Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Who is Mimi Al-Laham (Syrian Girl)?

Alex Jones loves her. YouTubers drool over her physical beauty. But there's also a faction who call her a misinformation agent, a mouthpiece for Assad and a government spy. So who is Syrian Girl?

As a burgeoning political and social media figure she has garnered nearly 1 million views on YouTube alone. Not to mention almost 11,000 followers on Faceook and about half that many on Twitter. Aside from her husky and deliberately labored speech, flavored with both Syrian and English (think England) affects, she is an ardent supporter of Syrian nationalism. That is, being no supporter of most existing world governments, a desire for Syria to remain autonomous from international influence.

When she appeared on the Australian television program "Insight" concerning the Syrian civil war, as viewed by Syrians living in that country, she was identified as a Sunni named Mimi Al-Laham. In her own words she's an Assad supporter insomuch as he's better than the Obama Regime backed alternative, the Muslim brotherhood, who are known al-Qaeda operatives and puppets of the New World Order. She's also for the reform process and surmises that an overthrow of Assad would lead to the destruction of Syria while gradual, democratically-inspired change would be a stabilizing force and the true will of her people.

A self-described member of the former bourgeois ruling-class that was deposed from power during the Bathist coup, she would like to run Syria herself one day. Her grandfather was in government and she believes that the only path for Syrian sovereignty is through diplomatic reform, believing that her country will become another Afghanistan if left to the desire of outside forces (NATO, Israel and the United States). A fact that has not evaded one of Syria's staunch enemies in Israel.

Outside of the media attention her personal life is a mystery. She is believed to be residing in Australia with her father.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The BLOODLINE of Adam Lanza

I'm used to chasing down dead people. Seeing as I have a few blogs dealing with local history I find that sometimes you have to go backwards into the tomb to get answers pertinent to the living. Since there is no concrete evidence on purported mass murderer Adam Lanza hitherto, save for the media propaganda, it's time to start digging.

One of the few pieces of information that even mentions Adam is his grandfather's obituary:

If nothing else it establishes that Adam was among the living in December of 2010. Being that Mr. Lanza was an investment broker at John Hancock it could well be where Nancy met her husband and his son Peter.

I also tracked down Nancy's stepfather's obituary.

Paul William Hanson was a Navy veteran and a teacher/principal for many years. He died in 2003.

After a few brief searches I tracked down both Carol Gould, a sister of Nancy and her brother Donald Champion.

Carol and her husband run a Bed & Breakfast in Bethel, Maine

And Mr. Champion... gets arrested.

Hardly anything earth-shattering but it's a start.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Boontling Repository

New Straits Times, July 24, 1991
The death of boontling has long been prophesied. A local jargon founded in the late 19th century, it was bred of the necessity to keep adult matters from the ears of babes who often worked alongside their parents in California's Anderson Valley. But it also served as a means to flummox non-locals as well as a badge of pride for residence in the know. Native to the small town of Boonville the language is now nearly extinct.

As many of the keepers of the code and their descendants have passed on so has the patchwork vernacular. Steeped mainly in Scottish, Gaelic and Irish roots, some Pomoanian and Spanish words and phrases have also crept into the lexicon. But with only 700 residents left in Boonville the thousand or so word language is fast becoming archaic.

Well, I'll be damned if I'll let it happen! Despite being a midwesterner I refuse to stand by idly and let it die out. I can't promise that I'm going to learn to vocalize the tangle of slang words and euphemisms but I'll certainly compile any of its written word companions.

Here's a few words below to get you started. I'll update further when I get a chance.

The New York Times, June 26, 1991


How To Harp Like A Local; The New York Times, June 26, 1991

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Did Adam Lanza Die the Day Before the Sandy Hook Massacre?

Patsy or pariah? (enlarge)
I came across this Shepard Ambellas piece at concerning the Social Security Death Index record of Adam P. Lanza being dated a day prior to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. So I decided to see just how accurate these records are. Being that many of the older genealogical databases are fraught with errors is it possible that this is a mere typographical error, more evidence of a government cover-up or as some have even suggested, a warning flag from those in the know that something is amiss and a crumb to encourage truthers to keep digging?

For the record I don't believe that Adam Lanza ever stepped foot (he might have been placed there after the fact if an event actually occurred) into the school that day and was merely a patsy for a staged government terrorist act. The various witness accounts of multiple shooters, video evidence of suspects being apprehended and corroborating audio from police scanners on that day seem to support the notion. I won't, however, go so far as to say that the shootings never took place nor did any children perish. Short of exhuming the purported victim's bodies (don't even think about it) there's no way to verify the facts as eyewitness accounts can be compromised and video evidence manipulated. What's certain is that the facts don't add up and certainly don't point to some gaunt, emotionally-unstable and borderline autistic, 90 pound weakling kid carrying out a lone wolf mass murder spree.

