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


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

An old friend is dying- and there's nothing we can do.

It's not a person.  It's something less-and yet, far more.  And it's the fault of the rudeness of men, the greed of corporations- and yet, we share in the blame.

WOWO radio was, when I was a child, the pinnacle of how radio should be.  In the morning before anyone but the farmers (and mothers waiting for news of snow days) were awake, Bob Seivers, Jay Gould, and Nancy Lee and the Hilltoppers would kick the day off with the Little Red Barn program.  Farm news, Jay's years of wisdom, the down home bluegrass/hill country sound of the Hilltoppers.   And ALL the news you needed to know from professionals like Victor Locke and Art Salzberg.  With real in-field reporters and a news director that knew the rules and followed them. 

Then Bob would take over with his big baritone that always made you feel safe and watched over, spinning records untill Jack Underwood and "young" Chris Roberts took over.  These were on air PERSONALITIES, and never needed to offend anyone to be entertaining.  You can tell me all you want that people don't want to be entertained like that any more- it's too "boring"- and my response will always be, that's a damn shame.

I spent most of my childhood nights with one of two men.  Ron Gregory was the quintessential "personality", and gave us the Holly-weird report (with our own live reporter from Hollywood), Bodie the world famous janitor, and the music that tugs my heart to this day.  Bob Chase is still the voice of the Komets hockey team, and he was a voice of WOWO too, along with all these others.  Add them all together and you get CLASS.

Group W gave you the best in national news at night, and insightful commentaries from people as varied as Vernon Jordan and Jacqueline Grenin-Wexler.  And at night was when WOWO really shined.  The "50,000 watt blowtorch of the midwest", heard in "23 states and all the provinces of Canada."  I can attest it came in in Cartersville, GA, better than local stations.  Great place to hear the Komets beat Dayton via Bob Chase.

Over the years, change came, as it always does.  The turntables were abandoned, Group W gave way to more "competitive" ownership.  Bob, Jack, and Ron gave way to Rush, Sean, and Glenn.  Still, for the most part WOWO kept its commitment to family programming, news, and helpful commentary.

Now, a new way of doing things has begun.  Rumours abound that WOWO is just this side of being scrapped for parts, being sucked into the same abyss that the similarly -missed WKJG TV and relative newcomer WFFT TV have fallen into.  Worse yet, the bedrock 3-6 pm timeslot has been... well, I don't want to give any further props to the personnel in that slot now, but suffice it to say that their idea of broadcasting has nothing to do with what the proud call-letters WOWO mean to those of us who were weaned with it.

I know you can't go back in time.  And America's listenership may well be so-dumbed down that what passes for their programming now is the way to get ratings.  I don't know, I don't really care.  I just wish that before they did this to our proud Lady, they would have just changed the call letters.  WDIK comes to mind, as does KRAP and WTF.  WOWO didn't, and does not, deserve to die this way.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A (couple) walk(s) with Scrappy.

We tried it first this morning about 6.  It was warm (71°), and the humidity was off the charts.  There wasn't a hint of breeze, and neither one of us could breathe worth a darn.  We ran into Mr. Humpty-back (neighborhood raccoon) by the river, but were played out within about twenty minutes.

Came home, gave Mr. Booogle some water and Mr. Achy Body some naproxen and went back to bed for a couple hours.  At 8:30 it was now 77° and a nice breeze was blowing.  The humidity had dropped by about half, so it was like the same relative temperature as before, only you could breathe.  And right away, we had an encounter.

Yep, we ran into Mr. Garter Snake.  As you can see in the first two pics, he didn't mind his picture taken; but Scrappy?  Him, he minded.  Scrappy took sniff #1 and Mr. Snake snapped him right in the butt!  As yet undeterred, Scrappy followed him to the other side of the dry strem bed, where shortly before pic #3, Mr. Snake took another swing at him.  It missed, but Scrappy whimpered and was done with visiting.

Further on, we saw what looked like tore up bits of paper on the ground.  Imagine our surprise at finding they were morning glory flowers.

Last weekend, they put the floodgates up on the dam at Johnny Appleseed.  Thus, instead of having a mud flat with a really long puddle down the middle, we have an honest-to-gosh river again.  Funny how it only seems to be flowing out in the middle, though.

I'm hot, I've had enough, and I haven't had my breakfast yet!  Good-bye!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

We decided to take a pre-dawn walk this morning. I chose old shoes and socks in case of dew, but kinda laughed as I did, because it is so dry I couldn't imagine running into ANY moisture.  Crossing over to the old meadow, I was trying to decide whether to greet the dawn from the woods or the river.  It started spitting rain, so I chose woods.  Halfway to the corner of the woods (not dumb enough to try and find our hidden trail in the dark), It began to shower.  We ran to the tree line at the south end of the meadow for cover.
After the rain, the sky looked like this.

This camera takes kick-ass night pictures!
On the trail between the woods and the retirement home, a buck ran across and into the woods.  I knew it was a buck because does are considerate and pose.  He had a minimum distance (About right where I would see him) and a maximum time staying there (About a second less than it took me to focus and shoot), so the closest I came to him was this shot in the dark:
See the eyeballs?  Here's an artists conception of what you're missing:

Scrappy smelled him, but never saw him- and was HE pissed!

The toads were out in force to get a few drops of rain.  This one greeted us at the front door.

The great eighties countdown week five

Just as our fallen warriors never stopped in their final devotion to us, the countdown will not stop, either!  So enjoy your hot dog or brat, pop open a PBR, and come dancing with me once again...

220- Jane Says, Jane's Addiction, #6 Alternative, 1988.  I used to sing this to a former quality lady at work who got mad when a former engineer named Sergio was rumoured to be her boyfriend.  "Dat's sexual harrassment!" she would retort in her German accent.

219- Come Back, J. Geils Band, #32, 1980. Not a big fan of these guys, but loved the singles from Love Stinks- which means they'll be back at least once more.

218- I Keep Forgetting, Michael McDonald, #4, 1982. Michael didn't last long after leaving the Doobies, and the other day at Red Lobster I saw why.  He was doing a cover of Stevie Wonder's For Once In My Life that was so spot on, I said to myself, "All he needs now is the harmonica." Seconds later, a harmonica riff that could have been "sampled" from the original kicks in, and I said, "At least he wasn't wearing the black glasses.  Was he?"

Sorry, my first attempt at besmirching a picture with Paint.

217- Overkill, Men At Work, #5, 1983.  Second time in the countdown for these boys, and my favorite.

216- Attitude Adjustment, Hank Williams, Jr., #5 country, 1984.  If you thought he wasn't PC after last year's Monday Night Football fiasco, you never knew him BEFORE MNF.

215- I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down, Paul Young, #13, 1985.  I love the "Push, push" part.  That's where I sing along.

