You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2008.

Tim Conway & Harvey Korman from the “Carol Burnett Show”

“The Dentist”

Laurel & Hardy

“The Way Out West”

Abbott and Costello ,

“Who’s On First”

Ernie Kovacs

The Nairobi Trio”


Judy Collins,  “My Father”

Unlike Judy Collins I did not going boating with my father.  I did not go to Paris with him either.  I don’t remember us doing any traveling together at all.  As a child I saw more of him at my grandmother’s house than our home.

My father did not abuse me.  He never laid a hand on me.  I don’t remember him touching me at all.  He must have picked me up when I was child, I just don’t remember it happening.

He lived through hard times, the Great Depression and World War ll.  He worked six, sometimes seven days a week to pay for my mothers medical bills, she had a bad heart.  I can think of these reasons for his absence now.  It was something I never thought of as a child.

I was born during World War ll.  My father was in the navy, serving on a ship in the south pacific at the time.  The first time he saw me I was over 1 year old.  I have been told that when he first picked me up I cried.  Our relationship never got any better.  I went through therapy later and was told that I may have seen him as an rival for my mothers love.  That may be true, maybe that’s just psycho-babble.

I know I loved my grandmother.  Whenever my mother was in the hospital, about half her life, I stayed with my grandmother.  I can remember her holding my in her arms.  I cried when she died.  I was nine.

I loved my mother.  Her doctors told her she would not live past her teenage years.  She lived to be 36.  They told her she should not have children, it could kill her.  That didn’t stop her from having me and my sister Lynn.  I would not be here if my mother had listened to her doctors.  She died when I was 13, it took me a long time to get over it.

When my father died at the age 76 the emotion I felt was relief.

Everyone I know who knew my father said what a great guy he was.  Always a smile on his face.  His nickname was “Sunny”.  My mother and my step-mother both loved him deeply.  All our relatives and my step-mother’s liked him as well.  I don’t think I ever felt love for him.  The angry young boy I was it probably was hard to love me.  I doubt I would have loved me then.

I can remember happy moments with my mother.  I can remember many happy moments with my grandmother and with my aunt and the uncles I stayed with after my grandmother died.  When my mother was in the hospital my sister stayed with my mother’s father.  He had a small apple orchard in Maine.  I can’t remember any happy moments with my father.

I went to a Protestant Church while my mother was alive.  After she died my father asked me to join his church, the Roman Catholic Church.  He said he had been told he would be ex-communicated if I didn’t.  I became a Catholic.  I did try to reach out to God.  I never reached out to my father, nor him to me.

Before I swallowed some pills I prayed to God one last time.  I never thought of talking to my father.

After I throw-up the pills I decided I needed to have a plan to deal with life.  I used reason and logic and it worked.  I have experience moments of unadulterated joy.  None of those moments were with my father.

He had a nervous breakdown several years before his death.  I spent every Sunday at his house.  I saw this as my duty, an obligation.  It was not done out of love.

I was with him in his hospital room the night he died.  My last words to him were harsh.  The last words he heard were not of love.  As I said when he died I felt relief.  He probably did as well.

If I could relieve one moment in my life that would be it.  It still bothers me when I think of it.  Maybe I did love my father.

The Soul Stirrers, .

From You Tube – “I Will Run” and “I’m A Soldier”

One of my most played songs on my iPod is the Soul Stirrers “When The Gates Swing Open”.

From Wikipedia:

“One of the popular and influential gospel groups of the 20th Century, the Soul Stirrers were pioneers in the development of the quartet style of gospel and , without intending it, in the creation of soul music, the secular music that owed so much to gospel.

The group was formed by Roy Crain, who had launched his first quartet, which sang in jubille, in 1926 in Trinity, Texas. In the early 1930s, after Crain moved to Houston, he joined an existing group on the condition that it change it’s name to “The Soul Stirrers”.  Among the members of that group was R.H. Harris, who soon became its musical leader.

