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


Monday, April 30, 2012

Day #1 of the End of Arden... plus something really stupid

As we walked out to the car this morning, there was a gentle rain starting, with a roll of thunder far in the distance.  One minute later it was cats and dogs with lightning everywhere.  Lovely.

At work, it was unusually solemn.  Like nobody really knew how to start things off.  Everybody with under 200 hours (including the new cutters) got the golden toe Friday, so it was especially quiet in my area with new cutter (call her J) gone.  We pretty much were having the smartass olympics at our end for the last 3 weeks, with cameo appearances by mechanic "Joe" who was developing an interest in J.  One after another, people wandered over and chatted about the situation throughout the day, and though it was still kinda sad (I told my boss I didn't know if I needed a grief counselor or an anger manager, or just something more distracting than work), things started to relax.

Best line of the day:  I was asked why cushions I cut 1500 of last week didn't have corners cut out.  (Answer: They don't get corner cut-outs.)  "Well, the sewer said they got corners, and we don't have the pattern in the book".  Later, I came up to the lady and said, "Given that heart failure is an apropriate alternative to finding another job, I wasn't looking at having the coronary right off the bat!"

J texted Joe and said, "Tell Chris I miss him."  I said, "Text her, 'Back atcha- and are you hungry yet!' "  (J would say "I'm hungry!" every morning between 7 and 7:30 without fail.)  Later, she texted Joe "Tell Chris, 'Sing it!' " (Another of our favorite running gags, usually said when the company CD player was playing somebody's cheap knockoff of Beat It.)  That made me laugh loud and really cheer up- until I heard the next lines on the song playing:

You can't be 20, on Sugar Mountain
though you're thinking that you're leaving there too soon
you're leaving there too soon...

Arriving home, we had a "parcel at the office" note.  Scrappy and I decided to hoof it down there to see what it was, as it wasn't raining yet.  But thanks to Mr. I-must-check-out-every-insignificant-scent stopping to take a poop that I thought I might have to midwife, we got wet most of the way home.  Perfect ending to the day.


Now comes the something really stupid.

Jake Naman knew something was about to happen.
The 18-year-old from Redlands, Calif., was sitting inside a cavernous building in Seattle waiting to hear from Dan Savage, the founder of the “It Gets Better” anti-bullying campaign.
Savage had been invited to speak to several thousand high school journalists attending a national conference hosted by the National Scholastic Press Association and the Journalism Education Association.
Naman, who is a yearbook photographer at Arrowhead Christian Academy, thought Savage was going to talk about his anti-bullying campaign. But the Christian teenager soon learned that Savage had a very different message for the students.
“I hope you’re all using birth control,” Savage told the teenagers as he began his remarks. From there, he regaled the young people who stories about his husband, describing how he looked in a Speedo. At one point, Savage imagined what it would be like with his husband on stage – telling the kids that they would have to pry him off his partner.

Naman was growing increasingly uncomfortable with the tone and tenor of Savage’s remarks. There were more lewd comments, profane words and innuendo. And then, Savage said something that made Naman take notice.
“The Bible,” Savage said with a elongated pause.
“”The very second he said the Bible and paused, I knew it was going to get ugly,” Naman told Fox News. “It was about to be a bashing.”
And Naman was absolutely correct.
We can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about gay people – the same way we have learned to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation,” he told the young students. “We ignore bullshit in the Bible about all sorts of things.”
Some will say what happened next took courage – but Naman said he was simply following the prompting of the Holy Spirit. And the entire moment was captured on a video that has now gone viral on YouTube.
The 18-year-old Eagle Scout and captain of the high school track team rose to his feet – and walked out – passing by hundreds of other students who were cheering the anti-bullying advocate’s profanity-laced rant.
“I felt like in my heart I couldn’t just stay there at all,” he said. “It was a really weird feeling I just had to get out. I didn’t want to cause a scene but I really could not stand to be in that room anymore.”
Jake Naman said he felt – bullied.
“If Dan Savage had gotten up there and said ‘God hates homosexuals and they’re all going to hell,’ there would have been huge outrage from that crowd,” he said. “As Christians we get the other side of that. When our faith is attacked like that – we are ridiculed for taking a stand against it.”
Naman thought that he was the only person who walked out – but when he got to the lobby – he learned that was far from the case. Arrowhead’s entire yearbook staff followed his lead – including his 16-year-old sister.
“I was shaking,” Julia Naman told Fox News. “I saw my brother pop up and leave and I took off after him.”
So did 17-year-old Haley Mulder.
“I never felt more hurt, felt persecuted,” Mulder said. “For me, my faith is what I Want to be defined by. For someone to say it was B.S. is really hurtful. I felt put down and bullied because of my faith.”
And then it got worse for the Christian teenagers. Savage directly targeted them with his remarks.
“You can tell the Bible guys in the hall they can come back now because I’m done beating up the Bible,” he said. “It’s funny as someone on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible how pansy-assed people react when you push back.”
Naman said a number of the girls began crying. He said it seemed like such a safe environment “But then Dan Savage went off and it didn’t seem that way anymore.”
“He had a position of power as a speaker and he was using that against a group of students who had never done anything to him,” Naman said. “I would consider that bullying.”
“He was completely insulting and degrading our faith,” his sister said.
Mulder said Savage needed to practice what he preaches.
“I felt it was ironic coming from a person who was talking about not bullying,” she said.
In all about a hundred students walked out of the speech, but Naman said many others wanted to. He said some Christian teenagers felt intimidated and were afraid of what might happen if they had left.
Still, the 18-year-old said one thing was certainly obvious – “The majority of the students did not support us at all,” he said.
Savage issued a partial apology over the weekend, saying he was referring to the walk-out as “pansy-assed” and not the students. However, he stood by his profane references to the Bible.

And there you have it, all the intellect and courage of the atheist movement.  I know, before you comment, that many atheist don't act like this in real life.  But a lot do.  Put a kind comment on the Freedom From Religion Facebook page and see what it gets you.  So tell me- would you want to support an anti-bullying campaign led by this "gentleman?"  Point being, there are people who genuinely believe that there is no God, that logic and science tell them so.  But they are being led by those who live their lives to attack "something that doesn't exist."  And I know that their are those who would say, "I just want to make sure my children aren't exposed to the brainwashing of Christians."  But you'd rather cheer this guy.  Something's wrong with the picture, dudes.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Scrappy Sunday

Butterflies everywhere.  A couple about flew into me noggin, they did!

Lots of mud flats- river's way down.

Dad:  "Go ahead, Boofus, it's okay!"
Scrappy:"It's a little deep here for me."

Our normal spot- much better.

"C'mon, Dad, it's time to roll!!"

Down one of those never-taken paths...

...which had us stumbling onto this little bit of open... the midst of more forest primeval.

And thence onto the mud flats.  Usually this is all river...

...but now it's where Stony Run dribbles into the river.

Along about here it started getting a little too mucky...

...and getting to the bank was even worse.  So it was back whence we came...

...but someboby thought it would be fun to walk all the way back in the water.  You should have seen his face when I told him I wasn't going that way...

...just so's he could play with the ducks way over there.

Bethsaida, Chorazin, Capernaum, and Martin LTD

Last week I talked about how prophecy seemed to indicate that the United States part in in the plan seemed to be analogous to roadkill.  I’m sure some of you might have said, “But we’re one nation (mostly) under God!  How can this be?'”  Well, this morning’s Ed Bousman sermon kinda pointed out I might need to answer this question.

Now, one way to do that might be to go down through the appropriate Biblical chapters in Ezekiel and Revelation and list all the similarities to Tyre and Babylon the Great.  But I think it might be better to list the qualities of the cities mentioned in the post title and then look at things.  These were three towns nestled at the north end of the Sea of Galilee.  Between them, they were the homes of the apostles, Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Phillip.  Capernaum was basically Jesus’ headquarters according to Matthew 4:13 and 9:1.  The list of miracles performed in the area was astounding- the feeding of the 5,000, healing a blind man, healing the centurion’s servant, healing a nobleman’s son, healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, curing the paralytic, casting out numerous demons.  As Ed Bousman said, “It should have been the easiest place in the world to believe in Jesus…”

…But what happened?

