Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Top Single: This Week in 1960

The No. 1 single 45 years ago today was "It's Now or Never" by Elvis Presley. I didn't know this until I looked it up, but "It's Now or Never" is Elvis's biggest-selling single, with total international sales topping 20 million. That paid for a lot of peanut butter and bacon sandwiches at Graceland.

This song had legs, as the saying goes. In America, it became No. 1 on August 15, 1960, and stayed at the top for five weeks in a row, finally getting knocked off by Chubby Checker's "The Twist." In Britain, "It's Now or Never" stayed at No. 1 for eight weeks.

The song had a more adult, operatic sound than anything Elvis had sung up to this point. It was based on "O Sole Mio," an Italian song written in 1901 and made popular by Mario Lanza. It was reported to be Elvis's personal favorite of all his songs, beating out even "Do the Clam."

What other songs were topping the chart at this time? He's the rest of the Top Five the week of August 15, 1960:

2. Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini -- Brian Hyland
3. I'm Sorry -- Brenda Lee
4. Only the Lonely -- Roy Orbison
5. Walk, Don't Run -- Ventures

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Random Observations and Trivial Events

1. There have been some titanic grudge matches throughout history: God vs. Satan, Moses vs. Pharaoh, Yankees vs. Rebels, Hatfields vs. McCoys and Ali vs. Frazier, just to name a few. But I don’t think there is a hair-pullin’, groin-kickin’ feud today more annoying than that between cable TV companies and satellite TV companies. Every day, we are subjected to their grating and overblown televised ads. First a cable TV company comes on and tells us how unreliable and crappy and overpriced satellite TV is, and then a minute later, a satellite TV company comes on and tells us how unreliable and crappy and overpriced cable TV is. The cycle repeats, incessantly, endlessly. It’s almost enough to make you retrieve the rabbit ears from that pile of outdated technology in the corner of the garage and hook ‘em up again.

2. While the Muley family avoided going to Crawford over the weekend to see the big shoutfest between pro- and anti-Bush elements, we just couldn’t avoid our little neighbor to the south. Saturday morning, my daughter’s soccer team played its counterpart from Crawford in a game in Waco, and got soundly trounced. On my way to this game, I stopped in a convenience store to get a drink, and saw a middle-aged couple in black leather riding Harleys come in. They told the clerk they got separated from their group and asked for directions to Crawford. At first I thought they were going down to join the anti-Bush crowd, but the man said, “We’re coming to support the troops.” The tattooed woman he was with added, “Yeah, we’re going to kick some hippies’ butts!” I told them to put in my word of support for the troops and the President with theirs, and they assured me they would. Boy, that would have been something to be in Crawford on Saturday.

3. Speaking of soccer, I am now of the opinion that soccer is only exciting in two instances –- if you have a loved one playing whom you are rooting for, or if you are playing the game yourself. I finally got to see a “real” soccer game last night, meaning a game played by adults and not by 9-year-olds I am related to. This was a college game, and I was totally bored. There was 90 minutes of action, and for only about 2 minutes of combined time was the ball ever in serious contention for a goal. The rest of the time was spent watching the players kick the ball up and down and up and down and up and down the field. It was about as exciting as sitting at an interchange and watching the traffic go through the lights for an hour and a half. I am more puzzled than ever as to why this physically demanding but thoroughly monotonous game is such a rabid passion in most of the world. Oh, did I tell you the score of the game I saw? 1-0, and that one point was scored on a penalty kick. I was quivering with emotion.

4. I notice that car manufacturers keep extending these “employee discount” prices to customers over and over again, I assume because the tactic results in higher sales. But now that employees get no more of a discount than do members of the general public, is it harder for car dealers to hire people? Are these employees getting some sort of new benefit – say, higher salaries or free Koozies – to offset their loss of a reduced price on cars?

5. You can beat around the bush, and you can beat a dead horse, but is it possible to beat around a bush while there’s a dead horse lying, say, on top of it? Would this then be called “beating a dead horse around the bush?” And what would it imply, that you are taking issue with a resolved decision, but are very tentative about doing so?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Texas Postcard Gallery

This week's postcard is not exactly a Texas postcard, per se. This little jewel can be found all over the Southwest. I imagine it was designed by someone who didn't want any more Yankees or other non-residents moving down here, as it goes to great lengths to show just how many poisonous and otherwise nasty critters live in these parts. I imagine if you were out walking and ran into this exact layout, you'd just pour melted butter on yourself and surrender.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Man! I Feel Like an Animal

You can divide people into two categories -- those who think that humans were created by God as special beings with a soul, entrusted to have dominion over the animal kingdom, and those who think we're simply a more evolved (and more destructive and cruel and wasteful) member of that animal kingdom.

