Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas 1907-2011

This is a poem of 100 years ago. The
reference to 'central' is to the telephone exchange at
the time. There were no button or even dial phones
in those early years. Hello Central? Give me the
drugstore---but not if Mr. Gower's alone.

Twas the night after Christmas in Santa-Claus land
And to rest from his labors St. Nicholas planned.
The reindeer were turned out to pasture and all
The ten thousand assistants discharged till the fall.
The furry great-coat was laid safely away
With the boots and the cap with its tassel so gay,
And toasting his toes by a merry wood fire,
What more could a weary old Santa desire?
So he puffed at his pipe and remarked to his wife,
"This amply makes up for my strenuous life!
From climbing down chimneys my legs fairly ache,
But it's well worth the while for the dear children's sake.
I'd bruise every bone in my body to see
The darlings' delight in a gift-laden tree!"
Just then came a sound like a telephone bell—
Though why they should have such a thing I can't tell—
St. Nick gave a snort and exclaimed in a rage,
"Bad luck to inventions of this modern age!"
He grabbed the receiver—his face wore a frown
As he roared in the mouth-piece, "I will not come down
To exchange any toys like an up-to-date store,
Ring off, I'll not listen to anything more!"
Then he settled himself by the comforting blaze
And waxed reminiscent of halcyon days
When children were happy with simplest of toys:
A doll for the girls and a drum for the boys—
But again came that noisy disturber of peace
The telephone bell—would the sound never cease?
"Run and answer it, wife, all my patience has fled,
If they keep this thing up I shall wish I were dead!
I have worked night and day the best part of a year
To supply all the children, and what do I hear—
A boy who declares he received roller-skates
When he wanted a gun—and a cross girl who states
That she asked for a new Victor talking machine
And I brought her a sled, so she thinks I am 'mean!'"
Poor St. Nicholas looked just the picture of woe,
He needed some auto-suggestion, you know,
To make him think things were all coming out right,
For he didn't get one wink of slumber that night!
The telephone wire was kept sizzling hot
By children disgusted with presents they'd got,
And when the bright sun showed its face in the sky
The Santa-Claus family were ready to cry!
Just then something happened—a way of escape,
Though it came in the funniest possible shape—
An aeronaut, sorely in need of a meal,
Descended for breakfast—it seemed quite ideal!
For the end of it was, he invited his host
Out to try the balloon, of whose speed he could boast.
St. Nick, who was nothing if not a good sport,
Was delighted to go, and as quick as a thought
Climbed into the car for a flight in the air—
"No telephone bells can disturb me up there!
And, wife, if it suits me I'll count it no crime
To stay up till ready for next Christmas time!"

-- Anne P. L. Field c1907

A very Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Local Vocals

Excerpted from ‘Name That Sound’ a biographical essay:
During the week we’d often see a funeral, and sometimes on Saturday or Sunday a wedding. One of the joys of being an altar boy was being called to serve at a funeral during school hours. I don’t mean the funeral was a joy---we were properly respectful. We were just happy to feel important enough to be called from class and spend a few hours away from education and the nuns. The weekend wedding was a real perk, and living across street led to my being called for the services quite often. A wedding [one server,] unless it was a mass [two servers,] didn’t take long, and the best man usually paid us altar boys a stipend. That extra cash meant a lot to us kids of the cloth.
With a Catholic bride and a Catholic groom, we opened the altar gates and the service was performed at the foot of the altar. With the Mass, the bride and groom had prie-dieus to kneel on also at the foot of the altar.

For a mixed marriage---Catholic and non-Catholic---the service was performed at the altar rail. It was just as solemn and joyous for the participants. Sometimes, the bride went over to the side altar to pray to Mary while ‘Panis Angelicus’ [Food of the Angels] or ‘Ave Maria’ [Hail Mary] was played by the organist.

In the 1960s we had a fifth Mass early Sunday afternoon [about 1 pm or 2 pm.] It was for the Spanish-speaking parishioners, with the homily in their language. Since I never attended one, I don’t know whether the Mass was conducted in Latin or Spanish---probably the latter.

On holydays, such as Easter and Christmas, the traffic near our house was unbelievable. I watched the action for each Mass: Chevy Bel Air and Coupe, Chevrolet Styleline Sedan; Ford Edsel, Ford Custom, high-flowered hats; compact hats; Ford Crown Victoria, Ford Fairlane 500; Fedora; Packard Clipper, Packard Hawk; Easter dress with a fancy hat; Nash Metropolitan, Nash Ambassador, Nash Statesman; billowing scarves; Plymouth Belvedere, Plymouth Suburban; Dodge Coronet, Dodge Regent, Dodge Sierra; lush overcoats and wind-blown faces; Oldsmobile Super 88, Oldsmobile Firestar; Pontiac Starchief; Studebaker Champion, Studebaker Commander, Studebaker Golden Hawk, Studebaker Lark; laughing families; Buick Roadmaster, Buick Special, Buick Riviera; Hudson Jet, Hudson Commodore, Hudson Hornet; Mercury Sun Valley, Mercury Monterey, Mercury Voyager; DeSoto Adventurer, DeSoto Power Master; Caddie, or Lincoln; Frazer Manhattan; Kaiser-Frazer Henry J---but rarely a foreign car.

