Friday, July 31, 2009

Stone Man Willie

When i was a kid my Dad, and maybe my Mom and I am sure Doc (my grandmom's boyfriend who drove a Corvair) always alluded to some guy named Stone Man Willie. He as rumored to be in the bottom of the Court House in the middle of Reading Pennsylvania.

The Expanding past: As stories sink into the past they simply get bigger and bigger.

Well when we were kids we were told a story about some guy who turned to Stone when the embalming process took a drastically wrong turn. This guy was rumored to be made of stone and he was housed somewhere in Reading Pennsylvania.

Well I was always a little intrigued and to be quite honest a little bit afraid to actually view this monster that no way in this world was going to ever exist. Also as I got older I realized my Dad told crazy stories that had very little truth to them and my Mom somehow believed them and passed them on to us.

Amongst other great big lies where.
  • If you can see the back of the leaves it is going rain. (My Mom)

  • Cows stand up when it is going to rain. (Grandfather Hoover)

  • Apples give you Carly Marbles. (GrandMother Hoover)

  • Swimming Lions will bite you when you go over a bridge. (I made that up and Zach passed it on)

Well I lived my entire life thinking Stone Man Willy was a fabrication of Dad's.

Well I hijacked this story from the internets...

Stone (Man) Willie
In the year of 1895, a body of a man was taken to the Auman Funeral Home in Reading, Pa. He died in the old prison that stood in Penn's Common which is now our City Park.
Theodore C. Auman was intrigued with the possibilities of preserving the dead, other than placing them on a block of ice. He had found in an old German medical book a chemical formula for preserving meat. Until now, he had no means of experimenting. He seeked permission from state and local authorities to use the unclaimed body. In his first attempt, he used too much formula and the body became mummified.
The identify of Stone (Man) Willie has to this day remained anonymous. He was thought to be Michael Phohonski, a man who hanged himself in the same prison. Pietro Buccieri, a man who killed a nurse at St. Joseph Hospital in 1892. James Murphy from Wilkes-Barre, James Maypenny from Philadelphia, plus many more.
When he was arrested Oct. 7, in West Reading, Pa, for burglarizing the Morris Brown Boardinghouse. He gave the name James Penn, admitting it wasn't his real name. To this day, no one knows where the name Stone (Man) Willie came from.
The only time I saw Stone (Man) Willie was in 1972. He was in a lower part of the funeral home. He laid on a cot. There had been many myths about the dead man which were dispelled. His hair and fingernails do not grow. The body shrinks every year making the hair and nails longer. He was a white man , 37 years of age, 5' 10" and weighted 127 pounds. The formula that was injected into him has made his skin tone darker. We were told that every few years they give him a new pair of pajamas to ware.
Around 1994, the Auman Family sold the business to Service Corporation International, the largest funeral and cemetery company in the world. Theodore C. Auman III remains as president and manager. It was rumored, Stone (Man) Willie would be buried. Last week a call was made to Auman's and they said Willie was indeed still there but he is no longer available to be viewed.

As they say in Berks County.

It don't matter.

Here are some classic berks County Quotes about the Stone Man

Here is another cool story about Berks oddities.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Read I Remember I Forget

“The Other” is a novel about a Kurt who goes off the rails and ends up living as a hermit in a remote forest in Washington State. The author is David Guterson, of “Snow Falling on Cedars” fame. The recluse is John William Barry, sole heir to a banking and timber fortune. John William, as his friends call him, is as old-school Seattle as it gets. His great-great-grandfather was a member of the Denny Party, whose members founded the city in 1851. In the Northwest, this is akin to Mayflower lineage. John William is a smart, troubled rich kid who loathes phonies and sellouts, beginning with his own “weaseling, demonic forefathers.” He’s the kind of guy who drops acid and chants, “No escape from the unhappiness machine.”

Well I was sitting and reading the back credits after finishing this book and I can honestly say I loved "Our Lady of The Forest" but I have very little recollection of it. So I took some notes on "The Other".

There are certain scenes from this book that stick in my head especially one of the opening scenes where JW and the author (Countryman) battle for 5th pace in a high school track meet. Its funny how friendships start and friendships endure.

