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30 June 2006

CONFESS YOUR SINS AND BE SAVED


Y

es folks, today and tomorrow I bring you another free service of the "Not So Normal News."



As many of you know, I am an ordained minister in the Universal Church. The fact that I applied online, didn't have to study and was ordained as fast as I could type my name into the blank has no bearing whatsoever on anything. Anyway, I have decided to hold "Confessions" right here on my blog. I will forgive all sins that you confess.

Authentic and Unretouched Certificate



That's right and here's how it works. You go into the confessional (comments section) and write in your sin... and I will forgive you. Please do not worry... the "seal of confession" applies here and I will never divulge who you are or what your sin involved. Your sins are private and personal... they are safe with me!

The sin you tell should ideally be a deep, dark secret sin you have buried in the pits of your mind. The one that would totally embarrass you if it ever got out. I know they bother you, get them off your chest now for free.

Special note from Father Denny: Dear friends... this may become a weekend special here on the "News". It all depends on how good the sins are.

Go in Peace my little bretheran and bretheraness's,



Observations and Questions
"Bless you child, and your sin is.......?"

JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I HAD SEEN EVERYTHING...


A

long comes the Vadoma people. And who are they you may ask? The Vadoma are a group of people, living as a tribe in the far reaches of Zimbabwe on the Zambezi River. These people are extremely remote from any other tribe or people of any kind.

So remote in fact that they inter-marry each other. Mothers and sons, nieces and uncles, brother and sister, etc. You get the idea.

We all know the results of incest... which usually turns out to be extremely slow learners to all kinds of inbreeding diseases.

Enter a new incest malady... only two toes. The entire tribe only has two toes on each foot... a big toe and a little toe. The three in the middle do not exist. The tribe is better known as the "Ostrich People" and they suffer with ectrodactyly... a condition which produces 2 toed people.

The government has made several attempts at trying to locate the people of this tribe so that they would be assimilated into normal society. The tribes-people have resisted for years and have no intention of mixing with normal people.

Observations and Questions
Are there any two-toed people that read my blog and would like to comment?

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this date in 1934 Harry Blackstone Jr magician (Blackstone Book of Magic & Illusion). And in our death notices we find in 1971 3 cosmonauts die as Soyuz XI depressurizes during re-entry.

Holidays and Special Dates Today Around the World
Guatemala : Revolution Day (1871)
Lybia : Troop Withdrawl Day
Mongolia : Constitution Day
Rwanda & Burundi : Independence Day (1962)
Surinam : Lebaran, official holiday
Zaire : Independence Day (1960)
29 June 2006

HI ALL! HOW ARE YOU DOING TODAY?


W

hat a great day. Today is Wednesday Thursday the 29th of June and just a few days from the 4th of July!

Well folks, that about wraps up todays entry on my blog.

Out of Desperation Department
Ok, I found this little article that I thought you might be interested in and educate you at the same time.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that an insurgent named Haitham al-Badri masterminded the bombing of the Samarra shrine, at least according to Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie. Al-Badri used to be a member of an insurgent group called Ansar al-Sunna. Now he's part of al-Qaida in Iraq, which used to be run by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, until he died and Abu Hamza al-Muhajer took over. What's the deal with this "al-" prefix?

It's the definite article in Arabic - the equivalent of "the" in English. Surnames that begin with "al" often refer to the place where someone's ancestors were born. Saddam Hussein, for example, used to be called by his family name, "al-Tikriti." Since "al-" serves as the definite article, the name "Saddam al-Tikriti" means "Saddam, the guy from Tikrit."

So then, I guess I would be: "Denny al-Philadelphia" or if you knew me really well and we were friends, I would be "Denny al-Philly."

Observations and Questions
This is pathetic, I know. I have been wracking my brain for hours and couldn't come up with anything. Comments?

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this date in 1865 Shigechiyo Izumi achieved oldest authenticated age (120 years 237 days). And at the other end in 1967 Jayne Mansfield actress, dies in a car crash at 34.

Holidays and Special Dates Today Around the World
Shakespeare's Globe Theater burns down this date in 1613.
28 June 2006

TODAYS' WEATHER: TORNADOS, FLOOD, FIRES, ETC.


H

onestly, is there any place safe, anywhere? I was just reading the news about the rains and flooding in my hometown of Philly. The major rivers that straddle the city are coming out of their banks and flooding everywhere.

The thought hit me... is there anyplace that is safe? Fires in California, Tornados and Twisters in central United States, Hurricanes on the East Coast down to Florida... Mudslides in Central and South America.

Just once I'd like to see the news start off with: "It was a really nice day here today." I don't mean for the weather, I mean as the opening headline on the nightly news. No freaks of weather, no murders, no civil wars... Is this planet going crazy?

It has gotten to the point with me that I really, really, REALLY hate turning on the news. Same crap, different day.

The only good thing I read was this guy XXXXXXXX was executed in Texas last night for his little murder spree in Texas a few years ago. He killed a woman, in her house, a few blocks from my house at the time. I used X's because I didn't want to give him one more ounce of publicity.

Good News Department
Now here is some good news for a change. Health officials said Manuel Uribe weighed 1,235 pounds when he made a desperate plea for help on national television in January.

Unable to leave his bed for five years, the 41-year-old mechanic in the northern industrial city of Monterrey longed to move again. His plea was answered by doctors and nutritionists who prescribed a high-protein diet, helping him lose about 200 pounds since then. Gilberto Montiel, health secretary for Nuevo Leon state, said medical officials have been monitoring Uribe's weight and confirmed the loss.

"I feel better now, I can stretch and move a bit more," Uribe said Monday, flanked by Dr. Barry Sears, creator of "The Zone" diet, who came to check on his progress.

Still, Uribe said he has just enough energy to sit up and move the sheet that covers his body. His goal is to lose another 770 pounds. Uribe was a chubby kid, weighing more than 250 pounds as an adolescent. Starting in 1992, he said, his weight began ballooning further.

