29 September 2006

Greatly exaggerated!

“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

So wrote Mark Twain in a cable from London to the Associated Press in 1897.

It seems however that AP has struck again. News outlets around the world reported the death this week of Paul Vance, co-writer of the song Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini. This came as a particular shock to Mr Vance, who saw the report on TV!

Apparently a woman who had been recently widowed repeated, in all innocence, her late husband’s claim that he had written the song.

The real live writer is still fending off telephone calls and reassuring relatives and friends that he is very much alive! Apparently he liked most of what was written in his obituaries – but wanted to take issue with some of the things he read!

The BBC had to retract it's report (here), whilst this is the Associated Press killing the story (here)! [The Guardian has now killed the link - probably not directly out of embarrassment!]

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15 September 2006

The Christian Life - a lifelong venture

This week I came across a superbly honest description of what it is to be a Christian. Don't we all sometimes (often?) feel like this?

“The story of the human response to divine grace is the story of a lifelong venture. It has its moments of high drama, when the issues are clear and the demands costly. Fortunately, for most of us, those moments come not too often. At other times, the issues are filled with ambiguity, and decisive action is hard to come by. There are also lengthy periods when faithfulness seems more mundane. It consists of simply keeping at the task, struggling not to be overcome by our own weaknesses, sharing food with the hungry and seeking in small, usually unobserved ways to make the world a more humane place in which to live.”

(Walter Brueggemann, Charles B Cousar, Beverly R Gaventa, James D Newsome Texts for Preaching – Year B Westminster/John Knox Press 1993 p504)


Packer People

You may have noticed a link on the right-hand side of the page to the Green Bay Packers' Website. You will not however have noticed any blog entries about the Packers - until now! This is because this season already has all the makings of a truly terrible one, and it's difficult to know where to start with my comments!

A singularly lacklustre pre-season has now been succeeded by the embarassment of a 26-0 home shutout by our greatest rivals, the Chicago Bears, in the regular season opener. The response of General Manager Ted Thompson and his new Head Coach Mike McCarthy has been underwhelming - signing troubled WR Koren Robinson (under threat of an NFL suspension for repeated alcohol abuse), the cutting of FB Vonta Leach, and now the trading of RB Samkon Gado who, despite doing great things last year, had apparently not managed to pick up Coach McCarthy's new blocking scheme.

On his arrival, McCarthy made much of his desire to work with what he called "Packer People". Now, I am all in favour of second chances - even though Robinson is on his (2+n)th chance by now. He may become a reformed character and a key part of the Packers' regeneration. After all, QB Brett Favre himself beat addiction to pain-killers to become one of the truly great ones.

But I am bound to ask, with the cutting of Leach (a model citizen) to make room for Robinson, and now the departure of Gado - for whom no-one (not even Thompson) has an unkind word ... just what exactly do "Packer People" look like?!

It's going to be a very, very long season - and even Ted Thompson may end up feeling the heat.

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