Genealogy Bank's SSDI page (enlarge)
Since Ambellas seems to have performed a brief investigation into Genealogy Bank's methods of obtaining the Social Security Death Indexes with the site's administrators (see the comment section) and the only truly reliable way to determine the validity of their records is to fact check each record individually, I'll begin with the reported victims of the shooting. Mind you that the State of Issue on each record is the state that issued the Social Security number as opposed to the place of actual death. At least that's my understanding of the data.

For the sake of brevity the name of the victim with a link to their Social Security Death Index at Genealogy Bank will be posted below.

1. Charlotte Bacon
2. Daniel Barden
3. Rachel Davino
4. Olivia Engel
5. Josephine Gay
6. Ana Marquez-Greene (not found)
7. Dawn Hochsprung
8. Dylan Hockley
9. Madeleine F. Hsu
10. Catherine V. Hubbard
11. Chase Kowalski (not found)
12. Nancy Lanza
13. Jesse Lewis
14. James Mattioli
15. Grace McDonnell
16. Anne Marie Murphy
17. Emilie Parker
18. Jack Pinto
19. Noah Pozner
20. Caroline Previdi
21. Jessica Rekos
22. Avielle Richman
23. Lauren Rousseau
24. Mary Sherlach
25. Victoria Soto
26. Benjamin Wheeler
27. Allison N. Wyatt

Each and every one is dated December 14, 2012. So, the database is right 27 out of 28 times. Which is hardly a consensus so I also decided to check other names. Fact checking a bunch of Joe Schmoes like us would be too time consuming so I've gone with recently deceased famous persons. The names are followed by media mentions corroborating the date of their passing.

1. Daniel K. Inouye (ABC News)
2. Emanuel Steward (Wikipedia)
3. Arlen Specter (Wikipedia)
4. Gary Collins (CNN)
5. Arthur O. Sulzberger (ABC News)
6. Hal David (Wikipedia)
7. Johnny Pesky (Wikipedia)
8. Donald J. Sobol (ABC News)
9. Glenn "Bo" Schembechler (Wikipedia)
10. Pedro Borbon (ABC News)
11. Dan Quisenberry (Wikipedia)
12. Soupy Sales (Wikipedia)
13. Dom DeLuise (Wikipedia)
14. George Steinbrenner (Wikipedia)
15. Kurt Vonnegut (Wikipedia)

After choosing a few random recent deaths I tossed in a few personalities with distinct names and all came back with the correct information. This is hardly scientific but in a test sample of 42 random entries all were accurate. If there are clerical errors on Genealogy Bank they seem to be isolated.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Babs Wingo Repository

Jet; August 25, 1955

It'd be wholly dishonest if I didn't admit that 90% of my fascination with black women wrestlers from the 1950s and '60s is due to the name Babs Wingo. The sport itself doesn't interest me much and not even the enticement of women throwing each other around adds any further appeal. But that name alone is pure lyricism. It's distinctly female but also superhero-esque. Plainness given wings if you will.

All that aside I've come to the conclusion that I need to compile another database. As such Babs and her female cohorts will be part of it. Although most of the female portions of newspaper articles concerning wrestling are afterthoughts, the opponents and results of each match have some historical value. At least to me they do. While the endgame value isn't extraordinary in terms of the sporting world, the uniqueness of their endeavor and pioneering spirit is quite substantial.

The Southeast Missourian, September 23, 1955


Policeman Hero At Mat Show; The Milwaukee Sentinel, July 27, 1952

Record Crowd Sees Mat Show; Baltimore Afro-American, December 2, 1952


Women Grunters To Vie At Coliseum; Baltimore Afro-American, February 14, 1953

Mean Girl, Good One To Wrestle In Cape; Tag Event On; The Southeast Missourian, July 10, 1953

Beef-Type Men, Girlies To Wrestle In Separate Bouts Scheduled Tonight; The Southeast Missourian, July 11, 1953

Girls Please Crowd At Wrestling Show With Holds Galore; The Southeast Missourian, July 13, 1953

Girl Wrestlers To Feature Card; Wilmington Sunday Star, September 6, 1953

Advert; The Portsmouth Times, October 23, 1953

Everybody In The Act; Baltimore Afro-American, December 5, 1953

Baltimore Afro-American, December 5, 1953


Babs Wingo Goes From Hat-Check Girl To Mat Star In Three Years; St. Joseph News-Press, March 31, 1954

Clary Faces Eckert Tonight In Bid For Top Mat Rating; St. Joseph Gazette, April 2, 1954

Gal Grapplers In Washington Show; The Afro American, September 4, 1954

Bence, Tex Sign For Mat Bout; Daytona Beach Morning Journal, September 8, 1954

Advert; The Miami News, September 10, 1954

Staffer Finds Female Wrestlers Are Human; St. Petersburg Times, September 10, 1954