We were a hard-working parish. The really rich people, except for the Nowns Sisters must have gone to Church somewhere else. Some people who kept away from Sunday Mass all year showed up on Easter and Christmas. Services during Holy Week were also well attended. We had lengthy services on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I remember attending everything, even when I wasn’t serving as an altar boy.

Holy Week started on Palm Sunday. We had the passing out of blessed and dried palm fronds as a symbol of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. We were also read the Passion from the gospel. I didn’t like this as a kid because it was so long and only a repetition from the previous year. In the early fifties, everyone had to stand during the reading. Later on, the parishioners could sit---a deterrent to fainting spells.

We saw the reverence of Holy Thursday and the black sadness of Good Friday. And the anticipation and joy of Holy Saturday. These feelings led to the majesty of Easter Sunday. That morning with the lilies and other flowers represented the glorious feeling among us all, though I know as a little kid, I was more interested in the various treats of the day. The wafty flower aroma from the Easter Lilies was all about the church and added to the freshness of the Mass and ceremonies. We celebrated the rising from the dead of Jesus over two thousand years ago.

All through the fifties we had the same three elderly women as our church choir. [They may not have been elderly in the 1950s, but they sounded like it.] Mrs. Hallinan, Mrs. Hegewald, and another whose name I’m sorry to say I don’t remember. The third also played the organ. They sang in tune, but their assumed ages showed in their voices. They sounded dark and ominous and were well suited for funerals. I only wish we had had some younger singers to brighten the wedding and other joyous ceremonies, or some sinners of any age to appreciate the dark singing.

But there in the fifties, the ‘triumvirate’ had a stranglehold on the Church singing rights. I doubt anyone could have joined or replaced them. It would have been a heresy. No singers need apply. Perhaps their most annoying moments were their cranking out litanies during high Mass. As is often quoted: ‘A voice which could shatter glass!’

To be perfectly honest, I preferred and still prefer the old Latin, or Tridentine, Mass to the modern one in the vernacular of the parishioners. I go to a Latin Mass whenever and wherever I can find one, and I watch Midnight Mass from the Vatican every Christmas Eve instead of watching another version of ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Neither one however, is like the Masses I remember---although the St Peter’s mass comes close. By using the vernacular as mandated by the Vatican II council, a lot of mystery and ceremony seems lost.

The ‘numinous’ [inborn religious sense] has to fight an uphill battle to remain on an even keel. Protestant theologian, Rudolf Otto in his 1923 book ‘The Idea of the Holy’, discussed this concept. He has good, if somewhat dense, arguments and discussions of the presence of God and holiness. A mysterious aura is very important to a person’s belief. Take it away, as with the demise of the Latin Mass, and you create Catholics of convenience and the modern day, certainly not with the same devoutness as in the past.

In the Latin Mass, we didn’t shake hands and wish each other peace as we do in the vernacular Mass. After the service [or prayer; Mass is actually considered a prayer,] we made the effort to treat our neighbors with respect and courtesy every day. That’s what we were taught, and that was a most important attitude. ‘Love thy neighbor as t

Monday, November 14, 2011

Application Form for Candidates for the Offices of Representative, Senator and President of the USA

This test must be completed by the candidate [not a staff member] at one time, at a controlled location, without staff around, and with independent proctors. Answer the questions clearly, completely and without evasion or misleading statements. Time limit is two hours. The candidate must go through an airport-type full body scan before answering the essay questions. Appropriate official documents must be included with each test. The test will be signed at the end to indicate the candidate's true beliefs are presented within, and he/she will not be permitted crib notes, televisors, or other assistance in answering. All cell phones will be confiscated for the duration of the exam. The answers and documents will be reviewed by an independent group. All answers and copies of documents will be released to the public. Proctors for this monitoring must be thoroughly vetted by the FBI and CIA.

1. Where were you born? Under what circumstances? Who were your grandparents? Answer in detail. Did you go to college? Where and for how long? Did you graduate? [submit a transcript and copy of your diploma; submit an official Birth Certificate, and not a certificate of birth that doesn't mean anything.]

2. What is your view on abortion? Do you believe in infant life or death? Do you blame an innocent child for the circumstances surrounding its conception? Expand your answer and give details. How would you respond to the following?: Abortion is not the murder of a human being. Abortion is the murder of a human being. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are viable actions for a modern society.

3. What is your view on the size and scope of the Federal Government? Give details. Do you believe in unlimited taxes on Americans to finance Congressional mandates? How much is enough for a Federal Debt? Where do you draw the line? How can we best reduce the debt and annual deficit and should we? How do you view pork and earmarks? What is the relationship between the States and the Federal Government?

4. Are you a Socialist or Communist or Liberal or Progressive or Conservative or Libertarian or other term? Give examples of your political experience that shows what your ideology really is and why you believe in it. Provide examples of political positions you have held.

