Friday, November 22, 2013

Fifty Years Ago

Junior High Band
Jay Johnson
I lived only a few blocks from Belt Line Junior High. At 12:00 on Friday, November 22, 1963, I walked home for lunch.

I was the "new kid". I had been at Belt Line Junior High only two months and I was lost in a massive student body.  My life  had been dramatically turned upside.
My father changed jobs and the family moved from Abernathy, Texas to North Dallas, Richardson, Texas in August of 1963. Living all my life in the small town of Abernathy, Texas, I was suddenly up rooted and transplanted to begin growing up in Big D.  To make the transition more difficult my voice was changing and a very wispy mustache appeared on my upper lip.
Dad would work in  Dallas but chose to live in Richardson because of the reputation of the public schools. But this wonderful new school, I had to attend, was an alien planet to me.  In Abernathy I attended school with the same 20 kids since first grade. Belt Line Junior High as part of Richardson High School had more students than the entire city population of Abernathy. As the smallest freshest fish in this gigantic adolescent ocean I was sure I would be eaten first. I thought I would never survive Richardson/Dallas, Texas. This is why I avoided the incredibly intimidating lunchroom and walked home for a snack.
In spite of all this drama in my life, today Dallas, my new home town, will host the President of the United States. The idea that the actual President of the United States was physically 45 minutes from this new school was impressive to anyone even if they did NOT grow up in Abernathy.
My Mom had the television on and we watched local WFAA coverage of Air Force One landing at Love Field. The first Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, in a pink outfit and pill box hat, was first to exit the plane.  Then President Kennedy exited looking regal, waving and smiling to the cheering crowd.  At the bottom of the runway stairs he walked away from his security detail and greeted those who were straining at the fence to see him.  A reporter said he was brave to do that given the fear surrounding his visit.  Once the motorcade started there was no more television coverage, I wolfed down a tuna sandwich and headed back to school about 12:20.  My next class was Study Hall. 
As we began to settle into study hall  there was a rumble that the President had been shot. Kids were whispering it but no one seemed to know where the story came from.  It was as if the information was just in the air.  This girl I liked was very upset and almost in tears.  "It is a stupid rumor", I said, "I went home for lunch and just now saw him on television. He got off the plane and into his car. He hasn't been shot." The fact that the new kid had just seen the President on television made everyone feel better. Especially the girl I liked. It was a momentary victory for the new guy.
Moments later the  school PA system interrupted the quiet of the study hall.  Our principal said that the President had been shot. I remember to this day the look I got  from that girl I liked. Fifteen minutes later they gave the official announcement: President Kennedy was dead. There was a gasp followed by sniffling and crying. 
My next class was History. Only years later did I see the irony of living history that day rather than studying it.  The teacher became the moderator for the questions everyone had. Local reporters were grabbing anyone who witnessed the assassination and sticking them on television and radio. Some how this information was making its way into our class. Students were asking questions. Was it four shots or three? What is this grassy knoll and where is Dealey Plaza?  At one point it was rumored that Our Governor John Connally was dead.  I remember the History teacher getting everyone's attention and saying, "The  latest is the presidents assassin shot a policeman in Oak Cliff and the Dallas police have arrested him.  His name is Lee Harvey Oswald."  I thought it was very strange that although no one was certain how many shots were fired or where the fatal shots had come from or who fired them - the Dallas Police had arrested the assassin an hour and a half after it happened. Case closed crime solved.  It was too quick for even a junior high student to believe possible.
School was out at 3:00 and by the time I got home nothing was on the television but the "tragedy in Dallas".  I was sure that there would be different information by now, shedding more light on the quick arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald,  To my surprise the story I heard in History class didn't change. They had the guy, there were no other "person's of interest".  Oswald was already being referred to as the "lone gunman".  Once again it was hard to believe.
Over the next few hours Oswald is paraded around the police station for the television reporters.   Sunday morning Oswald is shot and killed at the Police station by a nightclub owner.  A lone gunman kills the lone gunman. The truth would  forever spin just out of reach.
Lyndon Johnson appoints a "commission" to investigate and find the truth.  The Warren Commission eventually concludes that the story I heard an hour after the assassination was the truth. That didn't make logical sense.  Johnson sealed the evidence records for 75 years.  That didn't make logical sense either. If the Warren Commission had done such a perfect job... why was it necessary to lock up the evidence for so long. That is when term "cover up" came into my vocabulary.
The assassination became a teen-age after thought as I discovered that a small fish in a gigantic adolescent ocean has a lot of room to swim. Belt Line Junior High changed the obit of my life and the Kennedy assassination will always be a part of my changed life.  
I doubt I will write much about the assassination 25 years from now. That's when we get to open the little black CLUE envelope to see who really did it.  I hope I'm still writing  twenty five years from now, but no more about the assassination. That story has now been told. Game over.
I think it was Col. Mustard in the Library with the lead pipe. 
As you were,