214-  Mary's Prayer, Danny Wilson, #6, 1987.  A band and not a person.
 So if I say save me save me
Be the light in my eyes
And if I say ten Hail Mary's
Leave a light on heaven for me

Blessed is the one who shares
The power and your beauty,
Mary Blessed is the millionaire
Who shares your wedding day

So when you find somebody to give
Think of me and celebrate
I made such a big mistake
When I was Mary's Prayer...

213- No Easy Way Out, Robert Tepper, #22, 1986.  From the Rocky IV soundtrack.

212- Shock The Monkey, Peter Gabriel, #29, #1 Mainstream Rock.  Second of three from Mr. Gabriel.

211-  Venus, Bananarama, #1, 1986.  The cover of Shocking Blue's 1970 hit, and a damn good job.

210- Holding Back The Years,  Simply Red,  #1, 1986.  Released the year before, it didn't chart here and only made #51 in the UK.  In the '86 re-release, it hit #2 in the UK and #1 here.  What a difference a year makes.

209- Through The Years, Kenny Rogers, #13, #5 country, 1982. Fell in love with this when it became Jo and Tony's theme song on Search For Tomorrow.

208- Super Freak, Rick James, #16, #3 R&B, 1981.  Another song that had more legs after the chart run than during.

207- Do You Believe In Love, Huey Lewis And The News, #7, 1982.  This was the song of springtime 1982.  I can still smell the air, full of the scent of melting snow.

206- Stand Or Fall, The Fixx, #76, #7 Mainstream, 1982.  The first of their songs to make a US impact, and the second of 4 on our countdown.

205- Even The Losers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 1980, unreleased.  From the great lp Damn The Torpedoes.  Another personal theme song.

204- Games People Play, Alan Parsons Project, #16, 1980.  From another great lp, The Turn Of A Friendly Card.  I was listening to CKLW at the time, and it played there for two months before the stations here picked it up.

203- Let's Dance, David Bowie, #1, 1983.  And yet again, another big hit lp, with a ton of singles, one of which we'll hit later on.

202- The Party's Over (Hopelessly In Love), Journey, #34, #2 Mainstream.  When Journey rocked, they rocked! One more by them coming up.

201- Come Go With Me, The Beach Boys, #18, 1981.  The eighties were a desert for the boys, and this was their biggest hit since 1976's Rock And Roll Music and until they covered Wipe Out with the Fat Boys in 1987.

That's it for this week.  How was that brat?  Have a great weekend and enjoy the race.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Time machine week 17- The Robin Gibb Wake

This week in 1970, there weren't any Bee Gees.  Frustrated by Robert Stigwood's apparent preferrence for Barry as the band's lead singer, and the relegation of his composition Lamplight to a b-side while the latest Barry single, First Of May, tanked, Robin left the band in mid 1969 for a solo career, scoring a #2 UK hit with Saved By The Bell.  Barry and Maurice, along with the band, soldiered on, but despite also hitting UK #2 with Don't Forget To Remember, the lp Cucumber Castle bombed and the brothers split up.  However, in about three weeks, Robin and Maurice would begin working together; in August, Barry would join them.  Within the course of a single day, Robin and Barry would write two of their biggest hits- Lonely Days and How Can You Mend A Broken Heart.  The Bee Gees were reborn- and it wouldn't be the first time.

In honor of the passing of Robin Gibb, we have a very special Time Machine- An almost all Bee Gee TM  We will look at the top 25 Bee Gees tunes, along with this week's charts from 1970.  Hang on to your hats, and here we go!

Out of 16 debuts in the top 100, I have three I'll spotlight.  Way up at #63, Three Dog Night comes in with Mama Told Me (Not To Come);  way-er up at #59, the Jackson 5 hits with The Love You Save; and way-est up at #51, The Temptations hit with Ball Of Confusion.

Before we hit our birthday songs of the week- and you'll soon see why- let's do the first round of the Bee Gees top 25 according to Billboard.

25- The Woman In You, 1987.   From the soundtrack to the Saturday Night Fever sequel Staying Alive, this one made it to #24 in the US of A, but tanked elsewhere, not breaking the top 70 in the UK or Canada.

24- To Love Somebody, 1967.  From their first US lp, Bee Gees First, this song was written for Otis Redding, but he died before having a chance to record it.  The boys then did it themselves and it hit #14 here and top ten in Canada and their musical birthplace of Australia, though it missed the top 40 in the UK.

23- Holiday, 1967.  This one wasn't released in the UK, but it's somewhat-eerie organ took it to 16 in the US and 18 Down Under.  One of the rare tunes in which Barry and Robin shared the lead vocal, Maurice wasn't even on the record.  Thus, he liked to horn in, fall asleep, pretend boredom, and other comic bits during this song live.

22-My World,  1972.  This Robin-led hit was a non-album single, released while they were recording To Whom It May Concern.  It was composed during a guest spot on a game show called Golden Shot.  In this game, viewers would call in and direct a cameraman with a crossbow mounted on his camera, aiming at a target in the studio.  One time, a dude called from a pay phone and directed the camera/bow while watching a display TV in a shop across the street.  Before he could get the shot lined up, however, a stock person at the store changed the channel.  Ooops!  The song itself hit 16 both here and in Jolly Ol' but was top 3 in Australia.

21- Run To Me, 1972.  This song is the reason this was a top twenty-five rather than twenty.  One of my all time favorites, it was on that earlier mentioned To Whom It May Concern lp.  Only got to 16 here, but was top ten in UK, Canada, and Australia.

20- Words, 1968.  Another non-lp single, they wrote this to give to English superstar Cliff Richard, but he never recorded it. Top 15 in US and Australia, top ten in UK and Canada.

And now it's time to look at our birthday songs this week, and we're going to pull one out of sequence.  Turning 45 this week-

19- New York Mining Disaster 1941 (Have You Seen My Wife Mr. Jones), 1967.  Another Barry/Robin vocal split, this record was sent out to DJs in a plain white sleeve, hoping to take advantage of those who believed the rumour that "Bee Gees" stood for "Beatles Group".  Top fifteen in the US (14), the UK, and Australia.  Canadians probably didn't like Coal Miner's Daughter either.  (I lied; Loretta Lynn hit #1 on their country charts, too.)

Turning thirty this week are (speaking of country) Alabama's Take Me Down, Huey Lewis and the News' Hope You Love Me Like You Say You Do, Journey's Still They Ride (a quick "awwww..." to all you chicks still lusting after Steve Perry [like Laurie's sister]), Van Halen's cover of Dancing In The Street, and Kim Wilde's Kids In America.  Turning 35 are Babs Streisand's My Heart Belongs To Me, Jackson Browne's The Pretender, and Bad Company's Burning Sky.  Turning 40, Derrick and the Dominoes' Layla, Procol Harem's Conquistador, and Alice Cooper's School's Out.  Joining the Mining Disaster at 45 are the Association's Windy, Scott MacKenzie's San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair),  and the Doors' Light My Fire.  And finally, turning 55 are the Everly Brothers (keeping with our theme, apparently) and Bye Bye Love.  Blow out the candles...

