White knuckles.

So this is how life slows down in the fall: One day you’re riding 10 or 15 miles a day, grilling out, drinking beer, and the next? Icing your knee and watching “Vanilla Ice Goes Amish” on HGTV. Although frankly, after my drive home from Ann Arbor early this evening, I feel like watching Vanilla Ice for the rest of the winter. As long as there’s wine.

I’m simply not a safe driver after dark anymore, at least until this cataract is fixed. I figured I’d be fine, as 90 percent of the trip is familiar freeway and reasonably well-lit. But then it rained, and the world became one of shiny surfaces and reflected headlights and murk. Murk murk murk. What’s the worst thing you can see in white-knuckle murk? How about Mr. Low-Impact Man, riding a bike down this exurban road, in the rain, with one weak-ass light on the back and no reflective clothing. Y’all know I’m a cyclist, but sometimes my people piss me off.

It took about 90 minutes to drive 45 miles. Never again. At least not until Dec. 19, the day after my cataract surgery.

Cataracts. Knees. Hello, grandma.

I actually feel pretty good. You should hear my medical history. One long chorus of “no” on every chronic condition, topped off with “none.” (For “what prescription medications do you take?”) NONE.

So. Guess what Kate asked for (and received) for her birthday?


Everything old is new again. Although I think what she likes best is that most of the other kids are not into vinyl. And in case you think you’re keeping up because you’re into vinyl, too, know this: When we were in Fort Wayne, Kate’s friend gave her a recording by one of her favorite local bands. On cassette. Somebody is always hipper than you.

Not much bloggage today; I’ve been writing for two days, and feel a little empty. But there’s this:

Dexter gets his wish; Prince Fielder is out at home.

I just channel-surfed past the last two minutes of “Glee.” How long has it been this bad?

The weekend can’t get here soon enough. Enjoy yours.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' |

95 responses to “White knuckles.”

  1. Brandon said on November 22, 2013 at 2:43 am

    On cassette. Somebody is always hipper than you.

    The cassette revival is already a few years extant. And cassettes are just more portable than records.

    I just channel-surfed past the last two minutes of “Glee.” How long has it been this bad?

    Since Bret Easton Ellis referred to it as “H-I-Glee”? Speaking of whom, he started his new podcast series by talking with Kanye West.

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  2. David C. said on November 22, 2013 at 6:26 am

    I can’t for the life of me figure out the neo-vinylists. I was so happy to leave behind the snap, crackle, pop, skip, and getting up every 20 minutes to flip it over of vinyl records. But maybe they can hear something that my tinnitus ravaged ears can’t. Hell’s bells, I can’t even hear the difference between an mp3 and a wav.

    I think Prince’s performance in the playoffs was a bit of a disappointment, but I don’t blame him. I know he takes pride in playing everyday, but it was Jim Leyland’s job to make sure he is in shape to play at his best into October. Prince should have been given a rest at least every couple of weeks. I was hoping that with Brad Ausmus as manager, he might manage Prince a little better and get him back to where he should be. But he’s traded and I wish him the best.

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 22, 2013 at 7:58 am

    I am thankful that today, in print, on the air, and across the internet, people will have occasion to remember and honor and reflect on the life and legacy of someone who died this day, 50 years ago, who influenced millions and whose choices and speeches will doubtless change millions more lives for the better . . . C.S. Lewis.

    What? Why are you looking at me like that?

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  4. Scout said on November 22, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Dear Jeff: you know full well why we’re looking at you like that.

    Speaking of, we watched yet another documentary the other night which used modern ballistics experts to back up the Warren Commission findings. What always amazes me is how dreadfully inadequate the investigation was for such a monumental crime. And every time I watch something like that it leaves me feeling quite disturbed and sad for what might have been.

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  5. Julie Robinson said on November 22, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Thanks, Jeff, for the reminder. CS Lewis is my favorite author.

    When we were in Detroit, it seemed like all the roads were underlit, if that’s a word. We noticed that a lot of the street lights were out, whether turned off or bulbs not replaced. It definitely added to the whole feeling of decay and depression.

    David C, I’m with you on both vinyl and cassette. But the kids want something different from their folks. Remember that sinking feeling when you lent out a record and it came back with scratches?

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 22, 2013 at 9:00 am

    From Twitter, of definite interest for our confabulation here, one way or another:

    New job in journalism: pot editor, for the Denver Post http://blogs.denverpost.com/editors/2013/11/20/yes-we-will-have-a-pot-editor/1378/

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  7. Deborah said on November 22, 2013 at 9:20 am

    You know how everyone (who is old enough to have been alive then) remembers where they were and what they were doing 50 years ago? Well, I of course remember that but I also remember the 10th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination because I had just moved to Dallas. I thought it was so weird that exactly ten years later I was living in the city where it happened. How time flies and circumstances change.

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  8. Prospero said on November 22, 2013 at 9:21 am

    I’ve got a turntable playing into my machine. And I don’t claim to hear the vinyl difference. Probly too many SRC and MC5 shows destroyed my aural discernment. But I hang onto my records, and my turntable. But hell, I’m a dumbass that thinks YellowTail tastes alright. Oi oi oi. Who cares?

    I wouldn’t say CS Lewis is my favorite author, but his fiction puts him close. Perelandra rules.

    And nobody can explain how Lee Harvey got those shots off with that gun in that amount of time.

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  9. LAMary said on November 22, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Hey, I’m 60 and just had my annual company health screening. The company kicks 1400 into my HSA if I do the screening, no matter what the results are. Prescription drugs, none. Blood sugar and cholesterol situation? Optimal. I’m slightly anemic. Other than that ok. Well, there’s the cataract my eye doctor found and that sucks but it’s not going to kill me. I have creaky knees too. I think I was wise enough to chose the right ancestor to take after. I might live to be a cranky old Dutch lady like my grandmother.

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  10. Peter said on November 22, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Pros, I always thought this person explained how Lee Harvey got those shots off:

    Sure, I’ll be old and say it: I was in first grade on that day, and our teacher had us say the Rosary when the school heard he was shot. When news came that Kennedy died, the teacher just started sobbing and said he died because our prayers weren’t good enough.

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  11. mark said on November 22, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Concerning the Denver Post position, perhaps the guy who reviews call girls for the Las Vegas Review-Journal is looking for a new challenge? At least the weed can’t blame a bad high on the smoker.

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  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 22, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Marine Corps marksmanship training, Prospero. M-1’s make a Mannlicher-Carracano seem like working a stapler.

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  13. Bitter Scribe said on November 22, 2013 at 10:54 am

    “Vanilla Ice goes Amish”? That’s a joke, right? (I refuse to Google it.)

    Although after he appeared on “Celebrity Boxing,” I guess anything’s possible. Poor guy probably never recovered from that vicious parody by Jim Carrey on “In Living Color” (“He’s white, white, baby…”).