5. What are your qualifications for this office? Be specific in your giving of details. What is your prior political or management experience? How does this qualify you for this new elected office you want? Do you believe that judicious bribery is needed to complete political ends? Where would you be comfortable with such an action.

6. Do you take an oath to protect the Constitution as it is written or as you want it to be? Please be specific and expand on your answer. What are your views on Constitutional amendments?

7. Do you support all parts of the Constitution---including the amendments---as written? What part[s] of the Constitution are you against and not likely to protect? Please expand your answer and give examples. For example, the second Amendment to the Constitution reads: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." How do you understand and support this?

8. What is your position on welfare? Will you help rein in the costs? Will you hold fathers responsible for providing support and not disappearing into the sunset? Will you deny persons the collecting welfare when they don't need it? What is your position on ILLEGAL immigration? [Don't confuse it with legal immigration.] Will you support the necessary protection of our borders and reduce illegal immigration logically?

9. Do you support our troops in all ways at all times? [Disregard what their civilian orders are.] How have you shown your support in the past? What is your total view on the military? Please expand your answers with specific examples.

10. Our founding fathers were religious, and they included God in their writings and documents. They only guaranteed rights in the Constitution. They didn't create them. Do you support God or Atheism in government? The 1st [read: predominate concern] Amendment to the Constitution reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." Provide explanations of your beliefs in regard to this Amendment. How does removing crosses from public places, prohibiting school prayer, or banning the use of the word 'God' in political discourse mesh with this 1st Amendment? How do such actions not run afoul of it?

I _________________________ declare that the above answers are true to my beliefs and ideology and make no excuses for them. I have not equivocated or evaded any answer, and I have not simply answered them to best serve my purposes in the upcoming election. And I promise to resign any office I might be in if I ever deviate from this philosphy.

_______________________________________ The signature must be notarized.


Please Note for the Journalists:
The Attitude of candidate when completing the essay questions.
The Length of time taken to complete the essay questions.
The Amount of sweat coming from each candidate.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Privilege of Explaining Privilege

I've become tired of hearing the term 'privilege' bandied about by the Liberals in their class warfare efforts. Like so many other terms from the building of America, Liberals and minority groups have taken perfectly good words and bastardized them into another meaning, thus taking the terms out of our general discourse.

According to the online dictionary: "Privilege: a. A special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste. b. Such an advantage, immunity, or right held as a prerogative of status or rank, and exercised to the exclusion or detriment of others." The important word here is 'granted.' This indicates a 'grantor.'

According to Wikipedia: "A 'privilege' is a special entitlement to immunity granted by the state or another authority to a restricted group, either by birth or on a conditional basis. It can be revoked in certain circumstances. In modern democratic states, a privilege is conditional and granted only after birth. By contrast, a right is an inherent, irrevocable entitlement held by all citizens or all human beings from the moment of birth."

The sense of 'privilege' in general society is one that indicates favors for one among other equals. Having wealth or being successful takes a person out of the norm and no longer makes him 'privileged' but in a different strata based on work or luck or both. 'Privilege' comes from relatively equals in ability and success. It does not logically compare people of different success and wealth. The term 'privileged' has been misused for years, mostly by Liberals wanting to set one group of people against another---or else the Liberals are just stupid, a logical conclusion.

Merriam-Webster states: 'Good health care should be a right and not a privilege.' It should be neither. We have not been endowed with any right to force others to take care of us! Nor should others have an inherent right to not take care of us---we all being of the human persuasion! Health care should not be a privilege, but a need for a service easily given by others for just recompense. Who pays for that service can often be an event of contention, but it doesn't change definitions. [See a long definition of 'money' and 'wealth' somewhere.]

'We had the privilege of being invited to the party.' This is true. Among reasonably equal people, it is a privilege to be given something [an invitation] for nothing.

'I had the privilege of knowing your grandfather.' Another true statement. Again, among reasonably equal people, knowing a specific individual and profiting from him or her is indeed a privilege.

'He lived a life of wealth and privilege.' Not true. Wealth differentiates people, thus one group having more wealth, mostly from more personal success, would naturally have more valued items. And it's constituents would be able to purchase goods and services above and beyond what the members of another group can purchase. Thus, it is not 'privilege' any more than being smarter makes a person 'privileged.'

The next time you want to complain about the so-called 'privileges' of others, make sure you know the meanings of the terms.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

So Near an Oak [1]

So near
An oak stood I,
And heard soft rustle from
Zephyr-kissed leaves…O, sweet, relaxed
I was!

Sense persuaded
Me to lie at oaken
Trunk, and smiling midst scents of wild…
I slept.

Visions floated
Through my eager mind, and
I dreamt of she I knew…yet know
Not now?

I a union
Of true beauties, and it
Was mysterious to me, for
I have

Seen her,
And now I see
Her not. Unturned face with
Unseen eyes; unheard voice…yet I
Knew her.