The big dropper this week is John Lennon's Instant Karma, falling 39 spots to land at 64.  The big gainer for a change was NOT the Chairmen Of The Board; climbing 17 to 72 were Tommy James and the Shondells with Come To Me.  Speaking of  moving...

18- Boogie Child, 1977.  Pretty much the last big hit before Saturday Night Fever, this was top fifteen in the US (12), but was the b-side of the title cut Children Of The World elsewhere (brilliant move; that song only charted in New Zealand).

17- Fanny (Be Tender With My Love), 1976.  One of the first songs featuring Barry's falsetto, the guys never performed this in public (at least at first) because of all the overdubbed harmonies.  Like Boogie Child this song hit in the US (12) and Canada (2), but not in the UK or Down Under.

16- Massachusetts,  1967.  You might remember from an old six degrees that the boys wrote this on the Staten Island Ferry on the way to the Statue Of Liberty, and they had never even been in the state.  But not only was this Robin-sung hit their first UK #1, it became one of the biggest selling records of all time, with over 5 million discs sold.  #1 in Canada and #2 in Australia, it inexplicably peaked at 11 in the US.

15- I've Gotta Get A Message To You, 1968.  Written by Robin after a fight with his wife, he imagined it as a Percy Sledge song.  Percy recorded it, but not before the boys' version hit 8 in the US, 3 in Canada and Australia, and #1 in the UK.

14- One, 1989.  I'm one of the few on my block who had this CD.  7 in the States, 11 in Canada, but barely grazing the charts elsewhere.

13- Nights On Broadway, 1975.  A big hit in North America (7 in the US and 2 in Canada), but didn't chart in the UK, where Candi Staton (Young Hearts Run Free) covered it and hit #6 (Wikipedia speculated that she hit because she left out the slow-down part in the center of the song.).  My Favorite, hands down.

12- I Started A Joke, 1968. Another of Robin's vocals, the melody was taken from an airplane trip:

According to Robin Gibb, the melancholic melody of the song was inspired by the sounds on board an aeroplane:
The melody to this one was heard aboard a British Airways Vickers Viscount about a hundred miles from Essen. It was one of those old four engine 'prop' jobs, that seemed to drone the passenger into a sort of hypnotic trance, only with this it was different. The droning, after a while, appeared to take the form of a tune, which mysteriously sounded like a church choir. So it was decided! We accosted the pilot, forced him to land in the nearest village and there; in a small pub, we finished the lyrics. Actually, it wasn't a village, it was the city, and it wasn't a pub, it was a hotel, and we didn't force the pilot to land in a field... but why ruin a perfectly good story?"[2]
11- Love So Right, 1976.  Barry's first full-song falsetto, it was a big hit in North America (#3 US, # 2 Canada), but not so much elsewhere (#41 UK, #28 Australia).

Enterring the top 40 this week are a quartet of songs.  Moving up 10 to #40 is last week's WATN victims, the Grass Roots, with Baby Hold On. Elvis climbs 10 as well, landing at 37 with The Wonder Of You.   The Brotherhood Of Man, a six degrees contest in and of themselves, come in at 36, up 7 with United We Stand. And at 34, up 8, is James Brown with Brother Rapp.  Now its time for our new version of almost but not quite.  The George Baker Selection peaked last week at 16 and slips to 18 with Little Green Bag; Johnny Cash drops from a peak of 11 to 21 with What Is Truth; Crosby Stills and Nash slip from 13 to 22 with Woodstock; and The Who slip from a peak of 30 to 42 with The Seeker.

Believe it or not, nobody drops out of the top ten!  So, before we go to this week's top ten...

10- Lonely Days, 1970.  The same night in August 1970 that they reunited, they wrote this song and How Can You Mend A Broken Heart (Hey, I covered that in the teaser, already!)  #1 in Canada, #3 US, and #9 in Australia, the hopelessly out of step UK peaked it at #33.

9- Night Fever, 1978.  This was #1 on the combined UK-US Music VF chart I mentioned last week.  And curiously despite being at #9 on BB's chart, they also had it as #33 on the Top 100 All Time they did in 2008.  #1 across the board- except a #7 in Australia.

8- Love You Inside-Out, 1979.  A slow funk groove. If the brothers can be believed, they sent off to Robert Stigwood a special version with the alternate line "backwards and forwards with my cock hanging out" (instead of "with my heart hanging out"), just to see if he was paying attention. He was.
# 1 in the US and Canada.

7- Tragedy, 1979. In 1979, NBC aired The Bee Gees Special which showed how the sound effect for the explosion was created. Barry cupped his hands over a microphone and made an exploding sound. Several of these sounds were then mixed together creating one large boom heard on the record.  Australia stalled it at #2; it had #1s across the rest of the board.

6- Too Much Heaven, 1979.  Well, that clears out the #1s off of Spirits Having Flown.  First released for the Music For UNICEF project, it features the horn section from Chicago.

5- You Should Be Dancing, 1976.  Believe it or not, this was their only #1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart.  #1 North America and #5 in the UK.

4- How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, 1970.  Since I've already told its origin story twice, I'll just add that the song was first offered to Andy Williams before they took it and made it their first #1 in the US.  Even with that and hitting #1 in Canada and #3 in Australia, it was NEVER RELEASED in the UK.  Go figure.

3- Staying Alive, 1977.  Drummer Dennis Byron had a family emergency during recording.  Not happy with a drum machine, they took a couple of seconds of the drum track from Night Fever and put it on infinite loop.  The credit on the lp went to "Bernard Lupe"- and "he" got a lot of requests for work from other acts until the boys let out the secret.  #1 everywhere but (sigh) the UK, where it peaked at 4.

2- Jive Talkin', 1975.  Barry came up with the title without any idea what "Jive Talkin'" meant in the US.  After they found out, Barry re-wrote the words to match.  #1 in North America, #5 in the UK.

And the #1 Bee Gees song in the US of A....

1- How Deep Is Your Love, 1977.  Written for Barry protege Yvonne Eliman, Stigwood convinced them to put it on his new movie soundtrack, and the rest is history.

And now, this week's top ten.  Dropping 4 spots to 10 are the Ides of March and Vehicle.  Bobbi Martin edges up one with For The Love Of Him.  Ray Stevens also moves one to #8 with Everything Is Beautiful.  And as well, Marmalade to #7 with Reflections Of My Life.  Dropping 3 to #6 with ABC is the Jackson 5.  And also dropping 3 to #5 is Norman Greenbaum's Spirit In The Sky.  Tyrone Davis holds at 4 with Turn Back The Hands Of Time.  CCR moves up 2 to #3 with Up Around The Bend.  Simon And Garfunkel shoot up from 7 to #2 with Cecillia.  And once again, the Guess Who top the chart with American Woman!