    Jeff and Julie, when it comes to C.S. Lewis, I sure hope you’re referring to his fantasy crap and not those glorified Jack Chick tracts he wrote on behalf of Christianity.

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  14. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 22, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Bitter, try “A Grief Observed.” Or “Reflections on the Psalms,” his last nonfiction work. (“Till We Have Faces” was his final published fiction.)

    Pros, have you gone on to “That Hideous Strength”? Quirky, but if you liked Charles Williams (“The Greater Trumps,” “War in Heaven,” “All Hallows Eve”) you’d love it. “Perelandra” is book one, “Out of the Silent Planet” the second, and “Hideous” the third in that series.

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  15. Deborah said on November 22, 2013 at 11:36 am

    I just realized I have never read any C.S.Lewis.

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  16. paddyo' said on November 22, 2013 at 11:39 am

    That admission at my old paper that they’ll have a pot editor came one day before federal agents swooped down on more than a dozen Denver-area dispensaries and marijuana “grow” ops, just six weeks before legal recreational pot sales take effect. I particularly like the pic of seized cannabis piled outside one operation, gathering snow from our day-long first storm of the season. How Christmasy! (Deck the halls with boughs of Mary . . . )

    So the feds claim they were going after only violations outside the scope of Colorado’s law, like growing to sell out-of-state, selling to minors, etc. But it is harshing the whole industry’s mellow (and it is an industry here, both medical and recreational). It should be an interesting six weeks en route to retail pot shops.

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  17. MarkH said on November 22, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Alright, I’ll weigh in – 50 years ago today: Skyline Elementary School, South Hills Pittsburgh, Miss Saveikis’ 6th grade class, approximately 3:00PM. There’s frantic knocking on the door. Miss Saveikis answers and two malcontent students from the class across the hall announced (I kid you not), “Did you hear the good news? They shot Kennedy!”. Classroom buzz ensues as the teacher goes across the hall to question the teacher of other class. My neighbor, Linda Upton and I turn to each other. “I don’t believe that”, I said. “No, that can’t be true”, she responded. Minutes later, Miss Saveikis appeared at the door, ashen-faced, almost in tears, “It’s true, kids. He’s dead”. I even remember the clothing our teacher and Linda wore that day, it is so seared in my 62 year old memory. I never knew the parents of those two students, but you can imagine what they must have been like.

    I just received probably the most important book on the assassination that has come out on this anniversary:


    Shenon delves not into any conspiracy theories, but the Warren Report and its gross shortcomings as the fodder for all the conspiracy theories. From LBJ’s mission to make sure the world knew the USA would survive and move on intact regardless of the actual plot, his strong-arming of all the commission members to sign on, especially Warren himself and Senator Richard Russell, but especially calculated efforts of the CIA nd FBI to withhold evidence.

    Prospero, I’m with you and have a small library of JFK material I’ve accumulated over the years. It’s allowed me to eliminate in my mind about 90% of all the conspiracy stuff out there, but I still have a problem with Oswald alone pulling this off. We’ll all still be curious, I guess, as the trail is so cold without knowing all the still-secret documents. It’s like a college professor once said, it’s a quest to “know the unknowable”.

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  18. Deborah said on November 22, 2013 at 11:58 am

    If you want to listen to something facsinating about Lee Harvey Oswald go back to the archives of This American Life and hear tthe tapes made by his mother. The show is #167, it aired in 2000, name of the show is “Memo to the People of the Future”, Act 2. No wonder Oswald was a nut case with a mother like that. I read recently that Oswald felt highly about himself for no reason. When you hear the tapes you can understand how he got that way. I have forgotten when they said the taping was done, in the late 60s maybe?

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  19. brian stouder said on November 22, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Most thought provoking thing I’ve read today, right here:

    When news came that Kennedy died, the teacher just started sobbing and said he died because our prayers weren’t good enough.

    How many novels/doctoral thesis/religions have been devoted to this human impulse? – that nothing a human being can do will actually ever be “good enough”?

    The wrong-footed teacher was, in that light, presumably correct – except that the same reasoning would seem to indicate that ALL prayers are ALWAYS a waste of time, at least with regard to affecting events, since if they’re in conflict with whatever God’s Will is on a particular matter (see Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address), then whatever will be (or Will Be) – will be, period.

    I suppose the flip-side to the cloudy resignation inherent in such fatalism is the release-from-responsibility (which the “prayers weren’t good enough” teacher blundered right past) that everyone also gets (see terms and conditions of whatever faith one subscribes to) – and most especially for leaders (again like Lincoln) who actually have this or that lever that they could have moved, which in turn may have affected events (for better or worse). Think of the enormous mountain of guilt that would always loom over any such leader, whether they glance at it or not.

    Other than that – and even if she does become a cranky old Dutch lady, Mary rocks!

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  20. LAMary said on November 22, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    I was in the fourth grade and the school secretary came to the door and told my teacher, Miss Kernan, who told us. I remember the muffled drums of the funeral procession.

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  21. John (not McCain) said on November 22, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    “I can’t for the life of me figure out the neo-vinylists. I was so happy to leave behind the snap, crackle, pop, skip, and getting up every 20 minutes to flip it over of vinyl records. ”

    That’s what I used to think until my SO asked for and I bought him a high-ish end turntable for his birthday a couple of years ago. It turns out that most vinyl records being produced these days are of significantly better quality than those made when I was a teenager. They are heavier and better able to resist the snaps, crackles, pops and skips. They also sound better than MP3s or whatever the hell it is the youngs listen to these days. The only format I’ve heard that’s better than vinyl are dvd versions of recordings that have been remastered from the ground up and played in either dolby 5.1 (or better) or DTS 5.1 (or better). Not too much of the music I listen to is available in that format, unfortunately.

    You do still have to flip the damn things every 20 minutes or so, and I wish someone could explain why the better a turntable sounds the less likely it is to have one of those lifty-things to take the arm of the record instead of relying on my ever-shakier hands to get the thing off without doing damage. But on the whole, I’ll take the vinyl.

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  22. beb said on November 22, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    My sister was born 65 years ago on this day, so when people ask her what she was doing on the day Kennedy was shot I suppose she to answer “Not celebrating my birthday.” My wife was born tomorrow. As Don Adams put in Get Smart, “Missed it by that much!”

    Speaking of vinyl, I’m still waiting for 8-tracks to become cool again.

    I read “Out of the Silent Planet.” What a miserable excuse of a science fiction novel. Badly written and boring. If I want propaganda I’ll go to church – Oh, wait, I did for 18 years. Those are days I’ll never get back.

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  23. Hattie said on November 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    I tried resurrecting my turntable once and playing some of my old favorite records,but the records were in bad shape and would all have to be cleaned. Maybe some day someone will want to take on that task, but not me.

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  24. brian stouder said on November 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    I was 2 years old, and my mom’s story always was that she was watching some local tv game show while I was fooling around on the living room floor; and then the news broke.

