A brief personal thought on the death of George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas this morning that I read from news reports such as this one. Dr. Tiller has long been a very controversial figure for performing late-term abortions. Just as Jack Kevorkian was known as “Dr. Death”, George Tiller earned the nickname “Tiller The Baby Killer.” Personally speaking, I am against abortion on demand and feel abortion is acceptable only in the most extreme and dire circumstances. However I am also equally against killing those who perform such procedures as long as they are legal in this country. And even if it were illegal, it’s still wrong for anyone to take the law in their hands. I feel change is made within the established system and that it is achievable and will be achieved. Tiller has been shot before and survived and his life threatened many times in the past so this outcome did not come completely unexpectedly. But it’s still wrong.
Now that this has happened, I anticipate two things to occur shortly:
First, I expect left-wing extremist smear websites like HuffPo and Kos to attack conservatives over this and blame conservatives for Tiller’s death.
Secondly, I expect that since Bill O’Reilly was probably the biggest, loudest and most public voice attacking George Tiller verbally (and rightly so IMHO) that those same left-wing extemist smear websites as well as some liberal celebrities and politicians will call on civil lawsuits as well as criminal prosecution against O’Reilly as an indirect accomplice for Tiller’s murder. Some of the funding for this may even be traced back to George Soros. Nothing will come of it, but the extremist liberals will use it to further smear Bill O’Reilly and Fox News Channel. I imagine Keith Olbermann might do this or something similar on his next circus presentation on MSNBC.
UPDATE: Well, I called it. Liberal smear sites are blaming conservatives and Bill O’Reilly specifically. I still think the threat of lawsuits and criminal actions against O’Reilly are still possible but will take longer to materialize.
I just returned home from the hospital. My wife made it through her gastric bypass surgery extremely well. The surgeon is very pleased and says he does not expect any complications. If things go as expected, she should be released sometime Sunday. Right now she’s sleeping off the anaesthesia but is more lucid when I left than earlier. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts.
Tomorrow morning is when my wife is to have her gastric bypass surgery. I plan on blogging any news subsequently depending upon how busy I am. I am taking some time from work to take care of her at home but she’ll be up and about quite quickly. Please keep her in your prayers and thoughts. She is very anxious about this just as I was a little over three years ago when I underwent the same surgery.
On this Memorial Day, I’d like to quote the third stanza of “America, The Beautiful” written by Katharine Lee Bates.
O beautiful, for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine,
‘Til all success be nobleness, and ev’ry gain divine!
In World War II, he whispered, I was wounded by a blast.
As he began his story, reminiscing of his past.
I was just a boy back then, I lied about my age.
To get into the Army, and fight for the USA
I love this country very much, it’s still the very best.
And I would fight to keep it free, and safe from foreign pest.
We won that war, and I came home, my wounds had healed enough,
To reenlist with other men. The Army made us tough.
Then a little flare up, in Korea called us out.
A threat against our freedom, spreading fear without a doubt.
There I caught a bullet, when I tried to save a friend.
Another wound for Uncle Sam, they sent me home to mend.
“Soldier have you had enough?” my Sergeant said to me.
“Or do you want another tour, if ever there’s to be?”
We would train and fight again, if ever it need be,
Because we love America, we’ll fight to keep it free.
It didn’t take too long, before my boys were off again.
We were shipped off to a war, we thought would never end.
I didn’t understand it much, if it was wrong or right.
But, I was a US Marine, and my country said, “Go fight.”
I never questioned orders, that were sent from up above.
I did it for America, the country, that I love.
I fought to keep my country safe, again, in Viet Nam.
Then, wounded I came home again, a victim of napalm.
My fighting days were over now, and, I had given all.
But, some had given more than me, their names are on a wall.
I am now well up in years, a Marine old and worn.
I could only sit and pray, as I watched Desert Storm.
So proud of our boys over there, who stood for what is right.
Freedom is the battle cry, the reason why they fight.
Young soldiers fight for liberty, protecting freedom’s bliss.
Old Marines dream of by-gone-days, while fighting loneliness.
We were heroes in our day, he said, and then he sighed.