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Catch A Falling Star

Tomorrow is the actual anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination. The media has been all Kennedy all the time. I have watched every one of the retrospectives. If you follow this blog you know I have written about the assassination several times over the last week. There is one more JFK essay to go, it will appear in this blog tomorrow and be the last Kennedy article for a while. 
Everyone old enough remembers exactly where they were when they heard about the assassination. I've written about that.  No more conspiracy theories just the memories of a new kid at Belt Line Junior High.
It's time for a Kennedy break. Time to write of other things again.

It gets dark so early now I am not sure what time this happened last evening. As I open the door to let my dog Boo go outside, I notice it is overcast and misting. I stay outside to encourage her to be quick. I am not sure how wet she will get from this very light percipitation. The mist is too fine to even call it rain, tiny particles make the yard sparkle. I look up to see the driveway light reflecting off the small drops resting on the tree leaves. They look like stars on a overcast night. Then...
Movement in the sky distracts my attention.  At first just a shadow I can't identify.  There is no sound of a plane or helicopter only silence. As I focus in on the object it flashes red for a moment. Not like the light on an aircraft more like a glow sweeping over the object.  I can see it as a shadow against the grey sky, it is oval shaped. It's altitude is hard to judge but it is between me and the high clouds.  It appears to be moving or rather hovering just above the large ash tree. I don't think to reach for my camera but consider the possibility the unidentified floating object is an actual UFO, an alien craft attempting to land on my driveway.
The closer it gets the more detail I can see. It is not frightening so I walk to the driveway directly beneath it.  It gets almost close enough for me to touch it. There is no writing on it, nothing to identify it.  I am very excited as it gets closer, I know what this means.  The UFO becomes an IFO, identified is a star-shaped red helium filled Mylar balloon gently losing altitude and floating right into my hands. Just like Roswell, my flying saucer turns out to be a balloon.
I have no idea how far it traveled, nor what occasion it celebrated. No written greeting printed on it, just a red party balloon. It had plenty of helium and should have continued to soar higher and higher except for the weather. The weight of the mist sticking to the Mylar had eventually weighed it down to my level.  Inside I dried it off and the red star quickly floated to the top of my ceiling. Finally I remembered my camera and took a picture.
I see it as a good omen.  The native Americans believe if you could catch an Eagle feather before it hit the ground it would bring you magic.
Then there's the old Perry Como song that goes:  "Catch a falling start and put it in your pocket - save it for a rainy day."  I thought the event ripe with positive metaphor and symbolism. It was a good thing.   The mist delivered me a gift.  I caught a falling star.
As you were,