Three-Match Card On Wrestling Show; The Miami News, September 10, 1954

Girl Wrestlers Tangle Tonight; Daytona Beach Morning Journal, September 11, 1954

St. Joseph Produces Three National Mat Headliners; St. Joseph Gazette, December 7, 1954

Etchinson-Hamilton Title Go Tops Auditorium Mat Card; St. Joseph Gazette, December 17, 1954


All-Star Card In Wrestling To Be Featured; Gadsden Times, May 12, 1955

Arena Mat Card Tonight; Youngstown Vindicator, May 12, 1955

Rocca Team Is Defeated; Youngstown Vindicator, May 13, 1955

Wrestling Returns To Arena With Colored Girls Featured; Southeast Weekly Bulletin, September 15, 1955

Ad; The Southeast Missourian, September 23, 1955

Negro Girls Will Wrestle; The Southeast Missourian, September 22, 1955

Talaber, Marconi Meet In Feature At New Boston; The Portsmouth Times, December 22, 1955

The Nevada Daily Mail, January 21, 1955


4 Matches On Y Card Tonight; The Dispatch, January 6, 1958

Wrestling Cards To Help In Polio Drive In Girardeau; The Southeast Missourian, January 16, 1956

Joe Louis To Referee 2 Bouts On Uline Card; Washington Afro-American, January 17, 1956

Bomber Jumped By Wrestler; Baltimore Afro-American, January 28, 1956

Bo Bo Versus Cowboy Lee A 'Battle Of Behemonths'; Baltimore Afro-American, February 25, 1956

New Type Wrestling Feature Set Tonight; St. Joseph News-Press, March 9, 1956

'Tornado' Wrestling A Big Hit; St. Joseph News-Press, March 10, 1956

Three Match Mat Program At Chillicothe; St. Joseph Gazette, March 16, 1956

Matta Tops Polo At Sports Arena; Toledo Blade, April 13, 1956

Rugged Action Is Anticipated On Mat Card At Auditorium; St. Joseph News-Press, May 19, 1956

Larry (Elvis) Hamilton Eager To Battle Atlas; St. Joseph Gazette, December 11, 1956

Mid-West Wrestling Title On Line Tonight; St. Joseph Gazette, December 14, 1956


4 Girls Featured On Stadium Mat Card; The Afro American, June 8, 1957

Advert; Herald-Journal, August 22, 1957

Top Wrestlers In Coliseum Bouts; Baltimore Afro-American, October 1, 1957

Millers Oppose Scotts; The Calgary Herald, October 29, 1957

Refs Outside Ropes For Mat Bout Friday; The Calgary Herald, November 7, 1957


Wrestling Set Tonight After Holiday Layoff; The News and Courier, January 2, 1958

Wrestling Fans Can Watch Four YMCA Bouts Saturday; The Dispatch, January 4, 1958

Gypsy Joe Goes After Clancy's Title Tonight; Herald-Journal, January 11, 1958

Advert; The Dispatch, January 17, 1958

Negro Girls Should Attract Big Crowd At Y Saturday; The Dispatch, January 17, 1958

Girls Tag Team Match And Great Bolo Feature Card; The Dispatch, January 18, 1958

Mat Loser Tonight To Ride Donkey; The Milwaukee Sentinel, March 1, 1958

Carpentier 'Rides' Poffo Onto Donkey; The Milwaukee Sentinel, March 3, 1958

8 Mat Stars On Local Card; The Victoria Advocate, March 26, 1958

Myers Joins Up With Ellis In Grudge Battle; St. Joseph Gazette, December 16, 1958