For, I
Knew her, though time
Advance us both…still, one
Past was with me: ethereal

Good times and bad;
Smiles, tear; world's end of song;[2]
And sad reality leading

And they
Will not cease for
Me. These wispy phantoms
Coalesce to a sun-kissed One,
Known for

Wind-blown [3]
Name…now clad in
Rich crimson gown 'neath soft, [4]
Silver beams flickering ghostly

Webs of
Shadows dancing;
Amid whispering leaves
Fresh fallen, I hear her tones
Once more…

But ne'er
In dreams, for there
She remains silent and [5]
Elusive where e'er I go. Yet,
I have

Glimpsed deep-
Souled orbs reflect
Bright-hued, scented blooms of
Orchid, Reddened Rose, Violet…
Lilac… [6]

A sweet -
Perfumed luster
Amid dewy tints…a
Rainbow scene steeped in starlight

In dreams
I find her, she [7]
Turns, and as her long-lost
Visage begins to meet the light
My heart

At nearness sight…
But ne'er success to be,
For dreams do fade at unwished times. [8]

Did mine
Eyes awake to
Darkness still, but now were
Wild scents welcoming my senses;
Now were

Streaks amid blue
Gray sky etching ebon
Hills across painted scene. I sat [9]
Me up

And watched
Day's dying flame
Settle West, as Gale in [10]
Life would see anon: we'd share same

Time doth delay.
Chill wind reminds me; off
To home, where dreams will e'er fall short…

But yearnings
Return…as will I to
Oaken shade on morrow pre-eve [11]
To dream

Yes, dream again
With hopeful change of sweetened
Vista in thoughts ephemeral
To last

'Til life
responds: contact
real and view so true will [12]
end our wondering minds' unease.
I sleep

In wooded copse
And dream with hope to find
Rare soul. To reunite for hour?
Or Day?

Near oaken trunk,
I lay again to dream,
Not to wither my soul's growth
In one

Plane. Does Gale dream
As I? Do our dreams join
As One in mysterious ways?
Do our

Hearts guide
Us in same or
Different directions?
Will flowing time reveal melody [13]

Or tunes
Apart? I shall
Consider answers and
Hope for beauty return…now and

Hearts and cyber
Streams…all sincere…can ne'er
Supplant Erato-'spired discourse
For Gale.

[1] The poem is dedicated to Gale
[2] Our song was Skeeter Davis's 'End of the World'
[3] Her name is Gale, like the wind condition
[4] The strongest memory I have of her is being in a red dress
[5] She remains silent in all my dreams
[6] Her---and mine---favorite bloom is the Lilac
[7] I dream of her often
[8] I sometimes wake up in the middle of a dream
[9] I had slept thru to twilight
[10] Gale lives in California; I live in Connecticut
[11] I wanted to return to the oak tree the next afternoon
[12] I wanted to get together with her again
[13] A reference to Unchained Melody, from our teen years

Friday, October 28, 2011

New Format

Dear Friends:

As we age, we all slow down a certain bit---what with normal wear and tear, disease, and accident. Well, I've been laid up with a repaired umbilical hernia and several diseases and degenerations and other things you don't want to know about. Consequently, my energy has led to reduced writing efforts.

As a result, I'm combining all my blogs into one. So, political, personal, and literary blog entries will all appear on the same blog. I will combine them all on the Notes for Ramey site: I will also be adding a few older entries that you may have missed. This blog will be a real find for you now. Please visit as often as you can. Tell your friends! Subscribe! Comment! Send me emails! I'll have it going within the week after I chase all the nurses away.

Thanks to all: TNM

Monday, July 04, 2011

Carmina and the Vonage Commercial

*So many commercials and movies today are using Carl Orff's music 'Carmina Burana' these days, that one would assume it's modern. It isn't. According to Wikipedia: "Carmina Burana..., Latin for 'Songs from Beuern' ..., is the name given to a manuscript of 254 poems and dramatic texts from the 11th or 12th century, although some are from the 13th century. The pieces were written almost entirely in Medieval Latin; a few in Middle High German, and some with traces of Old French or Provençal. Carl Orff 1895-1982
Many are macaronic, a mixture of Latin and German or French vernacular...Between 1935 and 1936, German composer Carl Orff set 24 of the poems to new music, also called Carmina Burana." --- From my study of other sources, I know this to be correct. This music, complete with eerie voices, is what has been used in numerous commercials and movies where they want a grand or eerily majestic aura around their words. Selections from the Carmina Burana include: O FORTUNA [Oh Fortune]; FORTUNAE PLANGO VULNERA [I Mourn the Blows of Fortune]; VERIS LAETA FACIES [A Spring Song]; and OMNIA SOL TEMPERATA [the Sun Pure and Gentle]; among others. Enjoy!

*I must be losing my hearing. The other day, in watching a commercial on TV, I thought I heard "Hi! I'm a T-Mobile Orgy!" After several times watching the commercial, I realized that the statement was "Hi! I'm a T-Mobile 4G." I always thought my hearing was pretty good until a few years ago when I heard a commercial with music "...I believe in mail call..." Later I found out it was "I believe in miracles." Modern musicians and advertisers pick lousy spokesmen. They elide too much, and they mispronounce words all over the place. And this is progress?

