Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Another Favorite Urban Legend: The Birds and the Football Game

SUPPOSEDLY, this occurred in the 1950s some time.

There was a terrible football rivalry between MIT and Harvard on the football field. One Summer, an MIT student noticed that the MIT/Harvard game was the first on the roster in the Harvard ballfield in the coming school year. So, for several weeks before the game, the MIT student dressed up in black-and-white strips like a referee, snuck onto the Harvard football field and blew a whistlke, and then threw bird seed onto the grass.

Before long, thousands of birds, and then tens of thousands of birds, were perched on the fence every day at the Harvard football field, waiting for the "ref" to appear, and blow his whistle.

On opening day in the Fall, the stands were filled with thousands of people, mostly from Harvard, of course. The teams came onto the field, and the referee dressed in black-and-white stripes blew his whistle.

Suddenly, tens of thousands of birds descended on the field around the ref, tweeting and squawking, dropping happy little bird poops everywhere!

Dog Stories

The best Urban Legend about dogs which I ever heard goes as follows.

A husband and wife go on a day trip early one morning, leaving the dog at home alone.

When they return, they find their dog dead on the floor, lying in a large pool of urine, beneath a hole in the roof and ceiling above the dog.

The couple call police and report "a very strange break-in." They tell police, "It is as though a burglar took an axe, cut his way into the house through the roof, climbed into the house, killed the dog, peed on the dog, and then left through the hole in the roof without taking anything! It is so wierd!"

When the police do a DNA check on the urine, they call the couple and say, "Listen, we have some interesting news about your burglary. Apparently, an analysis of the urine on your floor indicates that about 200 people contributed to the puddle. So, apparently 200 people climbed through that hole in your roof and peed on the dead dog!"

"What??????????!!!!!!!!!!" the husband and wife respond, "That's crazy!!!!!!!!!!"

Then, someone figured it out.

Apparently, one of the passenger jets landing at the nearby airport emptied its toilet to the ground just before landing. Because the jet had been flying so high, at 33,000 feet, the air around the plane had been extremely cold, freezing the urine solid, so that a large chunk of ice made of frozen pee had fallen out of the plane, crash through the roof, struck and killed the dog and then melted.

I think that probably that urban legend gave rise to this photo -- a dead man speared by frozen pee...

Okay, that's one dog story I don't quite believe, but I can assure you that the following two dog stories are absolutely true...

Aunt Nancy and Uncle Mike had a dog. I think that it was an Irish setter. One day Aunt Nancy made some meat loaf in a glass Pyrex dish, and left it on the counter too high for the dog to reach, to let it cool while they went out.

While they were away, the dog really coveted that meat loaf. He smelled the scent of it. His saliva ran like a champion dog at the Pavlovian Institute. He wanted that meat loaf, and he had to get it! He tried for hours to get at that meat loaf. He jumped and jumped and jumped, reaching as far back across that counter as he could, with each jump.

Finally, victory! He managed to actually touch the bowl and upset it, and so slide it forward slightly! The next jump was enough to reach the bowl, pull it forward to the edge of the counter and onto the floor, where the bowl shattered and glass and meat loaf splattered everywhere!

He couldn't hold himself back. He ran from one chunk of meatloaf to the next, gulping it down -- broken glass and all.

When Uncle Mike and Aunt Nancy got home, it was too late -- the dog lay dead on the floor, from internal bleeding.

Mike Eitelman should verify the essence of the truth of that story. (Maybe he'll say, "Ah, Pete, why did you have to tell that story! I always thought that he died a hero, like Lassie!")

Here is the other absolutely true story.

Sandy, that nasty little cocker spaniel in the Dawson house, used to lo-o-o-o-ove the feel of knits in his mouth, AND the smell of girls' hormones.

One Winter day, beautiful Sheila Paton came over from next door, and she made the mistake of leaving her knit hat on the sofa. Sandy sauntered over, smelled her knit hat, grabbed it with his teeth, and ran over to beneath the piano, snarling viciously at all prospective challengers.

I said, "Oh, no!!!," and, ashamed to dramatize that this disgusting dog had the better of us, in front of this beautiful lady I had a crush on, I went over to the piano and grabbed Sandy by the harness and pulled him out, as he snarled at me with rage.

Determined to save Sheila's hat, I dragged Sandy over to the living room steps, positioned him face-first into the steps, and sat on him, carefully cupping my feet behind his rear end so that he could not escape.

Sandy was so filled with doggy rage, by this procedure, that I think that he invited all the demons of Hell to enter him, possess him and strengthen him.

As he got angrier and angrier, I managed to work the knit hat out of his jaws and throw it to Sheila, who, upset by all of this, left and went home.

Sandy, in the mean time, began to snarl and scream with the most ingodly, unnatural sounds that ever came out of a dog.

With the powers of Satan mobilizing his legs, he got up on all fours, lifting my 190 pounds with him. It dawned on me, "Holy Mother of God! If he is angry enough to do this, he is angry enough to rip out my throat and kill me!" So, I was afraid to jump off, freeing him to attack me.

I couldn't find an appropriate photo of a man riding a dog on the web. The Google shots always show little kids riding big dogs. But I did find this, to convey the scale of what was occurring. Instead of a full grown man riding a to coal car, imagine that is me with Sandy the cocker spaniel under me...

That's about what was occurring.

Sandy walked in a circle around the room, about 7 feet in diameter, or about 21 feet in circumference, with me, the 190 pound guy, on his back, riding him like a horse.

When he returned to the foot of the staircase, I jumped off and bolted up the steps.

Sandy, with demonic eyes, ran up the steps after me, to rip out my throat.

When he was close enough, I punched him in the face, and he flew down the steps and hit the landing.

He ran up again, and I kicked him, and he fell down again.

This time he stayed down, afraid of me, barking nastily.

That's love!

Duck Lady

For years, Duck Lady was the most famous homeless person in Philadelphia.

During law school, in the late 1970s, I worked as a pharmaceutical operator in Smithkline Corporation, at 15th and Spring Garden Streets in Philadelphia, on the second shift. I used to finish work at around 1:00 a.m., buy an Inquirer from the loading dock behind the Inquirer building, then walk down 15th Street to the Market Street Subway entrance across the street from City Hall, and take the eastbound subway to Northeast Philly.

One cold, rainy January night after work, I bought my Inquirer from the guys on the loading dock, walked down 15th Street to Market, paid my fare, and sat on the bench on the subway platform. There were about 15 people waiting for the same train, standing and sitting around me. I opened my Inquirer, and began reading. I don't know how much time passed. Suddenly, my reading was interrupted by an awful smell of urine and feces. It smelled like the inside of a toilet bowl after a bad meal. It was overwhelming. Shocked, I looked up, and everything had changed. On the subway bench next to me was the world famous Duck Lady, quacking, quacking, quacking, jerking a bodily jerk with every quack, she was the world's most famous Tourette's Syndrome case.

Duck Lady was wearing a translucent pink nightee, dirty with urine and feces, and worn pink slippers on a cold, wet subway platform at 2:00 a.m. I panicked and looked up. Everyone on the subway platform who had been standing or sitting around me a few minutes before had retreated to the far end of the platform, about 100 feet away, staring with fright at us, wondering what I would do.

At first I nearly jumped up and ran away, as I looked at this frightening shaking, quacking, toilet-smelling human garbage dump. But then, as I breathed her smell and became involved in her Hellish little world, I was struck by the contrast between her bizarre fate and that of the people at the other end of the platform, and I suddenly felt ashamed of my desire to run from Duck Lady. I thought, "If I get up and run, I will be declaring that she is less than human -- a monster. It would be so demeaning." So, for the sake of her dignity, I forced myself to sit there and breathe her urine and feces.

As Duck Lady quacked and jerked, she pulled off one of her slippers and held it out toward me. I thought, "What is she doing?" I saw a few dirty dollar bills in her slipper and I thought, "Oh! That's her 'bank'! She's begging!" I took out my wallet and gave her the last of my money -- only a $5 bill."

How did Duck Lady respond to this? Stripped of everything by her fate except dirty, pissy, shitty night clothing and slippers and a few smelly dollars on a cold, wet subway platform, Duck Lady EVANGELIZED to the big guy in his warm coat.