The Dispatch, January 30, 1959


Advert; The Dispatch, January 30, 1959

Negro Girls On Mat Card Here Tomorrow; The Dispatch, January 30, 1959

Advert; The Calgary Herald, April 30, 1959

All-Star Wrestling Friday; The Calgary Herald, April 30, 1959

One Fall To Decide Main Go; The Calgary Herald, May 1, 1959

Women Booked For Mat Card; Spokane Daily Chronicle, May 5, 1959

Girls Tangle At Herm's; Tri City Herald, May 8, 1959

Gal Grapplers Rattle Rafters; Ethel Wins; Tri City Herald, May 12, 1959

Girl Rasslers Share Billing; The Spokesman-Review, May 12, 1959

Texan Tops Mat Card; The Spokesman-Review, May 13, 1959

Texan, Wallick In Mat Battle; Spokane Daily Chronicle, May 13, 1959


Yukon Eric Battles Bruiser At Arena; The Milwaukee Sentinel, October 29, 1960

Gals Take Over Top Spot On Mat Card; Baltimore Afro-American, December 20, 1960


Nomellini, Gouchos, Mills On Mat Card; The Milwaukee Sentinel, March 22, 1961

Bruiser, Rocca Tangle Tonight; The Milwaukee Sentinel, April 1, 1961

Austin Seeks Revenge In Bout With Myers; St. Joseph Gazette, May 19, 1961

Benefit Mat Show Carded; Youngstown Vindicator, May 21, 1961

Rocca Vs. Bruiser Saturday; The Milwaukee Sentinel, March 26, 1961

DiPaulo Is Mat Winner; Youngstown Vindicator, May 27, 1961

Advert; The Dispatch, September 7, 1962

Calhoun And Jacobs Back For Y BoutThe Dispatch, September 7, 1962

Advert; The Miami News, September 15, 1961

Hated Von Brauners In Feature Match; The Miami News, September 15, 1961

Negro Girls Top Arena Mat Card; Herald-Journal, October 27, 1961

Referee Calls Bout At Arena; Herald-Journal, October 29, 1961

2 Tag Bouts Spice Mat Show Tonight; The Milwaukee Sentinel, November 30, 1961

Bruiser 'Bruised' By Snyder; The Milwaukee Sentinel, December 1, 1961

Snyder Winner In Arena Match; The Milwaukee Journal, December 1, 1961


Maurice, Barend Win Arena Mat Feature; Toledo Blade, April 19, 1962

Foul Helps Neilsons Beat Bruiser, Snyder; Toledo Blade, May 10, 1962

Advert; The Dispatch, September 7, 1962

Two Tag Matches Feature YMCA Wrestling Program; The Dispatch, September 10, 1962

Villians Win Tag Match; Return Contest Slated; The Dispatch, September 11, 1962


Myers In Mat Title Clash With Mills; St. Joseph Gazette, January 20, 1963

Advert; St. Joseph Gazette, January 24, 1963

Tiny Mills Tops Myers In Title Go; St. Joseph Gazette, January 26, 1963

St. Joseph Gazette, January 24, 1963




Wrestling Card Set At King City; St. Joseph News-Press, July 7, 1966

Five Events On Tonight's Mat Slate; St. Joseph Gazette, July 8, 1966

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sipping Saints by David Wilkerson

I'm quickly running out of "interesting" books to throw at my non-existent audience. Which is probably a boon considering that I don't have time to read them anyway. I could make space in my schedule by cutting down on this Pulitzer-esque writing but it's far easier to tap these keys for a half hour than to prod through a bad book for the sake of criticism.

As for the question: "Do Christianity and drinking mix? Wilkerson's answer is a succinct NO. While the chapter titles are mainly innocuous the latter sub-section titles are zingers for teetotalers to rail against the unholy imbiber:

Young Married Swingers
Beer and Bibles
Who Are These Stoned Students?
Needed: Preachers With Guts
Sexual Freedom Is A Flop

Zing! Now, an entry and a 10 Commandments of Drinking:

"Why is drinking an irresponsible act for any Christian? Because the machinery of a spiritual heart can run on nothing less than holy oil! God's children do not need something physical to grasp in an effort to live abundantly and joyfully. His joy can't be found in a glass! His peace is not in a bottle! True pleasure is not synthetic but spiritual."

Ten Reason for Total Abstinence

Why do I abstain from all alcoholic beverages? I can give you ten good reasons:
1. It is an offense to new converts
2. It is unscriptural, condemned in both the Old and New Testaments.
3. It is mockery; it is unwise; it leads to "roving eyes."
4. It has the potential to deform unborn babies, poison the liver, and cause depression.
5. It is recommended only for terminally ill people with heavy hearts.
6. It is a shameful example for children.
7. It is wrong because it identifies one with the terror and despair of six million alcoholics.
8. It is a phony substitute for the true wine of the Holy Spirit.
9. It can easily become habituating, even to the godliest of people.
10. It has the overwhelming potential to turn a sober child of God into a swaggering fool.

Well, there you have it.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Lady Wrestlers: Louise Greene, Ethel Johnson, Mary Horton & Babs Wingo

Jet, February 21, 1952

When I found this story while searching for a word avoirdupois I figured that it would be a quirky, oddity, niche kind of thing but it turns out that some of these ladies actually made careers out of wrestling. Well, as far as most athletic careers go, spanning a decade or two. And they banked some serious avoirdupois!

There's a re-posted article here from the Columbus Dispatch detailing some of Ethel Johnson's feats and pratfalls. Considering the era, the 1950s through the 60s, sex and race discrimination factored into their experience as dig juggling a career with a family. Anyway, since I don't have time to delve into this deeper today as I'm going out of town, I'll make a concerted effort to track down some news articles on the matter sometime next week.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Avoirdupois: The Perfect Euphemism for a Fat-Ass

av·oir·du·pois (ah-ver-duh-poiz)  n.

