‘Armstrong to Lance Himself’ (2013)

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It’s worse when you wear a silly helmet and a shirt with sponsors on it.

Lance Armstrong–remember him? Worldwide celebrity, dating Sheryl Crow (until she came out against toilet paper)–and he threw it all away by getting caught cheating.

So he sought absolution. From another celebrity.

https://leeduigon.com/2013/01/09/armstrong-to-lance-himself/

Gee. Back around the turn of the 19th century there was a now-famous short story by Robert W. Chambers, “The Repairer of Reputations.” Evidently that’s not Oprah Winfrey, who heard Lance Armstrong’s confession but couldn’t make him famous again.

And now I’m thinking of Humpty-Dumpty…


‘Jesus Calls Us O’er the Tumult’

Here’s another hymn I’d never heard before–I was looking for Jesus Calls Us but found this instead, quite by happy accident: Jesus Calls Us O’er the Tumult, performed at the Prince George Winyah Episcopal Church Vacation Bible School…

Wow, I haven’t thought of Vacation Bible School in a long, long time! My mother used to get the neighbor boy, Peter, who was two years older than me, to take me there.


50,000 Comments–and We Have a Winner!

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Byron the Quokka here, to announce the winner of our milestone once-in-a-lifetime comment contest! The winner, the reader who posted No. 50,000, which will never happen again, is….trumpets, please!

“Evreilly”! (We know her as Evelyn.) Her comment came in late last night, just as we were packing it in for the day. You can find her comment attached to the post, “My Interview with Lee Strobel”–it’s a great comment, by the way. So Ev wins an official Quokka T-shirt, either in Large (very dark blue) or Extra Large (bright red). All we need from you, mate, is your mailing address: please email it, and tell us your choice of shirts.

Now watch all the comments dry up because the contest is over. I told Lee that wouldn’t happen on my watch, so I’ll have to find some way to keep things hopping.


Eccentric Dog & Killjoy Cats

These four or five cats will not let the neighbors’ dog come onto their property. The dog is convinced it’s a game; you can tell that by his body language. And maybe it is–note how careful the cats are never to actually catch him. I’m sure they could, if they really wanted to. Yes, I think it is a game. These critters are a lot more sophisticated than we give them credit for.

P.S.–You can’t get fence lizards to do things like this.


Problems, Problems! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CCCXXII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular cautions her readers, “Please exercise caution in reading this chapter, as it contains graphic descriptions of a no-longer approved medical procedure.” In actuality, she seems to have forgotten to write those graphic descriptions, so there’s really no need for any kind of caution here.

Johnno the Merry Minstrel is not so merry lately, as he suffers complications from the gizzardectomy performed on him by Dr. Fanabla. The doctor suspects the gizzard is trying to grow back. This can be a problem when you remove a chap’s gizzard. “The only solution is a transfusion!” declares the doctor. He then proceeds to transfuse blood from Johnno’s left arm into Johnno’s right arm. This seems to do the trick. “They’re going to wind up having to name the Royal Society of Surgeons after me!” the doctor exults.

Meanwhile no charges against the Wise Woman of the Woods can be made to stick, as there is no law in this part of England against buying up all the axolotls in a curiosity shop. As Scurveyshire’s justice of the peace, Lord Jeremy Coldsore has no alternative but to release her.

There is, however, a hitch. “She don’t wanna leave the hoosegow, ol’ hoss,” reports Willis Twombley, the American adventurer. Lord Jeremy has to rush over to the jailhouse to evict her.

“You can’t sell me on leaving this cell,” she replies, with a feeble attempt at a crepuscularity. (Really, Violet, it’s not up to your standard.) “I’d forgotten what a bonny thing it is to have a roof over one’s head and three meals a day prepared by someone else. From now on, you may address me as the Wise Woman of the Gaol.” “Gaol,” Ms. Crepuscular informs us, is how people in Britain misspell the word “jail.” “Even Oscar Wilde never learned how to spell it right,” she adds.

Here the chapter breaks for want of anything more to say.


Famous for Creating… What?