Uribe drew worldwide attention when he appeared on the Televisa television network in January. For the last five years, Uribe has been bedridden. He keeps a television and a computer he uses to update his Web site near his iron bed.

"People think that I can eat a whole cow but it's not just overeating, it's also a hormonal problem," Uribe said. "For now, I'll keep doing the diet and if I get stuck I'll consider the surgery."

His goal is to get down to about 220 lbs. I just weighed myself on the bathroom scale. 220.5 Ummmm, I'm thinking I look pretty damn hot right now.

Observations and Questions
Name something you saw on the news that was REALLY positive in your hometown! I'm serious. I want to hear some good news for a change!

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this date in 1577 Peter Paul Rubens, my 12th cousin, 12 times removed, born in Siegen, Flemish Baroque painter (Circumcision). Happy Birthday cuz. And in the dusty death notices we have in 1975 Rod Serling writer/host (Twilight Zone, Night Gallery), dies at 60.

Holidays Today Around the World
Malta : Mnarja Day-recreate customs of Middle Ages
27 June 2006

BURIAL OR CREMATION?


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hen we die our choice has been limited as to what happens to our bodies. We are either buried, cremated or in some rare cases shot into space or sunk in the Atlantic. And that's about it, right? WRONG! That's right folks now your body can go on a roadshow! Visit such places as NYC, or Los Angeles or even France!

A process called "Plastination" has arrived! Thanks to Dr. Gunther von Hagens and his Body Worlds organization.. For those not familiar with Body Worlds, it's an exhibition of real human bodies that have undergone the process of plastination and are dissected and posed in a way that shows various aspects of their anatomy. People donate their bodies to anatomist Gunther von Hagens' Heidelberg-based Institute for Plastination, which offers plastinated specimens for educational use and puts together the Body Worlds exhibition. There happened to be a special on this "new rage" on TV yesterday.

People are clamoring to be plasticized rather than be worm food for all eternity. To be put on display around the world, in all of your nakedness.

A portion of this exhibit is in Houston until September. You just KNOW that I have to go to it.

Observations and Questions
Well, I guess my question is... would you be willing to do this?

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this date in 1927 Bob Keeshan aka Capt Kangaroo aka Clarabelle on Howdy Doody. And in the death notices on this date in 1829 James Smithson dies, his will established Smithsonian Institute.
26 June 2006

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABE


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eorge Herman 'Babe' Ruth was one of the most phenomenally gifted and well-liked baseball players who ever lived. According to historians and baseball writers, "Ruth was a presence of mythic proportions. When he was pitching for the Boston Red Sox, he was one of the best left-handers the game has ever known."

Because of his awesome abilities as a hitter, base runner and fielder, Ruth was converted to a outfielder-pitcher in 1918. He was sold to the New York Yankees in 1920. Again, historians note, "Ruth was the outstanding outfielder of his time and he single-handedly changed baseball and its economics forever. Ruth possessed a strong, rapid throwing arm, he could beat any of his teammates in a foot race and was the greatest home run hitter who ever lived."

Babe Ruth's legacy went well beyond baseball statistics. Ruth was so well paid by the end of his career, that he helped increase the salaries of all players. When he made $80,000 in 1930, someone pointed out to him he earned more than the President of the United States (Hoover), Ruth replied, "So What?. I had a better year than he did."

For three decades Ruth's name appeared in print more often than anyone else in the world. During World War II, when American soldiers shouted, "To hell with the Emperor!" at the Japanese military, the Japanese yelled back, "To hell with Babe Ruth!"

Observations and Questions
Who are the heros of today? Do we have any?

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
A real double-header today... in 1819, Abner Doubleday, invented the game of baseball. And in 1903, the one and only Babe Ruth (George "Babe" Herman).

Holidays Today Around the World
Malagasy Republic & British Somaliland: Independence Day (1960)
Newfoundland: Discovery Day (1497)
23 June 2006

MY BALLS


Y

ep, I have 2 balls! They're just sitting and gathering dust. I would have taken a picture and put it on here but didn't think anyone would have been that interested.

Ok, I had my little perverted fun for this morning. But seriously, I have 2 balls... baseballs. The first ball is from back in the 50's. I was out in Connie Mack Stadium watching the game and Duke "The Silver Fox" Snider hit a homerun into the centerfield stands. I was the lucky one to grab it!

Back then, after the game, you could stand by the side entrance of the stadium and wait for the players to come out after the game. If they were in a good mood, they would always stop and autograph whatever you had for them. I had the ball and now what I needed was Duke's autograph. If I was lucky I would also grab Robin Roberts autograph since he was pitching for the Phillies and delivered the fateful ball to Snider. Both of these guys are in the Baseball Hall of Fame. It was a long wait but well worth it. Snider came out first and I pushed my way ahead of the crowd and stuck out the ball. Snider said, "Hiya kid, is this my homerun?" I smiled, "yep, sure is" Then I thought... crap, what if he wants it? Luckily he didn't, signed it and said "there you go." Wow! not only did I get his autograph but he actually talked to me! Cool!

Next up, I waited and waited. The small crowd was beginning to dwindle, but I stuck it out. Roberts came out and I wasn't sure that he would stop. He seemed to be in a hurry. All of a sudden, it seemed as an after-thought he simply stopped and started signing things. I handed him the ball and he smiled and signed it.

Two Hall of Famers on one ball! How lucky was I? Of course they weren't Hall of Famers yet, but the future held it for them. Then there happened to be a baseball card show in Philly with the star attraction Pete Rose signing autographs. Now how cool would it be to have a ball with THREE Hall of Famers? I paid my $5 and stood in the LONG line for his signature. Finally I handed him my prize possession and he looked at it and smiled and then inked his name.

Dammit, I want Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame! What am I going to do with a ball with 2 famers and a disgrace? Come on guys, let by gones be by gones, let him in, please?

Observations and Questions
Have you ever gotten anyone's autograph? If not, then what else you wanna talk about today?

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1894 Alfred Kinsey entomologist/sexologist (Kinsey Report). And in the death notices today in 1973 Fay Holden actress (Mother-Andy Hardy films), dies at 77.

