Archive for November, 2007

Let the mud slinging begin

Friday, November 30th, 2007
Jessica Lewis

I don’t know why, but I always expect a lot more mature behavior and attention to the issued from politicians than they are ever willing to give.
A couple of nights ago, I turned on the television and settled in to watch a little of the Republican debate. It’s always interesting to hear what the politicians who could soon be leading our country have to say.

While I was hoping for some brilliant responses that would give me hope for the future, instead, all I heard was a lot of finger pointing and bickering. Immigration, plans for Iraq and the pro-life-pro-choice question were all topics that the candidates used to point their finger at someone else on the stage and place blame for something.

The democratic debates haven’t been any better, with some candidates blasting others for their stance on the war in Iraq, or their support or absence of support on any possible issue.

I know that this is really what politics is all about. For years and years and years, politicians have tried to gain a foot hold by bad mouthing their competition. The future rulers of our country insult and name call more than snotty teenage girls. Instead of inspiring me to want to vote for one candidate more than another, it mostly makes me so disgusted that I end up trying to pick the lesser of the evils.

We’ve still got time, since campaign season is just warming up, but let’s hope that before this thing is over, one of the candidates takes a stand and actually sticks to the issues instead of bashing the front runner in order to bring him or her down a peg.

What a story

Friday, November 30th, 2007
Michael McGuire

– Missing pastor found alive in Arkansas using identity of man killed in Norwich
CENTERTON, Ark. – According to several newspaper reports, a pastor once believed kidnapped and murdered by Satan worshippers was found alive in Arkansas last week working as a small city mayor using the name and Social Security number of a man killed in Norwich nearly 50 years ago.
After disappearing in 1980, Donald L. LaRose, a former Baptist minister in Lancaster, Pa., Broome County and Indiana, was found last week in Centerton, Ark., living under the name Bruce Kent Williams.
Based on the report, the real Bruce Kent Williams was a 19-year-old man killed in a car wreck in Norwich in 1958. It is unclear how LaRose obtained his name and Social Security number.
It was not known Wednesday if Williams was a Norwich resident.
Before twice disappearing – once briefly in 1975 and then again in 1980 – LaRose claimed he was being threatened by Satan worshippers. Now the mayor of a small city in Northwest Arkansas and re-married as “Ken Williams,” LaRose says he left his first wife and their children so the Satanists would not harm them.
From 1972-75, LaRose was a pastor in the Town of Maine, located in Broome County. While there he went missing briefly before turning up in Minnesota, claiming Satanists had abducted him in Binghamton and brainwashed him into believing he was Bruce Kent Williams.
In 1977, he moved to Hammond, Ind., where he went missing for the last time in 1980.
For the last 27 years, LaRose has been a local radio personality in Northwest Arkansas.
His identity was discovered by reporters who received a tip from LaRose’s family who discovered a website, www.donlarose.com, that is registered to a “Ken Williams” in Centerton.
On his website, it reads, “Since my unveiling on Wednesday, November 21, 2007, I have revised this report to delete portions of the story designed to keep people from following my trail. All changes will be included in bold letters.”
—
As it turns out, Bruce Kent Williams – the identity Don LaRose assumed – was not killed in Norwich. Neither the city or town have records of such a person dying in a car accident here.

I figured that busted pretty much any local connection to the story.

However, after reading the article, a Norwich woman called in and said she knew Don LaRose when he was her pastor at the First Baptist Church in Maine, NY, where she lived before moving to the Norwich area 10 years ago.

While LaRose has been somewhat vilified, she claims the man she knew was loved by all, and when he disappeared, it frightened and devastated an entire community.

“Everybody loved him,” she said, recalling LaRose when she was 15 years old. “As a pastor, he really fit the needs of our community.”

The LaRose she knew was kind, outgoing and popular with people of all ages. “He was a caring man, a great family man, and he was very funny.”

LaRose had a distinct laugh and a great singing voice, too, she said. “If I heard them today, I’d know it was him without seeing him,” she said.

For all intents and purposes, LaRose was the squeaky clean leader of a wholesome church.

Then, on election day, 1975, everything changed.

He claims to have been abducted and brainwashed, waking up homeless in Chicago and then Minneapolis – without any idea how he got there – believing he was “Bruce Kent Williams,” with no idea who Don LaRose was or anything about his past life.

You can read LaRose’s account of the whole story at www.donlarose.com. (The woman I spoke with says the transcripts on that website describe LaRose’s story just as it happened).

Can’t say I believe it, but it’s a fascinating read.

Regardless, the facts are clear. Feared kidnapped and killed by Satanists, this guy was gone for 27 years. All the while he was a radio host and mayor in Arkansas most of the time.

It’s a hell of a story, if nothing else.

No Country for Turkey-dazed Old Men

Friday, November 23rd, 2007
Michael McGuire

Saw “No Country For Old Men” last night.

And I can’t honestly say how I feel about it.

In parts – the acting, dialogue, action sequences and the scenery – it was excellent.

Overall, I thought this movie was missing something; mostly because it tried to do too much, I think.

The Coen Brothers are masters at tying together complex story plots that contain equally complex characters – like the dude’s rug tied the room together in their oft-quoted film classic, “The Big Lebowski.” In the case of “No Country,” the plot, based on the Cormac McCarthy novel, is simple, the characters are simple and their separate story lines are simple. It’s all pretty straightforward – the acting and action drive this movie.

