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Monday, July 21, 2014

It must be true, I saw it in the newspapers

Leave it to the media to report the facts. Would they lie to us?

For 30 years, The Weekly World News had a proud place as one of the supermarket tabloids prominent at most checkout lanes. And it was popular, bought by 1.2 million people a week at one time. As we became "more sophisticated," it lost its edge and ceased as a paper in 2007. But my, oh my, the stories its crack team of reporters brought us, week after week, all with scintillating photos, artwork and bold, eye-catching headlines:

  • Bigfoot Kept Lumberjack as a Love Slave
  • Chimp's Head Put on Human Body
  • Fat Cat Owns 23 Old Ladies
  • Heaven Photographed by Hubble Telescope
  • Mermaid Cemetery Discovered
  • Abe Lincoln Was a Woman
  • Cuba Launches Shark Attack on U.S.
  • Dog with Human Hands Composes Magnum Opus
  • Ghostly Titanic Docks
  • Garden of Eden Found
... and it goes on and on. My personal favorite, however, is the story of a cruel surgeon who reattached a pair of "Siamese twins" after they failed to pay their medical bill. As an aside, I did know the owners at one time of the Weekly World News and its sister publications. They told me the WWN staff always had fun... and that some (a few) of the stories are true! Wadda 'ya think?

Today we have The Onion that lampoons what often passes as news today. Latest on-line issue reports God has pledged $5,000 for cancer research, the Brazilian government has posted listings for 12 soccer stadiums for sale on Craigslist, and a Special Report: "Majority of UFO abductions committed by alien that person knows."

This stuff could never happen in real life, could it?

Hmm. Check out this story in The Wall Street Journal: "Russians Hear News That's Good for Kremlin." The scary part... this is real. It's called putting a spin on the terrible tragedy of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, shot down over Ukraine with 298 lives lost.

Kremlin controlled airwaves have been giving the Russian people an idea of who to blame? Hint: Anyone but Russia or the separatists it is backing.

Many on the street say they believe the United States has had a hand in it to provoke a war with Russia. Others are sure it was the Ukrainians. "It has to be them. They just keep asking for trouble and for war, and they blame Russia for everything."

"I think Ukraine is responsible. It's their ridiculous nation."

Conspiracy theories air on state-run television... the U.S. engineered genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and are now doing the same in Ukraine to foster its interests... the downed aircraft was filled with corpses... dispatchers ordered the plane to a lower altitude to make a better target... "the next act could be an assault on a nuclear plant or terrorist act in Europe... and says one, "They will blame Putin. Who will be the new sacred victim?"

Another on-the-street interviewee said "This was definitely a provocation and America is to blame. Whatever America gets involved in, it messes it up."

The crowning touch: State-run television ran an uncorroborated interview with a woman who said Ukrainian government forces crucified a 3-year-old boy and then dragged his mother behind an armored vehicle until she died. Calls for the state channel to retract the story were ignored.

For me, I choose the more believable one about the redneck vampire that attacked a trailer park... or the 500 foot-Jesus that appeared at the U.N... and I say, it's about time!

PS: I forgot to mention that Weekly World News  did have an insight into politics. It noted that UFO aliens backed Obama, that space aliens backed Bush for President, that Romney was voted President of Mars, Dick Cheney is a robot and, an alien confided in Clinton and Bush that five U.S. Senators are space aliens. (Hmmm, that might explain a lot.)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

“Mawidge is a dweam wiffin a dweam... "

“Mawidge is a dweam wiffin a dweam. The dweam of wuv wapped wiffin the gweater dweam of everwasting west. Eternity is our fwiend, wemember that, and wuv wiw fowwow you fowever.”

Princess Bride is a classic love story--even if this minister has the wrong couple at the altar. This real one is even sweeter.

 Just a short week or so ago, I was in the San Francisco area to totally enjoy and celebrate the marriage of Ariana and Brian.
 The world is filled with life-changing moments. Love, blessedly changes all... and fills the hearts of those who care. This was one of those.

Lest we forget, this is what it is all about:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, a woman, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Brian, Ariana and Charlotte

Ariana, Brian and Charlotte...
blessed happiness forever.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Georgia HATES Johnny Cash!

Don't Take Your Guns To Town

A young cowboy named Billy Joe grew restless on the farm
A boy filled with wonderlust who really meant no harm
He changed his clothes and shined his boots
And combed his dark hair down
And his mother cried as he walked out

Don't take your guns to town son
Leave your guns at home Bill
Don't take your guns to town

But did Bill listen? No!

So Atlanta, if you can't learn from Johnny Cash...

(Up front: I am not opposed to the 2nd amendment. I am opposed to lack of common sense in exercising those freedoms.)

Georgia (one of about half-dozen 'open carry' states) has just dramatically expanded gun-permit holders' right to openly carry weapons where people congregate. It is refered to as the "guns everywhere" law that allows licensed gun owners to bring weapons to bars and houses of worship, to airports and government buildings, to malls and movie theaters, to schools and colleges, unless specifically denied on a case-by-case basis. The law also prohibits police from demanding to see the weapons permit of someone seen carrying a gun.

Is it just a coincidence or aren't those some of the same places where many mass shootings have occurred?

Some businesses and congregating places say they will allow guns, worried that prohibiting them will discourage customers. Others are banning weapons concerned that patrons will be afraid. So if I understand, those decisions are about the bottom line, right?

There was a comedian in the era of airline hijackings that proposed a simple solution: As passengers board the plane, issue everyone a loaded gun. No hijacker in his right mind would dare try anything. People laughed then... but little did that comedian, or anyone for that matter, know how prophetic he was. I'm supposed to feel better I think... but I don't.