20 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.[e] For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”  Matt. 11:20-24

Just to flesh out what the reference to Sodom entails, Bousman reminded us of Jude 7:
7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
Get the picture?  Because Christ LIVED AMONG THEM and they refused to believe, they were going to be worse off than people WHO’D ALREADY BEEN ROASTING IN HELL FOR 4,000 YEARS!

And then, Bousman added the line that by now you must know is coming:  “Woe to you, Capernaum!  Woe to you… America…”
Just like them, we are the easiest place in the world to know and believe in Jesus.  And yet atheists are between 2-6% of the population and rising, and as many as 12% describe themselves as “non-religious”.  And these are old numbers, people.  And lest you say, well, 2% isn’t bad, remember that Mark says (1:29ff) that in Capernaum, the WHOLE CITY turned out after getting wind of the healing of Peter’s mom-in-law- but turning out doesn’t necessarily equal belief.

I accidently came up with an analogy this morning when I found my box of q-tips was down to the last two.  “Put one back in, “ my dumb jokey voice in my head said, “and it will keep returning every morning, like the oil and flour in the widow’s jars.”  I replied, It don’t work that way.  The flour and oil was a miracle.  Q-tips would be a convenience.”

Isn’t that what people want from God these days?  A “miracle of convenience”? How many times I’ve heard, “I won’t believe in a god without proof”- basically, Habeus Corpus, God!  That would make it convenient to believe.  Otherwise, it just gets in the way of my evolution, my homosexuality, my secularism.  Sorry, dudes, God never said belief is to be “convenient.”  At leats, by the world’s standards.

And yet, Jesus is right here.  In this nation.  I got a dollar bill right here that says so…

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Suwon update

If you remember the criminally-botched rape investigation I featured in the post If You Think It's Bad Elsewhere..., I've just been looking up some more on this tragedy.  From the Korea Herald:

After partially revealing telephone records, there has been public outcry over the handling of the 112 call. The operator was found to have focused on whether Kwak  (the victim) had been raped and by whom, and failed to secure the location of the crime. The agent also reportedly left important information out when referring the case to the police, including the fact that the crime was taking place indoors and near an elementary school. Police arriving on the scene had initially searched neighboring playgrounds and yards.

Once the full record was disclosed, it was found that the victim had stayed on the line for more than six minutes. The victim’s pleas could be heard, while an officer said the call appeared to be about domestic abuse. Police initially reported that Wu’s voice was not captured on the tape, which was later found to be false. Members of Kwak’s family also reported that police on scene acted inappropriately with two officers sleeping in a police vehicle while the search took place.

Also it has been pointed out that some neighbors could hear her screams, and shrugged it off as a domestic fight and did nothing.  And, another consequence has been a spike in hate-tweets against the  Joseonjok (ethnic Koreans who lived in China and came "home" to work), egged on by the media's constant refering to the fact that the murderer was a Joseonjok.  One site said that, just like after the Japan earthquake the media reported every little tremor, now the media lights on anything to do with "Chinese" Koreans.  Sure is nice to see American "culture" being transplanted to foreign lands, ain't it?  Oh, and speaking of which, here's one of those tweets, where a Korean lets us know their take on "multiculturalism":

 Multiculturalism, you say? Are you illiterate? Don't you know history and ethnicity is what Koreans are proud of? It's a bullshit saying we should mix culture and whatever shit. Who the fuck speaks "multiculturalism?" Multiculturalism is made by immigrants of diverse background in the U.S., a nation where history is only about 200 years long. Stupid brats, U.S. is still in racist/cultural war against the immigrants. Also, 95% of the foreign laborers are underpaid daily laborers. You say it's "global age?" It's a global labor site. We should also require people to have money in their bank account and take fingerprints if they want to come. This is a global, low-skill laborer crime site.

Oh, yeah, but we're awful for wanting illegal immigration stopped.

The Great eighties countdown begins!

Yes, I am finally happy enough with the list and motivated enough to start this.  This is going to be a bit different than the last two lists.  For one thing, of this week's 20 songs, only thirteen charted on the hot 100; 2 were on the country chart, one made the adult contemporary chart, and three were charted on the Mainstream Rock chart.  In time, you'll also see entrants from contemporary Christian music and other genres.  Also, I'm going to try to give you the number of songs by each act.  You'll see from the comments that the "emotional connections" often aren't there or as strong; this was end of high school and after, and the "angst" of childhood and high school was being replaced, sad to say, with alcohol and recreational drugs.  Hopefully, though, I've plucked enough gems from the bunch to make this a lot of fun.  So, without further ado:

300- Turning Japanese, the Vapors, #36, 1980.  This English band claims the song wasn't about masturbation, but let's be real.  A #1 song down under.  (Should that be capitalized?  Down Under, then.)

299- Don't Know What You've Got (Till It's Gone), Cinderella, #12, 1988.  Didn't realize I even liked these guys, but Nobody's Fool just missed.  A Philly group, Bobby, but no Stylistics, eh?

298- Rainbow In The Dark, Dio, #14 mainstream rock tracks, 1983.  I found out that Ronnie James Dio actually thought this was "too pop".  Really?  First of two times for Dio on the list.

297- Dirty Laundry, Don Henley, #3, 1983.  Despite the left-leaning politics of Henley, a cool tune.  First of two for Henley on the list.

296- I Ran (So Far Away), A Flock Of Seagulls, #9, 1983.  Damn, a lot of 1983s here.  An English band with a unique sound- so unique that they were nearly a one-hit wonder.  Another #1 from Australia.

295- Subdivisions, Rush, #105, 1982.  Rush hit #8 mainstream and #3 on the album track chart.  A great look at being cool- or being cast out.  The Canadian band will be back a couple more times on our list.

294- Everybody Have Fun Tonight, Wang Chung, #2, 1986.  "On the edge of oblivion/All the world is Babylon/And all the love and everyone/A ship of fools sailing on".  Truer words...

293- Where Have All The Good Times Gone, Van Halen, #17, 1982.  The second of their Kinks covers (You Really Got Me) and one of three of theirs on the list.

292- Seasons Change, Expose, #1, 1988.  Our first #1 on the list is probably as big a surprise to you as it is to me.

291- That's My Job, Conway Twitty, #6 country, 1988.  Around 1986-88 was my country period.  And this one was a big tear-jerker for me.

290- At This Moment, Billy Vera and the Beaters, #79 (1981) and #1 (1987).  Like everyone else watching Family Ties- as well as at least one guy ON the show- I fell in love with Tracy Pollan.  This was her and Michael J. Fox's theme song.

289- Old And Wise, Alan Parsons Project, #21 adult contemporary, 1982.  One of six by APP on this chart.  Colin Blunstone, late of the Zombies, sang lead on this.

288- Cult Of Personality, Living Color, #13, 1988.  A song to challenge how you look at political figures.  It was written over the course of just one rehearsal.

287- The Devil Made Me Do It, Golden Earring, #79, 1983.  The 50th anniversary of this Dutch band was celebrated last year.  One of a pair of GE tunes on the list.  The Continuing Story Of Radar Love was a very good greatest hits album.

286- Black Velvet, Alanna Myles, #1, 1989-90.  Actually, I was deceived into thinking this was a 1989, but it was released on December 17th, so I left it in.  This Canuck had #1 in Norway, Switzerland, and Sweden, and top 5 in 8 others.  A great tribute to Elvis.

285- Hello Mary Lou, the Statler Brothers, #3 country, 1985.   I couldn't let the countdown pass without the Statlers.  We used to have great fun with our typing teacher, who was a big fan.  Especially when they did a radio spot for McDonalds.

284- Shooting Shark, Blue Oyster Cult, #83/ #16 mainstream, 1983.  One of two songs I saw a lot the week my dad was in hospice before he died.  "It's a hard road to love you..."

283- Stone In Love, Journey, #13 mainstream, 1981. I was really surprised to see that this didn't chart on the hot 100, with how big Journey was becoming at this point.  One of three on the chart for the boys from Frisco.

282- Sunday Bloody Sunday, U2, #7 mainstream, 1983.  I like the way U2 got to the point of political battles.  "The real battle is people dying, that's the real battle."  A story of 1972's bloody Sunday massacre in Derry.  One of three spots for U2.