Monday, November 18, 2013

Body of Evidence

In the 1980 book "Best Evidence" author David S. Lifton concentrates on the physical evidence of the Kennedy murder. The "best evidence" in any murder case is the body of the victim. Once you determine how someone died you work backwards to means, weapon, motive, then suspect.  There is no question that the autopsy of John Kennedy's body was botched.  Lifton's book is over 700 pages long and goes into meticulous medical detail deconstructing the Kennedy autopsy with all the countless flaws.  If you like those details you should read it.  However, don't expect it to play out like a CSI episode. 
First of all in 1963 it was not a federal crime to kill a president. It was just a murder to be handled like any other crime by the local police. The law in Dallas was clear that an autopsy of a murder victim be done by local medical examiners. The Secret Service, under orders from Lyndon Johnson, effectively stole the body from Dallas Police custody in what some witnesses described as tug of war with the Presidents casket. 
One hour and thirty minutes after Kennedy was shot and thirty minutes after he was pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital, Kennedy's body was loaded onto Airforce One at Love Field and flown to Washington. The plan was that the body be autopsied by Walter Reed Hospital Army doctors. 
After the arrival in Washington the chain of custody for the "best evidence" is unclear and contradictory. Although the television audience sees Jacqueline and Robert Kennedy get in the ambulance with the body they do not stay with it.  The presidents body was actually taken by helicopter to the Hospital.   Lifton suggests the body is taken to Walter Reed Hospital where an autopsy was begun. But Robert Kennedy and the First Lady pointed out that John Kennedy was a Navy man. Walter Reed is an Army Hospital.  Bethesda is a Naval Hospital and the family insists the body be taken there for the autopsy.
The Bethesda autopsy is performed by Commander James J. Humes, MC, USN: director of laboratories of the National Medical School, Naval Medical Center, Bethesda. He was not experienced in gun shot wounds.  He was not a forensic pathologist nor medical examiner.  He had never performed an autopsy for a murder investigation. Instead of trying to find out what the evidence was telling him, he was listening to what people in the operating room were saying happened.  
The official version of the autopsy report is not the original.  Dr. Humes burned his original notes in his fireplace before submitting a revised version. It seems he was pressured into changing his statement on the trajectory of the head wound. If the Presidents head wound did not go back to front then there was a problem with the lone assassin theory. The case was already solved by the Dallas police, they had their lone gunman in custody.  The autopsy had to show that the bullet came from the back for that case to stand. 
The most stunning information in the Lifton book is a reprint of the autopsy transcript taken directly from the Warren Commission Report.  Dr. Humes states the time of day and says, "We are beginning the autopsy of President John Kennedy. Visual observation shows there has been surgery to the top of the Presidents head". He continues, describing the incisions he is making. But wait..."Surgery to the top of the Presidents head?" When and by whom? David Lifton finds no record that Parkland did any "surgery" to the Presidents head wound.  They distorted the Presidents throat wound when they performed a tracheotomy but nothing to his head wound. Witnesses at Bethesda say the President's body arrived in an aluminum army transport casket, not the ceremonial casket from Dallas, the one seen loaded and unloaded from the plane. 
Writer Lifton goes on to postulate a theory that the "best evidence" was altered to fit a pre-determined script at Walter Reed.  When all you have is a tainted autopsy report anything can be assumed. 
The  brain of President Kennedy has vanished from the National Archives so there won't be any further investigation or re-examination of that evidence.  There's not just one big thing about the Kennedy Murder Mystery that smacks of conspiracy and coverup there are so many little things.  Nothing seems to ring true and it is for sure we will never know the truth.
As you were,

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

Kennedy Connection

I am not an avid reader but I have read almost every book on the subject of the Kennedy Assassination. (I can even spell assassination without looking it up). There have been some completely loony theories, some creative theories and some compelling theories on the subject. I have my own opinion based upon the local coverage from WFAA in Dallas immediately after the shooting.  
I am not a "lone gunman" believer.  I will never be sure exactly how Oswald was involved, but think he was more of a patsy than anything else. Once you open up the possibility that it was a planned operation it gets difficult to follow. It is not so important if the secret service driver of the limo pulled a hand gun and shot the President, or if it was E. Howard Hunt who shot the President from a storm drain below Elm Street. Obviously those are crucial details in the murder but what group is responsible for the plot to kill the President. Three groups are usually thought of as suspects.  They are:

1) The CIA. It is true that Kennedy didn't like the CIA and they didn't like him.  He was supposed to support the CIA Bay of Pigs invasion with air support but he didn't and the operation was a disaster.  Kennedy was quoted as saying he was going to "splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds". 
Side note: Allen Dulles, head of the CIA was fired by Kennedy over the Bay of Pigs incident. Several of his staff resigned in protest including deputy director Charles Cabell.  Allen Dulles was later appointed to the Warren Commission by Lyndon Johnson.

