I used to live in New Ulm, and just recently visited there. It is a truly beautiful place.
THIS WEEK, THE LOCAL RELIGIOUS POWERS-THAT-BE USED THEIR INFLUENCE TO SHUT DOWN A LOCAL COMMUNITY THEATRE PRODUCTION. CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE.
FROM THE ARTICLE:
The New Ulm Actors Community Theatre's production of "Inherent the Wind" was canceled last week due to cast dropouts stemming from objections by Martin Luther College professors and local WELS members over the play's depiction of the evolution/creationism debate.
NUACT originally slated the play as its fall production with MLC student Zach Stowe as director. The play deals with a fictionalized version of the evolution/creationism debate in the 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial." The play is also a metaphor for criticizing the suppression of free expression under the McCarthyism of the 1950s.
First of all, it makes me a little nuts that the writer and editor of the newspaper article incorrectly named the play "Inherent" the Wind, rather than "Inherit" the Wind -- but hey, I'm sure it was a typographical error, and we all make mistakes.
As a playwright, it makes me a little bit angry any time any group attempts to stop any play from being presented. It's an imposition. I do not walk into your church and ask you to stop singing, preaching and praying because I disagree with the way you sing, preach and pray. Do not walk into my theatre and ask me to stop singing, acting and directing because you don't like my play.
But beyond that, it makes me feel a bit sad -- not so much for the players, but for the educated church members who felt the need to prevent this fantastic play from being presented in their community. It tells me that, although they profess to be religious scholars and profess to have faith in The Lord and Jesus Christ, they are woefully insecure in their beliefs.
If you honestly believe in Christ, then you wouldn't fear scrutiny, you would welcome it. You wouldn't try to avoid those who would question that faith, you would look forward to answering those questions. You wouldn't attempt to stifle the beliefs of others, you would let them have their say, and then you would testify as to your own beliefs.
Unless, of course, you have doubts about your own faith. If deep down, your heart and soul don't believe the things that come out of your mouth, then yes, you would do all you could to silence those with a different point of view.
The religious leaders in the community of New Ulm have shown us their asses, so to speak. These teachers and preachers have shown us that they are really insecure in their faith, and that they really don't believe in the things they teach and preach. If they really had faith, a silly little stage play written half a century ago, loosely based on an event that happened nearly a full century ago wouldn't be a threat.
A true religious scholar would see this play as an opportunity to educate his community.
It's a shame that this won't happen.
Some will remain in the dark -- just like the rubes depicted in "Inherit The Wind."
This Arms Treaty We Just Signed Does Not Take Away Your Guns
Seriously, folks, calm the hell down. I'm a gun owner. I would never support anything that threatens my rights as a gun owner.
This new treaty keeps guns out of the hands of terrorists, so unless you yourself are a terrorist, you've got nothing to worry about. Stop listening to all the morons out there -- they are trying to get you all upset and excited so you'll run out and buy a bunch of guns and ammo. They're full of shit.
Quoting the treaty:
CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT FOR YOURSELF.
Quit listening to the liars, they're playing you for fools.
by james grob
i remember not only how much i am loved,
but also the places we lay,
and also the desires for you,
your passions for me
sparkling clearly in eyes
trembling in voice
we've given ourselves
to those desires as they glow
as they burn
as they grow
whispers and screams
listening to dreams
how we count the kisses
when we know it's the kisses that count
how we miss
what we never knew we were missing
how splendid the touch
once we've been splendidly touched
i remember not only how much i am loved
but how much of ourselves we've given
our kindness and trust
our diamonds and rust
under ceilings and skies
sparkling clearly in eyes
trembling in voice
I do believe the last two days have proven that there's finally something on which Democrats, Republicans and Independents can all agree!
The Honorable Ted Cruz (R-Guano Crazy-ville) is the biggest d-bag to ever serve in the United States Senate, and that's saying something, as the Senate walls have bracketed some of the biggest d-bags in history!
The most wonderful thing about Cruz is that he was actually honestly born somewhere other than the United States, though his mother was a U.S. citizen. So, according to the Confederation of Teabag, that means that Cruz cannot legally serve as President of the United States, right?
Because, you know, the Confederation of Teabag has never wavered from the claim that President Obama is not a REAL President, because he was born somewhere other than the United States, and even though his mother was a U.S. Citizen, that's not enough, Obama cannot be President because he actually has to be born on U.S. soil, and he wasn't.
Of course, those who are not certifiably delusional know that the Confederation of Teabag has been lying all along about Obama's overseas birth, and he was, of course, born in Hawaii which was one of these United States at the time of his birth, so he was indeed born on U.S. soil. This fact has been proven over and over again ... but, just for the sake of argument ...
Let's just say the Confederation of Teabag is right, OK? Let's pretend for a minute that Obama was born outside the country, the son of a United States citizen mother. So, OK then, according to the Confederation of Teabag, he's not a real American and can't be President. I don't know what part of the Constitution they're reading, but fine, have it your way.