Holidays Today Around the World
Denmark : Midsummer Eve
Finland, Latvia, Scandinavia : Midsummer Eve/St John's Eve
Luxembourg : Official birthday of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg
22 June 2006

MURDER IS NEVER FUNNY


H

owever Court TV today should be interesting. Now I'm not making fun of the poor guy that was shot and killed. So get that out of your minds.

Today, a 78-year-old woman spurned by her elderly boyfriend walked into a senior citizens' home and shot the 85-year-old four times in the head, according to prosecutors.

Driskell, now 79, is charged with malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault for the June 10, 2005, shooting of Herman Winslow. The couple, who lived in the same assisted living facility, had been dating for approximately a year, according to Willis.

Winslow had ended the couple's one-year relationship a few days before, and the defendant was furious. On the night of the murder, Driskell let herself into her former boyfriend's apartment with the key she had yet to return and found the 85-year-old sitting in his boxer shorts, according to prosecutors.

Winslow immediately called security and asked that she be removed. The security guard, Theresa Barnes, successfully convinced Driskell to leave. But shortly afterward, the three ended up in the lobby of the building, where Driskell appeared to be hiding something behind her back, according to Willis.

As Barnes tried to lead Driskell away from the couch where the victim was sitting, the defendant stalled and suddenly pulled a .22 caliber pistol from behind her back. At first sight, Barnes did not believe she was wielding a real gun but soon escaped into a nearby resident's apartment and called 911, according to Willis. (Note: Now I've got a problem here with the guard. She ran into another room to call 911? But nothing happened at that point. I guess it would have been too much to expect the guard to over-power the 79 year old gun-toter.)

Driskell fired four bullets into her former companion's head as he sat reading a newspaper, according to Willis. Once police arrived, Driskell defiantly waved the gun in the air.

"Yeah, I did it, and I'd do it again," Driskell said, according to prosecutors.

Somehow I do not think things bode well for the lady. And I would fire that sorry ass guard.

NEXT ON THE DOCKET

How about the Honorable Donald Thompson of Oklahoma who was arrested and now on trial for masturbating while on the bench hearing cases.

Thompson, a former Creek County district judge, is charged with four felony indecent-exposure counts for allegedly using a sexual device, known as a "penis pump," during trials. Prosecutors also claim that Thompson "shaved his scrotum" during one of his trials.

Prosecutors first called a trio of Sapulpa police officers, who claimed to have heard a whooshing sound, like that of a blood pressure cuff, during a Aug. 22, 2004 , murder trial.

Mike Reed, who was on the witness stand during that trial, said he realized the sounds were coming from the judge. He said he believed he saw Thompson working a pump with a plastic tube extending toward his crotch.

Prosecutors filed the misdemeanor charge after discovering four pornographic photos in a computer seized from Thompson's office. The photos show a woman performing oral sex, supposedly on Thompson.

Observations and Questions
Should the age of the woman in this case have any bearing on anything? And as for the judge... I am just shaking my head. lol

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1858 Giacomo Puccini Italy, operatic composer (Madama Butterfly). And in the death notices we find in 1969 Judy Garland singer/actress, dies in London at 47.

Holidays Today Around the World
Congo : Army Day
El Salvador : School Teacher's Day/D¡a del Maestro
Haiti : Sovereignty Day/President's Day
Virgin Islands : Organic Act Day (1954)
Yemen PDR : Corrective Move Day
21 June 2006

COMMERCIALS I HATE


I

am pretty sure I wrote about this already at some point, but today I have a few more to add. Are there commercials on TV that just want to make you scream? Yesterday I saw two of these... I've seen them for awhile now and everytime they come on I wish I had a gun to shoot the TV.

The first one is on the SciFi channel. It shows a guy blowing air into the butt of a dog. The dog begins to blow up like a balloon. Once it's fully blown up the dog kicks the guy in the chops and the guy flys off somewhere. This is simply disgusting. Even if you're into beastiality, I don't think people blow into an animals butt.

The next one is for KFC, Kentucky Fried Chicken. The kid turns around and looks at the floor and zeros in on a sneak... a red and white sneak. Then he looks at the guy wearing them and gives him some kind of nodding approval. The old guy wearing the sneak nods his head as if to say, "Yeah man, I'm cool." What the hell does this skit have to do with selling chicken? I guess it is supposed to identify with black people somehow since both people are black. Maybe next they should try going after the Italian market. You could open with a sexy girl with nice breasts and some kid oogling them. The kid smiles and the woman smiles back and gives them a little jiggle.

Observations and Questions
What's your favorite commercial that you love to hate? Come on, everyone's got one or two.

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1732 Martha Washington 1st, 1st lady. And in the death notices today we find in 1876 Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana Mexican general (took Alamo), dies at 82.

Holidays Today Around the World
Hong Kong, Taiwan : Dragon Boat Festival
New Hampshire : Ratification Day (1788)
20 June 2006

GUESS WHAT TODAY IS?


T

oday is Tuesday the 20th of June 2006! Yes, all day as a matter of fact! You've already guessed I have nothing for you today, huh?

I even scoured my news competitors for something juicy to write about. They're hurting also and I suspect they came here looking for something to steal as well. I could rehash the North Korean story... why don't we just nuke the north and get it over. If any of my North Korean readers just read that, I am really sorry. There's still time left and you could move to the south.

In other news the Sadam Hussein trial is winding down. I wonder if he'll be found guilty or innocent? With that country I'm not putting money on the verdict either way. If he is found guilty I wish American TV would get some balls testicles and show the hanging Prime Time. I have a question... when they hang someone why do they put a bag over their head? Do their eyeballs pop out or something?

Observations and Questions
Open mic time here on the "News". Got anything to get off your chest?