The latter group is having a field day this month at the London Zoo, with a unique exhibit called "The Human Zoo." Starting today and ending Monday, eight humans are on exhibit at the zoo, clothed in nothing more than fig leaves to cover their naughty bits.

Here's how the website of the London Zoo describes the exhibit:

"The August Bank holiday welcomes an extra special exhibit to London Zoo as a flock of Homo sapiens gather on the world famous Bear Mountain. Presented to the public with only fig leaves to protect their modesty, the humans will become an important feature of zoo life as they are cared for by our experienced keepers and kept entertained through various forms of enrichment. The four day event aims to demonstrate the basic nature of man as an animal and examine the impact that Homo sapiens have on the rest of the animal kingdom." (emphasis added)

There it is, folks. According to the London Zoo, we're not really any different from the monkeys who sit in their cages all day picking fleas off themselves. We're simply animals just lucky to be far up the evolutionary chain.

News reporters have visited the zoo to interview the eight intrepid people who will be on public display over the weekend. Here's what some of them said in one news report:

"I actually think the fig leaves will be enough to cover us up, it's no worse than a swimming pool," said volunteer Simon Spiro, 19, from New Malden, south of the British capital. Spiro, selected from dozens of hopefuls in an Internet competition, said he was excited by the prospect of monkeying around on the zoo's Bear Mountain.

"I'm a veterinary student so the idea of working for a zoo was something that appealed to me. I thought it would be fun and interesting because I'm an outdoorsy kind of person," he said.

Brendan Carr, 25, from Aylesbury, southern England, wrote a poem in his bid to get on the mountain.

"I'm funky like a monkey and as cool as a cat, talk more than a parrot, up all night like a bat," it went. "I got a laugh like a hyena but get the hump like a camel, so cover me in fig leaves as I'm the ultimate mammal."

The ultimate mammal. That's all we are, folks, at least according to the London Zoo. Let's all buy some bananas so we can go feed the monkeys this weekend.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Random Observations and Trivial Events

1. My daughter Katelyn and a friend were at home the other day with my older daughter Rebecca babysitting. Katelyn and her friend decided they wanted to give each other facials, just like they’d seen done on TV. They didn’t have any cold cream, so they decided to use yogurt instead. And we didn’t have any cucumbers in the house they could slice and put over their eyes, so they figured, “Hey, pickles are just tiny cucumbers, right?” Luckily, before they got the chance to put pickle slices in their eyes, Rebecca caught wind of what was going on and stopped them. If she hadn’t, we’d still be hearing the pained howling now.

2. I saw a CD the other day titled “Irish Drinking Songs.” Isn’t that categorization a bit unnecessary? I mean, from what I’ve heard, you can play just about any song ever written and Irishmen will drink to it. Belt out an off-key rendition of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and they’ll gladly get out the Guinness. Am I correct?

3. This is by no means authoritative, but based on observations I’ve made of college-age women (strictly a scientific study, I assure you), the almost total domination of straight hair styles among females is slowly coming to an end. I see more and more girls and young women who are letting their naturally wavy or curly hair come back, and if I had any doubts, the person who cuts my hair says she, too, has noticed that hairstyles with more body are again gaining acceptance. For a while there, I thought we’d never see a woman with anything but long, straight hair again. My position is: vive la difference.

4. Speaking of altering hair, my 20-something niece, who has absolutely gorgeous wavy hair, has been straightening her hair for probably two years or more. This involves basically ironing her hair with some newfangled device every single morning, a process that takes awhile and is surely not pleasant. Why is it that we so often want exactly the opposite of what we don’t have? If we have straight hair, we want hair with body, and if we have wavy or curly hair, we want it straight. If it’s brown, we want blonde; if it’s blonde, we want red or black.

5. Last weekend, we went to a Sunday school social at the new home of some church friends, which is located on 20 acres in a rural area outside of Waco. The property is gorgeous, with a big riding stable, a pool, pastures and trees. My envy for the rural life was tempered a bit, however, when the hostess told all of us how she has battled against scorpions ever since moving into the house. Even though they have sprayed three times, they still get the little terrors on a semi-regular basis.

She told us of incredible tales involving these nasty, poisonous little devils. One time, she awoke early in the morning to find a scorpion apparently asleep on her bathroom floor. She managed to put a large drinking glass over it, then left to go to work. When she came back home, the scorpion was still trapped, but there was another big scorpion sitting right beside it, possibly its mate.

