Thief Steals Lady’s Purse As She Prays In Church

June 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Weird Stuff

“Nassau County police said a congregant at a Long Island church disregarded at least one of its commandments: Thou shalt not steal. Police said the 46-year-old woman reached over a pew and took cash from a purse while its owner knelt Sunday at Our Lady of Hope Roman Catholic Church in Westbury. Police said an usher saw the theft, and officers stopped the woman as she left the church.

Police said they determined the same woman stole cash from another worshipper’s purse while that victim took communion May 10.”

The Associated Press

What lessons are to be gleaned for this offbeat article?

*There is no refuge from evildoers.

A sanctuary as its name implies should be a refuge from the trials and tribulations of everyday life. People of faith feel safe and secure as they gather together to worship God, and fellowship with each other. But even in a church a person is liable to be the victim of theft, although it’s usually the pastor who is fleecing his congregation.

*The efficacy of prayer is very questionable

If God allows a believer’s purse to be stolen as she is on her knees in prayer, how much sense does it make to pray to such a capricious deity?

‘Close To The Edge’ By Yes Is A Pivotal Moment In Rock History

June 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Music

“Close To The Edge” by Yes was released September 13, 1972, on Atlantic. This was the fifth record by this sumptuous, thoroughly modern British rock band. I had seen Yes open for Jethro Tull in 1970 sometime, and they definitely upstaged Jethro Tull, who was my favorite band at that time. The guitar wizardry of Steve Howe was unbelievable! On these hot, still summer days of Texas memories come flooding back to me of marvelous listening sessions, mostly of Yes. Many of my acquaintances in those days thought that Yes was the ultimate answer to the dilemma of ‘where should rock go?*(illegal punctuation, I know).’close-to-the-edge

The last few days I`ve just had to revisit those hazy moments more closely. I found a vinyl copy of “Close To The Edge” for just $3.99 the other day. It sounded very foreign to me on the first few listens. This was the classic lineup for Yes: Jon Anderson on vocals, Bill Bruford on drums, Steve Howe on guitars, Chris Squire on bass, and Rick Wakeman on keyboards. Incredible lineup (God-like, really)! The songs are longer, the whole thing is fitted together like a symphonic work, where several varied suites are inserted within the same song-“Close To The Edge”…”And You And I” are gigantic songs essentially. You are required to listen very carefully to see where all of this is going.

With this lineup, Yes becomes a Super Group that forges all the resources of the times, and even morphs to mysticism. Jon Anderson`s lyrics explore themes of Herman Hesse`s Sidhartha (see Wiki page). And Rick Wakeman, along with Keith Emerson, unites classical motifs with progressive rock constructions, to create something new. The way that Howe and Wakeman work together is transcendent. Again, the question arises, did Yes contribute to the over-flowering of rock in the 1970s? Perhaps. Was a rock elitist mentality catering to the upper crust exclusively? Perhaps, my friend. So punk rock comes along and caters to the blue collar class once again. Perhaps? *(An afterthought) Maybe it`s best to just leave a free-space (its own parking lot) for Yes in the ‘Big Picture of Rock!’

Idiot Cops Mistake Child’s Toy For Radioactive Device

June 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Weird Stuff

“A toy nuclear power plant built by two six year-olds sparked a public alert in Germany, only for authorities to discover the would-be security threat was the shell of a computer with a radiation warning sign stuck to it.

Fire services and police cordoned off several streets and told residents to stay indoors in the western town of Oelde after the two boys left their mock power station on the street when they went home for dinner Monday evening.”

There seems to be an “overabundance of caution” run amok not only here in America, but throughout the world. A third grader brings a purple water gun to school, and the school is locked down. A litterbug tosses a can of Pepsi outside a bank, and cops cordon off the bank thinking the Pepsi can might be a bomb.

Stop the insanity! A water gun is just a water gun, a Pepsi can is just a Pepsi can, and a computer with a radiation warning sign stuck to it is just a child’s play nuclear station.