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1909 Errol Flynn actor (Captain Blood, Robin Hood, Against All Flags). And in the death notices today we find in 1947 Benjamin `Buggsy' Siegel gangster, shot dead in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Holidays Today Around the World

Argentina : Flag Day
Senegal : Independence Day (1960)
West Virginia : Admission Day (1863)
19 June 2006

THE BIBLE: AN ANCIENT SOAP OPERA?


T

elevision today could actually take any story in the Bible and turn it into a soap opera. This idea popped into my head as I was watching a show on the History channel about Abraham. If you don't know the storyline, let me explain real fast.

Abraham is married to Sarah. They moved from a little town called Haran to Canaan and Abraham's little nephew, Lot, tagged along. Lot will eventually get his own soap opera and be sponsored by Morton's salt company. Anyway, Abe and Sarah are trying to have a kid... a boy to be specific. Sarah keeps popping out girls. Then she tells Abe one night.... "why not have an affair with my slave girl Hagar?"

Abe kinda thinks Sarah is a little kinky, but what the hell, Hagar's kinda cute. Abe and Hagar get it on and lo and behold Hagar produces a son. God tells Abe that this doesn't count. It has to be Abe and Sarah's son in order for Abe to become famous. Back to the drawing board. Finally Abe is 100 years old and guess what? Sarah is pregnant with their son, Isaac. After Isaac arrives on the scene Sarah banishes Hagar and her new son Ishmael to the desert. Sometime after little Isaac is born God tells Abraham that he's created circumcision. Poor little Isaac.

As if that wasn't enough, God then tells Abe to take his family somewhere, and throw Isaac on a fire to prove Abe's love for God. Whew... what a story. Abe being obedient actually prepares to do it, right up to building the fire and getting ready to throw Isaac into the flames. No wonder Isaac may grow up to become neurotic... first having his "thing" cut down a bit and now being thrown into a fire.

At the last minute which could be the end of the season cliff-hanger, God interrupts and tells Abe he was just testing Abe and not to throw Isaac into the flames but to go get a Ram or goat or something to throw in the fire.

Observations and Questions
Do you think my new show, The Water Floweths has a chance? Any storyline you would like to see?

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1962 Paula Julie Abdul Van Nuys Calif, singer/choreographer (Straight Up). And in the death notices today we find in 1953 Rosenbergs executed at Sing Sing, Julius takes 3 tries, Ethel 5.
17 June 2006

ANOTHER CHANCE TO BE SAVED


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ou have had one whole week now to try and pull those nasty sins into your consciousness. I know it's hard and embaressing, however you will feel much better once you go into the confessional (comments section) and tell me your deepest sin. All are forgiven.



Maybe I should offer a prize for the worst sin?

Once again I present my certificate of authority for you.

Authentic and Unretouched Certificate



Go in Peace my little bretheran and bretheraness's,

16 June 2006

ARE WE GOING TOO FAR?


Y

esterday, back in my hometown of Philly, the City Council agreed, by a narrow majority, to ban smoking from almost all Philadelphia bars and restaurants by January. Sidewalk cafes would be exempt. Private clubs and neighborhood taverns could seek exemptions. The tallies... Democrats for the bill and Republicans against the bill. The Republicans and a handful of Democrats want the bill to allow smoking in neighborhood bars.

As a smoker myself, I understand all of the reasoning behind the bill but come on guys. The neighborhood bars? The gathering places where politics, boxing and other important things of our lives are discussed? The Republicans, including Frank Rizzo, Jr., son of my buddy Frank Rizzo mentioned in yesterdays' article, voted against the bill because they want exemptions for the neighborhood bars.

A last minute save by longtime friend Frankie DiCicco (D), Councilman from the 1st District was pushed through. The deal was sealed after members agreed to support a companion bill, introduced by DiCicco, that would carve out permanent exemptions for private clubs and neighborhood bars.

Personally, I think City Councils, etc are going too far butting into the lives of people with laws like this one. Where is the freedom in this country? Before we do anything, anymore we have to check the law rolls to make sure we're not breaking any laws. And don't even get me started on religious zealots.

Observations and Questions
Do you agree with banning smoking from restaurants and bars? Personally I know you cannot enjoy a nice, ice-cold beer without a cigarette... just like the telephone doesn't work properly without a cigarette. Smokers know exactly what I am talking about.

EXTRA You'll notice over on the right side of the blog I now have the Amber Alert System. Everytime you come please please take the time to glance at it. You just never know one day while in the supermarket you may happen to spot one of these kids.

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1951 Sonia Braga, Maringa Brazil, actress (Dona Flor & Her 2 Husbands). And in our death notices today in 1959 George Reeves, actor (Superman, Gone With the Wind), shoots himself.
15 June 2006

PART 2: THE BOOKSHELF TOUR


S

ince it seemed to go over so well yesterday and as promised... today is the 2nd shelf on my desk. I know, you probably were waiting all night for this posting. So without further adieu, ladies and gentlemen, I present... the 2nd shelf.

Left to right" You can just about see it but it's Anne Rice's book The Mummy which I am having a hard time getting through. Next is fellow blogger, Erin O'Brien, and her book Harvey and Eck, and a very good read. Then of course what bookshelf wouldn't be complete without The Bible.

Next we have the Liberty Bell. This was given to me by my old friend Frank Rizzo, Mayor of Philly. I visited him in City Hall and while we chatted he buzzed his secretary and told her to bring in a big liberty bell for me. She told him they only had two left... a big bell and a smaller bell and that to remember that the Pope was visiting the following week. To make a long conversation short, I got the big bell and the Pope...well, he got the little ringer.

Next is a little stone that my youngest daughter got out of a machine at the Zoo... actually when she put the quarter in she got two stones instead of just one. She gave me one and she has the other. Next, and you can barely see it is a boat. The boat and the dolphin in back of it I purchased in the little village of Bomba, Belize while on my way to Altun Ha, a Mayan temple site. Next is another stone that when my oldest daughter visited me we each bought one at the Johnson Space Center here in Houston. I believe she still has her stone on her desk at work.

