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


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The New Years Eve stats page!

Well, I found that, if you are willing to do a little math, you actually CAN figure out your most viewed posts of the year.  It seems to be heavily weighted by time- the most recent one was in June- but it was still fun!  Here are my top ten views of 2014:

10- Time Machine vol. II, week 109, Feb. 28th, 117 views.  The only TM to crack the ten (c'mon, youse guys!), it featured the video on latino band Malo's song Suavecito, which is one of the reasons I do TM- to find nuggets of gold like that one.  Also, it featured the top 20 double-albums of all time (no surprise at the top- Pink Floyd's The Wall), and we saw Climax and Precious And Few at #1 on Cashbox that week in 1972.

9- What Was Jesus, April 21st, 120 views.  This one came about when a friend posted the following meme:

...and I dissected the truth out of it.

8- Comments And Respect, Jan. 25th, 123 views.  This was basically born of a misunderstanding/miswording between a blog friend and I that has since been resolved hopefully with good lessons to all 123.  In the midst of the flying fur, Robin stepped in with a means to a solution, and all worked out from there.  And as I kept researching these posts, I found she had the most profound of things to say on at least three of the ten.  So, as unexpected as this is to both of us, I am giving Most Valuable Commenter to Robin- with a lot of heartfelt thanks, especially on this one.

7-  Martin World News, April 15th, (the first of 4, or five- you'll see why in a bit- MWN posts on the countdown), 125 views.  This round of MWN featured USAir apologizing on twitter to an unsatisfied customer by sending them a link to a porn site;  a German company sending out mugs that had lovely poetry on them, along with a picture of Hitler on a stamp; an Austrian EU parliament candidate who had to step down after calling the body he was running for election to "a conglomeration of negroes"; and your first look at the motivational poster I put up at work:

Yes, that is indeed our hero...

6- More of "What You Want", January 27th, 145 views.  This was the game I was playing where I would type into google search "(fill in a nation) wants ______"  and see what came up.  This particular post- wherein I was also told that Bobby G was hard at work on the first version of my MWN logo- we found out that the Netherlands wants to build a mountain, Belarus wants to marry Russia (still haven't found out the logistics on that one), and Malta, for some reason, wants me dead.

5- Martin World News, February 5th, 147 views.  Here we received the depthless wisdom of FWCS superintendent Wendy Robinson, who told us, "Student behavior does NOT effect learning" (emphasis mine);  we saw eminent expert Bill Nye the Science Guy duke it out with a creationist pastor in a debate;  the trials and travails of converting Sochi from a human cesspit to an Olympic host; and the lovely present a female critic of Vladimir Putin got one morning...

Couldn't have just left dog poop on the stoop, eh?

4- Martin World News, June 10th, 169 views.  Here in addition to more fun with "science" we learned that Fort Wayne is 5th most boring city in the nation; Shamus Beaglehole won the Ivy League's Name Of The Year contest; and that Japan might want to come up with a better name for their basketball league...

3- Martin World News,  Jan. 4th, 177 views.  This round saw the Danish contest to come up with a new name for the vagina; a spam commenter who accused my commenter on the post of being brain dead- and the commenter was my son, KC; and one of my favorites- from Australia, the butt-bun ad:

2- Martin Not-So-World News, Jan. 20th, 184 views.  A lot of this was concentrated on the reappearance of John Rambo, the head of the he-man-woman-haters-club, a vitriolic pedophile misogynist who frequently makes the tour of women's blogs telling them how terrible they are and how men should just buy mail order brides or something.  I had battled him a long time back (see links on the post, if you care to), and he came by to pester another blog friend.  After humiliating him once more (which is hardly challenging), I moved on to funnier things, including my favorite meme of the year:

And at #1......

1- All The Things We're Not Going To Talk About, Jan. 29th, 190 views.  Basicly an op-ed covering a study on what is jokingly called curriculum at rich liberal arts universities.  Anyone remember these classes:

Food in the Middle East: History, Identity, and Culture (Middlebury)
Mad Men and Mad Women (about the TV show, also Middlebury)
Chess (Grinnell)
The Ethical Shopper (Grinnell)
Bad Words (Grinnell)
History of Hip Hop (also Bowdoin)
 'Bad' Women Make Great History: Gender, Identity, and Society in Modern Europe 1789-1945 (likewise)

I know Holli does, for she volunteered to sign up:

I want to take the Geography of wine class and drink the wine from all different regions!

Also on this post, we had:  my take on the State Of The Union message (which drew a tremendous comment from Robin!); and my discovery of the little Google-spies checking up on us from Mountain View and Simi Valley.

None of these, however, have reached yet the top ten of all time, where you need currently ... er... 188 to get in (which means either one screen counts my views in and one doesn't, or it updates daily).  The top one there- and far and away now- is a post I did back in August of 2012 called Noah's Ark... really?, where I discussed an old article about some imagined finding of the ancient vessel that was passed on as new knowledge by a FB friend who didn't think to dig into things.  A treemendous amount of those views were spammers trying to get in, and I even got a comment from Turanga Leela (the sexy one-eyed chick from Futurama).

