Two from the road.

My internet connection is spotty here, so just a couple of quickpix in advance of a bigger report later.

My friend Vahe Gregorian is a sportswriter in St. Louis. He saves stuff. Like, for instance, all his credentials:

A sorta-glory wall

It’s funny — I’ve always been a credential-saver, too. Of course I don’t have a fraction of Vahe’s. My guess is, he’s saving them to sell on eBay in his retirement, to supplement what’s left of his pension when the entire industry implodes.

Meanwhile, at the Cornerstone Festival, the alt-Christian culture is in full flower:

Don't give up, Keith.

If they’d had a T-shirt of this, I’d have bought it. But they didn’t.

More next week. Enjoy your holiday.

Posted at 8:21 pm in Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

32 responses to “Two from the road.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 3, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Ahhhh — i had to go and check the website, and they’re just selling a new Bible translation. Good luck getting Keith to read that one (although the idea is interesting, laying it out as a translation but with explanatory material woven into the body of the narrative but clearly bracketed out as such).

    Hope the storms and gnats stayed away from Nancy’s tent . . .

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  2. Dexter said on July 3, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    …decades ago I would hang out at Lacledes Landing when visiting St. Louis…a bar called “Muddy Waters”. I guess it went out when cars still had carburetors , many years ago, but Lacledes Landing is still there in some form…do you go there?

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  3. basset said on July 3, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    best credential collection I ever saw belonged to a photojournalism lecturer at IU who’d worked many years for the Milwaukee Journal… he had them hanging off a vertical cord, a bundle about four feet long and as big around as a basketball.

    so why is this event called the “Christian Burning Man”? can Christians not go to the other one? or are they not supposed to enjoy it if they do?

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  4. coozledad said on July 4, 2008 at 8:16 am

    Every time I hear “Christian Burning Man” I can’t help but think of Savonarola.
    I hear Charlie Crist has done gone and grafted himself a beard so he can be McCain’s veep. I guess the elevator footage of him kissing a female wasn’t enough.
    Of the possible Republican veep choices, Crist is probably the one least likely to wind up as the centerfold in The American Journal of Psychosexual Disorders (see Jindal, Bobby), but is this really change we can believe in?

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  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 4, 2008 at 8:50 am

    Cornerstone isn’t a “contemporary Christian music” festival as much as an alt-rock, more “out there” for Christian music event, with lots of other art venues and workshops — i’m sure a true “Burner” from the Playa would say there’s no comparison at all, but if you’ve been to some of the other multi-day CCM-fests, Cornerstone stands out as being a little less mainstream, a lot less pious, and very engaged and confrontative with mainstream culture with a Christian perspective.

    If you don’t think Christian perspective can include piercings and shaved heads and goth eyeliner, you wouldn’t like Cornerstone; if you need good chairs and air conditioning and don’t like swallowing bugs, you won’t like Cornerstone. But lots do! (Off to direct church camp myself, not quite Cornerstone-y — see y’all later . . .)

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  6. basset said on July 4, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Savonarola… good one!

    as a non-Christian and too old for alt-rock CCM doesn’t interest me at at all.

    >>very engaged and confrontative

    which, I suppose, many of them see as their duty and mission. And that’s my main issue with evangelicals… everything comes back to “we’re right, you’re wrong, join us or else.” might be presented as whiny guitar-scrubbing alt songs or someone on your porch with a handful of leaflets, but the message is always the same.

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  7. harry near indy said on July 4, 2008 at 11:53 am


    iirc, the iu photojournalism lecturer to whom you refer was john althauser. i remember the name from the time i was a j-student at iu — more than 30 damn years ago.

    well, at least the picture shows that some — some — christians don’t condemn keith richards out of hand. they still have hope for him. misplaced hope, that is, but still hope.

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  8. basset said on July 4, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    it was “ahlhauser,” no t… remembered the name but just didn’t know if I should post it. wonderful guy, learned a lot from him… and from “RDY.”

    >>more than 30 damn years ago.
    I was there too, telecom major from 1973-77 and again in 80 with more hours in the j-school than I had in telecom.

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  9. Deborah said on July 4, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    I lived in St. Louis for 23 years before moving to Chicago 5 years ago. I lived in the Central West End. My favorite place to eat there was Bar Italia on Maryland Ave. I think it’s still there. Very good food, owned by a bunch of brothers from Ethiopia, Mengesha (spelling?) is the only name I remember. You should check it out. It had a nice outdoor seating area. After eating there stroll down to Left Bank Books. There’s also a great contemporary Italian furniture store in the neighborhood, called Centro.

