric.  So the other plant, which makes far more of these than we do, was faced with a big scrap fabric problem, which they solved by taking a couple of each covers' mid size pieces and putting them on a separate cutting marker, so they could use the scrap up.  Not doing so many means I don't have the scrap to cut the pieces from nor the time to mess with cutting three different things to make one cover- BUT have to do it anyway, since they won't change the cutting marker.  AND, the bill of materials is set up to NOT pull the pieces from inventory (since the other plant makes them from scrap already written off), so I have to add the yardage- about 10% of the total- back in manually.

This usually leads to a nasty e-mail from corporate inventory, asking why I've used 300 yards to cut 250 yards worth of covers.  And we give them the same answer every time, rather than fix the B.O.M.  But Friday, something else happened that ties the whole story together.

My boss shows me the latest evil e-mail- it claimed that on one order I used 300 yards instead of 54, and on another, 296 rather than 172!  Now I already know their numbers are bad- 54 yards wouldn't get me but 2 covers (3 if you use scrap for the scrap pieces), and only one order I ever cut had less than 14 covers.  So I dug up the old orders- complete with chicken scratching showing the yardage I used to make what they think is scrap, plus my own actual scrap.  My numbers were fine.  So my boss when back to the e-mailer to try to figure it out.

Here is where one of those arcane things comes in, called "pack or piece".  Once I've cut it, the sewers sew it, and the packer packs it, it is supposed to be 'pack or pieced' so that it appears on inventory as a finished item.  And on the first order, that said I used 300 instead of 54- out of 20 covers cut, sewn, packed, and presumably shipped to the other plant- only 3 had been pack or pieced.

Which is where the title of this post comes in.  However, it also works well with my other two stories.


On our Sunday walk, we saw a flash of motion in the swamp.  It turned out to be a squirrel, who'd climbed out onto one of the floating logs to investigate something, apparently the turtles as they sunned themselves.

Thing is, he wasn't smart enough to go back the way he came, and his climbing choices (the two trees you see above, both dead, a stump between them, and the log he rode in on) left him no way to dry land.  We watched him go back and forth between them...

 Well, some of us did... he seemed completely baffled how he was ever going to get out of the mess.  Then he saw us...

...and just stopped.

He watched us, we watched him.  For probably ten minutes we sat in place...

...until Scrappy asked, "Can we go now?"  We began to leave, and then I remembered what now becomes part three of our story.

That there is the torn up mess left by the idiot who got stuck Friday and whatever towing service he used to get unstuck.  They tore up a sizable amount of mud and grass, far more than what you see here.  If the guy who did this, the man who drove this car:

sees this, I hope you'll contact me.  I'll give you your chance to explain, and promise not to humiliate you much more than I already have.  C'mon, whatever lame brained explanation you give has got to be better than, "The kid in the Flash shirt told me the world is flat and ends just around the curve, and..."

In closing, by the time we walked back to take that picture and returned to where we were, the squirrel was still in the same spot.  Hoping we would call the fire dept. for him, I guess.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Message Proof then, proof now

One thing that struck me this week was a proof for the resurrection that I hadn't heard in all the lead up to Easter.  And that is in the old adage, "where there's smoke there's fire."  We tend to see things historically from the perspective of today.  Why did Napoleon do thus and so, when he could have had an even greater victory if he'd have moved Marshall Boo-Boo to this spot adjacent the battlefield?"  "Well, that would be because he didn't have gasoline-engine mass-transports that could have gotten them there in  an appropriate time."  A lot of things look different when you pull your head out of today.

Today, even non Christians are exposed to one extent or another by the Gospel message.  And people drawn to any Gospel message are likely to have been exposed to an earlier one.  The old "I've heard it all before" syndrome.  Take Billy Graham.  In almost anyone's opinion he is the greatest civilized-world evangelist of the past 100 years.  But how effective is he?  In an article called"Case Studies in Easy Believism" by Thomas Williamson of the Roger Sherman Society had some stats on this.

Observers over the years have noted that Billy Graham, who is considered to be America's premier evangelist, gets a lot of people coming forward in his meetings, but few lasting conversions.  Herman Otten, editor of Christian News, stated that "The editor's home congregation participated in the 1957 New York Billy Graham crusade. . . .  The editor's home congregation received about 28 [referral cards].  All were visited but none were interested in joining the church.  Surveys have shown that Graham's mass crusades have resulted in few ever joining a church."

Christopher Cagan and John Waldrip, after attending Billy Graham's San Diego crusade in 2003, presented a report which determined that "Graham's sermons are an outgrowth of the theology and methods of Charles G. Finney, the 19th Century evangelist who changed the meaning of salvation from Biblical ‘conversion' to the empty ‘decisionism,' which stopped historical revivals and ultimately helped to empty the churches... .  The sad truth is that Graham's message converts an almost infinitesimally small percentage of people who did not already consider themselves Christians before they ever heard him preach.  The third awful result of Graham's meetings is that almost no one is added to the churches....  Dr. Robert Ketcham of the GARBC (Regular Baptists) showed from hard-core statistics that only 13 previously unchurched people were added to the churches of San Francisco from a lengthy Billy Graham crusade."

So, from two mass crusades, separated by several years, we get 13 new believers.  Is that a bash on Graham?  Not at all.  But how many "unchurched people" actually ATTEND his crusades?

Now, let me borrow the musical Tardis and take you back in time to about 35 AD. Here we find a tiny group of people who have seen and know the Lord Jesus.  At the point before Pentecost, Luke said "the number of names was about 125."  Paul says that around 500 had seen Jesus after He rose from the dead.  Given the penchant back then to only count the men at any given function, add a wife and two kids to each "name", and we're in a similar ballpark.  That ballpark is surrounded by a world that doesn't know Jesus, hasn't seen Him dead or alive or resurrected, doesn't have a good grasp on Jewish history or the prophets (witness the Egyptian eunuch)- and by OUR standards, shouldn't show a lick of interest in anything about Jesus.

In just two sermons- not crusades with ballyhoo, tickets sold, TV coverage, but two sermons given on the spot without advance warning- Peter led  EIGHT THOUSAND people to faith.

You can read the sermons.  Billy Graham gives versions of these same sermons.  What's the difference?

David Jeremiah listed a few of them this weekend.  They were convinced because they had seen Him, they were commissioned by Him, they were committed to Him.  But most of all, they knew Him, lived with Him, saw Him back from the grave.  And that knowledge, that first hand experience, was told to the 8,000 and it convinced them.  Do you think you could convince 8,000 complete strangers of something that couldn't possibly happen had happened- and it made a difference in their lives?  Peter could, and did.

Last week, I told the slightly fictionalized story of Peter's private meeting with Jesus after the resurrection (an event alluded to in the Gospels and given proof by Paul).  In that story, Peter had to come to grips with three things.

First, the very worst thing He had ever done, which only one person knew about, was the denials.  And now that one person, who was dead, was alive again.  He would have to face that his worst moment was no longer hidden.  As if it ever was.

Second, it didn't matter.  It was forgiven.  And he would have to accept that.

And third, because of the second, he was now about to see his life change completely- from sand to rock!

We have to come to grips with these same things.  THE ONLY DIFFERENCE between us and Peter is faith.

The question never was is there proof in the Bible that these things actually happened.  Cold logic can deduce that.  The question really is, why is there so little proof NOW?