Thursday, May 31, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Jerry was an officer in Nam. One day he and his men were surrounded by Viet Cong. Jerry called in for air support. He ordered his sargeant to sent up a smoke grenade. Red meant "enemy." Green meant "same team." The sargent screwed up and sent up a red grenade. The helicopters opened fired on Jerry's men. Many of them were killed including the hapless sargent. A buddy of mine had many conversations with Jerry about his days in Viet Nam and about that particular incident. He said Jerry just shrugged it off as the kind of thing that can happen in the fog of war.
According to the Times-Picayune, a co-worker knocked on the door to his office over at the Courthouse in Gretna to remind him of a meeting. He heard a popping sound. He opened the door and found Jerry dead. Shot in the head with a 9mm. Employees don't have to go through a security point. That's how he could waltz into the Courthouse with a handgun.
I haven't heard anything else from the guys down there. Anytime a person takes his or her own life we try to figure out the reason "why?" It's just human nature. Did he have money problems? Was he depressed? Did the fact that he did it at the office mean anything? My friend who used to talk to him about his service wondered if the fact that he killed himself a week before Memorial Day was in itself a message.
Who knows? Some people can escape the fog of war. Some cannot. And some live in their own fog without ever having worn the uniform.
Like Jerry, my friend Tom served with the Marines in Nam. I told him about Jerry. Tom is very proud of his service but like most guys who have seen serious combat is modest and circumspect. About all he allowed concerning Jerry was to say that "the experience of combat changes ones life forever." He also gently suggested that maybe we should think of our fallen comrade Jerry tomorrow on Memorial Day.
So here's to my Dad who spent his 18th birthday at Iwo Jima and who spent the early years of his marriage having nightmares about it. Here's to Danny, John and Michael who did I raq and Afghanistan. Here's to Matt who should be on the way home even as I type this. Here's to Tom who carried the big machine gun in Nam. Here's to his son who followed him to the Marine Corps and got back himself from Iraq.
Here's to all the men and women who have ever worn the uniform.
And here's to Jerrold Peterson, Law 1981, The Tulane University of Louisiana who maybe never escaped the fog of war.
We thank you and we grateful.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The article says that Bakker did 5 years of a 45 year sentence in federal prison after running a surprisingly similar scam back in the old PTL days. I remember that he caught 45 years from the judge. But if he only did 5 that means he was sentenced prior to the sentencing guidelines in which parole was eliminated or the sentence was cut down on appeal. It matters not. If he were still busting rocks somewhere he wouldn't be free to be run his "ministry" a second time.
Oh well. You can't protect everybody. Hit the link:
Sunday, May 20, 2007
It was a good day. Did you have a better day than I did? Oh yeah? Wanna bet?
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Word has it that Jim Bakker has infected the Branson area and has also convinced a couple that was foolish enough to turn to him for marriage counseling of all goddamned things to even more stupidly invest in the old PTL scam of building a resort community for the faithful.
More on this later......hit the link....http://www.news-leader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070517/NEWS01/705170412
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Friday, May 11, 2007
I hope this made Mama happy.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Given recent history with these high dollar nags, it would seem that investing in boxers would make more sense.
Anyway, hit the link wiseguy.
A fair reading of history reveals that the Mormons were the subject of intense scorn and prejudice almost from their inception. They were merely run out of New York. They were attacked by armed militia under color of law in Missouri and Illinois. It is for this reason that they migrated to the Great Salt Lake in Utah, suffering many tribulations along the way in what is one of the most remarkable episodes in American history.
Much of the reason for hatred of the Mormons, at least in their earlier incarnations, was due to their practice of polygamy and their strategy of bloc voting in large numbers. But some of it had to do with Joseph Smith's claim that the LDS church was the only "true" Church of Christ on Earth. Suffice it to say, a lot of it had to do with Joseph Smith himself.
Joseph Smith grew up in upstate New York during a period of great religious fervor in the region. Joseph claimed that while praying in the woods one day for guidance as to what church to join, two angelic personages appeared unto him. One of the angels pointed to the other and said, " This is my Beloved Son! Hear him!"
After this vision, Smith claimed that he was visited by an angel named Moroni who led him to where the golden plates upon which what came to be known the Book of Mormon were conveniently buried there in upstate New York. Smith took it upon himself to "translate" these tablets, using 'seeing stones" left him for that purpose after which the Angel Moroni took the tablets back into heaven. This is the short version of this aspect of the story. The long version is even more complicated and you can research it for yourself if you are so inclined.
Anyway, this is the point in the story where even some Mormon scholars agree that things get a little dicey insofar as truth claims go. According to eyewitnesses present during this production, Smith placed the seeing stone in his hat. He proceeded to "read" it by sticking his head inside the upturned fedora from whence he dictated aloud for transcription by one of his followers. This is how the first draft of Book of Mormon came to be written. Naturally, nobody but Smith ever saw the golden plates, which were the only original source documents for the Book of Mormon, if one is to believe this at all.
