Thursday, October 28, 2010

In Memory

In Memory
of
James MacArthur
December 8, 1937 - October 28, 2010
Adopted as an infant by Charles MacArthur and Helen Hayes, James caught the acting bug early in life. According to Wikipedia (hey, for this kind of stuff, the Wiki is just fine!) his godmother was Lillian Gish, and frequent family guests included Robert Benchley, John Barrymore, John Steinbeck and Harpo Marx.


Does that explain the hairstyle?

MacArthur was best known as "Danno" on television's "Hawaii Five-O", but as with most successful actors, he had a career both before and after his 11 years as side-kick to the world's coolest cop.


Before "Five-O", he could be found in classic episodes of "Gunsmoke", "Hondo", "Tarzan" and "Bonanza".

After "Five-O", he could be found on "Hollywood Squares", "Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island".

Sigh.

News reports indicate he died at his home in Florida from "natural causes". I suspect the new "Hawaii 5-0" TV show was a contributing factor.

Rest in Peace, James MacArthur.





Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Family Wedding

We traveled to Paducah this weekend for the wedding of my oldest brother. It was a good weekend, if not unusual.

The wedding went off without a hitch smoothly, although the rehearsal went waaaaayyyyy too long! And I was concerned a couple times about what the preacher said in the ceremony. For instance, in the exchange of vows, he asked the bride to promise to "forsake all other men" and the groom to "forsake all other women".

Hey, preacher, this is 2010! Does that mean it's okay for the bride to run off with another woman? Or for the groom to run off with another dude?

I'm just sayin'...

And in the exchange of rings, as he tried to explain the significance of the rings, he said, "So, when you lose your wedding ring for the first time..."

"When..."?

But that's just small stuff. I've done 66 weddings in my career, so maybe I've got more experience.

Or I'm just being picky.

Whatever.

On to the party. The invitation announced that the reception would be a Halloween Party. Costumes were encouraged. And they meant it. This guy greeted guests at the entrance.


In case you are wondering, I went dressed as the brother of the groom. I know, "lame costume, dude!" But I figured the coat and tie was costume enough for one day!

But others took the invitation seriously. It was an interesting mix of knights and princesses and werewolves and kitty cats and even Scooby-doo!

I mention Scooby-doo only because she beat me in the Limbo contest.

But hey, she was 4 years old!

Here's a shot of the wedding cake.


And here's a close-up of that cake topper.


The groom's cake was shaped like a tombstone, engraved with the names of family members... "who said, 'Until death do us part' and kept the promise."

A good time was had by all -- perhaps with the exception of one Musketeer who fell on his sword -- and the next afternoon the Bride and Groom were off on their honeymoon.

And as we headed back home, we saw this:


Probably the brightest rainbow I have ever seen -- and this one's a double! -- suggesting that it's all good!

Or, after two months of drought, God isn't going to flood the earth with the light rain that was falling.

Either way, it was a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Moral Tale

Banana Winds now presents the following fable (attributed to Aesop):

The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey

A Man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: "You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?"


So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: "See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides."


So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn't gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: "Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along."


Well, the Man didn't know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: "Aren't you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey with you and your hulking son?"


The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey's feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.

The moral to the story: If you try to please everyone, you’ll lose you’re a**!


(Okay, that’s not Aesop’s original moral, but it’s what he meant!)

***

The fable comes to mind as news spreads about the Crystal Cathedral’s recent filing for bankruptcy. Yes, Robert Schuller’s famous Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, has found itself $43 million in debt.


OMFG!


Admittedly, times are tough for everyone. But like in the fable above, when you find your “donkey” is up above your head, you know you are in trouble!


“These are tough times,” says Schuller’s daughter Sheila, now senior pastor of the fabled church. But despite selling off properties, cutting staff and scaling back (cutting television stations airing “Hour of Power” and eliminating the popular Christmas pageant “Glory of Easter”), the church still finds itself $43 million in debt!


To be sure, the decision to cancel “Glory of Easter” was a simple decision to make: the church owes the person who provides the livestock more than $57,000!


Clearly, someone was not paying attention! In 2009, the church lost 30% of its revenue – in part due to the recession, in part due to the in-fighting between Robert Schuller, Sr. and Robert Schuller, Jr. – the hand-chosen successor to the empire. (Junior was eventually replaced by Sheila.)

