Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Today on ER! Live from Leipzig!

This is a hoot, and not inappropriate for Halloween, it having tangentially to do with death.

What follows is an excerpt from my Oct. 17 post (minus gratuitous mention of boo-boos). Below that is a comment left on that post yesterday by the director of a museum in Leipzig, Saxony, Germany.

... then, to the famed Prairie Lights bookstore (in Iowa City, Iowa), where I overheard this interesting story:

A man behind a counter on the phone was telling a friend, incredulously, how in a new-book catalog he had read of this book about the demise of the funerary violin in post-Reformation Europe.

Turns out that the man, himself, is something of a violin afficionado and musicologist, and he had never heard of such. He said he thinks, "This is bullshit." So he makes some calls and, lo and behold, he gets quoted in the New York Times, then in The Guardian, and then the story goes on National Public Radio, and isn't it all just a hoot, but his discovery of an apparent hoax hasn't made him rich yet.

Took just a little Googling to find the story in The Guardian. The man I overheard apparently was Paul Ingram, quoted as the "bookseller in Iowa" in the story. Wow. Talk about ticklin' my erudite side.

Here's the book in question (literally in question): Rohan Kriwaczek, An Incomplete History of the Art of the Funerary Violins (New York: Overlook, 2006) -- apparently more "incomplete" than the author intended.

Ms. Vogt's comment:

Jim Harris at Prairie Lights Books recently sent me an advance copy of AN INCOMPLETE HISTORY OF THE ART OF FUNERARY VIOLIN and I must take issue with his colleague Paul Ingram’s assessment that the book is a hoax. My belief is that the Rohan Kriwaczek hoax is itself a hoax.

Let me explain. I am the director of MuseumZeitraim Leipzig and a former curator at The Wassmann Foundation, Washington, D.C. Research and scholarship at both institutions confirms that the Leipzig composer Hugo Wassmann, brother of the renowned artist Johann Dieter Wassmann, was an active member of the Lutheran wing of Leipzig’s Guild of Funerary Violinists in the 1890s. Hugo’s ultimate falling out with the Guild came in 1901 over his efforts to introduce the saxophone to funerary rights, a practice that would eventually take hold in the city of New Orleans with great success, although not among Lutherans. Hugo was a former captain in the Prussian army and regularly composed military marches inclusive of the saxophone.

Here in Leipzig, the funerary violin has a long and crucial history, most often associated with Heironymous Gratchenfleiss. Gratchenfleiss’s extensive archives were in the care of
Musikinstrumenten-Museum der Universität Leipzig, part of the Grassi Museum, but lost forever when the complex was gutted by fire in an Allied bombing raid on 3 December 1943.

The un-sourced (and poorly translated) letter Kriwaczek quotes referencing Gratchenfleiss, dated 14 September 1787 (pp 62-63), which he simply describes as “by an unknown man named Fredrik,” is in fact by the pen of Fredrik Wassmann, grandfather of Johann and Hugo, describing the funeral of their great-grandfather, a funeral Gratchenfleiss performed. An original copy of the letter is in the archives of The Wassmann Foundation. The liberties Kriwaczek takes with his facts would appear to be part of a larger narrative strategy to make it appear he has created a hoax, when he hasn’t. What a dull book it would have been otherwise.



Sophie Vogt
MuseumZeitraum Leipzig
# posted by Sophie Vogt : 2:29 AM

Small world, etc., etc.!


P.S. Happy Halloween, y'all. My Choctaw language class meets tonight right when the little ghouls and goblins will be out, so I'll have to miss it this year. :-(

Monday, October 30, 2006


YankeeBeau makes a fine hand

Good sign. While Dr. ER and I were in Kansas and Iowa, Bird (20-year-old redheaded redneck stepchild) and her YankeeBeau (her 21-year-old sweetie, from Massachusetts), dog- and cat-sat for us.

During a real toad strangler, they reported that the rain gutters appeared useless and that water was rushing off the house willy-nilly. Downspouts clogged.

Plan was for me to scale a ladder and deal with this over the weekend. Unplanned was my dang ear infection, which has me nearly deaf in my left ear and has me pretty much a little dizzy all the time, and unable to walk a straight line. No ladder-climbing for me, please.

Bird and YankeeBeau were in Texas the first half of the weekend, and I text-messaged Bird that I would require YankeeBeau's assistance "for about an hour" on Sunday afternoon when they passed through on their way back home.

Hoo boy. Make that two hours plus, and it was at least five times as difficult as I expected. Yet YankeeBeau came to the aid of his sweetie's step-pa with nary a complaint -- and he wouldn't let me pay him.

