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


Monday, January 28, 2013

The way the other half thinks

I heard this discussion replayed on Rush Limbaugh.  The oringinal airing was on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood.  The speaker is Georgetwn U. Prof Louis Michael Seidman.  The topic- should we hold the constitution in such reverence?  I'll give you a link to the whole thing here,  but I want to pull out some of the "highlights":

To be clear, I don’t think we should give up on everything in the Constitution. The Constitution has many important and inspiring provisions, but we should obey these because they are important and inspiring, not because a bunch of people who are now long-dead favored them two centuries ago.

Suppose that Barack Obama really wasn’t a natural-born citizen. So what?

This is our country. We live in it, and we have a right to the kind of country we want. We would not allow the French or the United Nations to rule us, and neither should we allow people who died over two centuries ago and knew nothing of our country as it exists today.
If we are to take back our own country, we have to start making decisions for ourselves, and stop deferring to an ancient and outdated document.

Now, I can see that some people believe this is a legitimate point, and so it is.  But let's take a look at this, shall we?

The Constitution of the United States is one of the most emulated documents of all time.  Not one country that has cast out despots has not had as their first goal a constitution, ansd many of them want one based on ours.  People die to make it to this country and live under this constitution.  Does that really sound like an ancient and out-of-touch document to you?

The speaker says we shouldn't have to live under laws that no longer apply to "our country as it exists today."  But apparently he'd be more than happy if a foreigner, who is not germaine to this same country, was president.  Why stop at Barack Obama?  Why not Schwartzenegger?  Or Sarkozy? Or Hugo Chavez or Imanutjob in Iran?  Remember the last German not born in Germany to rule that country?  You know, little guy, mousy little mustache, yelled a lot?  He was born in the Austrian Empire, dontcha know.  I can't believe that this professor wants to get rid of the Constitution because it's like being ruled by a foreign power but thinks that foreigners who don't meet citizenship requirements are okay for president.  (Note that I am NOT, and will NOT, get into the birther thing.  I'm just pointing out that his "so what?" is hypocritical.)

Bu the key to the whole thing is the "take back our own country" line.  Take it back from who/what?  The Constitution?  It is obvious that what he is saying is that he approves of Obama's "executive decree" style of rule.  Just get rid of the Constitution, and apply whatever seat-of-the-pants solution to the problem de jure appeals at the time.  I think I can give you a very good example of the fruits of such a style will bring us, from a children's song:

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly
I don't know why she swallowed a fly - perhaps she'll die!
There was an old lady who swallowed a spider,
That wriggled and wiggled and tiggled inside her;
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly;
I don't know why she swallowed a fly - Perhaps she'll die!
There was an old lady who swallowed a bird;
How absurd to swallow a bird.
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly;
I don't know why she swallowed a fly - Perhaps she'll die!
There was an old lady who swallowed a cat;
Fancy that to swallow a cat!
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly;
I don't know why she swallowed a fly - Perhaps she'll die!
There was an old lady that swallowed a dog;
What a hog, to swallow a dog;
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly;
I don't know why she swallowed a fly - Perhaps she'll die!
There was an old lady who swallowed a cow,
I don't know how she swallowed a cow;
She swallowed the cow to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly;
I don't know why she swallowed a fly - Perhaps she'll die!
There was an old lady who swallowed a horse...
She's dead, of course!
In other news, while I didn't destroy the machine I'm using on my new job on day one, I certainly brought it to a standstill with a half-hour to go in the day.  Well, not only me- the problem was apparently fabric having built up around the axle that moves the belt.  After two people looked at it to find out what was making it jam for twenty minutes, I discovered the problem with 5 minutes left in the day, and it took me, the boss, and (mainly) the maintenance dude another 20 minutes to fix it.
I can't wait to see what I do Wednesday, when they have a bunch of big shots in for the building's ribbon cutting ceremony!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Great new product!!!

At least I think it's a great new product... there's no directions for use on the package....

Sunday Message

Since I have committed myself to everyday reading we have learned about God not being what we expect, and how it is we miss His touch in our lives.  We might subtitle this, "God's touch is not what we expect," because God's touch has a different goal in mind than the "magic genie" we often expect.

Monday's stop was in 2 Timothy 4.  This is a chapter where Paul is explaining to his protege that he expects the end to be coming soon.  He is imprisoned in Rome, and everyone has abandoned him because the political climate now runs against tolerance.  But Paul is not upset, because the goal for which he ran his race is before him; a crown of Righteousness, not only for himself, but for everyone who heard the words of the Gospel he preached.  The goal, then, is heaven; not just a smaller seat, but whatever glory we build through our works, with that glory built by leading others to that same goal.  The hardest lesson, perhaps, for the Christian to learn is that God's goal has nothing to do with what party is in power in Washington, or how many die of a particular disease, or whether we live in a mansion or a homeless shelter on earth.  It is always what lies beyond.

Tuesday I was led to I Kings 3.  This is the chapter where the newly coronated Solomon has his conversation with God about his need for a "hearing heart" to lead the people.  God then gives him wisdom beyond any man.  People unfamiliar with the story might think Solomon asked for wisdom, but that was not the case.  He clearly saw the goal that God had set before him (leading the people), and asked for what he felt he needed for the job- the ability to listen to God, that he might discern between good and evil.  Because he was focused on the goal, and came to God for what was needed rather than assuming he already knew what to do, God gave him much more than he asked for.

Wednesday's was similar- the story of the talents in Matthew 25.  Here, Jesus tells the story of a master who gave money (in the form of talents) to three servants while He was gone.  Two of them used the talents to the best of their ability.  When the Master returned, Each was blessed with even more than what they had worked for.  You see, they went out and used what the Master gave them, traded with it amongst the people.  One was given more than twice what the other was given and earned a like amount. But both were blessed the same, because the Master didn't expect the same of each of them- only that the effort was the same.  Just like not all of us are blessed to be preachers, or writers, some are only workers, housewives, "regular joes".  The Master expects that we use whatever we are given to its best, and will reward us accordingly.  The third servant not only didn't trade with it, he didn't even want to be seen with it.  Thus, he lost everything.