This is the church that started in a drive-in theatre parking lot. This is the church that launched "Hour of Power". This is the church that sold us the "Be-Happy Attitudes". This is the church with the dancing waters! This is the church with its own window-cleaning company!


But the new leadership at the cathedral insists they are tightening their belts and will live within the $2 million received monthly in the offering plate!


Are you kidding me??? Two million per month and they still can't make ends meet???


Let this be a lesson to you all.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall Carnival 2010

Best Costume!


Looks like she's got a little Captain in her!



Saturday, October 16, 2010

First Jack-O-Lantern

Here is the first Jack-O-Lantern of the season. I carved it quick for Friday's "Fall Carnival" at Asbury UMC.


More Carnival pics to follow.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gift Horse

I received an unexpected package in the mail yesterday. It came to the church, addressed to me. It appears to not be a mistake. The packing slip even seems to indicate that I had purchased it.

I had not.

At least, that I can remember.

As my psych professor used to say in college, "Must have been a good weekend... lots of brain damage."

Funny thing is, I had been longing for a flat-panel television to hang on the wall in my Sunday School classroom. I have wanted to expand the curriculum to include video series. I get so tired of lugging in the equipment from the Children's Class or Youth Room.

But I have never mentioned this to anyone. We have much more pressing needs, and my class of older adults isn't necessarily dazzled by the world of technology.

But sure enough, yesterday morning, there I was looking at a large box shipped directly from Sharp Electronics containing a 26" Sharp Aquos TV... LC... HD... M-O-U-S-E!


Now, those who know me well know that I am a cynic at heart. "There's always a catch." "There is no such a thing as a free meal." So I don't put my business card in the fishbowl at restaurants promising a weekly drawing.


With me, the glass is usually "half-empty".

Actually, it's usually empty! (Uurrrpppp!)

And I do not generally consider myself a "lucky" person, so I don't go around entering my name in drawings  or for door prizes. So the arrival of this television puzzled me.

Others warned me, "Better check your credit card statements!" But seriously, if someone was going to buy a television with one of my credit cards -- good luck with that, by the way! -- wouldn't they ship it to their own house, not my office???

Regardless, being the conscientious person that I am, I spent the next hour on the phone with Sharp Electronics in Huntington Beach, CA, trying to find out why they sent me this TV. After being booted around from desk to desk, I finally found a helpful woman who "opened a case file", took all the information I could provide, then made a few phone calls of her own.

Yet, even with a Purchase Order number, a Customer number, a Shipping number, and a Serial Number, she came up with nothing. And it almost seemed she meant that she couldn't even figure out why the television was shipped to me... as if there was no record of it at all!

Manna from heaven!!!

Now, I should just hang the blasted thing up on the classroom wall and count my blessings. But there's a still, small voice in my head telling me this "gift" is for another purpose, yet to be disclosed. 

And so it sits in my office, still in the box... under lock and key... tempting me... taunting me...

By the way, if, after reading this, you are of a devious mind to try and claim the TV, you are going to have to produce extensive paperwork (plus fingerprints, blood samples and urine specimens) proving that it is yours!

POST SCRIPT:
I knew it was too good to be true. And it didn't take long.

The church's Fall Carnival is coming up on Friday. A component of that is a Silent Auction. I didn't immediately think of that because in the past, the Silent Auction has been filled mostly with gift certificates to local restaurants and T-shirts from T.J. Mulligan's.

Tonight, while setting up for the carnival, a church member mentioned how she had contacted a friend who thought his company was going to make a cash donation; instead, he was sending something -- she didn't know what.

My wife asked, "Who does your friend work for?"

"Sharp Electronics," she replied.

I am awaiting the results of the urinalysis...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Mascot

[Let me begin by saying that (as offensive as this phrase is) "I don't have a dog in this fight". I am merely making an observation about current events.]

Several years ago, Ole Miss University woke up and declared their mascot, "Colonel Reb", offensive.

Not bad, I guess, for a university who recruited its first black football player in 1972.

Officially, the plantation-era Colonel has not been the official mascot since 2003, but tell that to the merchandisers. Finally, this year, the school officially declared the image of the Colonel to be off-limits.