Forgotten in some VA home, and all my friends have died.
I never ask for anything, just wanted to live free.
But, if you read this story, there are many just like me.
Who fought to keep our country, safe and free from every foe.
Only to come home again, and have no place to go.
Sadly, when the limelight fails, heroes fade away.
Some men fight the silent battles, ’till their dying day.
Please remember what it took, and what we had to pay.
And join with us remembering, on this Memorial Day.
Memorial Day is special, it is not just summer’s start.
The reason that we have this day, should be etched on your heart.
Lives were lost, and young men died, to keep this country free.
So, take a moment on that day, to meditate with me.
Remember all those valiant men, and women who fought for,
The lifestyle that you now enjoy, because they went to war.
—James A. Kisner
Memorial Day Poem
I watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease..
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He’d stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil
How many mothers’ tears?
How many pilots’ planes shot down?
How many died at sea
How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?
No, freedom isn’t free.
I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still,
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That Taps had meant “Amen,”
When a flag had draped a coffin.
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn’t free.
by Michelle R. Christman
As we stand here looking
At the flags upon these graves
Know these flags represent
A few of the true American brave
They fought for their Country
As man has through all of time
Except that these soldiers lying here
Fought for your country and mine
As we all are gathered here
To pay them our respect
Let’s pass this word to others
It’s what they would expect
I’m sure that they would do it
If it were me or you
To show we did not die in vein
But for the red, white and blue.
Let’s pass on to our children
And to those who never knew
What these soldiers died for
It’s the least we can do
Let’s not forget their families
Great pain they had to bear
Losing a son, father or husband
They need to know we still care
No matter which war was fought
On the day that they died
I stand here looking at these flags
Filled with American pride.
So as the bugler plays out Taps
With its sweet and eerie sound
Pray for these soldiers lying here
In this sacred, hallowed ground.
Take home with you a sense of pride
You were here Memorial Day.
Celebrating the way Americans should
On this solemnest of days.
Michelle R. Christman
USMC from 87 – 91, Desert Storm Veteran
composed by Jeremy Spillman & Dave Turnbull
I never thought that this is where I’d settle down
I thought I’d die an old man back in my hometown
They gave me this plot of land
Me and some other men for a job well done
There’s a big white house
Sits on a hill just up the road
The man inside he cried the day they brought me home
They folded up a flag and told my Mom and Dad
We’re proud of your son
And I’m proud to be on this peaceful piece of property
I’m on sacred ground and I’m in the best of company
I’m thankful for those thankful for the things I’ve done
I can rest in peace, I’m one of the chosen ones
I made it to Arlington
I remember Daddy brought me here when I was eight
We searched all day to find out where my Granddad lay
And when we finally found that cross
He said, son, this is what it cost to keep us free
Now here I am a thousand stones away from him
He recognized me on the first day I came in
And it gave me a chill when he clicked his heels and saluted me
And I’m proud to be on this peaceful piece of property
I’m on sacred ground and I’m in the best of company
I’m thankful for those thankful for things I’ve done
I can rest in piece, I’m one of the chosen ones
I made it to Arlington
And everytime I hear twenty-one guns
I know they brought another hero home to us
We’re thankful for those thankful for the things we’ve done
We can rest in peace, ’cause we are the chosen ones
We made it to Arlington
Yeah, dust to dust
Don’t cry for us
We made it to Arlington
A Soldier’s Farewell
by John J. Rigo
It is time to say goodbye.
I can see my sadness in your eyes.
Is this the goodbye kiss that will aways
be in your memory?
Press closer to me,
imprint my soul with your being.
Please do not look into my eyes,
the sadness will always be there,
until we are one again,
in our happiness.
by Major General Daniel Butterfield
Fading light dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.
From afar drawing nigh — Falls the night.
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky.
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.
Then good night, peaceful night,
Till the light of the dawn shineth bright,
God is near, do not fear — Friend, good night.