Another event would have had me fleeing the house like those folks in The Amityville Horror. Our hostess said that one early morning she awoke in the dark to find that her cheek was in great pain. She finally figured out that a scorpion must have stung her. She got out of bed, flung back the covers, and there it was, making its way toward her soundly sleeping husband. She yelled at him that a scorpion was attacking, and he shot out of the bed like lightning.

My house is much smaller, and it doesn’t have a stable, but we so far have no scorpions, and I think I’m staying put.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Mindset of Today's College Freshman

Every year, the folks at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin, release something called the "Beloit College Mindset List." What this does is try to paint a picture of what the mindset of students entering as freshmen in U.S. colleges and universities is like. The list points out things that the Class of 2009 is familiar with, and things they are mostly unaware of, because of when they were born and what things were or were not popular or in use at that time.

Here's this year's list, showing what is or isn't in the mindset of students who were born 18 years ago. Some of these are sad, such as 54 and 62. Others I would count as blessings, such as 10 and 58.



Most students entering college this fall were born in 1987.

1.  Andy Warhol, Liberace, Jackie Gleason, and Lee Marvin have always been dead.
2.  They don't remember when "cut and paste" involved scissors.
3.  Heart-lung transplants have always been possible.
4.  Wayne Gretzky never played for Edmonton.
5.  Boston has been working on "The Big Dig" all their lives.
6.  With little need to practice, most of them do not know how to tie a tie.
7.  Pay-Per-View television has always been an option.
8.  They never had the fun of being thrown into the back of a station wagon with six others.
9.  Iran and Iraq have never been at war with each other.
10.  They are more familiar with Greg Gumbel than with Bryant Gumbel.
11.  Philip Morris has always owned Kraft Foods.
12.  Al-Qaida has always existed with Osama bin Laden at its head.
13.  They learned to count with Lotus 1-2-3.
14.  Car stereos have always rivaled home component systems.
15.  Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker have never preached on television.
16.  Voice mail has always been available.
17.  "Whatever" is not part of a question but an expression of sullen rebuke.
18.  The federal budget has always been more than a trillion dollars.
19.  Condoms have always been advertised on television.
20. They may have fallen asleep playing with their Gameboys in the crib.
21.  They have always had the right to burn the flag.
22.  For daily caffeine emergencies, Starbucks has always been around the corner.
23.  Ferdinand Marcos has never been in charge of the Philippines.
24.  Money put in their savings account the year they were born earned almost 7% interest.
25.  Bill Gates has always been worth at least a billion dollars.
26.  Dirty dancing has always been acceptable.
27.  Southern fried chicken, prepared with a blend of 11 herbs and spices, has always been available in China.
28.  Michael Jackson has always been bad, and greed has always been good.
29.  The Starship Enterprise has always looked dated.
30.  Pixar has always existed.
31. There has never been a "fairness doctrine" at the FCC.
32.  Judicial appointments routinely have been "Borked."
33.  Aretha Franklin has always been in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
34.  There have always been zebra mussels in the Great Lakes.
35.  Police have always been able to search garbage without a search warrant.
36.  It has always been possible to walk from England to mainland Europe on dry land.
37.  They have grown up in a single superpower world.
38.  They missed the oat bran diet craze.
39.  American Motors has never existed.
40.  Scientists have always been able to see supernovas.
41.  Les Miserables has always been on stage.
42.  Halogen lights have always been available at home, with a warning.
43.  "Baby M" may be a classmate, and contracts with surrogate mothers have always been legal.
44.  RU486, the "morning after pill," has always been on the market.
45.  There has always been a pyramid in front of the Louvre in Paris.
46.  British Airways has always been privately owned.
47.  Irradiated food has always been available but controversial.
48.  Snowboarding has always been a popular winter pastime.
49.  Libraries have always been the best centers for computer technology and access to good software.
50.  Biosphere 2 has always been trying to create a revolution in the life sciences.
51.  The Hubble Telescope has always been focused on new frontiers.
52.  Researchers have always been looking for stem cells.
53.  They do not remember "a kinder and gentler nation."
54.  They never saw the shuttle Challenger fly.
55.  The TV networks have always had cable partners.
56.  Airports have always had upscale shops and restaurants.
57.  Black Americans have always been known as African-Americans.
58.  They never saw Pat Sajak or Arsenio Hall host a late night television show.
59.  Matt Groening has always had a Life in Hell.
60.  Salman Rushdie has always been watching over his shoulder.
61.  Digital cameras have always existed.
62.  Tom Landry never coached the Cowboys.
63.  Time Life and Warner Communications have always been joined.
64.  CNBC has always been on the air.
65.  The Field of Dreams has always been drawing people to Iowa.
66.  They never saw a Howard Johnson's with 28 ice cream flavors.
67.  Reindeer at Christmas have always distinguished between secular and religious decorations.
68.  Entertainment Weekly has always been on the newsstand.
69.  Lyme Disease has always been a ticking concern in the woods.
70.  Jimmy Carter has always been an elder statesman.
71.  Miss Piggy and Kermit have always dwelt in Disneyland.
72.  America's Funniest Home Videos has always been on television.
73.  Their nervous new parents heard C. Everett Koop proclaim nicotine as addictive as heroin.
74.  Lever has always been looking for 2000 parts to clean.
75.  They have always been challenged to distinguish between news and entertainment on cable TV.