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I’m in a mood for comedy today, which is a good mood. A little later we plan to watch Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein. But first, a little excursion into the unpredictable vagaries of fame.

Don Marquis (1878-1937) was a newspaper columnist, playwright, and author of many books. He is best remembered for his stories of “archy,” a cockroach, who had been a poet in a past life and now sought to carry on by jumping headfirst onto the keys of Mr. Marquis’ typewriter at night, while the human members of the household slept. Archy’s writings are all in lower case because he has no way of operating the shift key. His sidekick is “mehitabel the alley cat,” who used to be Cleopatra, and his antagonist is “freddie the rat,” formerly a rival poet who now tries to steal archy’s material.

These were still popular when I was a boy, and for all I know, are still popular today. During Marquis’ lifetime they were tremendously popular–by far the most popular fiction that he ever wrote.

Which was not what he’d intended!

In Don Marquis’ own words, “It would be one on me if I should be remembered for creating a cockroach character.”

Life can turn out pretty funny sometimes.


Byron Presents: the Next-to-Last Bell Mountain Trivia Question

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Oh, boy! Byron the Quokka here, with the next-to-last question in our Bell Mountain trivia contest! Question No. 19! And that’s Mum and Dad whispering answers to each other so that you blighters out there can’t overhear. Or else they’re pretending to be a pair of bookends. Of course they both know the answer.

But do you? Well, here’s the question:

Who was the Temple librarian who became First Prester?

(If you don’t know what a First Prester is, you haven’t read the books and you’re just out of luck, I’m afraid.)

The winner gets an autographed book. And if you want to hold out for His Mercy Endureth Forever, I asked Lee and he says it’s okay.

 


Memory Lane: Bounty from Sears

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During my boyhood, at just about this time every year, we received our Sears-Roebuck Christmas catalogue. Oh, boy! My brother, my sister, and I spent hours and hours marveling at the treasures depicted therein.

My favorites were the various play sets, featuring a whole bunch of little plastic figurines with a nice big setting for them. My brother would have loved the one pictured above! You not only get lots of little cars, but also this wonderful service station plus parking deck.

We had play sets for the Age of Dinosaurs, a farm, Cape Canaveral–you could put your eye out with those spring-launched rockets–an army base, and a three-ring circus.

And look at the price–$4.98 for the whole shootin’ match, or you can get the super-colossal version for $7.98. These items now sell on eBay for hundreds of bucks apiece. I remember when I wanted the dinosaur set and my father said we couldn’t afford it, five dollars was just too much. I wound up getting it for Christmas, and I still have some of the dinosaurs today. (Wish I’d kept those rockets, though!)

Oh, so many play sets! King Arthur and his knights, Ben-Hur and his chariot race, Wagon Train, Fort Apache, the jungle trading post–I used to get off on just reveling in the pictures in the catalogue.

Now, I do realize that such things have nothing whatever to do with Christmas, the real Christmas, but are really just add-ons to express the joy we experience at the birth of Jesus Christ Our Lord. Without Him it’s only a festival of Mammon. We do have to take care, especially with our children, that this is clearly understood. We mustn’t celebrate the gifts; the gifts are a celebration of Christ.

But I will stack up the 1959 Sears Christmas catalogue against any cultural artifact of this present time, and come out way ahead.


‘Miss Marple Comes to Life’ (2016)

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What a thought this was–a detective who can’t shoot a gun, can’t survive a fistfight, and can’t even run away. What could be more original than that? A little old lady who lives in a village!

https://leeduigon.com/2014/02/20/miss-marple-comes-to-life/

Joan Hickson was Agatha Christie’s choice to play Miss Marple, and didn’t get to do so until she was as old as Miss Marple. The result was well worth waiting for.

Forget about any other Marples. These are the best.


‘I Love to Tell the Story’

I was so impressed by the way they sang Blessed Assurance, I looked for more hymns by the Harpeth Gospel Quartet and found this–I Love to Tell the Story, an old Sunday school favorite. Kate Hankey wrote it in 1866. Background sets by the hand of God the Father, maker of heaven and earth.


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