But as you may or may not see, the Coens spend too much time drifting and not enough time explaining, like the Soprano’s. And in a few key scenes they leave too much for the imagination. They lack that punch they’ve delivered time and time again.

All-in-all, it’s definitely worth the price of admission, though. And I have a feeling that a second viewing might change my mind (I was dazed on turkey and up past my bedtime the first time around).

I look forward to getting the DVD as well (commentary and extras might give some more insight).

As a side note, moviegoers on Thanksgiving should be allowed to bring leftovers into the theater. Who wants candy when you could have a turkey, stuffing and mashed potato sandwich?

Random thoughts

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007
Jessica Lewis

• I was getting gas the other day and of course I came across some more scary cause they’re so bad signs at the gas station. (Just to refresh your memory, I’ve also complained about the “Pumkins” sign, the “We love are business” sign and signs everywhere with misplaced  apostrophes.) The newest sign on my you suck list says “We no longer except checks.” Now I know that everyone makes mistakes, but come on!

• There’s an all white deer in the woods behind my house. It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s just a little tiny baby, but I heard a couple of years ago some hunters shot one in a neighboring town because they thought it would look cool on the wall. Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with hunting (as long as you only shoot the big, ugly looking animals), but I hope no one shoots the cute, little deer.

• As a quick tip to anyone out there planning any form of home improvement: make sure you know where all important lines and wires are before beginning. This is of course, just a random tip and has nothing to do with any real events, but hypothetically it would suck if you were talking on the phone and it suddenly cut out because someone accidentally hit the phone line with a fence post.

Nothing spends like dirty money

Friday, November 9th, 2007
Michael McGuire

I deal strictly in cash.

I don’t like credit and debit cars. First off, I don’t trust them. Second, cards are tied directly too computers, which I also do not trust (but apparently, I have no problem with them as long as I can shoot my mouth off on Internet blogs). Third, when you use a card, it’s like using play money – you don’t have to actually part with your hard-earned dollars like you do when you hand-over a wad of green. I’d wouldn’t be able to keep myself in check without that money guilt.

It’s not just about preferring cash over card, though. I’m actually making a healthy life choice by keeping real money in my pocket.

That’s because it’s teeming with bacteria. Some gross, some not so gross. And the way I see it, I’m building up my immune system every time I open my wallet and take out a few bills.

But, according to recent studies, money isn’t as dirty as once thought.

In the 1970s, however, cash and coins had a pretty bad rap.

A recent research article from an on-line source (which apparently is trustworthy) notes: “In 1972 a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association cultured bacteria from 200 coins and bills and found objectionable ones like fecal bacteria and Staphylococcus aureus on 13 percent of coins and 42 percent of notes.”

Other studies have shown that many bills have benign bacteria growing on them. Only a small amount have been found to carry nasty bugs like E-coli.

I’ll admit, it feels icky when you actually think about the less-than-desirable hygiene habits many people have, then consider that those nasty Neds and scurvy Susies have all been rubbing and caressing your fundage.

But if you consider yourself a survivor, keep a hold of that roll.

Lame-o-ween

Friday, November 2nd, 2007
Michael McGuire

I was going to blog about Tootsie Rolls, but it was pretty stupid, so I decided not to (I wanted to know why they had rectangular tootsie roll bars – shouldn’t they be called tootsie blocks?).

Not a big deal…

What is a big deal however, is the old “put the candy out in a basket on the porch” trick instead of answering trick or treaters at the door.

I saw a few houses pulling this on Halloween.

It’s a jackpot for some lucky kid who gets there first (unless they’re passing out something lousy like after-dinner mints).

I say, if you’re not in the spirit or you can’t be there to give it out personally, keep your lights off and don’t waste any money on candy. Because just putting it out there defeats the entire purpose of Halloween – which is kids soliciting candy from an actual person.

Although, from what I’ve seen, more than a few kids have forgotten how to ask nicely.

But kids wouldn’t even dress up on Halloween anymore if everyone just put out a basket and called it a night. Why would they? No one would see it? Just like they wouldn’t dress up if people stopped passing out candy all together.

The fun of being a kid

Friday, November 2nd, 2007
Jessica Lewis

I’ve always been a kid at heart. I guess that’s pretty obvious. I wanted to stay a kid forever. I was terrified about becoming an adult and missing out on all the fun that goes along with having few responsibilities, but it was unavoidable.

One of the biggest things I missed was the fun of Halloween. As a child, Halloween was one of the best holidays. After the big parade and party at the school, we would go home and wait (not so patiently) until dinner was over and we could finally go trick-or-treating.

Well, on Wednesday night, all that fun and excitement came rushing back. My husband and I both hurried home from work, made a quick and easy dinner and got our little boy all dressed up in his Halloween finest. The poor little guy had no idea what was going on or why he was in a chicken costume, but the minute he saw himself in the mirror he began waddling around the living room making quacking noises. (I know ducks quack, not chickens, but he’s only 18 months old, so I think that was pretty impressive.)

We walked up to the first house, and although my little chicken had no idea why we were going to random houses, knocking on the door and then leaving, once he realized they were doling out candy, he was running from house to house and saying “treeeat” as soon as a face appeared in the door.

Of course after about one block, he was done and just wanted to dig in, but our 15 minutes of fun was enough to put a big smile on my face, and the little chicken was pretty happy too.