We finally get to the "pot". I was taking a small walking tour in eastern Belize near the Guatemala border one day. Walking around in the rain forest actually. My group was walking along a dirt path towards a very small Mayan Inca site when I spotted a lump in the ground and something was sticking up out of the dirt. I reached down, cleared the dirt and pulled this clay pot from its' buried site. I can't imagine what used to be stored in it as it is so small.

Now I had a major decision to make... turn it over to the authorities or keep it for myself... I guess you know what my decision turned out to be.

Observations and Questions
Not as exciting as you thought, huh?

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1946 Jim Varney Lexington KY, "Hey Vern", actor (Ernest Goes to Jail). And in the dusty death notices we find on this date in 1984 Meredith Willson composer (Meredith Willson Show), dies at 82.
14 June 2006

YOU CAN ALWAYS TELL


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hen I am scraping the bottom of the barrel for things to write about. And today should be obvious. When I resort to taking pictures of my bookends, you know you're gonna be in trouble and bored.

I was a poor, white kid growing up in Mississippi... oops, sorry, wrong story.

Here we see just one of the really interesting, unretouched bookshelves on my desk here at "News" world headquarters aka my extra bedroom turned computer/den/library/all purpose junk room room. The focus is not on the books but on the bookend in the middle. The monkey holding a set of 3 books. Amazingly interesting huh? Yeah, I thought so... along with Mr. Bookend, there is a small statue of Saint Dennis. He is holding his head in his hands. It was reported that after having his head chopped off for his Christian beliefs that he actually walked around for a little bit holding his severed head. (I swear I am not making that up).

The next item, is a relic of Saint John Neumann, 4th Bishop of Philadelphia. On one side of the monkey you can see a small sampling of my "DaVinci" Code related books. I reference them often for various things. On the other side are actually CD's of my family history. It has gotten so big I had to start putting it on CD's to eventually hand out to family members. I always imagine that the monkey holding the printed versions of my family history. I bought the monkey at a flea market for $3.00.

Are you still with me? awake? anxious for more? I just looked and this article is long enough. I always want to give you your monies worth when you visit me on the "News."

Observations and Questions
Were you fascinated today? Want to see the next bookshelf tomorrow? On it is a small pot that I found while traipsing through the jungles of a Central American country one day.

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1969 Steffi Graf, West Germany, tennis player (Grand Slam 1988). And in our death notices we find in 1986 Marlin Perkins "Wild Kingdom" host, dies near St Louis at 81.
13 June 2006

I'D BE SO LONELY WITHOUT MY EMAIL


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hen I get bored during the day I look for constructive things to do like most people. One of the things I do not do anymore is check my emails much either. Why you ask? I know, I know... you think the big time editor of the "Not So Normal News" must get tons of interesting email, huh? Things that I could use on my blog... WRONG! I am giving you a small example of what I have received just this morning so far and it's only 4:30AM.

From: More Potency
Subj: (none)

From: Saundra
Subj: Your Powerman

From: Beat Down
Subj: On Hunger and Drop Weight

From: Adult Networks
Subj: 400 Adult Sites - Your Choice

From: Ginger Mangrow
Subj: Power Up and Rock Her World

From: Ed Mangrow
Subj: Power Up and Rock Her World

From: Timmy Mangrow
Subj: Power Up and Rock Her World

From: Tina Thickson
Subj: Wanna Have Sex With Me?

From: Hot Wifey 33
Subj: Can You Satisfy Me?

From: Perfect Replicas
Subj: In Time for Father's Day

From: Luxury Replicas
Subj: Rolex, Vitton

From: Shed 20 Pounds
Subj: 30 Days

From: Wife 22
Subj: Husband is Gone, very horny

From: Mava
Subj: Obesity Is Really Widespread!

From: Manly Man
Subj: Want 12 inches?

From: Loan Officer
Subj: Immediate Payday Loan!

From: Big Night Out!
Subj: Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Hooters: $500 Certificate For YOU!

Observations and Questions
And these weren't even in the JUNK mail bin... What kind of emails do you get? Can you remember the best one?

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1892 Basil Rathbone Johannesburg S Africa, actor (Sherlock Holmes). And in the death notices today we find in 1979 Darla Hood actress (Little Rascals).
11 June 2006

EL BOCADILLO DEL FILETE CON CEBOLLAS POR FAVOR


T

hat's one of the things you can't say if ordering a cheeseteak at Geno's in South Philly.

The brash owner of Geno's Steaks, in Philly, has sparked new controversy after two weeks of nearly nonstop national attention for signs posted near his take-out window that declare: "This is AMERICA. WHEN ORDERING, SPEAK ENGLISH."

Vento, 66, grinned his way through a five-minute segment Friday on ABC's Good Morning America. Since The Inquirer first reported on his signs two weeks ago, he has appeared left and right on the Web, TV and talk radio as a proud, tattooed advocate of English only for the nation's immigrants.

A city agency charged with investigating discrimination plans to file a complaint Monday that questions the legality of the signs, which Vento has said are directed at the Mexican immigrants in Geno's South Philadelphia neighborhood.

Vento told The Inquirer last month that he could not serve non-English speakers: "If you can't tell me what you want," he said, "I can't serve you."

"You're giving them a crutch" if you don't demand English, Vento told ABC.

"You can't call them 'illegal.' You got to call them 'undocumented,' " said the Philly resident. "Give me a break."

He described illegal border crossers as sources of crime and drains on hospitals, schools, and other public services. It's "wrong, wrong, wrong that a Mexican girl comes here to pop a baby" who is automatically a U.S. citizen, Vento said.

"A lot of diseases are coming in" with illegal Mexican immigrants, he said at the time. "They weren't here before. Mexicans play and drink out of the same water."

The main idea for this article is not particularly Geno's but a national situation. I've seen street signs in everything from Chinese to Hungarian. My ancestors came here and HAD to learn the language and they did. Maybe I am unsympathetic but it seems that when immigrants come here the only words they know are, "gimmee, gimmee, gimmee" or "where's the welfare office"... never "where's the job bank listing?"

And "yes" I have had many cheesesteaks from Geno's in South Philly.