So you don't usually see her like this on the show.  Sue me!
But even with the spammers, this post gets a LOT of traffic.  In the last 48 hours, Plymouth MI, Pelzer SC, Queensland and Islamabad ( a regular customer) have dropped by.  100 views this month.  Not getting the spam attempts to post (comment moderation- a wonderful thing) much anymore, but still the views come.  1,487 views- well over 800 more than #2!  The last comment (real one) came from a dude named Gabriel (who had a two-year long problem getting a google account and posted as Anon.) who made some very interesting points (that I didn't quite agree with) over the life of the post, back in November this year (or last, if you read this tomorrow).

Okay guys, enough with this stuff.  Go out and have a happy, and I'll see you next year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pre new year's eve thoughts

I have just been humbled in claiming a couple of honors.  I was the third-most comments on Lizard Happy, and then I got best comment of the year on Life By Chocolate!  I am so stoked, I wish I would have done a little more research while I was combing posts for the contestants in the 2015 Time Machine Beauty Contest, coming up soon!  Unfortunately, I think it might be a little late to copy Robyn, and Blogger doesn't give you quite the stat variety that WordPress does.  In fact, I see that Blogger stats helpfully skip from "last month" to "all time".  But you know me and stats, and I am dutifully climbing through the comment lists as I type this, looking for who commented the most (although I suspect a certain renegade fellow Timelord will be at the black heart of that one).  In the mean time, I'm feeding Scrappy his dinner at 8:10 PM (and he's lucky to get that, since he ignored his breakfast for 7 hours, eating it at 3 PM).  And since 7:30 to 8:30 is usually snack time, he's now looking at me for that at 8:15!  And seeing that when I get to the end of January 2014, I'll only have 47 PAGES to go through... uhh, not happening.

Neither are the treats, sorry.

Although I was amazed at the places you can find your blog on the internet when you go looking for it....


So I just got done looking into Todd Starnes' story on this week's Newsweek feature.  For those not in the know (and I wouldn't bother looking), an author- and I'll play a game here, I'll bet he is a university prof from either the northeast of California (no offense, J Day and Juli), 55 to 65 years old, has a degree in some sociology type only-get-a-job-with-this-degree-teaching-in-a-liberal-college thing, had dark rimmed glasses and a salt-n-pepper beard- takes all the worst moments of so-called Christians and misguided social crusaders, spreads the type out to include all Christians, and posits that we don't know the Bible at all.  Then he proceeds to misapply anything in the Bible he ever claimed to read (" I Timothy is one of the most virulent anti-woman books in the Bible..."), so that he can build to a crescendo conclusion that the Bible is a mistranslated forgery, and Christians don't know what's in it or how to apply it.

I thought about challenging this douchington here, but why bother?  Anyone without an atheist agenda will already recognize it for the pseudo-intellectual hack journalism it is;  Any Christian who bothers to give it more than the cursory skim I gave it may well be a troll looking for fodder; and the author certainly would reject any refutation on the basis that, like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, it would make him appear less like the god he currently is in his own eyes.

So why bring it up?  Both to point out that a once-respected news magazine (yep, there was a time once), has jumped the shark on credibility and has joined the cadre of sources that the Anti-Christ can check off his list of approval as a yes.  Oh, and the big laugh I got out of the "subscribe for $1.25 a month" ads sprinkled throughout the article.

Oh, I didn't come real close- former investigative for the NY Times, bald as a cueball.  Best known for picking the guts out of Enron and turning it into a (surprise) NY Times bestseller.


Wow, December 30th.  I would have to say that, if you subtract the merry month of May, this has been a pretty good year here.  Sure, me and Scrappy are breaking down faster than you can fix us.  And the rent went up $36 a month.  And the car spent the summer making an annoying clicking because of two expensive parts it wouldn't even need if it wasn't "smart".  And I had a kidney stone start in just miles from Cleveland on the way home.  But we got it pretty good.

I think of people like Skippy and Juli and Mad Jack and their health concerns.  Others (obviously unnamed) with financial disasters, marital cliffhangers, life changes.  If the worst thing on my list is having to cut my salt and sugar intake so my head doesn't blow clean off, God has been VERY good to us this year.  And Clara stayed on Doctor Who!

And I think perhaps you can see why I say, that's a GOOD thing!

So for a second straight year, I'm not so trepidatious about the looming year ahead.  If I can just keep ignoring the growing number of Kurt Eichenwalds (the aforementioned cueball), keep up on the rent, and find a way to not strangle a certain four legged pest tonight, things should be okay.

To close this out, here's where we roll the year end credits in blogland.