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  25. Minnie said on November 22, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I was a sophomore in college in the south of Mississippi, preparing to go home for Thanksgiving. A neighbor who lived off the apartment’s other breezeway and knew my liberal tendencies stuck his head in the door and said, “Your president’s been shot.”

    Nearly 20 years later in another state I heard an echo. Riding the bus home from work, a black passenger pulled herself up the steps and said to the white driver, “Well, your president’s been shot.”

    Divided we stand, at least for now.

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  26. Basset said on November 22, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    In the third grade at University School in Bloomington, I remember that the class was sitting on the floor… and a general gasp of shock… Not sure if the news came over the intercom or someone came to the door in person.

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  27. Bitter Scribe said on November 22, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Minnie @25: I would say the black woman had more of an excuse. After being marginalized and used as punching bags (“welfare queens” and “black bucks”), it’s no wonder black people would feel less than sentimental about Reagan.

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  28. coozledad said on November 22, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I make every effort to avoid driving at night. It’s too dark in the country, we’re twenty minutes away from the nearest major highway, and I’d wager a good 3/4 of the drivers out past nightfall were already drunk off their ass when they left work at the meth lab.

    We had to attend a small dinner for the county Democratic women’s castration collective a few weeks ago, and we didn’t get home until around 9:30.

    The next day when we went across the street to feed the sheep, my wife noticed our cattle crossing gate was open. Upon closer inspection we discovered it had been knocked over and about ninety feet of woven wire fence, cedar bracing and T-posts had been flattened. We called the Highway patrol to see if an accident report had been filed out here, and they said no, but they’d send an officer out to have a look.

    While we waited for him out at the road, I walked the skid marks back from where the (Toyota) truck left the road. That was when I noticed they’d veered off the other side of the road, and dropped into a steep culvert, where the truck had commenced travelling nearly sideways. The skid marks leading to the culvert were around 180-200 feet.

    The highway patrolman showed up, put on his hat and we walked off the total braking area. What he saw on the road alone led him to believe the truck was travelling in excess of 100mph. This was before he saw the spot where it left the road sideways, climbed an embankment, knocked down ninety feet of cattle fence blew through a small stand of Virginia pines, and came to rest against a big one that wouldn’t move.

    They left a bumper, a freon unit from the air conditioner, the armrests, a blasted out rear windshield, a knot of hearing protector inserts, and what appeared to be a human turd out by the road.

    I told the patrolman that was the closest thing I had found to a body part, but I’d let him know if we located anything else.

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  29. Dexter said on November 22, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Of course I have almost all my vinyls going back to about 1963 and I knew all about the young kids loving their vinyl discs, but until last week I honestly had not heard of the cassette retro-plunge. I have a couple clothes baskets full of cassettes from the seventies to the nineties, and all three of our vintage cars have cassette players…I am SET, dudes and dudettes! 🙂
    In a few minutes I am heading to the title and license bureaus to square the title and get new plates for the old 1995 Ford Windstar we “inherited” from my wife’s brother’s estate. We were to get the van when he passed, but he left that little part out of his will so we have to buy it from the estate…it has taken four months to get this far…in the past 13 years, he drove it a total of 39,000 miles, so it’s still got some “goody” left in it, and I may as well pay the estate and buy it and drive it a few years. It has 100,000 less miles that I have on my decrepit Pontiac van.

    11/22/2013, Fifty Years from Madness

    Dad was a salesman of Sonotone hearing aids. He had bet a customer a bushel of apples that Kennedy would beat Nixon. The election was close, I remember Dad telling his brothers and my grandma that the election might be thrown into the Supreme Court before it was finalized, but Nixon conceded and Dad lugged a bushel of Macintosh apples into the house.
    Thus began what Jackie would later call “Camelot”, the thousand-day presidency.
    Fifty years ago today, at school, just after lunch hour, rumors turned to fact, Principal James B. Miller got on the PA and as I recall at 1:38 PM, he announced, the President died. Our ninth grade lit teacher was sobbing and in no condition to even want to hold class, so I ran home and brought a little transistor radio into the classroom so we could hear updates…I mean, it had only been like 13 months since we had avoided nuclear war off the Florida coastline. Due to racial tensions mounting, for some reason some kids thought Negroes had killed the President…even then I thought some kids should be in better touch with the mood of the country. I didn’t have an opinion, because almost immediately we heard that Officer J.D. Tippit of the DPD had been murdered by the man who had shot the President…we were told the killer was captured, that he was a man who had ties with Russia and therefore a communist. All wrapped up. 50 years later, still a mystery. Umbrella Man? Debunked. Grassy Knoll marksmen? People still discuss that.
    Our school went on with the basketball game that night, the gym of the school we bused to was nearly empty…what a mistake playing that night.
    And then, nearly 18 years later, Reagan was shot. The NCAA basketball championship went on that night and was televised. I was there at the game at the Philadelphia Spectrum. I couldn’t help but reflect back to 11-22-63.
    Weirdest memory, all through the night, constant reports of “Oswald was eating chicken” in the Texas Schoolbook Depository.
    So how would history read had the Bubble Top been up and the shots not taken? One HELL of a lot differently, you betcha.

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  30. Dave said on November 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    It’s very simple, I was in the eighth grade at Pickerington (OH) High School, there was no separate buildings for what we then called junior high and high, Pickerington was small. I was in study hall, I think it was eighth period, and the teacher, Mrs. Lillian Fast, came in the room at the start of the period and told us she had been down in the office and the secretary told her that she’d heard on the radio that the president had been shot. Within minutes, the principal came on the PA, which we always called the loudspeaker, and told us the news. It’s odd but I really don’t remember much else about the rest of the school day.

    I know that we didn’t gather and watch TV, there weren’t any TV’s kept at our school but my wife, in the sixth grade in a Columbus school, says that’s what they did.

    Another thing that surprises me is that I posed this question on Facebook because I wanted to see if any of the folks I went to school with that’re Facebook friends had any similar memory. I really was wondering if they were in the same classroom as I was. I have received several comments but I wonder at their memories, two of them have told me that they were in Latin class with a memorable teacher but I know they were also in the eighth grade and eighth graders couldn’t take Latin at Pickerington. I suspect they were in American History class with this teacher. Another told me she was going home sick and the principal was taking her home but, unless my memory is faulty, as it may well be, I’m well convinced that principal wasn’t there for a couple of more years and we had a different principal.

    Yes, history would have been far different, Dex.

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  31. paddyo' said on November 22, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    The details we remember, those of us who were alive and just kids, are remarkable, aren’t they . . .

    I was a sixth grader at St. Frances of Rome Catholic School in Azusa, CA, a working-to-middle-class ‘burb about 20 miles east of L.A. Our teacher was Sister Anastasia, O.S.B. (Order of St. Benedict). We all called her “The Bear”: 6 feet tall, perpetual scowl, a disciplinary grip that felt like a bear’s claw (actually left marks on my arm once). Bent slightly forward as she stood and paced in her Benedictine black habit with tight white wimple from head to shoulders that left only her face uncovered.
    On the wall of each classroom, about level with the top of the chalkboard, was a small oaken box with a loudspeaker in it. The one-way intercom was for announcements from the office of the principal, Sister Regis.