Observations and Questions
And your feelings about this mess?
10 June 2006

CONFESS YOUR SINS AND BE SAVED


Y

es folks, today and tomorrow I bring you another free service of the "Not So Normal News."



As many of you know, I am an ordained minister in the Universal Church. The fact that I applied online, didn't have to study and was ordained as fast as I could type my name into the blank has no bearing whatsoever on anything. Anyway, I have decided to hold "Confessions" right here on my blog. I will forgive all sins that you confess.

Authentic and Unretouched Certificate



That's right and here's how it works. You go into the confessional (comments section) and write in your sin... and I will forgive you. Please do not worry... the "seal of confession" applies here and I will never divulge who you are or what your sin involved. Your sins are private and personal... they are safe with me!

The sin you tell should ideally be a deep, dark secret sin you have buried in the pits of your mind. The one that would totally embarrass you if it ever got out. I know they bother you, get them off your chest now for free.

Special note from Father Denny: Dear friends... this may become a weekend special here on the "News". It all depends on how good the sins are.

Go in Peace my little bretheran and bretheraness's,



Observations and Questions
"Bless you child, and your sin is.......?"
09 June 2006

HAS BIG BROTHER FINALLY ARRIVED?


R

ed light cameras will soon ticket motorists here in Houston. Motorists will soon be ticketed by a camera for going through a red light at 10 intersections across the city.

Officials with the city of Houston said the locations were selected based on the number of crashes at the intersection and how many crashes running a red light caused.

Officials said American Traffic Solutions, the company that was awarded the contract to run and install the cameras, will have the first 10 cameras up by mid-July. The company will install cameras, in groups of 10, every 30 to 45 days.

Officials said a public awareness campaign designed to inform motorists of the cameras will last about 30 days, with no citations being issued for that time.

Drivers can expect to get a $75 fine for a first offense and up to $150 for a third.

Half of me is for this and the other half screams Big Brother. People say: "if you're not doing anything wrong then don't worry." But isn't this just the start of things to come?

Observations and Questions
Is this a good move or are we really moving into a Big Brother scenario?

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1934 Donald Duck famous fowl. And in the death notices today we find on this date in 68, Nero, Roman Emperor commits suicide but forever known for his violin aria!
08 June 2006

FINALLY!! HE'S DEAD!!


J

ust in case you missed the news, Al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, blamed for the beheading of foreign captives and the death of hundreds in suicide bombings, has been killed in a raid north of Baghdad, Iraq's prime minister said on Thursday.

"Today Zarqawi has been terminated," Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced at a televised news conference attended by the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General George Casey, and other senior officials. Casey said the body of Zarqawi, who had a $25 million U.S. bounty on his head, had been identified and that details of his death would be revealed later on Thursday.

There seems to be much celebrating going on in Iraq right now with the news spreading like wildfire. My advice is pretty simple right now... don't rest on your laurels because there's probably another al-Zarqawi out there ready to jump in and take his place. Personally, I think this war is far from over. I wish I was wrong but I'm not.

Observations and Questions
I just noticed that today is the anniversary of the death of Mohammed, founder of Islam. Sssshhh! Maybe they won't realize the co-incidence. Comments? Any thoughts?

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1925 Barbara Pierce Bush, Rye NY, 1st lady (1989- ). And in the death notices today we find in 632 Mohammed, prophet of Islam (Koran), dies (according to tradition).
07 June 2006

CARTOON NETWORK HAS AN 'AFTER HOURS' ADULT SWIM?


C

ould someone out there who has actually watched "After Hours Adult Swim" fill me in? It can't be what first came to mind, right? I'm trying hard not to imagine Mickey and Minnie, along with Donald Duck swimming au naturale in the pool.

What caught my eye about this headline was the fact that they are about to start showing Pee Wee Herman. Yes, Pee Wee's Playhouse to be exact. The cable network will air all 45 original episodes featuring Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman, the biggest kid in the Playhouse.

Reubens created the Pee-wee Herman character in 1978 when he was a member of the Groundlings comedy troupe in Los Angeles. Tim Burton's 1985 feature-length directorial debut, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, led to a regular Saturday morning spot for Reubens and his wacky humor that combined Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood-style lessons and make-believe with one of the most annoying voices ever. Pee-wee's Playhouse premiered on CBS in 1986 and made Reubens a household name.

Which made it all the more disconcerting when Reubens was arrested for indecently exposing himself in a Florida porno theater in 1991, pretty much putting an end to morning fun time with the kids. Reubens, now 53, has been dogged by legal troubles here and there ever since. After police raided his home in 2001, Reubens was booked on a charge of possessing child pornography in 2002, eventually pleading guilty to one misdemeanor obscenity count in 2004, for which he paid a $100 fine and had to register as a sex offender for the duration of his three-year probation.

"I'd say this is a dream come true," he said in a statement following the announcement that his show was going for an Adult Swim.

Observations and Questions
Comments? Any thoughts?

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1943 Ken Osmond actor (Eddie Haskel-Leave it To Beaver). And in the death notices on this day in 1631 Mumtax Mahal wife of Shah Jahan of India, her tomb is the Taj Mahal.
06 June 2006

I GET QUESTIONS


A

nd sometimes I actually have answers. I thought it might be interesting to post some of the questions I am sent, either by email or in the comments section here on the "News". Some questions I get cannot be published publically for obvious reasons. lol

1. How is Killer doing?
Killer is doing just fine actually. I'm not sure what's up with Stickam since it's not working but I'll try and resolve it today.

2. What was the last book you read?
Well, the last book I read in it's entirety was "The Messianic Legacy" by Baigenet, Leigh and Lincoln.

3. The last CD you listened to?
One of my favorites, Elysian Fields, Queen of the Meadow.

4. How many credit cards do you have?
Ummmm, 2. Both VISA. Glad they didn't ask for numbers and expiration dates.

5. What's your favorite cigarette?
I swear I don't make these questions up. Right now "Gold Mine". Why? because they were on sale for $19.99.