"Hey, I can't take that. No way. If I needed your help, you wouldn't charge me."


YankeeBeau made a right fine hand, and I truly appreciate the help. Supper is on me next time.



Welcome to the UCC fold; fear not ...

Here's my take on the United Church of Christ: Come follow Jesus. We promise not to get in your way.


Devotion for Monday, October 30, 2006

by Dan Peeler
Cathedral of Hope

But Jesus, not heeding the word spoken, said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Fear not, only believe”. Mark 5.36

Yesterday, our Children’s and Youth Ministries had our annual “Who’s Afraid of Halloween” party. There was the usual variety of spooky costumes making our regular attendees barely recognizable, along with too much candy, a marionette show, an embarrassment of donated prizes and the expected spookiness that always makes the event one to remember. No one converted to Celtic nature worship or took up witchcraft, however, despite the fear some folks have of this mixed up and generally manufactured holiday.

Unless they are told otherwise, children do not fear that they will be cursed or otherwise spiritually scarred for life by painting a little greasepaint on their faces and saying, “boo.” The Christ that they learn about every week removes that sort of fear from their lives and besides, he always enjoyed a good party, too. (On Sunday night, we witnessed the Body of Christ celebrating even again with more marionettes, cake walks and pumpkin decorating contests at our All-Church Halloween party.)

It turned out to be quite appropriate that we participated in so many joyous events on this particular Sunday because on Saturday we learned that all of us had a significant reason to party. The United Church of Christ, by a considerable margin had voted on that day to accept the Cathedral of Hope’s request to become a member church of their denomination.

Our Halloween parties turned out to be a metaphor for UCC’s initiative in demonstrating what a courageous body of the followers of Jesus could demonstrate to the world in the war against fear, proving their own commercials to be quite accurate in welcoming all of God’s Children into the community of the Spirit.

I was honored to be among those who attended the historic vote that took place in a beautiful little country church in Reisel, Texas, and from that day forward, I’m sure this late October season of celebrations and Reformations will have an even deeper personal reason for this particular body of the United Church of Christ in being more thankful to God than ever for reasons to party; and reasons to worship so gracious a God.


Sunday, October 29, 2006


On the 'recovery' of Christianity II

(Read/listen to Part 1 on Day1, formerly The Protestant Hour).

The Rev. Dr. Robin Meyers is senior minister of Mayflower Congregational (UCC) Church in Oklahoma City and professor of rhetoric in the philosophy department at Oklahoma City University. In today's sermon, Dr. Meyers presents his second of three sermons exploring the role of imagination in faith.

If you listened to the last broadcast, then you know that I am preaching a three-part sermon series on the role of the imagination in becoming a follower of Jesus -- a topic not often discussed from the pulpit.

I said last time that the operative premise of these sermons is that when we are born, we are locked into a kind of prison of self, and that unless we develop the moral imagination, we lack the key to escape from that prison. To imagine the plight of the other is what makes empathy possible, and empathy is what makes compassion possible. To be compassionate is to "feel with" another human being, not simply to "feel sorry" for them.

Now I'd like to take this a step further and examine how the empathic imagination is in fact the primary mode of revelation. It's how we intuit God. It's how we know the truth that sets us free.

Read or listen to the rest of Part 2 here.


Thursday, October 26, 2006


'Color of the Cross'

Depicting Jesus as black is good.

Depicting Jesus as black is bad.

Depiciting Jesus as black is ...

Discuss "Color of the Cross."



Not that anyone's counting ...

But ...

Gulp. I just looked it up.

A 12-inch cold cut trio at Subway is 820 calories. Add a bag of baked Lays and that's just about 1,000 calories. Coffee to drink. Zero cal.

About 5 p.m., at my desk, I ate half a pack of Twizzlers "red licorice." That's 120 calories.

Now, that's all I've had today, so far (not counting Dayquil). If I don't blow it for supper, it'll be a decent day, caloriewise.

Maybe a bowl of cereal and an apple.


(There some e-villl Belgian chocolate chunk cookies by my recliner that come a 13- calories per. ... Lord hep me.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Two hundred ninety four

Pounds, that is. Me. Yikes.

At 6 feet, 4 inches, I carry it pretty well -- but enough. That's it. No mas.

Back on the treadmill. Back on the salad train. Back to ... being more thoughtful about what I eat.

AFTER I get well.

Friday night, in Iowa, I started coming down with the crud. I drove back to OKC area in a forced march Saturday, gettin' sicker all the while. Monday, I *had* to go in to work to get some *must* things done.