So, where the last two days show us a) if we ask with a God-focused heart, we are given, and b) if we work with our God-given gifts we are rewarded, the next two days speak more to the responsibilities that come with these things.  Thursday was a story told in three different Old Testament books- in 2 Kings 20, 2 Chronicles 31-31, and in Isaiah 37-30- the story of King Hezekiah.  Hezekiah both had been given God's gifts in abundance, and was using them to God's glory by leading the people rightly and removing the idols that led them into sin.  But Hezekiah nonetheless found himself tested.  First he faced a problem he could deal with himself.  He had declared independance, and the Assyrian king had come to punish.  So, he took the resources available and solved the problem- he bought him off.  Then the problem grew worse- the same problem, only this time his own resources weren't going to be enough.  So he turned to God for his help, and God responded with a miraculous save- the king left without an attack and was subsequently dealt with in his own land.  The third time was more of an attack on his person rather than his responsibilites - he became deathly ill.  Again he turned to God in faith, and was saved.

The fourth time though, Isaiah says, he let God's invincibility go to HIS head.  Babylonian officials came to congratulate him on his miraculous recovery- but rather than giving the glory to God, he showed off his own glory- his storerooms of wealth.  He forgot it wasn't his wealth that turned away Assyria, or healed his body.  As a result, his own worth was tarnished by the knowledge that he was responsible for bringing the future attack of Babylon upon his people.  Lesson being that God will give to you- but He's also going to test your worthiness to hold what He has given.

And it's not only in how you react to adversity.  Friday, the reading was in James 2, where the Lord's brother chides the Jerusalem Church for giving people of "influence" precedence over the poor.  The rich were getting the best table, the most attention, to the detriment of the poor.  James explained to them that they were missing the point- they were acting out of judgement instead of mercy.  Mercy sets all men at the same level.  Lesson being that you will be tested not only on how you react to circumstance, but how you react to people.

Finally, we come to Saturday, which has been the "put it all together" day each of these three weeks.  And the reading was from Job 36. 
“Behold, God is exalted by His power;
Who teaches like Him?23 Who has assigned Him His way,
Or who has said, ‘You have done wrong’? 24 Remember to magnify His work,
Of which men have sung.
25 Everyone has seen it;
Man looks on it from afar.

As you can see, I highlighted two main points.  When we seek God's touch, we often don't understand- we don't direct Him.  He is the teacher, and He will direct us in the way He wills us to go.  And we forget that the goal is to "magnify His work".  Now, I realize in the context we are speaking of praise, but magnifying also means "to make bigger".  We make His work "bigger" by using our gifts to reach God's goals.  By making sure that we earn not only our own crowns, but lead others to earn theirs.  And that is the point of what this week's readings are getting at- first God's goal is THE goal; and second, our goal is to make greater His goal.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Lotsa little bits Vol. 5

ITEM:  As of Monday 6 AM, I will be gainfully employed again.  It is a lot like the job I had for twenty years, on a smaller scale so employees are more than turnips to be squeezed.  And more modern equipment, which I am learning everybody else had but that former job.

My old job seems more and more like this!
ITEM: That game I was waiting for the other day went to the third period scoreless, until Alexei Kruchinin got his 2nd of the season about 7 minutes into the last stanza.  Minsk tied it with under five to go, but you know Lokomotiv's record in OT (and if you don't, it's now 10-0), and it was Yuri Petrov who got the only goal in a shootout for a 2-1 win.  We don't play until Monday and host Torpedo.

ITEM: Italy was joined in starting their hockey playoffs by Austria's EBEL, after Vienna Capitals took the regular season crown by one point with a 24-11-9 record and 61 points. The KHL will be the next to finish the regular season on the 17th of February.  5 other leagues will finish that month, with the rest in March, Britain's EIHL playing until the 24th. I thought I'd give you a map of where the leaders (and the two winners) of the European leagues sit .

They are the bold tyed cities on the map, and go like this:
Angers in France (16-1-5 and a 9 point lead);
Nottingham in the UK (21-7-7 and a 2 point lead);
Fribourg in Switzerland (20-9-13 and a 3 point lead);
Adler Mannheim in Germany (22-11-5 and a 2 point lead);
Frederikshavn in Denmark (21-4-7 and a 5 point lead);
Stavenger in Norway (25-8-3, tied in points with one more win);
Skelleftea in Sweden (27-11-4, 6-point lead);
Val Pusteria in Italy, currently taking lumps in the first stage of the playoffs;
Vienna's Caps in Austria, 1-1 in their first stage playoffs;
Plzen in the Czech-Rep (19-9-14, 5 point lead);
Zvolen in Slovakia (27-8-8, 13 points ahead);
Jokerit from Helsinki, Finland (20-11-15, 7 points up);
Sanok in Poland ( 24-5-2, a dozen in the lead);
and of course SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL (32-10-4) up 3 points overall and 7 in their division).

ITEM:  Last night I wanted to listen to something as I went to sleep, and chose the Ground Zero program, one of the late night "conspiracy theory" call in shows.  One caller urged the host to watch a video on YouTube by a young man who, if I remember right, was named Brandon Hunt.  Hunt apparently gathered every speck of info he could find on the Sandy Hook shootings, and I believe tried to use it to "prove" that the whole thing was a government set up to push gun seizures, and that there is no proof that any children really died.  A friend and fellow blogger made much the same point this morning.

I remember years ago, a girl I hung with had a father that believed we were deep in the grips of the "Tri-Lateral Commission", whose ranks included Henry Kissenger and whose mission was to eliminate states rights by eliminating states, combining them into regions which would then be under the control of the UN.  Now, I'm no big fan of the UN, but I also believe that they struggle every day to figure out which end to wipe, and certainly don't have the acumen to forge a one-world government for "the Beast." I have to believe the same thing today.  Our current administration is very opportunistic, and I'm sure there are some lunatics within it that believe Sandy Hook is the best thing that ever happened to their cause of gun control.  What I don't believe is that ANY of them were smart enough to a) think up such a plan as to have a fake school shooting, or b) to be able to carry it out.

One point that my friend brought up was "the absence of tears" amongst the begrieved when caught on camera.  I would like to say something about that.  When my Mom died, I cried so hard that I never cried again for a decade- no lie.  BUT, if it hadn't been for my Mom's best friend, NOT ONE TEAR would have been shown in public.  That didn't mean that my mother didn't die, it meant that I was determined not to share them with the public.  I can easily see the families of Sandy Hook feeling the same way, especially in light of being at the mercy of every joe with a cell phone.

