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October 23 2014
Is the title of J. Randy Taraborrelli’s biography of Grace Kelly Grimaldi, Princess of Monaco. He draws a startling comparison between her and Diana Spencer Windsor, Princess of Wales.
Both had shining blond hair and classic facial features. Both set fashion trends by wearing custom-made clothes from couturiers. Both had unhappy marriages but were worshiped by their subjects. They were constantly besieged by prying reporters. Both died in tragic automobile accidents.
They had only one brief encounter. Grace gave a poetry reading in London in 1981 on the first time Diana appeared in public as the bride-to-be of Prince Charles. Diana was distraught because her dress was the wrong size, and paparazzi had flashed her all evening.
Later at Buckingham Palace the two had a private talk. Diana wondered if it would ever end. Being the cynosure of public attention. Would she ever have privacy? Grace embraced her, whispering, “Don’t worry dear, it will only get worse.”
Diana thought Grace “wonderful and serene.” A few months later for her wedding, Diana picked the Grimaldi’s of Monaco to lead the procession of royals, including Kings of Norway, Sweden and Belgium. Leading the Kings into St. Paul’s Cathedral, Grace looked “cool and elegant in a broad Breton straw hat.”
Prince Rainier was ill on that occasion: his place taken by son Prince Albert who marched with his mother. Rainer finally felt compensated for the snub he had been given twenty-five years before, when Queen Elizabeth had declined to attend his and Grace’s wedding in 1956.
Jack and Margaret Kelly had been upset because President Eisenhower not only hadn’t come to Grace’s wedding but hadn’t sent a gift. Margaret said that Ike could have at least “sprung for a coffee pot.”
Royalty also didn’t turn out for Princess Caroline’s wedding to playboy Philippe Junot in 1978. Princess Grace and Prince Ranier had tried to dissuade their daughter from the marriage but eventually yielded and opened the castle for the ceremony.
Hollywood royalty, like Cary Grant, Gregory Peck and spouses, came. David Niven hosted a luncheon at which Frank Sinatra sang “My Way,” a fitting eulogy for stubborn Princess Caroline.
This marriage between two headstrong people who cheated on each other lasted only two years. Princess Grace consoled her husband, saying the nuptial would prepare their daughter for a happier second one.
Caroline’s second marriage was happier until her husband was killed in a speedboat race. She is now married to Prince Ernst August von Hanover and seems happy, despite her husband’s occasional unruly public behavior.
If royalty shunned Princess Grace’s wedding, they turned out for her funeral in 1982. Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince Philip of Liechtenstein, Prince Faud of Egypt, Prince Albert of Belgium and many others. A tearful Nancy Reagan kept repeating, “It can’t be true.”
Jimmy Stewart gave an elegy, saying “Grace was the nicest person he ever knew.” A tribute seconded by Cary Grant.
Prince Rainier, who died in 2005, had married Grace to procreate an heir for Monaco. In 2011 their son Prince Albert, an Olympic bobsledder, married Charlene Wittstock an Olympic swimmer from South Africa. She’s now pregnant with twins.
Monaco is saved!
October 23 2014
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They Call Me Spence
by Brad Spencer
Award winning journalist
September 25 2014
The power of song
Words and music, a delicious combination.
I would hear the music, sure, but I always figured it was the words that float down from a song that stayed with me the most. Then I began to ponder this notion and determined it must be a combination of the two, words and music, which make an everlasting impression on our souls. It also has to do with timing.
You have them, soundtracks of the different periods in your life. It’s not about when the songs came out. It’s when you heard them at a particular moment. They were there when you triumphed, when you failed, when you were perfect, when you made mistakes, when you loved, when you hurt, when everything seemed good, when everything seemed bad, and when everything seemed balanced. Certain songs were the markers for moments in your life.
Some of those songs gave you hope. Some inspired you. Some made you feel you weren’t the only one suffering. Some made you dance a little crazy. Some made you dance a little closer.
It’s usually a flood of nostalgia every time you hear an old song. Could be a tune from a band you never cared for, or the actual song was never particularly one of your favorites, but it has relevance to your life, makes you recall something endearing or, unfortunately, unpleasant.
Whether it was Elvis, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Bee Gees, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson, Bon Jovi, Tom Petty, or U2, everyone can name at least a dozen artists that created songs that touched their lives in one way or another. When drums go “crash, boom, bang,” or guitar notes introduce a sing-along-song well before the chorus does, it’s enough to run chills down your spine.
But back to the words. I may be bias here, being a writer, but the words to a song are the central piece of the formula. The music is the butter, the milk, the eggs, the sugar, the flour. The words are the icing—the scrumptious frosting—on the cake, what makes the cake so delectable in the first place.