Then, off yesterday. Went to the doctor -- were I was floored to see the scale tip 294! -- for one ear irrigation, some antibiotics (and a trial bottle of help-you-lose-weight pills, just to get a jumpstart, after I'm well.)

The other ear would not cooperate, so he gave me some kind of acid ear drops to use nightly -- moderately disconcerting -- and told me to come back Friday for another run at what feels like a firehose rammed into my left ear -- I swear, I thought my left eyeball was gonna pop out of my head.

Now, today: Off again. Still feel like crap. Dozed the morning away in front of Turner Classic Movies. "On an Island with You," 1948, with Esther Williams (rowr) and Jimmy Durante, et al. Good old flick. "Ivanhoe" is on in there now.

Must eat something. Must crawl back to recliner. Must rest. Must get fricking well.

(Doc: "So, have you ever taken diet pills before?" ER: "Yeah, but not for dieting." Doc: Laughs. "At least you're honest." ER: "What?")


Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Robin Meyers on the Christian Right


Satisfaction in a fortnight

Is it just me, or is the blogosphere holding its collective breath over the election? The handful of blogs I read daily are talking about anything but the seachange that appears to be under way.

On the right, I reckon they're in denial. On the left, I guess they're afraid to jinx it by talking about it.

Pony pucks!

Bush: "I never said 'stay the course.'" Haahahahahahahaahaha. Liar.

"Speaker Pelosi." Hoo hoo hoo. Who'da thunk it? IT COULD HAPPEN.

Hey, none of this is a measure of how much more liked and respected the Democrats are. It's a measure of how fed up everyday people are with the illegal, immoral and unnecesaary war in Iraq, and at being manipulated so baldly by the inmates running the Beltway Asylum.

I overheard a maintenance man at work, watching Bush on TV in a break room. He muttered to himself: "I'm sure ready for another president."

Bingo. And I'll bet he and millions of others will satisfy themselves in a fortnight by handing Congress to the presidents' opponents.

Oh, Oklahoma will stay as red as hell, although I can't *wait* to stamp the rooster! What do things look like where y'all are?


Monday, October 23, 2006


No cats harmed in making this post

Awwww. Wook at da widdle kitty. He's afwaid of the punkins in fwont of the house so ER had to squersh his widdle ass down into the cement to get the widdle bugger to be still long enough for this picture-wicture! He's a widdle jerk, sometimes, Ice-T is!

Sheesh. ;-)


Sunday, October 22, 2006



Ice-T is such a goofball. How could anyone not love this critter?


Saturday, October 21, 2006


A long and winding road

Worn out. Drove from Iowa City to home just north of OKC today. Left at 9 a.m.

Started out by a slightly out-of-the-way route, to see the house that appears in Grant Wood's "American Gotchic," in Eldon, Iowa.

Tonight on the radio, heard my Oklahoma State Cowboys grab defeat from the clutches of victory in OT against Texas A&M.

Cheering for the Cowboys is like voting Democratic for Congress and president in Oklahoma these days: It gets your hopes up -- for nada.

Ice-T is actually glad to see us! All purry and everything. He let Dr. ER hold him and actually kneeded her. Wow. Even a street-tough cat like Ice-T gets lonesome, I reckon.


Friday, October 20, 2006


On the 'recovery' of Christianity

Hey, y'all, the Rev. Robin Meyers, pastor of my church, has the pulpit for the next three weeks at "Day 1," the old radio show formerly known as "The Protestant Hour." A church member paid for the three programs, which don't come cheap.


I want to argue that the recovery of the moral imagination is more crucial to the recovery of Christianity in our time than all the arguments about doctrine, duty, or how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

When I say the "recovery" of Christianity, I do so for good reason because I believe that the faith we cherish has been hijacked -- taken hostage by men who, as this sermon will try to make clear, just can't imagine why what they are doing would be unimaginable to Jesus.

Read all about it (or listen).



Northward bound!

Dr. ER and I went out to the Amana colonies yesterday afternoon and I am now $190 lighter thanks to the Amana Woolen Mill.

I bought three flannel shirts and a wool blanket. And a small sock monkey. And one of those rubbery plastic, egg-shaped "old man" change purses for an ongoing joke with someone.

We're fixing to head north to Burr Oak and Laura Ingalls Wilder land.


Thursday, October 19, 2006


Was I a liberal arts major, or what?

Dang it all. A formal dinner last night with Dr. ER kept me from attending an anti-Iraq war demonstration a few blocks away on the University of Iowa campus.