Its a juxtaposition between building a life and building a cave and just plain hiding in it. Its also a nice little reflection how Seattle used to be before Microsoft and Starbucks, but more importantly it is a homage to male friendship. In this busy world it is a rarity that relationships endure years and obstacle, but somehow it works here.

"The Other" hints at portraying JW as a hero but I kind of view his as a completely wasted life, and more specifically a more wasted life lived by JW's father. He had a lot of money and a lot of luck but very little skills as a parent and a mentor. like the German population under Hitler, he just let it happen as a passive participant.

Snow Falling on Cedars was fantastic. I also believe that book was the right book at the right time but. "The Other" probably is a better book. There is plenty to glean from it it and some imagery I may never forget.

I need to get my brothers opinion.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

107 Degrees of Supination

Okay I get it. It is hot. We have a family tradition of punching somebody in the arm when they state the obvious. I have heard the statement "boy it is hot" so many times. I do not even hear it any more. I only punch family.

Today it is going to be 108. How does 108 differ from 105. In my opinion it doesn't. Your just one more day sick of it. I did get out for a bike ride today and you know what, it is no big deal. It's kind of like riding a horse in the old west. it is dusty and you are thirsty.

According the New York Times "Media and Advertising: This is Coors approach to advertising.

The campaign is meant to tease beer drinkers, piquing their curiosity until the introduction on May 15 of what Coors Light is calling cold-activated cans: The mountains on the cans’ labels turn from white to blue when the beer is the right (cold) temperature for drinking. The cans are a companion to the cold-activated Coors Light bottles introduced in 2007.

The imbiber needs insurance that their beer is actually cold. I can not believe that Coors is actually fawning to the idiot that lie with in us all. I will make no opinions or judgements. I just simply refuse to drink that stuff.

Now I need somebody to tell me when it is actually hot. I have a Bangles song stuck in my head. That should tell me it is hot.
Close your eyes and give me your hand
Do you feel my heart beating, do you understand?
Do you feel the same, am I only dreaming
Or is this burning an eternal flame?
I think my brain caught on fire.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Blind as Hell Faith

OREGON CITY, Ore. -- A Clackamas County jury on Thursday found Carl and Raylene Worthington not guilty of manslaughter in the death of their toddler daughter.

Carl Worthington was found guilty of criminal mistreatment, a misdemeanor carrying a maximum sentence of a year in jail. Sentencing was set for July 31. Raylene Worthington was found not guilty of that charge.

The Worthingtons, who believe in faith healing, were charged in the death of their 15-month-old daughter Ava, who died on a Sunday evening in March 2008.
The jury's verdict was read in the Clackamas County Courthouse in Oregon City Thursday afternoon, seven days after the jury began deliberation.


Okay enough said. I do not believe this couple killed their child and I am a bit mixed if the the punishment actually fits the crime.

But think for a minute;

What would have this ruling been if the Religion in question was of Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism. I believe the ruling would have been drastically different. I literally believe this jury in Suburban middle America would have thrown the book at them but since this is a case involving Christian based religion the sentence came out accordingly.

We have schools that teach abstinence and feel it is the best way to not get pregnant. We have schools that teach that evolution is a myth. As long as it is based on a Christian religion its okay to do so. Same thing for this bizarre case.

If we march a man into War and he is killed there is no crime committed. I guess the same can my concluded in this case here. The jury is still out on that. Actually on second thought, The jury has ruled. And in my opinion. They did not get it right? And I have faith in that.

Jurors saw the Worthingtons as loving, caring parents, said 25-year-old juror.

I see them as negligant, and out of touch. With a life time of regret they must live with. and if they can live with themselves. I still have a problem with it.

If another non Christian faith came along and said, "The after life is so much more beautiful" ; we did the best we can. This would have been an even quicker trial with a different out come.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Life Shaking Music We are Going Nightswimming

We all have memories to songs that can not be explained. But when we can explain them it makes a bit of sense. But there is also a lot that goes unexplained.