We are becoming a nation of wimps! The sky isn’t falling, it’s called rain! Those idiot cops should be suspended for inconveniencing hundreds of people.

Sonic Youth`s ‘The Eternal’ Has No Weak Links!

June 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Music

sonic-youthSonic Youth released its 16th album, “The Eternal,” on Matador Records on June 9th. They left Geffen Records after four albums and are indie once again. I purchased a copy of “The Eternal” at Waterloo Records late yesterday afternoon, and I am scoping out the tracks right now. The cover is a painting by John Fahey, Sea Monster, and looks like a swirling ball of fire. The back cover by Kim Gordon is a photo of four clocks, all at 11:40, on a very bleak plaster wall. All of the songs flow along nicely together, and are smooth and bumpy in places, yet seem to land safely back to their No Wave roots.

I don`t have any beef about any of the songs so far. Very original, I could not detect any borrowing from classic pop riffs. “Malibu Gas Station” reminded me of the sound of Velvet Underground`s “Loaded,” but this is a good thing, very pleasing to my ears. The last one, “Massage The History” is a mellower tune and longer (9’:43”), and features some whispery vocals by Kim Gordon. The first song, “Sacred Trickster,” really punches off the starting line, and “Anti-Orgasm” has nice vocal play between Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. It morphs into a dissonant guitar affair, then calms down, I guess after the orgasm thing is over. Okay, this must be the anti-orgasm part-cool!

There arn`t any weak links in this chain fence. “Leaky Lifeboat” is jangly guitars, an anti-pop piece with an anti-hook and vocal harmonies, very clever. Looks like Sonic Youth is on tour now, and will be coming to Austin in October for Austin City Limits. Hopefully, I will be able to see them. They have been together for twenty-eight years now! “Eternal” uses all of their experience and influence and is accessible, but still retains the original vision of No Wave. Do not ask me to explain that, though. Favorite song so far, “What We Know,” with the scrappy guitar assault in the middle.

Beth’s Trivia (Did You Know … )

June 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Tech/Sci, Weird Stuff

One well-known proverb – “Birds of a feather flock together” – has taken on a new meaning.  A pigeon breeder from Fall River, Mass., deplores the fact that some pigeons used in made-in-Massachusetts movies were, shall we say, “flown in” from other locales and perhaps were not as healthy as his flock.

To counter that violation of native birds’ rights, “State Rep. Michael J Rodrigues is proposing a bill that if a bird is going to be in a movie made in the Bay State, that pigeon must be banded and licensed within Massachusetts.”

Presumably if the pigeons are “unionized” they will want their wages to be in  “seed money” …

Old Codger Survives 4 Days Trapped In Well

June 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Weird Stuff

“An 84-year-old man escaped with only minor injuries after he spent four days trapped in a well shaft on his remote property on Canada’s Pacific Coast, police said.

A search dog located Bob Bennett on Wednesday after a friend of the elderly man became concerned that he had not heard from him in several days.”


This saga of an old codger who survived four days trapped in a well received scant attention from the press. I found the Reuters article in the “Odd News” section of Yahoo News.

We live in a society that worships youth, and hides the elderly in nursing homes.

If it had been a 2-year-old toddler or an attractive 18-year old girl who was stuck in a well, the incident would have generated saturation coverage from the cable news outlets. Before the girl got a chance to take a shower, she would have been flooded with offers from talk shows, magazines and and book publishers.

The 84-year-old man should be grateful that a passerby didn’t pour dirt on the well in an attempt to make the well his final resting place.

Bennett is lucky he had a friend who was concerned about him, too many elderly folks don’t have a single person who cares whether they live or die.

Balloon Riot In Hungary

June 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Weird Stuff

“An overeager crowd in the Hungarian capital thwarted low-cost airline Wizz Air’s attempt to release 1,000 balloons for its fifth anniversary celebrations when they caught wind of the freebies attached.

Onlookers spied coupons worth 10,000 forints ($49.45) attached to each balloon and a free-for-all of popping and grabbing commenced before the balloons could be officially released from a giant net in the center of Budapest.
Members of the crowd scrambled about chasing balloons and collecting as many coupons as they could. One young woman kneeled over a grill in the gutter, furiously trying to pick as many coupons as she could out of the rainwater underneath.”