Here are random lyrics to seven songs that for some reason stand out in my mind today. If you listen real hard, you can hear the music in the background.
“Spider Murphy played the tenor saxophone/Little Joe was blowin’ on the slide trombone/The drummer boy from Illinois went crash, boom, bang/the whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang/Let’s rock, everybody, let’s rock/Everybody in the whole cell block was dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock.”—Elvis Presley, Jailhouse Rock.
“Down in the shadows of the penitentiary/Out by the gas fires of the refinery/I’m ten years burning down the road/Nowhere to run ain’t got nowhere to go.”—Bruce Springsteen, Born in the USA.
“I want to run/I want to hide/I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside.”—U2, Where The Streets Have No Name.
“Sittin’ in the morning sun/I’ll be sittin’ when the evening comes/Watching the ships roll in/Then I watch them roll away again/I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay.”—Ottis Redding, Sittin’ On The Dock of the Bay.
“Standing in the sunlight laughin/Hiding behind a rainbow’s wall/Slipping and a-sliding/all along the waterfall/with you, my brown-eyed girl.”—Van Morrison, Brown Eyed Girl.
“Well, there’s people and more people/What do they know, know, know/Go to work in some high-rise/and vacation down at the Gulf of Mexico/Ooh, yeah.”—John Mellencamp, Pink Houses.
“Don’t worry about a thing/cause every little thing/gonna be all right.”—Bob Marley, Three Little Birds.
Yep, words and music, a tasty combination.
Brad Spencer can be reached at Brad.E.Spencer@gmail.com
October 23 2014Cain & Abel: Ancient Papyrus Discovery
IT TURNS OUT there is more than war in Syria. Archeological activities are still underway in that beleaguered country, and a recent discovery of ancient papyrus scrolls sheds fascinating new light on the Cain and Abel story found in Genesis, chapter four.
It has turned the heads of Biblical scholars as the document is an apparent rejection letter from an ancient publisher to the author of the Cain and Abel story (traditionally thought to be Moses). I found the letter on a Web site called Papyrus Portals. The unsigned document has a surprisingly modern flavor.
I thought I’d share it:
“Dear Mr. Moses, thank you for submitting your rather fascinating story of two brothers, Cain and Abel. Although the story has merit, our editors have found too many missing elements to offer to publish it at this time. However, if you are willing to consider revising, we have some suggestions for improvement.
“You say, for example, that Abel was a shepherd, while Cain was a farmer. You write, ‘In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—the firstborn lamb of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.’
“Our question would be, why not? If Cain was a farmer, why would the Lord expect him to bring an offering other than the fruits of his crops? Is there something the matter with fruits of the field? You would need to clear this up.
“You go on to add, ‘Then the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do right, sin is crouching at your door.’
“Our editors were mystified by this passage. Why would the Lord ask Cain why he is angry? Isn’t it obvious? His offering was rejected. Who wouldn’t be angry? And why is his offering from the fields somehow connected with sin and/or right living? These are questions readers would have and they would deserve answers.
“ALTHOUGH YOU MENTION the murder of Abel by Cain, presumably out of jealousy, you gloss over this crucial event without providing details. Readers will want to SEE the crime; was it blunt force? Strangulation? Did Cain use a weapon? There’s a golden opportunity here for a dramatic and graphic scene.
“The Lord interrogates Cain, who answers with a lie, saying he doesn’t know where Abel is. But the Lord sees through the lie when you write, ‘The Lord said, What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground. When you work the soil, it will no longer yield crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.’
“There is a problem here that would deserve your attention in a revision. The Lord has just told Cain tillers of the soil are important, which seems to contradict your earlier passage stating that He has disapproved of crop offerings.
“You write that Cain cries out, ‘My punishment is more than I can bear. You are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
“To some of our editors, Cain’s response seems to amount to whining. Why would he not expect severe punishment after he has murdered his own brother?
“Your next passage concerns us perhaps the most: ‘But the Lord said to him, Not so. Anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over. Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.’
“Your description of the Lord here seems troubling; this potential blood-letting of any future enemy of Cain makes your god sound irrational and uncommonly brutal. It’s unlikely readers would feel comfortable with this. And why would the Lord offer him such protection after just having condemned him to a desperate fate? Finally, you miss an opportunity for compelling detail. Tell us a little more about this mark. Is it on his face? Is it like a tattoo? Is it a deformity? You seem to pass up a rich opportunity for some vivid detail.
“FINALLY, WE have major problems with your conclusion. ‘Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden. He made love to his wife and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city.’