2)The Mafia.  It is believe that the Mob helped Kennedy get elected in a very close race with Nixon.  There were voting districts in the Chicago area that seem to have been as tainted as any in Florida during the 2000 election.  Sam Giancana, the Chicago boss, was said to have "influenced" the ballot boxes in several districts.  However, once in office JFK unleashes his brother as Attorney General who began to crack down on organized crime with a manic passion.  Carlos Marcello, New Orleans mob boss was dogged by Robert Kennedy and is quoted as saying, "Take the stone from my shoe" meaning get Bobby Kennedy off his back.  Santos Trafficante the Miami/Cuba mob boss said, "If you cut the dogs tail off the head will still bite. If you cut the dogs head off the tail no longer wags." The Traficante idea was, kill the president and his brother will no longer be the Attorney General. After he heard that President Kennedy had been killed, Jimmy Hoffa is quoted as saying "Well, that makes Bobby Kennedy just another lawyer, doesn't it?" (Five years later Bobby was assassinated when it looked like he might become president) 

3)Wealthy Texas Right Wing Radicals.  Dallas hated Kennedy and the day he arrived for the visit there was a full page ad in the Dallas Morning News accusing him of treason and calling for his impeachment.  Months before Adli Stevenson was physically assaulted by a protester when he was visiting Dallas, Texas. Dallas in particular, was a hot bed of hatred toward the Kennedys. Earl Cabell was mayor of Dallas at the time of the assassination. He was the third generation of a Cabell as mayor of Dallas. His Father and Grandfather had both been mayor of Dallas. More importantly Earl Cabell is the brother of Charles Cabell ousted deputy director of the CIA.  The fact that the route of the motorcade through Dallas needed the Mayor's approval has always been a curious connection to the tragedy. 

It is possible to make a case that any one of these three "groups" could have motive to plan and execute the assassination. They were all one in reality.  Here is how they connect.
It is easy to connect the Mafia and the CIA. They were both working together to take Cuba back from Castro. For the CIA it was strategic and for the Mob it was business since all their casinos had been nationalized and then closed by Castro. Frank Angelo Fiorini was in several branches of the United States military, aided Fidel Castro in the Cuban revolution of 1958, and worked as an undercover operative for the CIA. When Castro won the revolution he appointed Frank Fiorini as "head of national gaming" for Cuba. Fiorini was the contact between Castro and the Mafia operations of the casinos for a year after the revolution.  Fiorini left Cuba when Castro closed the mafia hotels. It is obvious he continued in the employ of the CIA. Frank Fiorini later changed his name to Frank Sturgis and was arrested in the Watergate Break in. He alone proves the link between the CIA, Cuba and the Mafia. 
It is also easy to connect rich Texas Right Wing radicals with the CIA at the time.  In the early late 50's early 60's George H.W. Bush owned the Zapata Offshore Company, a subsidiary which specialized in offshore drilling in Houston Texas. Although Mr. Bush would later become head of the CIA, Vice-President and eventually President there is no proof that he was CIA during his oil company days. However, two of the ships used in the Bay of Pigs invasion (provided by a wealthy un-named Texas oil man) were named the "Zapata" and the "Barbara" two names closely associated with George H.W. Bush. In the Warren commission it states that private citizen George H. W. Bush was "briefed" on the assassination investigation by the government the day after the event.  This was before Mr. Bush was part of the official government. He was one of the only private citizens to receive an official briefing.  I am not implying that "George the first" had anything to so with the assassination of John Kennedy. I simply point out that the over lap between the prime suspects in this case is more than coincidental. 
So there you have it 50 years later and it is still a mystery.  I suggest it will always be.  There is no smoking gun proof of anything including the theory that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I am pretty sure the Warren Commission got it wrong, but it will be the only story that will survive ultimately.  Twenty-five years from now we will find an empty file that will lead to more mystery.
As you were,