281- Same Old Lang Syne, Dan Fogelberg, #9, 1981.  A true story that happened to Dan on Christmas Eve, 1976.

That's the first round, gang.  Let me know whatcha think... and maybe come back next week for more?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Out with the old...

Today we got the news that our plant was closing June 29th.  A lot of things I could say about this- but I'll defer for now.  They're being very generous on severence, and giving plenty of warning.  It still sucks, though, and thankfully they were wise enough to send us home and pay us for the half- day so's we didn't just stand around and get ourselves all worked up.

I'd rather do that alone.

Twenty years for me, 25 for Laurie.  I knew not the first thing about really working when I went there.  Don't feel much like I know anything about it now, other than I'll somehow have to do it somewhere else.

But you know what?  It's nuthin' but a thing, and life rolls merrily on.  I have a blog friend who has it a lot worse.  Years of CHF, fighting weight and diet, fighting for insurance coverage, trying to see one last daughter through to adulthood.  And then... the bad news she wasn't prepared to name on blog, so as to give it a permanance and reality.  But the word "chemo" spells it out in big Gothic font.  The other day, she posted one of those posts where you laugh about what you're going through, except the jokes ain't funny and you're working to an audience of yourself.  Before I could read the whole thing, she'd taken it down.  To me, even that's a poignant moment of courage-  "You are NOT turning me into one of those people!  You can't have my dignity!"  Bravo to you.

And you know what? It's nuthin' but a thing, and life rolls merrily on. Scrappy and I went out for a walk and ran into mama fox and three, maybe four, adorable little kits sunning themselves.  I tried to video, but by now you are all familiar with my camera, so if you really want to hear it, let me know.  Mama fox saw us last, and jumped up, yipped at her already amscrayed litter (hence "hearing" the aforementioned video), and split.  Scrappy, as usual, never noticed until she stood up and yipped. 

Those little buggers were so cute, and so happy, and where will they be months from now?  Where will any of us be?   Sometimes all we have are a few stolen sunny moments.  Or one more school dance.  Or two months of work.

Time Machine week 13

Can you imagine a better cover on a Time magazine than the one for April 27th, 1970?  Yes, it's time for a normal, run of the mill Time Machine this week.  Oh, except for one thing:  If you look under President Nixon, you'll see a link to my new Martin Hall Of Fame Page.  Which of course means that next week I'll be doing the third class of inductees right here on this very program, so feel free to peruse the current roster and nominate anyone of your fancy.  Also, I got my card from Lyndylou at The Giggle Fest for this month's Great Postcard Campaign!  And don't let all the pictures of shirtless men keep you from visiting her- even though they made my visit a brief one, LOL.

This week, we have the only US Congressman to hit #1; the villainy of Lord Marmaduke Ffogg; the benefit by Bowser that didn't quite pan out; and we link the Beatles to... the Beatles?!?  Let us move on...

12 songs debut in the hot 100- and I'll mention 2 of them.  The Carpenters bring their version of Ticket To Ride in at #96; The Doors hit with Roadhouse Blues at #91.  Other birthdays this week include, turning 30, John Mellancamp's Hurts So Good and Rainbow's Stone Cold; turning 35, Bob Seger's Main Street, Alice Cooper's You And Me, Al Stewart's On The Border, Aerosmith's Back In The Saddle, Andy Gibb's I Just Wanna Be Your Everything, Manfred Mann's Spirits In The Night, Peter McCann's Do You Wanna Make Love, and Waylon Jenning's Lukenbach, Texas (Back To The Basics Of Love); turning 40 are those greedy Carpenters with It's Going To Take Some Time, Neil Diamond's Song Sung Blue, CCR's Someday Never Comes, Neil Young's Old Man, Elton John's Rocket Man, Bill Withers' Lean On Me, and Mouth And McNeil's How Do You Do?; and finally the Young Rascals' Groovin' turns 45.  Woof, what a bunch!

Today's look back into the past brings us to a household name- Rudy Vallee.  Rudy and his Connecticut Yankees were at #1 this week in 1929 with Honey, and 1930 with The Stein Song (The University of Maine theme).  Rudy's chart run was from 1929-39, and racked up 71 top 40s, 49 top tens, and two more #1s- 1932's Brother Can You Spare A Dime, and 1937's Vieni, Vieni.  Rudy was at first more of a band leader and reluctant singer, and he formed the Yankees, which started out with 2 violins, 2 saxaphones, a piano, a drum, and a banjo.  At one point he recorded for Hit Of The Week, which put out one record a week, sold at newsstands at a low price on what amounted to laminated cardboard.  Soon he branched out into movies, and had parts in movies such as I Remember Mama (1948) and How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (1967).  He also had cameos on TV shows like Here's Lucy, Petticoat Junction, and Chips, as well as a 1984 cameo on NBC soap Santa Barbara.  But one TV appearance was bound to go down in history:

Lord Marmaduke Fogg's first and only appearance was in three part story ( "The Londinium Larcenies", "The Foggiest Notion", and "The Bloody Tower") in the third season of the 1960s Adam West Batman show, where he was played by Rudy Vallee. His plan was simple, use his lordly title and palatial estate to open a girls boarding school and use it to recruit upper crust young ladies to be trained in the fine art of criminality and steal the Crown Jewels. However Lord Marmaduke Fogg could never have counted on no one less than the President of the United States calling on Batman personally to go help out Scotland Yard in solving the case. Despite his bevy of bloodthirsty beauties, killer bees, and a fog spewing pipe, he proved no match for the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder who (with an able assist from Batgirl) put an end to his sinister scheme.

Frankly I don't understand why Lord Marmaduke Fogg never made another appearance after the Adam West show. Don't get me wrong, he definitely needs some tweaking to make him a reoccuring Batman villain, but not a lot. Obviously he needs to open his Boarding School of Crime in Gotham rather than London (or Londinium as it was bizarrely called in the show), but he could easily be a British Ex-Pat. And wearing a removable cast due to faked gout is silly when faking a limp means he could use a cane with a hidden sword instead. The rest practically writes itself. Perhaps Lord Marmaduke Fogg had served with Alfred Pennyworth in her majesty's secret service before turning to a life of villainy. Robin could easily fall for a girl in his Academy of Crime, or Batgirl could go undercover. Such a setup would not necessarily make him one of Batman's greatest rogues, but an aristocrat who takes in wayward and abandoned children and gives them paramilitary training so they can live a life operating outside the law could surely serve as a dark foil for a Dark Knight with an army of teenaged squires.

This comes from the Entertained Organizer Blog.  Vallee died in July of 1986.

The big dropper hangs in the top 40:  Bridge Over Troubled Waters slides from 22 to 35.  The big mover this week is Joe Cocker's The Letter, which leaps 30 to land at #49.

That brings us to our Where Are They Now spot, and at #50 this week we have Dennis Yost and the Classics IV with a tune called  The Funniest Thing, a smooth, simple, wistful ballad like all of their hits.  The original band was Yost, Buddy Buie, JR Cobb, and Joe Wilson.  Cobb and Buie, who would go on to form the Atlanta Rhythm Section, wrote the band's big hits- Spooky (#3, 1968), Stormy (#5, 1968), and Traces (#2, 1969).
 Yost continued to put line ups together; then, in 2006, he took a serious fall down a flight of stairs.  To help the Yost family financially, Jon "Bowser" Bauman put together an all-star charity bash.  Joining him at the show at Rhinos Live in Cincinatti were Denny Laine (Wings, Moody Blues), Chuck Negron (3 Dog Night), the Skyliners, and Ian Mitchell (Bay City Rollers), among others.
Denny Laine, Ian Mitchell, Jimmy Jay "DJ to the stars", Dennis, and Ronnie from Ronnie and the Daytonas at the Yost benefit.

Unfortunately, the benefit went in the red, and it amounted as little more than a morale booster for the Yosts.  Over the next several months, Dennis groomed Tom Garrett as his replacement, and passed away in December of 2008.  Buddy and JR are still involved with ARS, and Garrett continues Dennis' legacy in the Classics IV.