In my humble opinion, I feel I would rather go on believing, incorrectly or correctly, that a duck is indeed a duck, and the shooting did happen, than to plaster a lot of innuendo and speculation about to promote whatever cause I have and one day see the body in the casket and have to apologize for being a jerk.  Or as I quoted Isaiah to my friend,

11 For the Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying:

12 “Do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’
Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy,
Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.
13 The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow;
Let Him be your fear,
And let Him be your dread.
For every person on the internet that raises a valid point (e.g. the holes in the Warren Commission), you have someone who makes something up to make themselves look big (like Dan Brown claiming the military has guns you can load with sand and fire glass bullets, which he claimed in, I believe, Deception Point).  When it becomes like modern "science" which sees what it wants to see and builds the theory first rather than making observations and THEN the theory, you only harm your own cause.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Time Machine Volume 2 is One Year Old!

It's January 25th, 1971, and the world is seeing ups and downs.  On the up side, Charles Manson and three of his "babes" are found guilty today of the Tate-LaBianca murders.  On the down, Idi Amin takes over Uganda in a coup.  One thing's for sure- if you weren't aware the sixties were over before...

Welcome to the first birthday celebration of Time Machine!  In addition to (actually in place of) much of our usual program, we present the second annual Time Machine Beauty Contest!  Also this week, a music festival that featured rain outs, nearly electricuted bands, the Hell's Angels, pelting the audience with oranges, and an uninvited guest who saved the day; a birthday song list that includes both the ridiculous and the ironic (so what's new there?); and a hot 100 debut in the top 40!  Plus, lots of cute chicks!  Strap in, amigos, and let's fiesta!

I want to take a moment to re-iterate what I told ya'll a day or so ago.  Our beauty contest contestants include any woman who got their picture in this year's TM episodes.  I decided (at long last) to show just the top contestants- since there were 43 of 'em- but I will mention them all. 

First, I have a hall of fame entry- someone so beautiful, so wonderful, they are just in a class of their own.  and that would be...

Laurie, who got in on her birthday last year.  You really think I'm gonna lump her in with the G.P.?

Anyway, I split them into four categories.  The first and "lowest" group I call the "also receiving votes" category, and they include: (in no particular order)

Dee Dee Sharp, who got on for a six degrees that brought up her hit Mashed Potato Time.
Tina Fey, who got on for her birthday falling on post day... and got voted down more for her political stands than her looks.

Roberta Flack, who made the Martin HOF last time around.
Carol Channing, who "squeaked in" during a six degrees.
Dixie Lee Jones, a member of Original Caste, who made a Where Are They Now from their tune One Tin Soldier.
Prudence Farrow, who made it in during the Beatles-in-India six degrees.
Leslie Gore, who gets in from a funny bit a few weeks back.
The Shirelles, who made it from the songs in the top ten when Laurie and I were hatched, er, born.
Elaine and Ellen, the mysterious chicks from The Neighborhood.
And the prize winner from this group, Edith Bunker from the All In The Family Trivia answer.

Beauty is more than "skin deep".
As I mentioned in the teaser, our highest hot 100 debut is in the top 40.  The only other one out of this week's eight I'll mention is Sammi Smith's country crossover Help Me Make It Through The Night, which comes in at 93.

Our birthday song list is a long one, and starts with another of those songs that changed the face of music.  Turning 30 this week is the first salvo from Michael Jackson's Thriller, Billie Jean.  Along with it comes, Night Ranger's Don't Tell Me You Love Me, The Thompson Twins' Lies Lies Lies, and- ironically- the song that would eventually knock Billie Jean out of the top slot, Dexy's Midnight Runners and Come On Eileen.  Turning 35 we have Kansas' Dust In The Wind, Linda Ronstadt's Poor Poor Pitiful Me, The late Bob Welch's Ebony Eyes, and Chuck Mangione's instrumental Feels So Good.  Oh, and a funny little pair at the bottom of that week's chart, one you'll know, and one maybe not- at 97, Eddie Money's Baby Hold On; and at 98, Karla Bonoff and I Can't Hold On.  Almost as good as the time that Rick Springfield's Jesse's Girl was followed by Jesse Winchester's Say What!

Turning 40 this week we have Seals and Crofts' beautiful Hummingbird, David Bowie's Space Oddity (better known by its first line- "Ground control to Major Tom..."), and one you might not know, but one of America's early hits, Don't Cross The River.  Turning 45 are Sam and Dave's original to the ZZ Top Cover I Thank You, along with the immortal Sitting At The Dock Of The Bay by the sadly mortal Otis Redding, 1910 Fruitgum Company's Simon Says (Hmm, 45 year old bubble gum), and the Association's Everything That Touches You.  Finally, I have to say that the fourth week in January 1958, which was only marginally warmer than it is right now, was a ridiculous time to release this song that turns 55- The Royal Teens with Short Shorts.  Blow out the candles...

Our second group of contestants I termed "Honorable Mention".  They include:

Kitty Wells, who was in the list of those who passed away last year.
Patti Page, who led off this year's list.
Gayle McCormick, who headlined the group Smith.
Tammi Terrell, whose passing was on one of our lead ins.
Betty Grable, who got in on the lookback spotlight on Harry James.
Gloria Bunker Stivic, who shared the All In The Family pic with mom Edith.
Judy Boyd, who also made it in under the Beatles-in-India six degrees.
Judith Durham, who got in on the HOF action with the Seekers.
Shaun Stoney Murphy, Meatloaf's partner on his debut lp.
Lynn Anderson, who'll be getting another accolade a little later.
And Skeeter Davis, from the big end of the world episode.

Okay, so it wasn't the end of the world...
Moving onto our top forty entries this week.  Gordon Lightfoot sneaks up 3 to #40 with If You Could Read My Mind.  At 35, Judy Collins' Amazing Grace comes in at 35, up six.  Bread rises (here we go with this again) 9 spots with Let Your Love Go.  The Osmonds not only grab the high debut, but the biggest mover again this week, with One Bad Apple climbing 26 spots to land at #31.  Which reminds me, the Partridge Family's I Think I Love You dropped 32 to #47 for the biggest dropper, edging out Van Morrison's Domino (22 to 53) by one notch.

And the song that debuted in the top 40?  The Jackson Five with Mama's Pearl, coming in at #38.