Yesterday, I popped in at the history department and actually had five minutes with the department chairman. And danged if I didn't get a free book.

Just inside the department door was a sign on the wall, "Free Books," with a bunch of books just stacked in the floor. A professor had retired, clearly. The pickings were slim, but there was Henry Steele Commager's classic, The American Mind, so I grabbed it.

Dr. ER is through with her conference at midday today. I think we're going to go to the Amana Colonies. We're here all day tomorrow, too.

Might go to Cedar Rapids, where the museum has an extensive collection of Iowa artist Grant Wood's paintings. Maybe not, though, since his greatest work, American Gothic, is at the Art Institute of Chicago. Grrr.

Might drive on up to Burr Oak, Iowa, 150 miles north, to see where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived for a year or so when daddy Charles worked at a hotel between frontier farming failures. It's just a few miles from Minnesota, so of course, we'd have to drive on up so we could say we did, neither of us having been to Minn-e-SOH-ta!

Might see if Dr. ER wants to go to the Museum of Art on campus to see Jackson Pollock's "Mural." It's just right *there.* Huge. I had no clue it was so big. Very cool, although look at it for very long makes my eyes twitch like when I'm getting an eye exam.

Then we head back Saturday, to as far as Wichita, Kan., maybe, or maybe all the way home It's only 665 miles.

We plan to go through Ottumwa -- "Radar's" hometown -- *and* Dr. ER doesn't know it yet, but we'll whip through Eldon, Iowa, on the way to see the actual house that Grant Wood depicted in "American Gothic."


Wednesday, October 18, 2006


The last actual compassionate conservative

Quite to my surprise, I visited Herbert Hoover's birthplace and presidential library and museum today, in West Branch, Iowa, a few miles east of Iowa City.

A surprise because if you'd asked me, I couldn't've told you where Hoover was from, or where his library-museum was. Not my century.

But it was very cool.

Hoover still gets grief for not using the powers of the presidency to respond to the Great Depression. He did not act, despite having a heart as big as Dallas -- because circumstances had outstripped the power of the presidency.

It took FDR and a shell-shocked Congress to deal with it -- and, yes, the WW II war machine helped -- and the federal government was forever changed.

Hoover was a true compassionate conservative. He was elected to a presidency that, as an institution, was powerless to respond.

The current president has no such excuse. Of course, George W. Bush is neither compassionate *nor* conservative, so it doesn't really matter. And *his* war machine is not helping at all.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006


'Susceptible to heretical misconstrual'

First, some housekeeping:

I bought boo-boos (family word for undies, nothing to do with "accidents") at a truckstop because ... they were there. I had miscounted my need in my typical last-second flurry of packing.

At Drlobojo's suggestion, I walked the 1 mile-plus to the Museum of Art on the Iowa campus ("plus" because first rattle out of the chute this morning, I took off in the wrong direction for about three blocks before I realized my not-yet-enough coffee mistake), and, of course, it's closed on Tuesdays! I shall return. Tomorrow.

Now, today.

Went first to one of the coffee shops that are everywhere here. Ahh, the caffeine-driven student life! Topped off my tank with a brewed hazelnut and a cinnamon roll as big as a baby moon hubcap, and took off -- in the wrong direction!

Realized my mistake and found the Old Capitol, which I enjoyed. Turns out that if I think of Iowa as a once-frontier state, and not as a Yankee state, it's pretty dang interesting! Especially if you throw in the Ioways, the Sioux and the Blackhawk War and "Blackhawk Purchase" and such. Very cool.

Then, to the closed University of Iowa Museum of Art. Then to the University of Iowa's little-bitty student union for a salad lunch (making up for recent gastrointestinal sins) and a bottle of water.

The union, under renovation, isn't that small, of course, but a running bragging right of Oklahoma State is that its Student Union is supposed to be the biggest one in the country. I'm not sure about that, but it is bigger than the one here, and you could stack a lot of hay in it.

Then, off to get a feel for the campus and downtown area. I think I have it in hand now. Then, to the famed Prairie Lights bookstore, where I overheard this interesting story:

A man behind a counter on the phone was telling a friend, incredulously, how in a new-book catalog he had read of this book about the demise of the funerary violin in post-Reformation Europe.

Turns out that the man, himself, is something of a violin afficionado and musicologist, and he had never heard of such. He said he thinks, "This is bullshit." So he makes some calls and, lo and behold, he gets quoted in the New York Times, then in The Guardian, and then the story goes on National Public Radio, and isn't it all just a hoot, but his discovery of an apparent hoax hasn't made him rich yet.