Four songs hit the top 40 this week.  Marty Robbins eases from 42 to 38 with My Woman, My Woman, My Wife.  Van Morrison zooms 14 up to #33 with Come Running (and I guess he did!).  Also up 14 to #32 is Ray Stevens with Everything Is Beautiful.  And jumping 16 to land at 25, Simon and Garfunkel with Cecilia. 

Two songs join the top 10, two fall out. The droppers are our new grandpa chair sitter, House Of The Rising Sun (8-24), and Bobby Sherman's prophetic Easy Come, Easy Go (7-18).

Coming in at #10, up one, are the Friends Of Distinction with Love Or Let Me Be Lonely. The Supremes move up a notch to #9 with Up The Ladder To The Roof. Edison Lighthouse drops 3 to #8 with Love Grows etc., etc.  Badfinger slips one to #7 with Come And Get It.  The First Edition checks in on page #6, up 3, with Something's Burning.  John Lennon and Instant Karma drop 2 to #5.  Blasting its way in at #4, up 8 spots, are the Guess Who with American Woman.  And that brings us to our six degrees victims.

With groups like the Beatles, or songs like Let It Be (which falls from the top spot to #3 this week), the rub isn't finding the connections, but in finding ones you haven't tried yet.  So let's start this time with the record's producer, one-time star and current convict Phil Spector.  Phil had went from founding the Teddy Bears (To Know Him Is To Love Him) to inventing his famous Wall Of Sound.  The "Wall" was performed by a consistant group of studio hands who were watched over by Spector's two lieutenants, Jack Nitsche and Sonny Bono (who, with Cher, hit #1 with I Got You Babe, and his later election to Congress made him the only Congressman to ever have a #1 hit).  Together, the pair wrote the song Needles And Pins, which was recorded by a band called the Searchers.  When this song hit the US charts in 1964, they became the second act from Liverpool to hit the American charts.

Wanna guess who the first was?

So that leaves us with a 2-horse race.  Horse in the place spot would be Norman Greenbaum, who moves up 3 to #2 with Spirit In The Sky.  And that means our new #1 is...

The Jackson Five with ABC!!!!

Next week, the new class in the MHOF!  Send those nominations in, I'm easy!


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Sunday, April 22, 2012

The end of the world as we know it- and I feel fine…

We were talking about the death of Dick Clark yesterday when my son said, “Those damn Mayans! Dick Clark won’t be here to bring in another year…”  And I kinda laughed at that, though it does make a warped kinda sense that Dick Clark would live on until all the New Years had been brought in.  Does that mean I’m a “believer” now?  I’d like to be, because that would mean in less than a year, I’ll be with my Father in Heaven.  But no, I don’t because too many signs have to happen first.  One that got brought up in Dr. Jeremiah’s sermon today is one I hadn’t looked at before, and I’m going to need a little groundwork to get there.

Those of us who are Christians, or have been exposed to Christianity to one extent or another, know most of the “glaring signs”.  The rapture- the believers being taken from the Earth- is the most famous, but I have a feeling its not going to be particularly glaring, due to A) how many people will be left to be raptured, and B) the swift invention of excuses to explain it.  Luke 17 talks about how just like before the flood, life will go on “as normal”, until the other shoe drops.  And this probably won’t even get rid of the “established Church” since John tells us in Revelation 17 that there will still be a “Church” – the great harlot- who even that, the Anti-Christ will want to destroy.  And if it’s a false Church, why would the AC want to do away with it?  Because he is the ultimate atheist, wanting to destroy every conception of God- at first.

Trying not to hop off my track, let’s go on to look at the politics of the AC.  He will be a descendant of the Roman empire, or a Jew, or both, according to Daniel 9.  He will preside over a ten nation coalition, at least three of which will be unwilling members, according to Revelation 13.  And he will, again by Daniel 9 as well as other prophecies, somehow convince Israel to trust in his protection and let down their defenses.  Then comes the next “glaring” sign, the Temple has to be rebuilt.

This is one I’ve often heard will be the great sign.  Because there has to be a Temple for the “abomination of desolation” to occur.  True enough, but nowhere in the Bible does it say that the AC will build or even authorize it- only that it will be there at the point when he blows away all his “logical” atheist supporters by declaring himself God. 

I have a greater sign than this for you- I believe the US of A will no longer be here when the AC is revealed.

I believe that the destruction of “Tyre” in Ezekiel 27 and the fall of “Babylon the Great” in Revelation 18 describe the self same event- the same event as Ezekiel 38-39 as God sending fire “to those who live in safety in the coastlands”.  The US of A, the great trading partner of the world, purveyor of every evil through Hollywood, will be destroyed “in just one hour”.  I had always before today, thought that this event would happen during the tribulation- the seven year clock of Daniel 9 that starts when the Israelis make their Covenant with the AC for “peace and safety”.  But something Dr. Jeremiah said changed my mind- something so logical, it made the whole thing have a sense to it.

He pointed out that the only way that Israel would agree to this, and become “ a land of unwalled villages, having neither bars nor gates”, would be if they had no other choice- AND NO OTHER FRIEND IN THE WORLD than the Anti-Christ.  And who is that one other friend that Israel had, up until this point?  The US of A, which lies smouldering, destroyed in just one hour.

All the rest- the destruction of the “great harlot” religion (which I think is nothing more than those who go on practicing “christianity” with no idea what it means), the abomination of desolation, the covenant with Israel, and the AC’s “resurrection” and being declared God- no of this can happen until the United States falls once and for all.

I don’t profess to know God’s chronology exactly. But this morning, at least this one piece fell into place for me.  The United States becomes a key block of prophecy- by no longer being a factor.

Dick Clark was easy. Let’s see if the Mayans pull that off before the year’s out.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Eurohockey update

Well, after this week we will have only 5 more champions to crown, as 7 more have won their leagues.  Nottingham's Panthers lead off our list of champions.  They won their one-and-done battle with Cardiff 2-0 to win their third EIHL title and second straight, finishing 40-12-6 overall.They were founded in 1946 and added one championship in the old English National league .  Their playoff success comes despite never having finished better than third save once.

Pardubice took the Czech Extraliga, winning the last two games handily to take the series against Kometa Brno 4 to 2.  Pardubice (35-24-12) has three championships and 3 runners up in the league's 19-year history.  Founded in 1923, they also have three Czechoslovak titles.  Pardubice is a town of 90,000 give or take in North central Czech Republic, first mentioned as a monastery town way back in 1295.  It went from a sleepy village to a not-so-sleepy town after an important railroad line went through in 1845.

Rouen took there second straight Ligue Magnus title in France, and 4th in the last six years.  The Dragons (28-10-3) rolled through games 5 and 6 against Grenoble (who won the other two in that span) took win the finals 4 to 2. Rouen's team, founded in 1982, now has 11 titles to their credit.  (PS in case you hadn't noticed, I'm only doing "travelogues" for the cities that haven't won in the three seasons I've been doing these.)

In Italy, second-place Bolzano did to 1st place Val Pusteria what they did to 8th seed Fassa and 4th seed Cortina- swept them in 4 games to win the Serie A championship.  Bolzano's Foxes (35-13-7) win their 18th title since their founding in 1925- the latest being in 2008 and 2009.  Bolzano is a city of 104,000- one of the largest in the league- in the extreme north of Italy.  Founded in 1190, they were a Bavarian city for centuries, becoming Austrian in the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars.  It went to Italy after WWI, and the largely German population was diluted in the twenties and thirties when Mussolini embarked on a campaign to triple the city's Italian population.  Sadly, it also was home to a nearby concentration camp during WWII.

In Norway, Stavanger's Oilers took their second title in three years (they lost in the finals to Sarpsborg last year), topping Lorenskog 4 to 2.  Stavanger (47-8-4) has dominated the league since dethroning Valerenga two years past. 

In the Elitserien, HC Brynas (37-24-11) topped Skelleftea 4 to 2 to win their 13th championship, but first since 1999.  Brynas is based in the northern city of Gavle, population 71,000.  It was founded in 1446 by Christopher of Bavaria.  Bavaria, you say?  Yes, the King of Denmark (and Sweden and Norway, in those days) had a Bavarian count for a papa and a Pomeranian (North coast of Poland, not the dog) princess for a mama.  One thing I have to share with you about Gavle is "the Goat."