Rest well, Robin.  Pass our best along to Andy and Maurice, would you?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A quick couple of things...

...before I get to work on tomorrow's Time Machine.  First off, I may have mentioned before that among the problems that sunk us at work were crushed cardboard tubes (cores) that made it so much fun to put a roll of fabric up on the table rack so we could use it.  Joe in maintenance has been designing a contraption to solve this problem, albeit too late to do us any good.  The concept is to have a mobile rack with stacked tubes to put the rolls in, and to have this on four sides so that a cutter can have several rolls for his/her customer at their beck and call.  And at long last, we have it done enough to begin "beta testing".

Presenting the J.O.K.E.- Joe's Omnidirectional Krushed-Kore Engine!  (My acronym- write to get your own!)  What you see is the front side of JOKE, bolted in place in front of my table.  You see fabric coming from JOKE and over a bar on the "conventional" rack.  Joke is bolted in at the center so it can be spun, which will come in handy if and when the remaining three sides get their tubes, and has a lock bar which will keep it in place.  Thus far, I've found it... promising...  but there are some bugs to be worked out.  Eventually JOKE will be travelling to the Amarillo plant.  Judging from the way they ship stuff to us (remember the cushion story last week?), Joe'd better right up a JOKE for Idiots booklet.

The second item isn't nearly so fun.  From FoxNews:

The kidnap-rape conviction of a once-promising prep football star was dismissed Thursday following a recantation by his accuser.
Brian Banks collapsed in sobs on the counsel table during a court hearing where a prosecutor quickly conceded the decade-old case and moved for the dismissal.
In the summer of 2002, Banks' future looked bright: He was a 17-year-old high school football star being heavily recruited by a number of colleges. But in a single day that changed with the accusations of kidnapping and rape by a female student.
He maintained there was no rape and their sexual contact was consensual, but his lawyer urged him to plead no contest rather than risk a sentence of 41 years to life in prison if convicted. He followed the advice and went to prison for six years, shattering his dreams of gridiron glory.
Lawyers for the California Innocence Project were prepared Thursday to argue he should be exonerated.
In a strange turn of events, the woman who accused him a decade ago friended him on Facebook when he got out of prison. Wanetta Gibson explained she wanted to "let bygones be bygones."
According to documents in the case, she met with Banks and said she had lied; there had been was no kidnap and no rape and she offered to help him clear his record.
But she subsequently refused to repeat the story to prosecutors because she feared she would have to return a $1.5 million payment from a civil suit brought by her mother against Long Beach schools.
She was quoted as telling Banks: "I will go through with helping you but it's like at the same time all that money they gave us, I mean gave me, I don't want to have to pay it back."
Justin Brooks, a lawyer who heads the innocence project, said that Banks has remained on probation, under electronic monitoring, has had to register as a sex offender and has had trouble getting a job.
He said Banks continues to train for what he hopes will be a future chance at a football career.

God help me if money ever becomes that important to me.  "Let me enjoy my one and a half mil, then I'll clear you when you get out."  I hope Banks sues her family for three times that.

Okay, time to get to work!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Robin Gibb

Edge Of The Universe
words by Barry and Robin Gibb

Just my dog and I
at the edge of the universe.
Well, I didn't wanna bring her
and I know it'll make her worse.

Now I look out on forever
and it must be nice down there.
And they call me Shenandora in the air.

Well, I'm ten feet tall,
but I'm only three feet wide.
And I live inside an ocean that flows
on the other side.

If I came back down tomorrow,
would it all be far too soon?
And it looks like it's gonna be a lovely afternoon.

I thought that I was going home,
and all the way I kept on prayin'.
I couldn't stop to turn around;
well, here I am and here I'm stayin'.

It's been my longest journey
and I've come through the black of night.
I was tired and hungry
when I saw your distant light.

Well, I know this may sound crazy,
but I'm sure I got here first.
I'm just me, Shenandora,
at the edge of the universe.

I thought that I was going home,
and all the way I kept on prayin'.
I couldn't stop to turn around;
well, here I am and here I'm stayin'.

Just my dog and I
at the edge of the universe.
Well, I didn't wanna bring her
and I know it'll make her worse.

Now I look out on forever
and it must be nice down there.
And they call me Shenandora in the air.

At the edge of the universe...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A dream's rhyme

It's happened to you before- a song, a poem, that captures a feeling so strong in a dream.  You try to write it down in the dream, but all you have is scraps of paper or pens that die off, and the harder you try to capture it, the sooner you wake up and lose it all.  Then there's the once in a while you remember it clear enough to write down.

The dream begins with wasting the last hours of class time.  Then you go to the roof, and watch new children enter in.  You want to stay, but it's their time now, and you must move on.  You have to make room for them; but who makes room for you?

I watch the day begin,
kids go in;
From the roof, I can taste the sky,
and I could fly
I want to go inside to live and die
within the walls I've known so long
but the walls won't know me now,
 I don't belong.

Long ago, I once belonged
in the dawn
I remember spelling class
and morning Mass
I was a child like these, did what I pleased,
a child again would please me now
The kids cannot see me now,
framed in clouds.

I can't go back, I'm framed in black
stepped too many cracks, broke my mother's back
I dreamed I flew for seconds,
crashing to the ground....

Inside it's plain to see,
no room for me;
I have to yield for the next ones' turn,
let them learn
I wasted all my time on plans of mine
to stay forever on inside
Always meant to move outside,
no place to hide...

I stand aloft in the morning air,
don't seem fair
how it all could end so fast,
all gone past;
You gave me youth, Your greatest gift
that I was never meant to keep;
and I sold it off so cheap,
gave it free...

I can't go back, I'm framed in black
stepped too many cracks, broke my mother's back
lift off without a sound,
crashing to the ground
This is my home (I can't go home),
These are my friends (I'm all alone),
I want to go, but there's nowhere
               go, but there's nowhere
               go, but there's nowhere
                     for me to go...

Where I am, there's overtime,
that's just fine
You stare at me, and I at you,
nothing to do;
The teacher's gone away we had to pay
for staying here so long
scribbled lines on torn-off sheets,
and then we're free...

The school bell rings once more
lock the doors;
Afternoon like a shaded sheet
covers me...
The buses go, the playground empties
and the ghosts of long ago
of all the flights I've never flown;
I have to go.

I can't go back, I'm framed in black
stepped too many cracks, broke my mother's back
Gravity like a silken shroud
crashing to the ground

This was my home, I have no home
Where are my friends, I'm all alone
I want to go, but there's nowhere
               go, but there's nowhere
               go, but there's nowhere
                     to go....

I walk away from the edge,
time to wake...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

...and Jesus rubbed the mud in his eyes, and he said, "I can see!"

Here come pics from the new camera!
Test pics on night #1...