*Speaking of ads. I saw one hilarious effort from France about Perrier. It shows a pair of woman's hands caressing a small bottle of Perrier. While she continues this, the bottle morphs into a liter bottle. There's more, but not for this blog. You have to see it for yourself. It's on You Tube, just check for French Perrier commercials and watch Culture Pub's Best Water Commercials. It's at the end.

*And finally, I sent an email to Vonage [which didn't get an answer] about one of it's new commercials. I told Vonage that 'Sucker Shmala' may be a good Indian or Pakistani name to show their World-Wide diversity, but it wasn't a good idea in the states for a commercial. It makes you think of 'small sucker', not a confidence inspiring moniker. Well, as I said, Vonage didn't answer me or hire me to write Vonage commercials, but the commercial noted in my email was taken off the tube and replaced with one with a less International flavor in the names. I wonder how many heads rolled due to my simple email?

*Is it just me, or does Paul McCartney look like an old woman? I mean I liked the Beatles when I was growing up, and the four of them looked okay back in the '60s. But he seems now to be an aging granny. Sad to see. I wonder if great wealth and renown make you look like that?

*It's a sign of aging when I see a film I never heard of, with a cast of people unknown to me, and cameos of people I never heard of. And the movie was absolutely terrible, yet it was given so great build-up by the station that you'd think it was an Oscar winner.

*Back on May 22 [the day after the end of the World], Baseball Hall of Famer Gary Carter announced that his MRI a day or two previously indicated three brain tumors. He'll have another [MRI] later this week. I sympathize with Gary and wish him well. Let's hope they're benign and non-growing. He then stated that he wanted privacy while he determined the extent of the tumors with his doctors and family. Well, if he wants privacy, why did he make the announcement? It's not like the ferreting press was going to find out about it soon. He's long retired, and he wasn't a superstar. Privacy means you keep your trap shut. He could have done that. Consequently, I don't think he wants privacy. He wants the World to know and sympathize with him.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Only the Names Were Changed to Protect the Unknown

I've found a fascinating diversion in Genealogy. I started off with the simple premise of finding my Family Tree back to the 19th century or a little earlier, if possible. But I got carried away. Following certain branches of the family, I've visited fourteenth century Italy [through France], fifteenth century Sweden, tenth century France, and eleventh century England---pretty much branching out all over the place. And all this background comes from three members of the family. They form gateways, so to speak. And what gateways! Royalty, nobility, and known scientists and thinkers. But then, if my family had normal antecedents, I wouldn't have so much information to find. I couldn't go back too far directly in Italy or Ireland because of the information sources petered out. Besides, I've discovered that any data earlier than the 19th century are often questionable or confusing. I found early age marriages of course. And young deaths. These were from the middle ages when the life expectancy wasn't so great.

But you must be careful about dead ends. It was popular in the first part of the 2nd millennium among the nobility to trace their Family Trees back to the beginning of mankind. Thus I found one branch tracing back via Popes and Saints and Apostles and gods and goddesses to Adam and Eve---no dates of course. So, watch yourself.

Count Baldwin of Flanders and his descendants.

And I came across marriages between people far different in ages---with children! On recorded father was only 14! That might be believable, but a mother aged 7? I think I'll doubt that one. I found at least one instance where the child was born before the parents! I'll doubt that one too. But it's all a good lesson in people and history. I suggest you try it as well. Most of my sources were free, with the notable exception of But I only pay for the latter month by month as I need it. It's surprising how much information is available for free on the web. But you have to think about it as you find it. Other amateur genealogists are often wrong or confusing, and sources vary in their accuracy. Some intelligent guesswork is necessary, but the whole process is still intriguing. I'm pretty sure my tree is substantially correct. But I rely on other people---I can't use original documents because I can't pay to do so, and I can't read most foreign languages.

I figure that in my whole body, I might have a nanogram or two of royal blood. Maybe I should appoint myself a Knight [Knight Owl?] and have people call me Sir all the time: Yes Sir! What can I do for you Sir?---After all, I was called Sir in the Navy! [I was called a number of other things too, but that's beside the point.]

I've always thought of the name 'Bertha' as an old fashioned one, especially since I never found anyone young with the moniker. But I found a few in my Tree. 'Bertha' is variously pronounced 'Ber-ta' and 'Bur-tha.' Per, Bertha was "Originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element 'beraht' meaning "bright, famous". It was borne by the mother of Charlemagne in the 8th century, and it was popularized in England by the Normans. It died out as an English name after the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 19th century. The name also appears in southern Germanic legends (often spelled Perchta or Berchta) belonging to a goddess of animals and weaving.

One of the other interesting ancestor names is Massy Roads, though I could find out
nothing except her name, her husband, and her date of marriage. Picot de Saye was there as well. He was the son of Robert FitzPicot and married Adeloia. Then I delved further and came up with Manasses de Ghesnes.

My grandfather in the early 20th Century. He died in 1922.

'Manasses': "Masculine - Usage: Biblical (Variant), Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek - Other Scripts: Μανασσης (Ancient Greek)" From "Other Scripts: מְנַשֶּׁה (Ancient Hebrew) - Pronounced: mə-NAS-ə (English) [key] - Means "causing to forget" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this was the name of the oldest son of Joseph and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of Israel."