Twenty One Steps
by Thomas Holmquist
Arlington where our unknown soldier lies
The place to honor those who gave their lives
Those that died that generations be free
May we remember them through eternity
This Unknown Soldier guarded day and night
By the choice of a few and with all their might
To show mankind their respect and dignity
To those who defended our lives and liberty
Twenty one steps, he takes twenty one steps
Eyes locked in honor for the soldier he guards
And twenty one seconds before he turns
To honor the soldiers who never returned
Twenty one steps until the end of time
For our lost soldiers we cannot find
They gave their lives for you and me
The price paid to preserve our dignity
So let’s take twenty one steps, just twenty one steps
Lock our eyes in honor for our soldiers that died
And think for twenty one seconds about their sacrifice
To preserve our freedom and our children’s lives
To say that I am disappointed with the current product being created and aired by the WWE would be understating how I feel. I am afraid that I am losing interest in their programming. It’s not that I am losing interest in pro wrestling in general. Quite the contrary, I am still passionate about pro wrestling as I ever was starting as a little kid in the 60’s. Frankly, if there were a local group producing regular shows, I’d be one of those people with a regular ringside seat and maybe even ringside working for the group as a photographer (now THAT would be sweet). I’ve noticed what I consider a major decline in the quality of shows aired by the WWE.
First off, ever since Vince McMahon bought Paul Heyman’s Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), he’s managed to water it down to where it cannot be legitimately considered “Extreme” in any sense of the word. In fact, I consider it as being “RAW Lite” with little worth watching anymore. Actually I’ve ceased watching it at all. I long abandoned Smackdown for even being LESS interesting. And frankly, this new show on WGN America is the worse one thus far.
And now I am finding Monday Night RAW to be less interesting and entertaining than ever before.
I’m not blaming the wrestlers. Quite the contrary, my respect and admiration for their effort and athleticism is high. They do things on a regular basis that I could only DREAM of doing and they place their bodies and careers on the line each and every time they perform in and out of the ring.
No, I feel the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the creative teams and mostly on Vince McMahon himself since he is the one who approves and directly influences pretty much all the storylines and development.
Let me get to some of my specific complaints:
As I alluded to in mentioning the current ECW, I feel the WWE is losing its edginess that it developed so well during the Stone Cold Steve Austin & The Rock era (also called the Attitude Era). Every so often there are glimpses of it such as when Randy Orton used the RKO on Stephanie McMahon in front of a helpless HHH. But even that didn’t last. With current storylines, the WWE seems to be playing it safe. And thus, it’s boring for the most part.
A women’s division has its purpose but not just to be eye candy and that’s what the majority of the current women’s division is. No disrespect intended, but most of the women, although they are trying hard, are just not all that good in the ring. They need a lot of seasoning and they aren’t getting it by “learning on the job.” Over the years there have been some who developed into outstanding in-ring performers such as Luna Vachon, Molly Holly, Lita and even Trish Stratus (who started off very green but worked hard and developed a very good in-ring ability). Whenever the WWE has a Diva match, that’s my cue to take a bathroom break. I admit they are all very attractive women even though I find fake breasts highly un-erotic but if sexuality was the main interest for me in regards to the WWE Divas I’d get the Playboy issues they appeared in where I don’t have to endure botched moves, missed spots and really, really bad in-ring kayfabe attempts. I wish to clarify…I don’t blame the Divas themselves per se, but those who failed to allow them to develop reasonably advanced abilities necessary to perform on such an international, televised stage.
I don’t think it’s just me as evidenced by the declining ratings and attendance, but the storylines in recent months have really grown stale. A certain, respected person within pro-wrestling (Jim Cornette, I think) pointed out that a storyline can effectively be repackaged after about 5 years (or something similar to that) but the WWE creative minds seem to be rehashing remarkably similar storylines within months. I admit that there rarely is anything really “fresh” in pro-wrestling storylines, but rehashing the same things over and over and over again especially with no payoff (which seems to be almost the norm in current WWE storylines) obviously causes decreases in interest in the product. Again, although I place a lot of the blame for this on the creative minds in the WWE, the bulk of the blame rests with Vince McMahon directly since I am told over and over by numerous insiders that he has to give his stamp of approval on every single storyline and often changes things on the fly creating havoc behind the scenes.