Took just a little Googling to find the story in The Guardian. The man I overheard apparently was Paul Ingram, quoted as the "bookseller in Iowa" in the story. Wow. Talk about ticklin' my erudite side.

Here's the book in question (literally in question): Rohan Kriwaczek, An Incomplete History of the Art of the Funerary Violins (New York: Overlook, 2006) -- apparently more "incomplete" than the author intended.

Then, to a cigar-friendly coffee shop called Tobacco Bowl. A real dive kind of joint. Perfect place to scan The Nation and one of the books I picked up at Prairie Lights:

Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003). The headline on this post is a line from this book.

The other book I bought was the companion by Ehrman, Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament, same publisher, same year.

Books I did not buy include Bob Woodward's State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III, because it will be 30 percent off at B&N before you know it, and Susan Estrich, Soulless: Ann Coulter and the Right-Wing Church of Hate, but laughed so hard when I saw it that I startled some of the quiet Midwesterners who were browsing books, unaware of the Typically Loud and Large Oklahoman Erudite Redneck in their midst! I'll probably buy the Estrich book later for the cover alone.

Oh, and I found the steakhouse at which Dr. ER and I will dine Thursday night, Joseph's Steakhouse, also within walking distance of the hotel. Hoo boy. They are proud of their beef in Iowa. I'll have to eat cheap potted meat on crackers for a month to justify the expense. :-)

Monday, October 16, 2006


Redneck Erudite

First: John Ashcroft is live on Countdown with Keith Olbermann; my head is going to explode. ...


I have bought clothes two days at a row at truck stops: boo-boos yesterday (three-pack of FOTLs), and a pair of long shorts, for sleepin' drawers, today.

Dr. ER asked if I was gonna make a habit of expandin' my wardrobe along the highway and I said, "10-4."


We're here, at the Sheraton Iowa City, at the edge of the University of Iowa campus.

I will be left to my own devices tomorrow day. I have been alerted to Prairie Lights bookstore, which, along with a couple of cool bars and coffee shops, is within easy walking distance.

It's a particularly campusy lookin' campus, especially now, with fall in full swing around here, and today, with it blowy and dreary and rainy. This might make for a pretty good vacation for the E side of ER's personality.

I might go check out the history and/or American studies graduate programs.




GTI *sure* doesn't have the ring of "GTT." Sounds like a gastroenterological procedure.

But here we are, wakin' up in Overland Park, Kans., fixin to be GTI -- gone to Iowa, where I will serve as Dr. ER's trophy husband, payin' her back for her bein' my trophy wife in Wichita. :-)

I can't remember whether I've been to Iowa or not. Seems like I might've been in Des Moines for a meeting of the what then was the National Association of Agricultural Journalists in the early 1990s. I mean, I know I was at the meeting. Can't remember whether it was in Des Moines or Kansas City. These boxy Yankee states all run together in my mind.

Dr. ER has been after me to go with her to Iowa for years. I've been indifferent. She says I will like the farm country. Probably. But it's still The Land Where People Talk Funny, so I don't know.

However, a good steak can cover a multitude of dialectical sins. And I plan to eat a piece of one of the corn-fed beeves that Iowans are known to brag about.

We'll just *see* whose cows make the best supper. Oklahoma and Texas grass-fed or wheat-fed, with a corn finish, does makes a purdy good slab o' cowflesh.


Sunday, October 15, 2006


Freedom of conscience

Since I was in Wichita, Kan., on a Sunday morning, I attended University Congregational Church, the interim pastor of which is the father of the pastor of Mayflower Congregational UCC Church in Oklahoma City, where I'm a member.

Suffice it to say the pastoral acorn didn't fall far from the tree, the music was exquisite and I'm very glad I went.

Good stuff from the University Congregational Church flier:

We are covenantal, not creedal. That is, we make a simple "agreement" to live together as people inspired by Christ's life and teaching, seeking to know the truth and do good work in our world. While most churches place great emphasis on a creed -- a written or unwritten interpretation of important Bible verses one is expected to accept and defend upon becoming a member -- we have no such requirement. We do not make judgments about where people are before we accept them. We merely seek their company on a long, exciting road of learning about Christ and his kingdom of justice, peace and love in the world.

We really do believe in the freedom of individual conscience. With no formal or itemized creed, we do not bind statements of faith on our fellow seekers. We would not expect a person to become a member of this church who did not believe that Christ has the answers about how to live. However, just how Jesus came into this world, how he went out of it, whether he will come again physically, and what might be the accurate translation of what he said are all concepts left to each individual's conscience as we study the Bible together. We feel it is impossible, given the complexity of scripture and the differing mental attitudes and capacities of people, to create a church in which everybody thinks exactly alike.