The history of the Gävle goat began in 1966. Stig Gavlén came up with the idea of placing a giant version of the traditional Swedish Christmas goat of straw in Slottstorget (Castle Square) in central Gävle. On 1 December the 13-metre tall, 7-metre long, 3 tonne goat was erected on the square. At midnight on New Year's Eve, the goat went up in flames. The goat has since had a history of being burnt almost every year, 2005 being the 22nd time it was burnt. Burning the goat is an illegal act and not welcomed by most citizens of Gävle, but undoubtedly this is what has made the goat famous. In 2006 the goat was covered in a flame-resistant coating to prevent arson, enabling the goat to remain standing throughout that winter.

The 2009 Goat.

Finally on the winners, in Switzerland we had the battle between 5th seed (and perrenial champ) SC Bern and 7th seed ZSC Lions from Zurich.  And not surprisingly, Bern had opened up a 3-1 lead after four games.  But then ZSC won 2-1 SO in Bern, 6-3 at home, and again 2-1 in Bern to take the title.  Zurich, who had ended the regular season 19-19-12, finished 31-22-12 overall.  Founded in 1930, ZSC ("Zurich Skating Club")  now has 7 NLA championships, the last in 2008.

Zurich, the financial center of Europe and Switzerland's largest city at 372,000, was populated since at least 15 BC.  For centuries it was the political hub of the nation, and was bombed in WWII by accident despite being a neutral. 

Two more series were to be decided today.  In Denmark, Odensee had been up 3-1 on defending champs Blue Fox Herning, but BFH took the next two 2-0 and 3-0 to send the series to game seven.

Also to be decided today is the Slovakian championship, with Kosice hosting Slovan Bratislava in game seven.

In Finland, JYP Jyvaskyla trails the Penguins of Lahti 2 to 1 after Lahti won game three 4-1.

And in the KHL, it is Avangard Omsk with a 3 to 2 lead on Dynamo Moscow.  After splitting the first 4 games and scoring seven goals between the two teams, they had a relative explosion in game five, which Avangard took 3-2.

BTW Taurus of Neftekamsk, who took out Donbass in the semis of the VHL, has beaten Ruby Tyumen 3-2 OT, 4-2, and 5-2 to take a 3 to 0 lead in the VHL finals.  Neftekamsk, you may remember, was the first team that New Lokomotiv beat in its season opener.

UPDATE:  We have our two latest winners.  One is a repeat- Blue Fox Herning blanked Odensee 4-0 for the Danish championship (Odensee being shut out the last 61:22 of the series).  This puts Herning with 16 championships- 7 this century.  BFH finishes 35-19-3.

The other is Slovan Bratislava who stunned Kosice 2-1 OT for their 8th championship, 7 in the Slovak Extraliga. The Belasi ("Sky Blue") finish out at 43-19-8.

Bratislava is another of those places that has been inhabited forever.  Known usually as Pressburg, it was part of Great Moravia, Hungary since the 10th century, part of the Hapsburg Monarchy of Ausrtia since the 1500's.  A crossroads of history, it fell to Napoleon's army in 1809.  By the time of WWI it was 42% German, 41% Magyar (Hungarian), and 15% Slovak.  Lying right on the corner of Austria, Hungary, and the new nation of Czech-Slovakia, it was hotly debated until 1-1-1919, when the Czech Legion occupied the city and settled the issue.  It was officially named Bratislava on March 27th of that year.  It was the capital of Hungary from the fall of the Hungarian Kingdom at Mohacs in the 1500's until 1756, and was the Capital of Slovakia in both periods of independance.  A city of 462,000, it is sister-citied with Cleveland, Ohio.

In March, Slovan applied for membership in the KHL, as did its Extraliga league-mate HK Poprad.  Poprad shares the city with Lev Poprad in the KHL, but Lev is expected to move to Prague in 2012-13, where it will share the city with Slavia and Sparta in the Czech Extraliga.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Life and Death

A subject that comes up with increasing frequency lately.When you are my age, and you come to see the bits of your childhood chipping away, you begin to feel a lot like a peeling garage that has broken windows, a leaky roof, and that one spot in the corner that you can see clear through.  Dick Clark is one of those that really took a lot of shingles off the roof.  Laurie told me last night about the death of Men At Work sax and flute man Greg Ham, who "was never the same" after a court found against him when the owners of the copyright to the kids' song Kookaburra said he lifted the flute riff on Down Under from it.  (If he'd have rapped on the song as well, they could have called it "sampling" and it would have been okay.)  Today I saw two more.  Recently I did a "where are they now" on Time Machine featuring Levon Helm and the Band.  Levon, the singer on the classic song The Weight, died today.  And so did someone else.

I grew up on Dark Shadows.  It soon came to interfere with the school schedule (I probably meant that the other way, but it's all in the priorities), and became a special treat on off days, summer vacation, and when DST blew the right way.  My sister and I never missed it when we had a chance.  And though vampires came and went, and more than one night was spent with blankets way up around my neck (but don't tell Mom, or I'd never get to watch again), one vampire never scared me.  Barnabas Collins.  Before I could read comics on my own, Daniel Boone, Matt Dillon, and Barnabas Collins were my super heroes.  Theirs were characters which transcended the shows. 

Jonathan Frid died last Friday- Friday the 13th, big surprise.  "I respected Dark Shadows from my first day of rehearsal to the point of awe," he wrote in 1988. "I was serious about Barnabas, one of the most complex characters I've ever played." The "roars of laughter" he heard from latter-day audiences at his earnest, genuine attempts to find the heart and soul of the melancholy vampire were hurtful. "For me," Frid wrote, "it was never intended to be camp." Dark Shadows, he felt, had become part of American folklore. To treat it with anything less than full respect would be a disservice, he felt, to the show and its fans.

  I agree.  Knowing that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are about to ruin it, just like the later prime time remake did, galls me.  Knowing that I have lost "my friend in the vampire business" disheartens me.  And to know that Jonathan is now with Jim Arness and Fess Parker frightens the hell out of me.

I talked about this way back on my Valley Of The Dolls post.  The circle closes tighter again.  Everything I knew is writing "Finis" at the top of the page and closing the book.

I never wanted to be old enough to watch all my heroes die.

Time Machine Week 12

The way I see it, this man sums up everything that Time Machine was about.  The love of the music, the joy of youth.  And as he grew older, he became more than just the World's Oldest Teenager.  To my mind, there were only two choices of how to handle this memorial.  One would be to just have a week of silence- no chart, no stories, just a long goodbye and we'll be back next week.  The other was to do Dick Clark until he's coming out of your ears.

I have chosen the latter.  A man of sound deserves better than a moment of silence.  So, along with the regular chart stuff, we'll be replacing the usual specials with the Dick Clark we knew- and didn't know- and loved.

A full twenty-one songs debuted on the hot hundred this week.  I'll get to them in a minute.  One of the things I thought about was how many acts got a career kick-start by being on American Bandstand.  Here is an admittedly incomplete listing of acts that got their first television exposure (or close to it) on the stage at AB.

Chubby Checker
The Doors
Jackie Wilson
The Jackson Five
Tom and Jerry (better known later as Simon and Garfunkel)
Talking Heads
Johnny Cash
Buddy Holly
Ike and Tina Turner
Sam Cooke
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
The Drifters
Jerry Lee Lewis.

Back to our debuts for this week in 1970: Coming in at 98 is Melanie with the Edwin Hawkins Singers and Lay Down (Candles In The Rain); At 95 it's Brotherhood Of Man (featuring ubermench Tony Burrows) with United We Stand; Joe Cocker's cover of the Box Tops' The Letter comes in at 79; Brook Benton follows up his big hit Rainy Night In Georgia with his cover of My Way at 72; Diana Ross reaches the charts with her first official solo single, Reach Out And Touch (Somebody's Hand), at 67; The Moments hit at 62 with Love On A Two Way Street; And a double hit for Credence Clearwater Revival- the b-side, Run Through The Jungle, comes in at 63, and the a-side, Up Around The Bend, comes in at 49. (Whoo!)