For the laughs and great comments from A Beer For The Shower, thank you.
The wit and wisdom of Arlee Bird and his various blogs, I thank you- including turning me onto the early Seals and Crofts!
For all those who have either left blogging or just took an indefinite hiatus this year, like Alisa, Nain, and Leslie Moon, thank you.
Stephen T McCarthy, for the deep and the non-deep.  Thank you, Brother.
For the BOTB people- Robin, Larry, FAE, and the rest- thank you.  Special thanks to Robin for the times I got one of her Here's To Yous.
For Elsie, Susie, Miss Kris,  Rawkin Robyn- the wonderful ladies I have met electronically- thank you.

For the FB friends that I have gained from blogging- Kelli, Holli, Barb, and Doria-you are very special.  Thank you.

For the two great ladies that made blogging so fun in my early days and are more than just FB friends now- Trish and Tracy.  Thank you.

For Al Penwasser- what, you want thanks?  I bought two of your books, for pete's sake!  And I thank you for writing them.

For Roland Hansen, despite our disagreements, I've a feeling that under the electronic skin, we have a lot more in common than different.  Thank you.

For the closest two... Norma and Bobby G.  What, indeed can I say?

And if I missed anybody, thank you. And I did... I've caught three in the hour since I posted this!  Now stop scrolling looking for your name and have a great new year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Martin World News

And now another round of the idiocy of mankind- NOT including idiots like those that think blocking cars on the road is an appropriate form of protest, or those (like Party Of Scrooge) that think that anyone who dares disagree with them are "Brainwashed by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh".  Those are the idiots I wish I didn't have to share a world with.  Must be nice to have a Tardis...

Om the other hand, there are those that are "intellectually inept" instead of purposefully dipshitical (another new English word courtesy Bum Steer productions), and it is those that we salute herein.

ITEM:  Let's start out with, a social media medical tracking service, have come up with a list of this year's sickest states.  Now I might be inclined to say, "Well, it HAS to start with California," but we are talking medically, so let's see who comes out on top.

10- Nebraska
9- Massachusetts
8- Oklahoma
7- Indiana, yes, Indiana! With our weather, who can blame us?

6- Oregon
5- West Virginia
4- Texas
3- Kentucky
2- Nevada
And #1- It looks like we're in Kansas!

Idaho, BTW, was the healthiest state; but I have to call into question the data when #2 is New York.

ITEM:  Next up, I have what may actually pass as one of the stupidities I didn't want to feature, but the example provided... well, just see what I mean:

A passenger was tossed off a plane at La Guardia Airport on Tuesday after flipping out — because airline workers wished him a merry Christmas. The man was waiting to board American Airlines Flight 1140 to Dallas when a cheerful gate agent began welcoming everyone with the Yuletide greeting while checking boarding passes.

The grumpy passenger, who appeared to be traveling alone, barked at the woman, “You shouldn’t say that because not everyone celebrates Christmas.”

The agent replied, "Well, what should I say then?"

"Don't say, 'Merry Christmas!'" the man shouted before brushing past her.

Once on the plane, he was warmly greeted by a flight attendant who also wished him a “merry Christmas.” That was the last straw.

"Don't say, 'Merry Christmas!'" the man raged before lecturing the attendants and the pilot about their faux pas. He was eventually led of the plane to a round of applause from passengers. (From our brainwashing friends at Fox News)

I was just telling an Aussie friend who mentioned she said Happy Holidays out of respect for all the disparate religious celebrations happening this time of year, that over here you cannot use happy holidays in respect because Christians will call you an atheist, and atheists will smirk at any nearby Christians.  But to get thrown off a plane, eat a $200+ ticket, just because you don't want to hear, "Merry Christmas?"  Well, that's the kind of stupidity that makes that Tardis key in my pocket start to itchin'...

ITEM:  And some of these idiots are so stupid they actually back all the way around into being right... almost:

Egypt has banned the Hollywood biblical epic movie Exodus: Gods and Kings citing historical inaccuracies, a day after Morocco made a similar decision.  The film, starring Christian Bale as Moses and Australia's Joel Edgerton as Ramses, shares a story about how Moses helped Israelite slaves flee persecution in Egypt under the Pharaoh Ramses by parting the Red Sea to let them cross safely.  Egyptian culture minister Gaber Asfour said Ridley Scott's blockbuster was rife with mistakes, including an apparent claim that "Moses and the Jews built the pyramids".

"This totally contradicts proven historical facts," Mr Asfour said. "It is a Zionist film.  It gives a Zionist view of history and contains historical inaccuracies and that's why we have decided to ban it."

I wonder if the atheists who created the film (to show how it could all have happened by coincidence) or Christian "Moses was a barbarian" Bale knew they were closet Zionists?

ITEM:  And they are not the only "non-Americans" to not exactly think "the American Way"... North Korea, who are p.o.ed because we hacked their computers for hacking OUR computers, had this to say about President Obama:

The communist regime said the US president was behind the release of the film and described the movie as illegal, dishonest and reactionary.