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  10. caliban said on July 4, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    When I was fifteen, I knew all the words to Bob Dylan’s 115th St. Dream, Hattie Carrol, Gates of Eden (a particular favorite), and the tablature, and a reasonably good impression of the prophet. And I also knew Teillhard’s cosmology inside out. Both have stuc llike epoxy, which was Superglue before idiots decided epoxy blending of resin and hardener and polymers were just too difficult for humans to grasp and aproduct was required that could bond skin better than any other substance. So if Bob Dylan says Barry (?!?) Obama is some form of human communication to important to ignore, and very smart and caring people like the Boss and Mike Stipe agree, I guess I’m captivated.

    Is he preferable to a tired warhorse like McCain that actually disgraced his service in the military by buying into Swiftboat bullshit qnd bridling at perfectly reasonable comments by Wes Clark obvious campaign bullcrap?? Duh, and even Doh. After all, not even getting shot down but bailing on your best friends made HW a war hero, and this seems especially specious. W flew containment around the O Club.The big campaign initiative seems to be offshore drilling, and holy shit, that takes a village of morons. They don’t drill where they’re allowed, no reserves would be tapped for years and years, and the tipping point has likely been reached.Impact on pump prices is quite obviously zero.

    In many ways, Obama’s a jerk. Claiming attacks by Obama and by surrogates weren’t sexist is so disingenuous, they reek of hypocrisy. It’s interesting to me because I keep track of Talmuddic arguments. Whose ox is gored is the prime consideration. It’s always Hillary and the goring is pointed and calculated. The abject failure of Gore, Edwards and Obama to defend Kerry was pointed and obvious The guy was a hero and these heroes abandonded him. Not their finest moments. They acted like assholes.

    The national record says John Kerry was a hero. Well he was. Obama wasn’t, I don’t suppose. Kerry pulled a guy out of he drink. The guy says John Kerry pulled him out of the drink. I think he was a hero whether or not Obama think’s he was. Obama can kiss ny ass in this one. So can McCain. The guy that was saved probably knew what he was talking about. And Karl Rove that orchestrated this bullcrap is the biggest liar in the history of the USA. Does anybody think he ever told the truth? He’s the most egregious liar that ever lived. He lies. That’s what he does.

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  11. caliban said on July 4, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Thecenti. i, i DIDNT CARE.

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  12. caliban said on July 4, 2008 at 2:54 pm


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  13. moe99 said on July 4, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Onion News hits the nail on the head, yet again:

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  14. coozledad said on July 4, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Well today, my state lost a prime example of just how we managed to get ourselves talked into the Civil War. Ol’ Jess was skein barely restraining a kind of toxic ooze. He wasn’t fit to be a deacon or an Alderman, so we elected him Senator. And he stood with Pinochet, and David Duke, and Roberto D’Aubuisson, and sundry other small time murdering racist thugs. And the gap toothed, inbred, mentally and spiritually moribund cave-dwellers here worshiped him. He was their imbecilic dewy-lipped god. And now he’s dead we’ve got to watch them scream, spit and roll in the coffin with him. It will be amusing to watch the TV pundits stroke him one last time before they let him down to choke the worms.
    Oh, happy,happy 4th!

    My wife says I sound like I’m on the crazy train here. I guess that’s true. This is however, the eulogy I always wanted to deliver, and I refuse to let any sanity creep in to mess it up.

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  15. Gasman said on July 5, 2008 at 2:07 am

    It’s good to hear of someone else not mourning the passing of Jesse Helms. I think that he was one of the top ten enemies of constitutional democracy that this nation ever produced. Loathsome to the core. I heard Charlie Gibson muse that Helms would probably be proud to kick the bucket on July 4th, being that he was such a patriot and all. I don’t care what day it is as long as he is dead.

    I hear that he met up with his ole’ buddy Strom Thurmond a bit earlier today. Strom strolls up to Helms and says, “Jesse, it’s great to see ya’ again! Now, let me show you around hell.”

    I guess now he can get out his sheet again and wear it with pride.

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  16. caliban said on July 5, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Alt-Christian? Being Jesuitically educated (like Alfred Hitchcock), and steeped in Teillhard like it’s Tolkien, I always figured I’m alt-Catholic. But since the president of the Uninuhd States (that is how the jerk pronounces it) endorses the opinion that we’re not actual Christians but members of a ‘cult’ (don’t cults come after, splintering from the one true branch?). Anyway. Bob Jones. Falwell. Pastor Hagee. Franklin Graham. Carl Sandburg would like a word with you.