Of course, they would phase the image out among official licensees. Don't want to create financial hardships based on moral compulsions.

So a search began in earnest to replace the good Colonel. The school will keep the name "Rebels", but wants a new image.

That sounds like they threw out the baby, but kept the bath water!

After polling students, alumni and other key persons, three possible new mascots have merged as the front-runners: 


There's the Ole Miss Rebels Black Bear, which takes its name from a poem by favored son William Faulkner.

Boring!

Then there's the Ole Miss Rebels "Hotty Toddy", a ficticious character in the official school cheer:
"Are you ready? Hell yes! Damn RIght!
Hotty Toddy, Gosh Almighty
Who the Hell are we? Hey
Flim Flam Bim Bam
Ole Miss, By Damn!"

And finally, there's the Ole Miss Rebels "Land Shark".


[INsert loud screechign sound here!]

What was that? "Land Shark"???

As in Chevy Chase's famous "Saturday Night Live" skit from 1975???


Look out, Buck Henry! That's no "Candy-gram!"

Or is it the "Land Shark" referred to in Jimmy Buffett's 1979 hit song, "Fins"?


That's the lonely guy at the beach, circling the single women, looking for fresh (easy) meat.

Or maybe it's a reference to Buffett's custom beer, "LandShark Lager", which Jimmy developed in conjunction with Anheuser-Busch in 2006 for his Margaritaville chain of restaurants?


Hmmmmm... Do I smell "product placement"?

That label, by the way, became the official sponsor of the staduim in which the Miami Dolphins play football during the 2009-10 season.

Officially, Ole Miss fans claim the "Land Shark" idea comes from former Ole Miss Linebacker, Tony Fein, who used to do Buffett's "Fins Up!" move on the field when he played for the team. (Fein died mysteriously in 2009.)

Licensing and trademark problems aside, I don't get the "Land Shark" idea. I mean, as far as I know, sharks don't swim in the Mississippi River, and Ole Miss is located more than 360 miles from the nearest ocean!


I guess that is why it would have to be a Land Shark as opposed to some other kind of shark!

But again, I'm not an Ole Miss fan, so I don't really care which they pick. I suppose there aren't any real Trojans in Southern California (talk about product placement!), or Tigers around LSU, and probably no giant orange Ducks in Oregon. So who cares if Ole Miss adopts the "Land Shark" as a mascot?

It just sounds to me like another excuse for college students to drink beer!

Like they need an official beer sponsor!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Chick Flick

Okay, I admit it. Last night I went to a Chick Flick.

Sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

Karen wanted to see “You Again.”

I recognized it right away as a Chick Flick, but I gave in because it contained four of my favorite “chicks”:

Jamie Lee Curtis


(“Halloween”, “Trading Places”, “True Lies”, “A Fish Called Wanda”)
See previous blog!


Sigourney Weaver


(“Alien”, “Ghost Busters”, “Aliens”, Alien 3”, Alien Resurrection”, “Avatar”, “Dave”)
A real woman!


Kristen Bell


(TV’s “Veronica Mars”, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, “Couples Retreat”)
What's not to like about that?!?


Betty White


(What hasn't she been in?!?)
Everybody’s favorite grandmother!

To be honest, it wasn’t a bad movie. Perhaps too many clich├ęs about relationships – way too many! – but it had its funny moments too.

I laughed... I cried... you know... a Chick Flick!

Besides, I have made Karen watch “the Godfather” trilogy too many times to turn her down on this one.




Guy Rule #43: When Channel surfing, if one comes across one of the "Godfather" movies, he is obligated to stop and watch until the movie is over.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Are You Kidding Me?

So I was at Lowe's yesterday, one of those big-box hardware and lumber stores I visit with amazing regularity.

Twenty years ago, when they sold mostly electronics and appliances, we bought our first vhs camcorder from there. Paid $600 for a camera that didn't really work, and we used it only a few times.

Now it's mostly paint and lumber.

So, I was cruising the aisles yesterday -- a long to-do list -- and as I turned the corner out of the Halloween decorations, what to my wondering eyes should appear but...


OMG!!!

Christmas already?!?

It was October 1st!

Although to be fair, Karen wants me to buy a new (artificial) Christmas tree this year, and I think I found it!

Do you think she'll like it?