© 2005 Beloit College, Beloit, Wisconsin

Midweek Poem

Have you ever woken up one morning, with the sun shining, the birds singing, and your spouse nuzzled up next to you in a warm bed, and thought how delicious it would be to play hooky from the office or household chores and just enjoy the day together outdoors? And then, after you wake up a bit and the "dutiful mills of the brain" start alerting you to all the important responsibilities you have yet to attend to, you sadly put away that wild idea and start getting dressed for work? That's the instance this poem captures perfectly.


by John Crowe Ransom

Jane awoke Ralph so gently on one morning
That first, before the true householder Learning
Came back to tenant in the haunted head,
He lay upon his back and let his stare
Penetrate dazedly into the blue air
That swam all round his bed,
And in the blessed silence nothing was said.

Then his eyes travelled through the window
And lit, enchantedly, on such a meadow
Of wings and light and clover,
He would propose to Jane then to go walking
Through the green waves, and to be singing not talking;
Such imps were pranking over
Him helpless lying in bed beneath a cover.

Suddenly he remembered about himself,
His manliness returned entirely to Ralph;
The dutiful mills of the brain
Began to whir with their smooth-grinding wheels
And the sly visitors wriggled off like eels;
He rose and was himself again.
Simply another morning, and simply Jane.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Top Single: This Week in 1965

That's right, you guessed it. The No. 1 song in America 40 years ago this week was "I Got You Babe" by Sonny and Cher. This was the first big hit for the married duo, and would be their only No. 1 record. After Cher went on to a solo career, she would land three songs at the top of the charts, including "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves."

If you remember, "I Got You Babe" played a big part in one of Bill Murray's best movies. It was the song which woke him up every morning -- the same morning -- in the 1993 movie Groundhog Day. The song was also the one Sonny and Cher sang when they had their television reunion on the David Letterman Show back in November 1987.

Strangely enough, Sonny and Cher's record company, Atco, didn't even want "I Got You Babe" as the A-side of the duo's single. They preferred a song called "It's Gonna Rain" as the A-side, with "Babe" as the B-side. Sonny, who wrote the song, decided to take matters into his own hands by taking "I Got You Babe" to radio station KHJ in Hollywood, and after the song proved to be an immediate smash with listeners, Atco changed their minds and released it as the A-side.

"I Got You Babe" grabbed the No. 1 spot on August 14, 1965, and stayed on top for three weeks. Here's the other songs which made up the Top 5 on August 14, 1965:

2. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction -- Rolling Stones
3. Save Your Heart For Me -- Gary Lewis and the Playboys
4. I'm Henry VIII, I Am -- Herman's Hermits
5. What's New Pussycat? -- Tom Jones

Monday, August 22, 2005

One of Those Mondays for Mrs. Muley

Guest blogger today is Mrs. Muley, who sent out this e-mail this morning to all of our Sunday School class:

I just wanted to let you know what a blessed Monday morning I've had! I don't usually use the words "blessed" and "Monday" in the same sentence, but I think today qualifies.

Today, with 12 minutes until the bell, my daughter Katelyn, her friend Heather, and I were distressed to find the van wouldn't start, but would merely "click." After being reminded by both girls that they couldn't be tardy because "they're taking tardies really serious this year," I jumped out of the car, ran into the house and called my next door neighbor, Barbara. Barbara, who I speak to maybe a couple of times a month, answered the phone with a sleepy "hello." I quickly explained our dilemma and asked her if I could borrow her new SUV to quickly drive the panicked kids to school -- only seven minutes till the bell! She graciously let me and we drove out of her driveway with five minutes to go. I dropped the girls off with three minutes until the bell and returned the car to Barbara. (Yes, we live very close to the school, but not close enough to walk).