She said, "May our Blessed Mother watch over you!"

Then she went back to her jerking and quacking.

Just then our subway train pulled up and the doors opened. I jumped up and ran inside. Away from Duck Lady, I realized with a shock that my face was drenched! Apparently, I was so enthralled by the desperateness of her horrible situation that I had not realized that I was crying as I dealt with her! I also realized that I should have given her my coat. This idea did not occur to me because my internal mental connections to the plight of the needy were not very good, then.

You can see Duck Lady mentioned a little bit on-line, here...
...The Presbyterian minister there handled his encounter with a LOT more aplomb than I did.

Someone else -- one of my heroes -- did a lot more for Duck Lady than I ever did, in my warm clothing and protected state: Sister Mary Scullion.

Mary went to St. Martin of Tours School on Oxford Circle in Northeast Philadelphia. She was in 7th grade when I was in 8th grade. Sister helped to set up a shelter for the homeless in Philadelphia in 1976. She began to walk the streets and to boldly familiarize herself with the homeless and their plight. She found all of their hiding places, bringing them food, clothing and blankets. For awhile there another one of my favorite people, Judge Lisa Richette, crawled around cardboard hovels and subway tunnels with Sister Scullion to serve the homeless.

Sister Scullion, I read at one point, managed to "re-mainstream" Duck Lady. She hunted her down, established a relationship with her, talked her into coming to the shelter, washed her, clothed her, fed her, got her medication to help control her Tourette's Syndrome, and finally helped her to get into an apartment!

So, I now understand that the thing which smelled so bad, that cold, wet night on the subway platform, wasn't Duck Lady, but my own foolish disconnectedness with humanity.

Be a Sister Mary Scullion, folks.

I am dedicating this little piece to my Vietnamese "daughter," Nhu.

I hope that someday you read this, Nhu, and remember how I used to tell you the story of Duck Lady when your mom and dad let me tuck you in at bedtime.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

As the Scientists Crank-Up Their $20 Billion Science Experiment...

I forgot to mention one of the points I made to the two scientists I talked-to about the Large Hadron Collider.

It was a one-word argument: Tunguska.

They argued that cosmic rays from space -- 90% of which are extremely-high-energy protons, similar to what the Collider will generate -- don't cause a problem on Earth, so why worry?

In response I said, "Tunguska."

In 1908, the largest explosion in the history of the world -- some estimates are in the 100 megaton range -- flattened a vast, vast area of Siberia -- about 1,200 square miles.

The impact point was very obvious -- trees radiated away from the impact point very revealingly.

But, there was no crater. Just a little lake.

In any event, Tunguska is probably the best candidate for being the event when an incipient mini black hole passed through the Earth.

The Priest Sex Problem: Reassurance for the Catholics, Here...

For decades, now, we have been living with the "pedophile priest problem." We are sick-to-death of it.

We are sick of it because the very thing which is the basis of liability of the Church -- bishops enabling the problem by quietly moving priests from a victimized flock to a new, unwary flock, frequently with written recommendations -- caused the problem to go on and on and on and on and on.

Last weekend's revelations -- that even Ratzinger, before he became pope, participated in "pedophile priest" protection and moving -- are so discouraging. In effect, our bishops have engaged in homosexual pimping. I'll talk about why I switched characterizations from "pedophile" to "homosexual" momentarily. Right now, I want to talk about why I call it "pimping"...

Because, after so many decades of bad news and lawsuits, it is impossible for church administrators to not clearly apprehend the overall structure of the phenomenon:

A sexually-out-of-control priest lasciviously stares at male meat walking around him, grabs it and "does" it. He "does" young people -- usually while engaging in sex acts with adults males, too, here and there -- until the local complaints reach a crescendo. Then, the bishop moves him out with a happy letter of recommendation, and moves someone else in. Sometimes, the one coming in was just another "young-male-doing" wolf, staring at the new, unwary male meat "on the hoof" around him.

This has the impact of keeping the people in the pews happy and hopeful -- and in a mood to donate. (Would you keep donating to a parish whose rectory has become a "red light district"? No.)

Years later, the victimized young males come back for their compensation for the sex occurring years before. They go to one of us lawyers, a lawsuit is filed, the case almost invariably settles.

Structurally, the bishops and the homosexual priests and the lawyers have cooperated to reach into the till to pay for homosexual sex acts.

In the Church cases, the prostitutes are paying the "johns" with money from the pockets of passers-by, us.

When the bishops knowingly CONTINUE shifting priests around, once this pattern has been established, they really are consciously paying out our contributions as money for sex for the priests.

The "bottom line" structure of the problem, when a bishop lets a priest off the hook by moving him, is that they are "giving away the store" -- our store, the one we paid for -- so that priests can have sex with young men.

Is that an unfair characterization?

Years ago, sometime in the early 1990s -- in 1993, I'm fairly certain -- Bishop McHugh announced a capital campaign to finance old and new programs within the Camden Diocese. I was appointed our parish's chief collector. The other collectors asked me to ask Bishop McHugh if our work was to finance sex abuse lawsuit settlements -- i.e., were we financing priest sex after-the-fact.

When I asked Bishop McHugh that question when he came to our parish, Bishop McHugh fell silent, and then he said, "Pete, let me put it to you this way. If we catch any priest engaging in sexual misbehavior any more, then he's out on his ass!"

What I did not know, then, was that two years before, in 1991, before Bishop McHugh himself had written a Letter of Recommendation to the Diocese of Palm Beach, Florida for a sexual predator priest, Msgr. Philip Rigney, whom I, personally, had only recently investigated. Apparently because in 1992 a parishioner had given to our pastor a written statement to the effect that Msgr. Rigney had sexually molested him, the parishioner, repeatedly years before, our pastor was asked by Bishop McHugh if he thought that the Diocese should pay for the priest's criminal defense. Because I am a lawyer, Msgr. Korda asked me for a formal written opinion. I went out and talked to neighbors who knew the man making the statement. There was no doubt about it -- the young man, when he was a teenager, and two friends, were willingly dropping their pants and bending over for money for the sexual satisfaction of a priest who was clearly an out-of-control homosexual. The neighbors did not paint a pretty picture of either the priest or the boys.

The investigation helped me to form a sound opinion. It was this: The Church becomes the priest's family. If, after a careful investigation, it appears more-probable-than-not that the priest is innocent, the Church should pay for the priest's criminal defense. If, after a careful investigation, it appears more-probable-than-not that the priest is guilty as charged, they should "throw him to the wolves," and cooperate in his prosecution, in light of the Church's position of trust vis-à-vis the laity.

So, even as Bishop McHugh said what he said to us collectors, he was conscious of the fact that he, himself, had written one of the letters of recommendation forming the basis of demands in court that the Church pay out money for priestly sex.

Two years later, McHugh laicized the priest.

So, when Bishop McHugh was sponsoring the "Uniting in Faith and Mission" capital campaign, he was acutely aware of the priestly sexual abuse problem, and acutely aware that, in effect, a wrongdoer for whom he had written a letter of recommendation was enjoying the fruits of his protection.

And collecting money to shore up Diocesan resources thinned-out by huge insurance premiums and lawsuits.


* * *

Does the Bible have anything to say about all of this -- a Church that would probably do less damage to itself if it sponsored pornstar mud-wrestling contests?

Oddly, yes.

First, the gospels do something very odd. They portray Jesus appointing Peter as the first pope...

17 Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. 18 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matthew 16:17-19.

...and then they spend the rest of the time criticizing Peter nastily...

A few verses after Matthew 16:17-19, Jesus, to criticize Peter for not understanding that Jesus must die, says to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." Matthew 16:23. Ouch!

And not too many verses before Peter's appointment, the gospel implicitly portrays the papacy, in the person of Peter, as sinking into the "sea of damnable souls"...

28 Peter said to him in reply, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." 29 He said, "Come." Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw how (strong) the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" Matthew 14:28-31.

And, of course, Peter denies Jesus, AFTER Jesus predicts to Peter that he would do this...

