250 Years Ago Today — March 17, 1764

Londonderry, Ulster/Northern Ireland
On St. Patrick’s Day in 1764, somewhere in Ireland, a little baby boy was born. He was christened James. Born to a man named Boal and a mother whose name is lost.

It was a Saturday. An ocean away, in British North America, New York City had just begun the tradition of celebrating the day, the first five years without a parade.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, life went on for James. He became a linen and carpet weaver, trades probably learned from his father. James wed in 1787.

James left for America in 1790 with his wife Elizabeth and two children, Margaret and George. They left from Londonderry in the North.

ireland_mapBeing poor, “the trip was made by the cheapest passage.”

It was not a pleasant journey.

“The voyage of three months was a stormy one, during which the ship sprang a leak, and much of the cargo, including some of the goods belonging to the Boal family, was thrown overboard.”

They were devout Presbyterians.

At least one grandson of James, John Shannon Boal, fought in the Civil War.

I doubt James could fathom the chain of events he had instigated with his decision to leave Ireland. How could he foresee that a descendant would write about him on the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of his birth and that the day, a truly Irish one, would be so widely celebrated?


A Free Button!


Yesterday I glanced at an effort on Twitter from the Democratic Party highlighting the wonders of Obamacare. I like collecting stuff from political campaigns, so the offer of a free button got my attention.

I was ready to sign up, awaiting my nifty button. Of course, there is a catch. You need to make a donation first. So, like so much associated with President Obama and Democrats in general, it ain’t free, despite the word being used repeatedly.

Many responses to the message are quite illustrative.

A button?? That’s as pathetic as “Whip Inflation Now”, guys!

A reference to Gerry Ford. You don’t see that much these days.

They serious about Dems wearing #Obamacare buttons? What do they want? A punch in the mouth by someone who lost their insurance?

Somehow I doubt many people are excited by the offer. An automatic monthly donation to the Dems for a lousy button that no one will wear. No thanks.

I am wondering. Who came up with this slogan? It is rather pedestrian.



A Note From Mrs. Gaddafi

Today I received a message purportedly from his second wife of the now-dead Libyan dictator Gaddafi. Like a poorly drafted essay by a procrastinating student, it is rather amusing.

FROM: Safia
Today at 5:29 PM

Hello My Dear ,

Greetings of Peace and Blessings,

I am Mrs. Safia Farkash al-Gaddafi, Wife of Late Former Prime Minister of my country Libya, Muammar Muhammad A.M.al-Gaddafi, Who was Assassinated on October 20/2011, after the death of my husband, I’m Presently here in Ghana hospital where I have been undergoing treatment for cancer of the lungs. I have since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only less than (3) Three months to live.
I contact you because I want your reliable and honest to enable you assist me facilitate my Investment, this was after my considerations for partnership and co-operation to Invest my money wisely and at the end of every year funds are to be distributed among charity organization and to reach to the motherless and also less privileges.
Also to reach to the Katrina Hurricane, the sick that has no body to take care of them, the poor and widows and to set up a Cancer research, while you put me in a good hospital over there in your country where I shall have a better treatment.

When I received the information from you, I will give you contact of the security company where my late husband deposited the box money $35 Million Dollar, before his death, The company will deliver it to you. I will send you the deposit certificate and my pictures.

Hope to Hear from you soon. on Private Email:( contactme756@yahoo.com )
Love you,
Mrs. Safia Farkash al-Gaddafi.

Highlighting Hurricane Katrina is a good touch. The grammar and other errors, however, really need to be cleaned up, especially if any money is to made from this scam.

Should I draft a letter?

My Dear Safia . . .


Censoring Opposing Views

I have been following one court case in particular the past few months. It is a defamation case against Mark Steyn, conservative writer and commentator, and National Review. The plaintiff is named Michael Mann.

On Tuesday, a site, Climate Science Watch, provided an update on the case and recent rulings by the current judge.

So, I did a little poking around and thought to offer up my prefunctory research for any readers. Well, all comments are moderated, and apparently mine did not fit the narrative. My post was banished, to wherever censored comments go. So, I am adding what I found to my own blog.

The folks at Climate Science Watch were organized to challenge those who take on the global warming crowd. They do not like opposing views.

The previous judge in the case was a woman named Natalia Combs Greene.1 She is an authority figure. She is not supposed to be the target of criticism and mockery, apparently.

After a reasonably balanced introduction, Climate Science Watch goes on to include a lot of opinionated commentary, particularly on Steyn. They did not like “Steyn’s beyond-snarky criticism of the former judge” nor “accusing an opposing attorney of fraud.”