An almost but not quite shoutout for Ray Price, whose signature tune For The Good Times peaks at 13 this week.  Which brings me to the second highest, or "almost but not quite" category.  Here we find:
Jinx Dawson, the sexy "witch" from Coven.
Ann Margaret, caught dancing during the Andy Williams tribute.
Dawn, which got downgraded because of the ugly one with the mustache.
You try spraying him out, and soaking him out...
Dinah Shore, Who made it in on a recent six degrees.
Shelly Fabres, who along with Gloria Stivic and the next lady were the only three I found swimsuit pics of.
Shirley Jones, who definately was more than just a "mom of 5".

And when we're NOT singing...
Diana Ross, who was a frequent guest in the charts.
And Polly Browne, who led Pickettywitch into the top 40.

Two songs join the top ten, two fall out.  The droppers are Stoned Love (5 to 11), and Black Magic Woman (6 to 12).

The Chairmen Of The Board hold at 10 with Pay To The Piper.

Immigrant Song, the topic of our six degrees, slips a notch to 9.

Immigrant Song was written around Led Zep's trip to Reykjavik, Iceland, and was first played during their set at the 1970 Bath Music Festival on June 27-29th, 1970.  This was a well-named festival, because it was raining as if the cow was on the flat rock almost the whole time.  Among the players and highlights:

Donovan, who was there as an attendee, took up the challenge when many bands couldn't get through the congested country lanes, playing all by himself for 2 1/2 hours while artists and equipment trickled in.  Jefferson Airplane cut their set short after getting shocked by their mics in the rain, and the Moody Blues, who were specially helicopterred in, couldn't play at all.  The Byrds, though, went on through a 90-minute accoustic set- said to be their first ever accoustic set.  Country Joe was there without the Fish, and John Mayall without the Bluesbreakers.  Pink Floyd was there, and Santana played an hour set.  Fairport Convention was escorted to the stage by the Hell's Angels, and while the Angels were not so impressed with FC, they were delighted when Steppenwolf played the next set.  Johnny Winter did his classics, and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention made it through their set complaining of the cold, and during their song Calling Any Vegetables, hurled oranges into the crowd- at least one of which was thrown back with the cry, "We're the inventors, now!"  Canned Heat survived by being extremely stoned (and proud of it) during their set, and Dr. John closed the show early Monday morning, and at one point nearly left the stage when an announcement asked for a doctor for an emergency in the crowd (after all, they called for a doctor).  Oh, and Led Zep led off their set with the first public playing of Immigrant Song, just six days after the trip to Iceland that started it all.

Elton John moves up one to 8 with Your Song.

Gladys Night and the Pips come in at 7, up 4, with If I Were Your Woman.

Remember Lynn Anderson? She moves from 12 to 6 with Rose Garden.

The Bee Gees climb a deuce to 5 with Lonely Days.

The top four remain the same, with Groove Me at 4, One Less Bell To Answer at 3, My Sweet Lord at #2...

And now, the finalists of the Beaty Contest!

Mariska Veres of Shocking Blue...
Morgana the kissing bandit...
The former Mrs. Andy Williams, Claudine Longet...
Karen Carpenter...
Star of stage and screen Connie Sellecca...
The face and voice of the Poppy Family, Susan Jacks...
Former Mrs. Harrison and Clapton, Patti Boyd...
The incomparable Mia Farrow...
And Susan (Laurie Partridge) Day.
And truth be told, as I type this, I haven't made up my mind!  I will say the last five are my top five...
I had Laurie pick her picks, and the only two of her picks in my finalists were Karen Carpenter and Mariska Veres!  So let's have Scrappy pick 'em... how, you ask?  Let's line up five french fries and see which one he picks!
Annnd he takes the middle fry, so our winner is... Patti Boyd!!!!

Yeah, man, we agree... ya got a brownie, dude?
And at #1 again this week... Dawn and Knock Three Times!!!!
Happy birthday to us... happy birthday to us... come right back here next week... we'll kick up a fuss!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What difference at this point does it make?

I have stayed away from most of the political fray this year.  I have said I'm not going to make attacks unless necessary against the Administration that you, the people, chose to rule over us.  I have even been taken to task in comments when I've had a little fun with the subject.

This is one of those points I have to speak.

Hillary Clinton (who really should look into using some of Bill's cosmentics) finally defended the State Department before Congress.  You can read the gory details on your own, if you like, but I want to point out two things she said that were apparent before the election and should be obvious now about this administration's attitudes.

The first one you may have already caught- FoxNews led it as a headline:

...At that point, Clinton began to raise her voice.
"With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans," she said.
"I understand," (Sen. Ron, R-Wis)Johnson said.
Clinton continued to speak, raising her voice and gesturing: "Was it because of a protest or is it because of guys out for a walk one night and they decide they go kill some Americans?
"What difference, at this point, does it make?"
Clinton, lowering her voice, then said it is the administration's job to "figure out what happened" and prevent it from happening again.

What difference does it make????
The difference is one was an excuse this administration used to make it look like it was America's fault because we are intrinsically evil.  The other one says we got caught with our pants down by evil people because the administration DIDN'T DO ITS JOB.

And the choice of which is made clear by saying  the administration's job is to "figure out what happened."  This was an embassy in a VERY unstable country, which we KNEW was swarming with those who hate us.  This administration shouldn't HAVE to figure out what happened because, had they been paying ANY attention, it wouldn't have happened!

And as for using four deaths to point out that this discussion is unimportant, we KNOW four Americans are dead.  And the discussion will only help IF the administration decides to PAY ATTENTION and "prevent it from happening again".  "But Chris", you say, "you don't know that the administration wasn't paying attention."

Sure I do, Hillary told us.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., top Republican on the Senate committee, lamented "the spiking of the ball and the thinking that when Usama bin Laden was gone that was the end of Al Qaeda."
"We know nothing could be further from the truth," he said.
Clinton appeared to agree that the terrorist threat is far from diminished, but said that she never saw the requests from the Libya team for more security.
"I didn't see those requests, they didn't come to me," Clinton said.

Requests for more security, from an embassy in an unstable country, that was still fully in the world's eye because of the recent overthrow of its dictator, and the Secretary of State DIDN'T SEE THEM???  Excuse me, but isn't that her job?  Doesn't leadership comes from the top?  Who prioritizes what comes to her?  Shouldn't she be doing that?