    Ole Strom was one duplicitous piece of turd. Anybody that would actually call himself a Dixiecrat puts aeons of evolution into question.I wouldn’t usually be glad somebody’s dead, but this uber-bigot’s descent into eternal damnation might spare an American city some sort of pissed-off God natural catastrophe.

    Fittingly, since Strom was enamored of Brown Sugar and so prolific, the Williams sisters are currently taking the penultimate white sport to a seriously higher level. Penultimate, if you think golf’s a sport, but a black guy put that argument in abeyance when he did a Kellen Winslow at the US Open.

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  17. Catherine said on July 5, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Cooz, scoot over and make room for me on that crazy train.

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  18. nancy said on July 5, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Deborah, it sounds like I was in your old neighborhood — the old west end, I think it was called. McPherson Avenue? Big ol’ 100-year-old houses, lots of beautiful walkable streets. A very nice place.

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  19. Kirk said on July 5, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    When I was in school at the U. of Missouri, I knew a guy whose dad had a gallery and an incredibly interesting home in the Central West End of St. Louis. The guy had the Martin Schweig Gallery. In the home, three stories plus a basement, the whole place crammed with artwork and photos, a python and box turtles lived in the basement. Out back was a golden eagle and some other birds. There was a tropical room filled with plants and interesting birds. A bunch of us spent a weekend partying there.

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  20. brian stouder said on July 5, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    I think that he was one of the top ten enemies of constitutional democracy that this nation ever produced.

    Jefferson Davis. Robert E Lee. President Buchanan. Chief Justice Taney. John Wilkes Booth. President Andrew Johnson. (note – all were Democrats). Certainly we’ve had our share of Republicans who did the nation and its Constitution no favors (the incumbent president is high on the list)….but I cannot think of any that are in the All-Time Top Ten!!

    I guess now he can get out his sheet again and wear it with pride.

    Right along with Bob Byrd (another proud member of the Democratic party!, and one who actually did belong to the klan, as opposed Helms, who would have made things so much easier on his frothy attackers if only he had actually worn ‘his sheet with pride’), whenever he finally goes on to ‘choke the worms’.

    It’s been a great 4th of July; I just wanted to move the ballast a little, so that nn.c doesn’t list so far to port that it capsizes!

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  21. coozledad said on July 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    The contemporary Republican party has adopted the values of Strom Thurmond and the Dixiecrats. There is no fundamental difference between the Helms and Bolton notion of the party’s contemporary stance on foreign policy, race, legislated morality, and unrestricted capitalist religion and the racist, xenophobic posturing of the anti-Truman Dixiecrats of 1948. Remember, Helms was a protege of Senator Willis Smith, who advocated going to war on the side of Nazi Germany while he was serving in the House.
    North Carolina is on the verge of becoming a modern, literate state precisely where Helms influence was its most negligible. The rest of it is a throwback to the forties, and the down in the mouth racism of savagely ignorant tobacco farmers. The aim of his policies was to preserve this backward political calculus in the amber of tobacco lobby patronage. It was gonna last forever.
    But it’ll go away in time. Just like him.

    p.s. I’ve neglected to mention that he is rumored to be a distant relation of mine. That’s North Carolina for you. Don’t laugh.
    I still have every one of my own crooked yellow teeth.

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  22. Jolene said on July 5, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Right. It’s not fair to connect the Democrats of the “solid South” and those who came earlier (e.g., Jefferson Davis) to the modern Democratic Party. The reason the South is Republican now is that the Democratic Party began to press for civil rights under LBJ. The Democrats have plenty of shortcomings, but they’re not the ideological cousins the Southern segregationists.

    Modern conservatives should be embarrassed by the “he was a great American” salutes that Helms has been getting. He was not.

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  23. Gasman said on July 5, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    My beef is with conservatism throughout the history of this country, not just modern Republicans. Conservatism (in either or both parties) has always been socially regressive and restrictive of – if even acknowledging – civil liberties. Both Republicans and Democrats have had their share, sometimes at the same time, of conservatives. During the late 70s and 80s there was a mass exodus of conservative old guard Democrats to the Republican party. True, Byrd et al. are an embarrassment to the modern Democratic party. But, so far as socially regressive misanthropes are concerned, today’s Republican part easily wins that contest.

