A Christian legend of unknown origin proclaims that the cross used to crucify Jesus was constructed of dogwood. As the story goes, during the time of Jesus, the dogwood was larger and stronger than it is today and was the largest tree in the area of Jerusalem. After His Crucifixion, Jesus changed the plant to its current form: He shortened it and twisted its branches to assure an end to its use for the construction of crosses. He also transformed its inflorescence into a representation of the Crucifixion itself, with the four white bracts cross-shaped, which represent the four corners of the Cross, each bearing a rusty indentation as of a nail and the red stamens of the flower, represents Jesus’ Crown of Thorns, and the clustered red fruit represent His Blood.

(from Wikipedia:

Living in the future

The WordPress app from the Google Play store is a little sluggish on my Nook Color. Granted, I’ve hacked it into an Android tablet with the nifty CyanogenMod, and I’m out on the porch with spotty WiFi reception. We live in a pretty cool world.

The one reason

Watched Tuesday’s Daily Show last night, the one with Amy Yates Wuelfing & Gibby Haynes. There was much discussion of a particular show at the apparently legendary City Gardens club in Trenton NJ, where Mr. Haynes was playing with his band the Butthole Surfers and Jon Stewart was a bartender. Ms. Wuelfing noted that on this particular night, management had to call the cops to get the band to leave.

Mr. Haynes replied simply, “What’s the one reason a band would refuse to leave?”

So I wondered and pondered, and my immediate first thought was that they were afraid of getting beat up or stabbed in the parking lot. (Mr. Haynes even mentioned that he’d been stabbed on stage once.) Everyone else, including, I’m sure, you, dear reader, knows the real answer. I am ashamed that I did not think of it.

And I really should have known! I know this.

From Cub Koda’s 10 Rules of Rock and Roll:

2. Rock and roll operates on the beat of the Geedus. Put the money in the Cubmaster’s hand and the Cub will rock (that is, no Geedus, no rockus).

source: Marsh, Dave, and James Bernard. The New Book of Rock Lists. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. p 3.

I am never as wise as I hope to be. I am never as smart as I think I am.

Typical Conversation about Comedy

Dawn: There was Laurel & Hardy on TV on Saturday afternoons. And the Three Stooges.

Edward: I never liked the Three Stooges. I liked Laurel & Hardy more. And the Marx Brothers most of all.

Dawn: The Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges are different people?

[long, long pause]

Edward: Please don’t say things like that.

Dawn: [laughs] I guess they are. One is three of them and the other is four.


Edward: We have to stop talking about this.

Bereavement is just another slasher flick

So there I am on Yahoo, and there’s this news item, Actor best known for playing ‘Batman’ butler dies at 94. And immediately I’m annoyed, right? The headline doesn’t say the actor’s name. They’re making us click through, to get the name, and see more ads in the meantime. So, whatever, I click through, thinking, at 94, that could be like the TV version guy. But, no, it’s Michael Gough, from more recent movies. One or two I’ve even seen, before I fled from that bloated franchise.

And but then on Yahoo News there’s a box to the right with more news stories. And one of them really catches my attention. It says Bereavement is just another slasher flick. It could merely mean that there’s a movie named Bereavement. But a slasher flick named Bereavement? Really? And this story is alongside other stories with movie titles in them, namely Box Office Preview: ‘Battle: L.A.’ could win again and Casting Call: Megan Fox Headed To ‘Knocked Up’ Sequel, and see how the movie titles themselves are in the quotes? And Bereavement isn’t? So, maybe Bereavement isn’t Bereavement, it’s just regular old bereavement.

So then, that sounds pretty cool, like an interesting description of bereavement, likening it to a slasher flick. What’s that all that about, is I want to know. So I click through to it. Alas, it is just a movie, and it’s just another slasher flick, just like it says. Damn.

Still, a hero ain’t nothing but a sandwich.

Math Games

This morning on the train, I sat down and opened up the Examiner to the games page to do the Kakuro. A few minutes in, I notice the guy next to me, with his own Examiner open to the same page. Only he was doing the Sudoku. I saw that he’d already done the KenKen, which was only a 4×4 grid. “Hah,” I thought. “Amateur.” I smugly went back to the big kids’ puzzle.

I was maybe halfway done with the Kakuro next time I looked over. He was finished with the Sudoku and was working on the Kakuro now as well. And he was maybe three-quarters done with it already. I set back to work, furiously now. No way he was going to beat me.

Of course he did. “Wow. You are fast at that,” I told him. He laughed. “I get a lot of practice,” he offered, quite nice and good-natured about it.

The Kinds of People Who Get Murdered

I’ve been distressed and in some only vaguely understood way compelled by the recent news concerning poor John P. “Jack” Wheeler III. He was very much the star of Rick Atkinson’s “The Long Gray Line,” which book I read not long after it came out in the late 1980s. It’s not like I’ve spent the last twenty years constantly thinking about him, but, still, I would think of the book, and him, from time to time. Great books stay with you like that.

Wheeler himself graduated from West Point in 1966, and later he earned an MBA from Harvard and a JD from Yale. He was the chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, responsible for getting the memorial built. (You kids wouldn’t believe the fuss about that at the time.) He was also the first chairman and CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. More recently, apparently, he’d launched the American Warfighters Fund, working to end the ROTC ban at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Columbia.

So what’s really weird is that on Friday last, New Year’s Eve, 2010, some minutes before 10:00 a.m., someone called the Wilmington Police Department about a body tumbling out of a Waste Management truck into the Cherry Island Landfill. And that body turned out to be Jack Wheeler. And somebody, according to the Delaware Medical Examiner’s Office, murdered him.

Part of why I’m compelled by this saga may just be normal, prurient interest, what with a marginally prominent government official meeting such a gruesome demise. Part of it, too, might just be that I also happened to have heard of him at something of a formative time in my youth. But I think a lot of it is what I first took to be the sheer unlikeliness of it. The Atlantic Monthly’s James Fallows was a friend, turns out, and he points us to this quote from the story in the Delaware News Journal:

“This is just not the kind of guy who gets murdered,” said Bayard Marin, a Wilmington attorney who represented Wheeler. “This is not the kind of guy you find in a landfill.”

And I follow what he means. But, then again, I don’t. Who, then, are the kinds of people who get murdered? Who is the kind of guy you would find in a landfill?

I truly don’t mean to be flip about this. And I’m certainly not in any way condemning the way Bayard Marin or James Fallows feels, since I think I must have felt the same way initially, and they knew him where I didn’t. But what do we mean when we think that there are kinds of people who get murdered and kinds of people who don’t? And what does it mean to our worldview when the kind of person who doesn’t get murdered does, in fact, get murdered?