Harris, also from Trinity, Texas, brought several changes to the Soul Stirrers that effected gospel quartet singing generally.  He used a falsetto style that may have its antecedents in African music.  He pioneered the “swing lead”, in which two singers would share the job of leading the song, allowing virtuoso singers to increase the emotional intensity of the song as the lead passed between them.  That innovation led the Soul Stirrers, while still called a quartet, to acquire five members; later groups would have as many as seven but sill consider themselves “quartets”, which referred more to their style than their numbers.

The Soul Stirrers made other important changes in those years: ad-libbing lyrics, singing in delayed time, and repeating words in the background as both a rhythmic and emotional support for the lead singers. The Soul Stirrers dropped the “flatfooted” style of jubilee quartets before them and expanded their repertoire from spirituals and traditional hymns to the newer gospel compositions. The group also loosened the rigid arrangements that jubilee quartets had favored to permit individual singers within the group more space for individual development.

Mr. Science, a sketch by one of my favorite comedians, the late Ernie Kovacs ,

Some dedicated science lovers:

science tatscience tat 2science tat 3

More can be found at

Below is a neat looking helmut, but can it cure Alzheimers?

Alzheimers Helmut

A January 25, 2008, article in the Daily Mail, “The Helmut That Could Turn Back The Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s

Dr. David Gorski is skeptical.  In the blog  “Science Based Medicine”,  He speaks of three critical red flags to watch out for before getting too excited about any miracle cure.

“Has the study actually been published in a peer-reviewed journal?”

“Is there a potential conflict of interest or financial consideration?”

“If the answer to any of the above is “yes” ask:   Why is this press release being made now?”

Unfortunately the mainstream media almost never ask these questions.

More on the Alzheimer’s Helmut can be found in Dr. Gorski article.  Some quotes from the article :

“Recently, I’ve had a number of people bring to my attention a news story that has been sweeping the wire services and showing up in all sorts of venues.  It is, on it’s surface, a story of hope, hope for the millions of elderly (and even not-so-elderly) who are or will be afflicted by that scourage of the mind, memory, and personality, Alzheimer’s disease.”

“The pathophysiology involves the accummulation in the brain of a protein known as B-amyloid, which forms plaques outside of cells, while neorofibrillary tangles believed to be due to the hyperphosphorylation of a protein know as tau develop in the dying cells.  The exact mechanism by which neuron death occurs is not fully understood, but overtime this process leads to a decrease in the amount of gray matter in the cortex.”

“The treatment about which people were e-mailing me falls into this category (Science by press release), and I haven’t decided yet whether it’s science or pseudoscience.  It could be legitimate.  What I do know, however, is that I don’t like the way the inventors are promoting it by press conference before any evidence of it’s clinical efficacy in humans has been accepted by peer-reviewed publication, leading to a flurry of stories about a new possible “miracle cure” for Alzheimer’s disease grounded in not a lot of science.”

Some Science Poetry

Children of Breath
By Mary Alexander Agner
The Earthman come to my bedside
Because I am the last
and there is no one else
to dance and sing for me
It is so right, the sound,
the intonation, the grief
in their chanting, I forget –
almost – that I taught them
each to speak their alphabets
the once and ancient way
we have done everything.
There are no children of my blood
beacuse I have failed under the eye
of history to make a family
with another fullblood,
the wrong desires, wrong genes.
The children of my breath sing
and sin as though we had not gone
before them, as if tomorrow
there would still beauty
in the island to sing about
Of course, the beach at Tuara.
the snow of Kek Auna, always
the surf against the rocks
always the royalty out dancing.
The land has made us what we are.
Islands empty of us,
do my people still remain
in the slow-limbed, short-throated,
cold bodies who traveled here from Earth?

old man readingYoung girl 2Entering the surf

Baby GirlLittle BabyBig Eyes

I thought I would start by showing pictures of the wonderful landscape of a child’s face.  It sometimes it does not stay that way.

A cult calling it’s self the “Westboro Baptist Church”,  has made it’s way into the news recently.  It’s one guy Fred Phelps, and mostly members of his family.  Just another paranoid ego manic looking to make a name for himself.