6. What was the last movie you saw and did you like it?
The last movie was the "DaVinci Code" I'm glad I read the book first, but yes, I enjoyed it despite the fact that I can't stand Tom Hanks.

7. What is your favorite color?
I have 2 favorites actually... blue and maroon. I don't know why either.

8. Boxers or briefs?
I have both and I wear whatever my hand grabs first. Does this make me bi-underwear?

9. Do you wear jewelry and what kind?
Yes, a Carriage watch on my left wrist and an initial ring my parents gave me on my 12th birthday on my right, pinky.

10. What is your favorite drink?
Depends... normally a good margarita. After dinner an iced Sambuca with 3 coffee beans.

I have a question: I may already know the answer but can't remember it. I noticed from the list of people that visit the "News" on a daily basis, there is someone from Tiscali, United Kingdom. Who is it? Please let me know in the comments or email me. Like I said, I probably do know but can't remember. I just like the name Tiscali... shrug.

Observations and Questions
Well, pretty boring huh? There were a couple other questions that I couldn't answer on my blog. Like, "How long is it?" Now who in the world would be interested in that? I thought so. LOL

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1949 Robert Englund actor (Freddy Kreuger-Nightmare on Elm St, V). And in the death notices today in 1968 Robert F Kennedy (Sen-D-NY), assassinated in LA by Sirhan Sirhan.
04 June 2006

"HOLY SAPPHO, BATMAN! BATWOMAN IS A DYKE!"


N

ormally, I am a live and let live type of person. However, there comes along a few things that I really believe we should leave alone... period. Today's article is one of those times. Why do we constantly look to improve the things that don't need improving? We never make things better, we only eventually kill them.

Now I don't want any gay people out there think I am "gay bashing" because I'm not... and if you feel that way, I don't care either. It's your problem and not mine.

Batwoman is now out of the closet and proclaiming her gayness? Come on now, say it ain't so Joe?

DC Comics, home to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and other super friends, says the reborn caped crusader will be a prominent, recurring character in the pages of the new weekly comic-book series, 52. Her first appearance is slated for Issue No. 11, due out Jul. 19. She'll be the redhead in the big red boots who is revealed to have had a romantic past with Renee Montoya, formerly of Gotham City's finest.


The new Batwoman, like her predecessor, will answer in her off-hours to Kathy or Kate Kane. It does not appear that she, like her predecessor, will accessorize with a utility purse.

Batwoman moved into the spotlight, sort of, last Sunday. Her new direction as a "wealthy, buxom lipstick lesbian" was noted in the 15th paragraph of a larger New York Times article about diversity in comics. From that one mention, dozens of news stories, and this blog headline from the Southern Voice, an Atlanta-based gay-and-lesbian newspaper, followed: "Holy Sappho, Batman! Batwoman Is a Dyke!"

The joke is that Batwoman was introduced in 1956, some comic-book buffs suggest, to set Batman straight. To the rescue, Batwoman zoomed in on her Batwoman bike in Detective Comics Issue No. 233.

But sparks didn't fly between Batman and Batwoman. In the 1960s TV show and 1992's Batman Returns, Batman flirted with Catwoman; Batwoman danced with obscurity--the character was killed off in the comics in 1979.

Owing to her low profile, Batwoman's sexuality has not been as hotly debated in the real world as Batman's. Or Wonder Woman's. Or even Superman's. That's the Man of Steel (the Brandon Routh/Superman Returns model), not Batwoman, on the latest cover of The Advocate, with the headline, "How Gay Is Superman?" (For the record, Duralde, who wrote the cover story, doesn't think Superman "has ever been remotely gay-ish--I think he's a square." And his article isn't really about how gay Superman Returns is, but why superheroes appeal to gay and lesbian audiences.)

That a Batwoman, and not a Batman, or a Superman, would be drafted for a diversity program seems the way comic world works. "It's not uncommon for a comics publisher to take a character that hasn't been getting much attention and modernize him or her in some ostensibly shocking way," Michael Dean, news editor of The Comics Journal, said in an email.

Even a down-on-his-buzz Superman was killed and reborn in the 1990s. But to make the Last Son of Krypton gay would be to mess too much with continuity, Duralde said: "There would some 'splain' to do with Superman."

Still, Batwoman's reinvention does have some comic fans uncomfortable, and not necessarily because of her sexual reorientation. " They should not alter her history," a recent post on the DC Comics message board read. "It mocks the character and who she stands for."

What's next? We find out Lois Lane has sexual re-orientation surgery?

Observations and Questions
Should they leave comic book hero's alone or should they juice them up a bit?

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1878 Francisco (Pancho) Villa Mexico, revolutionary/guerrilla leader. And in the death notices we find today in 221 BC, Chu Yuan China's poet drowns.
02 June 2006

OK, ONE MORE TIME


O

nce again, I write about my family history and a few doubting Thomas' pop up and send me emails. "How could you possibly be related to these people?" Well, the obvious answer is, "Someone has got to be related to them."

I can remember a few years ago while discussing the family history, someone mentioned, "So, you're not only related to Charlemagne but also William the Conqueror... of course you are." People make these statements and don't even know what they're talking about. Take Charlemagne, look at the list in yesterdays' entry. He happens to be my 35th great-grandfather. Go down a little bit to Charlemagne's 7th great-grand daughter, Matilda of Flanders. She is now my 26th great grandmother and look at who she is married to... William the Conqueror. He becomes my 26th great grandfather. His mother and father then are my 27th great grandparents.

For the longest time I was getting nowhere with the family history for 2 reasons. Before computers and the internet I had to go to museums and research libraries to assemble information, which took a very long time to put together. Once the internet came along and institutions began publishing their manuscripts family history research took on a life of its' own.

The problem with researching begins around the mid-1800's when tons of people were coming to the United States via Ellis Island. You had foreigners arriving by the thousands and being processed by foreigners who barely spoke and understood English themselves. Names were changed and therefore lives were also changed... family histories lost forever, unless you worked really hard in researching them. Records back in Europe are remarkably complete... it's only when someone came to this country where the records got royally screwed up... bigtime!