It's getting so green it's hard to find the secret entrance into the woods.  If we find this old fencepost, though, we're okay.
Left over from squirrel bungee-jumping party last night...

The back road looks so much more remote in full green.

None of the fields had any socceristas this morning.  Surprise, they were playing on the grounds of the Holiday Inn.

Remember the blurry attempts of capturing turtles in the swamp? Here's three, plus two ducks.

Scrappy wanted a drink, but it's so dry we had a long way to go...

This is usually a spot where we find people fishing.  I'm where the fish usually are.

Mom used to have irises in every flower bed back when I was little...

There were all these purple flowers along the canal, but this one bush had purple AND white flowers!

My boy KC, just before falling asleep...

The great eighties countdown week 4

Some things need to be not forgotten.  I didn’t forget this on Time Machine- just hadn’t had time to deal yet.  After I posted TM, I youtubed On The Radio and sat back to cry.  Scrappy hopped up, put an arm around me, and gave me a kiss.  And we watched the video.  Kinda feels like either she was too young to go, or I’m too old to stay.  Sorry, but we’ve just lost so much this year.

Anyhow, the countdown of my 300 best 80’s songs goes rolling merrily on.

240- No Getting Over Me, Ronnie Milsap, #5 hot 100 and #1 country, 1981.  The first country artist (other than Johnny Cash) I considered myself a fan of. One of 2 for him.

239- Hope You Love Me Like You Say You Do, Huey Lewis and the News, #36, 1982.  Everybody say, yeah (YEAH), Yea-ee-eah (YEAH)… First of three for possibly the best group to come out of the 80s.

238- Sledgehammer, Peter Gabriel, #1, 1986.  One of three for the former Genesis frontman.

237- Mixed Emotions, the Rolling Stones, #5, 1989.  Steel Wheels was THE Stones lp for me.  2nd of 4 in the mix.
236- So Far Away, Dire Straits, #19, 1985.  A soft tune from Brothers In Arms, overshadowed by Money For Nothing, which is one of two more times we’ll see DS.

235- Drinkin’ And Dreamin’, Waylon Jennings, #2 country, 1985.  When I started keeping a country top 5, this was in the opening class.

234- Pink Houses, John Mellancamp, #8, 1983.  The first of 4 for the former Mr. Cougar- and the others might not be what you expect.

233- New Years Day, U2, #53 and #2 mainstream rock, 1983.  The higher of the pair U2 lands in the count.  As you can see, I liked them much better early on.

232- The Road To Hell, Chris Rea, #11 mainstream rock, 1989.  Perhaps the most chilling look at the future of this society ever.
231- Southern Cross, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, #18, 1982….for the truth you might be running from is so small…

230- Stone Cold, Rainbow, #40 and #1 mainstream, 1982.  A very underrated hard driving band.  First of two for them.

229- Born In The USA, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band, #9, 1984.  The verse about his friend in Vietnam is hard to take.  Oddly enough, hit #1 in Ireland and New Zealand…

228-  Living On A Prayer, Bon Jovi, #1, 1986.  For me, this song was the difference between a dude the girls thought was cute and real musicianship.
227- Love Shack, the B52s, #3, 1989.  Seemingly, the first song I karaoked to.  Fortunately, I remember nothing from the time I reached the stage until about an hour later on the way home.

226- Athena, The Who, #28, 1982.  Like Rick Springfield, brings back warm memories of Snow Lake.

225- Tom Sawyer, Rush, #44, #8 mainstream, 1981.  Powerful musicianship.  I could take or leave Geddy Lee.

224- One Night In Bangkok, Murray Head, #3, 1984. We have a cheap version of this on the cd player at work.  Without Murray’s snark, it sucks.

223- She Blinded Me With Science, Thomas Dolby, #5, 1982.  With some of the weird stuff the Brits listen to, you’d have thought the chart positions (#49 in the UK) would have been reversed.
222- Change Of Heart, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, #21, #10 mainstream, 1983.  First of 6 from the Heartbreakers.

221- The Way It Is, Bruce Hornsby and the Range, #1, 1986.  A song that you could enjoy and be ashamed of yourself at the same time.  First of two trips into the list for them.

And that takes care of another list.  See you next week for more of the best of the decade!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Time Machine week 16

It’s May 18th, 1970, and for once I can breathe a sigh of relief, as no major disasters happened on this date- unless you count the birth of Tina Fey.
Welcome to  a Full Moon Time Machine, where a very tame group of teasers include a hot 100 with 101 songs- and why;  the good and bad of Christian rock; and I find yet another of the world’s stupidest songs.  Climb in, and let’s see what trouble we can get into…

Despite a whopping 17 hot 100 debuts, I’m only mentioning five of them- and one is just because of the timing.  You see, a song called That Same Old Feeling hit the 100 this week by two very different artists.  The higher debut was by the Fortunes, who did a very similar job on their much bigger hit Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again.  The other was by a group called Pickettywitch.  This was an English group fronted by a lady by the name of Polly Brown (or Browne, depending).

Pickettywitch came in at 88, and in Laurie’s and my humble opinion, was far superior.  Check it out yourself here.  Also debuting at 77 are the Pipkins  featuring Tony Burrows (who is also in the count with Edison Lighthouse and White Plains) with Gimme Dat Ding; and Bobby Sherman at 62 with Hey Mr. Sun.  Oh, and there is one more hot 100 debut- but it’s also a TOP 40 debut, so we’ll get to it later.

Oh, this would be a good time to thank everybody for their birthday wishes, because it makes a seamless segue into the birthday songs for this week.  1977, 35 years ago this week, these songs debuted:  The Eagles’ Life In The Fast Lane (you know summer’s coming fast when…); Boston’s Peace Of Mind; ABBA’s Knowing Me Knowing You; Shaun Cassidy’s Da Doo Ron Ron; and Supertramp’s Give A Little Bit.  Turning 40 this week are America’s I Need You and Day By Day from the Godspell cast.  Turning 45 are Frankie Valli’s Can’t Take My Eyes On You, Every Mother’s Son with Come On Down To My Boat, Spanky and Our Gang’s Sunday Will Never Be The Same, and the 5th Estate with Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead.

Oh, and one more- I saw this one on the bottom of the debut pile 55 years ago this week.  I have previewed this, and the curiosity of the name is far superior to the song itself.  It was called Ring Tang Ding Dong… subtitled I Am The Japanese Sandman.  The Cellos, an all-black doo-wop group who I can find nothing further about.  As for the song itself, it sounds much like you’d expect from late fifties African Americans trying to sound Japanese.  Though it made- just barely- the top 60 on Cashbox, it peaked on Billboard at #62.  As one of the commenters on Youtube said, “Racism never sounded so catchy.”  (Of course, he probably never heard The Whistling Coon.)