1. Abbr. av. or avdp. Avoirdupois weight.
2. Informal Weight or heaviness, especially of a person.

[Middle English avoir de pois, commodities sold by weight, alteration of Old French aveir de peis, goods of weight : aveir, avoir, to have (from Latin habre; see able) + de, of (from Latin d, from; see de-) + peis, pois, weight (from Vulgar Latin *psum, from Latin pnsum, past participle of pendere, to hang; see (s)pen- in Indo-European roots).]

The Pittsburgh Press, December 20, 1907
Ambrose Bierce called the word mere slang but it had, nonetheless, enjoyed wide popularity from the days of Shakespeare through to the middle 20th century. As is evidenced by the piece above and many print articles. I've encountered it several times in baseball write-ups from the early 1900s and in those days where it was standard to call a corpulent person fat, the euphemism avoirdupois seems to have given levity to the bluntness.

Shakespeare wasn't so mild in his jocularity. In Henry IV the scribe speaks to the avoirdupois of Poins to Prince Hal and the prostitute Doll Tearsheet:

Pointed but not vicious this slang of sorts seems to have suffered a more banal fate in the 1800s as a simple measurement of weight in many a technical journal and manual.

Although the word fooled me as a gutter variation of some French phrase (I was thinking ah-vwah doo-pwah) it actually comes across sounding more like a Southern bastardization (think Lafayette become Lah-fay-it among others).

If it's to make a return to the everyday vernacular in this era of political correctness it will be done so in underground newspapers and by hapless bloggers trying to garner 18 cent ad clicks. Then again, if Barry Soetoro has his way with economic parity, we'll all be driving 1950s bombers imported from Cuba in the not too distant future and perhaps language will follow suit. Thus, hundred year old dictionaries chock full of antipodal definitions for modern words will be useful during the brainwashing purge.

Just don't tell that to Babs Wingo, Louise Green, Ethel Johnson or Mary Horton because their only avoirdupois was in their bank accounts. More on that next time.

Jet, February 21, 1952

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Dictionaries: Forgotten English Part 1

Just as writing a blog everyday is the pinnacle of tedium, trying to cram too much information into one post mirrors that daunting task. You forget 75% of the imparted material and lose your reader. Luckily I have no readers. Despite that I'm going to keep this post to a one-word demonstration. Here goes.

SOCKDOLAGER  *  Early nineteenth-century term for a climax or crescendo, which in salesmanship might be called the "close" or "finisher." Sockdolager was constructed from sock, a knockout punch, and doxology, a motivational hymn or "verse of thanksgiving" sung near the conclusion of church services. Sermons were once so carefully prepared to maximize the dramatic impact of the sockdolager that clever preachers sometimes noted in the margins where they "cough'd or hemm'd," as Butler alluded to in Hudibras:

And with hearty noise he spoke 'em
The ignorant for current took 'em...
And when he happened to break off
In the middle of his speech or cough,
H' had hard words ready to show why
And tell what rules he did it by....
Have pow'rful preachers plied their tongues,
And laid themselves out, and their lungs;
Us'd all means, both direct and sinister,
I' th' power of gospel-preaching minister?

Sockdolager became a popular word in America for an unexpected event, particularly a violent one. In Davy Crockett's 1835 account of his American wilderness exploration, Bear Hunt, he recalled giving a "fellow a socdolager [sic] over the head with the barrel of my gun." In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain wrote: "The thunder would go rumbling and grumbling away, and quit--and the rip comes another flash and another sockdolager." By extension, sockdolager denoted surprise ensnarement by a patented double-pronged fishhook of the 1840s, which upon being bitten snapped together in a fish's mouth.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gene Rosen: By Sandy Hook or Crook

Hi, I'm a trained psychologist and 6 schoolchildren just appeared on my driveway with a bus driver saying that their teacher is dead and had been shot. The first thing I'm going to do is:

a) contact the authorities
b) tell the bus driver to contact the cops while I calm the children
c) take them into my house for several hours, feed them cookies and milk, read them stories, get their phone numbers from the bus records and then call their parents.

Yeah, you guessed it, not c.

Not only is there no record of the supposed Sandy Hook hero Gene Rosen being a psychologist but he's changed his story from interview to interview. And not just minute details but factual chasms. I didn't believe his story from the first time I read about it. It's far-fetched, contrived and unbelievable. The evidence is overwhelming that the man is either confused, senile or simply lying. All which leads to speculation that there is a cover-up to a potentially staged event. The wild antics of the medical examiner, police misinformation and constantly evolving facts and the grieving parents who didn't cry once in television interviews add to this growing suspicion of the official story line.

While I can't speak to the accuracy of the media, the police or the coroner I can attest to the fact that any time my child is even in mild distress from falling or smacking her knee on a sharp corner I become emotional. Not fits of sobbing grief but when she hurts it hurts me. Just the thought of her being slaughtered in a school shooting puts me at the edge of tears. Yet, these parents who were paraded in front of the media were seemingly steeled to their cores. Let me tell you, if my child was murdered I don't think that I could even stand let alone speak and the last thing I'd do is grant an interview to some network reptile slithering up to "comfort me."