    About mid-morning, Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, out of the box came her usual greeting: “May I have your attention, please? . . . ”
    Then, after a short pause for all of us to go quiet: “Boys and girls, President Kennedy has been shot.” That’s right, she cut straight to the chase.
    Gasps all around. The Bear started to pace, like she was going to attack something. After we settled down, the principal told us to pray, and signed off. Sister Anastasia led us in an “Our Father,” a “Hail Mary” and a “Glory Be,” and we returned to our classwork.
    Maybe half an hour, 40 minutes or so later, Sister Regis on the intercom again:
    “May I have your attention, please? . . . Boys and girls . . . President Kennedy . . . has gone to his reward.”
    More gasps, shock, stunned silence. She announced she would file outside by class and march across the parking lot-playground to church, where we would say the Rosary together.
    There were no tears . . . except the ones we saw welling in the eyes of The Bear, still growling as she paced back and forth while we formed our line.

    That whole weekend was a vigil at home by the glow of our black-and-white TV in the living room. We watched Jack Ruby, live, shoot Oswald. We listened to Uncle Walter and Chet and David and all the rest. We saw John-John’s salute from the steps on Monday (no school). I remember my mom, a careful wordsmith, blanching when reporter Nancy Dickerson on NBC intoned at one point, “This is a very momentuous moment.”
    And I puzzled at why the commentators, during the funeral procession, kept referring to the percussion that kept the cortege cadence as “muffled drums.” They didn’t sound muffled to me at all. They were thunderous — and deeply, sadly solemn.

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  32. Minnie said on November 22, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Bitter Scribe @ 27: Yes, I found myself in agreement with the boarding passenger. Instructive to have been on first one side, then the other of an almost identical phrase.

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  33. Deborah said on November 22, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Dave, yes memory is a strange thing. My mind has intertwined Kennedy’s assassination with my mother’s death a little less than a year later. I can’t think of one without the other. The day of the assassination was the day my mother and father had gone to the hospital for her to have the first tests to see what might be wrong with her. A week or so later the test results came back that nothing was wrong. She had cancer that by the time they did figure out, was too late. Both of my parents were home sitting on the couch holding hands (a rare sight for me) watching television when my sister and I got home from school early. My dad would normally have been at work at that time, but because of the hospital visit he had taken the day off. I so vividly remember the looks of horror on their faces.

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  34. Kirk said on November 22, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    It was right before recess at Belle-Aire School in Washington C.H., Ohio, when our sixth-grade English class was interrupted by a second-grade teacher who came to the door and said, “Have you heard? The president’s been shot.” After recess, our principal, also our math teacher, let us know that JFK’s death had been confirmed. One of my best friends, a Roman Catholic and daughter of a Democratic city councilman, lost it. We talked about it for a while, and then they let everyone go home a little early.

    I had a hard time getting to sleep that night. I figured that if they could get the president, whoever they were, they sure as hell could get me.

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  35. dull_old_man said on November 22, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Jeff @ #3–It’s Aldous Huxley, of course. The closest that a semi-famous person comes to immortality is to die on a day when something extremely newsworthy happens. I’ll take Brave New World over any of the Narnia I’ve read. Reading The Screwtape Letters is the most disappointed I’ve ever been by a book after I heard the premise.

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  36. Bitter Scribe said on November 22, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    DOM @35: The Screwtape Letters is basically an extended riff on the old line, “The Devil’s greatest accomplishment is convincing people he doesn’t exist.” The imaginative names are moderately interesting, but otherwise, meh.

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  37. Little Bird said on November 22, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    I read The Screwtape Letters when I was in seventh(?) grade. For religion class. I remember thinking it was weird. The only thing I really remember was the name Wormwood.

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  38. Bitter Scribe said on November 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Little Bird: Which was immortalized in Calvin & Hobbes as the name of Calvin’s teacher.

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  39. Scout said on November 22, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I was in 1st grade in Lancaster, PA. I don’t remember an announcement in school, although there may have been. What I do remember is sitting on the back “stoop” after school, my Mom and my Grandma in the kitchen crying. I remember rocking back and forth and thinking, “nothing will ever be the same.” In retrospect, that is an odd thought for a 6 year old.

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  40. Sherri said on November 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    This is the day that reminds me that while technically a boomer, I’m not really. The baby boom may be defined as lasting until 1964, but if you can’t remember Kennedy being shot, I don’t think you’re really a boomer. I was only a year and a half old.

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  41. Jolene said on November 22, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    I remember exactly where I was when I heard JFK had been shot. What seems odd is that I remember almost nothing of what my parents had to say about it. They weren’t very political people and probably were not Kennedy supporters, but, still, it seems like it must have been on their minds. The one statement that stuck with me is my father saying to my grandfather that we were lucky to live in America, that, in some other countries, such an event would throw the government into turmoil.

    Have watched several of the TV shows re the assassination. The one I learned the most from was a Frontline re Lee Harvey Oswald. Lots of stuff I didn’t know about his history, including that he had previously tried to assassinate a right wing former general named Walker. Also lots of detail about his failed efforts to make himself interesting to the KGB when he was in the Soviet Union and to infiltrate anti-Castro groups in New Orleans. What a loser he was.

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  42. brian stouder said on November 22, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    The “pristine bullet” – laying on the gurney at Parkland(!) – and which had to have done lots and lots of work, is the thing that troubles me the most.

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  43. Dexter said on November 22, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I am one of probably a few million who watched “live” as Oswald was taken out of play. Right there on the old Motorola screen, black and white. Screwy as hell…how was that possible? If that wasn’t a set-up-conspiracy, what was it? Unreal.

    And as nance wrote in the lede today, yes I am happy that Prince Fielder has left the building, er…baseball diamond in Detroit. I finally found out what happened there…I won’t spread gossip by naming names, but the young slugger who looks a lot like superstar Miguel Cabrera was stepping out with Fielder’s wife. When this became known, Cabrera was verbally attacking the guy, and the clubhouse was all stirred up, so General Manager Dave Dombrowski shipped the offender off to a place known for being a windy city.
    Fielder seemingly just didn’t give a fuck abut anything after all that…it really showed on the field, too…I heard loud boos from my TV speakers. He started messing up badly on defense and his bat turned to a wet noodle…no power, no hits, period.
    The ballpark in Arlington, Texas will be more friendly to his long ball hitting, he is better off. His hitting might even make him an All-Star again. Bye, Prince. I hope you find happiness down in the Lone Star State.

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  44. Prospero said on November 22, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    I have cassette’s out the wazoo. Seriously good ones, too.