Saturday, October 14, 2006


Ack! Quisitions!

Mwah-ha-ha! Books!

At the auction last night, I picked up Douglas MacArthur, "Revitalizing a Nation" (Chicago: Heritage Foundation, 1952), for 5 bucks. Historic artifact, that.

And, more to my own interests, I got "Uncle Sam's Camels: The Journal of May Humphreys Stacey Supplemented by the Report of of Edward Fitzgerald Beale" in the silent auction, for 8 bucks. Brand-new reprint of a 1929 primary document. Too cool. Young Jeff Davis, herdin' camels for the Army in the desert Southwest!



And ... it's ... history!

My presentation, that is. My presentation on old news.

My history presentation on old news is history -- and old news!

Woo hoo!

Relaxation has ensued.

Had a good turnout, for 8 a.m. the morning after a fund-raising auction that ran late, where the cash bar flowed.

I, myself, abstained, to ensure my sharpness. Others did not. But I still had a good crowd of interested people.

As the only nonacademic at this academic conference -- and not even being a grad student, being "between degrees," as I've put it more than once -- I'm standin' out a little. Imagine that. :-)

This morning, I wound up with three more minutes than I was told I would have -- that is, 15 minutes, instead of 12 -- and it made all the difference.

I was more relaxed, and able to talk more, rather than just read my stuff.

Although I do rewrite my papers totally as I cut their length drastically, to make them palatable to the ear, talking still always beats reading -- even when you're reading writing meant to be heard, not read.

Anyway. Done. Deal.

Of to gather up Dr. ER and go to early lunch.


Friday, October 13, 2006



Man, I just saw a demonstration of a new product for libraries: Digitized newspapers of the ninetenth century.

Totally searchable -- across all, by publication, by state, by topic, whatever.

They're gonna keep on until they take all the fun out of diggin' around in the archives! Makes me wonder if my own microfilm reader is obsolete.

On the other hand, the database has only 500-some papers. They've barely scratched the surface.

It has four Indian papers -- my personal interest -- on it:

The Cherokee Phoenix, from 1820s-1830s in New Echota, Ga.; the Cherokee Advocate, from 1840s and forward in Tahlequah, and Indian Journal, 1876 and forward, in Eufaula, both in Indian Territory; plus one I'd never heard of from Idaho.

Bundles and microfilm will continue to be the main source for most papers for some time. But the handwriting does appear to be on the Internet firewall.


Thursday, October 12, 2006



It doedn't quite have the same ring to it as GTT. But here I am, in Kansas, with good peeps whose interests in history generally fall in line with mine!

I am humbled that professional historians, Ph.d.'s all, allow such as myself on the program.

Y'all talk amongst yourselves!

Some topics:

Bush and ... oh, hell. Anything.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006


'Kill your neighbor'


I can't believe it. Well, actually, I can, but wow. The link below was changed after I linked to it, and after I told the author, a pastor, I had done so with a negative comment. Either the author realized how hateful he was being, which I doubt, or he lacks the backbone to stand up for what he wrote. Whatever. Wow.


Can y'all believe this came from an alleged "man of God," the pastor of a Christian church? I honestly wonder what Christ he professes.

"Had they had the guns, we would all be speaking Chocktaw, or some other form of Indian language instead of English. All that is just the nature of the world we live in. What I'm tired of is the liberals who don't get over it. The Indians have plenty of opportunities in this country, as many as we do. So let us celebrate what the Italian fella did back in 1492. Yes, atrocities soon followed... to be joined with the atrocities that were already here. Despite all the atrocities, we still live in a country that is blessed and great. I don't think we have any reason for feeling guilty at all."

-- Pastor Timothy

Read it all.



Bush's passive-aggressive 'foreign policy'

I totally defer to Bitch, Ph.D. today.

Quoth the Bitch:

"The Bush doctrine: passive-aggressive foreign policy. How fabulously rugged of us: nice hat, but the cattle are all mired up to their necks in a swamp we pushed them into because we thought we'd look so manly, standing all alone up on dry ground."

Read the rest of Like a Rhinestone Cowboy.


Monday, October 09, 2006


I got one thing to say


That's it. It's all I can think of. The news finally got so weird that my brain has vapor-locked.

Foley? Gah!

North Korea? Gah!

Ongoing Bush administration nutsiness? Gah!