With that many songs hitting 42 this week, let's check out the other birthdays this week. Turning 30 is Toto's big #2 hit Rosanna; turning 35 was Fleetwood Mac's Dreams, Marvin Gaye's Got To Give It Up, and the Theme to Rocky- Gonna Fly Now, by Bill Conti.  Turning 40 were the Jacksons' Little Bitty Pretty One, the Moody Blues' Isn't Life Strange, Bread's Diary, Billy Preston's Outta-Space, and Little Jimmy Osmond's Long Haired Lover From Liverpool.  And finally, Dion's Lovers Who Wander hits the big 5-0 this week.  That's 18 birthday songs this week- I think Dick would be the first to blow out the candles...  BTW, the act on the show the closest to my own birthday- Smokey and the Miracles on May 20th, 1962.  I was 4 days old, Laurie was 9 days old (Just like the Naughty Lady From Shady Lane!)

One of the great stories I read involved Dick knowing when to let it ride, and when to push back.  His first show on radio station WFIL in 1952 was called Dick Clark's Caravan Of Music.  The music choices on that show were not his, however; current acts like Patti Page, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, and Eddie Fischer were considered "too extreme" by management.  I didn't think Perry Como could be considered extreme if he were live and nekkid in the studio, but whadda I know.  Rather than fight that battle, he did as the station asked.  Years later, just after he took over Bandstand, a huge deal was made about singer Frankie Lymon, a black man, dancing with a white girl on the similar-themed show Alan Freed's Big Beat- and the show was immediately cancelled.  Dick Clark made a point of not just using white acts doing black acts' songs, but the actual black artists as well.  Much like Al Joslon, he put a bully pulpit to good use.  Frankie Lymon himself made an appearance on Bandstand during it's first spring in 1958.

Speaking of appearances, here's some of the acts who appeared on bandstand that first year:

Jerry Lee Lewis- 5 times that first year
Jackie Wilson-4 times
Danny and the Juniors-3 times
and a long list that were on the show twice- Billy Williams Quartette (I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Right Myself A Letter, #3, 1957); Johnny Nash; the Everly Brothers; Chuck Willis, the "King of the Stroll" (What Am I Living For- #9 in 1958); Marvin Rainwater (a dude who wore Indian get-ups and hit #18 with Gonna Find Me A Bluebird in 1957); Sam Cooke; Bobby Day (Rockin' Robin, #2 in '58); Roy Hamilton (#6 with Unchained Melody in '58); and Jack Scott (#3 with My True Love in 1958).

Here's a multiple guess for you-  Who was the guest act on AB this week in 1970? A) Gladys Knight; B) BJ Thomas; C) Bobby Rydell.

The big movers both move up thirty, and land again right next to each other.  At 40, the Poppy Family with Which Way You Going, Billy?  And right below at 41, Simon and Garfunkel's Cecilia.  The big dropper was not very big- Celebrate by Three Dog Night falls 15 to #29.

Eight things you may not have known about Dick Clark:

1. Dick was neighbors with Ed McMahon and introduced him to Johnny Carson.
2. His first on-air job was as a weatherman on WRUN- a station his uncle owned and his father managed.
3.In many interviews, he said his favorite music was Disco.
4.He idolized his older brother Bradley; Bradley was in the Army Air Corps in WWII, "so that the government could teach him how to fly"; He was killed over occupied Europe during the Battle of the Bulge.
5. Dick's middle name is Wagstaff.
6.  He used the professional name "Dick Clay" while he worked for his family on WRUN.
7. When he married wife Kari, on July (7) 7th, 1977, at 7 pm, his official address was PO Box 7777.  John Davidson's father performed the ceremony.
8. Four shows he appeared on as an actor (not as himself):  Adam-12 (an episode we saw not long ago on Antenna TV); Ben Casey; Lassie; and Perry Mason.

Trivia question #2- who were the three HOF acts that never appeared on Bandstand?

Eight songs enter the top 40 this week.  As I've already mentioned, Which Way You Goin', Billy? goes from 70 to 40. The Guess Who move up 2 to #39 with No Sugar Tonight.  Chicago makes the top 40 for the first time with Make Me Smile, up 11 to #38.  James Brown comes in at #37, up 8, with Funky Drummer.  Steppenwolf moves up 18 to #36 with Hey Lawdy Mama.  The George Baker Selection, who we'll become more familiar with later on with Una Paloma Blanca, move up 11 to 35 with Little Green Bag.  Johnny Cash roars up from 60 to 34 with What Is Truth.  And finally, up 15 to land at 32, Rare Earth with Get Ready.

Two songs enter the top ten, two drop out.  Bridge Over Troubled Waters falls from 7 to 13; while He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother (who is our grandpa chair song at 16 weeks in the 100) falls from 10 to 28.

Trivia Answers- BJ Thomas was on the April 20th episode.  Knight and Rydell were on the previous two shows.
Elvis did a phone interview on the very first national airing of Bandstand.  The Rolling Stones never came on the show.  And... well, let me keep you in suspense a while longer on #3.

Before we move into the top 10, I'v something else to say.  Tonight on the Pat Miller Show, Pat asked the question, should Dick have retired after his 2004 stroke? After all he looked terrible, and now all the kids will see him and instead of seeing the World's Oldest Teenager, they'll see this messed up figure who can barely speak, and will never understand who the man was to us.  Well, Pat then went on to admit, he was probably influenced in this thought by the fact that he himself was uncomfortable with watching Dick in such a condition. 

But Pat, to be the man he was to us, he HAD to be the kind of man who would go back out there.  The man who lived for the sound and the joy and the kids, and a man driven by doing something meaningful.  Here's what I mean by that.

Dick Clark dies: Entertainment icon became hero to stroke victims

Dick Clark might have been one of Hollywood's shrewdest businessmen, but for many Americans, his lesser-known role as a stroke survivor determined to live a normal life likely will be a more lasting legacy.

Clark died Wednesday at age 82, suffering a massive heart attack after a medical procedure. He had had a debilitating stroke in 2004 and had to learn to walk and talk again -- often with difficulty.

But Clark didn't give in to the symptoms of that stroke, which included slurred, slowed speech and partial paralysis. It was assumed that Clark would have to step down from his iconic "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" duties, and indeed he missed that year's countdown. But he was back in 2005, alongside his appointed heir apparent, Ryan Seacrest. Most recently, he helped the nation usher in 2012.

"Some people felt that it was bad taste on the network's part to have him return in that condition. The network got a lot of criticism for that," said Robert J. Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. "People said, 'This is supposed to be a celebration for the new year, I don't want to see someone in that condition.'

"But I was really glad to see him do it," Thompson said of Clark, who had attended Syracuse and was a frequent guest speaker there. "Dick Clark announced to the world that people can have strokes and still continue to function."
In doing so, Clark became a symbol of hope to the millions of Americans currently struggling in the aftermath of what's known as cerebrovascular incident. Many of those stroke victims grapple with depression and become withdrawn because they feel self-conscious about the lingering side effects, experts said.

And that, my dear Pat, is the Dick Clark I KNEW.  I ask you to set aside your concern about appearances and celebrate the life of a brave man.

Moving up one notch this week into the top ten, we have the Supremes first hit sans Diana Ross, Up The Ladder To The Roof.  Moving up a fast seven to #9 are Kenny Rogers and the First Edition with Something's Burning.  Frijid Pink drops a pair to #8 with House Of The Risning Sun.  Bobby Sherman's up one to 7 with Easy Come, Easy Go.  Badfinger climbs to #6, up 3 with Come And Get It.  Edison Lighthouse slips a notch to 5 with Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes.  Moving up that notch is Norman Greenbaum's Spirit In The Sky.  From here it all becomes very familiar:  Instant Karma at 3, ABC at 2, and and a fourth week at #1 for the third act that never played Bandstand- though a couple of song videos were featured- the Beatles and Let It Be.

I hope you enjoyed this, Dick.  You represent something we should never have lost and will never replace.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Oh, wait, here's my explanation!