Oh, but I forgot, this is the era of hope and change.  This is the era of getting our policy guidance from Oprah Winfrey, and if Hillary et al were taken by surprise, it's probably because they hadn't reported on the security weaknesses on The View yet.  Or perhaps Dvaid Letterman hadn't managed to fit it into his top ten list.  Or James Taylor and Bruce Springsteen were going to let her know, but had a recording session that day.

So I guess I should just stay quiet.  Maybe I should just clasp hands in unity and bipartisanship and find a group of Obama voters to sing Kum-Ba-Ya.  And wait for the next ambassador, the next Navy Seal, the next kidnapped citizen to be killed.

After all, what difference at this point does it make?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lotsa little bits vol. 4

ITEM:  Our thermometer says we got down to 3.9 F.  That would be 15.6 BELOW in non-American.  This morning was 8.8 when we got up.  Needless to say, don't expect nature pics anytime soon.

ITEM:  NHL hockey is back, and we here had a "free preview" of NHL Center Ice (which means I got to watch a LOT of games.  Without going into a long dissertation on the sport, I have to say it's a good world that starts out a season with the Flyers losing twice on national TV.

ITEM:  On the subject of hockey, Lokomotiv fell behind twice, tied the game, and finally took the lead- all in the first period.  Daniil Apal'kov (6th), Alexi Kruchinin (1st), and Staffan Kronwall (8th) all tallied in the first for a 3-2 lead.  Donbass tied it in the second, but Sergei Plotnikov got his 13th jut before the halfway point, and Lokomotiv held off being outshot 10-4 in the third to win 4-3.

Loko is gearing up for a game in Riga as I type (in about an hour and a half).  We are one of the teams that have clinched a playoff spot at 22-15-9; four teams in each conference (SKA, CSKA, and Dynamo Moscow in ours, Avangard, Ak Bars, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, and Traktor in the east) have claimed half of the 16 spots.  In addition, the league just announced the "Cup of Hope", in which the teams that miss the playoffs will have a tournament for prize money.  This is done elsewhere in European hockey, such as in Italy.  Their Serie A started their playoffs a few days ago, after Val Pusteria held off a late charge by Bolzano to win the regular season at 25-9-2, two points ahead.  The playoffs, which start with a five team round robin, aren't starting as well for the Wolves, losing their first game 1-0 to Renon while Bolzano and Renon started out 2-0.

ITEM: Sometimes PC is a little hard to manage.  The McDonald's franchise in the Mecca of Islamic America, Dearborn, Michigan, had promised all food to be certifed halal (the Muslim equivalent of kosher).  These are the only two McDs in the nation to serve halal, and apparently they decided to serve non-halal chicken when the "good stuff" ran out-"on many occasions."  The local Muslim community decided to sue- and I have no idea how they found out- and the Company and Franchise owner settled for $700,000 to be split amongst various Muslim charity groups.
Halal or not halal- THAT is the question.
ITEM: I have begun work on the 2nd Time Machine Beauty Contest, in honor of the first year of TM vol. 2.  I decided that you were a contestant if you got your picture in any of Year One's posts.  Then, I added on the caveat that you must be an adult, just to piss off any Tracy Partridge fans.

Suzanne Crough- yes, you're a cutie.  No, you're not eligible.
However, that still left 43 contestants, so I'm still weighing my options- put the finalists only on the post; do a whole separate post; or shoehorn all 43 into the Friday TM, really bogging things up.

ITEM:  As I hear it, the Great Inauguration take 2 had three main highlights.  One, Sasha got caught yawning during daddy's speech.  Two, Michelle's bangs- are they real or artificial?  And three, Bill Clinton taking a good long look at Kelly Clarkson's behind:

I can't wait until somebody photoshops Bill giving a thumb's up on this one!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Message

Once upon a time I studied runic magic.  The runes are a way to study the world around you through both the trinities that God has built things around and the dualism in them.  One of the most powerful dualisms is that between the symbols Algiz (top) and Sowelo.  As I was taught, you learn a general meaning and then let it grow into your application; and at least for me, the symbol Algiz was man reaching for God, though he can never touch Him physically; Sowelo, the lightning bolt, is God touching man.  Turned on its side and doubled, the Nazis used it (the swastika) to symbolize man ruling over men as if he were god.

Reaching by man and touching by God is the subject of this week's study- how do we get touched by God, and what do we do to prevent it.  God allows Himself to be found by those who dilligently seek Him.  What blocks us on that search?

Day one:  Our own knowledge.  In Galatians 1, Paul is scolding them about "hearing a different Gospel than the one I preached".  He goes on to use himself as an example.  He was a zealous Jew, a pharisee "beyond many of my contemporaies in my own nation."  He knew the Law inside and out, and persecuted those who did not believe as he did.  But when Christ touched him, there was no knowledge or booklearning involved; he went into the desert and learned from Christ's revelation, apart from the Apostles or anyone else who had known Jesus.  It was when he ceased to believe he knew it all that Christ was able to use him.

Day two: Fear and guilt.  In Genesis 50, Jacob dies in Egypt, and even though some time has past, the sons of Jacob are worried at their future.  You see, they had betrayed their brother so many years ago by selling him into eventual slavery in Egypt, and they still lived with the guilt.  Moreover, Joseph had become powerful in Egypt, and they feared that their father's death removed the only thing keeping their brother from his revenge.  Joseph never saw it that way; he was bringing them into the blessings he had been given.  Their fear and guilt kept them from enjoying those blessings, and they even invented a story that Jacob himself had given word not to harm them.  But Joseph had only love in his heart, because everything that had happened to him was part of God's plan to bring them right where they were. It was only fear and guilt keeping God's blessings from them.

Day three: Failure to apply what you learn by asking questions.  God wants us to come into His word with questions.  I listened to a sermon Wednesday in which the pastor told a story to illustrate this point.  A young man named Glenn Chambers was killed in the crash of a plane headed to Quito, Ecuador.  He was going to fulfill his calling to work for the Christian radio station Voice Of The Andes, but the plane crashed on February 15th, 1947.  Before leaving the Miami airport that day, he had wanted to dash off a quick letter to his mother.  Having and finding no paper, he wrote it on a pice of advertisement in a newspaper he found lying on the floor.  The next day, his mother received both the news of her son's death and the note, which was written around the one bit of printing from the ad on the section he'd torn off.

One word: "Why".