69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, "You too were with Jesus the Galilean." 70 But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, "I do not know what you are talking about!" 71 As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This man was with Jesus the Nazorean." 72 Again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man!" 73 A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, "Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away." 74 At that he began to curse and to swear, "I do not know the man." And immediately a cock crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: "Before the cock crows you will deny me three times." He went out and began to weep bitterly. Matthew 26:69-75.

I think that we, the lay people, are being told something -- that our Church would be led by the same weak, sinning politicians who lead everything else.

But, the "bottom line" concept being taught by God is this: "It is My Church, nonetheless."

Second, in my opinion the current age, in which the Church is almost committing suicide by its sin, while the secular system of justice goes after the Church for its sin, is discussed allegorically in the Book of Revelation!...

15 The serpent, however, spewed a torrent of water out of his mouth after the woman to sweep her away with the current. 16 But the earth helped the woman and opened its mouth and swallowed the flood that the dragon spewed out of its mouth. Revelation 12:15-16.

So, do not be discouraged.
* * *


There is a Wives-Tale-level analysis of the problem afoot in our society which the media encourage. People read the stories about priests doing this and doing that to young victims, mostly boys, and say, "Ah-HAH! Priests are celibate! Celibacy must be the problem. Priests should be married, and that will solve the problem!"

In effect, the implication is that "by-and-large, if women to have sex with are not available to men, men are pre-wired to become like homosexuals, desiring to stick their thingies into male hindquarters and mouths!"

What nonsense! What nonsense! How many grown men reading this "turn homosexual" every time pregnancy or sickness makes their wives unavailable?

The truth is that the Church is attracting homosexuals. In fact, if you do a careful review of exhaustive media analyses of the priests' cases, you will see, again and again and again, reference to ADULT homosexual relationships between priests who like to victimize young males in their parishes and ADULT homosexual men.


'Stephen Palo said he cannot erase the image of his first sexual experience from his memory: Awakening from a sound sleep in the bedroom of his Blackwood home, 12-year- old Stephen Palo looks down and finds his parish priest massaging his genitals. Soon the priest begins oral sex." I pushed away," Palo, now 31, said in a recent interview. "I pulled the covers up to my neck. I felt like I was in the corner of the wall, apart from myself, just looking at it." Thus began what Palo said was a 15-year relationship of routine sexual contact between Palo, an altar boy, and the Rev. Joseph Shannon, who directed the altar boy group at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Camden.'

Palo would have been 27 when the sex finally stopped. So, the culprit priest was "doing" a 27 year old man.

Do you know what that is called? That is called, "TWO HOMOSEXUALS ENGAGING IN HOMOSEXUAL SEX."

"Arthur Austin alleges that abuse by Shanley began during a counselling session here, when Austin was 20, and continued for 6 years."

So, Fr. Shanley "did" Arthur Austin for six years, between 20 and 26 years of age.

Do you know what that is called?


The media minimize this part of the analysis. Why? Simple: Gays are the "poster children" of the liberal media. They love them!

In truth, nearly all of the cases are like this. Men don't "become homosexual" if they are "deprived of nookie." These priests are "doing" young males and older males NOT because they are "pedophiles," BUT BECAUSE THEY ARE HOMOSEXUALS.

In truth, pedophiles prefer girls about 9-to-1, in line with the ratio of heterosexuals/ homosexuals in society.

Thus it is not an accident that "MEGAN'S Law" is named after a girl. Her killer, Jesse Timmendequas, really was a pedophile.

The Catholic priest perpetrators, by-and-large, are simply gays -- homosexuals.

Studies verify that male homosexuals have a self-control problem, and so tend to be extremely promiscuous.

A University of Chicago study released in 2004 found that promiscuity among male homosexuals in Chicago is so bad that more than 87% had had more than 15 sex partners, and more than 42% had had more than 60 sex partners.

To put it bluntly, the male homosexual dysfunction tends to be a promiscuous thing.

That they tend to "do" multiple young males is a function of the fact that they are "gays looking for prime beef."

NOT priests mysteriously "made gay" by celibacy.

This is an important concept. It means that the media are actually refraining from going after the real problem -- gays in the clergy.

The genesis of the Church's problem, therefore, is not celibacy, but the fact that the ministry is attracting the effeminate in the modern era.

The reason why our Protestant brothers and sisters are so quiet, despite the fact that the lawsuits against the Catholic Church would seem to be a wonderful PR opportunity is that despite the fact that their churches feature a married ministry, THEY HAVE THE EXACT SAME PROBLEM THE CATHOLIC CHURCH DOES. In their case effeminate married ministers are "doing" mostly young men in their churches!

Access to a heterosexual sexual outlet does not slow down the problem, because celibacy is not the cause.

But why, then, are Protestant churches (and synagogues, too, by the way) sued only about half as much for the same thing?

Simple: The Catholic Church is the only monolithic, persistently-existing target for the lawyers to shoot at. The Protestant and Jewish congregations suffer from a here-today-gone-tomorrow problem, and so are much harder to sue.

Why should the ministry attract the effeminate so much?

I think that the answer is that the churches are suffering from "ghettoization." Just as, beginning after World War II, the American highway system generated a white power exodus from the cities, leaving behind it a social vacuum filled by suddenly-ghettoized minorities, the Age of Screens, very obviously featuring the values of secular humanism's "nice-guy-ness," is successfully killing and replacing Western religious thought, generating a vocations crisis among white males, and leaving behind itself a vacuum which seems tailor-made for "gentle souls" -- the effeminate.

So, while gay rights organizations and women's groups and our liberal media hail the ordination of women as a remarkable advances in enlightened thinking, IN FACT THE EFFEMINATE ARE BEING GHETTOIZED IN CHURCHES BEING LEFT BEHIND BY TRADITIONAL CONGREGATIONS.

The shocking growth of litigable homosexual sex acts by Catholic clergy, and those bishops' letters abetting the orgy, are just one expression of a larger breakdown of religion in the West.

The rats are taking over the ghetto buildings.

We aren't looking at "enlightenment" and "progress."

We are looking at a social and religious cataclysm.

It is, I believe, a symptom of the "Great Falling Away" predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Pennsylvania Lie Detector

In 1977, police in Warminster Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania were certain that they had nabbed the culprit in a particular case, but they lacked critical evidence connecting the suspect to the case.

So, one of the policemen brought a metal colander dish, used for rinsing veggies, to work, ran wires from it to the police copying machine, and placed a paper saying "HE'S LYING" on the copying machine glass. One of the policemen leaned on the copying machine, over the "COPY" button, as though to relax. Another brought in the suspect, sat him in a chair and placed the colander dish on his head.

They informed the nervous-but-skeptical suspect that the machine would tell them every time he was lying, and they began to question him.

Every time the defendant gave an answer which the police suspected was a lie, the policeman leaning on the machine leaned a little too hard on the "COPY" button and out would come another paper reading, "HE'S LYING."

After this went on for a few minutes, the Defendant couldn't take it anymore. He broke down, and confessed to the crime with a full, detailed confession.

Pennsylvania Judge Isaac Garb affirmed by letter to a writer that this story is absolutely true, and that he was the judge on the case.

A Magic Trick to Teach the Kids

I generally dislike those TV shows explaining the tricks of some of the great illusionists of history. Generating those illusions and skillfully performing them is a lot of work. The reward for performing them, aside from money earned, is the mystification of the audience. Explaining the illusions to the public on television steals from the illusionists the fruits of their hard work.

For the sake of family relationships, however, I am willing to invade the area of illusions a little bit, by teaching some tricks so that the adults here can mystify their children.


Materials: 2 new, clean plastic drinking straws, same color, solid in color; scissors.

Method: Carefully snip-off about two inches of one of the two drinking straws. Take the two-inch piece and hide it in your mouth so that it won't interfere with speech.

Take the other full-sized drinking straw. What you say to your audience as you build-up to the trick doesn't matter. Probably, it's best to talk about something else in the room, while you pick-up the full size straw, so that they are distracted by the annoying dissonance between what you are talking about and what you are doing.

When you pick up the full size straw, hold the bottom of the straw with your right hand cupped horizontally, with your palm toward your chest, and the absolute bottom of the straw held between your cupped hand's thumb and the palm.