That said, harassing Gene Rosen is about as fruitful as threatening a government official. It makes the so-called "truth movement" look like a pack of raving lunatics. No good can come from it. If you think he's a liar then write your newspaper's editorial section, create a blog/blog post and point out his inaccuracies and voice your opinion to friends, family and on online discussion boards. People will call you a wacko, a conspiracy theorist and a right wing gun nut but for the seekers of truth it will serve as a dissenting opinion. Which is the point of free speech, while it lasts.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Has Jimmy Hoffa's Body Been Found Again?

Well, it happens every 6 months or so when a semi-credible lead comes in to police and they send a dig team out to find Jimmy Hoffa's remains. The latest informant is a former reputed mob boss, Anthony J. Zerilli, who as a businessman and personal acquaintance of Hoffa has also been linked to the disappearance itself.

Though he disputes the allegation Mr. Zerilli claims to have firsthand knowledge of the who, what, when and where of the situation and is ready to spill the beans. He's also a broke ex-con who's trying to hock a book so the veracity of his supposed historical sockdolager may be more gusto than gainful fact. Seeing his kindly old mug in the margin though gives me pause and allows for a modicum of trust in the matter. You may not be similarly inclined to do so.

Nonetheless, you can visit his site and sign up to receive an e-mail when the pubication is ready for distribution. The expected date is March 1, 2013 and the book will cost $24.95. The 85-year-old Zerilli is also available for interviews but I'm not about to rankle his last nerve and find myself on a Sicilian hit squad roster. Hell, at the least you can click the Google banners and make the old dude a few bucks. I know that I will.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Joe Pa Nearly Becomes a Michigan Man and Bo Rides a Donkey

I picked up Don Canham's "From the Inside: A Half Century of Michigan Athletics" at a thrift store for a quarter and didn't really expect much. Some name dropping, the writer's take on  big moments in the school's history, a spouting of personal accomplishments, more name dropping, family anecdotes, etc.  But after a few random page flips and chapter perusals I came across some rather interesting information.

The first being Canham's targeting of Joe Paterno as the next head coach after Bump Elliott's segue from that position to assistant athletic director in  1968. Elliott's tenure was primarily marked with mediocre teams though he did manage a 9-1 season in 1964 capped with a Rose Bowl victory over Oregon State, where he had served as an assistant coach early in his career.

The 1968 team finished 8-2 and were ranked as high as #4 before their 50-14 blowout loss to #2 Ohio State in the season finale. The 1969 roster, filled with mainly Elliott's recruits and led by new coach Bo Schembechler, finished the season ranked #8 in the Coaches' poll. They upset the undefeated and #1 ranked Buckeyes to earn a Rose Bowl berth which was ultimately marred by Schembechler's ill-fated heart attack and a 10-3 loss to the USC Trojans.

The story, as Canham tells it, is that Elliott and he had come to a mutual agreement that 1968 would be the coach's last season. While some have speculated that Elliott expected to be named AD, and that bad blood ensued after Canham's hiring, the latter disputed any friction between the two. In the interim Canham sought out a new coach. After calling around he was given a handful of recommendations by George Allen, the vaunted Hall of Fame coach, who suggested Ben Martin of Air Force and a virtual unknown in Bo Schembechler, the coach at Ohio University.

Martin was interviewed but bowed out of the running since he planned to retire in 5 years and didn't feel it proper to accept the job only to inconvenience the university by bowing out a few years later. Canham, preferring, an established top program coach put Schembechler's name into his memory bank and set his sights on Joe Paterno. Paterno, in his 3rd season at the helm, had led Penn State to a perfect 11-0 season, the first of two consecutive undefeated seasons capped by orange Bowl victories, and was preparing for the bowl game when contacted by Canham. Though interested in the opportunity Paterno wasn't willing to make a decision on the prospective move until after the season. Not willing to wait Canham ultimately selected Schembechler.

As a gesture of goodwill to the fledgling AD Paterno agreed not to mention the proposal. It wasn't until the 1990 College Football Hall of Fame dinner that Paterno, with his fellow attendee Canham's permission, revealed the story. Although his records were later tarnished because of the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal Paterno's reputation as an elite coach is nearly unmatched. Although no sane Michigan football fan would trade the Schembechler legacy it's tempting to consider how Joe Pa would have fared as a Michigan man.

*     *     *

When Canham took over the athletic department at Michigan he was facing a budget deficit and the task of rebuilding a once dominant program. Except for the big rivalry games against Michigan State and Ohio State it was a common occurrence for the Big House to regularly be half empty during matches. 