Actually not mine, but I found a couple of news stories that show "right" and wrong ways to excuse your mistakes.  First off, Many of you probably already heard about the GSA's big Las Vegas party that's got a lot of no-good "civil servants" in hot water for spending your money on a "conference" that was a lot closer to Animal House than government business.  Well, the fallout has reached Capitol Hill:

Top officials from the agency accused of blowing through taxpayer dollars on luxury getaways and other expenses endured a public drubbing on Capitol Hill Monday, as one invoked his right to remain silent and others apologized profusely while lawmakers tore into them for the "gross abuse of taxpayer funds."
Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at times yelled at the representatives from the General Services Administration called to testify Monday, demanding strict punishment. The acting chief of the agency later assured lawmakers that he's ordered a few GSA officials to repay the government for their personal expenses, and will refer any "criminal activity" that is uncovered to law enforcement.
The hearing, the first of several examining a 2010 Las Vegas conference by the GSA, stretched for hours. It focused in large part on Jeffrey Neely -- the western regional commissioner now on leave over his role in organizing that $820,000 conference.
Neely, in an uncomfortable exchange, pleaded the Fifth a half-dozen times when asked basic questions by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the committee. "Mr. Chairman, on the advise of my counsel I respectfully decline to answer based upon my Fifth Amendment constitutional privilege," he said each time. Neely later left the hearing, refusing to answer questions from Fox News.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., top Democrat on the panel, said the allegations against Neely document an "indefensible and intolerable pattern of misconduct."
Cummings, referring to internal documents allegedly showing Neely gloating about the money he was spending, accused Neely and his wife of blowing through federal dollars, as if they believed they were "some kind of agency royalty who used taxpayer funds to bankroll their lavish lifestyle."
"They violated one of the most basic tenets of government service. It's not your money," Cummings said.

Issa complained earlier Monday that Neely is still being paid -- one official estimated his salary at about $170,000. The congressman noted that Neely is on administrative leave along with four other employees of the General Services Administration.
Issa told Fox News that while the hearing was to be about broader issues of spending and accountability at the agency, he hopes Neely gets booted off the payroll.

See, Neely at least had one shred of brain- when cornered, he took the fifth.  On the other hand, here's a well known no-brain-cell type, Bill Maher.  Let's take a look at his excuses for jumping on the Ann Romney doesn't work bandwagon:

Bill Maher is facing bipartisan criticism -- most recently from one of President Obama's former top advisers -- for controversial comments he made last week about Mitt Romney's wife.
Maher, while a comedian, has endured a surge of political scrutiny since donating $1 million to the super PAC supporting President Obama.
He got himself into trouble Friday when, on his HBO show "Real Time," he ratcheted up a comment made earlier in the week by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen. Rosen had said Ann Romney "never worked a day in her life," and later apologized under pressure from top Democrats.
Maher, though, took Rosen's comments a step further.
"What she meant to say, I think, was that Ann Romney has never gotten her ass out of the house to work," Maher said.
Republicans have used the incident to once again pressure the super PAC Priorities USA to return the Maher donation -- or at least condemn the comments. Supporters of both Obama and the presumptive GOP nominee have worked feverishly over the past several weeks to appeal to women, and portray the other side as inconsiderate toward those voters.
Maher's remarks fed that fire.

 Obama's former domestic policy adviser also voiced concerns on Sunday. "You know, the language, the sentiment are problematic," Melody Barnes said on ABC's "This Week" when asked whether the president needs to distance himself from the comments. "And the campaign has -- and the president has said, look, the civility ... it matters. The way we talk to each other matters. And they're going to have to, as you said, make a decision."
Priorities USA co-founder Bill Burton previously has dismissed concerns about Maher's comments -- particularly when his criticism of Sarah Palin came up amid the backlash last month over Rush Limbaugh's degrading comments about a college student who testified on contraception coverage. Maher said in an interview at the time that it's "crazy" to suggest any "equivalence" between comments by a comedian like Maher and comments by Limbaugh.

Maher on Friday elaborated a bit on his Ann Romney remarks.
"No one is denying that being a mother is a tough job; I remember I was a handful," he said. "But you know there is a big difference between being a mother, and that tough job, and getting your ass out the door at 7 a.m. when it's cold, having to deal with the boss, being in a workplace, or even if you're unhappy you can't show it for eight hours."

So Maher can insult anyone he wants, because a) There's a big difference between being a mom and a REAL JOB, and b) he's a "commedian"  (debatable at best) and thus he can say anything he wants, be as sincere as he wants, but if he gets in trouble for it, well, he's just a commedian and you shouldn't take him serious.  Rush, though, you should take EVERYTHING he says serious, whether you understand sarcasm or not.  Pretty convenient, eh, Bill?

And finally, if you haven't read yesterday's post about Congressional "candidate" David Sowards (I particularly urge you to check out the link to his "web page" I provided), go back and do so.  I ended up having to invite him to read my response on that site, as comments on his various "blogs" are "restricted to team members" -of which he, apparently, is the only one.  Still, my attempt must have been noticed, as he sent a response that fits somewhere in between, to wit:

Statements made on this blog are the opinions of this individual and may not be shared by any affiliated organizations. Paid for by the Committee to Elect David Sowards. Donations and correspondence can be sent to 548 Home Avenue Fort Wayne IN 46807.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In response to David Sowards

You know, I try not to respond to letters in the Journal-Gazette anymore.  Liberal spoutoffs who spend half their letters accusing conservatives of "parroted phrases" when their whole rant was lifted off a "how-to" page.  But sometimes, I have to say something, if only to let the world know that there are people with intelligence still alive in the US of A.  One such letter came in today from a David Sowards, who is apparently seeking the Democratic nomination for Congress from the third district- i.e. NE Indiana.  Here is his letter, and my response.

Do-nothing party must be dumped

Some good reasons not to vote for the Republicans:
1. They often like to brag about how conservative they are. But remember, some of the worst presidents we ever had were conservatives – Bush 1, Bush 2, Nixon, Hoover, Harding, Taft, all failures.

Really.  But let's not talk about Wilson, who sent thousands of boys to their deaths in WWI in order to get his name on the USA entry into the League of Nations- which never happened, and that was a good thing; or about FDR, who created the entire system of Welfare that keeps thousands safe and secure from having to work and costs taxpayers billions; or Jimmy Carter, who plunged the economy from a mess to a disaster.  And the only reason that Bush I was a "failure" was that the Democrats in Congress forced him to rescind his "Read my lips-no new taxes" pledge.

2. They support another plan to reduce taxes for the wealthy and to increase our national deficit.

Reducing taxes wouldn't be increasing the debt.  That would be the added spending on Obamacare and so many other things,  and Republicans are trying to REDUCE that, i.e. the Paul Ryan plan.  The man preventing those cuts is Sen. Harry Reid, who last I checked was a Democrat.

3. They are anti-union, anti-working class, anti-minority, anti-women, anti-foreigner and anti-anyone who disagrees with them on any issue. They are almost like a hate group.

Republicans are a Hate Group. Wow.  And people want to vote for this guy?  Yes, we are against unions being a parasite on our economy; no, we are not anti-working class- why do Dems want to regulate jobs out of business?  Why do they want to shut down pipelines and oil wells and thus force the working class to pay $4 and up for a gallon of gas?  No, we are not anti-minority, we are anti-favoritism to minorities.  We are for minorities that work to improve themselves. We are in favor of minorities who come here UNDER THE RULE OF LAW.  No, we are not anti-women.  Many of us believe that the taking of life is a sin, and try to defend those too young to defend themselves.  If you think that is "anti-women", so be it.  Anti-foreigner?  See "anti-minority".  And anti- anyone who disagrees with them?  Please.  I have listened so many times on talk shows where liberals are given a chance to speak, and they rant loudly, on and on, not giving the host a chance to respond or even speak, and then pat themselves on the back when they get hung up on for having proven some great point.

4. Under President George W. Bush, they did everything possible to try to bankrupt this country and destroy the future of your children.

Hey, Dave?  You want to look at the spending President Obama has created- the spending that the GOP has tried hard to eliminate- and then come back and compare notes?

5. They have totally failed to help the anti-abortion movement achieve their goals.

You say that like it's a bad thing.  Do you WANT the anti-abortion movement to succeed, Dave?  I would have thought that was because your side was winning their battle, but whatever.

6. They support the gun nuts and the reactionaries. They’re so far right, they’re so far wrong.

Gun Nuts and reactionaries?  Dave, can you tell me why a left-wing name-caller who can't get the simplest fact straight is an improvement?