As you shove the top of the straw against the bottom of your chin, stop talking and with lips closed carefully and invisibly shove the straw piece in your mouth with your tongue so that it is trapped vertically against the inside of your upper and lower front teeth between your tongue and your teeth.

At this point, carefully glide your hand UP the straw pressed against your chin, so that the cup of your hand hides the fact that you are just sliding your hand of the straw, and not piercing your skin and showing the straw upwards into your head through your chin.

As you do this, do it with some hesitation, wincing and groaning in pain.

When the straw has been "shoved upwards into your head" an appropriate distance, open your teeth and lips enough to let your audience see the piece of straw in your mouth behind you teeth.

It will look exactly like you have successfully shoved the straw through your chin into your mouth.
Practice, practice, practice.

Which Have More Legs -- Mules, or Jackasses?

Here is another Amazing True Story drafted for publication in another language...

The great American Civil War began when the states in the southern part of the United States quit the United States and formed their own country, called the “Confederacy,” because they were afraid that the states in the north would take away their slaves, and then they began to fire their cannons at United States forts in the southern states. During the Civil War, in 1862, a Confederate army invaded the United States territory of New Mexico. To stop them, a private contractor, Graydon’s Independent Spy Company, went to the head of the U.S. forces in New Mexico and promised to “mow down” the Southern soldiers “like wheat!” Graydon’s company was hired to do what it could.

Graydon asked for, and received, a few dozen explosive cannon shells. He very carefully drilled holes in them, and inserted fuses into the gunpowder in the holes. Then he saddled each of two mules with two wooden boxes filled with artillery shells.

Late at night, while the Southern soldiers slept in their tents, Graydon and his men very quietly led the two heavily-armed mules through the darkness to the edge of the Southern soldiers’ camp, and then they set fire to the fuses.

Then they smacked the mules very hard on their rear ends, to make them run into the Southern soldiers’ camp, and Graydon and his men immediately turned and ran back toward their own headquarters as fast as they could.

Looking back as they ran, Graydon and his men were shocked to see that their mules, with the boxes of explosive cannon shells, and with the fuses burning shorter and shorter, were right behind them, running with them back to their own headquarters!

The men scattered in different directions and ran faster than they thought possible to nearby rocks and trees, just in time to protect themselves from the exploding mules, BOOM! BOOM!

Graydon’s report to his federal employers explained that there were only two casualties -- the mules!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Happier Topic: Sea Monsters

Comic books and cartoons have so thoroughly hackneyed the concept of "sea monsters" and "sea serpents" that the subject is currently regarded as philosophically absurd.

Yet, respecting descriptions of the beast, there is surprising order within the sightings, even well before the Age of Communication when various forms of media abetted the ordered formation of homogenous cross-cultural ideation.

To put it in "the language of the gutter," there's no way all of those people from diverse places and times could have "gotten their stories right" -- could have told essentially the same story. The mechanism just wasn't there.

I've got two theories about sea monster reports, and maybe both are true at the same time: They are the few surviving members of a dying ancient species (and may now in fact, be gone, in the last few decades); or, they are semi-mystical accretions called "tulpas," but of the demonic variety. I believe that the Loch Ness Monster is a demonic tulpa, for example. (Years ago, an Anglican priest actually died trying to exorcise the thing out of Loch Ness.)

In any event, here is a story, written for translation into Vietnamese, of a sea monster which washed-up on the beaches of Massachusetts. I beliueve that this one was of the dying species variety...

For many centuries, men crossing the seas in their ships have reported seeing sea monsters and being attacked by them. Such stories are nonsense, correct?

A sketch of a sea serpent based on an old

Ask the people in the town of Scituate, Massachusetts. There, in November of 1970, a very strange dead thing washed up onto the beach.

Scituate, Massachusetts

Writer Edward Rowe Snow, famous around the world for his books of true sea stories, rushed to the beach. He was able to examine the dead creature and he also spoke to many witnesses, and so in his 1974 book Supernatural Mysteries and Other Tales he had a chapter describing the creature, and he included photographs of the thing. Snow, who was a very careful researcher, wrote that the creature was about 10 meters in length, had a body which smelled very much like fresh fish, and had four fins or flippers tipped with talons -- long claws like those of an eagle -- with hair between the talons. The most interesting photographs of the creature are of its head.

The Scituate sea monster.
The eyes are not very
visible in this over-exposure,
but in fact the creature has
eyes on the top of his snout,
pointing forward.

It really does look like the head of a plesiosaur, one of the long-necked creatures which used to roam the seas in the time of dinosaurs.

Scientists who are very skeptical about such things say that dead bodies of creatures which look like ancient plesiosaurs are actually the dead bodies of a kind of shark called the basking shark, which happens to rot in a way that makes it look like a plesiosaur.
Top: Diagram shows how a basking shark breeaks down
and rots into the shape of a plesiosaur.
Middle: A plesiosaur-shaped basking shark carcass
pulled-up in the Pacific.
Bottom: The basking-shark skeleton: Easily mistaken
for that of a plesiosaur.
Two things make us think that the Massachusetts sea monster was not a rotting shark body. First, Edward Rowe Snow reports that the creature smelled like fresh fish -- not rotten garbage. In fact, the meat of the creature was so fresh that the crowd on the beach began to cut off pieces and cook and eat them right on the beach! The next day a Massachusetts restaurant even mixed the flesh into its soup and began to sell Sea Monster Soup! That does not sound too much like a rotting shark body, does it? Second, there is the photograph of the monster’s head, included with this article, up above. It just does not look like a rotting shark’s head.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ah, Damn! It Looks Like It's True: Ratzinger Knew

Many of us Catholics have long wondered, with fear, if the accusations and lawsuits about bishops transferring boy-abusing homosexual priests from one parish to the other to cover-up wrongdoing and to "smooth things over" to avoid scandal would ever involve a pope.

Well, it appears to be the case, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it has happened.

We don't have "hard-copy," yet -- a publicly-available digital copy of the German-language document verifying that Ratzinger, himself, before he was Pope Benefict XVI, participated in a decision transferring a homosexual wolf prone to preying upon young male lambs to a new and unwary flock -- but we have the next most reliable thing: In the New York Times, what the Rules of Evidence in American jurisprudence refer to as an Admission Against Interest by a presiding lawyer for the Church that such a document in fact exists.

If the New York Times article is not contradicted in the next few hours, we have what amounts to a Stipulation: Ratzinger knew.

In December, 1979, a priest named Peter Hullermann in the Catholic Diocese of Essen, Germany was accused of molesting three boys by the boys' parents. Fr. Hullerman did not deny the charges. His psychotherapist subsequently indicated that Fr. Hullermann was an out-of-control sex abuser. The priest in charge of personnel matters in the Diocese of Essen had Father Hullermann transfered to Munich Diocese, presided over by Ratzinger when he was Archbishop there, for treatment. The letter preceding Fr. Hullermann's transfer refers to Fr. Hullermann's need to see a Munich psychiatrist because he represented a "danger" requiring that the Diocese of Essen "remove him from pastoral duties," and added that Fr. Hullermann could teach religion "at a girls' school" -- i.e., because he is too interested in boys.

At a January 15, 1980 meeting personally presided-over by Ratzinger, Ratzinger and the other members of the Diocesan Council approved the transfer of Fr. Hullermann, whom they describe in the minutes as "a priest from Essen in need of psychiatric treatment," to St. John the Baptist Church in Munich.

Then, on January 20, the Vicar General of the Munich Diocese cc'd to Ratzinger, personally a memo confirming that Fr. Hullermann had been "returned to full duties."

Rev. Lorenz Wolf, Judicial Vicar in the Munich Diocese today, publicly admits that he has copies of the January 15, 1980 meeting minutes and of the January 20, 1980 memo.

It's clear to a moral certainty -- Pope Benedict XVI, himself, when he was Archbishop of Munich, personally participated in the transfer of another out-of-control homosexual priest preying on young boys to a new and unwary flock without warnings.