It always seems that any time I run into Barbara, I'm in a hurry to get somewhere, but today I felt obligated to listen to her woes and patiently listened while she told me about her "deadbeat son-in-law and lazy grandkids," among other problems. It had been a stressful year and she couldn't understand why things had been going so badly for her family. I told her to keep praying and don't give up hope. Okay, gotta see about getting this van fixed.

That's when I called my brother Pete, whom I work with (only seven minutes away), and got him to come over to my aid. He jumped the battery and we were on our way to see about getting a new one. However, the van started acting up with the display flashing off and on and I realized a trip to Wal-Mart wasn't going to cut it. I called him on the cell and told him to head to the dealer's instead. I prayed us all the way to the intersection of Hwy 6 and Bagby. The van died at the light, first one in line and only one lane open due to construction. I got out of the van, looked pleadingly at my brother who was following in his truck, and tried to wave traffic over. Then a construction worker drove up out of nowhere onto the grass and asked if we needed help. He pulled his truck up and using my brother's cables, got my engine started again, and I made the short drive to the dealer's, where my van sits and I wait to hear the news.

All this to say, despite a bumpy start to a Monday, all this has made me appreciate my neighbor, my brother, and a stranger who all selflessly came to my aid today -- also cell phones! I really do feel blessed. It also blesses me to know that I can call on any of you and you would be there for me. Hope all of you have a blessed day -- minus the car trouble!


I'll keep everyone posted on how this turns out. I, too, am thankful both for good friends and that someone looking out for us from above.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Texas Postcard Gallery

When this happens, better have a big passel of carrots on hand.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Random Observations and Trivial Events

1. I came across a great blog title the other day that made me laugh out loud: I Moved Your Cheese, Moron. If you haven’t heard of the title of the popular book it refers to, however, that’s probably about as funny as dirt.

2. What are parents thinking when they buy their children provocative T-shirts to wear out in public? At a big mall recently, I saw two examples – both with fathers and daughters – of this phenomenon. First, I saw a teenage girl, fairly sweet and innocent-looking, walking around with a T-shirt that said something like, “I was NOT at Hooters with my dad when he bought me this T-shirt.” I guess it’s their version of, “My dad went to Hooters and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”

The other example was a father walking with his somewhat goth-looking pre-teen daughter, who was wearing a T-shirt which read, “DV8.” Is Dad #1 glad that his daughter’s friends know she has a dad who goes to Hooters? Is Dad #2 proud that his young daughter is walking around in front of men advertising the fact that she is supposedly a sexual deviate? What are these bonehead dads thinking? Do they not care what messages their daughters advertise in public? Are they so afraid of being considered “uncool” by their kids that they won’t say no?

3. Snarky T-shirt slogan of the month: “Stupidity is Not a Crime, So You’re Free to Go.”

4. My 9-year-old daughter and her friend got tired of waiting for me to cut the backyard grass so they could play an unobstructed game of soccer, so the other day they went out with scissors to do it themselves. Yes, I felt guilty enough to cut the dang thing when I got home from work that evening.

5. I notice that there’s a number of big, extra-disc collectors DVDs coming out this fall for some true movie classics. Each set is filled with commentaries, documentaries and lots of other bonus goodies. To Kill a Mockingbird comes out in a new 2-disc set on Sept. 6; Ben-Hur will be released in a whopping four-disc set on Sept. 13; and an absolutely fabulous 3-disc version of Wizard of Oz debuts Oct. 25. And if you consider The Blues Brothers a cinematic classic, as I do, its 2-disc special edition DVD comes out Aug. 30.

6. In one of his latest posts, The Nightfly talks about the new combination printer and scanner he just bought. Sounds like he got a good deal, and bought a model which doesn’t use a lot of ink. Last summer, we bought an Epson Photo printer, which prints gorgeous stuff, but it has six separate color cartridges, and that baby drinks its ink like nothing you’ve ever seen. It seems as though every time I turn around, I’m off to Office Max to purchase another $15 cartridge. I got taken in by the manufacturer’s grand plan: sell the printers cheap, then price the ink high and watch the money just roll in.

The Nappy Diaries, Part 2

I don't know why, but it seems I have inherited the "Strange Diaper News" beat this week. Here's another wild tale, once again referred to me by Mrs. Muley. It illustrates how when it comes to protecting against terrorists, European postal workers just won't put up with any crap.

BERLIN (Reuters) -- An "electronic nappy" used to monitor wetness sparked a bomb alert in a German post office when it arrived in a parcel ticking suspiciously, police in the southwestern city of Heilbronn said Thursday.