In any case, I haven't come across anyone with that name in my lifetime. My Manasses de Ghesnes was married to Emme de Arques. As is often the case with female spouses, I have no other information about her.

Other interesting names I came across were Gerberge de Bourgogne [who was not a trash collector]; Fulbert of Falaise who married Doda of Falaise, and who had a daughter named Herleva de Falais; Tostig of Gonwidson; Cunigunde of Altdorf; and Poppa de Envermeu---but no John Smith.

Such are the efforts of the genealogist. I urge you to work on your own Family tree. You'll never be bored, and it can keep you busy for many hours and days at a time. Even if---like me---many members of the family just aren't interested in it, there will be enough to make the job worthwhile.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Atlas Coffee and Bean Company's Untold True Story

*Opening soon is the movie 'Atlas Shrugged Part I' from the novel of Ayn Rand. I probably won't get to see it in a theater, but I look hopefully to an early television/cable showing. The story is just as pertinent now as it was in 1952 when the book was published. The book itself is rather lengthy, so the producers expect to make three parts of the movie story. Although I believe much of the objectivism of Ayn Rand, I don't agree with her religious views. She's an atheist. And I can't understand people who take the atheistic view of life. It's so sad and dreary. And it offers no real hope for anything. Might as well be a rock on the ground.

*A Vonage commercial includes a, supposedly, real customer to spout praises for its Internet phone service. But do you think identifying these people is a good idea? The first one says his name is Sucker Shmalla. That's probably a fine Indian name, but proudly declaring you are Sucker [and a small one at that] doesn't do Mr Shmalla or Vonage much good, does it? Don't the advertisers check these things out before using them?

*Why it's not a good idea for judges to become humorously creative. -- "A lawyer defending a man accused of burglary tried this creative defense: 'My client merely inserted his arm into the window and removed a few trifling articles. His arm is not himself, and I fail to see how you can punish the whole individual for an offense committed by his limb.' 'Well put,' the judge replied. 'Using your logic, I sentence the defendant's arm to one year's imprisonment. He can accompany it or not, as he chooses.' The defendant smiled. With his lawyer's assistance he detached his artificial limb, laid it on the bench, and walked out." [] -- Usually it's the criminal who acts stupidly, isn't it?

*More from - "Steven Richard King was arrested for trying to hold up a Bank of America branch without a weapon. King used a thumb and a finger to simulate a gun, but unfortunately, he failed to keep his hand in his pocket. --- In Redondo Beach, Calif., a police officer arrested a driver after a short chase and charged him with drunk driving. Officer Joseph Fonteno's suspicions were aroused when he saw the white Mazda MX-7 rolling down Pacific Coast Highway with half of a traffic-light pole, including the lights, lying across its hood. The driver had hit the pole on a median strip and simply kept driving. According to Fonteno, when the driver was asked about the pole, he said, 'It came with the car when I bought it.'" --- You can tell what I was reading this afternoon.

*A Lyrica ad has a women declaring that she just found out that we have nerves connecting with the brain and sending pain signals. Huh? Doesn't every first grader know that? Just how dumb do these advertisers think the average American is? I'd fire that ad firm post haste if I was Lyrica.

*it just occurred to me. Questions and answers on 'Family Feud' are supposedly based on 'nationwide surveys.' Any of you souls out there ever participated in these surveys? I know I haven't. I don't know anyone who has. So, I wonder whether they ever occurred. Or were they made up?

*Speaking of coffee [we were?], 90% of coffee around older Western movies and television shows seems to spontaneously generate on the set. We rarely see anyone making it. But it always seems to be there. Another thing, while we're at it. Dry beans require at least a day soaking in water before being cooked. Of course, you can also pre-boil them to get them tender, but even that takes three or four hours. I can almost see that happening with a chuck wagon cook, but not the cowboy on the trail. There are always beans available to have with his meat and bread. Bread? Another anomaly.

*'The Conspirator' in the movies is said to be based on an untold true story. Eh? The Civil War has been over 146 years, and no one ever heard the story? Sorry, I don't buy it. Nobody can keep a secret for 146 years only to reveal it in 2011 for a movie. Many people can't keep a secret for more than an hour without spilling the beans. This 'untold true story' had to have been related in a bar scene some place, at some time. Many bartenders have some very tricky secrets under their vests. We find out about them after bartenders' conventions.

*Why do so many people in the movies give up so quickly when they have a gun pulled on them, especially by a known killer? I recognize the unpreventable panic, but in most cases they're going to be killed anyway; so why not give it a last try to forestall it? Another happening in the movies is the chase. Whether it's a monster, an animal, or the bad guys, the chasee always runs in a straight line. Why? Usually, there're woods or houses or somethings to the left or right. He/She can go there. This is especially advisable when being chased by someone in a plane or car. Why get run down. Now I know that Cary Grant had to go in a straight line. There was nowhere else to go on the flat and bare area surrounding him---though in his case, I would have run toward the plane. [But then it wouldn't be cinematic history, n'est pas?]