Our big mover for the second straight week, and with a 16 notch jump for the second straight week, are The Chairmen Of The Board with (You’ve Got Me) Dangling On A String, landing at #54.  The big dropper- again for the second straight week (doo DOO doo DOO… I know it’s not a full moon again yet), are the Supremes, falling 18 spots to 63 As opposed to 31 last week) with Up The Ladder To The Roof.

Our Where Are They Now at #50 this week is Baby Hold On by the Grass Roots.  The Grass Roots were a series of bands picked out by producer P.F. Sloan and writer Steve Barri.  This pair had penned such hits as A Must To Avoid for Herman’s Hermits and Johnny Rivers’ Secret Agent Man, and decided to create a band to play their songs.  Rather than building one from scratch, they looked down the roster of bands that would fit their sound.  It was the third such band, originally called 13th Floor, that became the nucleus for what we knew as the Grass Roots.  This band was originally a four piece outfit.  Creed Bratton was a guitarist/vocalist, and if the name sounds familiar to fans of NBC’s The Office, it’s because Creed Bratton, Quality Assurance Officer, was –and is- Creed Bratton the member of the Grass Roots.  Yes the man on the show is basically playing himself.  Drummer Rick Coonce was an on and off member the rest of the band’s history, and recently retired after 27 years working as a Child Protection Agent in Canada.  Warren Entner, keyboardist best known for the “1, 2, 3, 4” countdown before the chorus on Live For Today, became a promoter for metal bands such as Quiet Riot and Rage Against The Machine.  Vocalist/guitarist Rob Grill left the band in the early 80’s to go solo, opening for Fleetwood Mac on the Tusk tour, before returning to buy up the GR name and restarting the band along with later member Dennis Provisor.  Grill put out a new line up nearly every year until a bad fall led to a coma from which he died in July of last year.  He was preceded by five months by Coonce, who passed of heart failure in February.  Sloan, who among his other credits was the Falsetto on Jan and Dean’s Little Old Lady From Pasadena, is still in production, while Barri became one of those dreaded A&R men; among his signings were Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods.

How about top 40 debuts now?  El Chicano moves up 7 to 40 with Viva Tirada (basically “Go, Bullfighter”, I believe).  The high debut in this week’s hot 100 comes in at #38- and how many of you guessed it might be the Beatles with The Long And Winding Road?  Shooting up 14 to #37 are Melanie, backed by the Edwin Hawkins Singers with Lay Down (Candles In The Rain).  Tony Burrows comes into the top 40 with White Plains and My Baby Loves Loving, up 6 to 36.  Rising 11 to #35 is Neil Diamond with Soolaimon (An African Trilogy).  And the high debut this week, up 7 to #34, Glen Campbell with his cover of Oh Happy Day, first done by the Edwin Hawkins Singers.  Is it just me, or is it a small world today?

This week’s look back at the #1s of the past brought me to a song from 1916 called Hello, Hawaii, How Are You, by the Intriguingly named Prince’s Orchestra.  No, not that Prince, he was –42 at the time.  This band, which recorded under several variations of the name, was the child of Charles Adams Prince, an early band leader who specialized in their take on old standards.  Among them were perhaps the first recording of St. Louis Blues, The Star Spangled Banner (#1, 1916), It’s A Long Long Way To Tipperary (#2, 1915), and Alexander’s Ragtime Band (#3, 1912).  In fact, they come in #22 of all time on the MusicVF list of all time chart acts from the US of A and the UK since 1900.  They racked up 78 top 40 hits, all but one in the top ten, and 3 #1s (the other one was Ballin’ The Jack in 1914, which was a dance step, oh dirty minds).

I hadn’t noticed MVF’s chart until last night, and found that many of our featurees on this segment are on the top 50, including Paul Whiteman (#3), Billy Murray (#9), Al Jolson (#12), and Rudy Vallee (#32).  Not to say that more modern acts aren’t on the list, like Elvis (#2 to Bing Crosby), Madonna (#5), the Beatles (#11), Michael Jackson (#14), Elton John (#19), and the Stones (#20).  I’ll be having some fun with this at a later date.

Three songs enter the top ten, three fall out- and for some full-moon reason, two of them drop to the same spot.  Despite a complete numbering from 1 to 100, we had two droppers land, somehow, at #12- the former #4 Let It Be and the former #5 Something’s Burning.  The third dropper is Love Or Let Me Be Lonely, from 8 to 14.

Holding at 10 is Bobbi Martin with For The Love Of Him.  Leaping 7 to #9 is Ray Stevens with Everything Is Beautiful (except my typing right now.  Thank God for backspace!) Up one spot to #8 is Marmalade with Reflections Of My Life.  Up 5 spots to #7 is Simon And Garfunkel with Cecilia.  And holding at 6 is, appropriately, our six degrees victim.

The Ides Of March, with Vehicle at #6 this week, were led by Jim Peterik, who most everyone by now knows went on to found Survivor (the band, not the show!).  But what not everyone knew was that around the same time he was writing or co-writing most of the big hits by southern rockers .38 Special.  That list included Rockin’ Into The Night, Hold On Loosely. Wild Eyed Southern Boys, Caught Up In You, and Fantasy Girl.  Everyone also knows that the band was co-founded by Lynryrd Skynyrd sibling Donnie Van Zant.  His major partner in this was lead singer Don Barnes, who left the band in 1989 to record a solo album.  The album, Ride The Storm, sadly got shelved when the record company got sold.  One of the session players on the lp was one Dann Huff, who had years before formed the Christian band White Heart with his brother David and vocalist Steve Green.    The demo for their first lp bounced around a while before promoted by Christian Contemporary artist and producer Chris Christian.  The album sold a quarter-million discs; but rock wasn’t Steve Green’s gig, as any of you familiar with this powerful singer knows.  He went solo, and has racked up 13 #1 songs on the CC charts.

His replacement in the group was Scott Douglas- but three years later he was arrested- first for aggravated sexual battery, and later the charges were changed to statutory rape. According to Mathiesen (Scott’s real last name) and his wife, the encounters occurred with the full consent of two girls aged 11 and 13 who lived near him. He was also convicted of a third incident (which he claims never took place) as part of a plea bargain arrangement. None of these acts ever took place in connection with any White Heart activities, however.  He was released in the mid-90’s, had to register as a violent sexual offender, and went home to try and rebuild his family. 
"Scott fell due to pride," said his wife of nine years at the time. "In a way, he had never been humbled before the Lord. He grew up in the church, so he had never been saved out of a lot of 'bad stuff. He lived his Christian life by his own strength. He had a real problem with lust, and he remained very weak because he was fighting it on his own strength. That was the weak place where Satan could really attack. We could see the Holy Spirit really moving in concerts. A lot of power was beginning to come out, and that's when Satan began to attack on all fronts."  Showing once again, the hard way- Christians are not perfect, just forgiven. (Story pieces published in Cross Rhythms, June 1st, 1991.)