    I was in 7th grade and the nuns told us to pray for the President. Having lived through the election as a kid in Mempphis, I had no problem believing that the assassination resulted from the President being a nigger-lover. My mom and dad were nigger-lovers and so was I. I feared for our whole family. My mom and dad were benumbed after the shooting. I did the cooking, and was serving silver dollar pancakes when Jack Ruby shot Lee Oswald. Mobbed up guy waltzed into a Dallas lockup and shot the guy? Yeah, right. Anybody buys the Warren Commission believes in Iraqi WMDs. Same anti-American fuckheads involved.

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  45. Prospero said on November 22, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    I was crushed by the Kenneddy assasination. At a young age. Thought the country might be something good. Not fucking likely in a corporate world, And yeah, I saw this coming.

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  46. Connie said on November 22, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    I and my 3rd grade best friend were watching TV at my house. We had no school due to parent teacher conferences. My parents had gone to Chicago for the weekend and my grandmother was staying with us. The most memorable thing was the newspapers my parents brought home from Chicago.

    In my memory I saw Jack Ruby shoot Oswald live on TV but I keep thinking that might not be a first run memory.

    Power came back on at the library an hour ago after a five day power outage from last Sunday night’s storms. Power is on, heat is not, dress warmly.

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  47. MarkH said on November 22, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Jolene @41 – That Oswald made the attempt on former General Edwin Walker’s life was established within a week of 11/22/63, if I’m not mistaken. And, not to throw gasoline on Prospero’s missives, but answer this: Oswald was so good a shot that he hit a moving target 250 – 300 feet away with two out of three shots fired, including a head shot (see R. Lee Ermey). Yet, using the same weapon, he drew on a stationary target, Walker sitting in his living room window, 50 feet away…and MISSED. There could be any number of reasons for this, but I have never seen it brought up in the usual discussions.

    Also, Jolene, I have that excellent Frontline documentary on tape and it goes far to debunk a lot of Gerald Posner’s assumptions of Oswald viv-a-vis no conspiracies. Posner said had never met any of these other suspects, like David Ferrie. But Frontline produced photos showing Oswald with them. Doesn’t settle anything, just makes it more unsettling. Also, for Oswald-did-it-alone dogmatics, there’s this excellent book back in print, by the only one to have personally known both Lee and Marina Oswald and President Kennedy, Patricia Johnson MacMillan.


    One last bit I remember from this day in ’63: we had classmate with the last name of Oswald. No relation, of course, but Rod clearly became uncomfortable for a few days as he was immediately treated differently by a lot of us for a time.

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  48. David C. said on November 22, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    I was four years old and at home with my mom. The TV was on, as it has been at my parents house every waking hour since. I was watching the repairman who was fixing the fridge. He suddenly stood up and said he thought they said on the TV that the President had been shot. I think I probably went about being four until mom told me the President was dead. I remember mom cried and then I did too. We were a Republican family at that time, but even I remember how sad they all were. I guess in those days some people still had the conviction that once the election was over he was our President. I hope I never have to go through something like that again.

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  49. MichaelG said on November 22, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    I was a sophomore at the Univ of Ill. I was walking past the main library when a friend of my girlfriend stopped me and told me that the president had been shot. I went straight back to my dorm room and sat in front of the TV with my roommate. Later that evening my girlfriend and I went over to some friends’ house where we spent the weekend in front of the TV. We’ve become sadly accustomed to horror stories on the TV now but this was the first one ever. It was new ground for everybody from Cronkite on down. What a weekend. And yes, we saw Ruby shoot Oswald live.

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  50. Deborah said on November 22, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    I too watched Ruby shoot Oswald live on the teevee in our living room in Miami, FL. We had the dang thing on all the time during that historic episode, which was not usual for us. We never usually watched it during the daytime, usually only Saturday and Sunday evenings. My parents went to bed early and the TV could not be on after that. When I was in high school we had a portable TV that I would very quietly roll into my closet in my bedroom and watch after my dad went to bed. I’d very quietly roll it back out to the living room before I went to bed. He never knew.

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  51. alex said on November 22, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    I was too young to have any awareness of the JFK assassination. I do recall, however, MLK and RFK in 1968. MLK interrupted my prime time viewing of “Bewitched,” an episode wherein Imogene Coca was playing one of Samantha’s dotty old aunts who had been enlisted for babysitting and was more attentive to the liquor cabinet than to baby Tabitha. She cast an outrageous spell that was causing enormous havoc and was too tipsy to remember how to reverse it.

    I also remember Reagan getting shot because he interrupted the climax of a soap plot line that had been building for six months and I was pretty pissed off about it. I was spending spring break in NYC and even so I was taking time out daily for my story because I’d been waiting so long for this story line to play out. The soap was “The Guiding Light.”

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  52. Charlotte said on November 22, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    I wasn’t quite here yet when Kennedy was shot (my birthday’s the tenth of next month), but nearly ten years later when our youngest brother died of cancer, my younger brother Patrick and I knew we were supposed to be brave (and were beautifully dressed), like the Kennedy kids. To the upper-class Catholics of the North Shore, that was the ideal. So we stood in the front pew together, holding hands (uncharacteristic) and biting the insides of our cheeks so we wouldn’t cry. And all the grownups said how brave we were.

    I have a cousin who was one of the bridesmaids for Rory Kennedy’s wedding that didn’t happen when John flew into the ocean. Her mother died the same weekend as Patrick, and Ethel came out for the wake — apparently she avoids funerals to avoid pulling attention from the actual dead person.

    I liked that Caroline Kennedy was in Japan, beginning her duties as Ambassador. Who could bear to be the only survivor like that?

    I didn’t know that it’s also C.S. Lewis’s death date. A Grief Observed was quite useful to me 10 years ago when Patrick was killed (having 2 dead brothers always makes me think of Lady Bracknell: “To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”).

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  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 22, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    I’m with Sherri @ #40 on age and attitude towards my own supposed Boomerness. I don’t think I qualify.

    Just for what it’s worth, if you’re hearing about the latest sweeps month ginned up social crisis: the “knockout game” has been going on at least ten years, it’s not new, it’s not on the rise, and it’s a thing you get with drunk older teen males and easy access to video plus uploading. The goobers just can’t figure out how we find them so fast, and it’s chronic but not growing.

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  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 22, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    (Hint to everyone: don’t upload video of something you don’t ever want to have to explain before a judge.)

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  55. Suzanne said on November 22, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    I was 5 when JFK was killed and all remember was watching the funeral on tv. I remember thinking that this must be important to be on tv in the middle of the day.

    We visited the scene of the crime about 15 years ago. It was strange. We’ve all seen the film so many times that it’s kind of underwhelming in reality. It’ s just a curve in the road. Our son was about 10 years old when we visited and was fascinated with all the conspiracy theorists that had set up booths to sell stuff.

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  56. MichaelG said on November 22, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    I was in Vietnam when MLK was killed and the immediate effects of that were blurred by distance and the immediacy of my own situation. I was in L. A. on the evening of June 6, having driven down from Berkeley earlier that day. We (myself and two friends, each in our own car) had set off for Fort Bragg, NC late that afternoon with the idea of stopping in San Bernardino for the night. I heard about RFK on the radio as we drove. Saturated with death as I was immediately after two tours in Vietnam, RFK’s assassination didn’t affect me the way his older brother’s had. I remember playing shuffleboard in a bar in Berdoo later that night.