Some bars have proposed every drinking spot post a sign denying guns in the place as "guns and firearms don't mix." One posted a 'no-guns' sign because "We didn't want you to come in, get drunk and shoot up the place. But when gun-right advocates took to social media to criticize and threatened to boycott the restaurant and bar, "we took it down right away. We heard from our customers"... and guns will now be allowed.

If "guns don't kill people, people kill people," then are you comfortable that  23-40 percent of legally purchased gun buying (like at gun shows primarily) does not require a background check?

Proponent group  says “A Right Unexercised is a Right Lost." Its director explains, "This just means that a law-abiding citizen can take the responsibility of their own defense."

A Texas pro-gun group has posted photos of members carrying rifles (RIFLES!) through the aisles of Target stores. Target then "respectfully" requested customers not bring guns into its stores, "even in communities where it is permitted by law."

According to the Wall Street Journal, the NRA scolded the Texas gun-rights groups for carrying rifles in the stores, calling the practice "not neighborly." Open Carry advocates the practice in its effort to make carrying large firearms in public appear normal. (So I guess the rest of us are getting trained.) The NRA later 'unscolded' the rifle carriers and apologized. Is the tail now wagging the dog?

In Rifle, CO, The Shooters Cafe boasts every waitress carries 'her piece' in a holster on her hip. Makes 'em feel safer... just in case.

Mr. Peabody and Sherman
In other words, nothing says "Don't mess with me," like a gun on the hip. Match that with 'Stand Your Ground' legislation gaining traction and we don't need Mr. Peabody's "Wayback Machine" to feel what it was like when Wyatt Earp and Wild Bill Hitchcock walked into a saloon. With 42 percent of U.S. households owning firearms, that minority 58 percent better get its act together.

Because you can does not mean you should or have to.

You can now take your guns into Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, the world's busiest--but (Phew!) you still can't legally get thru security--and libraries and malls and movie theaters. And the state legislative chambers too? (If not, then why not? Shouldn't legislators live by the same laws we do?) Though I am pretty sure this flies in the face of common sense, I hope it doesn't backfire (no pun intended).

I really wonder... are we crazy enough yet?

He drank his first strong liquor then to calm his shaking hand
And tried to tell himself he had become a man
A dusty cowpoke at his side began to laugh him down
And he heard again his mothers words

Don't take your guns to town son
Leave your guns at home Bill
Don't take your guns to town

*The song, of course is Johnny Cash at his best. Thank you for the use.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The one thing we ALL have in common...

The Reaper family, Grim, Marge and baby Bradley   (*permissions below)
We'll never make it out of this world alive... unless you're the first one, of course. Some of us live too short. Some of us live too long. Many, like baby bear, live 'just right.'  Longest lived family, if you accept the bible's account, has to be Adam and Eve. I think their last name had to be Smith since there are so many in the phone book.

Adam celebrated his 930th birthday says the bible ("Your wish will come true if you blow out all the candles in one breath... " ) but didn't beget his first child, Cain, until he was in his hundreds. And look how he turned out. 

A Jewish translatation credits Adam and Eve with 33 sons and 23 daughters--56 in all.  Eve lived about as long as Adam but it must have seemed like thousands to her. Imagine having your first child when you are over 100... then having 55 more. Longest lived is Methuselah at 969 years. "I can't believe it," said a friend, "you don't look a day over 900." 

So the Grim Reaper does his job and "poof," you're dead. Then ya' gotta' get rid of the body. That's an earth-y thing pretty much out of your hands unless you have expressed yourself before you-know-what. (If you want to read something interesting on the subject, check out Stiff, a most unusual non-fiction paperback by Mary Roach that made the NYTimes bestseller list for a while.)  

For those who know what they want, some funeral directors will do it your way. And 'your way' could be kind of unusual.

One woman wanted to be remembered as she lived. So after she died, she was posed in a room sitting at a familiar table decorated with  miniature New Orleans Saints helmets, an ash tray, a deck of cards and a framed photo. She was wearing sunglasses and smartly dressed in a denim jacket with Saints emblems, a yellow scarf around her neck. There was an open can of Busch beer by one hand and a menthol cigarette between the fingers of her other, just as she had spent a good number of her living days. "My, doesn't she look wonderful?" And so she did.

Elsewhere, a paramedic was displayed in uniform behind the wheel of his ambulance. One man was posed sitting cross-legged, dressed like Che Guevara with a cigar in his hand. These are referred to as  'Fun Funerals."

A boxer was propped up in a fake boxing ring, ready for the bell. Then there was the biker who chose to be towed to the cemetery in a plexiglass coffin with him astride his Harley... and that's how he was buried. There have been champagne drinkers and guys standing with their life-long cane, looking as jaunty as ever.

But don't get the impression these are tasteless efforts.  "The family literally suffers less, because they see their loved one in a way that would have made them happy... (and) they still look alive," says one funeral director.

Who wouldn't want to remember mother (or Big Grandma to me) in her favorite rocker? I had my emotional thrill (and I'm not kidding) when, at age 5 or 6, I saw my beloved great-grandmother smiling at me from her favorite chair--three months after she died! "Why Big Grandma," I asked with absolute delight... and I can still hear myself saying it, "What are you doing here?" She didn't answer, but held her arms out to me. I turned to mom, dad and sis, who were just coming up the porch steps, and shouted,  "Hey everyone, Big Grandma is here!"  When I looked back, she was gone--but she WAS THERE for me. I'll remember that, with love, and be grateful for the rest of my life.

*NON SEQUITUR ©2014 Wiley Ink, Inc..  Dist. By UNIVERSAL UCLICK.  Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.