Suddenly, even the Pope is what lawyers call a "knew-or-should-have-known" case.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Last Supper: Not the Work of a Devout Catholic

Beloved by Catholics for centuries, and found on the walls in the homes of Catholic senior citizens everywhere, Leonardo Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" is not what people think it is.

There is a certain amount of evidence that Leonardo da Vinci was something we see all the time today in our modern culture -- a homosexual angry at the Catholic Church for its theology on homosexuality. Leonardo was twice accused of homosexual behavior in the courts of his time. He famously condemned heterosexual intercourse in one of his notebooks. In another, Codex Atlanticus, on Folios 132 and 133, there are men’s-bathroom-toilet-stall-level drawings, by a hand not intent on being artful, showing a dog in the shape of male genitals rushing toward the hindquarters of Leonardo's servant Salai. Most commentators assume that the crude drawings could not be by Leonardo, and that Leonardo would not have kept the notes had the pictures been added before his death.

(Why make those assumptions? For instance, perhaps the drawings were a humorous invitation or love-note by Salai, himself, which Leonardo kept BECAUSE they were by his beloved male servant.)

In any event, here we show the Last Supper fresco as it was restored, as well as a Sixteenth Century copy clearly delineating salient features.

Immediately we notice two anomalies...

(1) The second apostle from the left is clearly a carbon copy of Jesus. Leonardo's notes reflect that he used the same model for that Apostle that he used for Christ.

Leonardo clearly could have changed the facial features or clothing, to avoid the anomaly, but he did not. The faces are identical. He even gave both the same red tunic.

Under such circumstances, it is simply not possible that Leonardo was not aware that he was inferring that the second Apostle from the left was Jesus' identical twin brother.

In his notes planning the Last Supper Leonardo indicates that he intended to make the second Apostle from the left James the Lesser -- the younger Apostle James. Whether or not he was inferring that James was Jesus' identical twin or that Thomas the Twin was Jesus' identical twin, it is fairly clear that Leonardo was boldly inserting heresy into his fresco.

(2) To the right of Jesus, a stern-looking Apostle whispers into his ear while he, the Apostle, points skyward with his index finger.

In Renaissance and post-Renaissance art, a pointed index finger says, "There is God." We see Da Vinci himself using this symbol in the Virgin of the Rocks painting, where an angel is seen pointing at Jesus with the angel's index finger.

In his 1650's painting of the Annunciation, Poussin has his angel pointing at the womb of Mary carrying divine Jesus, and at the Holy Spirit (or, more precisely, just above the Holy Spirit, where the descending Holy Spirit had been a moment before).

In accord with this usage, that stern looking Apostle would be telling Jesus, "You're NOT God!"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Freemason Code on the One Dollar Bill

In the wonderful movie “National Treasure” Nicolas Cage immensely popularizes American Freemason lore. At one point in the movie one of the characters holds up a dollar bill and indicates that it has Masonic symbols on it. It does, but the movie doesn't say how.

One of the most intriguing Mason symbols is in the two circles of the Great Seal of the United States, pictured on the rear of the bill...

In the right hand circle 13 5-pointed stars are arranged in a 6-pointed Star of David shape.

If we treat that as a hint, and so draw a Star of David over the pyramid in the left circle, carefully sizing it to fit the pyramid, and then circle the letters in the Seal pointed-at by the Star of David points, we get this...

...S, M, O, N, and A.

Rearranging the letters spells "MASON."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Nursery Rhymes: Not Such a Nice Thing

Most in America have heard that the song that goes with the America children’s game, “Ring Around the Rosie,” is really about bubonic plague, the terrifying disease that killed about a third of England’s population beginning in the 1300s.

Ring around the rosie [referring to a bulls-eye rash on the skin of plague victims, looking like a ring around a rose]

A pocket full of posies [referring to the flowers and herbs frequently carried to try to keep the plague away, by smell]

Ashes, ashes [“Achoo! Achoo!” -- the plague victim sneases, because he is getting sick!]

We all fall down! [Everyone dies of plague]

We all fall down!

It just so happens that many British and American nursery rhymes for children are actually hidden references to horrible, bloody events in history.

Every American child knows this song…

Jack and Jill
Went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down
And broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after.

It’s not such a happy little rhyming song when we insert the interpretation…

Jack and Jill [French king Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette]

Went up the hill […walked up the steps of the neck-chopping guillotine.]

To fetch a pail of water. [Referring to the pail which caught the heads chopped-off by the guillotine.]

Jack fell down
And broke his crown [Referring to King Louis XVI’s head being chopped-off so that it fell into the pail]
Jack fell down and broke his crown!

And Jill came tumbling after. [Then, Marie Antoinette’s head was chopped-off].

Another very well known nursery rhyme is even bloodier…

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

How could such a nursery rhyme possibly be a reference to bloody events in world history?

Mary Tudor was the only surviving child of Henry VIII of England, when he was still Catholic, and of his Catholic wife from Spain, Queen Catherine of Aragon.

After her Protestant half-brother Edward VI of England died in 1553, Mary Tudor took her seat as Queen of England, and ruled for five years, untill 1558.

Because Protestant leaders despised Mary, they overlooked the tens of thousands murdered by her Protestant father King Henry VIII, and the thousands of Catholics killed by Edward VI, and enormously exaggerated the religion-based murder of a few hundred as Mary Tudor struggled to end the killing. As a consequence, the nursery rhyme growing out of the Protestant hatred seems to mean the following…

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, [“contrary” in the sense that she tried to reverse England’s drift to Protestantism]

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells [a nickname for thumb screws, used for torture by slowly crushing fingertips], and cockle shells [devices for torture applied to certain important parts of a man’s privates],
Silver bells

And pretty maids [the nickname for a type of neck-chopping guillotine] all in a row.

Amazing Weapons of War

Elsewhere in this blog site, I note that nuclear weapons really are amazing inventions -- unfortunately, some of the most clever devices ever designed.

Just as war and preparation for war has generated a great deal of technological advancement in our society, so, unfortunately, has pornography marketing generated a great deal of advancement in web design.

One of my favorite examples of "innovation" is the two cannon balls joined by a chain, intended to be fired simultaneously from two cannons during the American Civil War. Inventors envisioned great swaths of charging enemy soldiers being mowed down with each shot.

All trials of the "remarkable weapon" failed. Invariably, one cannon ball made it out of the barrels before the other. The results were predictable. The soldiers to the left or right of the cannon paid a heavy price for their enthusiasm.

The Mississippi Abuse Case

About 10 years ago, a client consulted me about her apartment with roaches. As I walked in (late at night -- the "roaching hour"!) I saw that there were indeed roaches big enough to put saddles on crawling up the walls. She invited me to look in her bedroom, and what she had predicted to me turned out to be horribly true -- it was raining roachers, there, onto her bed. I saw one of the roaches fall from the ceiling onto her bed.

When I consulted our pest control expert, he said, "Pete, it's simple. The place must have had a booming mouse or rat population for years. The walls are full of mouse or rat feces, feeding the roaches. When it gets that bad, the only real solution is demolition. They have to demolish the building."

The case made a big impression on me. Our neighborhood in Magnolia, New Jersey has both mice and rats. So, I kill them with alacrity, and I always taught our children the importance of killing, killing, killing mice and rats.

And then there's Chris the Crab and Larry the Lobster. It happens every time. If you go fishing for crabs or purchase live lobsters from the tank at the supermarket, one of the kids will fall in love with the animal and give it a name, and then be quite shocked at how they are cooked at dinner time.

Some scientists insist, "No brain, no pain." But if you watch them, they thrash violently when it's time to take the "hot bath." So, some scientists say, "Come on, let's admit it -- they suffer."

Those things being said, we need to talk about Lynn Geter of Mississippi.

Lynn's son, 12, begged for a pet hamster. He promised that he would keep his grades up if he were allowed to get one. He got the fluuffy, wuffy little hamster with the love-filled eyes. His grades plummeted. Lynn lost it. She ordered her son to get and hammer and and ... yup. He had to do it himself. It wasn't pretty.

The son mentioned the incident to his teacher, who, shocked, went to police, who, shocked, arrested Lynn for animal cruelty, child cruelty and battery. Lynn went to jail. Her three children were yanked and placed in state custody.