To find her comfort, she would have to go to God with the "why" of what had happened.  And we as well, especially me, we're more likely to be hit with disaster and go to God with vitriol, anger, even hatred, and if we ask why, we're not really looking for an answer.  Or we go there, and don't understand that the answer is, "It is not for you to know yet."  What did Mrs. Chambers find when she asked?  From the story:

God is too kind to do anything cruel…Too wise to make a mistake…Too deep to explain Himself.

Mrs. Chambers stopped asking Why?…when she saw the Who behind he scene. All other sounds are muffled when we claim His absolute sovereignty. Even the deafening sound of a crashing DC-4.

Day four: We stop "being Algiz".  In Phillipians 3, Paul gives his famous discourse about not acting like we have already attained what God wished for us, but "forgetting those things which are behind and reaching foreward to those things that are ahead."  Sometimes we expect God to do the touching all on His own, with out our reaching.  But look at it this way.  Say you, in your struggles, are a drowning man in the water.  God is at the shore, and He tosses you a rope.  If you stop reaching once the rope is tossed, what happens?  You drown, because you didn't keep reaching foreward until you were pulled ashore. 

And how does one keep reaching?  Paul looks at it as running in a race.  Another way that I've always tried to keep in mind is in Psalm 107:23-32.  Our life's storms are like being trapped on a ship in a storm.  Step one, we call out for God's help (VV28-9).  But you know, anyone can call out when the storm is bad- what happens when the waves are stilled?  You are still at sea, and the storm can come back at any moment.  Look at what happens in verse 30:  "Then they are glad because (the storm) is quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven."   So you see, there are four elements here- call, response, thankgiving, deliverance.  It's not just what you do in the storm, but what you do after.  Heres another example, from Luke 17:
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.

Notice that some of them were healed, but only the one with praise and thanksgiving was MADE WELL.  The difference?  God, as they say, brings sunshine to the good and the evil, the loved and the unloved.  But the true healing- salvation- only comes with appreciating what was done with the rest of your life.

Day five:  Just like last week, day five is reserved for those under judgement.  In Ezekiel 4, we see how Ezekiel is told to make himself a human sign for falling Jerusalem.  He makes a clay model of the city, complete with the siegeworks that surrounded the city at that time due to the Babylonian army.  He then puts up an iron plate between himself and the "city", representing that the city will have no recourse to God to turn aside His wrath.  Finally, he is told to lie on his side facing the city, 390 days on one side to represent the years of sin that Israel will pay for, and 40 on the other to represent the years of Judah's sin alone.  And God finishes this instruction in verse 8 with:  "And surely I will constrain you so that you cannot turn from one side to another until you have ended the days of your siege."  Simply put, there are those who have consistantly refused the touch of God, who have refused to reach out to Him.  And they will be kept from doing so.

Day six:  The last reading this week came from the second chapter of Nehemiah.
1In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before; 2so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”

I was very much afraid, 3but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”

4The king said to me, “What is it you want?”

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 5and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.”
Notice before Nehemiah explained what he wanted, he PRAYED.  That is how we reach, and if we want to be touched by God, that is where it starts.  Putting aside our pride and knowledge, setting aside our fear and guilt, opening ourselves to hear God's answer, and ready to reach for what He gives us.  Using prayer and praise and faith to remove the iron plate before us, that His touch can come through, and continuing to reach so He can pull us home.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Pictures from the frozen north

Just to make rambling Jo-Anne feel better, here's some shots from the land where 45° is the high... in Fahrenheit.

How about we dress Scrappy for the weather?  If this looks like he enjoyed the hat/left it on his head, the illusion worked.

The duck pond is now the duck ice rink.
Not too cold for them on the river, though
And they've got the old pump house repaired, re-painted, and fenced.  See how long that prevents new graffiti...
Our hero
Remember those robins that supposedly disappeared for the winter?  Here's about 30 of 'em!
Today's walk was started off by my getting my foot stuck in the downed fence where we always go in by the big tree.  Lost a shoe, landed square on the stomach.  I was fine (after laying there for five minutes wondering how to tell Laurie I lost the baby), but learned a valuable lesson:  You can concuss your belly as well as your head.

Hawk casing the bunny field.
"The answer, my friends, is blowing through my ears..."
Geese fighting wind to stay in one place.
Ducks, too.
Scrappy joining the "not quite polar bear" club.

I have to tell you my son's latest adventure, which he dubbed "the quarter story".  Seems he got home from work last night with his lady friend and promptly decided he needed to do laundry.  His complex has quarter machines in the basement.  He found he had to case his car for quarters, and had just enough to do the washing.  Needing coins for the dryer, he first tried the pop machine at the complex.  He put in 2 bills, hit the change lever, and got 20 dimes. Then, he and LF went to the nearest BP gas station for change.  "Can you give me change for $2?" he asked.  "We can't do that," says she at the counter.  "Why not?" says he.  "Because we don't go back to the bank until Tuesday!" She snips.  After cussing her out in his mind, he decides to go to Wal-Mart.  Now, here he explains that he drove out to the Wal-Mart on Maysville road (aproximately 5 miles and out of the way).  I asked him why he didn't just go to the Wal-mart just down from us at Coldwater road (3 1/2 miles and two turns from him.).  I mention this because it got me about a half-minute of the blankest "I'm an idiot" expression you ever saw.  Anyhow, he decided that he was probably going to get turned down by the cashiers and as it was closing on 1 AM, he went to a pop machine.  He put in his two bucks, hit the change return lever, and the machine gave him 2 dollars change gave him four Grape Crushes, priced at $1.25 each. So he got $3 dollars off 4 sodas he didn't want, and now had no change AND no bills.  He returned to the car with 4 pops and a LF who wondered what he was doing with them (to which he replied, "This is the worst night of my life!"). Next he had to travel to his bank ( a  further four miles) to use the ATM (perhaps because he was too cheap to pay the out-of-network fee at the Wal-Mart ATM, I neglected to ask or I might have gotten blank stare #2) and get more money, from whence he tried a station near there, now just 2.2 miles from home, whose cashier was happy to give him the quarters in exchange for a re-telling of the story.
My son- the best entertainment value I ever made.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Lotsa little bits Vol. 3.