I am a huge R.E.M. fan and I would always buy their music the day it came out. I still remember the day I was introduced to R.E.M. I was in grad school at William and Mary and quirky bird named Amy deposited in my pocket a cassette tape of both the Murmurs" and "Reckoning" cds. It was like a drug deal . But I loved that music more than anything. In retrospective that little cd influenced my musical taste from that day forward.

Somewhere along the line the CD "Automatic for the People" came out. It was a stretch of my life where I was busy raising kids and I bought the cd the day it came out as usual but I never really had a chance to listen to it. Really listen to it.

Somewhere along the line the song sunk in. I have no idea where. Seriously I listened to that CD occasionally over the years and I liked it but no particular track stuck out.

Then I saw it played live. Mike Mills on the piano and Stipe on vocals. it was at a half filled Clark County amphitheater. Wilco opened that night. WTF. But that performance literally brought me to tears. It was one of the most beautiful songs I have ever seen done in concert. I had tears running down my cheecks.

My fiance and I were deciding what song to dance to at our wedding. I suggested Nightswimming. I do not believe that Jenna had ever heard the song before. It had no particular meaning to our relationship. But its the prettiest song on the planet.

So an a picture perfect spring day the opening piano bars to NightSwimming once again brought tears to my eyes. It may have been the 5 of the happiest minutes in my life dancing to Nightswimming with my new wife.

Nightswimming, remembering that night.
September's coming soon.
I'm pining for the moon.
And what if there were two
Side by side in orbit
Around the fairest sun?
That bright, tight forever drum
Could not describe nightswimming.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hobble Before Walk Before You Run

Yes almost three weeks ago I was running in the middle of the road and broke my ankle. I made the cursory trip to the emergency room where I was told I had a busted ankle. That is not great news for somebody who loves to be active. And a pet beagle (Ghosty Pig) who has no idea what a cast entails.

To be quite honest I have had a bit of a depression as I could not do anything. The chores around the house were impossible and getting to work was a recipe for disaster. I have my loving wife to thank for getting me through a very tough time. She has been amazing and has picked up the slack and has not let my sense of self esteem slip all that much.

The orders from the doctors have been non existent. I get mixed signals on what I am supposed to do. So basically I have been listening to my body. Well for the most part. A walking cast is just for that ; walking. I don't see lugging around an extra five pound contraption while manning my crutches.

I really abhor the attention a cast somehow casts upon you. Everybody wants to talk about it and I simply do not. I simply want to hobble, then walk then run again.

My wife is away this weekend and I am somewhat bored and some what limited. Not a real good combination. I good time to push it just a little.

Today I took my first steps. The heat of summer was just, that but it was nice to stroll the six block in my nieghbor hood in my 10 dollar fake Vans my son bought me. Taking those first steps toward recovery.

And my Beagle is also happy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lies Lays Bad Lies and Bad Lays

LONDON (AP)—Richard Gasquet escaped a lengthy doping ban Wednesday when the International Tennis Federation ruled that he inadvertently took cocaine.
The 23-year-old Frenchman, who was cleared to resume playing after completing a 2 1/2 -month ban Wednesday, convinced an independent anti-doping tribunal that he ingested cocaine by kissing a woman he met at a nightclub in Miami.
The tribunal panel of three lawyers said Gasquet consumed no more than “a grain of salt” of the drug, and a long ban would be an injustice in a case which was “unusual to the point of being probably unique.”
“We have found the player to be a person who is shy and reserved, honest and truthful, and a man of integrity and good character,” the tribunal said in its ruling.

Okay I buy that.

  • And Barry Bonds got his steroid reading from taking practice swings with the ball girl.

  • Of course Floyd Landis got that crazy high tetasterone reading from his bike seat.

When Harry Met Linda

(UPI) - Linda the penguin has split up two male penguins who lived as a nesting couple for six years at the San Francisco Zoo, caretakers said.
Male penguins Harry and Pepper had been so content together they were allowed to incubate and hatch an egg laid by another Magellanic penguin last year, zookeeper Anthony Brown said.
"Of all of the parents that year, they were the best. They took very good care of their chick," Brown told the San Francisco Examiner in a story published Saturday.
Enter the widow Linda, who began courting Harry in her partner's old burrow shortly after his death this past winter, Brown said.
"To be completely anthropomorphizing, Linda seems conniving," Brown said. "She's got her plan. I don't think she was wanting to be a single girl for too long."