You can't find a sympathetic opinion of Lynn on the web. Recommendations run from Hell to jail to time in a mental institution.

I have to tell you that we had pet hamsters when we were kids. My son Josh had rats as pets when he was a teenager. There's no doubt about it -- rats are much more like people, no joke. They clearly love their human owners. Personality-wise, hamsters are kind of "not there" for people.

Nonetheless, we kill rats with joie de vie, while we treasure hamsters and that trail of little poops they leave everywhere they go.

So, what do you think? What would the signers of our Constitution have thought of Lynn's case, after shooting thousands of British for freedom from the crown?

Suppose Lynn's son had grown a huge family of roaches in a tank, and that is what Lynn had had him squash with a hammer?

More on Child Abuse: Pecking-Order Abuse

When I first moved out of my parents' home 30 years ago, I moved to an apartment of my own on the first floor of a residence at the intersection of Penn and Overington Streets in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.

A husband, a wife, and a little girl, about six years of age, lived in the apartment above. Every few nights it was the same routine. The husband would scream at and hit the wife, and then he would go to work. After the husband's departure for work, the wife would then engage in pecking-order abuse, screaming at and hitting the little girl.

I heard the slapping through the floor.

The little girl would show up with black eyes and black and blue marks. When the wife screamed at the little girl, she screamed like a banshee. It was unearthly, in its quality. I could believe that the screaming did more damage to the little girl's personality than the slapping and punching.

Back then, I was stupid. I believed in minding my own business. It did not even occur to me to be afraid of retribution if I called the authorities. I just wasn't interested in calling the authorities.

In the course of the events described in the previous article on child abuse, it occurred to me, later, that when the wife, Trang, agreed in advance to Thanh's use of a fiberglass rod to whip their daughter, it was pecking-order abuse. It was worse than what I used to hear coming from the apartment above my head on Penn Street. This time, it didn't just happen for no reason at all. The little girl was whipped with a fiberglass rod for being good !!!

It also had some bad, evil structure to it, in another way.

Once Trang called from her cell phone for help. We ran over to the house, and found her on the floor, curled-up in the fetal position, wild-eyed, shaking, shaking, shaking. Thanh was walking back and forth in the hall, like a robot, head tilted to one side, smiling oddly, eyes open but not seeing. To this day I don't think that he understood that I was there. I picked Trang up, carried her out, and handed her over to my wife, to be brought to our house, where she and their daughter stayed for about a week.

When Trang recovered, she told me how Thanh had grabbed her by her hair and held her down in front of the bedroom mirror and screamed at her, for 5 or 6 hours, total, "until I smiled like a good Vietnamese wife should smile."

Last year, after their separation, Thanh had visitation with their daughter, one day, over at his sister's house.

I went over to the house to discuss something with the sister, unaware that Thanh and Trang's daughter was there. Outside the front door, I heard moaning. I thought, "The sister is punishing her child." I knocked with my "shave-and-a-haircut" knock. Inside the moaning voice said, "Come in, Mr. Peter." I thought, "WHAT! IT'S THANH'S DAUGHTER!" I went in, and there she was, all alone in the house, kneeling straight-up-and-down on the wood floor, crying from the pain of kneeling a long time on wood. I said, "What are you doing??? This is crazy!!!"

She answered, through her tears, "Mr. Peter, my dad says that I can't get up off this wood floor to stop the pain until I start smiling like a good Vietnamese daughter should! If I get caught getting up before I am smiling in front of my dad, my aunt or my grandmom, I will be punished even worse!"

I thought, "He is doing the same thing, now, to his daughter!"

But it wasn't just the dad, Thanh, who engaged in the abuse. Once, when I called the daughter or she called me -- I forget which -- last year, after her mother's separation and divorce, I heard a very, very odd sound in the background, in her house.

I thought, "What the Helll???..." So, I said to the little girl, "What is that strange sound I hear on your end???"

The little girl answered happily, "Oh, it's okay, Mr. Peter. My mom does that all of the time. That's what my mom sounds like as she is screaming, screaming, screaming at me. She is careful to never let you hear that screaming. She just doesn't know that I am on the phone, right now, so you get to hear it!"

Just then, I remembered the unearthly screaming of the mother, screaming, screaming, screaming at her little daughter, who lived in the apartment above me, 3 decades ago.

It was the same.

Parents, stop destroying your little ones.

Just love them!


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lincoln's Assassin John Wilkes Booth: Surprising Footnotes

President Lincoln's family became personally acquainted with the family of John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin, long before the assassination on April 14, 1865.

In 1863 or 1864, President Lincoln's teenage son Robert Todd Lincoln was on a train station platform in Jersey City, New Jersey, waiting for the train which would carry him to Washington, D.C.
Robert Todd Lincoln

Walking through the crowd on the platform only a few feet away from Robert was renowned Shakespearean performer Edwin Booth, brother of John Wilkes Booth, talking to John T. Ford, owner of Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. where Robert's father would ultimately be assassinated.

Edwin Booth, brother of
John Wilkes Booth

As Robert stood near the edge of the platform, a crowd gathered nearby surged toward him, squeezing him against the car of a train stopped on the track next to the platform. At the same moment, that train began moving forward, pulling Robert off balance, and throwing him down into the space between the platform and train, where death was near certain.

Before Robert fell all of the way, a powerful hand reached down from above, gripped his jacket and pulled him up, onto the platform. Astonished at this turn of events, Robert turned and found himself face to face with his savior, the famous actor, whom he recognized immediately. He said something like, "Mr. Booth, sir, thank you! You saved my life!" And so, many months before John Wilkes Booth took President Lincoln from us, Lincoln's most precious possession, his son, for whom Lincoln would gladly have given his own life, was saved by Booth's own brother, as his brother talked to the owner of the theatre where Lincoln would be shot!

In early 1865, after Lincoln gave a speech in which he indicated that he favored extending the right to vote to African American citizens, John Wilkes Booth reacted explosively, declaring that that would be the last speech Lincoln ever gave. As he and a club of Southern sympathizers planned Lincoln's assassination, Booth was allowed to sleep in a bed of Union Army Pvt. William Clark in the boarding house of William A. Petersen, across the street from Ford's Theatre, in Washington, D.C.
Lincoln's assassination

On April 14, 1865, after Booth mortally wounded President Lincoln in Ford's Theatre with the shot to the head, Lincoln was carried across the street to Petersen's boarding house, taken to Pvt. Clark's room, and laid in the bed Booth had only recently been sleeping in!

Lincoln, after his assassination, in the bed which
had been occupied by John Wilkes Booth

History books record that Booth, Lincoln's assassin, after he injured his ankle as he jumped from Lincoln's balcony box in Ford’s Theatre, was pursued and finally cornered in a barn near Bowling Green, Virginia, 12 days later. Soldiers set fire to the barn and one of them, Sgt. Thomas "Boston" Corbett, disobeying orders, shot Booth, killing him.
The porch of house where John Wilkes died after
Thomas "Boston" Corbett disobeyed orders,
shooting him

That, in any event, is how the story has come down to us.

Research into the details, however, immediately discloses that the evidence is almost as confused as that connected to Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of President Kennedy nearly 100 year later. There was no agreement as to which ankle Booth injured in his escape. There was no agreement on which of his wrists bore Booth's tattooed initials. In other words, the most basic facts were not available to confirm the identity of the man killed by Corbett. Sgt. Thomas Boston Corbett, the soldier named as Booth's killer, was disobeying orders when he shot the man later identified in an autopsy as Booth, thus preventing the man he, himself, identified as Booth from ever being questioned to verify identity, just as Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald, thus preventing Oswald from ever being questioned. Finally, there is evidence that Corbett, after he was ordered released on orders of Secretary of War Stanton, whom some have accused of conspiring to kill Lincoln, ended up being buried in Enid, Oklahoma.

Thomas "Boston" Corbett, alleged killer of
John Wilkes Booth, ended up dying
in the same obscure Oklahoma town, Enid,
David George, the man claiming to be
John Wilkes Booth, lived and died in
The significance of this burial site will become apparent as we review the story of another man.