The embarrassing problem for the LDS church is that this was not the first time Smith had employed a "seeing stone" or "peep stone." It was just the first time he had used one in order to found a religion. Indeed, as a younger man he was convicted in the case of "People vs. Joseph Smith the Glass Looker " for defrauding a man by claiming he could find buried treasure through the use of a "peep stone." The public record of what passes for his criminal past may be found in Bainbridge, New York.
But before you get too smug about the superiority of your own belief system versus the version put out by the LDS, let's examine a more mainstream doctrine. Let's just pick one, say, that the New Testament is the inerrant word of God and every jot and tittle contained therein was virtually dictated by the Almighty Himself. This is known as the "autograph theory" of Scripture. At least it was back when I thought I was going to be a Methodist minister back in my student days at Hendrix College. Suffice it to say that it is a blessing to both God and the Methodist Church that I discovered David Hume in my Junior year and decided to go to law school. But I digress.
If the Bible is indeed a transcription, then the transcriber was a poor one indeed. Just a few examples of inconsistencies off the top of my head: The Gospel of John doesn't agree with the others in just about anything. This would include what Jesus said, why He performed miracles or what day He was crucified. Much of our Christian theology comes from Jesus's death and resurrection which Jesus hardly talks about in the Gospels. That mostly comes after the fact from Paul. Both Jesus and Paul had an apocalyptic message: The Kingdom of God was at hand. Jesus and later the early church thought the apocalypse was fairly imminent. Which is the sort of thing that one would expect the Son of God to be able to speak about with some authority being the Son of God and all.
Only, the end of the world did not occur. At least if it did, nobody from my church has seen fit to inform me of this fact so that I may cancel my pledge. I will have to check the website.
My point in all of this is just to say that all religions are influenced by the cultural milieu in which they evolve and they retrofit their doctrines accordingly. All of them. The problem for the Mormons is that their truth claims originate with someone recent in history with a fishy public record trailing him. Obviously, it is easier to make a judgment about Joseph Smith's credibility than it is for us to engage in the same exercise about Luke the Physician. The Gospel writers are, for all practical purposes, apocryphal. Joesph Smith was as real as Abraham Lincoln.
So, what is it then? Was Smith a con artist who decided to cash in on the religious fervor of his day? Was he crazy? Or was he a rhapsodic vessel for the Lord? I have my opinion but I don't know for sure. And neither do you.
Just remember that all religious persecution or bigotry represents the most specious of oppression ever devised by man. Because the truth claims of every religion have holes in them. Every single one. And some are wide enough to drive Noah's Ark through them. So in that sense Mormonism is not that much analytically indistinct from anything else.
Just bear that in mind before you make fun of somebody else's religion. Ok. You can make fun of the Raelians. But that's about it and you won't find many of them around here. http://www.rael.org/rael_content/intro.php
Thursday, May 03, 2007
For those of you who haven't kept up, the Chancellor and the System President of the University of Arkansas were named in a "taxpayer lawsuit" concerning the alleged failure of the UA to adequately investigate the Nutts involvement and/or knowledge concerning a certain harassing e-mail sent to former much ballyhooed freshman quarterback Mitch Mustain by an associate of the Nutt family. Mustain has since transferred to USC and Nutt has been hit with a subpoena by the Plaintiff's attorney. Nutt has also threatened to sue a man who got access to his phone and text message records which revealed numerous messages to a woman not his wife.
As readers of this space will remember, while not calling him a liar outright, I did allow as to how I thought that this looked like hell and that his explanation seemed fishy. Which it still does.
I had never seen Diana Nutt in person before today. She's gorgeous. Men do crazy things sometimes. One of the most beautiful women I know had a husband who screwed around on her from the get-go. But Houston can't do much better than he is doing now. Not many men could. He certainly doesn't have the reputation for having a roving eye and the missus has publicly stated her support for her man. And they didn't seem to be estranged. Indeed, they were holding hands as they walked through the lobby.
We tend to forget-all of us-that public figures are people too. And our own relationships are hard enough to figure out without trying to divine what is going on in someone else's.
It cannot be denied that the hundreds of text messages he sent another woman is bad for appearance's sake. But I saw he and his wife holding hands as if they were out on a date.
It didn't look to me like they were just making an appearance.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Anyway, we had great seats. We were at ground level between home plate and the 3rd base dugout. The sun was warm but a cool breeze was in our face. The little guy was resplendent in his Oakland A's cap and Travelers shirt. He had a hot dog in one hand and a bottle of water in the other.
He took a bite of his hot dog and after taking a look around said, " This is just the best."
Kurt Vonnegut wrote that he had a favorite uncle back in Indiana who used to say, "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."
I don't know, off the top of my head, if there's a better way to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon than to go to the ballpark with people that you love.
If that isn't nice I don't know what is. It's just the best.