This is fairly predictable. And no she does not have a plan. Never did, never will, just the basic vision of creating drama. Woman are just that Drama Queens. And of course the zoo is in San Fransisco.

It captivated millions of people around the world for eight days in the summer of 1969. It brought glory to the embattled U.S. space program and inspired beliefs that anything was possible.

Moon landing hoax theorists point to the "rippling" flag as evidence the landings were faked.

It's arguably the greatest technological feat of the 20th century.
And to some, it was all a lie.
Forty years after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon, a small cult of conspiracy theorists maintains the historic event -- and the five subsequent Apollo moon landings -- were staged. These people believe NASA fabricated the landings to trump their Soviet rivals and fulfill President Kennedy's goal of ferrying humans safely to and from the moon by the end of the 1960s.
"I do know the moon landings were faked," said crusading filmmaker Bart Sibrel, whose aggressive interview tactics once provoked Aldrin to punch him in the face. "I'd bet my life on it."
Sibrel may seem crazy, but he has company. A 1999 Gallup poll found that a scant 6 percent of Americans doubted the Apollo 11 moon landing happened, and there is anecdotal evidence that the ranks of such conspiracy theorists, fueled by innuendo-filled documentaries and the Internet, are growing.

This has to be one of the crazier assumptions I have seen in my life. Some of these people take on faith literally the exact interpretation of the Bible and believe it actually happened verbatim but they have a hard time believing that man actually landed on the moon.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Death with Indignity

Fautenberry was transferred Monday from the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown to the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, where state officials were preparing for his execution.

His special meal request was two eggs sunny-side up, fried potatoes, two pieces of fried bologna, four pieces of wheat bread, two pieces of wheat toast with butter, four slices of tomato, a side of lettuce and mayonnaise, two Three Musketeers candy bars and two packages of Reese's peanut butter cups.

I am not sure what my last meal would be in this case, but I hope that I never end up in the predictament.

But I like the choice of Sunny Side up Eggs. I am a great cook but do not do well with sunny side eggs. So it would be nice to have somebody to prepare them. But eggs always make my stomach ache, but I guess when you are going to be killed anyway, a stomach ache does not matter. But I guess you could die of a heart attack to dampen the spirits of a the pro death penalty crowd.

Fried Bologna -now thats unusual. Haven't had it since I was a kid. Another Excellent choice.
I am really surprised that the makers of these Candy products have not cashed in here. There's a huge market here as with somebodies dying wish they want a

Friday, July 10, 2009

Broken Bones

Dumb assed me was running in a cul-d-sac and twisted my ankle and Voila instantly I knew it was broken. Which led me to the Providence Emergency Room which has its cast of Castaways and Misfits.

We're lining up the light-loafere'd
And the bored bench warmers
Castaways and cutouts, fill it up
Come join the youth and beauty brigade
Nothing will stand in our way

Some of the people I saw there on a busy Monday Night where.

BEE Boy - A young boy of overly protective parents. He needlessly sat in the ER for a bee sting. His parents came up to me and asked me and presented me with a bag with a bee in it.

"What Kind of Bee is this?"

Me "Don't Know - A Honey Bee"

Bee Boys Parents - He captured the bee that stung him.

Me - Nice Going Bee Boy.

Bee Boy - Just stared at me.

Me (to parents) make a run for it Bee Boy is fine. Save yourself the money and get out of this place.

Bee Boy Parents - We Just may. (And they did).

Oxegen Lady - she wheeled her self around the ER yelling for Oxegen. She asked me if the bathroom was clear and I told her yes. Apparently 2 wheel chairs do no work in the ER facilities. Oxegen Lady got stuck in the bathroom yell predictiably. "I want my Oxegen".

Throw Up Man- He did just that, almost threw up right on the Bee Boy.

Man with A Hammer in His Head - I have no idea what was with this dude.

Well after 3 hours it was determined that I have a fractured foot.
I now wear a boot, and hobble. For awhile.