However all is not bad. Some positives:
1) The talent
For the most part, the established talent currently utilized has been doing rather well with what little they are given to work with. Other than my disappointment with the WWE Divas, I really don’t have many issues with the performances of others. I have been and probably always will be a huge fan of Rey Mysterio, Jr. and several others WWE Superstars are ones I have long admired. Not all of them really interest me (Jack Swagger comes to mind) but I cannot deny that they all, including the Divas, bust their butts to present the best performances they can. If anyone was phoning in a performance, it hasn’t been seen as such by myself. I am pleasantly surprised at some of the newcomers in the WWE as well.
This may not seem like much of a positive, but take it from someone with twenty years of radio and ten years of television experience (with some experience calling high school football games) announcing is not nearly as easy at it seems. I think the announcers for the WWE are all quite good and some surprisingly so. For example, when Tazz retired from active wrestling and the WWE made him an announcer, I was initially unsure how he would be but after one show with him announcing I was extremely surprised at how accomplished he is as an announcer. I should have had a clue after all those ECW promos he made through the years. The only announcer I just can’t warm up to is Michael Cole. Although I don’t consider him a poor announcer, he just comes off very flat to me and still makes some embarrassingly bad flubs too often for someone of his experience. Maybe that is what makes him appealing to some. A team that has probably the best chemistry and timing is Matt Striker and Josh Mathews. And to make it absolutely clear, I like Jim Ross and have been a fan for many, many years even before he was with the WWE. I place Jim Ross between Gordon Solie and Lance Russell in my top 3 announcers of all time.
Every wrestling program needs some comedy to prevent monotony. Santino Marella is arguably the current WWE comedy heavyweight champion right now (even though I just can’t get into the “Santina Marella” gags). His mangling the English language is well done and seems to be an unintended homage to Bill Dana’s famous character “José Jiménez.” For the most part, the comedy storylines have been very entertaining. I thought the fairly recent RAW “sing off” between perpetually bad singer Jillian Hall and the “Cornfed Colossus” Festus was brilliant in its silliness. If you didn’t catch that skit, it would take far to long to explain it here. Also the 2008 Christmas ads with Shawn Michaels and HHH were all laugh-out-loud funny. The comedy bits are one of the WWE’s consistent bright spots.
My personal theory of the cause in the decline of the quality of recent WWE shows is two-fold:
First, there is a lack of hard competition currently. Back when the WWE (then known as the WWF) was competing (and regularly losing) to WCW and also being nipped at by the upstart ECW, Vince McMahon was forced to take chances and the end results were much better shows, better storylines, and entertaining & interesting character development all of which combined to propel the WWF/WWE past WCW. Eventually the WWE dominance put an end to both WCW and ECW of which Vince McMahon purchased and still currently owns. Right now there exists no hard competition at the moment although I still sincerely believe the slow and steady growth of TNA (which I still find a better show overall personally) will lead to McMahon being forced once again to go back to what led him to overtake WCW all those years ago.
Secondly, the numerous “brand extensions” has diluted the product. Currently the WWE produces four different shows (RAW, ECW, Smackdown and WWE Superstars) with three different “brands.” I use the term “brands” loosely because it’s quite common for WWE Superstars from one “brand” to make regular appearances on other “brands.” This would be like having the star from an ABC network sitcom or drama showing up often on CBS & NBC shows similarly. It dilutes the product, creates overexposure of various WWE Superstars and inhibits development of storylines, character development and brand identity. All of which sorely limits the growth potential for the end product. Rumor has it that Vince McMahon may severely limit or perhaps eliminate the wrestlers’ frequent crossovers just for those precise reasons however I will believe it when a) it actually occurs and b) it continues for an extended length of time.