O-State clutched defeat from the maw of victory Saturday in its game against K-State? Gah!

OU lost to Texas? Who cares? (OK. I confess: Ha ha.)

But anything else in the news right now: Gah!

What's *your* nonverbal response to the news right now?


Sunday, October 08, 2006


Sunday sundries

Hoo boy. Got a long way to go and a short time to get there, for a Sunday.

The crud that Dr. ER brought back with her from Florida last week finally found me yesterday, so I skipped church this morning to avoid spreading it to others. Not fun being sick.

Not fun missing church. It's like a combination waste disposal station and battery charger for this RV of Life, if you know what I mean and some of you do.

You leave a week's accumulation of overt humanness at the altar, and pick up new spiritual energy for the coming week. I'll try to make some quiet time today as an antidote against the creeping angsts, which often afflict me on empty Sundays.

On the other hand, this Sunday is anything but empty. Along the miles I must go before I sleep tonight are the following:

1. Touch up the paper I am presenting at a history conference next week.

2. Add a considerable section to the above, to answer reviewers' concerns. I spent 8 hours doing additional research yesteray; now I have to plug in the information and restate my thesis. No sweat. But it takes time.

3. Use one ear to listen to the Talladega race on TV, keeping said ear tuned for the inevitable Big One (big wreck). NASCAR, at dawn yesterday, decided to change the restrictor plates used at this race, to slow the cars down. There's a new surface at the Alabama track, and cars were bumping up against 200 mph in practice Friday. Much over 200 mph and the cars tend to like to go airborne. So, NASCAR tamped them all down a bit with reduced air flow. Earnhardt Jr., who almost *owns* the track, was livid -- not over the change, but because NASCAR did not give the drivers a chance for a dry-run. Everything else about the cars will have to be changed to accommodate the new restrictor plate. The drivers will have to change their set-ups on the fly, though, which will confound them and their teams but make things more interesting for the fans. Not that I pay much attention to racin' -- ahem.

4. Reduce the aforementioned history paper, which is 25 pages long, to a 10-minute talk. That'll take some doing. But hey, I have been a member of the working press for 24 years now, counting college, and I am not wedded to my words. We call a hard edit "killing babies," because so many people *are* married to their own words and find it so painful to edit oneself. Naaah. Back the truck up, somebody, the carcasses will stacked to the ceiling of this office before it's all said and done. (It occurs to me that non-working press types might be aghast at the expression "killing babies." Hey, we really *do* do twisted things like start office pools to guess earthquake death totals. You got to laugh to keep from crying sometimes. Gallows humor. Of course, journalists are rank amateurs at this compared to cops and war veterans.)

5. I HAVE GOT TO make flash cards and spend some time learning some of the words I am supposed to be learning in my Choctaw language class. Right now, off the top of my head, I can recall three words: Halito (hello). Ofi (dog). Chito (big). So, halito ofichito! ("Hey, big dog!")

7. Oh. Go to Kinkos and have 25 copies of my revamped paper printed to take to the conference.

8. Pay bills. Joy. Not.

9. Go buy some new britches. I will be gone from next Wednesday for a week-plus, and I don't own that many clothes!

10. Get over this cold.

Well, that limbered up my fingers. Wish me well!


Saturday, October 07, 2006


Smellgood check!

Proof that I am increasingly aged: Old Spice is my parfum du choice!

Used to wear Stetson pretty regularly. I went through a short Drakkar phase. Dr. ER bought me some Polo once, but I didn't care for it. She bought me some Obsession, and I liked that.

But if I'm buying, these days it's Old Spice. (Somebody fetch me my shawl and slippers.)

Gents, name your toilet water!

Dr. ER is a Chanel No. 5 girl. Mama ER's poison is Este Lauder Youth Dew.

Ladies, what do y'all wear to drive the guys wild?


Friday, October 06, 2006


It's Friday! Name your poison!

Friday! Payday! Just enough mad money to feed my inner glutton!

Now, y'all know I am no connoisseur of fine wines, but I do know my way around the racks better than the average redneck. I just discovered the pictured blend -- and it's the only white wine I've ever had that I intend to buy again on purpose.

It pairs with ... get this ... true erudite redneck culinary pairing coming ...

Black Swan Chardonnay/Semillion blend pairs perfectly with pork chops and sauerkraut fixed up in an electric skillet. Dude. I'm tellin' ya. Per. Fect. O.

So, that makes one of each. Last January, I told y'all about the 2004 Carchello Monstrell, which is a perfect match for ribeye steak, ribs, other barbecue or any other heavy red meat, especially if well-seasoned.