He sought to change this predicament through aggressive marketing. Having remembered the 1967 game against the Buckeyes where 37,000 seats remained unfilled he vowed not to let the incident repeat itself. Weeks before the game with 25,000 tickets still unsold he placed several ads in Ohio newspapers and the bulk of those were snatched up, all but ensuring a sellout. Canham's plan took root and is now deeply embedded into the program with 200 straight games of 100,000+ attendance dating back to 1975.

He also borrowed the idea of selling t-shirts and pennants from the UCLA bookstore which he had visited several years earlier while a coach with the track team. He drew up several designs including a block "M" with a wolverine and MICHIGAN written through them and began to sell everything from shirts to playing cards and ashtrays with the logos. 

Another of his promotional events was a summer picnic for the Wolverine and Spartan staffs. Not much information is available concerning the event(s) but the highlight was supposed to be a donkey race between coaches Schembechler and Daugherty though the animals refused to budge. Seeing the two hefty men pictured upon their backs it's not hard to understand their reticence. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Nancy Grace's Hairclip Phase #2

About a month ago I posted some pictures showing Nancy Grace with her flower hairclip and a bunch of people Googled their way here. Which is good for web traffic but kinda pointless if nobody comments, whether with hate or glee, or the photos don't get passed along. Well... maybe nobody cares that much. I don't either.

Anyway, here's some new pictures that I snapped tonight of her standard hairclip sans flower. It really doesn't do her any beauty favors and kind of highlights her menacing look all the more with those exacerbated cheekbones jutting out like instruments of war. I know her television persona is an act but it's still disturbing. Not as frightening as Jane Velez-Mitchell's death-stare but not much is.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Earthquakes in Knoxville, Tennessee

Having had a discussion about earthquakes with my clone last weekend I figured that I would document as many tremors (that I could uncover) that have occurred in or were felt in Knoxville, Tennessee in the past 150 years or so. Which, of course, gives me an excuse to look at more old newspaper archives. A hobby that has eclipsed the obsession point.

Obviously, this will be a work in progress, as research often is, and instead of doing several posts on the matter I will continue to update this post with any future finds. Hopefully this prying doesn't awaken the creaky bones of the Great Smokies and bring on the big one.

The New York Times, March 1, 1872


February 26

Earthquake Shock In Tennessee; The New York Times, March 1, 1872


March 17

Reported Earthquake; The New York Times, March 18, 1874


November 16

The Earthquake In Knoxville; The New York Times, November 19, 1877


August 24

A Tennessee EarthquakeThe New York Times, September 14, 1884


December 22

Earthquake Shock At Knoxville; The New York Times, December 24, 1890


June 1

Two Distinct Shocks; The Bristol Herald, June 3, 1897


March 31

Two Earth Shocks Are Felt At Knoxville; The Tuscaloosa News, March 31, 1938


June 19

Slight Earthquake Felt in Knoxville Area Early TodayMiddlesboro Daily News, June 19, 1950
Temblor Shakes Knoxville Area, Residents Feared Atomic Blast; The Miami News, June 19, 1950


January 2

Knoxville Shaken By Earth Tremor; Wilmington Morning Star, January 2, 1954
Mild Tremor In WNC Area; The Times-News, January 2, 1954


January 26

Earth Tremors Jar Five States; Sarasota Herald-Tribune, January 26, 1955


September 7

Damage Is Slight From Early Tremors; Middlesboro Daily News, September 7, 1956
Tennessee Region Jolted by QuakesSpokane Daily Chronicle, September 7, 1956


July 16

Seismograph Is Replaced; The Times-News, December 6, 1969

November 19

Quake Rattles 8-State Area; Toledo Blade, November 20, 1969


October 30

Quake...Or Something Hit Tennessee Tuesday; The Robesonian, October 31, 1973

November 30

Knoxville Shaken By Earth Tremor; Middlesboro Daily News, November 30, 1973
Southern States Hit By Brief Earth Tremors; The Argus-Press, November 30, 1973


June 25

Mild Earthquake Shakes Eastern Tennessee Area; The Pittsburgh Press, June 26, 1980
Small Earthquake Jolts Tennessee; Observer-Reporter, June 26, 1980


July 11

Quake Rattles Tennessee; The Tuscaloosa News, July 12, 1986


March 27

Tremor Shakes Tennessee; The Rock Hill Herald, March 27, 1987

July 10

Quake Shakes Up Tennessee; The Victoria Advocate, July 12, 1987


December 2

Small Earthquakes Strikes Section Near Knoxville, Tenn.; The Mount Airy News, December 3, 1989


June 17

Minor earthquake jounces East Tennessee; The Daily News, June 18, 1998


April 29

Tremor from Alabama Quake Felt in East Tenn.;


March 17

Small earthquake rumbles in East Tennessee Thursday night; Kentucky New Era, March 18, 2005

Minor earthquake reported along Tenn, N.C. border;

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The So-called "Creepy" Pictures of James Holmes

One of the several cellphone "self-portraits" James Holmes took hours before the Aurora massacre.  The pictures were  provided by the prosecution on January 9, 2013 to illustrate Holmes' supposed indifference to the planned deed.
I've been amassing the Bill Robles courtroom sketches from the various court appearances of James Holmes in connection to the Aurora theater shootings and came across the supposed "creepy" cell phones pictures of him posing before the massacre. 