"They suspected it was a bomb so they put the package into an empty room and called the police," said a police spokesman. "It was supposed to respond to wetness with bleeping sounds, but this one ticked."

Two squad cars rushed to the scene and immediately contacted the sender. Police gave the all clear after they contacted the woman who told them the intercepted package contained only a malfunctioning diaper.

(Too bad the "wet" substance making the diaper go off was some leaking Anthrax virus. Whoops! NOT REALLY).

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

You BET These Cows Eat Grass

Some days you wonder if the Weekly World News has hijacked the AP News wire.

Today comes a story out of Russia. Some farmers there were confronted with a bit of a problem. The nice field they use to graze their cows in during the winter, filled with nourishing sunflowers and maize, was secretly infiltrated by people using it to grow illegal drugs. Marijuana, to be specific.

See, the drug guys came in and quietly seeded the peaceful pastures with marijuana seeds. By now, 40 tons of marijuana plants have grown up among the maize and sunflowers.

The Russian authorities seized the field, of course, but they faced a problem. If they simply burned the field up to get rid of the marijuana, all of the maize and sunflowers that the cows normally eat during the winter months would burn up as well, and the cows would starve to death.

So, the authorities have decided they'd rather have the cows eat a little wacky grass than starve. These bovines will be filling all four stomachs with fresh, grade A marijuana.

"There is simply no other way out," a Federal Drugs Control Service spokeswoman for the Urals region of Sverdlovsk said.

I'm glad that the cows are being given a chance to survive, but I wonder if authorities have had time to contemplate all of the possible ramifications of this unusual move, like I have:

1. Russian fraternity boys will find "cow tipping" much easier.
2. Cows suffering from glaucoma will begin migrating from all over Europe to the area, looking for a cure.
3. Russian butcher shops can market a new type of meat called "Reefer Beefer" to potheads worldwide.
4. Ads in Russian magazines will change slogan from "Got milk?" to "Got weed?"
5. I forsee an immediate surge of interest by students in local school milk programs.
6. Tokers will boost tourism when they come to score highs off Sverdlovskian cheesecake, yogurts and danishes.
7. Out: Maui Wowie. In: "Cowie Wowie"
8. We have finally cleared up an age-old mystery: why the cow jumped over the moon.

Hat Tip to Mrs. Muley

Midweek Poem

This is pretty much the story of my life, except I still go to parties occasionally. The only difference is that I don't go to seek a new lover. They're potluck Sunday School affairs, and we call them "socials." About the wildest thing we do is play board games.


Being Boring
by Wendy Cope

If you ask me "What's new?," I have nothing to say
Except that the garden is growing.
I had a slight cold but it's better today.
I'm content with the way things are going.
Yes, he is the same as he usually is,
Still eating and sleeping and snoring.
I get on with my work. He gets on with his.
I know this is all very boring.

There was drama enough in my turbulent past:
Tears and passion -- I've used up a tankful.
No news is good news, and long may it last,
If nothing much happens, I'm thankful.
A happier cabbage you never did see,
My vegetable spirits are soaring.
If you're after excitement, steer well clear of me.
I want to go on being boring.

I don't go to parties. Well, what are they for,
If you don't need to find a new lover?
You drink and you listen and drink a bit more
And you take the next day to recover.
Someone to stay home with was all my desire
And, now that I've found a safe mooring,
I've just one ambition in life: I aspire
To go on and on being boring.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Nutcase in a Nappy

For all of you women who think today's men are becoming more infantile (and weirder to boot), here's some supporting evidence.

LONDON (Reuters) -- UK police said Monday they were searching for a man wearing just a diaper, who approaches women late at night and asks: "Are there any baby changing facilities around here?"

Cleveland police in northeast England said the latest incident occurred around 11 p.m. Sunday when he surprised a woman walking her dog in a play area in Eaglescliffe, near Middlesbrough. Police said no one had been assaulted by the man but described his behavior as bizarre and a cause for concern.

"There have been several reports of him having been seen in Eaglescliffe dressed only in a nappy and we are keen to trace him and speak to him," police said.

(I don't know about you, but I think those police are being pretty judgmental and intolerant of diversity in loin-covering culture. They're profiling this poor man, heaven forbid! Is every guy who walks around in a big Huggy looking for the nearest box of baby wipes a potential criminal? Free Baby Huey! Oh, the inhumanity. And it's all George W. Bush's fault, somehow).