Luckily Sophia van Lodensteyn arrived in the 1600's and her records came with her. Once I discovered her in the family tree and traced her back to Holland, the records are astonishingly clear. It only takes one person to somehow be in royalty in Europe and guess what? You are related to practically every royal family that ever lived in Europe. Why? Because they all inter-married. Brothers and sisters married, aunts and nephews, uncles and nieces. These people had mothers and fathers and therefore you became grandchildren of these kings and queens, etc. As I said, the secret is finding that one person to make the connection.

Once you find that one person, "you are in the club" so to speak. Finding her is what has kept me going with this for 30 years. That's a long time to work on something. I have thousands upon thousands of people. I don't stop at just great grandparents either... with them come their children and who they married and their cousins, etc. It just keeps snow-balling. Sometimes, nowadays, it takes me longer to record the families than it does finding them. I think I mentioned that now I am keeping tabs on over 16,000 people. And in some cases I haven't even scratched the surface.

Observations and Questions
Did I explain this in a way that was easy to understand? Sometimes it does get confusing... very confusing.


Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1740 Marquis de Sade 1st known sadist, writer (Justine). And in the death notices we find in 1990 Rex Harrison actor (My Fair Lady), dies at 82 of cancer.
01 June 2006

GRANDPOP ARNIE


S

aint Arnold was born to a prominent Austrian family in the year 580. Even back in those days the Austrians were famous for their love of beer, and admired for their brewing prowess. Beer was a proud Austrian tradition that was not wasted on young Arnold.

I can call him Grandpop Arnie, because he is my 40th great grandfather. See chart.

Saint Arnold was born to parents who belonged to a distinguished Frankish family in the Chateau of Lay-Saint-Christophe in the old French diocese of Toul, north of Nancy.

In school he excelled through his talent and his good behavior. He was sent to the court of Theodebert II, King of Austrasia to be initiated in the various branches of the government. Under the guidance of Gundulf, the Mayor of the Palace, he was placed on the regular list of royal officers, and among the first of the king's ministers. He distinguished himself both as a military commander and in the civil administration; at one time he had under his care six distinct provinces.

Arnulf was married to a Frankish woman of noble lineage named "Grandma" Doda with whom he had two sons, Anseghisel and Clodulphe. Clodulphe was later called Saint Cloud, and Anseghisel married Begga, daughter of Pepin de Landen. Anseghisel and Begga are the great-great-grandparents of Charlemagne, and as such, Saint Arnulph is the oldest known ancestor of the Carolingian dynasty.

Doda became a nun, and Arnulph made plans to enter a monastery. But, as is still true today, life is what happens while you're making other plans. Arnulph became bishop of Metz, France, in 612. In his new position he set the example of a virtuous life to his subjects. In 613, after the death of Theodebert, he, with Pepin of Landen and other nobles, called to Austrasia Clothaire II, King of Neustria. He later also served as counselor to Dagobert, King Clothaire's son.

Arnulph spent his holy life warning peasants about the dangers of drinking water. Beer was safe, and "from man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world." The people revered Arnulph (no wonder!).

He is said to have spent his life warning peasants about the health hazards of drinking water. Water was not necessarily safe to drink during the dark ages, especially around towns and villages. Nasty stuff. Arnold always had the well-being of his followers close at heart.

Beer, on the other hand, was quite safe. Arnold frequently pointed this out to his congregation. He is credited with having once said, "From man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world." It goes without saying that the people loved and revered Arnold.

In 627, Saint Arnold retired to a monastery near Remiremont, France, where he died 16 August and was buried in 640.

In 641, the citizens of Metz requested that Saint Arnold's body be exhumed and carried from the monastery to the town of Metz for reburial in their local church - The church where Arnold had so frequently preached the virtues of beer. Their request was granted.

It was a long and thirsty journey, especially since they were carrying a dead bishop. As the ceremonial procession passed through the town of Champignuelles, the tired processionals stopped for a rest and went into a tavern for a drink of their favorite beverage - Beer. Much to their dismay, they were informed that there was only one mug of beer left, and that they would have to share it. That mug never ran dry and the thirsty crowd was satisfied.

Every Saint needs a miracle. That's how the Church decides you are a Saint. The story of the miracle mug of beer spread and eventually Arnold was canonized by the Catholic Church for it.

Saint Arnold is recognized by the Catholic Church as the Patron Saint of Brewers. So gang, now that the hot summer months are upon us and traditionally a lot of beer drinking goes on, remember to stock up on old Saint Arnold's beer, which I might add is brewed right here in Houston. And when you take that first refreshing drink of Granpop... err... Saint Arnie's, remember me!

Observations and Questions
One of these days I'll get over to the Saint Arnold Brewery and give them the family stamp of approval. Grandpop would have wanted it that way. Snif.. snif... I miss him so... Have you ever tried St. Arnold's beer? What is your favorite beer?

EXTRA COMMENTS
The other day I wrote about decisions we make and how they effect our lives. It just dawned on me that if Sophia van Lodenstein had not made the major decision to leave Holland and come to America, I wouldn't be sitting here today telling you this story.

According to an article in the New York Genealogical and Biographical publication "The Record" for the year 1935 pages 376-381 by William Hoffman. As Hoffamn says about Carel's wife, Sophia van Lodensteyn, "Nobody among the 17th century Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam could boast an equally distinguished Dutch ancestry." She is decended from many burgers and nobles of Holland, including the Counts of Holland and Hainault. Sophia's great Uncle, Jan van Lodensteyn, was a director of the Dutch East India company and represented the city of Delft as a sponsor at the baptism of Prince William II of Orange (the father of William, King of England.) The New Church in Delft contains graves of Sophia's ancestors. Many have been vandalized during the French Revolution-especially the van der Meer crypt.

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1926 Marilyn Monroe [Norma Jean Baker], actress (Some Like It Hot). And in the death notices we find 1968 Helen Keller blind & deaf, dies at 87.