These are my thoughts about the current situation in the WWE. Right now I’ve lost interest in much of what they have to offer and it’s going to take a tough sell for me to come back as a frequent viewer. Judging by the declining viewership numbers, I’m obviously not alone. Monday Night RAW is the only WWE show I’m watching regularly but even that show, their flagship show, has gotten old and stale which may cause me to tune it out if things don’t pick up soon and very soon. I am thankful for TNA and feel they are, from top to bottom, much more hungry than the WWE is and although they don’t have the vast resources the WWE has, they put on a much more entertaining and satisfying show and do so consistently. Reminds me of a little upstart company from several years ago called ECW. I hope TNA’s growth continues until Vince McMahon and the executives at the WWE can no longer ignore them. Then the fans will benefit from some real competition.
It’s official. My wife is scheduled for roux-n-y gastric bypass surgery on May 28, 2009. We meet with the surgeon, Dr. Elliot Sieloff, the same surgeon who performed my gastric bypass surgery on March 2, 2006, this upcoming Monday for a pre-surgical consult. My wife has her concerns but we know many people who have underwent this surgery and are so happy to have done so (myself included). Please keep her in your prayers and thoughts. I’ll see about putting up some before-and-after graphics up on the blog sometime down the road.
After a very, very long wait, I finally got my 2008 Demento Society (fan club) membership packet which includes the ever-popular, always-entertaining Dr. Demento’s Basement Tapes #16 which consists of wonderfully demented music and crazy comedy by some of the finest artists around. I’ve been receiving these since the very first one many, many years ago and have made it a point to renew my membership each year.
I’ve always enjoyed every Demento Society Basement Tapes CD (did I mention it was a CD and not a tape?) that I ever received and have always felt the quality and selection to be outstanding but the Dr. Demento Basement Tapes #16 CD is, in my humble opinion, the finest collection of novelty songs and comedy thus far. From top to bottom each song is a winner.
It starts off strong with “Cellular Degeneration” by Sudden Death which is a song about the most advanced cell phone ever made that has a few…minor issues.
I actual laughed out loud (“lol” for you texters) multiple times while listening to the wonderful words of wacky wisdom (how’s THAT for alliteration) found on “The Verb To Be” by The Mrs. Ackroyd Band featuring Les Barker. Barker is a comedian whose style reminds me of a British version of Steven Wright (or is Steven Wright an American version of Les Barker?).
There have been songs about Dr. Demento and the Dr. Demento Show before. Add “Dementia Revolution” by The Great Luke Ski & MC Lars to the list which effectively chronicles, via rap, the history of the Dr. Demento Show and the vast array of artists featured on the radio program. Great job!
“Count To Ten” by Paul & Storm is a tune that approaches Sesame Street counting lessons in a more…er…mature…manner. Not obscene but a creative application of counting to ten on a definite non-kid level. As I was listening to this song I thought that it would be amusing if it were made into a music video in the style of the animated counting segments that I remember from Sesame Street and The Electric Company shows aired on the local PBS TV station. I don’t know. Perhaps someone has already done so. I’ll check on YouTube.
One of my favorite groups, The Bobs, is represented on the CD with their a capella tune “Never Date A Musician”, advice for the forlorn. Or perhaps from the forlorn?
If you are a fan of Electric Light Orchestra, you’re out of luck because they aren’t on the CD but “Hold On, I’ve Got To Take This” by Power Salad is definitely in the style of ELO. A fun take on call waiting.
Not much to say about “Butt Floss Girl” by Project Sisyphus other than it is about what the title suggests and it’s quite funny, worthy of repeat listenings. This is a parody of “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel who apparently doesn’t have a sense of humor concerning parodies of his songs (“Weird Al” Yankovic wrote a song parodying a different Billy Joel song and as is his gracious custom, Yankovic asked Joel for permission to record the parody and Joel was one of the few at the time to refuse permission so Yankovic never recorded the parody on any CD although he has performed it live and one of the live performances appears on an earlier Dr. Demento Basement Tapes CD and has been available for downloadable mp3 as well.).
The Presidential elections are long over but if you lament the fact that you had to hold your nose while voting, take solace in the song “The One That Doesn’t Suck Too Bad” by Barry Mitchell. This should be a song heard before every local, state, and federal voting cycle.
Speaking of elections, with President Obama now in office many feel the country is going to go from bad to worse. The Austin Lounge Lizards advise that “We’ve Been Through Some Crappy Times Before.”