But if you zig and zag and go at right angles, it seems to me that you'd have a better chance of survival. And for crying out loud, don't stop and look behind you. You know there's someone[s] chasing you. Turning around just lets them close the gap some more.

So, run like hell, don't keep looking behind you, and run into the woods if necessary. In keeping with W C Fields, don't give the sucker [pursuer] an even break.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Great Caesar's Ghost oh Astronomer!

* All my life, I thought Superman boss, editor Perry White, had originality with his constant plaint "Great Caesar's Ghost!" I now know better. The term comes from the title of a Newspaper comic strip 'Great Caesar's Ghost!..and Great Caesar's Goat' by A E Hayward back in the 1910s. It consisted of a comic Julius Caesar living in Rome [by name only; the city had a mix of Roman buildings and modern structures, complete with lamps etc...] and getting his daily lumps from 1910 life and wife.

Julius wears modern clothes over his obvious toga. Some other characters are dressed the same way, and some are in modern [1910] clothes. Anachronisms abound, such as a cigars, watches, alarm clocks, glass windows, mirrors, cuckoo clocks, glass fish bowls, telephones, seltzer bottles, etc... In one Sunday panel, a well dressed little guy comes into Julius's throne room. He claims to represent the 'Rome Law and Order Society' led by Antony Comstockus. They have some 'requirements.' Among other things, they want "...Our chief, Antony Comstockus, says as how you got to drape all the statues on the Boulevards...the legs of the all dining tables must be covered and..." Julius is aghast. His reply [while jumping up and down] to this: "...What? Dictate to me? Who's runnin' Rome!"

Not only is Superman's Perry White unoriginal, but the grappling fingers of pc-ism in 1910 Comic-land is quite apparent. It's also very funny.

*Those TV ads are still trying to trick you into buying ersatz gold coins. The latest is an ersatz nickel that is based on a 99% gold larger denomination coin---which the ad praises for considerable time as if it's the perfect coin. But this copy only has 14 milligrams of gold. As you'll remember from my prior entries, that isn't very much. Thus, the advertised 14milligrams is only worth 63 cents [based on $1,400 per troy ounce of gold.] So, for $9.95, you get an unusable plug nickel with 63 cents of gold on it in a very thin layer. And the ad has the effrontery to claim the price can only be guaranteed for 7 days. One order per customer. [The ad has been spouting that for months---with the same price.] Even Vince's 'Sham Wow' is a better deal.

*Noted during last August: I heard recently the beginning of the NASCAR Martinsville Race. It began with a spiritual invocation, and it led to the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by a group of school kids. The kids then went on to sing the National Anthem---correctly, by the way. Most professionals don't know the words, the song, or the meaning. They're mostly neck singers anyway [instead of singing from the gut and diaphragm], and they're just at the race with the hope of sparking their professional careers and putting their own vocal spins on the Anthem. While it's deplorable having some of those 'celebs' out there 'singing', it's too bad no other sport allows normal American expression from regular people. They all seem to be worried about ACLU and Liberal critics. So much for freedom of speech. I would expect NASCAR has some financial interest in these singers trying to sing.

As an update, I heard another Grammy winner sing the National Anthem today [3/27/11] before the Race in Fontana CA. He did a terrible job. His voice is weak, and without amplification and a lot of noise accompanying him [everyone sings a Cappella], he can't hack it. And people buy records from Amazon starring this guy?

*In today's game [3/24/11] between the LA Dodgers and Colorado Rockies, I make note of the Rockies pitcher, Michael Marbry. Firstly, he's obscenely young from my point of view. [He was born in 1984.] Arggh! I was getting old even back then. Secondly, he has an earned run average this year of 135! Today, he allowed five runs in 1/3 of an inning. Don't get me wrong. I like all this. I've been a Dodger fan all my life. Today, the Dodgers were behind 5 to 0 in the bottom of the ninth inning with only their last three outs to work with. They proceeded to score seven runs and win the game. As Kermit would say with mouth and body language, "Yeaaaaaa! Yeaaaaaa!"

*Per the AP in December in an article entitled: Scientists Find 200 Sextillion More Stars in the Sky

"A study suggests the universe could have triple the number of stars scientists previously calculated...The study questions a key assumption that astronomers often use: that most galaxies have the same properties as our Milky Way. And that's creating a bit of a stink among astronomers who want a more orderly cosmos...The study that offers the new estimate on stars is led by a Yale University astronomer." [Pieter van Dokkum] [The prior estimate was 100 sextillion; the new one is 300 sextillion]

"'For the past month, astronomers have been buzzing about van Dokkum's findings, and many aren't too happy about it', said astronomer Richard Ellis of the California Institute of Technology...Van Dokkum's paper challenges the assumption of "a more orderly universe" and gives credence to 'the idea that the universe is more complicated than we think,' Ellis said. 'It's a little alarmist.'"