In 1870, a man calling himself John St. Helen -- a surname which had become synonymous with "exile," on account of Napoleon’s exile to St. Helena island after his defeat at Waterloo -- appeared in Glen Rose, Texas and began working as a bartender, while he exhibited an encyclopedic knowledge of Shakespeare as he engaged in acting, in Glen Rose on the side. After about a year, Mr. St. Helen left suddenly, just before the arrival in town of a number of federal dignitaries, some connected with the investigation of the Lincoln assassination who had been invited to a wedding there.

Next Mr. St. Helen turned up in Granbury, Texas, where he became gravely ill, and, fearing death, he confessed to lawyer and friend Finis Bates, "My name is not John St. Helen. I am John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln."

Mr. St. Helen, however, recovered, and fled.
John Wilkes Booth,
a/k/a John St. Helen,
a/k/a David George

Years later, in 1903, a drunken derelict calling himself David George -- the first names of Booth's two co-conspirators David Herrold and George Atzerodt -- died in Enid, Oklahoma, confessing to his caretakers, again, before his demise, that he was John Wilkes Booth.

On being informed of the derelict's dying words, Bates rushed to Enid and, recognizing his friend John St. Helen, claimed the body, had it embalmed, put it in storage, and offered it to federal authorities, who denied having any interest in the corpse.

Bates held the body for some time, and eventually sold it to a traveling circus, who featured the corpse in a sideshow as that of John Wilkes Booth.

The corpse, at this juncture, is lost.

The bottom line is a question: Is it a coincidence that the man accused of disobeying orders by shooting and killing the man thought to be John Wilkes Booth, who after his arrest for killing Booth was released by Stanton, the Secretary of War believed by a few to have been "in on" Lincoln's assassination, ended up dying in the same obscure town the man who claimed to be Booth died in?
Is it possible that the man who died at Garrett's barn was a volunteer impostor (dying of some disease) killed by Corbett because Corbett was working with Booth, and was doing what needed to be done to stop the manhunt for Booth by creating the illusion that Booth was dead?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Disappearing Man

This is the story as I originally wrote it. I'll have some comments to make afterwards...

There are stars in space which are so heavy that their own gravity makes them crush themselves and collapse themselves downward, downward, downward, toward their own centers. This makes that star’s gravity so strong, that light itself gets pulled into the star, so that the star looks perfectly black. Scientists think that a person getting too close to such a star would experience time reversal -- time going backward into the past, not forward into the future, and so a space traveler falling into one of these stars would be lost forever, fired away like a cannon into the distant past. And so, they call these amazing stars “black holes.”

Dangerous “holes” where a man can suddenly disappear are only in space, not on Earth, correct?

Maybe not.

In September, 1880, in the state of Tennessee in the United States, on a farm not too far from the town called Gallatin…

…the man who owned the farm, David Lang, leaned against the fence around the area where he kept his horses. His wife was back at the house, a few hundred feet away, watching the children play with a new toy.

A friend of the family, a local Judge named August Peck, turned his carriage off the nearby road, and the Judge and a brother-in-law in the carriage with him shouted and waved to the Lang family as they came close to the house.

The farmer, David Lang, turned and waved to the Judge, and started walking across the field.

His wife, his two children, and the Judge and the Judge’s brother-in-law, 5 people altogether, were looking at David Lang.

At that moment, poof! David Lang suddenly disappeared, before their eyes, without a sound!

Mrs. Lang and the two children and the Judge and his brother-in-law all ran across the field to the spot where they had just watched David Lang simply disappear. They checked and checked again for holes in the ground where he might have fallen, but ground was without holes.

At first Mrs. Lang became extremely sick, from the terrible stress of the very strange experience. But, she recovered, and as time passed the family, with no husband to help them keep the farm going, began to be very, very poor.

One day, in April, 1881, seven months after David Lang simply disappeared, Mr. Lang’s two children were playing in the field where the incident occurred. The little girl, 11 year old Sarah, noticed that in a perfect circle around the place where her father disappeared, the grass was yellow and was having trouble growing. Reminded by the grass circle of her father’s disappearance, little Sarah walked into the circle and yelled something like, “Daddy? Are you there?”

Suddenly, Sarah and her 8 year old brother heard their father yelling back! From out of nowhere their father’s voice called, “HELP ME! HELP ME! HELP ME!”

The two shocked children noticed that the voice of their father sounded like it was getting farther and farther away!


And finally his voice was gone. And that was the last anyone heard of David Lang.

My opinion, now, is that everyone is looking at the story upside down. David Lang died sometime before everyone saw him disappear.

What they saw disappear was a tulpa -- a ghost Mr. Lang accidentally created by intense focus at the time of his prior death.

The same tulpa generated the voice heard by the children. The "help" they heard was not a cry for assistance at that moment. Instead, it was a typical tulpa "recording" of thoughts in Mr. Lang's head as he died of whatever caused his death before his ghost disappeared like that.

Child Abusers: Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child, Right?


There are probably some fundamentalistically-oriented who are upset at my rejection of the proverb, but Scripture isn't meant to always be taken literally. Sometimes, it teaches spiritual truth through stories of human error and through proverbs that are wrong.

The spiritual meaning of the Biblical verse underlying the proverb...

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. Proverbs 13:24 not "whip your kids with a stick if they are bad."

The Hebrew term translated "rod" generally means "branch" of a tree, or "stick" -- a piece of wood.

And tree or part of a tree, in Bible typology, refers to the cross of Christ.

"Son," here -- ben in Hebrew -- refers to a male child, where children in Bible typology generally refer to converts, and maleness refers to being God-empowered, or godly.

So, the verse, at the spiritual level, is saying, "Apply Christ's cross to them, to preserve their faith" -- teach them about Christ, love them as Christ would.

Not "beat them with a stick."

The worst example of such beating of children I ever saw was in the house of my Asian neighbors, a few years ago.

Many Asians come to this country with what amounts to 1950s American values -- including the bad ones, having to do with hitting and whipping children.

My Vietnamese neighbors were in the thick of their native culture's values.

At one point, the wife was sick of being abused by her financially-responsible but brutal husband. She left him, flying herself and their daughter to the home of her own mother in Florida.

A few weeks later, feeling unwelcomed by her mother in her mother's home, she returned to the house next door, and after cleaning-up the mess left by her husband when he ransacked the house to express his anger at her departure, she resolved to give her marriage one more try.

She entered into an agreement where in return for concessions by him, she would allow his values connected to discipline of their little girl to reign supreme in the house.

Now this wasn't a bad little girl. Their daughter, 8 years old at the time, was an angel.

Despite her good character, their home suddenly became a House of Terror.

While the husband was at work one day, I went to the house to talk to the wife about a real estate settlement I was managing for her real estate business, as her lawyer.

As we walked through the cleaned-up living room, I saw a yellow fiberglass rod leaning in the corner.

I said, "What's that for, Trang?"

"That's for our daughter, Peter."

"What???!!!," I exclaimed with shock. "Trang, your daughter is wonderful!!! She loves both of you. She obeys. She's good in school. Her grades are good. Why in Heaven's Holy Name would you prepare to punish her with a special weapon???!!!"

"Peter," she answered, "We only have to do it once. Then, she'll never forget it!"

"Trang," I said frostily, "She's beginning to enter the age where it is 'respect time,' not 'whipping time.' You are so wrong! And Thanh won't stop at doing it once!"

That night, at around 9:00 p.m., Trang called me over to their house to help their daughter with special math homework -- 25 time-consuming math problems of a variety which neither Trang nor her husband Thanh understood.

When I knocked on the door with "a-shave-and-a-haircut" rhythm, their daughter, recognizing my knock, ran to the door and threw it open and held out her arms. "MR. PETER!" she declared, with a broad smile, knowing that her happiness gave me such joy!