‘Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest,’ an unidentified spokesman at the commission’s Policy Department said in a statement carried by the country’s state news service, Korean Central News Agency.

In May, the news agency published a dispatch saying Obama had the ‘shape of a monkey.’

I wonder what it is that Dennis Rodman sees in those whacky guys...

ITEM:  More Obama fun comes from Malaysia, where tragedy has given the Malays the same opinion of Obama that we have...

A huge flood has hit most of the nation, with over 120,000 left homeless.  And the people are mad.  Why?

Malaysians have vented their anger at Prime Minister Najib Razak after photos went viral on social media showing him playing golf with US President Barack Obama during the storms.

"Yep,always do this during emergencies.  Helps to keep me calm while Valerie Jarrett plans my response..."

ITEM:  Next we go into the shadowy realm of... science!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

First, fire prevention 102, or guess what's the next thing to get a do not do this at home label:

(NEWSER) – A fire broke out at a store in England on Christmas Day, and the cause is about as Christmas-y as it gets. As a Dorset fire service spokesperson explains, "The cause of the fire was believed to be sun refracting through a snow globe in the shop window which then ignited 'reindeer food' and fake snow material in their window display." 

So what is it they feed reindeers in England- and why is it so flammable?

Second, let's see how intellectual and noble Neil DeGrasse Tyson's being now:

On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642
10:38 AM - 25 Dec 2014

Later, Tyson shit down his leg did a partial retraction on Facebook, claiming he didn't see why Christians would be upset.  "  If a person actually wanted to express anti-Christian sentiment, my guess is that alerting people of Isaac Newton's birthday would appear nowhere on the list," he said, then spent about a dozen lines congratulating himself on how much his faith-baiting increased his number of retweets.  Now there's solid science!  My theory:  Subject gravitates towards atheism because it allows him to conceive himself the smartest being in the universe.

"My theme song?  I'm Gonna Make You Love Me..."
Finally, Dean Burnett of The Guardian did a column on the most dubious science stories of the year.  Frankly, I thought that article on the biggest stories in science I did last week might have covered that, but Dean finds some other good ones, too.  Included in these are:

-The U. of Portsmouth's Research Group in Breast Health released a study that shows that "large breasts are a barrier to exercise."  I'm guessing that depends on whether you are an exerciser with large breasts or the observer of an exerciser with large breasts.  Either way, it would seem to me another example of "let's study common sense".

- In physics, you have the story he calls, "the effects of high-pressure blasts on posturing politicians":

There is presently an ongoing political row in the UK over Boris Johnson, London Mayor, purchasing 3 crowd-control water cannons, despite parliament not having approved their use. This has developed into an ongoing controversy, with many people objecting to the use of water cannons on the public. Granted, police in Northern Ireland have been able to use water cannons for many years, but now that they could appear in London it’s a proper scandal.

As part of the ongoing row, Boris Johnson has now publicly agreed to be hit by a water cannon, to “prove the wisdom” of their purchase. This is a bold move, especially as Boris Johnson doesn’t have a great track record for making wise decisions. 

Apparently Johnson agreed to the experiment in June, but I have found no evidence that he has taken the field to prove it as yet.

- In technology, he cited the backlash caused from inserting a program people don't want (say, the new U2 lp) into a piece of new hardware (say, anything you download iTunes 2 onto).

-In sociology, we learned that there is yet another oppressed minority:

Venture capitalist David Harding has recently donated £5m to the Science Museum for a maths gallery. This is a very cool thing to do, so hats off to him.  He also said that using the terms “nerd” or “geek” to describe people is the same as using the worst of racial slurs. His actual quote is “I feel these words are as insulting as nigger.” This, many would probably argue, is not such a cool thing to do, so hats remain on this time.

- And in the most hopeful medical news I've heard all year, a study by the U. of Exeter suggests, that farts can help stop cancer and cure many other diseases:

Scientists from the University of Exeter say that a compound found in the smell of rotten eggs and human flatulence might some day be useful in mitigating the cell damage responsible in part for certain diseases.

The study, published in a recent issue of the journal Medicinal Chemistry Communications, examined the impact of hydrogen sulfide gas—which humans produce in small amounts during digestion—on cells’ mitochondria. Although the gas is noxious in large doses, scientists found that cellular exposure to smaller amounts of the compound may prevent mitochondrial damage. This could have future implications in the prevention of strokes, arthritis, heart disease, among other things, the researchers say.

Whether the masses will take this to heart is up for debate:

Of course, for many in the media, “hydrogen sulphide delivery helps prevent disease damage in cells in certain disease models” will always be trumped by “farts cure cancer” when it comes to headlines. But, for once, it turned out that the wild extrapolations were true, and smelling farts really did cure major illnesses. And as one might expect, the consequences of this were sudden, unpleasant, and lingered for a long time afterwards.