ITEM:  If you were paying attention during your perusal of yet another wonderful episode of Time Machine, you caught that I am again part of the 7.8%- our assignment at VB ended 3 1/2 hours into Thursday night's shift.  Not terribly surprising, considering A) we were told in Septmber it would probably last till January sometime, and B) this week we were opted home at last break Sunday night, after first break Monday night, at shift start Tuesday ("We probably should have just called you," said one supervisor), called to stay home on Wednesday, and Thursday we managed to pack about a 45-minute workday into the 3 hours we actually worked before being sent en masse to the office to turn in our badges and box cutters.

I will miss the place somewhat, especially the paycheck.  Most of the people were pretty okay, if you didn't mind that the Burmese crew had a daily diet that made them all smell as if they'd escaped from a jerky smoker.  I'll definitely miss the idiot on I-69 on the way home who liked riding in everyone's blind spot, they daily checking of the powerball jackpot on one billboard, and the wait time at Lutheran Hospital ER on another.  (Usually between 2 and 8 minutes, though one day I was surprised to see it reading 42- it was either a misread on the flasher's part or a really bad day to be sick.)

ITEM:  Back to the job sites and  And likely chipping away at my 99 weeks.

ITEM: Also, I'll be joining former VB CFO Jeff Blade, who walked the plank last Friday and according to the Journal-Gazzette, was asked "Never darken our doors again."  Been trying to find out since then what exactly he did, but no one's talking so far.

ITEM:  An interesting story came my way this morning about attorney Thomas P. Lowe of Minnesota.  He was suspended from the bar for a minimum 15 months.  But not because he took on an old friend's divorce case; and not because he had an affair with said friend.  His butt got spanked for BILLING the woman for the time spent having sex, marked down as meetings, etc.  Not only did he bill for the bang, but then he dumped the woman- who wasn't exactly stable, and shortly thereafter tried to kill herself.  The doctors asked why she tried suicide, and that's how the story made its way to the Minnesota Bar.  Of course, they wouldn't have the problem in the first place if they would have permanently got rid of him in 1997 for coercing cocaine out of a client, for which he was also suspended.

I wonder if he at least gave her a free initial conjugation...
ITEM:  While I have no intention of making this a full-fledged scam e-mail post, I did get this one today, titled "$" and sent by "FBI":
have you lost any of your money to scammers,reply back to us now for your lost money back...

This had to have been sent by one of the laziest scammers of all time.  No glaring warning, no official sounding mumbo-jumbo, no list of info needed, no "Sincerely, FBI agent Dipshitski", not even a capital letter!  Good Lord, did you call your mom into the room to hit "send"?

ITEM:  Quick Loko post ASG update.  Tuesday brought a 3-2 win in Cherpovets against Severstal.  Mikelis Redlihs (his 3rd) and Daniil Apal'kov (#5) scored in the first (Daniil's goal was first given to Redlihs), they scored twice in the second, and Apal'Kov scored in the shootout to give us the OT win.  Friday, though, we got spanked by last place Spartak in Moscow, 5-2.  Vitaly Kolesnik got his first action since being sent down to give NHL lockouter Semyon Varlemov a roster spot, and he got pulled for Curtis Sanford after giving up 3 scores in the first 32 minutes.  Yegor Averin got both our goals, one at each end of the second period, to give him 10 for the year.  Next up for us is a trip to Donetsk for a tilt with Donbass on Sunday.

ITEM:  Another lovely news story: 50-year old Donna Lange smothered her boyfriend to death last Saturday.  The couple, who were joined in alcohol-and-pot- fueled reverie by a man and three women, got into a pair of altercations which ended in Donna smothering him  WITH HER BOOBS.   While the news reports do say she outweighed her somewhat unfortunate victim by almost 20 lbs, news sources declined to mention the bra size of the assault weapons.  But at 5'7" and 192 lbs, you can guestimate yourself.

Darn Blogger glitches!  THOSE aren't the boobs I asked for...
ITEM:  Speaking of updates, I just peaked in over at Blooger:Known Issues to see if there was any further update on the great photo upload fail that we've all been going through, since they were so kind as to inform us they were aware of the problem a full TWO WEEKS ago.  No there wasn't, but I did see an amusing line in their post about a subsequent problem:

"...We’re working to improve our communication of these issues in the future and apologize
if you were wondering what the heck was going on. Hopefully, this clears the

Blogger COMMUNICATING?  Since when?

ITEM: Look foreward to another Sunday "Overarching message" post- God's subject for the week, God's touching of our lives, and how we miss it.  I will endeavor to be less complicated than last Sunday's message.

Time Machine week 51

It's January 18th, 1971.  Today, Canadian music achieved its independance from the US of A with the launching of the CanCon law.  From this point on, from 6 AM to midnight, 30% of all songs played had to have 2 of the following four qualifications:

-Music composed entirely by Canadian(s);
-Artist is Canadian;
-Record is produced in Canada;
-Lyrics are entirely by a Canadian(s).

This allowed Canadian artists who would have otherwise been overwhelmed by US products to blossom, enriching both sides of the fence.  Ironically I found this info on a site called Censorship in Music.  Makes you wonder how much our music landscape would have been changed by such a law if it where enacted in January of 1964....

In any event, this is a slightly less irritating Time Machine- and next week will bring us to the end of TM vol. 2's first year!  I'm not sure how I'll celebrate... how about another round of the Time Machine Beauty Contest?  Let me know what you think.  This week though, we have 4 top forty debuts, 3 new top ten songs, 2 hot 100 debut mentions, and a messed up Where Are They Now! (Do that to the tune of Twelve Days Of Christmas and it's much catchier!)  Also, a cameo by one of my favorite 80's heroes, another cameo by a star (kinda) from the early days of M*A*S*H, and the war that was Fleetwood Mac.  Plus, a new top dog!  Hop in, you hosers!

While there were 16 hot 100 debuts, I had to reeeealy stretch to find a couple to mention.  Coming in at 95 was Henry Mancini's theme from Love Story, and at 93 was a tune called Mixed Up Guy by a dude named Joey Scarbury.  Remember him?  Let me help- he hit #1 with Believe It Or Not, the theme to the TV show The Greatest American Hero!

And he thought he was mixed up back then.... (Connie Selleca, William Katt, and Robert Culp.  She made any show worthwhile... I was a Hotel fan, too!)