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  57. Dexter said on November 23, 2013 at 12:03 am

    I heard about RFK’s shooting while listening to my little radio as I was carrying my bags up to my room in the venerable old Zinzendorf Hotel , right directly beside the old RJR Tobacco factory in downtown Winston-Salem, NC. We had just returned from a long bus ride as I was playing baseball in those days. I recall that RFK lingered near death for several days. Awful.

    Deborah…I had to be very careful listening to my radio or watching the old TV I had bought for a few paper-route-earned dollars and lugged up to my room, as my dad was a very-light sleeper and he would go into a rage if he heard any audio at all. Back then there were no head phones for TV.

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  58. Dave said on November 23, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Dexter, not to be contentious but I think RFK died the next day. I was in NYC on my senior class trip and one of the things we did was drive by, in a tour bus, the apartment building where he had moved to when he established residency in New York to run for the Senate. We also drove by the building Nixon lived in which, in my memory, was nearby. I think this was the very next day after he was shot and he hadn’t passed away yet.

    I once took a tour of that very factory in Winston-Salem. They handed out free cigarette packs at the end of the tour, imagine that today. Can’t imagine taking or wanting to take that tour today, for that matter.

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  59. Dexter said on November 23, 2013 at 1:18 am

    Dave, you’re right…RFK only lasted a little more than a day after being shot; time had made it seem like days in my memory.

    We were mostly 18 and 19 , our baseball team, and most of us smoked cigarettes, so when the pretty girls who were tour guides switched shifts, we’d take another tour and get more smokes. Of course, after a short while the farce was over, but smokes were only 35 cents a pack; we were never wanting for cigarettes. I remember watching the Camels being processed, and the technique for packaging the filtered Winstons was fascinating: one long cigarette with a filter in the middle was sliced in half and the cigarettes fell onto a lower conveyor and were in packs lickety-split.

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  60. Prospero said on November 23, 2013 at 1:47 am

    Actually, Dexter and Dave, it’s a matter of luck Sirhan didn’t predecease Bobby because Rosey Grier got to him first. He was throttling the bastard and was wretled off him. RFK would have won, and the world would be a much better place for it. I’m fairly sure that’s why somebody went to the trouble of hypnotizing Sirhan Sirhan.

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  61. Prospero said on November 23, 2013 at 2:49 am

    And if I forget whose Birthday is Dec, 10 let me wish happy returns right this minute. I woke up that next morning sure I was going to California to kill that asshole, but I was talked down. I still wanted to kill Howard K. Smith. Gawdamighty, that sumbitch hated some Kennedyys. It woulda been a better world with Bobby. That is pretty obvious. No Milhous.

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  62. ROGirl said on November 23, 2013 at 9:04 am

    I was listening to the radio on the way to work yesterday and there was a report on the assassination, and memories of that day. Somebody talked about reciting the last lines of Frost’s poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and I almost lost it.

    I was in the 2nd grade and I remember being let out of school early, but I don’t think they told us what had happened because as we went outside I heard the older sister of a girl in my class say that the president had been shot, and my impression is that was the first time I had heard the news.

    The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep.
    And miles to go before I sleep
    And miles to go before I sleep.

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  63. Prospero said on November 23, 2013 at 10:40 am

    WaPo front page on the website today:

    White House weighs strategy after filibuster

    Philip Rucker, Al Kamen and Ed O’Keefe

    Angry GOP senators still have many procedural tactics available to slow the path for more than 240 nominees.

    Yep, that liberal MSM press.

    Who’s weighing strategy? Maybe Obama can nominate a joke like Janice Rogers Brown, the most absurd and unqualified judicial nomination in UA history.

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  64. beb said on November 23, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Dexter @43: I never paid any attention to the break up of Prince Fielder’s marriage. That seemed a wholly private matter but you tell me that the cause of the break-up was a fellow team member, after which Fielder had no interest in the game or the team. All along I thought he was just an erratic player but I can really sympathize with him, getting dumped by your wife for a fellow team-mate has to be demoralizing. And I can see where Fielder may well have wanted to traded just to make a fresh start.

    Prospero: Since when has the Washington Post been a liberal newspaper? Not since Fred Hyatt became editor that’s for sure.

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  65. Deborah said on November 23, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    The most ridiculous nominee was Harriet Miers for a Supreme. That was laughable beyond belief.

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  66. Deborah said on November 23, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    It’s 24 degrees and dropping, feels like 11 with the wind. It’s supposed to get down to 14 tonight and 800,000 people are expected in my neighborhood for the Festival of Lights parade on Michigan Ave. We were going to go out to dinner with friends to a place on Rush, we had reservations for 5:45 which we made a week ago, we didn’t know about the parade until this morning. We changed our reservation to tomorrow night mainly because we can’t figure out how to cross Michigan, the parade starts at Oak at 5:30, about a block and a half from here. Seems like a good night to stay home.

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  67. coozledad said on November 23, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Aww. Ain’t these Jews for Jesus cute? Maybe George Bush needs to shut his classy mouth a little tighter.


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  68. coozledad said on November 23, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    For some perspective on Georgie and Apocolypticorp® Energy, Lampshade division:

    It’s not like he really believes any of this shit. He has no belief system, ethical system, and no mental hygiene system. It’s all about petrodollars.

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  69. Minnie said on November 23, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Until reading all the knee postings over the last little while, I’d never suffered a twinge in that hinge. Then yesterday when I hunkered down to photograph leaves pinned to the fence something went inside my left knee. It’s not much worse today, but it surely isn’t any better. Shall I blame the onset of cold weather, old age, or contagion?

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  70. brian stouder said on November 23, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Cooz – that incoherent and antisemitic stuff is almost amazing, isn’t it?

    The heaping together of all the bad things that happened to people who were Jewish, with the pithy “they killed Jebus” is just too shit-eatin’ smirky for words.

    Pontius Pilate was a Jew?

    Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany was the product of a vengeful God?

    My bet is that anyone who buys into the “Jews killed Jebus” thing is also either a wife-beater (who of course wouldn’t be a wife beater if his damned wife would only act right) or a battered wife (who of course thinks she wouldn’t be battered if only she tried harder to magically be whatever her delusional tormenter wants)

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  71. coozledad said on November 23, 2013 at 3:37 pm


    Apocalyptic Christians and prosperity gospel Christians did fine in Nazi Germany. They just called it Positive Christianity. The whole Jews for Jesus fraud is merely an echo of the calls for conversion of Jews dating from the fifteenth century, and more recently the church in Nazi Germany lamely appealing for legal protections for converted Jews, but not practicing or “ethnic” Jews.

