Tuesday, August 02, 2011

(All My Life's A) Circle

July 16th marked the 30th anniversary of the passing of Harry Chapin - singer, songwriter, humanitarian, activist to end world hunger.

This past Sunday, a stripped down version our church band -SoulJourn- performed (All My Life's A) Circle. Here is a recording of that performance, presented as a tribute to Harry.

Interred in the Huntington Rural Cemetery, Huntington, New York - Harry's epitaph was taken from his song I Wonder What Would Happen To This World.

"Oh if a man tried
To take his time on Earth
And prove before he died
What one man's life could be worth
I wonder what would happen
to this world"

Saturday, May 21, 2011

An Open Letter To Harold Camping

Dear Harold,

Now that it is has become obvious - presumably, even to you - that your calculations and predictions were groundless, perhaps you'd like to enter into a discussion of why you were so off-base.

I just happen to be bold enough to believe that I know the reason, and it has nothing to do with the New Testament pronouncement of ...no one knowing that day and time.

No. It is far worse than that.

I have to shake the very foundations of your faith. Sorry, but it needs to be done. You were wrong for reasons that you can barely imagine, let alone accept. But maybe - just maybe - you are now ready to face the truth of the fundamental flaw in your understanding.

The fundamental flaw in the understanding of all so-called Christians around the world today. You, and all of the so-called Christians, have been duped and deceived by a master deceiver. This is going to shake your world, Harold - even more than it has been shaken by your massive failure of May 21st 2011.

If you are ready to have this conversation - contact me.

If not, I will understand. Often it is easier to cling to our delusions than it is to face the truth. But you, and all of the so-called Christians around the world, have declared Jesus a liar and a fool. Maybe it's time to talk about it.

Bill Clarke.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Water For Elephants

Real 'quick and dirty' review of the film, which Trish and I saw last night.

Rob Pattinson - did a decent job of it; not spectacular but certainly not horrible.

Reese Witherspoon - was very good but too old for the part. The obvious age difference results in a lack of chemistry between the two main characters where chemistry was really needed.

Changes from the novel - very gutsy move to combine Uncle Al and August into one character and I think it worked very well. I doubt I would have thought to do that and, if I had, I further doubt that I would have had the balls to try. They tried and succeeded in my view; a gamble that paid off.

Overall, the film is worth seeing if you read the novel or not (...and in both the film and novel the elephant steals the show).

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Westboro Baptist Church Goes To Mississippi – And Loses

On Saturday USMC Staff Sgt. Jason Rogers, who was killed in action in Afghanistan April 7, was buried in Brandon, Mississippi.

That, by itself, is a sadly unremarkable – though certainly noteworthy and solemn – occasion for us to mark. And in fact when Sgt. Rogers’ body returned to Brandon it was greeted by hundreds, or perhaps even thousands, of well-wishers who gathered at the roadside to honor the fallen American hero. The dashboard camera from Mississippi state trooper Elmo Townsend’s cruiser gives an indication of the scene last Thursday.

What is most notable about Sgt. Rogers’ funeral in Brandon, however, is what didn’t happen.

You see, the troglodytes from Westboro Baptist Church had threatened to spew their poison at Sgt. Rogers’ funeral. But the Westboro mob wasn’t on the scene, and Sgt. Rogers was laid to rest without incident – thank God.

Why weren’t there protestors? Planning ahead by the locals, as it turns out.

From an Ole Miss sports message board, a tidbit of information…

A couple of days before, one of them (Westboro protestors) ran his mouth at a Brandon gas station and got his arse waxed. Police were called and the beaten man could not give much of a description of who beat him. When they canvassed the station and spoke to the large crowd that had gathered around, no one seemed to remember anything about what had happened.

Rankin County handled this thing perfectly. There were many things that were put into place that most will never know about and at great expense to the county.

Most of the morons never made it out of their hotel parking lot. It seems that certain Rankin county pickup trucks were parked directly behind any car that had Kansas plates in the hotel parking lot and the drivers mysteriously disappeared until after the funeral was over. Police were called but their wrecker service was running behind and it was going to be a few hours before they could tow the trucks so the Kansas plated cars could get out.

A few made it to the funeral but were ushered away to be questioned about a crime they might have possibly been involved in. Turns out, after a few hours of questioning, that they were not involved and they were allowed to go on about their business.

Fred Phelps, the disbarred lawyer and Democrat activist who leads the Westboro congregation, will undoubtedly pursue some form of legal action for the way his people were thwarted in Brandon. Let him try. There isn’t a jury in Mississippi which will see things his way.

This is a template for how to handle the Westboro people. If lawsuits don’t work, other means will. Whatever it takes to keep them from harassing bereaved military families on the day their fallen loved ones are laid to rest.

SOURCE - http://thehayride.com/2011/04/westboro-baptist-church-goes-to-mississippi-and-loses/

Monday, March 28, 2011

May 21st, 2011

I have a deal for any of the believers who plan to be raptured on May 21st 2011 - this is a "no lose" proposition for you!

I will give you $100 in return for a promissory note for $10,000 - payable on May 22nd 2011. I will pick up the cost of having it notarized: you don't have to spend a cent and you will get $100 cash. Period.

When you get raptured on May 21st 2011 that will be the end of it as far as you're concerned and I will be out $100. Think of it as partial punishment for my disbelief. You get $100 now and I am left with nothing when you get raptured. Pretty sweet, huh?

But - if, for any reason, you are still here on Planet Earth on May 22nd 2011 the full amount of $10,000 is payable to me. In cash.