“How did this restless wanderer become a builder of cities? Readers would also like to know something about this land of Nod. But how can they when you provide no description of it? What kind of place is it? Is it a desert or rain forest? And if Cain has a wife, where did she come from? Other than Eve in your story’s preface, there is no mention of women. These are all things serious readers would want to know.
“We admire your efforts here, as your story includes provocative themes such as jealousy, treachery, betrayal, and murder. But we find too many holes in the story, too many questions.
“If you choose to revise as we suggest, we will be happy to review your material again. And of course, not all publishers react to stories in the same way. Perhaps another publisher will feel differently. In any case, we wish you good luck with your narrative piece.”
October 23 2014Bring in your tender bulbs after the first frost
After the first frost, you should dig your tender bulbs, such as dahlias, caladiums. cannas, and gladiolus. Cut the tops off, leaving about 4 to 6 inches of stem. Shake off as much soil as possible. Do not wash the bulbs, a little soil left on won’t hurt anything Store them in a cool, dark location, such as the basement. Dahlia tubers and begonia corms should be packed in peat moss. Dahlia bulbs can be stored in a paper bag.
Now that the leaves are falling and the wind is blowing them around, leave them under the shrubs and around the perennials. They will act as insulation for the roots when the ground freezes.
The mice are starting to look for a warm place to spend the winter. Check around the foundation and doors to make sure there are no openings. A mouse can get thru an opening a small as 1/4 inch. Don’t forget to check the doors to an attached garage and around the pipes under the sink. You can fill the holes with steel wool or foam sealer.
If you put mouse traps out, be sure to place them in a place that children and pets can not get to them. Also place the traps near the walls, because the mice usually stay close to the wall when moving around.
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The Rest is Still Unrwritten
by John Colclasure of Lexington
October 23 2014
Almost... Every Day
Football season is well underway with food, fun and friends in the mix. Whether it is Friday night, Saturday and Sunday afternoons and Monday night football it is a sports widow’s worst nightmare. Fortunately for me, Mrs. C is a rapidly becoming a fan and a fanatic about the NebraskaCorn Huskers.
Yes it is still true that basketball is her passion which lies with the Illinois State Lady Redbirds, but the “Huskers” plus the Green Bay Packers, it just doesn’t get any better than that, as we head into the fall sports programs.
But our love for sports hasn’t always been a given, especially for me. What may surprise you is that I “Almost. Every Day” seem to come up a little short. If there is a “Big Game” scheduled for a certain day, invariably something comes up and either I can’t go or can’t watch it.
Take the Wisconsin/Nebraska game coming up on November 1st (TBA) at Madison, Wisconsin. It most likely will be nationally televised, but we will probably be somewhere else, maybe even DesMoines, Iowa. That is just the way it seems to go for “poor me.” Do get me wrong I know that life is full of ups and downs, but one has to get up before he can get down, at least once in awhile. Think on these things.
While attending a St. Louis Cardinal baseball game a number of years ago, the batter (don’t remember who) hit a foul ball that hit a fan, sitting in the seat behind me and immediately to my left, in her shoulder. If I had just moved my hand an inch, I could have caught it. Instead she got to go down into the dugout and came back with a bat, an autographed ball and maybe even one of those contracts they used to hand out. An inch!
Then there was the time during a high school football game (Octavia vs. Deland/Weldon) that Coach Cooper called my name and sent me in, late in a 14-0 contest with a play:
“Seven down and in, eight down and out, two back on the flat.” I had been a defensive player for those times that I got to play, so naturally I was extremely nervous, as it had been raining all evening and not many passes were being caught. I gave Quarterback Steve Laub the play and he called it out. I lined up at tight end, ran my pass-route, turned and to my surprise Steve put the ball right into my hands. I caught it and pulled it into my chest and headed up field. Nothing between me and the goal line and I thought, “I’m going to score.”
Wrong, I was demolished from the side by Dennis Huisinga at the one yard line. Never saw him! If I had, I could have dived in or did something.
Same thing happened in a practice back in Colfax while I was chasing Jim Bliss. Had no real chance to catch him, just trying to impress the coach. Wham, was hit in the side by Gary Brucker. The hardest I ever was hit, including the one by Huizinga. But a yard short!
How about one more.
Once I was playing in the city softball league and hit a ball to straight-away center field. The farthest I had ever hit a ball and it struck the very top of the center field fence and... bounced back in! An inch short of a home run.
That’s the way it goes. 50/50 raffle tickets. Have never won! Fan appreciation nights, have never won! Even at my beloved Lady Redbird basketball game, I have never caught a mini-basketball or even a t-shirt. I’ll take back the one about the mini-basketball because one did roll under my seat, but not wanted to spoil my record, I gave it away.
I guess my old coach was right, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” That’s my problem; maybe I’m not always prepared – “every day.”
Till next time…john
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