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Dealey Plaza Plot

The sixth floor corner window of the Texas School Book Depository is still referred to as the "sniper's nest".  It was a great location to shoot from, but totally misused by the sniper. 
I become very long winded talking about the Kennedy Assassination. I don't apologize. It will soon be 50 years ago and someone has to question the official story of the Warren Commission before that version of history wins by attrition.  
Dealey Plaza Dallas 1963
I don't believe the fatal head shot that killed President Kennedy came from the infamous "sniper's nest" of the Texas School Book Depository. There are hundreds of books by hundreds of authors who can explain in detail why they think that statement is true. I have read most of them and they are all compelling.  However, most people lose interest in the details of a 50 year old crime. Even one of such national importance. The investigation was botched from the beginning as well as covered up.  Even if you assume there was no conspiracy the records are sealed for 75 years or until 2038. That in itself could qualify as a cover up. Since no one can ever say with certainty, what happened on 11/22/63 it will always be mystery. 
Here is how I cut to the chase to cast doubt on the single assassin theory of the Kennedy Assassination. It is my elevator pitch. Enough for the curious who have no attention for long stories. 
Above is a picture map of Dealey Plaza 1963, the Kennedy motorcade route drawn in red.  The Book Depository is colored yellow and the sniper's nest is the black dot. The yellow "X" is approximately where the fatal shot hit "the target".   
Notice that instead of going straight to the freeway on Main Street due south,  the President's car made an odd right turn on Houston Street for only one block and then a left turn onto Elm. It was the only turn the motorcade made during the entire downtown Dallas parade. With all streets closed there was no reason not to continue on down Main.  
The "target" slows down and turns directly toward the sniper on Houston Street continuing to move closer for the length of a city block. (that would be the area shaded in blue) From that position the sniper could look directly into the target's eyes with the scope. It would be very hard to miss a shot like that and at the speed and direction he would have plenty of time to aim. But the sniper does not take that shot.  
The "target" slows again to make a left turn directly in front of and below the "snipers nest". The sniper is as close as he will ever be to the target, six floors directly above.  But the sniper does not take that easy shot either.  He waits until the "target" turns moving at a 45 degree angle away from his position which by then is partly obscured by the trees below.  This is the shot he takes. Unlike the straight on shot this angle has a very low percentage of being a successful kill shot. 
Told you... most people lose interest by now, but there it is; just one small mystery among the thousands about this murder that will never be answered, not even in 2038.
As you were,

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Still 25 years Away...

This is a reprint of a post I did several years ago on the anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination. A week from this Friday it will be 50 years ago to the day of the week.  That amount of time is hard for me to comprehend, and yet we are still 25 years away from opening all the files of the case.  President Lyndon B. Johnson sealed the records of the assassination for 75 years in 1963. Even if I knew I would be alive and aware enough in 2065 to care about what has been sealed, I am sure there is nothing left to discover. There is no black envelope like a game of Clue that will be opened in 2065 that says, "Professor Oswald, in the Book Depository with a Mannlicher Carcano M91/38 rifle". The reason you seal up records for so long is to give time for the people who destroyed evidence and  files to die. Well done shadow government, well done.


Friday 11/22/63
My family moved to Dallas in August of 1963. Three months later JFK was assassinated on Friday, November 22, 1963 in downtown Dallas. The city would never be the same, me neither. I was just old enough to be affected by the events. The Dallas news covered the assassination as a local news. For the first few hours stories coming out of Dallas were different than the version the Warren commission would later deify.

Dealey Plaza is only a block from WFAA, the Dallas ABC Television station. People were literally pulled from the street and put in front of a camera and their immediate eye witness testimony recorded, minutes after they witnessed the murder. It was as raw and instantaneous as an interview can be. There was no time to think of the story or remember incorrectly. Every person interviewed at the time stated that the shots came from the Grassy Knoll or the Triple over pass, in front of the Presidents car. They also testified to four shots not three, two happening so close together they almost sounded like a single shot. That factor alone would prove a conspiracy.