So certainly the same must apply to Ted Cruz, who REALLY REALLY was born outside the country to a mother who was a U.S. citizen. Ted Cruz, not a natural-born American -- certainly he can't run for President, can he?
Sadly, the Confederation of Teabag believes he can. When it comes to their hero Ted Cruz, suddenly them Teabaggers LOVES themselves some foreign-born Preznints.
This is why I love Ted Cruz -- his very existence proves that the Teabaggers are nothing but a collective of racist, ignorant, hypocritical jackasses.
Also, can you believe this Cruz guy has an Ivy League education? Something that the Confederacy of Teabag claims to hate and mistrust, unless of course, it's their foreign-born hero Cruz, who just went up there to show them elitist collegiate types a thing or two.
Ah, politics ... ain't in lovely?
Congratulations, Senator Ted Cruz! Your latest stunt on the Senate floor has earned you the prestigious Jon-Luc Picard Facepalm of the day!
Taking a moment to share with you the fact that there happens to be some really high-quality music being created in Davis County, Iowa and its surrounding areas.
First off, I recently found this sweet little pop ditty by the young and talented Sophia Cook:
And a young man named Mitch Goudy is getting really close to hitting the country charts. He's got a brand new album:
And how about some throwback metal from my very good friend Phil's band, Dognott:
And, as always, there's the wonderful Diana Upton-Hill, another very good friend:
And there's many more! You'll have to settle for this diverse -- some would say eclectic -- sampling today. I'd like to occasionally promote local and area artists and musicians on this site, so if anybody out there knows anybody, and if you happen to have a video or audio clip that showcases your talent, give IowaScribe a buzz!
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Youth Is Not King
By JAMES GROB
Ottumwa Post Columnist
I watched a movie on cable the other night about Hank Williams. No, not Hank Williams, Jr. I would not watch a movie about Hank, Jr. because, although I like a couple of his songs, I believe, overall, he's kind of a pinhead.
I'm sure all the Hank Jr. fans out there who read this are about to take me to task and rip me a new one for calling their favorite singer a pinhead, so please, stifle your anger. Learn to accept the fact that we don't have to hate each other's guts just because we don't like the same kind of music. Hank, Jr. can take it -- he's doing OK and doesn't need you to stick up for him. You can have Hank, Jr., and you don't have to share him with me, and I don't think any less of you for enjoying his songs, so please don't think any less of me for not enjoying most of his songs. Fair enough?
Anyway, the movie wasn't about Hank, Jr., it was about his daddy. I never did catch the title of the film, but it was about the last two days of Hank Williams's life. It was a sad and interesting story.
I was struck by the fact that Hank Williams wasn't even 30 years old when he died. That's what was interesting to me. At 29, he had already recorded 35 singles that had reached the top ten of the country chart -- and 11 of those had reached No. 1.
That's something. By the time I was 29, my biggest accomplishment was being able to make an excellent sandwich.
So I'm pretty impressed with Hank Williams, and this is accentuated by the fact that I actually like most of those songs.
Even more interesting to me is the life of Buddy Holly. That young man was just 23 when he died, and by that time, he had already charted over 20 songs -- all of which had been written by him.
Makes me feel really old.
I am twice Holly's age, and by comparison, I've accomplished next to nothing. And, I'm guessing, you've accomplished next to nothing as well, when compared to the likes of Hank Williams and Buddy Holly.
But I'm here to tell you to take heart -- there are plenty of people who never found success until later in life.
Colonel Sanders, for instance, was 65 years old before he perfected is original recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken and became the biggest name in food this side of McDonalds.
Speaking of McDonald's, founder Ray Croc was still selling milkshakes at 52. Six years later, he had 200 restaurants.
Edmund Hoyle was nearly 70 when he first began recording the rules to several various card games -- rules we have followed for about 250 years now.
Laura Ingalls Wilder was 75 before she started cranking out the "Little House" books. And Julia Child was 50 when her book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" was published (and she was 40 before she even knew how to cook.) Elizabeth Jolley had her first novel published at 56. Author Mary Wesley was 71.
Henry Ford introduced the Model T when he was 45. He created the assembly line when he was 60.
Spider-Man creator Stan Lee was 43 before he started creating his famous comic book characters. Rodney Dangerfield didn't become a stand-up comic until he was 42.
At the age of 96, Harry Bernstein published his memoir "The Invisible Wall."
So, you see? It's never too late.
Whiz kids like Mark Zuckerberg might think they rule the world, but us old fogies still have a trick or two up our sleeves.
You hear that, Zuck? I'm coming after you!
Right after I take my medicine.
And a nap.