Firstly, a lot of the underlying science had to be re-written. It was widely believed that inhalation of high concentrations of hydrogen sulphide was very harmful to health, not beneficial. It was also believed that smelling a fart merely meant the component gases entered the lungs and were largely just exhaled again, not absorbed efficiently and delivered to diseased cells.

Many scientists also wondered why this phenomenon hadn’t been observed before now, considering that the average person is supposedly farts about 14 times per day but there have always been plenty of sick people around despite constant exposure to these human emissions. The obvious counter to this argument is that, without the healing properties of flatulence, sickness rates could be much higher than they are. On top of this, studies revealed that people rarely break wind around the terminally ill, due to awkwardness and fear of saying something insensitive resulting in increased “clenching” of the relevant sphincters.

I hereby volunteer to get me the most fart-producing substance I know- a can of pink salmon- the next time Laurie gets sick.  Who needs chicken soup?

-In psychology, we have one of those claims that I can't believe Al Sharpton hasn't jumped on:

"...the award for best psychology story of 2014 has to go to Ukip (the UK Independent Party), for their (weirdly persistent) claims that tiredness causes racism, whether it be natural tiredness or chemically induced. This tiredness = racism link is a completely unexplored one, opening up new realms of prejudice studies for the field of psychology."

- And in nature, he again turns to the UKIP for fodder, this time in the form of disgraced  former UKIP MP David Silvester claiming it was the recent legalization of same sex marriage that caused recent floods in Great Britain.  Our host says, wait a minute (tongue in cheekly), that's not as ridiculous as it sounds...

Logically, same-sex marriage leads to an increase in the number of weddings. Weddings invariably involve a large number of people congregating in one place, which leads to a lot of body heat and warming, and this heat enters the atmosphere, increasing the air temperature and producing more warm fronts. People also cry a lot at weddings. This is likely to be even more pronounced at same-sex weddings, with the added element of recently achieved equality making the events even more poignant. Tears are basically water, which quickly evaporate, thus adding to the water content of the atmosphere. Weddings also typically involve a lot of alcohol, which makes people colder, meaning they’re more likely to turn on heating systems when they arrive home, releasing more heat and CO2 into the atmosphere.

I'll have to remember that one on April Fool's day.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday message-getting to the point

Stop me if you've heard this one (not really), but last night I had yet another Facebook debate with a brother from another denomination.  What group or what the debate was on doesn't really matter.  It ended in (I hope) amicable disagreement, and I went to bed.  I turned on my radio.  And on the radio, a preacher named RC Sproul was debating another facet of the difference between the non-denominational (for lack of a better term, because we all have some form of the term attached to us) and my FB brother's denomination.  Which, in the beginning, encouraged me in my "rightness of points made" in our debate.  As he went on though, and no offense to his preaching because he was extremely well researched in the topic, I began to hear Charlie Brown's teacher going "wah wah wah wah WAH".

Rather than continue trying to trip over myself to keep it anonymous, my FB brother and Sproul's target were both the Catholic Church.  And I bring that up not to start "another Catholic bashing post", but so it makes sense when I say that Sproul was using the language of the Church (the actual Church laws in their Latin titles) in his debate.  And to an extent, I said to myself, "All that doing that is accomplishing is making it easier to split hairs."  Because, for a true believer, a lot of the Catholic/Protestant debate is no more than that.  But I only took it to an extent, and turned off the radio convinced I had just been vindicated in my points to my Brother.

Which I was, but...

When I woke up too early and turned on the radio again, another preacher was discussing Philippians 3:

Php 3:12  Not that I already received or already have been perfected, but I press on, if I also may lay hold, inasmuch as I also was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 
Php 3:13  Brothers, I do not count myself to have laid hold, but one thing I do, forgetting the things behind, and stretching forward to those things before, 
Php 3:14  I press on after a mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 
Php 3:15  Then as many as are perfect, let us be of this mind; and if you think anything differently, God will also reveal this to you. 

This preacher made two points germane to this post.  The first was, Paul had now been preaching for thirty years, and admitted HE wasn't where he needed to be,  Which took me back to last night and both the debate and the sermon.  And that the only way to get there was, like a runner, to focus on what lie ahead- the prize.  "When you are a runner, you cannot look down at your feet, lest you trip and fall; nor at the runner on your side, because in doing so, the runner on the other side might overtake you.  You have to stay focused straight ahead."

And that's when the ol' "apply it to yourself" instinct kicked in and I saw why I had tuned in to Sproul's broadcast. We are acting like runners looking at the guy next to us, splitting hairs instead of focusing on the prize.  And the prize is this:

Rom 10:9  Because if you confess the Lord Jesus with your mouth, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 

And all the rest is "wah wah wah wah wah WAH".  Or as one of the other commenters pointed out most excellently:

We as Christians know through the Word that this is accomplished on the Cross by Jesus. Going to the Blessed Mother brings comfort to the troubled Roman Catholic conscience, just as Sola Scripture does for the Confessional Lutheran. In either of these churches, and many others that proclaim the Word and properly administer the Sacraments, we receive forgiveness for our sins and the promise of life eternal. Of what importance is anything else?