    If Hitler was an “avenging angel of God”, he came by it honestly, as a man raised in the still creepily medieval Austrian Catholic tradition. in short, there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between evangelicals in this country and their German protestant antecedents between 1933-45.

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  72. coozledad said on November 23, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Money quote from that link:
    There was criticism within both churches of Nazi racialized ideology and notions of “Aryanism,” and movements emerged in both churches to defend church members who were considered “non-Aryan” under Nazi racial laws (e.g., Jews who had converted). Yet throughout this period there was virtually no public opposition to antisemitism or any readiness by church leaders to publicly oppose the regime on the issues of antisemitism and state-sanctioned violence against the Jews.

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  73. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 23, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    To the other extreme, a video worth enjoying: http://truthseekerdaily.com/2013/11/surprise-man-finds-audience-full-people-saved-children-nazi-camps-wvideo/#sthash.gOPXW9LZ.gbpl

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  74. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 23, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    I regularly hear about and even bump into folks associated with Beth Messiah, the Columbus area Messianic Jewish synagogue. They dearly love to make presentations at congregations willing to host them, which I’ve not chosen to do, but I keep getting requests from various members who have met them at other events. I honestly do not know what to make of them. They’re more evangelical than most evangelicals, and clearly passionate about the festivals and rituals of a sort of Reconstructionist Judaism (not quite Orthodox, definitely not Reform), and they are incredibly emphatic about Jesus as Messiah. All the participants that I’ve met are ethnically Jewish, and a majority tell stories of a secular upbringing with at most an Uncle Shlomo who pushed for “the old ways.” Is this an oblique way of assimilating, or some repressed self-distaste working its way out? I haven’t seen enough to say, but they just seem like Southern Baptists who like shofars and shawls with last names that wouldn’t be common in a Baptist church.

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  75. Deborah said on November 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    I’m sitting here bawling my eyes out over that video Jeff tmmo.

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  76. Jolene said on November 23, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Interesting story, Jeff. Found lots more info re Sir Nicholas Winton online. Here’s a blurb from the Holocaust Museum. Google his name for more videos w/ more details of the story and interviews with him.


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  77. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 23, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    And he’s still with us on this side of the sod; took an ultralight flight four years ago for his 100th birthday. The link was passed along to me by the theology professor I had in seminary who has spent most of his career on Jewish-Christian relations and the history of the use and misuse of theology between us. CTS in Indianapolis still has a strong community dialogue going, and it was never unusual to have a rabbi (or two!) in a class with you as you went through for your M.Div.

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  78. Prospero said on November 24, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    John Cornyn, USDA certified asshole. You might think any US Senator would be happy about mediation of Iran’s nuke programs, but NOOOOO!!!!!because Obama. This venture into social media is nauseating and Cornyn is a cowardly pisant for committing it.

    I used to ride Greyhound from Beaufort SC to Augusta GA, which involved extended conversations with young marines from Parris Island. They mocked marine sharpshooter training with glee, and said that everybody got marksmanship medals, like every kid in Little League gets a trophy for participation. It was a standing joke with them. Oswald’s alleged feat has been attempted in recreations, but never reproduced. The medical evidence, or the lack thereof is so confusing and full of holes it’s worthless. The Warren Commission didn’t produce the term “magic bullet” for nothing.The Hunt brothers had more dough than Randolph and Mortimer Koch, and they most assuredly wanted JFK dead.

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  79. Deborah said on November 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    I have serious medicine head right now. I felt like I was coming down with a cold yesterday so I stopped at Walgreens to get something. It turned out to have given me bad insomnia last night, only slept about 2 hours, if even that much. So today I took some Nyquil that my husband had. I’m going to be napping shortly. Way cold still in Chicago. We have to go out tonight to make up for yesterday, I just want to crawl in bed and forget about it, but I can’t. At least tonight we don’t have to deal with nearly three quarters of a million people like we would have had we gone out like originally planned.

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  80. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 24, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Prospero, I officially call bullshit on you here. That’s not even remotely credible. Yes, there’s a basic Good Conduct Medal that includes marksmanship, which you have to molest a collie to not receive in your first three years, but USMC sharpshooter award is no bull, never has been. And three bolt action shots in eight seconds? It’s really two (the first fire is already loaded, he missed clean); and any fool can learn to take two aimed shots even on a manual reload in eight seconds. Second shot goes through Kennedy’s throat & necktie, passes through Connolly’s chest, nicks sleeve & arm, to stop in his thigh (all points neatly aligning with the upper floors of the Texas Book Depository); third shot hits the President’s skull and with hydrostatic pressure blows off the upper right side of his cranium.

    It’s only complicated if you want it to be.

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  81. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 24, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    (Anyone, Pros et alia, may quibble with the Warren Commission — I’m calling BS on the idea that most Marines, once or ever, think that the Corps’ attitude to field marksmanship is casual or humorous. It’s the least laughable thing in that very grimly serious branch of service. Well, that and mortars.)

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  82. Jolene said on November 24, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    One of the too many shows that I watched re JFK that I watched said that, when you are there, you see that it was really a fairly easy shot.

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  83. brian stouder said on November 24, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Jeff, the “pristine bullet” – found on a gurney at Parkland(!) – strikes me as the most troubling bit of flotsam from that catastrophic event.

    Just sayin’

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  84. Prospero said on November 24, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    I’m not claiming these guys were telling the truth, but their attitudes were unguestionably disdainful. And I saw the medals, the ones that hang in bunches like old timey lawyer’s shingles. I haven’t a clue but what I heard straight from the mouths of a bunch of marines from Parris Island. They claimed to have been drunk and stoned at the firing range on occasion. Why would I make it up? Why would these guys tell me that stuff if it weren’t true? That is exactly what those guys said to me, on several occasions. This was at a time that recruiters were having a very difficult time filling quotas so maybe I was talking to “low -hanging fruit”.As for grim service members, none of the Parris Island kids could come close to the Rangers at Hunter Army Airfield and Ft. Stewart Base in Savannah. Those guys were scary.

    Bob Coker gets into biggest dickhead contest with Cornyn regarding the Iran nuke deal. I sincerely doubt Sec’y Kerry has briefed either of these clowns in detail about particulars of the Iran nuke deal, but any sensible person would likely agree that this deal is preferable to blowing up Teheran. They are criticizing an important foreign policy achievement without knowing much about it.

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  85. Prospero said on November 24, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Entertaining interview of Roddy Doyle, one of my very favorite writers. He is uproariously funny and a keen social observer. A Star Called Henry is one of the best books from Ireland in a long, long time. As are the Barrytown books, The Snapper and The Van are hilarious. And the hero of Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha is as finely drawn a character as Stephen Daedalus.

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  86. Deborah said on November 24, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Roddy Doyle lived in Sandy Cove, an Irish Sea beach cottage next to the Martello Tower where Joyce’s Ullysses begins “Stately plump Buck Mulligan…” you can totally visualize the whole scene in that location. Then when you walk up to the roof and see down on Doyle’s house by the sea that the docent points out you can understand why he chose to live there.