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A Brief History Of Food
By JAMES GROB
Ottumwa Post Columnist
The other day my wife opened up a big bag of M&M's and poured some of them into a bowl, because she knows that I firmly believe that it is important to have bowls filled with M&M's placed in strategic locations throughout our home -- at least as important as family photographs and deer antlers on the walls, air conditioning, cable TV and indoor plumbing. Those are the things that make a house a home, in my opinion.
But back to the M&M's ...
They were, evidently, patriotic M&M's, because they weren't the usual M&M colors -- they were red, white and blue. They tasted exactly like any other M&M (I'm thinking that a single M&M should actually just be called an "M," but I am not sure about this) but there was something about the odd color that was a wee be disconcerting. I'm not accustomed to seeing those colors in the candy dish. They look weird.
My first instinct was to take a photo of my America-loving candy and put it on Facebook, and tell all my Facebook friends that they should like and share this picture, because if they don't, it means they hate America and our troops.
As a society, we take a lot more pictures than we used to, and a lot of them end up on Facebook, because it's so easy. There was a time, in my younger years, when it seemed like a lot of work to take a photo, so you only took photos of very important occasions -- such as weddings, graduations, family reunions -- or if someone caught a really big fish.
These days, people take pictures of lunch. And dinner. And dessert. And they put them up on Facebook.
And it occurs to me that photography isn't the only thing that has changed substantially in my lifetime, but food has as well. You would have never seen red, white and blue M&M's when I was a kid. That would have been outrageous. The food variety these days is astonishing.
I was born the same year as the Big Mac. McDonald's, obviously, has been the most successful innovator of fast food in my lifetime. These days, the menu has a variety of salads and ice cream desserts, several chicken options and 100 other things. When I was a kid, it was mostly burgers, fries, Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, a Filet-O-Fish and shakes. The Chicken McNuggets didn't arrive until the early 1980s.
I do recall a few other products they had then that they do not have now. For a while, they had a thing called Onion Nuggets, basically the same as the chicken nuggets, only it was an onion on the inside instead of chicken. Also, back in those days, McDonald's fried their hot apple and cherry pies. I feel sorry for the current generation, which has never experienced a fried apple pie from McDonald's. The filling felt like molten lava as it burned the living hell out of your mouth, but the taste buds that survived the scorching were in for an amazing treat. The baked pies today don't even compare.
When I was a teenager, they had the McDLT -- with the hot side hot and the cool side cool -- but for some inexplicable reason they discontinued that in the early 1990s.
I can rattle off a list of fast food items that did not exist when I was a child.
There was no such thing as popcorn chicken at KFC -- which, by the way, we either called "Kentucky Fried Chicken" or "Colonel Sanders." I had never heard of a stuffed crust pizza at Pizza Hut, or sweet potato fries anywhere. I was 18 before I tasted my first Blizzard from Dairy Queen.
I was the same age the first time I crunched into a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. Speaking of cool ranch, what is the deal with Ranch Dressing? When I was a kid, it was the salad dressing that no one asked for because it was awful, now it's the most popular condiment in the supermarket, people put it on anything. I've seen people dip everything from veggies to breadsticks to pizza to hamburgers into ranch dressing. It's insane. Don't people know it tastes like sour milk?
Mexican restaurants? These days there are five or six in every town, but there were no such things as Mexican restaurants when I was growing up, at least not in my immediate area. A couple of my good friends were of Mexican lineage, and so I experienced Mexican food as prepared by their mothers -- and that was still better than any meal I've ever had in a Mexican restaurant.
Also, I was in my 20s before I had ever heard of Dippin' Dots. And I was 40-something before I ever heard of a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Actually, I was probably in my 40s before I ever heard of any kind of latte, or frappe, or any other kind of fancy coffee drink.
And speaking of drinks, yes, there was Gatorade when I was a kid -- but first, there was Gator Gum. And Gatorade was about the only sports drink you could get, and it came in one flavor -- I think it was actually gator flavored, but I could be wrong. Anyway, we rarely could afford it, so our sports drink of choice was water. And it didn't come in a bottle, it came out of the sink, or maybe the hose in the backyard. Backyard hose water on a hot day is still the best drink of anything I have ever drank.
No one drank Mountain Dew back then -- it was the crazy uncle of the soda-pop family, hidden in the basement. No such thing as diet soda, either, although Tab had just one calorie. And Pepsi-Free had a twist of lemon.
And while we're on the subject of beverages, I don't believe I ever rode in a car with a built-in cup holder until I was nearly 30.
And did you know that the only country in the world that doesn't have any Coke or Pepsi products is North Korea?
I'm guessing that's one of the reasons that the Dennis Rodman-loving crazy little guy over there wants to nuke everyone.
He just wants a taste of "the real thing."
Thoughts on all topics from the twisted mind of a Midwestern writer. Playwrighting, poetry, journalism, sports, hunting, fishing, rock music, movies, good food and