Now I have a red and a white worth lookin' for again at the wine shop.

On a more everyday level, I like to pair:

Coors Light with pork rinds.

Budweiser with brats.

George Dickel (smooooth Tennessee whiskey) with ice cubes.

It's Friday! Name your poison and what food you like to pair it with!


Thursday, October 05, 2006


The Amish way

It's the Jesus way. I have never seen a news story serve so clearly as a vector for the Gospel and the way of life Jesus calls his followers to live.

But it's not the story. It's the people in the story.

*This* is The Way. May all who claim Christianity fall silent, and humble, under the witness of these true Jesusians.


By Michael Rubinkam
The Associated Press

NICKEL MINES, Pa. - In just about any other community, a deadly school shooting would have brought demands from civic leaders for tighter gun laws and better security, and the victims' loved ones would have lashed out at the gunman's family or threatened to sue.

But that's not the Amish way. As they struggle with the slayings of five of their children in a one-room schoolhouse, the Amish in this Lancaster County village are turning the other cheek, urging forgiveness of the killer and quietly accepting what comes their way as God's will.

Read all about it.


'Night of the Lepus'

It's "Night of the Lepus" but for real!

What are your favorite scary movies?

"Night of the Lepus" and "The Blob" are two of my faves. Oh, and "It!"


Tuesday, October 03, 2006


'God's Debris'

Omniscience has to be pretty boring. But could God see past his own end? What if he annihilated himself to find out? What if *that* was the Big Bang? What if human beings are "God's Debris"?

What if all religions, all efforts at holiness, all efforts to seek God are -- well, the remnant bits of God trying to reassemble Himself?

This is a free e-book. It comes with the ER Seal of Approval. Check it out. In a week or so, maybe we can talk about it.

Get "God's Debris" (pdf).

Read about "God's Debris."



'Dignified Indignance'

Robin Meyers is pastor of this church.

Dignified Indignance. (Audio)

On the Christian Right. (Video)



My favorite Old Testament verse

... is Leviticus 13:40.



Monday, October 02, 2006


'God of Grace and God of Glory'

One of the things I've rediscovered in my renewed church life is an appreciation for the wisdom and grace and worship in the great hymns. We sang this Harry E. Fosdick hymn yesterday at church.

We can argue over the details, but I think all Christians of all stripes can agree that God's grace, no matter how we all slice it, is and has always been misunderstood, misapplied and misused -- and opposed.

But I think we can all join in the spirit of this hymn, in seeking God's especial help "for the facing of this hour" -- whether our tests be those extremists from without who would sweep Christianity from the face of the earth in the name of Allah, or the extremists within our own tent who would answer violence with violence, not in desperation with weeping and in repentence, but in misplaced pride, bravado and Jesus jingoism.


God of grace and God of glory,
On Thy people pour Thy power.
Crown Thine ancient church’s story,
Bring her bud to glorious flower.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
For the facing of this hour,
For the facing of this hour.

Lo! the hosts of evil ’round us,
Scorn Thy Christ, assail His ways.
From the fears that long have bound us,
Free our hearts to faith and praise.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
For the living of these days,
For the living of these days.

Cure Thy children’s warring madness,
Bend our pride to Thy control.
Shame our wanton selfish gladness,
Rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
Lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal,
Lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal.

Set our feet on lofty places,
Gird our lives that they may be,
Armored with all Christ-like graces,
In the fight to set men free.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
That we fail not man nor Thee,
That we fail not man nor Thee.

Save us from weak resignation,
To the evils we deplore.
Let the search for Thy salvation,
Be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
Serving Thee Whom we adore,
Serving Thee Whom we adore.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Identity crisis, 1884

This is about my favorite front page in the world, the first issue of a Choctaw Nation-subsidized newspaper published in Atoka, Indian Territory, in 1884. The editors and publishers got their newspaper cart ahead of their nameplate horse is what they done went and did!

Gettin' a very short and power point organized for the ailing Dr. ER to build for me when she gets over whatever crud has her laid low. And her hip is acting up again, which has put her down. Picked both up on the plane to and from Florida last week, we reckon.

Then, I'll reduce a fine 25-page article to a 10-minute talk, make a stack of copies of the paper to pass out, and I'll be ready to do my song-and-dance before a bunch of workin' historians in a couple of weeks.

Let's see. A workin' press type such as myself interlopin' among a bunch of workin' historians. Mightn't that cause a rip in the journalistic-historical space-time continuum? We'll see.

Off to the store. Got a hankerin' for pork chops and sauerkraut in the electric skillet.


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