    As to conservatism’s accomplishments, what are they? If you scan the history of this country, I can’t think of a single major accomplishment of conservatives. Not one. Unless you consider the creation of national debt an accomplishment.

    And as to the myth of fiscally conservative economic policies, 70% of ALL national debt was created by three presidents: Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II. Certainly nothing to brag about.

    All of the major reforms in our nation’s history have come at the hands of liberal leadership. The abolishment of slavery, the 14th amendment, the labor movement, women’s right to the vote, child labor reform, etc., etc., etc.. The very conceptual basis for our existence is liberal. Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, et al. were liberals. Additionally, Lincoln, one of the founders of the Republican party was, in the context of his political world, decidedly liberal.

    And lest anyone say that conservative Ronald Reagan defeated communism, I ‘d say he opposed Soviet communism and enabled Chinese communism. So much so that the Chinese communists are hale and hearty today are as oppressive as ever, and an economic and environmental threat to all.

    We like to believe that we are a center/right country, however, when push comes to shove, we are consistently liberal in our lasting social values.

    American conservatives have consistently believed in two major themes:
    1. Zero, or as nearly practicable to zero, cost labor.
    2. Additive or aggregate civil rights.

    The former explains their devotion to slavery and their hostility to organized and immigrant labor. The latter is usually expressed as “State’s Rights” and is how they justify their willingness to abrogate individual liberties. Helms spent his entire career trying to deny civil liberties to anyone who was not a white male conservative. He was not at odds just with contemporary liberals; he was arguing with the founding fathers themselves. He was no patriot.

    In this context, Helms and his uber-conservative allies in the modern Republican party are all enemies of the constitution.

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  24. caliban said on July 5, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Jesse Helms was an aider and abettor in two murders. One took place at a Communion rail.

    How in the world does an alleged and self-proclaimed religious leader call a vile and outright bigot “my friend and long-time senator from my home state of North Carolina, was a man of consistent conviction to conservative ideals and courage to faithfully serve God and country based on principle, not popularity or politics.” Says more about “Reverend” Graham than it does about Helms. (Maybe says more about the scum Franklin, whose putting words in his father’s mouth to enrich himself with earmarked tax money.)

    On a different subject, anybody ever notice the remarkable physical similarity between Helms, Elmer Fudd, Phil Gramm, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney? Misanthropes and Racists Anonymous, all cloned from Jesse hisownself.

    Professional con-artist religionists that espouse bigotry should be headed for some lower circle of hell than Dante imagined. Helms thought delusionally that he ran the CIA, and he was responsible for the murder of Jose Napoleon Duarte in support of fascists that murdered priests and nuns. But what the hey, they were cultists.

    Romero’s murder was engineered and financed by Americans, including, with no doubt whatsoever, Jesse Helms. Most likely, Salvatore Allende and most likely Orlando Letelier. Co-conspirator Henry Kissinger is still walking around and if God rains down hell for sins, his continued existence is remarkable. John Kerry exposed much of this extreme moral turpitude in the Iran-Contra hearings.

    American “Conservatives” aren’t conservatives. They favor and pursue radical measures like murdering good men and manufacturing base slander when murder isn’t convenient. Claiming you want to shrink government to the size of a kitten so you can drown it in a bathtub isn’t Conservative. It’s radical, and it’s aimed at the heart of political freedom, free speech, human rights, equality, teachings of Jesus, and pretty much anything else decent produced in human discourse since that last New American Centurion Hamurabai. And they can’t get that right.

    Lock up a few hapless guys and claim they’re evil and torture their ass. Works for Rove. Wouldn’t have worked for GW. What George (widely regarded as a good president) said was:

    “Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]. . . I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause… for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.” – George Washington, charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Sept. 14, 1775

    So, murdering, or torturing, foreign leaders , or their soldiers, or anybody schmuck trapped inside ‘enemy’ lines means you ought to be tortured and murdered, not necessarily in that order.

    This should actually be the case, although I wouldn’t say death is an option. I’ve watched Paths of Glory about 13 times. People kill people when they were just fucking wrong, and you can’t take that thut who are these bombastic assholes that claim American values don’t mean Dick since Dick scared the bejeezus out of the terrified? Habeas corpus rights threaten your life? No, asshole, they protect you. Rhese people love the death penalty

    Cheney. He’s an ass asshle wants tpotale your moneys to take your money

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  25. Deborah said on July 5, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Nancy and Kirk,

    Yes indeed, McPherson Ave and Martin Schweig. Takes me back. Great housing stock, very affordable. I lived in some of the old high-rises on Lindell Ave and an old house on Westminster, down the street from the then Mayor. St. Louis was a great place to raise a daughter, although we had to use private schools.

