Monthly Archives: October 2009

Who is that Masked Yodeler?

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Found this photo of me in an unusual Halloween get-up. I remember being a pirate several years. But this year–probably 6th grade–I wore the lederhosen Dad brought back from Germany,plus a mask. I don’t know what my brother Stu is–he’s wearing a winter coat with a black mask. Huh? Rick is a pirate, probably wearing my hand-me-down costume. Such is the life of the baby.

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Jon Stewart Devastates Fox News

I think this is the best piece Jon Stewart has ever done. He mostly brutalizes Fox News, then throws in jabs at MSNBC and the Obama Administration. Just delightful. (If you’re reading on Facebook, you’ll need to click on the “View Original Post” link to view the video, which is on my blog.)

Real journalists go after the story. What drives reporters is to break a story before anyone else. It’s their obsession. CBS, NBC, ABC, the NY Times, the Washington Post–they all want to break a story first. And they’ve all broken stories critical of Republican and Democrat administrations alike.

When did FoxNews break a story which was critical of the Bush Administration? Did they even investigate anything that might make Bush look bad?

If they are a professional news organization, they’ll go after Republicans and Democrats alike. I await the evidence.

Until then, I’ll pay attention to the news sources which investigate stories, and who let the chips fall wherever they fall.

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My Disgusting Crush on the Yankees

I am, I admit, rooting for the Yankees.

I don’t watch baseball until October. It just doesn’t interest me. The game moves too slowly. But I watched the league champ games with great interest, and am now captivated by the World Series. After the Series ends, my interest ends, and it’s back to the NFL, my true love.

The Yankees represent much of what I hate. They are arrogant and wealthy. I hate the way they buy every good player they can get. They don’t build players. They buy players. And they spend obscene amounts to buy them.

And yet, the Yankees are so, uh, AMERICAN. Something deep in me insists they have a divine entitlement to win the World Series. If they’re in it, they should win. I disgust myself for feeling that way, but I do.

There may be another reason I favor the Yankees. When I played little league, we had four teams which played among themselves–the Dodgers, Phillies, Tigers, and Yankees. Guess which team I played for?

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Walmart Gets Into the Discount Casket Business

Walmart has started selling caskets online. Fifteen caskets, and dozens of urns. Their prices undercut what you pay at funeral homes. And federal law requires that funeral homes accept third-party caskets.

Prices range from $999 for models like “Dad Remembered” and “Mom Remembered” steel caskets to the mid-level $1,699 “Executive Privilege.” All are less than $2,000, except for the Sienna Bronze Casket, which sells for $3,199.

Caskets ship within 48 hours. Don’t know about the return policy.

I imagine Jay Leno could have a lot of fun with this.

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3 Books: Butcher’s Boy, The Bottoms, Kennedy’s Brain

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Here are three novels I read during the past couple of weeks. All very different, all very good.

The Butcher’s Boy (Thomas Perry).
This was Perry’s debut novel, back in 1982, and it may still be his best. The book alternates between two storylines:

  1. A hitman (the title character), whom you row to like.
  2. A female FBI agent who believes a common killer connects two different murders, and tries to find him.

It’s quite interesting. I found myself rooting for both characters–that the FBI agent would get her man, and that the Butcher’s Boy would elude capture. An ending I wasn’t expecting, but which delighted me.

The Bottoms (Joe Lansdale). This 2000 book won the Edgar Award for best novel. It’s an incredible book. Set in the 1930s in east Texas, in an area called “The Bottoms.” The story is told by a young boy, Harry, maybe 13 or so. One night he finds a dead body–a black woman who has been mutilated. Other similar bodies turn up. So they’ve got a serial killer in the Bottoms.

But what makes this story great is the interplay between the black and white communities. Lansdale makes you practically experience the subjugation of blacks, the total control wielded by whites. The racism of that time comes to life in Lansdale’s book. I can’t recommend it enough.

