...Did someone say turkey?!!
"Life was charmed but without politics or religion...the life of peace, the blurring between dream life and real life...yet, I think there was a trade-off somewhere along the line. I think the price we paid for our golden life was an inability to fully believe in love; instead we gained an irony that scorched everything it touched. And I wonder if this irony is the price we paid for the loss of god."
Incident on Flight 7225 . by Scott B
... As I was stowing a carry-on above my assigned seat on a flight to San Francisco last Thanksgiving, I discovered I was sitting next to this short, disheveled and disconnected fellow who was already completely engrossed in long and involved mathematic equations on his yellow legal pad.
... I had a good book with me that I’d been intent on reading for some time, but I soon had hints my neighbor would make this all but impossible. As the flight took off, my mind and eye were constantly shifting from book-page to peripheral vision, distracted by this man’s nervous demeanor. He was incessantly scribbling on his pad, usually followed by bouts of furious erasing while he simultaneously muttered numbers, letters and other symbolic phrases which I didn’t quite understand. He was also prone to lapse into long periods of silence while staring out the plane window in a trance, only to then suddenly snap back into his routine. After one of his longer staring moments in which I actually managed to read a few pages, he interrupted me rather abruptly. "Hey, do you want to play a game?"
... “Nah, I…uhm, I’m okay. I don’t think so,” was my slightly non-verbal but polite response. This only seemed to agitate him even more.
... "No really! I’m serious: I'll ask you a question, and if you get it wrong, you give me $5. Then, you can ask me a question, and if I can't answer it, I'll give you $5."
... I thought about this for a moment, but decided against it, especially seeing he was obviously a very bright man. I politely turned him down again.
... He wouldn’t take no for an answer: "Okay then, I'll ask you a question, and if you can't answer it, you give me $5. Then you ask me a question, and if I can't answer it, I'll give you $50!"
... Now, I may not know String Theory and Quantum Physics, but I’m not stupid. “All right then,” I said as I closed my book. “You’ve got a game for a couple of questions.”
... "Excellent," he replied, rubbing his palms together as if to get warm. "Let’s begin then: What is the exact distance between the Earth and the Moon?"
... I instantly knew that I didn’t know this answer and without spending another second to think about his question, I reached for my wallet and took a $5 bill out to hand to him. He chuckled like a satisfied child as he accepted the bill and promptly said, "Okay, now it's your turn."
... I thought about my question for a few minutes, and then asked, "Alright, what living 'thing' goes up a mountain on three legs, but comes down on four?"
... The bright glow quickly vanished from my neighbor face. He thought about it for a few minutes and instantly launched back into his previous routine, taking out his notepad and scribbling numerous calculations. He finally gave up on his notepad and took out his laptop from under his seat, accessing his Multimedia Encyclopedia.
... I grabbed my book and settled into an hour of uninterrupted reading.
... As we were about to land, he finally gave up and reluctantly handed me a $50 bill. I accepted it graciously, turning back to my book silently.
... "Wait!" my neighbor pleaded. "You can't do this to me! What's the answer??"
... I looked at him, reached for my wallet again and handed him another $5 bill.
MICHAEL HILL .. Associated Press
West Point applications were off 11% as of Oct. 21 compared to a year earlier. The U.S. Naval Academy posted a 20% drop by the same week and the U.S. Air Force Academy reported a 9% drop compared to early October of last year. At West Point, U.S. Military Academy administrators say the lower numbers likely reflect the tail end of an application spike that followed the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Naval Academy experienced a similar spike in the last two years, but officials there said it was difficult to speculate on reasons for yearly fluctuations. With death tolls mounting in Iraq, some military officials have said they worry lengthy deployments and hard combat could hurt recruiting.
Of two recent West Point dropouts who spoke on the condition of anonymity, one cited disenchantment with Army life and the other said Iraq was a major factor in his decision.
"I didn't want to be deployed in a war I didn't believe in," he said.
STEVE VIED..Associated Press
Hawesville, KY. Sometimes Ray Keown still wonders whether he could have made it in the big leagues. It's been a long time, decades in fact, since Keown could fire a baseball across the plate so hard that hitters had a hard time getting wood on the ball, much less a hit.
The day after Keown returned home from overseas duty with the Army more than 50 years ago, he pitched against a team from Knottsville and promptly struck out the first six batters he faced.
Then there was the time he pitched against the Owensboro Oilers in an exhibition game at Miller Field.
"I had a good day and shut 'em out," Keown said. "A day or two later, they were knocking on my door. They offered me $150 a month. I refused. I'd been overseas for 30 months and just got home."
That wasn't Keown's only shot at playing professional baseball.
"I went to a Reds tryout, and they offered me $150 a month and a winter job, but they wouldn't say where," Keown said.
He turned the Reds down.
"My only regret is, I've always wondered if I could have made it," Keown said.