Our Birthday song segment is almost back to normal, at least.  Turning 30 this week are Lionel Ritchie's You Are and m'man Joe Jackson with Breaking Up In Two.  Rita Coolidge's cover of The Way You Do The Things You Do lead off the tunes turning 35, along with Lou Rawls' Lady Love, a cover of What A Wonderful World by Art Garfunkel with Paul Simon and James Taylor, and Van Halen's cover of You Really Got Me.  Turning 40 are the incredible Moody Blues with I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band), Roberta Flack's ode to Don McLean, Killing Me Softly, Sweet's Little Willy, Gladys Knight und der Pipsters with Neither One Of Us.... and occasional M*A*S*Her Loudon Wainwright III (Cpt. Calvin Spaulding) with his lovely sonnet, Dead Skunk.

Ol' dead skunk in the middle of the road... stinkin to HIGH heaven...
Turning 45 this week are the theme from The Valley Of The Dolls by Dionne Warwick, and the Bee Gees with Words.  Hitting the big 5-0 are the Four Seasons with Walk Like A Man, Eydie Gorme's Blame It On The Bossa Nova, and a young lady who had a major feature here a few short weeks ago- Skeeter Davis' The End Of The World.  And turning 55 are the Silhouettes with a song that will be sung to me now (My assignment with Vera Bradley ended tonight), Get A Job, along with Paul Anka's You Are My Destiny.  Blow out the candles...

We have a double whammy this week- both the big climber and big dropper are in the top 40.  Sigh...

And if that wasn't bad enough, we have a repeater in the Where Are They Now slot- Candi Staton with He Called Me Baby at #50.  Oh well, just think, in 5 months we'll be switching to #51.  Why?  Because some idiot decided to tie the feature song to my age! So, in 2063, the WATN song will become the #1 song!  Only by then I'll probably be more busy doing Where Am I Now?

Thus we move on to the look back feature, and this week we shed light on a fellow by the name of Vaughn Monroe.  Vaughn was a New Englander who was voted Most Likely To Succeed in high school, and graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Technology.  He simultaniously launched his band leading and running a restaurant/nightclub called The Meadows near Boston in 1940, and by 1946 he was hosting a show we've mentioned before- the Camel Caravan- from the Meadows.

In 1941 he recorded (but never released) what became his signature song- Racing With The Moon.  A trumpeteer and baritone, he had various nicknames over his powerful voice, of which my favorite was "the voice with hair on its chest".  He chalked up 55 charting hits, with 24 top tens and 5 #1s.  His peak might have been 1949, when he released his biggest #1, (Ghost) Riders In The Sky in April and his second biggest, Someday, back-to-back in August.  He was offered Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer but turned it down.  Gene Autry took it to #1, which Vaughn thought was appropriate since his version of Ghost Riders had buried Autry's version.

At one point in 1944, he had to replace his trombone player and ended up teaching himself to play.  It was shortly after the two big hits that the big band era began to dry up, and he broke up the band in 1953.  He was a licenced pilot, and claimed that the only time he was ever late to a job was when he was blown 50 miles off course one time and had to land in a cabbage patch.,  Vaughn Died in 1973 after a stomach surgery.

Four top 40 debuts this week, but first, let's get our big dropper- Tears Of A Clown, falling from 17 to 34. A recent WATN feature, Joe Simon, moves up 1 spot to 40 with Your Time To Cry.  Moving up 3 to 39 is James Brown with Get Up, Get Involved.  At 36 is our big mover, Bobby Goldsboro with Watching Scotty Grow, and he grew 26 notches from #62.  And our highest debut- and almost our big mover- is John Lennon, who shoots from 56 to 35 with Mother.

An almost but not quite shoutout to Three Dog Night, who hold at 13 this week with One Man Band.

Three songs join the top 10, three fall out.  The droppers are: I Think I Love You (7 to 15); Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is (5 to 16); and after a one week stay, Domino (9 to 22).

Climbing 5 to lead off the top ten, The Chairmen Of The Board with Pay To The Piper.

Up a pair to #9, Elton John with Your Song.

Led Zep's Immigrant Song holds at #8.

The Bee Gees get their second mention today, with Lonely Days blasting in from 12 to 7.

And dropping 2 to #6, our six degrees victim.

And once again, it's not exactly a six degrees that awaits Santana and Black Magic Woman.  I was a bit surprised to find that it was written by Peter Green, and Fleetwood Mac took it to #37 in the UK in 1968.  When Green's mental problems pushed him out of the group, the song was sung on tour by his young protege/rival, Danny Kirwan.  An 18-year-old guitar virtuoso with a huge drinking problem and temper to go with it, it was his talent that inspired Green to compose Fleetwood Mac's #1 UK instrumental Albatross.  But Kirwan's temper and rivalry inflamed things to the point where it virtually became a him-or-me situation; and to everyone's surprise, Green left.  Kirwan had it no easier in a year-and-a-half sharing the band with replacement Bob Welch.  This time though, it was Kirwan who went when the only remaing bandmate speaking to him, Mick Fleetwood, said two words:  You're fired.

Kirwan did a handfull of solo albums before the drinking turned him into a homeless wretch, one of which had a very interesting back-up band.   Shortly after Kirwan left, it looked like the band was going to dissolve.  Their manager talked Mick into fulfilling a touring contract by playing with a completely new band he labeled Fleetwood Mac (since the manager claimed he had the rights to the name).  At the last minute, the manager said, Mick backed out and subsequently claimed he never heard of the other FM.  The tour collapsed, and the fake FM continued on (sans success) as Stretch.  And it was Stretch that backed Kirwan on his lp Midnight In San Juan.  One member of Stretch was Dave Terry.  Terry pre-Stretch was "Elmer Gantry" (complete with preacher's hat and cape) in the band "Elmer Gantry's" Velvet Opera.  Terry post-Stretch was with the Alan Parsons Project, singing lead on songs such as Psychobabble.

Terry AKA Elmer Gantry on the left.  This is almost a Sinclair Lewis cameo!
The Supremes climb one to #5 with Stoned Love.

King Floyd dashes up 6 spots to #4 with Groove Me.

Holding at 3 yet again, the 5Ds with One Less Bell To Answer.

George Harrison finally lets someone else play, dropping a spot to 2 with My Sweet Lord.

And the #1 song, moving up a notch...

Dawn with Knock Three Times!!!!!!

See, there's a couple candidates for a beauty contest- and I DON'T mean the one in the middle!  Be sure to put your 2 cents in in the comments, and we'll see you next week!