But what got me was the speed at which the Dallas police were able to solve the crime of the century. In less than two hours after the shots were fired, Lee Harvey Oswald was in custody. Fourteen minutes after the shots were fired the Dallas police broadcast Oswald's description as the killer. Martin Luther King's was murdered in much the same way by a "lone assassin" using a rifle fired from a building and it took the FBI more than two months to catch James Earl Ray. I would love to think the Dallas police were that good at their jobs back then, but it reeked of set up and conspiracy to me even then.

The Dallas police caught Oswald at the Texas Theatre. The ticket seller called the police because a man entered the theatre without paying. Although the President had just been shot and the crime scene was several miles away, 30 police officers were sent to apprehend the movie goer. At the theatre they accused Oswald of being the assassin. There was at that time nothing to connect the movie going vagrant as the presidential killer.

Oswald was only in custody for 48 hours before he was shot to death at the police building. He was denied his right to have a lawyer, even though he asked for one from the moment he got to the station. Although the police were telling the reporters he was the assassin, they did not have enough evidence to officially charge him with that crime.

That is probably why I got so hung up on seeking the truth of what happened. I'm still looking. I think I have read every major book on the Assassination and a few goofy ones. There are those who still believe in the single bullet theory and the lone assassin. I never know what to say to such a belief. There is more compelling evidence for the existence of Big Foot than there is to support either of those Warren Commission assertions. Even the House on Assassinations Committee, who did their own investigation into the Kennedy assassination in 1975, came to the conclusion that the Kennedy assassination was "probably" a conspiracy. But no one ever tried to find out more than that.

I didn't need the Nixon years to convince  me that the government was crooked. I knew it even then. By the way, the files that might actually shed some light on the whole event. They were sealed up for 75 years by Lyndon Johnson. That's thirty years from now. I doubt anyone will care by then, and Big Foot will probably be head of homeland security.

(The picture above of me holding the newspaper is a couple of decades old taken at Laughs Unlimited Comedy Club in Sacramento, CA. Even then I was obsessed.)
As you were,

Friday, November 08, 2013

A game of Chance?

Sandi and I played darts with a couple last night at Kings Head in the Valley.  As I packed my darts in a carrying case to take to the bar, I came across my Southern California Darts Association membership card. It was dated 1986. My life as a competitive dart player flashed before my eyes.
I was co-captain of a dart team called "The Masked Men".  I formed the team of video camera men and production types with a girl friend named Eden. Eden was a five foot two, 24 year old busty blond pixie with a great sense of humor.  I didn't know her very well before we formed the team.  She was the booth PA for my show "So You Think You Got Troubles". I was in front of the camera and she was in the booth with the director in another room. Eden was somewhat of a savant with numbers and on her way to becoming a director one day.
I had a party for the cast and crew of that show at my house.  Eden was there and I saw her looking intently at the dart board I had in the den. I was serious about darts with a regulation bristle board. Eden said, "Do you like to play darts?" The truth was I was just learning how to really play, the board was fairly new. However, a dart game is a very good way to get to know someone so I said, "I love darts. You want to play a game?"
She looked semi-interested and said, "What kind of games do you play?"
As any man might do, I decided to impress this young girl with my vast knowledge.  I explained the most common games. I described 301 double in double out.  501 single in double out.  Cricket, with points and CutThroat.  I explained that the outer ring was worth double the points and the inter ring triple. I explained how you could hit a triple twenty and score more points than a double bulls eye which was only 50.
She said, "Do  you have any darts?" Once again I launched into an explanation of the weight, the barrel length and the flights of darts. I took several sets of darts from the drawer and laid them out. I said that they were like golf clubs and you had to find the right weight and length for your throwing style.  She looked at a couple of sets and tried throwing one or two.  She was not sure which ones were better for her.  She said, "Sure I'll play. What is that 501 game?"
I explained the rules in detail.  She said, "Do you play for money?" 
I said, "You can play any game for money I guess."
"Well then, let's play for five dollars." 
"I don't want to take your money."
"It's okay," she said, "it will be like I am paying for a dart lesson.  It will make it more interesting." 
I said, "Well, why not, sure."
With that she opened her purse and took out a personalized leather case containing a custom weighted set of her own darts.  I realized I had been played already. 
She said, "I thought you knew, my boyfriend is a team player in the Southern California Darts Association. We play in bars all the time."
It was me who ended up paying for a dart lesson.  I learned really fast that darts is a game of skill and a game of numbers, it is most certainly not a game of chance. Eden and I formed "The Masked Men" and played for several years winning three first place trophies over that span. 
In 1986 she was killed after losing control of her car on the 405 Freeway and slamming into an over pass support.  She was returning home from a dart game.  It was a life cut far too short. It ended our team and my participation in the Southern California Darts Association. 
I remembered this morning that yesterday was her birthday. My birthday is 7/11  and hers was 11/7 and we were both superstitious about those numbers. Eden is missed by everyone who knew her, she would have been pleased that I played darts again on her birthday.
As you were,