Blasting its way up 8 spots to #5 are CCR with Up Around The Bend.  Tyrone Davis climbs 3 to #4 with Turn Back The Hands Of Time.  The Jackson Five hang on at #3 once again with ABC.  And Norman Greenbaum slips from the pinnacle to #2 with Spirit In The Sky.  All of which gives us a new number one song.  May I present to you-


The Guess Who with American Woman!!!
For you all, it’s 9 AM Friday, but for me its 10 PM Thursday.  So have a good tomorrow, and be back here Saturday for the eighties countdown!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Happy Birthday to me...

Yep, I am now officially the big 5-0.  I believe that's one of the signs pointed to in Daniel 9, but I could be wrong.

Yesterday, while Laurie was passing a stone, I attempted to work, only to realize I was going through one of my patented fatigue spells and left at one rather than wait till I messed anything else up- including the trip home.  Thereafter I was conscious from 4:15 to 4:20, 5:45 to 7:15, 8:30 to 8:40, and 10:30 to midnight.  Stupidest I ever felt without benefit of hangover.  Would you believe I put the little line on the wrong side of a Q?  Put someone else's initials on paperwork since it was on the line above, rather than using my own?  Sent one of our power cords swinging as high as I ever saw one go?  But when I cut 5 of a certain cushion only to look at the worksheet and find out I was SUPPOSED to make them out of a fabric I knew darn well we were out of, I went to the boss' office and said, "Send me home!"

Today was better, at least mentally.  At work, we had a handful of guys from the Ft. Wayne plant come in to help with trucks.  Two things I'd like to point out about this.  When we were busier than crap and we had to pull people from every department to get trucks shipped, no help was ever offered.  Now that we are a month away from unemployment and much of the plant is deep in the don't-give-a-shits, NOW they send help.  Thanks loads.

Second is the way things are being done. We cut and sew a buttload of shells for KMart retail orders.  Plant gets closure notice, shells are sent to Ft Wayne and Amarillo to finish and ship.  Suddenly the finished products all get sent back to US, and WE end up having to ship them.  Why?  I asked my boss that, and she said that KMart refused to let us change shipment origin.  Why, I ask, when Ft. Wayne to Kendallville is not a change that is going to rack up huge shipping charges?  Don't know, she said.  At that point a rumour I heard about us possibly "kicking KMart to the curb" makes a lot more sense.

Oh, and this post wouldn't be complete without a shoutout to the lovely people from Amarillo and the excellent job they did shipping us their finished product.  Among their accomplishments:

- They owed us a bag of 405s (read: small, thin bag) from another truck they fubar'd; and they sent it, along with a very similar looking product called 134s.  Problem was, they stuck the 405 in with the 134s, counted it AS a 134, but labelled it correctly (But as it was among its 134 friends, I put a 134 label on it, someone else caught it, and that's when we found out they never put a 405 on the truck's paperwork.

- Shorted us a style of 201s (a chair cushion) and sent 6 extra 560s (another chair cushion), presumably because they forgot to count them until they had 3/4s of a row in front of them on the truck and assumed that the 6 560's were actually 201s.  Of course, we can't be too sure because ODP's idea of inventorying what comes in is, "run enough stickers to cover what they SAY came in, and if we have extra or missing stickers, we know something's wrong."  (Problem with that?  Dark trailer + long strips of 4 x 4 labels + "we need this done by x time" + 25 of this in row one, another 10 bags in row three, etc. = one big cluster.)

- 65% of bags have twice as much tape on them as necessary, much of it dangling and attaching itself to other cushions, while another 10% dont have enough to prevent cushions from getting out- or dirt from getting in.

- The first 25, more or less, out of a set of about sixty-five bags of another style had signs on them warning, "Do not pull!  Product does not have POP (point-of-purchase) tags."  Which means we will have to open the dumb things up, tack on the tags, and reseal them (Yay! More tape!) before they can ship- and many of these items are going directly from one truck straight onto the KMart order.  There's smart, and then there's KMart smart.

But the day has to end, by popular demand, and Laurie treated me to a very nice steak dinner.  "The steak is perfect," I told the waitress afterwards, "when the cow goes, "MOOO! It's Hot in here!" and you serve it."

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday chunks

Let's start out with politics on the fly.  Item #1, I saw this weekend that Betty White is coming out in support of Obama.  White says in this year's election, she likes what Obama has done and "how he represents us."  Yeah, Betty, but you're not one of those 90-year-olds wondering whether they will be able to get their treatment or get a couple of Tylenols and your favorite last rites minister on speeddial.  I will suspend for now my speculation as to what Obama has done FOR her that is so much better than what he's done TO us.

Second item, the Journal-Gazette ran an article on Sunday by Errin Haines of the AP which basically talked about the fact that black Churches, usually overwhelmingly against gay marriage, are letting it go in the name of re-electing "one of their own". 

Like many black Americans, Dorsey Jackson does not believe in gay marriage, but he wasn’t disillusioned when Barack Obama became the first president to support it. The windows of his suburban Philadelphia barbershop still display an “Obama 2012” placard and another that reads “We’ve Got His Back.”
If Obama needs to endorse same-sex marriage to be re-elected, said Jackson, so be it: “Look, man – by any means necessary.”
Black voters and especially black churches have long opposed gay marriage. But the 40-year-old barber and other African-Americans interviewed in politically key states say their support for Obama remains unshaken.

On Tuesday,  (Leon) Givens voted in favor of banning gay marriage in North Carolina. Many black precincts voted 2-1 for the ballot measure, which passed easily.
The next day, Givens heard Obama tell the nation in a TV interview: “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
But this fall, Givens plans to register Obama voters and drive senior citizens to the polls. A retired human resources manager, he suspects the president’s pronouncement was “more a political thing than his true feelings.” But he’s not dwelling on it.
“We can agree to disagree on gay marriage,” Givens said, “and then I leave him alone.”

Now, I'm not comparing anyone to Hitler here, but it's this kind of voting mentality that put Uncle Adolf in power despite never winning more than 35% of the vote.  And it's a lot like the Catholics in the US of A voting Democratic year after year and then panicing when Obama suddenly "disenfranchised" them.  If you don't carry your convictions from the pew to the voting booth, you are by definition a hypocrite.  I didn't vote for John McCain because he was white, and I wouldn't have shied away from voting for a qualified African-American candidate such as Colin Powell, Herman Cain, Clarence Thomas, or Condi Rice, all of whom I think are far more honest, more intelligent, and more qualified that the teleprompter-weaned media creation who occupies the Oval Office now.

And since I brought up the subject of same-sex marriage, here is where I stand now, as taken from a comment I left on another blog:

I'm of two minds on this subject. On the one hand, I don't believe that you have to hold a religious belief to believe marriage should be between a man and a woman. Simple biology should be a good clue. On the other hand, as I've said before, as Christians, we cannot expect the tares to follow the same rules as the wheat.