He choose to pick on gays.  In America gay people get picked on a lot.  Sometimes they get dragged behind a truck.  Sometimes groups of young men with bats go to Central Park in NYC for some real gay bashing.

If your are a gay minister like Scott Harrison it’s your soul that pays.

Scott Harrison was part of the “ex-gay movement” from 1982 to 1990.  He describes a three hour session as “spiritual rape”

I hear Christian leaders say “Love the sinner, not the sin”.   When will that message get across?  In 2008 America I don’t see gay people getting much love.

From the article:

“I grew up in the 60’s in a conservative evangelical home, in a Baptist environment.  From a young age, I learned homosexuality was not only bad but it was the worst sin a person could do.  It was worse than murder.  For me, the two options I saw, once I realized I was gay, were to commit suicide and go to heaven or come out as gay and go to hell.  The ex-gay movement offered me a third option.

It was very intense, dramatic, group prayer.  It lasted at least three hours.  At the end, I was drenched in sweat.  There some real areas of psychological wounding.  All I can really describe it as – because of how it happened and the incorrectness of the theology – is that it felt like a spiritual rape to me.

I’m not saying he (the minister) didn’t have good intentions, but it amounted to spiritual rape.  The exorcism occurred that afternoon, and then we ran into the evening church service.  I’ve got hearing issues.  I’m fairly hard of hearing; I had two hearing aids at the time.  This person was convinced that God had given word that I was supposed to give up my hearing aids, that God would heal my hearing.  He did this in front of 300 people.  I was psychologically vulnerable.  I didn’t follow better hunches.  Even though it happened 20 years ago , it’s still hard not to blame myself,…. I knew there wasn’t a demon of homosexuality.

The minister said that if I let him crush my hearing aids, then God would give me back my hearing.  For the next several weeks, I was faking that my hearing had been healed.”

The Christian community needs to build some bridges to the gay community.  So far it’s been nothing but fire and brimstone.

Beautiful- Eva Cassidy – Songbird

Gettin Down – Etta James – Baby What You Want Me To Do

My favorite podcast is one just about people talking about their life, .  Each show has a different theme.  Last night I listened to “The Matchmakers”, show #347.  It had segments about 1) a bad date, 2) two development workers in Afganistan giving their driver money so he could afford a wedding, 3) a women who donated her kidney and is know an organ donor “matchmaker”, and 4) a disturbing story of what happens in a store when the white baby dolls sell out.

1) Blind Dates

Blind Date

Ah! The adrenaline rush of pure horror at seeing the guy pictured above is your blind date.  It might be a little worse if your female date looked like that to.  You might find that hard to believe but you have never seen some of the women I have dated.

You hope and pray no one you know will come by.  You want to flee in terror.  It will do you no good.  A blind date will always find you.  “Hi.  I thought that might be you hiding behind the garbage dumpster.  The men’s room was a little crowded so I came back here to take a piss.  I know lets go dancing!

Show producer Jane Feltes tells such a story.

2) A good year for grand gestures.

From the American Life site:

“Miriam and her husband were development workers in Afghanistan.  They had a whirlwind romance themselves, so when they heard that their driver was in love, but didn’t have the money to propose to the girl, they made a grand romatic gesture: they gave him $10,000 to pay for the dowry and the wedding.  It was a move they probably should have known wouldn’t work out so well.”

3) Organ Donor

“Chaya Lipchutz, an Orthodox Jewish women from Brooklyn, donated her kidney to a stranger.  After that, she decided to spend all her time trying to match up potential donors with kidney patients.  It’s incedibly hard to make a match, and for a year, she had no success.  Then, she gets her first break: her brother is going to donate.  For, Chaya, a single, middle-aged woman who was supposed to get married decades ago like everyone else in her community, being a kidney matchmaker has become an obession.  She needs this surgery to succedd.  Roporter Mary Robertson recorded Chaya and her brother as the transplant day approached.”