Well, I was curious. Did this judge, Natalia Combs Greene, deserve some snark? That would be my guess. Steyn is usually quite fair. “Let’s find out,” I told myself.

So, I hit the Google. Sure enough, Judge Combs Greene was a disaster on the bench. She has even been publicly reprimanded by her peers.

On one review site, she had the lowest possible score from the general public who rated her. Attorneys also rated her very low and offered some pointed commentary.

One criminal defense lawyer said that she is “pleasant but doesn’t make sound rulings.” She is “verbose” and “talks too much when she should be listening. That is why her calendar never runs in a timely fashion.”

That may be the kindest one.

“Absolutely the worst judge in the DC Superior Court,” another wrote.

“Inconsistent, illogical and exceedingly weak intellectually. Results-oriented, whatever the law may actually be.”

“She believes that she has a keen knowledge of the law, but, in fact, she has a poor knowledge of the law.”

The negative comments go on-and-on. Now, mind you, I didn’t post these quotes on ClimateScienceWatch.org.

I simply wrote:

“Judge Combs-Greene appears to be less than stellar.”2

And copied three links:

There is a heckuva lot more negative out there. I thought my one sentence was rather modest.

But I guess my minimalist response was too much for the guys at Climate Science Watch.

Rick of Climate Science Watch says in the comment section, “We’re not into ‘shutting down’ anyone’s free speech.”

Except mine, of course, and Mark Steyn’s too.


1. To hyphenate or not to hyphenate. I decided to not add a hyphen to the judge’s surnames based on documents from the DC Superior Court, which did not include it.

2. I did include the hyphen in my comment to Climate Science Watch because that site is using it in her name.

Meyerheim’s Pomerania


I came across this painting while poking around on the interwebs the other day. I was looking for some visually-stimulating stagecoach imagery. A map of stagecoach routes just wasn’t cutting it.

The painting is much better. It is by Wilhelm Alexander Meyerheim, a German artist who was born in Danzig in 1815, at the end of Napoleonic wars.

My interest in this piece, titled A STAGE COACH AT A HARBOUR IN POMERANIA, beyond its idyllic romanticism, is the fact that my mother’s family came to America from this very place, Pomerania. They were simple peasant farmers, precisely the people Meyerheim used as subjects.

Meyerheim’s father was a talented house painter who did portraits and introduced him to the profession. Initially an art student in Danzig, supplementing what his father had taught him, Meyerheim was drawn to the Academy of Arts in Berlin.

He also may have studied in Dusseldorf. He likely spent time sketching the peasantry around the countryside near Hesse and Tyrol.

“Meyerheim became a popular painter of scenes of everyday outdoor life – simple activities which included children and horses – his favorite subjects – silhouetted against the sky. Besides these charming genre scenes, he was also well known for his military subjects. Meyerheim eventually settled in Berlin, working there until his death.”

He died in 1882.

I don’t know how accurate his portrayals of life actually are. Was he faithful to reality? Or did he idealize it? Did he embellish?


Landry’s Playbook and His Bible

Yesterday, a man named Thomas ‘Hollywood’ Henderson, a professional footballer with a story of his own, shared some memories of Tom Landry, longtime coach of the Dallas Cowboys, and Ken Hutcherson, who died in December after a decade-long battle with cancer.

Henderson had not seen Ken Hutcherson since 1975, when they competed for a spot on the Cowboys roster, a team that would play in Super Bowl X against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“He was a hard hitting middle linebacker that I went to training camp with in his second year with Cowboys. He later played for Seattle. Ken carried Landry’s playbook and his Bible everywhere.”

Hutch was going up against some talented men. Some were veterans of the game. Others were rookies, just drafted.

The 1974 Dallas Cowboys, including Hutch, wearing no. 59
The 1974 Dallas Cowboys, including Hutch, wearing no. 59

“The numbers were against Ken making the team,” Henderson explains, despite Hutch having played the year before.

Coach Landry spoke to the men on the final day of that camp in 1975. He had to declare who had made the team and who had not.

“This is a tough business and sometimes decisions are difficult. I had to cut a friend today,” Landry said, trying to hold back his emotions.

That friend was Ken Hutcherson.

“Landry started to cry. He then dismissed us.”

Hutch wore no. 59 while playing with the Cowboys.
Hutch wore no. 59 while playing with the Cowboys.

Henderson and two others, Randy White and Bob Breunig, were standing together when Coach Landry approached them.

“I hope you guys are worth it,” he said. He was taking a chance letting Hutch go, a good player and a good man. Hutch was a man of character.