As you can see they aren't very creepy at all. I'm sure there are thousands of pictures on Google with people posing with guns or sticking their tongues out in a silly manner. The creepy part is that later on that day he is suspected of shooting up a movie theater filled with patrons watching Batman.

The photos were presented by Prosecutor Karen Pearson to show Holmes' supposed indifference, deliberation and "depravity of human heart." If anything they show him acting like a normal college student in their 20s, albeit the gun adds shock value for the media because they paint all gun owners as crazed psychopaths. 

His demeanor in court, however, would match the prosecution's description. Dead-eyed, zoned-out, uninterested and seemingly unfazed by the proceedings. Though I have heard some audio clips of family members suggesting that he smirks at certain mentions of guns and other trigger words, without video there's no way to confirm that. All of the pre-shooting pictures seem to clash with the post-arrest photographs. Whereas he was always seemingly smiling before he's now emotionless and his facial features are inanimate. 

One of the several cellphone "self-portraits" James Holmes took hours before the Aurora massacre.  The pictures were  provided by the prosecution on January 9, 2013 to illustrate Holmes' supposed indifference to the planned deed.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Traveling Radio: Shelby Deaton, Harrison Hoskins & "On Being"

Every other weekend I travel the entire length of both the states of Ohio and Kentucky along I-75. Which means that I have a lot of time to while away the 400 or so miles of rubber to pavement. Seeing as I don't accept phone calls, little enjoy listening to music for extended periods of time and loathe corporate news, I tend to listen to quite a bit of talk radio. That or sports. Specifically Cincinnati Reds games. I've sort of adopted them as my traveling team and even listen to their post game shows with Marc Amazon and Doc Rogers. Last year's highlights included Homer Bailey's no-hitter and Marty Brennaman getting his head shaved for charity. I've even been known to listen to some high school football games for the pure joy of hearing bad play-by-play announcers.

As for the talk radio programs I'll listen to anything from NPR to Clark Howard to the Prairie Home Companion but prefer Michael Savage and Coast to Coast AM for my Friday night drives, though the former is a crapshoot to find on a serviceable station. In desperation I'll listen to the ultra-annoying Mark Levin or Andy Dean, even though he sounds like some 16 year old kid, and actually I prefer Dean's fill-in host Simon Conway, the expatriated Brit.

However, my concern for this post is the Sunday driving-back-home fare on the radio. Invariably, and despite the fact that I am a lower case atheist, I listen to an hour or so of religious programming. That is, no-name preachers. Which is hardly a mark against these gentlemen because they are leagues above the professional national shyster mouthpieces for religion. These guys spread the word because they believe it despite being relegated to Sunday afternoon duties on small radio stations.

One preacher that I seem to catch on a regular basis is Shelby Deaton or more specifically the band that accompanies his sermon on 105.7 FM out of Manchester, Kentucky which is about 100 miles southeast of Lexington. It's usually led by a caterwauling woman whose voice breaks or goes awry during the high notes but is always soulful in her expression. The band has a heavy handed drummer who uses the garbage can sounding cymbal (I think it's a china cymbal?) to great effect and gives off a garage band feel despite their straight-laced manner and subject matter. I usually turn them off after a few songs but last weekend I stayed with the program the entire duration and got rewarded for my loyalty in the form of Deaton's sermon.

It's a mixture of folksy quick speak, "you knows," "Amen almighty God" and a down home country delivery of the gospel. Here, have a listen:

I like this guy! He's aural folk art and the hand clapping of his cohorts moves the vocal rhythms along quite mightily. Had I known that a sermon followed the short monologue and concert I would have recorded the Jesus songs because they're quite enjoyable due to the earnest effort. At the end of preacher Denton's talk the hand-clapping increases and then the band explodes into a reprise of song before leaving the air:

The program which preceded his was a winner as well. Brother Harrison Hoskins takes a few minutes to warm up but when he does the prerequisite "ha" and "huh" hiccup suffixes after each phrase come out in torrents. I'm not sure why preachers do that but I'm guessing that it's a mechanism for controlled breathing. Have a listen:

Another show I've ambled into, via the now-defunct "Car Talk", is "On Being" with Krista Tippett. It's basically concerns the intellectual side of spirituality and outside of Tippett's rich voice is rather drab and boring. I mean, the great majority of the guests are university professors and there's nothing worse than the affected platitudes of the higher education reason-benders.