Inside, I immediately "smelled" something "sober" about the situation. Thanh was in the kitchen, for the first time doing doing household chores -- the dinner dishes -- but in silence. I wanted to tease him about the frilly apron he was wearing, but I kept my mouth shut for the sake of peace. Trang was in the living room, sweeping the floor. Their daughter was her usual happy, funny, hardworking self. We began the math problems. The daughter paid close attention, while the parents worked with mysterious silence. I looked up and saw the fiberglass rod still in its corner in the living room. We worked hard, over the next hour. Because the daughter had missed so much school during her parents' separation, I had to teach her a variety of math completely foreign to her. I apologized to Trang and Thanh for taking so much time, but they said, "It's okay, Peter." At 9:55 p.m., we were on math problem #25 -- the last one, and also the most difficult. From the kitchen, Thanh spoke to his daughter in Vietnamese...

"Dah di dah di dah di dah di dah di dah," and he held out the dish towel, obviously asking her to dry the rest of the dishes. I realized that he had been listening, and was testing his daughter just to see if she would blindly obey a difficult order.

Their daughter answered in a mix of Vietnamese and English, in a pleading voice, pointing at the clock on the wall...

"Dah di dah di dah di dah Mr. Peter, dah di dah di dah di dah go home, dah di dah di dah di dah last math problem, dah di dah di dah 5 more minutes. Please, Dad, otherwise I can't finish this last problem. It is the hardest problem."

"THAT DOES IT!," Thanh growled. He dropped the towel to the floor, and ran toward the fiberglass rod.

I jumped up and ran over to Thanh. "Thanh," I whispered, "She's just trying to be a respectful neighbor. She is balancing -- doing what you do every day! She's trying to finish homework now, so that a neighbor giving free help is not forced to wait!"

"STAY OUT OF THIS, PETER!," he growled, picking up the rod. I ran over to Trang. "Trang," I whispered, "He's about to whip your daughter for being good, not bad!"

"Peter," she whispered, "Go home. This must be done."

Upset, I picked up my books and papers and left. As the door closed behind me, I heard their daughter scream loudly and cry.

Two days later was "babysitting Saturday," when my family took care of the daughter while Thanh and Trang were at work.

Since I had tried to save her, their daughter, when she came over, lowered the waist of her pants and raised her shirt just enough to let us see a part of a deep red gash running from her buttocks below the waist of her pants to her back beneath her shirt.

"Mr. Peter," she said, "Look!"

Last year, when I was still babysitting their daughter, she asked me, "Mr. Peter, do you remember that time my father whipped me with that rod?"

"I can't forget it, honey," I answered sadly.

"Mr. Peter, can you tell me why I was whipped? I don't know. I never knew why."

"Little one," I answered, "You were whipped because your dad, at 10:00 at night, asked you to make me wait to help you finish the last of 25 math problems, while you took over drying dishes. You gently pleaded that I was a guest in your home at 10:00 at night, rendering a free service by helping you with your homework, and so it made more sense for you to finish the homework first, so that I could go home, and then you would dry dishes."

"What!!!" she responded. "But that means that my dad whipped me for being a good person!"

"That is correct, little one. You were whipped with a stick because rather than hurt a neighbor who was helping you, you tried to do things in a good and moral way.”

"Did you know that he did not stop whipping me after that? He whipped me again and again and again, with that stick, with hangers, and with a belt."

"Well, I warned your mom that he wouldn't stop."

"What did my mom say to you, when you whispered to her that night to stop what was about to happen?"

I lied to their daughter in my response -- and I wish I hadn't. I have never stopped feeling obscene for my lie: "She told me that she felt that whipping you was unjust, but that for the sake of keeping the family together she would force herself to put up with this."

I didn't tell their daughter that her mother agreed in advance to support her whipping, and that all she told me to do was leave.

The whipping just isn't necessary.

Just love them.


No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Sometimes, it's the little law cases which are the most interesting.

In Magnolia, New Jersey, one night, around the year 2000, a client who owned a gasoline station asked me to pick up some documents he had left in the gas station in the custody of one of the attendants.

Because the gas station was open all night and on the White Horse Pike, a very busy road, it tended to attract a high proportion of the robberies in the area, by masked men seeking money for drug purchases. It was the "robbery victim of choice" among bad guys, so to speak.

To deal with the robbery problem, the owner purchased the biggest, meanest German shepherd attack dog he could find, and chained him up to a dog house not too far from the gas pumps. Whenever a customer came the dog would come out of its doghouse to inspect. If the customer did not bother it, it ignored him. If it hated the customer, it would start barking wildly, pulling on its chain to try to sink its teeth into the customer's throat. It was really, really mean!

And he was very, very good at deterring robberies. The robbers apparently worried that the dog made too much noise, and that there might be a way to easily release him. Robberies stopped.

When I drove into the gas station at around 10:00 p.m., and got out of my car to retrieve the papers, the dog saw me, recognized me and ignored me.

As I stood talking to the attendant, a woman drove her car up to the gas pumps and got out. She was 40ish, and heavy, and very sober-looking.

The dog did not like her at all. He jumped up and and growled and barked viciously, pulling on his chain with all of his heavily muscled strength.

Suddenly, as I walked with the attendant over to the woman's car, the dog's chain snapped, and the dog ran full speed toward the woman, jaws opened wide. As he got close to the woman, he jumped and flew through the air toward her, his teeth aimed squarely for her neck.

The gas station attendant simultaneously ran forward to the woman. He raised his fist, and just as the dog's teeth were about one-quarter of a second from being planted in the woman's throat, as she stood there, paralyzed, with a look of fright on her face, the attendant punched the dog hard on the side of the head, interrupting his attack, splattering him to the pavement. Shocked, the dog got up and ran into his dog house.

I saw the incident. The woman could not deny it -- she was less than a second away from getting a mouth full of teeth planted into the flesh of her neck, and her throat torn out, but the attendant had saved her.

She turned around, reached into her car, brought out a pad of summonses, and issued to the attendant an SPCA summons for Cruelty to Animals!

I put my hand on the attendant's shoulder. I said, "What this woman just did is evil. Don't worry. Your employer will hire me to represent you."

Technically, if I was a witness I should not be representing the Defendant. But that was really not a problem. In night court a few weeks later, I conferenced the matter with the prosecutor as follows.

"I saw what happened. What the SPCA representative is doing in this case is just plain evil, to put it bluntly. By punching the dog hard on the side of the head just before the dog's teeth reached her neck and ripped out a mouthful of her neck and killed her, the Defendant saved her life. He clearly saved her life. I would describe the woman from the SPCA as morally disgusting, and as more of an animal than the attack dog.

"If she proceeds with this case, then I am resigning as defense counsel and I will testify for the Defendant."

The prosecutor whispered what I had told him to the woman from the SPCA. She said that she wanted to go forward with the case, anyway. I resigned. As we waited for the case to go on, she sat there, staring at me. Finally, she asked for a postponement because she said she felt sick.

And she never came to court again after that.

We had to appear two more times. At the third session, the Court dismissed the charge, but imposed $30 in costs upon the Defendant. I found this insulting to human dignity. I jumped up and said, "Your honor, my client did punch the dog, but he did it to save the woman's life. I saw it happen. He did save her life. Rather than withdraw the charge, to keep me from resigning and corroborating the defense, she made us come to court three times, in my opinion to punish us for being honest."

The judge said, "Costs on the SPCA."

And then he looked at the Clerk and said, "And make sure that you collect the money."

So, there is justice.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Another Zero-Investment Science Experiment for the Kids!

For most of us, "sunglasses" are just "sunglasses." Whether or not they are "polarized" only tells us whether they are more expensive or less expensive. ("Polarized" is more expensive.)

But, when you buy polarized sunglasses, you are buying science. If you already have a pair of polarized sunglasses, you can do an interesting science experiment with them.

Most cell phone screens are also polarized. So, if you hold the cell phone in your right hand with the screen illuminated, and hold the polarized sunglasses in your left hand over the screen, looking through a polarized sunglasses lens at the screen, and rotate the lens clockwise or counterclockwise as you look through it, you will see the cell phone screen begin to vanish!

Next, find a calculator in the house with one of those LCD readouts -- one of those gold/beige/gray-colored screens with the not-very-easy-to-see black numbers composed of pieces of the number "8." After turning on the LCD screen, rotate the sunglasses over that. It vanishes!

Finally, if you have a flat-screen computer screen, rotate your polarized sunglasses in front of that.

It, too, vanishes.