Kennedy’s Brain (Henning Mankell). This is the first Mankell book I’ve read that didn’t involve Inspector Kurt Wallander. The story involves a mother who sets out to prove that her 25-year-old son didn’t commit suicide, but was murdered. Her quest starts in Sweden, but takes her to Australia, Spain, and then southern Africa, where a good chunk of the book takes place. It’s a strange book, in ways, but compelling. The book didn’t really end…and yet, I’m satisfied with that. It seemed appropriate.

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Can You Find the Hidden Racist?

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What Kind of a Church Calls Itself Level 13?

Last night at the table tennis club, I got sick. Not swine flu sick, but vertigo sick.

It was my third match of the night. I had previously gotten squashed by the two best players in the club, guys I can’t touch. It wasn’t even good practice for them.

Then I played Rob, who I think hasn’t beaten me yet. But last night, he was certainly headed there. He won the first game. Then, in the second, he had me down 10-6. We play 11-point games.

I heroically battled back and tied the game at 10. And then my world began spinning. Vertigo, which hasn’t bothered me since last April, descended in force. I put my hands down on the table to steady myself as the horizon scrolled. I told Rob I was having a sudden vertigo attack.

“Do you want to sit down?” he suggested.

“If I move, I’m afraid I’ll fall down.” I said.

Instead, I just waited it out. Gradually, the horizon stabilized. But I was definitely done for the night. No sense even trying to finish that game. I just wanted to get home before I threw up.

It was one way to escape being beaten. Though I must say, I was on a roll there.

Rob, I learned last night, is lead pastor of a church called Level 13. Been there two years. I looked it up, and found their website. Very nice, done in WordPress. My real question was, where’d the name, Level 13, come from? That’s a very odd name for a church. Churches are supposed to be New Hope, or Fellowship, or Northpointe with an English “e” on the end.

On the Level 13 homepage, they answered my question.

“For many the 13th floor is a place no one has ever been. Buildings
usually skip the 13th floor because of superstition. For us level.13
represents those places most people are afraid to go. Jesus spent time
on level 13. He spent time with people the religious zealots of His day
would not come close to. Level.13 is a God-centered
movement of people intentionally going to the hard places in our lives
and in the lives of others.”

How cool is that!

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At the Gun and Knife Show

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Went to the Fort Wayne Gun & Knife Show this morning. I don’t have any guns. I go for the knives. Specifically, bayonets. I always come back with a bayonet. Today it was a Argentine Model 1909 bayonet, in great condition.

Someone was selling lots of bumper stickers today, nearly all attacking Barack Obama in some way. The photo above shows some of them. There were eight more displays of bumper stickers. It can make a guy like me very paranoid. If I went in wearing an Obama cap, they’d probably take me out back and tar-and-feather me. And that would be getting off easy.

You won’t find many Democrats at these shows. These are real Americans, hardy hunters who love their pickups. They’re also the kind of people who get righteously indignant about illegal immigrants. Don’t like them Mexicans coming across the border and taking jobs from good ol’ boys.

And yet, where do the Mexican drug lords come to buy guns? To these guns shows. The Mexican government, being unenlightened, restricts the purchase of assault weapons. A hard-working cartel assassin just can’t find a decent sniper rifle in his own country. So, he has to come north of the border, buy guns from the US, and then go back home to more effectively assassinate policemen and kidnap members of the general populace.

So sure, we’ll sell you all the guns you want, so you can wreck your country and force the people to live in fear for their lives. We’ll even buy all the cocaine and pot you have to offer, so you’ll have money to buy more guns. But please, when you’re looking for a place to raise your family in peace and with hope for the future, don’t come to the US. We want your drugs and your gun-money, but we don’t want you.

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Oh, There’s Baseball On?

It’s October, and we’re down to four teams. NOW I’m interested in baseball. The rest of the season, for me, might as well not exist.

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Did You Know?

This is a very interesting video from YouTube. It throws a lot of stats around, and I always want to know the source of stats before I accept them as true. But that’s not crucial to this video. The intent is pretty much to say, “Here are some of the incredible things happening very quickly in our world. What does it mean?”

(If you’re reading this within Facebook, you need to click the “View Original Post” link. That’ll take you to my blog, where this was originally posted.)

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