Tell me the truth, now. Do you know how much 100 sextillion is? Or 300 sextillion? The latter is a 3 followed by 23 zeroes. Does it make a difference to you how many stars there are from these poor estimates? What if the estimate is off by a few tens of sextillions? Are you alarmed at these numbers? Want to count the stars in the observable Universe? After all, no one knows how big the Universe is, so these estimates are all done with smoke and mirrors---rather like weather forecasting. How simple do you want the Universe to be? Is this what astronomy has come to? Counting stars with varying assumptions and then arguing about them? Why don't they do something useful like estimating or counting the number of baseballs used by all the Major League Baseball teams for an entire year? Or how much mud is used to rub them?

And why is the larger number of stars classified by Ellis as 'alarming.' Does he expect a few sextillion UFOS to arrive from all the possible planets among the additional stars? Is he privy to the real size of the Universe? Or does he just enjoy being contrary? I remember the arguments in the past between those promoting the Big Bang theory and those promoting the steady state theory [constant creation of matter from nothing in space.] Big Bang finally won out, but the steady state guys are still trying to promote it under certain circumstances. You've got to admire their tenacity---just like those members of the Flat Earth Society.

As for me? Well, the number of stars in the Universe is not as important as the number of asteroids and meteors on collision courses with the Earth or Moon. Those frighten me more than a few sextillion UFOs.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Chickens, the Scary Words, and the Scientists

* Burger King is promoting a 'buy one and get one free' deal on one of its chicken sandwiches. The ad doesn't say, but is there an extra processing and handling fee for the doubling? There is on all those TV commercials that double your order: Start whisper - "Just pay separate processing." - End whisper. Some say there's no such thing as a free lunch, but Burger King comes close with this deal.

* Notice the State Farm commercial with the smarmy salesman planted in front of a news stand? Try reading some of the magazine titles. You can't. Most of the titles are covered or have a generic title like 'Women.' You can't read titles on most others because they're all defaced with decorations. Apparently, State Farm is afraid to show real magazines lest it be sued for unapproved use or else it doesn't want to provide free advertising. All this from the Insurance Company that wants to 'tell it straight.'

* I have a problem about those 'animal adoption' or 'saving' commercials with the tear jerking music and overrated celebrity begging you for help. These words and posed pictures could easily be applied to little babies, born and unborn. But where are they? Doesn't a figure of 10 million abortions and hundreds of thousands of child abuse cases mean anything each year? I suggest these TV waylaid humans spend their energy on their own species in preference to pets. If they did, our cultural life will suddenly gain new meaning and show some life of its own. I'm all for treating animals properly and with love, but I'm also for treating human life the same way---wait, such treatment should be better. One precious human life is worth more than a million pets.

*Be prepared to run when you hear these phrases. They augur danger and their purpose is to separate you from your money: 'Hello! I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you.' - 'But wait, we'll double your offer for free. Just pay separate shipping and processing.' - 'For a limited time only.' - 'Call in the next five minutes and .....' - 'Special offer for the next 24 hours only.' - 'A $200 value, all yours for $10.' - 'A collector's edition. - 'A Limited edition.' - 'You don't have to do anything. Just take our pill and your fat will simply melt away.' - 'Original price set at $49.95. Now yours for $19.95. Clad with 15mg of pure gold.' [about 66 cents at today's price] [or 50mg, about $2.20 at today's price]

*I keep hearing self-professed thinkers and our scientific community about the possibility of another life in the Universe. For most of them, it's the claim that the Universe is so large, there must be other life. How can life form on a tiny planet around an insignificant sun in a far corner of the Universe and be the home of the only intelligent life in the Galaxy? Such is life. Billions of dollars are spent looking for alien life throughout the portion of Universe we can reach; signals are sent; ears are kept open. Eyes search for signs; infrared and x-ray astronomy look as well. Millions more dollars are spent dealing with UFO claims. People clamor to find an alien explanation for the Bermuda Triangle, the Egyptian Pyramids, the Aztec Pyramids. Books are written about the mysterious goings-on around the World.

And from it all comes---nothing! There's no proof anywhere or in any way that another intelligent life exists in the Universe! Nothing but imagination. We may not be perfect, but I think we're unique.

*Scientists today, as shown on the Science Channel all the time, are trying their best to explain life, the Big Bang and other astronomical and biological miracles in terms of chance encounters, physical interactions, and time. They notably leave out God in all their discussions. I believe that the entire span of life of the Universe was decided by God before He created the Big Bang. Everything that happened after that was guided by God's created physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, etc. Creating and giving mankind the freedom of will and action, however, was a deviation from the original plan. He wanted us to be free to do what we wanted and develop the faith to believe in Him and His works. I've been reading books and articles on astronomy, physics, chemistry, sociology, biology,religion and numerous other areas for fifty years. And my faith is still strong. Mankind has deviated from what could have been for happiness and security for all, and he has divided his thoughts and actions between good and evil. We still suffer from the evil part. When the scientists finally admit that God was the prime mover in creation, they'll probably work on trying to discover who or what created God.

*Honda is showing some mysterious commercials. It claims that it's new Accord is the longest lasting car in it's class. What? This is a new car. How could they determine longevity? Another dimension? They also claim it has the best resale value in it's class. What again? This is a new car. Are their dealers selling them as used already? Do other makes of cars do the same thing?