A link to the National Transplant Society: 

4) Racism In Baby Toys

“Elna Baker reads her story about the time she worked at the giant toy store, FAO Schwartz.  Her job was to sell these lifelike “newborns” which were displayed in a “nursery” inside the store.  When the toys become hot new toys , they begin to fly off the shelves.  When white babies sell out, white parents are faced with a choice: will they go for an Asian, Latino or African-American baby instead?  What happens is so disturbing that Elna has a hard time telling it.”

I grew up in the racist world of the 1950’s.  I did play with black kids at school, but we never invited each other to our homes.  I never thought of black girls as being attractive.  In high school things got better and worse.  Blacks and whites began to socialize more and to fight more.

The Army probably did the most to change me.  When you are in a fox hole and need help you don’t care what color the hands is that is reaching towards you.

When I was growing up it was thought that blacks and whites should not get married.  It would be bad for their children.  Looking at Derek Jeter and Halle Barry I think we were pretty stupid back then.

Since this is my first post I tried thinking of something that would get noticed.


Now that I have your attention what I really want to talk about is politics and poverty.

Yikes! Where did everybody go!

Some political humor:

“A goverment that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”

George Bernard Shaw

“I don’t make jokes.  I just watch the government and report facts.”

Will Rogers

‘Making a speech on economics is a bit like pissing down your leg.  It seems hot to you but never to anybody else.”

Lyndon B Johnson

1) The person who sits in the white house can start a war tomorrow.  That’s not a joke.

He/she can just pick up the phone to the Joint Chiefs and say “Go get’em”.  There isn’t a thing Congress to do about it.  The President can’t offically declare war, he does have to eventually get Congress’s approval for funding, but no can stop that call.

Think about that the next time you decide to watch a movie or go to the mall instead of spending some time to know where the candidates stand on issues.

Since you are reading this post you are connected to the greatest wealth of information since the dawn of man, the Internet.  There is absolutely no excuse for not know what the candidates think.

I’ll make it easy for you.  By far the best, least bias, site I have found is .  They have direct quotes on every issue from the candidates with direct links back to the source of the quote.  There is also a Vote Match Quiz.  You indicate your stance on the issues listed, then you see what percentage of the time each candidate agrees with you.

2) There is a great story, in the Christian Science Monitor about how Barrington Irving overcame the poverty of his youth to become the youngest pilot to fly solo around the world.

We don’t spend money to reduce poverty just to help the poor.  We spend this money so America can maximize its resource, a countries greatest resource being it’s people.  Think of all the potential leadership lost on drug lords.  Think of how many potential Einstien’s are sticking a needle in their arm.

From the article:

“Like many children growing up on the streets of Miami’s poorest neighorhoods, Barrington Irving did not dream he would become one of life’s high flyers.  Born in Jamaica to a catholic family that moved to Florida when he was six, his greatest ambition ws to evade drugs, gangs, and violence that blighted Miami Gardens.”

“Today, after an extraodinary year that saw him fly solo around the world in 97 days – the youngest pilot (he was 23) and the first person of African descent to do so, according to Earthrounders, and organization that tracks flight records – Irving is, by his own admisson, soaring.

“It’s still a complete whirlwind right now, even though I’ve been back for several months, ” he says.

In those months, he has traveled the country sharing tales of his epic adventure in schools, charity dinners and community groups, and even returned to Jamaica, where he was honored with the government’s Musgrave Award for young achievers before thousands of well-wishers.

Now with that same determination that helped him raise money for the flight and saw him through long hours in the cockpit of his custom-built, single-engine Columbia 400 plane – battling 100 mph winds, sandstorms, monsoons, and turbulence he has thrown himslef into a new project.

At Miami’s Opa-locka Airport, Irving has set up Experience Aviation, a nonprofit learning center aimed at introducing children to the joy of flying.  The center , he says, will address the shortage of youth pursuing avaition.”

“It doesn’t matter where you came from, what you have, what you don’t have.  The only thing that matters is that you set a goal and just dream, live, fly.”

The Young Boy

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