The other part with relevance to this post in the passage in Philippians is the last verse.  The preacher pointed out that he believed that this was a bit of sarcasm on Paul's part to the Judaizers who thought they had the PERFECT way, that eventually God would show them where they were wrong.  Because we're ALL wrong somewhere.  Sometimes it is from our limited ability to comprehend.  Calvin had his iron view of predestination because, IMHO, he couldn't conceive of a God big enough to stand OUTSIDE of time and space.  Unitarians (and others) have a hard time with the Trinity, overlooking the simple concept that a) we are made in God's Image; b) we are body, mind, and spirit; and c) the logical following that God is thus "body, mind, and spirit", in a way we have trouble grasping.  I have trouble conceiving the need to pray to Mary, despite my Catholic upbringing, because of my own relationship with Jesus.

When I explain something to KC, I don't explain it the same way I would to Laurie, or Shenan... or you.  Why do we limit God by insisting He be explained the same way- or explains HIMSELF the same way- to everyone?  As long as the focus remains Romans 10:9, the rest is just "looking at the runner beside you."

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Merry Martin ThanksChristmas 2014

Wednesday was our annual Thanksgiving here at Happy Acres, as well as our Christmas celebration.  Those of you on FB have seen some of this; but don't get bored, there's lots more!

And it starts with Laurie "Guy Fieri" Easterday cooking the meal upon which I am still feasting, and hope will get me through Sunday...

From the empty plate at 1/4 till:  a pepper salami that KC got at work; Kroger brand stuffing; brown n' serves; my "mad doctor" first attempt at gravy (which wasn't horrible);selected pieces of the guest of honor; and in the center, Holli's recipe hashbrown casserole.

Plate #1 for me...
KC brought blueberry and pumpkin pies and cool-whip for dessert.  The pies are gone as of last night, and the cool-whip isn't long for the world.

Then after a bit of clean up ( and a little making-room-and-soft-music...)

(...which caused Laurie to walk around with one hand ready to cover her nose and the other holding a can of Glade...)

...we were ready for presents.  Except for KC, who already gave the TV last week "because I'm tired of tripping over the box in my little apartment..."

KC was excited to get a black-and-white Indians cap...

A book of faith-based crafts for Laurie..

A Vikes flag for KC

The greatest gift of all... a sonic screwdriver!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Laurie got Doctor Who stuff as well.

And a somewhat-too-small Blue Jackets.. um, blue jacket.
The sonic screwdriver was the life of the party therefrom, finding uses in:  preventing fart smells, checking Scrappy for need to go to the bathroom, examining KC's head for a brain, and various and sundry other uses.  When I accidently stumbled onto the switch hidden in the bottom, an evil laugh was heard...

A Reds hoodie, which will be further modelled in a bit

A pedometer for Mr. Fitness

The four bottles are not illicit drugs, not really;  from Israel, Frankincence, Galilee soil, Mt of Olives olive oil, and purified Jordan River water.  More on this in a bit, too...

And second most prized gift, Scrappy got a snoopy that plays the Schroeder theme when bit, er, squeezed.

And just to prove how much he liked this... (Warning: Brief bad language at the far end..)

"That's what I get for pulling Snoopy's stupid hat off..."

Remarkably, that's all he has managed to detach from Snoopy thus far, including a pull session as I typed above.

Here I am next day, trying on my new hoodie...

Now the gift from Israel (Built probably with Catholics in mind by Jews, purchased by a former Baptist deacon, and given to a former "guest" of the Jehovah's Witnesses) was a little problematic.  The "Rosewood crucifix that came with it was JUST a smidge off-center, the olive oil bottle leaked about half out onto the packaging, and the frame I thought I was getting with it was on the other one I DIDN'T purchase.  So I had to complete it with a shadow box- which was a bit of an unsticky wicket in trying to get the bottles to stay in place.  But nothing is impossible for a man with duct tape...

And thus, a trip to Hobby Lobby (which was having a half-off sale- WIN!) two discarded containers of non-stick glue, and yes, a little more language later...

Not bad for government work...

Christmas eve was finished off with football, listening to the Midnight Mass (Congrats to Bishop Rhoades for one of his better sermons!) and falling asleep.  Christmas day had as the highlight...

The Doctor Who Christmas special, in which the Doctor and I got one more Christmas gift- Clara (Jenna Coleman) will be back next season.  Bad news, next season is Autumn 2015 away...but as Bobby G said on his blog Friday...