“During my five-year career as a Dallas Cowboy, I never saw an emotional Tom Landry for any reason. A rare moment indeed.”

Twelve rookies made that team. The Dirty Dozen the motley crew was called, Henderson says. Henderson struggled, off-field mostly, with drugs and alcohol. His behavior became increasingly distracting, even to the point of using cocaine during games. Eventually, after several warnings, Landry had enough, first benching and then waiving him.

Meanwhile, Landry decided to trade Hutch to the San Diego Chargers rather than just cut him loose. Then, Hutch was drafted by a new expansion team, the Seattle Seahawks, only to have an injury end his football career prematurely. But Hutch had higher aspirations than just football. He wanted to preach and teach the gospel. He wanted to change lives, beyond this temporal, corrupted world.

“Ken Hutcherson has gone on to minister and impact lives. I know he impacted Tom Landry. God bless his family and the man he was and is. Obviously Landry has prepared a place for him.”

Landry died in 2000, eleven years after being fired by a brash new Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones. Jones chose a different path, a flashier one, replacing him with Jimmy Johnson.

By that time, 1989, Hutch was a pastor at Westminster Chapel, though he had been proselytizing for most of his life.

“You are a special man, Ken. I knew it then and I know it now. For 39 years I’ve known you were a special man. God bless.”

Hutch was a remarkable man of faith. Yet, he was just a man, an ordinary man. But a common, ordinary man with a passionate love of God, life and people. He impacted me, too.

That’s what I loved about Hutch. He was just one of the guys. He never thought himself better than anyone else.

Thanks, Hollywood, for sharing.


Hutch with the Seahawks

There is a very cool write-up in today’s Seattle Times about the Seahawks first group of players. It was 1976. Seattle was a newly created franchise.

“On an expansion football team, players get thrown together, from lots of different places.”

Life wasn’t all football, however. Most had other jobs, second careers.

“They needed something after football.”

The writer focuses on the linebackers from that first year.

“Eight players formed the team’s original linebacker corps. After football they became: Actor. Teacher. Pastor. Counselor. Firefighter. Three went into business.”

One of them was my pastor, Ken Hutcherson. Most called him Hutch.

Hutch came to Seattle from Green Bay. He had been playing with the Packers.

Hutch, no. 59, with the Packers in a game against the Raiders
Hutch, no. 59, with the Packers in a game against the Raiders

“Jim Zorn, the Seahawks’ first quarterback, remembers Hutcherson’s arrival. His T-shirt said: ‘Going to Seattle to do God’s Battle.’ During the preseason he hurt his knee and went on injured reserve.”

He never played another game.

Injuries kept Hutcherson from ever making Seattle’s active roster. But teammates say he had a lasting impact through his faith and example. In a 2010 memoir, “Hope is Contagious,” he wrote of his willingness to court controversy — his embrace of politics, his vigorous opposition to gay marriage — and his struggle with prostate cancer.

Hutcherson wrote that he transferred three rules from sports to his faith: “1. The coach is the coach. 2. You better know his playbook. 3. You do not change the plays.”

He died last month at 61.


Suliat Wants To Be Friends


Today I received the following message from a ‘Suliat Amsalu,’ who I am guessing doesn’t actually exist.


I love these scammers and spammers. Some of the attempts at conning me are quite creative.

“i saw your profile now on
(facebook) and i like it.”

very e e cummings.

“I want us to be friends if you don’t mind.”

Oh, she wants to be friends! Of course! She also wants my email address.

“email me so that i may tell you more about
me and also give you my pictures”

Is ‘her’ lack of punctuation artsy or just lazy?

She is a simple Christian-Hindi-Catholic girl from either India or Côte d’Ivoire or, more likely, nowhere.

Thankfully, Facebook is right on top of it. One of Suliat’s many pages don’t exist no more.

Take care, Suliat.


Big Lo, Cowbell Dude & the Seahulk

One NFL fan has dubbed his alter-ego the Seahulk. He has donned the outfit since 2005.

I have seen him a few times on TV this year. I have been watching Seahawks games religiously.

I just love pro football, despite the league’s flaws.

His ‘bare’ chest is there for all to see, in its very green glory, often highlighted during the broadcasts of NBC, CBS and FOX. Some of the more ‘colorful’ Seattle fans remind me of some of the crazier Raider ones and their pit, known as The Black Hole.

“It’s ridiculous, but sports fandom rarely operates logically.”

And Seahulk’s real name is Froemke, no less. My mother is a Fromke. I am sure he must be related, a distant cousin.

Just remember the sound advice from the Bud Light marketing folks: “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work.”



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