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  87. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 24, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    I wanna go there. “Ulysses” is an achievement; “Finnegans Wake” is a self-indulgent romp. I enjoy(ed) it, but anyone saying it’s pointlessly impenetrable is absolutely correct, except that he wanted something hermetic and elitist to leave for posterity.

    But that Martello tower, and the sequence it hinges between “Portrait” and “Ulysses” — it’s on my list right up there with Stratford-on-Avon and Baker Street.

    Anybody who’s been there: what’s a good place for a Dickens fan to aspire to see? Other than the banks of the Thames?

    Prospero, fair enough; I’ll happily concede there have been stoned, silly gyrenes. I just couldn’t accept the implication that most/many/all boots found the range to be a joke. And as Jolene already pointed out, anyone who’s ever sighted in a .22 and visits “The Sixth Floor” will blink twice and go “what is all the fuss about?” But if you met the two sequential subpar shooters ever awarded a marksmanship award by the Marines, okay, because I’m always willing to grant your intentions towards integrity . . . it just doesn’t mean I think you’re always right! 😉

    Speaking of pilgrimage sites in England, I’d also want to hit Down House, Darwin’s home: today is the anniversary of the publication of “On the Origin of Species,” 1859. My long-standing icon here and elsewhere is a shot down what old Chuck called “my thinking path” around the perimeter of his property, along which he made many observations and on which he had considerations which led to his remarkable output of published volumes. You can read “Origin” or any of his work for free, and for download, at http://darwin-online.org.uk/

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  88. MarkH said on November 24, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    I, too, have been to Dealey Plaza, and agree that all the film and photo documentation is deceptive. A shorter distance than it appears. But, the realization that the probability is higher doesn’t ice Oswald as capable of the feat. Oswald was documented as a mediocre shot. A moving target reduces the odds further. The Carcano is dissed as a combat rifle, but the choice of the 6.5 cal. round is notable as it is (supposedly) remarkably stable. But Oswald didn’t choose it for any other reason than it was cheap and high-powered. The rifle was certainly capable of cycling three rounds in six seconds, but I believe Prospero is correct that the feat of two out of three moving target hits at these distances with that rifle has not been duplicated.

    All the other issues like magic bullet aside, know this: one month earlier Oswald tried for another hit. This time it was a stationary target, General Edwin Walker, sitting in a window about 50 – 75 feet away. With the same rifle, he missed. The lack of hard evidence doesn’t help any conspiracy theory, but it’s still highly circumstantial regarding Oswald.

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  89. basset said on November 25, 2013 at 12:09 am

    >>Why would these guys tell me that stuff if it weren’t true? That is exactly what those guys said to me, on several occasions.

    Uhh… maybe because they figured you for someone who’d believe it?

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  90. Jolene said on November 25, 2013 at 12:30 am

    With the same rifle, he missed

    Not by much. According to the documentary I saw, he narrowly missed hitting Walker, and that was at night.

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  91. Dexter said on November 25, 2013 at 2:13 am

    And still, still alive. I first heard this song when I was a boy, the promise it held was inspiring, and maybe there is a lot of livin’ to do, yet.

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  92. MarkH said on November 25, 2013 at 2:25 am

    Jolene- a lit stationary target in a window, a silhouette at worst for Oswald. A miss is a miss. Same weapon, at one-fourth the distance in Dealey Plaza, he would certainly be capable of a hit. He might as well have been aiming at the side of a barn. Just sayin’, nothing is absolute here, evidence against LHO notwithstanding.

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  93. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 25, 2013 at 7:02 am

    Hello – *through* a window. Not an open window. A double hung window, and Oswald hit the crosspiece in the middle of the framing. If the window had been open, Walker would have been deader than . . . Kennedy. Bullets hit hard things with high power behind them and start to tumble; a trained sniper, to be fair, would have planned a shot to clear the glass, aimed down and to one side, and a second at the target. Few weapons have enough power at a hundred yards to punch through glass, let alone wood, and maintain an absolute trajectory.

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  94. jerry said on November 25, 2013 at 8:11 am

    jeff at 87: regarding Dickens

    You could check this out: http://www.dickenslondontours.co.uk/ or this: http://www.rochesterdickensfestival.org.uk/

    On Wednesday evening we are going to a preview (ie first night and cheap because of limited rehearsal) of Dickens Abridged at The Arts Theatre

    “In a love letter to the great Charles Dickens, five devotees from Santa Cruz, California, bring hundreds of Dickens’ best loved characters to life in a show like no other.

    Rattling through the likes of Oliver Twist, Great Expectations (in under sixty seconds), David Copperfield, Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities (complete with a fully functioning guillotine and singing severed head), Nicholas Nickleby, Old CuriosityShop, and, of course… A Christmas Carol as the grand finale in which Tiny Tim rocks the house with a searing electric guitar solo.

    Towering characters like Ebeneezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit, Miss Havisham, Bill Sykes, Fagin and The Artful Dodger, Little Nell, Charles Darnay, and The Downtrodden Poor of Eighteenth Century France, come to life in this breathless comic journey.

    You’re also taken on a journey through the true story of Charles Dickens’ bizarre own life – his complicated romantic entanglements, his exotic illnesses, and his inexplicable enthusiasm for performing the bludgeoning scene from Oliver Twist over and over and over again.”

    I’m really looking forward to it.


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  95. MarkH said on November 25, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Jeff-tmmo – I fully realize you are a Marine veteran (correct?). But at post #93, you risk turning a lot of “settled” assassination/Oswald/rifle/trajactory/magic bullet stuff on its ear.

    Are you now making excuses for Oswald blowing the Walker hit? Either he had the chops and the weapon to take out Walker or he didn’t. I submit that at 75 feet even he, in fact, did, and none of the issues you brought up should matter. Let’s parse:

    A pristine bullet that remains that way through four hits in the limo, suddenly sheds “magic” status in an easy shot? Hitting objects deflects it? I realize that Kennedy’s and Connally’s soft tissue is not the same as a hard object, but in at least two of those hits bone was shattered in Connally. “Crosspiece”? At 75 feet, the guy can’t aim above or below it and hit the target, doublehung window be damned? A ‘trained sniper’ Oswald was not (maybe), but that was not necessary for the Walker kill. But all of a sudden, one month later he accomplishes what would be and has been attributed to such a marksman? Can’t have it both ways.

    Tumbling: we’ve all heard stories amounting to varying aspects of this. M16 .223 rounds started to tumble almost as soon as they left the barrel, or they tumbled when striking the target, or they didn’t tumble at all. If the 6.5 Carcano round does indeed tumble, then the magic bullet theory is history, not gonna happen. Unless you can apply it to the solution conspiracy theorists put forth: that it did unbelievable acrobatics after it went through Kennedy’s throat. I’m stretching it here, but you get the idea. I’m fighting to remove myself from the conspiracy realm and have done a pretty good job, I think. Until I see things like this.

    Just my $.02.

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