7. They really only care about serving the interests of rich people like Mitt Romney. They will never care about people like you.

This from the party who want to prevent voter-ID so that dead people and illegal aliens can elect our next President.  This from the people who want Congress to "pass the bill and we'll find out what's in it later."  This from the people that want you to give up your constitutional right to practice your religious rights so that they can have sex, get pregnant, and dispose of the results at their leisure, on your dime.  When was the last time Harry Reid told a union boss, thank you, no, I don't need your contribution?  When did Barack Obama turn down money from George Soros, saying, "No, it wouldn't be right?"  Your statement #7 (and #s 4 and 6) sound like something a spoiled fourth-grader would write.

There’s an easy way to end the gridlock in Congress – just elect all Democrats. And throw out the do-nothing Republicans in Congress.

Do nothing??? Again, I thought Harry ("I won't even allowed that to be debated in the Senate") Reid was a Democrat.
I welcome your support at

DAVID SOWARDS Candidate for the Democratic nomination for Congress, 3rd District

So, I decided to give Dave the benefit of the doubt- no one seriously running for Congress can be THIS immature, right?

Well, if you want, you can check his Blogger profile.  He has  eleven blogs- some for somewhat legitimate prose, one for a really disgusting story, one for a passle of anti-conservative, anti-God jokes, one (God help me, it's true) with nothing but sketches he drew of Barack Obama, and of course his campaign blog.  All of which have one common theme- NO FOLLOWERS.

Or you can check his Youtube Website here.  Remember, I can't make this stuff up.

Dave is one of the six Dems who will be vying to run without hope against Marlin Stutzman, along with legit candidate Kevin Boyd, a retired carpenter, a retired cop, "college student" Justin Kuhnle, who describes himself as a conservative Democrat (and actually shows evidence of thinking out his positions), and of course Tommy Schraeder, who became famous last year for running in a local election while living in Wisconsin, oblivious to the campaign.

So now, at least we know that if nothing else, the Indiana primary will be fun to see if Dave can outpoll Schraeder.  And that the Journal-Gazette really will print anything.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

If you think it's bad elsewhere...

With all the complaints about alleged racial profiling, brutality, and the odd stupid story that actually does happen, people might get the impression that law enforcement in the US of A is incompetant.  And they would be wrong.  Our PDs do a ggreat job, handling difficult situations by and large by the book and by and large staying out of politics.  We who have everything at our fingertips sometimes fail to appreciate that.  Here's a story from South Korea that reminds us to be glad we have what we do:

Police Under Fire for Slow Response to Murder Victim's Call

Police are under fire for their slow response to a desperate call for help from a woman in her 20s in Suwon who was raped and eventually brutally murdered. The incident reveals serious weaknesses in the police response to emergency calls.

The victim, who was abducted,
gave police a detailed description of where she was being held, but officers still searched in the wrong area.
On the evening of April 1, the victim was abducted by Wu Yuanchun (42), an ethnic Korean from China, and dragged into his home. But she managed to call police on her mobile phone. According to police, the woman was dragged into Wu's home at around 10:50 p.m. When he told her to take her clothes off, the woman laid her coat on his bed to make him believe she was following his orders. When Wu stepped in the bathroom, the woman locked the room door and made the call to police for help.

But she was unable to escape because the entrance to the room she was holed up in was connected to the bathroom. The woman dropped her phone on the floor when Wu broke through the bedroom door but did not switch it off. A police spokesman said, "The emergency call was recorded vividly even after she dropped the phone. It looks like her last attempt to let police know just how desperate she was."

The suspect in a recent rape-murder in Suwon is taken to a detention cell questioning at a police station in the city on Saturday. The suspect in a recent rape-murder in Suwon is taken to a detention cell questioning at a police station in the city on Saturday.
The suspect told police he murdered the woman in his room at around 5 a.m. on April 2. That means police had a full six hours to rescue her.
Officers initially claimed the woman's call
last only one minute when it actually lasted for seven minutes and 36 seconds.
After murdering the woman, Wu chopped her body into pieces. A forensic expert who conducted an autopsy on the woman described the condition of her body as "too horrific for words." The National Forensic Service received 14 plastic bags filled with altogether 280 body parts. "He butchered her," the official added.

Police on Sunday told reporters, "Based on Wu's testimony, it looks like he tried to rape her but failed. At times, such a horrific murder is an expression of frustration with being unable to rape someone."

More Police Bungling Revealed in Suwon Murder

An official briefing session has revealed further blunders by police in the murder of a young woman in Suwon, who was alive for six hours after placing a desperate emergency call providing the location where she was being held. She was abducted by Korean-Chinese Wu Yuanchan and dragged into his home on the evening of April 1.

The briefing was held on Thursday to explain why it took police more than two hours to arrest the killer after it was given specific directions to the killer's house by a resident in the neighborhood. It turned out that the police went to the crime scene but
spent an hour knocking on the door of the next-door neighbor
Gyeonggi provincial police said officers were given the information by the witness at 9:30 a.m. on April 2. An elderly woman lives across a little alley from the shop run by the witness. Wu lived next door, but officers knocked on her door for an hour.

Critics say it is incomprehensible that in a situation where police had already failed to respond to a desperate seven-minute call from the victim crying for help while she was being raped, they would then waste an hour the following morning in front of the house next door.

Suh Jung-bum, a law professor at the Korean National Police University, said, "Someone's life was at stake in this case. Police should simply have broken in if there was no answer."

Police stand accused of spending more time covering up their disastrous handling of the crime than investigating it. A member of the victim's family said in a telephone interview with the Chosun Ilbo, "When we met with police, they tried to haggle, telling us to stop demanding they publish the recording of the victim’s call and let the matter drop."

Late Thursday night police in a statement finally agreed to make the recording available to the bereaved family, but did not say when.

Prosecutors have now started investigating the case all over again as the police's line of investigation is too unreliable.

President Lee Myung-bak on Monday accepted the resignation of National Police Agency Commissioner General Cho Hyun-oh over a bungled murder investigation.

Cho said he would take responsibility for accusations that the police carelessly dealt with a desperate phone call from the victim in which she reported her exact whereabouts. But it took 13 hours for police to locate the 28-year-old woman in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, by which time she had been raped, killed and mutilated.

According to the presidential office, Lee will appoint a new commissioner after the general election on Wednesday.

All right, when have you known your police department to bungle something THAT badly?  If I can make a reference for the benefit of Fort Wayne followers, you could deputize the residents of Eden Green apartments and not fubar the investigation that badly.  Perhaps the Suwon police should do away with their police vehicles and take cabs to crime scenes.

Not quite as bad, but just as bungled, is this news item from the Obama circle:

Cartagena, Colombia (CNN) -- Twelve Secret Service agents sent to Colombia ahead of President Barack Obama were relieved of duty and returned home amid allegations of misconduct that involved prostitution, the man who tipped news agencies to the investigation told CNN Saturday.
The incident in Cartagena -- one of two security issues that occurred Friday -- overshadowed the start of the sixth Summit of the Americas, where the president was to focus on trade, energy and regional security with 33 of the hemisphere's 35 leaders.

"One of the agents did not pay one of the prostitutes, and she complained to the police," said Ronald Kessler, a former Washington Post reporter and author of "In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect."
The Washington Post, which was the first to report the story, said it was alerted to the investigation by Kessler.

What, we're back in the Clinton administration now?  Luckily for Obama they weren't procuring for him.  Michelle Obama is no politically-ambitious closet bisexual who's willing to play "the good wife"; and if he did, she'd be negotiating arms reduction of a rather personal nature with him.  In the meantime, can we have Jim Bakker out here to remind the Secret Service what PTL stands for:


In the meantime, work proceeds apace on the Great Eighties Countdown, and I suspect I'll be kicking it off in the next week or three.  Unlike I said previously, it may not be shorter; it will be both rockier and more diverse.  And Keep your prayers ready for those folks in Oklahoma and the area about to kick of a day of VERY severe thunderstorms.  How severe?  Did you see this yesterday?

That, my friends, is four-foot high drifts of ping-pong-to-golf-ball-sized HAIL.  No lie.  Tornadoes are on the agenda for today, the NWS says.  And whatever you do, beware the rainbow at the end of the storm.  Because...