Reuters/Marton Dunai

Rarely will you see a children’s party where balloons aren’t used for decorations. Children love balloons, nothing will put a smile on a kid quicker than handing him a balloon.

Balloons are synonymous with innocence and happiness, but in this instance balloons touched off an angry free-for-all. One dude popped one of the balloons containing a coupon, and before you could say “holy crap”, the entire crowd went on a balloon grabbing frenzy.

I blame Wizz Air for not having a posse of armed guards protecting the balloons. Times are hard all over the world — who’s gonna pass up a chance at grabbing a $49.45 coupon?

Tributes to a Sidekick, an “Angel”, and a King

June 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Celebrity, Top Story

It has been a sad week, as we mourn the loss of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and now Michael Jackson.

Ed McMahon died Tuesday of health problems at the age of 86.  He was best known as announcer of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson from 1962-92 with the catchphrase “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Johnny!”  He also co-hosted TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes with Dick Clark, and hosted Star Search, the predecessor of American Idol and America’s Got Talent.

From sex symbol to iconic Angel to acclaimed actress, Farrah Fawcett has reinvented herself time after time throughout her career.  She died Thursday morning at the age of 62 after losing her three-year battle with cancer.  Longtime soulmate Ryan O’Neal and BFF Alaina Stewart were among those with her in the final moments of her life.  Besides Ryan, Farrah leaves behind their son Redmond, 24.

Fans are still in a state of mourning and shock over the sudden passing of Michael Jackson, who died Thursday afternoon at the age of 50.  Through his career that has spanned four decades; he has gone from teen idol to the undisputed King of Pop with his songs, his hat, his signature glove, and the legendary Moonwalk dance — opening the doors for artists such as Usher and Justin Timberlake, and for groups like New Edition.

Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson: three icons in music, film, and television that made us laugh, cry, dance, sing, and hope for a better future.

Bullock’s “Proposal” has been accepted

June 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Movies/TV

Movie audiences became sober after a two-week Hangover to say “Yes!” to Sandra Bullock’s long-awaited return to romantic comedies, as The Proposal was #1 at the box office this weekend with $34.1 million.   After a string of dramatic turns in films such as Crash and The Lake House, The Proposal proves once again that we still have love for Sandy.

However, moviegoers still remain to have The Hangover, now second with almost $27 million ($26.9), and was still Up in third place with $21.3 million.  Currently buzzing at almost $153 million, The Hangover is now in the Top 20 of all -time blockbusters of films rated R, as Up keeps going at $224 million.

And, finally, Jack Black takes audiences back to Year One, which debuts in the Top 5 with $20.2 million.

Beth’s Trivia (Did You Know … )

June 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Tech/Sci

The first person known to have officially “broken the sound barrier” – exceeding Mach 1 in an aircraft – was an Air Force captain named Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager on October 14, 1947, aboard the Bell XS-1. (One World War II Luftwaffe pilot, Hans Guido Mutke, claimed in 2001 that he exceeded Mach 1 on April 9, 1945, but there is no proof / documentation of his exploit.)

Several other pilots have exceeded Mach 1 – Albert Scott Crossfield at Mach 2, Milburn G. “Mel” Apt at Mach 3, Robert Michael White at Mach 4 /Mach 5, and William J. “Pete” Knight, who on October 3, 1967, “set a world aircraft speed record for manned aircraft by piloting the X-15A-2 to 4,520 mph (7,274 km/h), a record that still stands today.”

The fastest jet aircraft, the SR-71 aka “Blackbird,” reached a top speed of approximately Mach 3.3.

The first woman to exceed Mach 1 (in 1953) was Jacqueline “Jackie” Cochran, who still holds the female speed record (1,429 mph), set in the 1960s.

And, yes, a jet-powered land vehicle has gone more than Mach 1 – driven by an RAF pilot named Andy Green, on September 25, 1997.

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