Tuesday, November 05, 2013


How many ways are these monkeys different?

The quote

I was raised in a fundamentalist church when I was a kid in Texas. In fact my Dad's parents were founding members of that local organization.  The church had very strict ideas about what was holy and what was not especially when it came to women.  Makeup was frowned upon like jewelry and other "sinful" adornments.  My Mom and Dad were obedient to a degree but did not buy into all the rules.  Particularly the ones they did not think had any religious purpose. 
One Sunday at dinner, after church, my brother said, "Daddy what is a harlot?"  If we had been doing a sitcom Dad would have spit his coffee out but this was real life.
My Dad had a thing about bad words.  I never heard him curse at anything. He would even say, "I don't give a rats bottom".. rather than say rat's ass. Later he shortened that to RB because bottom was a little strong.
So, here is Dad who doesn't even say "bottom" and the "H" word has just hit the Family Sunday dinner table. Not wanting to commit to a definition of the word until he had more information Dad said, "Where did you hear a word like that?"
My brother said he heard it in Sunday school that morning. Dad said, "Was it the story about Jesus saying 'let him who is without sin cast the first stone'?" 
This confused my older brother. That is not the context in which the word was used.  My brother said, 
"Well, no.  It's just,  the Sunday school teacher said a harlot is a woman who wears lipstick.  Since Mommie wears lipstick I wondered if she was a harlot?"
That afternoon my family became Methodist.  We never went back to that church again. 
Later in my college years I began to read new thought books and found they were closer to the way I felt about my faith than some of the more traditional churches.  I eventually discovered Christian Science which, for me, was kind of the bridge between the two philosophies and joined that Church as an adult. As I continued to study, I followed some teachers and practitioners who left the structure of the Christian Science organization so they could express their own interpretation of Life. I liked what they had to say even if Christian Science declared their writings "NOT Authorized". Eventually the CS organization did not fill my spiritual needs any longer so I gave up my membership.  I am now a free spirit. I still attend services that lift me up, but I will probably never become a card carrying member of any religious organization. I feel like every religion, at its foundation, has good things to help improve our quality of existence. The problems creep in trying to make a "club" out of a philosophy and call it a church.
I collect quotes from writers, teachers and philosophers who make sense no matter what flavor of religion they served. These quotes become little meditations that I can think on during the day and feel better. If it is a quote from Mary Baker Eddy I would write CS at the bottom so I would know it was found in Christian Science. I use JS for Joel Goldsmith, well, you get the idea. I still find scraps of paper stuffed in various places with some spiritual jewel on it.  That was the case this week when I was clearing out some old "dead files". 
I came across this quote printed in my best block lettering on the back of a cocktail napkin.
It said:
"Do what you want when you want, cause you can do anything" CS.  