And then there is “99 Words For Boobs” by Robert Lund. ‘Nuff said.
All funny. All entertaining. All greatly creative. And of course ALL DEMENTED!
Stay Demented people of the planet, and perhaps the world will be a little funnier.
In a post from June of 2008, I wrote about the Pensacola Ice Pilots hockey organization folding it’s tent leaving only one ECHL team along the I-10 corridor. Now that team, the Mississippi Sea Wolves informed ECHL officials that they will suspend operations for the upcoming 2009-2010 season. When my wife and I visited her Momma in Biloxi, we went to see the Seawolves play the SC Stingrays March 10 only to lose 3-2. I could have gone to the final two home games of the season that following Friday and Saturday but chose not to. Little did I know that those two games may well be the final two home games for the Sea Wolves forevermore. Sure, they leave open the possibility of joining another league such as the Central Hockey League which would cut back on the travel expenses but frankly, in just about every case where a team has suspended operations in this way, they don’t resurface. The odds of the Sea Wolves coming back for a 2010-2011 season are pretty much slim and none IMHO. Now the only teams left in the southeastern U.S. are in south Florida and northwest Georgia. At its peak, there were several teams along the I-10 corridor: Jacksonville Lizard Kings, Tallahassee Tiger Sharks, Pensacola Ice Pilots, Mobile Mysticks, Mississippi Sea Wolves, and the New Orleans Brass. Once the Sea Wolves suspend operations (and most likely fold completely) there will no longer be any hockey along that old I-10 corridor. So I am saddened because with the loss of the Sea Wolves, I will probably never get the opportunity to see professional hockey played live again. The closest NHL franchises are in Atlanta and Tampa, both of which are too far away for me to go Besides, I couldn’t afford decent seats at an NHL game. The odds of another team ever coming back to this city are zero. I’m just going to have to make due with whatever is on television. I will miss live hockey.
Published reports indicate Southern Professional Hockey League commissioner Jim Combs revealed a potential ownership group led by former Ice Pilots owner Tim Kerr and addressed bringing a team to the Pensacola Civic Center for the 2009-10 season. Biloxi, Miss., is also rumored as a possible location for another SPHL franchise for the 2009-10 season. Combs would not comment directly on the rumor but said, “Pensacola is not my only stop on I-10.” The SPHL is based in Huntsville, Ala., and consisted of six teams during the 2008-09 season. One of those teams, the Richmond Renegades likely will cease operations during the summer. Another, the Twin City Cyclones, is looking to move its franchise into another city, likely father south. The organization’s remaining franchises — Knoxville, Tenn.; Huntsville, Ala.; Fayetteville, N.C. and Columbus, Ga. — are within 10 hours of Pensacola by bus. This is certainly good news and perhaps opens a little window of optimism that I will be able to attend another Mississippi Sea Wolves games sometime next season.
[May 1, 2009]
Here’s the announcement directly from the SPHL:
Jim Combs, Commissioner of the Southern Professional Hockey League announced tonight that the Southern Professional Hockey League’s Board of Governors has received an application from an ownership group to operate an SPHL team in Biloxi Mississippi for the 2009-10 season.
The ownership group has secured a lease from the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and is expected to receive final SPHL membership approval shortly pending formal review of their application by the Board of Governors.
Combs stated that “our league’s Governors are delighted about the opportunity to bring the SPHL’s brand of professional hockey to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.” The new Biloxi team will compete against returning SPHL members Fayetteville, Knoxville, Columbus and Huntsville.
Additionally, Combs advised that the SPHL is in active discussions with prospective ownership in Pensacola, Florida and other cities and expects to provide information on additional expansion over the next few weeks.
Combs stated that “while there is still work to be accomplished the Board of Governors is committed to expansion within our league’s geographical footprint within a time frame that allows new members the lead time to prepare for the
The SPHL “The Leader in Single “A” Hockey” is committed to providing our fans with ongoing innovation in all aspects of the game while providing the best of family friendly entertainment in all of our markets. Additional information on the Southern Professional Hockey League can be found at thesphl.com.
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