Top Single: This Week in 1980

During this week in 1980, the nation's No. 1 single was "Magic" by Olivia Newton-John. The song hit No. 1 on August 2, 1980, and stayed at the top spot for four weeks. It was Olivia's third No. 1 single, and came from the movie "Xanadu," which was a box office dud, although the soundtrack did quite well. And Olivia did get to sing and dance with Gene Kelly.

Other songs in the Top Five 25 years ago today:

#2 It's Still Rock and Roll to Me -- Billy Joel
#3 Little Jeannie -- Elton John
#4 Cupid/I've Loved You For a Long Time -- Spinners
#5 Shining Star -- Manhattans

Monday, August 15, 2005

Random Observations and Trivial Events

1. Why do we say a “pair” of pants? Pair implies two of something, right? Then what comprises the “pair” on my pants? The legs? If I went into a store and asked for a pant, would they just give me one leg covering and half a waistband?

2. Yesterday in the car, my 9-year-old daughter Katelyn asked out of the blue, “Have you ever stuck your tongue up above your teeth and tried to feel your nostrils?” None of us could say that we had, and what’s more, none of us had even thought of trying this experiment. The creativity of the young mind knows no bounds.

3. Speaking of nostrils, I learned during a visit to the ear, nose and throat doctor a few years ago that I have very narrow, small nostrils, which is one of the reasons my sense of smell is not as good as that of normal people. I find this highly ironic and unfair. Anyone with a schnozz as large as mine should have nostrils the size of a water main, enabling him to smell everything within a 100-yard radius. Alas, that is not the case. I can’t even smell strong perfume unless my nose is right up next to it, which is a bit awkward in social situations. Other guys don’t appreciate me with my nose on their wives’ necks, sniffing.

4. We went to the wedding Saturday of one of my second cousins, a guy who has one more semester to go before he graduates from college. His bride just graduated in May. It was a beautiful wedding, very traditional and solemn. Both the bride and groom are strong Christians who “waited” until marriage, and are both very shy and reserved people. It was so refreshing to see their obvious nervousness and even delicacy toward one another. I imagine their wedding night was indeed a new adventure. I contrast this to weddings I’ve seen where the couple has been shacking up together for months, sometimes years, and the ceremony is something they’re grudgingly dragged through to please fuddy-duddy traditional parents. It’s as though the whole thing is just another obligatory chore, like getting a driver’s license renewed. So I was glad to see the rare innocence of an old-fashioned wedding.

5. Speaking of weddings, why do they always take pains to mention in wedding announcements that it was a “double-ring” ceremony? Aren’t they all double ring affairs? Do they do this just to reassure readers that both participants did their duties and ponied up with rings? Are there such things as “single ring” ceremonies, where one person or the other drops the ball and decides not to give their mate a ring? Maybe the bride, for example, has rejected the simple ring her groom can afford now, and is holding out for a costlier rock down the road. Or maybe poor, toothless hillbilly couples can afford just one nice ring (Costco, $49.95), so they just share it – hubby wears it MWF, the wife on TThS, and then they trade off on Sunday-go-to-meetin' days.

6. I was in Wal-Mart’s restroom the other day, and when I went to wash my hands I found they had one of those newfangled motion-controlled faucet setups. The problem was, even though they had three faucets, I couldn’t get any of them to work, no matter how vigorously I moved my hands. I mean, I was just about doing The Dance of the Seven Veils in front of the sensors, and no water would come out. Finally, for some unexplained reason after I had given up, the water started bursting out. And, of course, before I could react and thrust my hands under the tap, the water just as quickly shut off again. I sure do miss the “old-fangled” days of faucet handles.

7. Buying a Dr Pepper at the convenience store over the weekend, I notice that Texas now offers a $1 Lotto game called “I Love Lucy,” which includes photos from the popular TV show. Is this a new trend with gambling? Will there be “All in the Family” slot machines soon? Beverly Hillbillies bingo?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The 60th Anniversary of VJ Day

On this day in 1945, the Allies celebrated VJ Day, for "Victory over Japan," which meant the end of World War II. These photos show how some people celebrated the big day.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Got Gas?

Here's what one of the "better" sets of gas prices were as of late Friday Aug. 12 in Waco, Texas. I'm curious -- how does this compare with your neck of the woods?

Responses so far (regular unleaded):

Georgia: $2.67
New Jersey: $2.27
Detroit: $2.53
Houston: $2.54

Texas Postcard Gallery

Ah, if it were only true that the stock pens were the sole places where you saw traffic jams this big in Texas. Alas, we drivers feel like cattle when we venture out on highways in our biggest cities come rush hour. Exchange the cows for cars, and this could be 5 p.m. on Houston's Katy Freeway, Dallas' Central Expressway or I-35 in Austin.