A lot of things are injected into the election debate in the name of "determining the character of the candidate" that really have no place. I also find it funny that Obama never found the courage to make his statement till he saw how Joe Biden's trial balloon floated. Crap like that might fool the rubes, but I know a snake when I smell him. If the world would have caved in on Joe Biden, Obama's statement wouldn't have seen light of day till November.

As for Romney and Obama's religion, I agree that they should have little bearing. I know of many Mormons who are good people. And Obama's church isn't the only one I'd walk straight out of.

But what are we to do? Christians put up religious signs and such on piblic land thinking they're evangelizing when they really are just picking a fight, and FFR comes marching in with their ringers whether anyone wants them around or not. If we elected a dog, there'd be an all out fight over an anti-cat amendment to the constitution.

Next up, I got the latest of the Great Postcard Campaign postcards, this one courtesy of The Adventures of Cinderita  from somewhere in the wilds of Canada (If she wanted you to know where, she'd tell you!).  A lovely view of Long Beach on Vancouver Island, thereby increasing my longing to get back up to Pokagon!

Finally, speaking of wonderful women, Laurie's birthday gift that I told you about last night was a new, more powerful, digital camera!!  Hopefully we'll be sharing some better looking pics with y'all soon.

Time to go a-grazing now.  Have a lovely tomorrow...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday birthday celebration

First let me tell you about our day.  This is, as you know if you read Friday's Time Machine, birthday week.  Which means a trip to Red Lobster to suck down a couple of Ultimate Feasts.  And my compliments, they did a great job.  This is the first time ever I've had crab legs where the meat slid right out the entire meal!

Then it was on to attempt #2 at watching the Avengers.  It grieves me so to not just tell the whole amazing story; suffice it to say that it lived up to the billing.  I've never had people tell me how great a movie was while I was buying tickets before.  I think, though, it's safe to show you Laurie's favorite part-

That, of course is Loki, shortly after explaining to the Hulk that the Hulk shouldn't beat him up as he is a god.

Then Laurie decided she was going to get me a birthday present.  "I don't need one," I protested.  I didn't know she was planning to and I had not idea #1 on how to reciprocate.  But it wasn't a battle I was going to win, so I trudged off in search of something... anything.  And then the music played and the clouds opened... and there they were:

Meet Stan and Jack (because what else are you going to name two somethings purchased right after watching a Marvel Comics movie?).  She's had bamboos before and really likes them because they're so easy to care for and tend to stay away from alcohol and drugs and only need a little pot-ty training (ba-dum-DUM!).  I doubt they be quite the affair that she's aiming to get me, but finding something she likes and hasn't gotten herself is beyond hard, and this was pretty much a home run.

What did she get me?  I don't know yet.  Not surprisingly, Wal-Mart got a fail for not having whatever it is in stock (When do they?  I've never seen a store that is one one hand so full of stuff and on the other so devoid of anything you really want.), so she is at this moment winging her way to Meijers.  Not, however, before she called me from the car and asked if I wanted her to pick me up anything to eat.  It is now about 5 hours since I had a serving of crab legs, a bowl of scampi, four fried shrimp, a lobster tail a salad with ranch, a baked potato with enough butter to make Paula Deen proud, and at least 4 cheddar bay biscuits.  "Are you INSANE?" was my response.

Thus, a much better weekend than last, especially when you throw in her sister and b-in-l taking us out to eat at Chinese buffet for our b-days Friday followed by mixed drinks and a rousing look at  Hope you all had a pleasant Mother's Day, and God bless all you REAL mothers out there, and thank you from the real kids you raised.  Excelsior!

Peter walks away- a bit at a time

It sure looked easy for Peter to give up his old life, as Christ asks of all of us.  Other than the occasional fishing trip and passing the hat, he was going from an established income and way of life to no home, no income, and most importantly, no idea what came next.  But he did it- he just walked away from all he knew and took up an entirely new life.  Easy.


Or was it?


Walking away was the easy part. But separating himself from the old life and building the new one were two different things, as he would find out. “Then Peter said, "See, we have left everything we have and followed you." (Luke 18:28)  But there were things he hadn’t left behind- and wouldn’t for a very long time.


He had to leave behind a mortal man’s perspective.  For all his loyalty to Jesus the Man, he had a hard time seeing Jesus as God.  He disputed Jesus when told of His impending death, more than once.  He refused- at first- to allow Jesus to wash his feet.  He even took up the sword to save Him from the mob.  And each one of these he was scolded for, to the point of losing his place in God’s scheme of things- "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." (John 13:8)  Peter had to learn to look past personalities, look past this life, and sell himself to the eternal plan.


Then, as they say in the Green Lantern comics, he had to overcome great fear.  29 Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” 30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.” (Mark 14:29-31)  But he didn’t overcome that fear.  He caved, just as Jesus predicted.  “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. “ (Which, ironically comes from I Peter 3:15-17)  Peter had to learn not only to believe, but to go out of his comfort zone to defend that faith.


He also had to overcome years of Jewish tradition. Excuse the lengthy passage:   

9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.

19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three[a] men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right” (from Acts 10.)


Peter had to overcome the dietary traditions passed down for years in the Law. Centuries of tradition were holding him back from serving Christ among the Gentiles. “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (I Cor. 9:23)


Finally, he had to figure out that he couldn’t just play to the audience. “Now when Peter[a] had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. “  (Gal. 2:11-12)  He couldn’t be this expanded, openly accepting Christian to one group and “Jew first” to others.  “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  (Gal. 3:28)


So after Peter left his old life behind, he had to leave his old LIFE behind- His mortal perspective, his fear of standing up for his faith, his time-hardened traditions, and his priorities.  He found, as we need to find- that becoming the New Man is more than accepting Christ and putting the rest on autopilot.  Walking away from the old life physically IS the easy part.  It’s what comes after that is hard- and makes the difference.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Saturday in the woods...

Woods is really starting to green up now.

A new dirt and stump formation to check out, in an area usually too wet to explore.
We kept hearing rustling in the leaves, and I think it was birds hunting for treats. but it was hard to tell, because the bird in the trees were VERRRRY noisy. Here, hear for yourself:

This was one sweet smelling bush. 

Later, we ended up crossing the mud flats.  There were things there that weren't on our side-

Like these beauties...

...or these guys.  Oh, and a lot more spider webs!

And these, whatever they are!

Man, I was hot!  Thank you, Daddy, for taking me to the river.


Before I go, I point your attention to the little new gizmo over on the right.  This is a portal to a place called Sneakpeeq, which is an innovative online shopping experience with a lot of high-end goodies and a point system involving "peeqs" that (being a man) I didn't quite grasp.  But check the place out, sign up through your Facebook account, and check out all the neat design, food, and fashion treats you can have for your very own.