I took it as a Christian Science statement and applied this wisdom to my daily chores. Somehow it empowered me to take some risks and believe I could do anything I set my mind to do. It was inspirational.  My day was more productive.
As I was falling asleep listening to Pandora  last night, I sat straight up in bed after hearing that phrase in a song.  Because Internet music provides instant information on the artist and the song I managed to discover something interesting.  
"Do what you want when you want, cause you can do anything..." is not a religious quote. It is from a 70's  song entitled "Where do the Children Play".  The block printed  CS on my "cocktail napkin chestnut" did not stand for Christian Science.... the CS stood for CAT STEVENS. 
Inspiration is what you do with it. 
As you were,

Monday, November 04, 2013

Auditory Joke

"We deriver"
It was  millionaire publisher Charles Foster Kane who declared, "Just get me the picture and I'll provide the story." The editorial direction of TWIAS (this blog) patterns itself after the Kane declaration of journalism.  
Here is the picture and I am trying to blog a joke which will connect text and image. Unfortunately, the joke I have in mind is a uniquely linguistic joke that should only be spoken  out loud.  I am not sure it can actually  be written in prose or text, but here goes. *
I suggest that the reader speak the joke out loud, as written, to comprehend the vocal inflections and phonics that impact the timing of the humor.
A man orders a chicken dish at a Chinese restaurant. After he has had a chance to taste it the Asian waiter asks, "How you chicken dinnea?" 
The man thinks for a moment and says, "Well to be honest the chicken was rubbery."
The waiter beams and says, "Shank You Berry Mush. Grad you rike it." *
Be the life of the party. Repeat this joke out loud as often as you can for your friends and family until you are sure it is no longer funny.
As you were,
*Ignore the following paragraph. 

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Day of the Dead

The day of the dead is an oxymoron.  Seems to me the very definition of being dead is having no more days, but logic never stopped living humans from constructing reasons to celebrate. And by golly since everyone knows someone who is dead, everybody can celebrate.  We celebrate the "day of the dead" less in America because it is not a retail holiday. America likes retail holidays the best. We like to celebrate holidays that can turn a profit. 

Lest we forget Mother's Day was an invention of the Hallmark Greeting card company, designed to sell more cards.   Think about the marketing of candy companies for Valentine's Day, costume shops for Halloween and Flowers for Mothers day. They also cross market with Flowers for Valentine's Day and candy for Halloween;  You get the point.

Unfortunately we can't send cards to dead people. and no product has been able to co-opt the "day of the dead" as its own.  Having a College degree in marketing, I can tell you that a lot of marketing techniques are based on guilt. Living people provide more guilt than dead people can. The dead can't complain they never get a card, flowers, candy or a call from their kids anymore because... well, they're dead.  Perhaps it is as simple as that. 
That is not to say -  there is no money to be made on the dead. Elvis is raking in more money now than when he had to tour. Marilyn Monroe can claim the same tax bracket among the choir invisible. 
Halloween is over till next year, so this is one last chance to close with a dead joke.  A dead joke for Day of the Dead:
St. Peter arrives at the Pearly Gates early to see a longer line than usual. He needs to separate the new arrivals so he can assign them wings and says, "We're taking couples first. Wives in this line, husbands in this one." Then he divides the men into two lines and says,
"Over here the men who were obedient to their wife and always did what she told them to do. Over there they guys who never obeyed their wives." 
Hundreds of men line up in the obedient line, except for one guy. He occupies the only place in the disobedient cue. St Peter is interested. He walks up to the guy and says, "Wow. We see very few of your kind, Tell me how you got here."  
The guy says,
"My wife told me to stand here. The line is shorter." 
Okay, it may not be the best Day of the Dead joke you hear today, but it is  not political, racist, obscene, anti/pro religious and not really sexist. Perhaps that is why it is not so funny.
Buenos día de los muertos
As you were,

Friday, November 01, 2013

All Saints Day

It's the day after Halloween.  The ghosts go back to where ever they came from and the saints return.
Today we honor St. Beanie of Cecil...