...or season premiere day, as you will!  (Sorry, BG, I hadda do it!)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Time Machine week 5

Time Lord Chris and companion Scrappy, fresh from acquiring his sonic screwdriver, set down the musical Tardis in December, 26, 1979- just in time to catch the opening of the Concerts For Kampuchea.  This was a series of concerts held at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, organized by Paul McCartney and UN SecGen Kurt Waldheim, and intended to raise money for the people of the once and future Cambodia.  The nation had nearly been exterminated in 4 years of Khmer Rouge rule, followed by an invasion by Vietnam (that started a year and a day before) which eliminated Pol Pot and his fellow butchers.  The first night of concerts featured Queen in a 27-song performance that started with Jailhouse Rock and concluded with a taped version of God Save The Queen.  In the following days, acts such as the Clash, the Pretenders, the Who, Elvis Costello, and of course Wings, took the stage.  And at the end was a supergroup they called Rockestra- consisting of members of Wings, the Who, Led Zep, Dave Edmunds' Rockpile, and the Pretenders.

Welcome to a day-after-Christmas Time Machine- and for a special, we're going to play a little naughty and nice, we connect Wayne Newton (!) with Jefferson Starship, and a top ten that kicks off in 1939!  Happy Boxing Day! Welcome to Christmas 1979- a week that saw the debuts of Molly Hatchet's Flirtin' With Disaster, Billy Preston and Syreeta teaming for With You I'm Born Again, and- not surprisingly- Wings with Wonderful Christmastime.

Before we get going, most of you that care have likely heard that we lost another early '70s superstar this week.  Joe Cocker, as you might have guessed from last week's post, is not especially a favorite of mine, but he is for some of you.  My friend at DiscConnected is one of those, so I asked and he allowed me to link to his blog for a better eulogy than I could have offered.

Our panel, since we are in the dwindling era of 1979, numbers only 8.  They would be WFBR Baltimore, KFXM San Bernadino,  KYNO Fresno, WHYN Springfield MA, KRLA Los Angeles, WKCI New Haven, Chicago's mighty WLS, and WABC, New York.  These eight were, for a change, fairly consistant- with the national chart of the week BEFORE.  They managed 5 number ones between them, including Kool and the Gang's Ladies' Night in Baltimore.  When it came to the totals, though, Kool kinda slipped; the panel's top 4 include:

At #4, the #1 in Fresno- Barbara Streisand and Donna Summer's power duet No More Tears (Enough Is Enough).

At #3, the top song in New Haven, Michael Jackson's Rock With You.

At #2, the top song in Chicago and New York, Styx with (cringe...) Babe.

And the #1?  You know how this works by now.

Now, as I said earlier, the panel was a better match with last week's chart; Babe had fallen out of the top ten to #12 by now on Cashbox, and No More Tears had dropped to 11.  So when you look at what's left of the top ten nationally, a lot of them got very little mention by the panel.  I can tell you, though, that the CB #1 and the panel's #1 match for a change ( as well as matching in the charts of 4 of our panelists).  So I ended up dipping to the CB #6 for our six degrees this week.  And that means we start with- Wayne Newton!

Just because everyone LOVES this picture...
For Wayne's part of this story, I take you to Time Machine Vol. 2 week 25, from the end of July 2012.

 Wayne's most known hit, though, is probably Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast- but it took a pissed-off woman to get it out there.  Rosalie Trombley was the programming director at Detroit's CKLW, when it came to her station- and she was looking for a way to shame her ex-husband into using his visitation rights with their children.  She gave it heavy airplay, and it took off from there.  Whether deadbeat dad did the same I don't know.

Rosalie also played a hand in the making of Wildflower, the top ten for one hit wonders Skylark.  They were a Canadian act, and this was the era of Canadian stations (like CKLW, which was Detroit/Windsor) having to play 40% Canadian content.  Wildflower was an lp track at the time, but Rosalie, in trying to hit the quota, played it enough that the record company decided to release it in the Motor City, and it took off from there.  One of the members of Skylark was one of those "boy, he shows up everywhere" types, keyboardist, writer, and later producer David Foster.  Foster was a co-writer with Toto's Steve Lukather on the Tubes hit Talk To Ya Later.  And the Tubes' drummer was a gentleman that went by the name Prairie Prince.  Another one of those everywhere types, Prince was also one of the founders of Journey.  Shortly thereafter, though, he went (or went back, I forget) to the Tubes, and another well travelled drummer named Ansley Dunbar came in.  After leaving Journey, Dunbar hooked up with Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship for the lp Freedom At Point Zero, whose hit single Jane is at #6 on this week's CB chart- but missed out on any panel votes.

Our little known song this week comes to us from our panelists in San Bernadino, who gave us at their #20 a song by one Moon Martin.  Moon (real name John, no relation), who got his nom de guerre for the amount of times he worked the moon into his lyrics, is probably best known for penning Robert Palmer's Bad Case Of Loving You.  However, I remember he made a couple "also starring" trips to the Memorial Coliseum and had a #30 hit with the rocker Rolene.