Really, how can you lose? You KNOW you will be raptured and I'll be left (with all the other unsaved people) awaiting the final end five months later. And, in addition to annihilation, I will be out $100.

Use the $100 to print up more bumper stickers: sweet, ironic justice for my disbelief - and YOU can make it happen!

Contact me at once and I will arrange matters with my lawyer and notary. But don't delay - for reasons entirely outside of my control, this is a time-limited offer.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

You Decide...

Trish thought it was a groaner, at best.

Maybe it's just pride of authorship, but when I came up with it this evening I thought it was hilarious. Well... as hilarious as a pun ever is. Anyway, here's the line:

When I was a child, my parents chose to deliberately expose me to the measles virus. I think it was a rash decision.


Now that I see it actually typed out I realize: a stronger man would have resisted.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hollywood Re-visited

I use a program called Choicemail to prevent spam. It's an effective method: what happens is that I have a whitelist of email addresses and URLs from which I will accept email. If someone not on the whitelist sends me an email, the program sends them a registration form to complete. If it is a real person and they choose to complete the form, it is sent to me and I can decide to add them to my whitelist or reject their registration. I have the option of including an explanation for my decision.

Choicemail works very well and I have used it for a couple of years now.

Long time followers of this blog (and there are a few of you) may recall that back in March 2008 I posted this entry - Hollywood - A Cautionary Tale about my consultation with an intellectual-property lawyer in Los Angeles after a game show idea that I posted on tvwritersvault was developed without any consultation (or compensation) to me. The lawyer advised me to forget about it and I decided to take his advice.

Perhaps not surprisingly, tvwritersvault is not on my Choicemail whitelist - after my experience I certainly don't intend to use them again.

This past Wednesday evening I received a Choicemail registration request from Scott Manville - the guy who owns/runs tvwritersvault - wanting access to my email, presumably so that he could convince me to recommence using their services. This set off a short corresdondence that I am posting below. All I have done is re-arrange the emails into proper chronological order and removed any URL addresses (to limit further spam); I have not edited any of the messages.

From: Bill Clarke
Subject: Not authorized to send email to billclarke@*******.com
To: webmaster@*******.com
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 20:40:32

Your request to communicate with the recipient has been rejected.


Thanks but after one of my ideas (put on your site) was developed by
Hollywood without so much as a "by your leave" I figured you really
weren't the best place to share. I actually consulted a lawyer but
he said you didn't have a pot to piss in so...

Future emails to this recipient will be automatically deleted.

If you wish to contact this person, please contact him/her by other
From: Scott Manville
Subject: Not authorized to send email to billclarke@*******.com
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 20:42:34

Your claim is unfounded.
For your information, my Pot runeth over ;)
Ten years in the industry witha groundbreaking company will fill the
coffers just fine.

From: Bill Clarke
Subject: Not authorized to send email to billclarke@*******.com
To: smanville@*******.com
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 20:54:14

Runeth, huh?

Freudian slip, mayhaps?
From: Scott Manville
Subject: Not authorized to send email to billclarke@*******.com
To: billclarke@*******.com
Date: Wed, 16 March 2011 9:23 PM

Yes, Runeth over, as in abundance, prosperity.... aka fucking rich.
From: Bill Clarke

Subject: Not authorized to send email to billclarke@*******.com
To: smanville@*******.com
Date: Wed, 16 March 2011 9:36 PM

Terrific Scott.

Invest $10 of your wealth in a dictionary.
From: Scott Manville
Subject: Not authorized to send email to billclarke@*******.com
To: Bill Clarke
Date: Wed, 16 March 2011 9:49 PM

Used with two N's or one. I chose one, as some publishers have. By
the way, you must be over 60 because nobody has to buy a dictionary
any more. Its free on that thing you're typing with one finger.

Tell your attorney he should stick to traffic ticket disputes :)
From: Bill Clarke
Subject: Not authorized to send email to billclarke@*******.com
To: smanville@*******.com
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 10:15 PM

Nah, it's two Ns. You know it is.

And speaking of one finger...
From: Scott Manville
Subject: Not authorized to send email to billclarke@*******.com
To: Bill Clarke
Date: Wed, 16 March 2011 10:40 PM

Good luck in your small world.

One "N" is used often. You're just not exposed to literature or
publishing as I am.

OH, by the way.... you had three executives requesting to contact you
for your project, but your spam filter knocked out the requests.

From: Bill Clarke
Subject: Not authorized to send email to billclarke@*******.com
To: smanville@*******.com
Date: Wed, 16 March 2011 10:48 PM

Oh, that must be it – thanks for clearing that up.

Well, as fascinating as this has all been, at my advanced age it
really is tiring to do all this one-finger typing so I’ll wish you
a pleasant good night. The nurse will be bringing my warm milk any
minute now and then it’s lights out at the Senior’s Home so, thanks
for the chat.

Juvenile? Not to be believed. Now, I readily admit to being just as juvenile as Scott Manville by goading him on like that but... Hey! I am the customer HE's the service provider, it's his professional image that's subject to scrutiny here, not mine.

Okay, now here's a short customer service quiz for you - one multiple choice question, three possible answers and I'll even provide a clue, okay?

You hear from a former customer that he has grounds to believe that he has been ripped off through the auspices of your service. Do you...

A) Assure the former customer that you will get to the bottom of it and report back to him, then obtain all pertinent details and look into the matter thoroughly to ensure that your valued customers are not being ripped off.
B) Dismiss the former customer's concerns without a second thought since you are no longer making any money off him anyway.
C) Use the opportunity to brag about how much money you're making.

(CLUE - the answer isn't B or C)