Keown is 77 now, long since retired from a Hancock County aluminum mill, hard of hearing and slow of pace. He spent nearly two months in the hospital this year recovering from a heart ailment. A half century ago, he toured Germany as a pitcher on an Army baseball team and didn't give up the game until he was in his 30s with a family and a full-time job.
Today, just walking across the outfield isn't an easy thing for Keown. But physical limitations have not stopped him from doing what he enjoys the most, taking loving care of the baseball diamonds at Vastwood Park near Hawesville. He has spent some part of just about every day there since the park opened in the summer of 1976.
"I'm a baseball man, and I've always been interested in baseball," Keown said on a chilly, overcast day in early November at the sprawling park off U.S. 60. "I coached Little League and Babe Ruth a lot of years, and I worked with pitchers a lot. I've still got a pitching mound at my house, and I still work with kids."
As he looked at the lush infield of the Little League diamond, Keown noted that it needed mowing one more time this year. Twenty-eight years ago, no mowing was required on any of the fields at Vastwood. The infields and outfields were bare dirt.
Vastwood Park opened July 4, 1976. It started at 100 acres and has since more than tripled in size to 340 rolling acres. It has become the county's pride and joy with its swimming and fishing lake, ball diamonds, walking trail, campground, playground, beach house, tennis courts and soccer fields.
Much of the credit for the condition of the baseball fields goes to Keown, who took it upon himself decades ago to keep them in top shape. He's an expert at lining up volunteer help and prepares the fields for games. He's even built a half-dozen squirrel feeders to boost the number of the critters in the park.
"The Little League field was sodded all in one night, all by volunteer workers," he said. "Same for the high school and Babe Ruth fields."
Hancock County Judge-Executive Jack McCaslin has a high opinion of Keown. In 1999 the Fiscal Court dedicated the Little League field to Keown, and the plaque is mounted a few feet from where Keown watches the games from his lawn chair in front of the red press box.
"We have a lot of volunteers but we don't have another Ray Keown who is here day in and day out," McCaslin said. "He is a pusher to get other people involved. Ray has been a blessing for us."
Keown is modest about his role.
"If I needed help, it would be there," Keown says. "All I do now is sight-see. I'm enjoying it and letting younger people take over."
1,420 Caloric Heart Attack on a Bun
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Officers are investigating the deaths of other Iraqis seen on the same videotape that depicted a Marine shooting an apparently wounded and unarmed insurgent in Falluja, U.S. military officials said Tuesday..
Tim Lyons, Tim Parr, Bob Steerman, Craig Bork, Joe Halajan
Actually, it was 25 years ago when I happened to be over at their house on a warm summer evening in Phoenix, drinking beer and listening to them rehearse in lieu of an upcoming show (opening for Gong I think). My own band at that time, Cartoon, had just finished recording our first record that week and frankly, we were feely pretty cocky about ourselves. I still vividly remember to this day being so completely knocked out by how polished and amazing they sounded that night. Yeah, I’d heard them play live before many times, but sometimes they could reach this inexplicable “higher-level” and play their (very intricate and difficult) songs so effortlessly that it bordered on mystical. This particular night was one of those times, and I was just totally floored by how great they were. They pounded out a few cover-songs that they “needed to play” in order to fill the hour & a half set required: remarkable versions of “Rats & Monkeys” by Art Bears, King Crimson’s “Lark’s Tongue in Aspic Pt. 2”, (which was way better than any of the KC versions, I’ve always said) and the Samla song “Little Karin” from Schlagern’s Mystik. A few days later, they blew-away all the Gong fans who heard them. Since then, I’ve seen (and was fortunate to play with) some great avant-rock bands, and I still believe that Pocket Orchestra was right there among them all. In the following years through 1984, I saw them play a lot, especially after they relocated to the Bay Area, when they would play shows with Cartoon whenever possible.
I wish that Tim Parr (guitar) and Tim Lyons (bass) were still around to see this. I only can hope that Bob Steerman (drums) recovers from his recent health difficulties to appreciate and smile about this. I’m guessing that it might be bitter-sweet for Craig Bork, (keyboards) Joe Halajan, (clarinets, saxes) and Bill Johnston (cello). Today I feel privileged that I knew, learned, played and recorded with these guys. (The first Henry Cow, Samla, and Univers Zero records I ever heard were on Tim Parr’s turntable in high-school.) This is so long overdue. I’m buying one as soon as it is released, and it all makes me realize that I miss them a lot.
-Tom Hood"So, homelessness is now only supposed to be between one man and
one woman...did I get that right?"
The Endarkenment Of AmericaThis election confirms the brilliance of Karl Rove as a political strategist. He calculated that the religious conservatives, if they could be turned out, would be the deciding factor. The success of the plan was registered not only in the presidential results but also in all 11 of the state votes to ban same-sex marriage. Mr. Rove understands what surveys have shown, that many more Americans believe in the Virgin Birth than in Darwin's theory of evolution.
November 4, 2004