    I’m so happy to be in Chicago now. Living on North Lake Shore Dr. in one of the Meis buildings. No comparison.

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  26. brian stouder said on July 5, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Let me hasten to agree that, inasmuch as the world is an imperfect place, change – and sometimes BIG change – can be a very good thing; and human frailty being what it is, there will always be a reflexive reistance to change.

    And, for the record, I understand the game wherein 21st century liberals and conservatives want to claim iconic figures such as Abraham Lincoln as a likeminded one of them (as if to say, “If he were here now, he’d agree with my side”). But it is worth noting that Lincoln really cannot be classed that easily. He was a Whig, and therefore in favor of protectionism (high tarriffs) and “internal improvements” (big public spending on infrastructure)…so that might correspond to certain parts of modern liberalism. But he also was doggedly conservative with regard to the Constitution, and the Constitution protected Slavery (although not by name). Lincoln was very much against the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the effect of which was to end the Missouri Compromise and to throw all the areas of the nation open to slavery, regardless whether the respective States had already banned it or not. Did this make him a States Rights fellow? Or an opponent of a national decision? How do we shoe-horn that into “liberal/conservative” paradigm? (an honest question; I don’t think we can)

    When Lincoln ran for the Senate against Judge Douglas, he assiduously promised to leave slavery alone where it was – much to the outrage of the Abolitionists – even as he strenuously objected to Judge Douglass’s repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and the potential spread of slavery into the free states. But consider what this meant to white voters in Illinois, where the “black codes” prohibited blacks from moving into the state. Opposition to the spread of slavery was also support for the continuance of a white-only Illinois. Was this “conservative” or “liberal”?

    And once elected president, Lincoln again and forthrightly promised to leave slavery alone where it existed…and he worked and worked to see if he could find a way to compensate the slave owners if they would surrender “their” human “property”; and he doggedly held onto the idea of deporting and colonizing the freed black Americans somewhere else. (Lerone Bennett wrote a fascinating polemic called Forced Into Glory about Lincoln which – agree or diagree – is a useful innoculation against the tendency toward hagiography when it comes to our greatest president).

    And during the war, he suspended the Writ of Habeus Corpus, and simply ignored a writ from Chief Justice Taney (imagine some primordial Keith Olbermann “Special Comment” about that!! Actually, you don’t have to imagine – any number of Democratic party broadsheets lambasted him over all these things).

    One is tempted to argue that Lincoln was the prototypical “conservative”, in that he conserved the nation itself; even as he was also the prototypical “progressive”, since his whole political career – and his presidency – presents a record of progression from the old and known, to the new and unkown.

    By way of saying – we humans are all imperfect, and it is almost certainly a mistake to think that your own particular brand of political thinking is one with ALL that was ever good in history, and distinctly different from ALL that was bad!!!

    Anyway – it’s off to the Dells –

    See ya on the other side!

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  27. moe99 said on July 6, 2008 at 11:08 am


    Two can play this game. Did you know that MLK, Jr was a Republican? Well the good folks of the National Black Republican Association have used some of your arguments to turn it all on the other side of the coin, so to speak:

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  28. Danny said on July 6, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    By way of saying – we humans are all imperfect, and it is almost certainly a mistake to think that your own particular hat anyone can brand of political thinking is one with ALL that was ever good in history, and distinctly different from ALL that was bad!!!

    Brian, well put. Very well put. There is no way to reasonably disagree with that, but I’m sure that won’t keep a few from trying (as we can see).

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  29. coozledad said on July 6, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Yup. The left has its crosses to bear. Lenin and Stalin in particular. I’m tempted, however, to write them off to the vagaries of Marxist religion, and the ways Mafia-style organizations have insinuated themselves in the marrow of the region covered by the Byzantine empire.
    I believe I would have rejoiced at Stalin’s death, too, had I been alive at the time.

    The fact Prokofiev died the same day would have taken away a little of the carnival atmosphere, however.

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  30. coozledad said on July 6, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    And speaking of Prokofiev:
    This just kicks ass.

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  31. LAMary said on July 7, 2008 at 10:54 am

    There have been and always will be bad folks from both parties. That being said, Jesse Helms was a nasty SOB and I’m glad he’s gone.

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  32. Peter said on July 7, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Coozledad, don’t hold back or be obtuse – tell us what you really think about Herr Helms.

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