He had started, though, with a band he called Southwind, which actually had a couple lps.  One of which sounded a lot like Kingston Trio type folk music, the second an interesting (but not much variation) merging of straight country with Stevie Ray Vaughn-ish blues.  It was as a solo act we find him today, with a song called No Chance.

For Christmas, I chose the concept of seeing what some of our musical friends said about Christmas- and whether they get something good in their stocking, or coal.  Let's see what I gathered:

Alice Cooper- "The two most joyous times of year are Christmas morning and the end of school."
He gets candy.   A big fat Milky Way Bar!

Bing Crosby- "Unless we make Christmas a time to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won't make it white."  Two candy canes!

Toby Mac- "I think Christmas is about celebration, and come on, on the inside everybody wants to dance."  Uhmmm... stick of Juicy Fruit.

Ice Cube- "There's never really been a hood Christmas movie."  Nor need there be.  One lump.

Kelly Clarkson- "The thing about Christmas is that it almost doesn't matter what mood you're in or what kind of year you've had- it's a fresh start."  One York Peppermint patty.

Barry Manilow- "For a Jewish guy, I've recorded a lot of Christmas albums."  Way to sound sincere.  One lump.

Faith Hill- "We're raising our girls to understand the real meaning of Christmas, and to know it's most important to have Christmas in your heart."  She gets a tangerine!

Steven Tyler- "Why not share with the world the way it is and tell them my feelings for my cat, and how I played with the kids and how addicted to Christmastime I am, and the smell of pine needles and hearing my kids laugh."  Well, okay, a snifter of Crown Royal for you.

David Hasselhoff- "I don't care why they love me, as long as they love me.  I think people respect me because they feel like- I'm kind of like Christmas.  I come back every year.  You can't get rid of me- I keep coming back."  Yeah.  Two lumps.  Maybe some doggie poop thrown in too.

Clint Black- "I intend to keep writing Christmas songs.  There's still a lot more about Christmas that can be captured and feel like old time Christmas."  He gets some Christmas nuts and peanut brittle.

John Oates- "The Christmas Genre is a field that is well-plowed."  One lump.  And a ticket to a Clint Black Christmas show.

And, my favorite, winner of this year's Big Black Lump:

Victor Borge- "Santa has the right idea.  Visit people only once a year."


And here comes this week's shuffle top ten!

At #10 is a song that never charted by this particular gentleman- though it hit the top 20 12 times between 1916 and 1939- Benny Goodman's Orchestra with The St. Louis Blues.

At the ninth spot is another band that hit Ft Wayne before they hit the charts, and we heard the song they debuted with on ads for a concert before the djs played it- Foreigner and their 1977 #4, Feels Like The First Time.

While recording Band On The Run, Paul McCartney had a dinner with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman at which Dustin challenged him that he couldn't write a song about "just anything that comes to mind. "  Paul picked up a magazine, found an article about the death of painter Pablo Picasso, and wrote and performed a demo for the song at #8- Picasso's Last Words (Drink To My Health) before the night was over.  It became a track on that lp.

At #7 is one of my very favorite Genesis songs- Behind The Lines, from the lp Duke.  It was the flip side to the single Turn It On Again, which hit #58 in 1980.

One of the favorite lps I've owned on vinyl was Gerry Rafferty's City To City.  A slow, sweet ballad on the backside of that lp makes our chart at #6- Whatever's Written In Your Heart.  It was released as a limited promo single in the UK in '78.

Johnny Cash's last #1, a notion I refuted until faced with the truth of my failing memory, comes in at #5- 1976's country #1/pop #29 One Piece At A Time.

I once had a dream (I was 21 and lonely) about a girl I never met and the song at #4 on this week's chart- Saved By Zero, a #20 (#9 MSR) hit for the Fixx.  Well, I guess I HAD met her, but might as well not have...

At #3 is one of three songs that Neil Young wrote while suffering a 103 degree fever- the other two were the AOR hits Cinnamon Girl and Cowgirl In The Sand.  This one, a long jam from the NY and Crazy Horse record Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere, Down By The River.

Another of those Canadian bands I have "back issued" myself into being a fan of, Lighthouse is at #2 from their lp One Fine Morning with Show Me The Way.

And our number ones this week:

Survey says....

...Rupert Holmes and Escape (The Pina Colatta Song)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and, Shuffle says....

... lump of coal recipient Barry Manilow with Even Now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My memory of this song is a bit frustrating.  You see, Even Now had just debuted in the top 40 at #28 when my Dad decided we needed to spend a month in Kissimmee, FL with my sister Pete.  In that month ( during which I had two radio choices- a "gold records only" station, and an "all Elvis, all the time" station), it went to 22, then 19, then another week at 19, and by the time we got home, it dropped off the charts and Copacabana was on the way up.  And I spent my first week back listening to Casey Kasem on Sunday night, going, "But it just debuted at 28...."

That's a wrap!  Hope you had a great Christmas!