One of the good things about a smaller city such as Waco is that while we have a rush hour, it's only on one street through the center of town, and it's over by 5:30 p.m. If you lived here, you'd be home by now.

It's nice, let me tell you. We're spoiled that way.

Speaking Ill of Republicans

Sometimes you read a blog post that sums up your feelings about an issue or person so well that you think, "Wow, he (or she) has been mind-melding with me while I sleep." I got that impression when I read this post from Joe Carter at The Evangelical Outpost about breaking what Ronald Reagan used to call "The Eleventh Commandment," which is "Thou shall speak ill of no Republican."

My agreement rate with Carter's analysis isn't 100 percent, but it's in the high 90s for sure.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Random Observations and Trivial Events

1. While waiting at the pharmacy to get a prescription filled, I noticed a display of plastic pill boxes –- you know, those ones where each day of the week has a compartment with a flip-top lid. They come in all sizes, and the largest size I saw displayed was huge. You could easily put three dominoes in each day’s compartment and still have space left. I know there are probably tens of thousands of people who take so much medication each day that they need a pill box this big –- maybe two or three boxes, I don't know. I hope I never, ever, have to take that much medicine.

2. There’s always at least a 30-year difference in age between the music that plays through a grocery store’s sound system and the music that the stock boys play on their personal boom boxes. The music on the store system is usually 70s pop and rock; the music on the boom boxes is usually rap, modern hard rock or contemporary country. While John Denver burbles from the ceiling, Ludacris is shouting it out on Aisle 14.

3. There’s a new product just out –- Mega M&Ms -- and it's supposedly 55 percent larger than regular M&Ms. What is the reason for bringing this product out? Are people complaining their regular M&Ms are too wimpy? Will we see Super Sweet Tarts next?

4. I bought the DVD of “Because of Winn-Dixie” for the kids when it was released Tuesday. This is another one of those rare movies that is not only entertaining for adults, but is clean enough and interesting enough even for pre-teen kids. I’m looking forward to watching it again. I predict that Annasophia Robb, the 11-year-old female lead, is going to be a major, major star someday. She also plays one of the bratty kids in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (a movie I haven’t seen yet), but be sure to see her play a very likeable character in “Winn-Dixie.”

5. While on vacation, I watched “Tombstone” for the first time. Wow! What a great, but brutal, movie. I’m not sure how historically accurate it is, but it’s great drama. I was admittedly surprised at how good an acting job Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer did. I don’t think of either one as a heavyweight thespian, but they were great in this.

6. I went along on a photo shoot Monday at a doctor’s office. As the photographer was inside a room getting shots of a posed examination, I was staying out of camera range in the hallway. I pace sometimes when I’m waiting, and as I was walking back and forth, a nurse came up to me, patted me softly on the back, and asked me in a very concerned voice, “Are you waiting for a family member?” When I told her that no, I was just waiting for the photo shoot to be over, she laughed and told me I had such a worried look on my face while I paced the hall that she thought I was anxious about a loved one.

7. Here in the Lone Star State, I notice that Dreyer’s ice cream has come out with two new flavors designed to appeal to rabid Texas college football fans (are there any other kinds?) Actually, it’s one flavor of ice cream packaged in two different cartons. The ice cream inside is “vanilla ice cream with fudge swirls and caramel-filled footballs,” but one carton has the name “Aggie Blitz” (for Texas A&M fans), while other cartons call it “Longhorn Stampede” (for University of Texas fans). Wouldn’t pigskin detract from the flavor of caramel?

8. I’m trying to figure out what I want to do with Muley’s World, and in which direction I want to take it. I feel it (and I) have been somewhat aimless lately. I guess I've got the blogging blahs.

9. There are days when I just absolutely cannot listen to talk radio, even conservative, pro-America, Christian talk radio. Some days it just seems like it’s the same conversation replayed for the 4,346th time, with the same good guys and bad guys, the same treachery, the same idiocy, the same frustrations. I like to maintain the illusion that the quality of my daily life doesn’t depend on whether the Democrats or Republicans score more points on a given day, or whether I am sufficiently outraged by the latest public outrageousness.

10. You know those wordless bathroom signs, where the only difference between the stick figures is that the female figure is shown wearing a skirt? What happens when they use these signs in Scotland, and a guy wearing a kilt walks up? Is he confused about where to go? Does he have the right to choose either one and not get in trouble?

11. I was walking through the halls of our church on Wednesday night, and I thought I heard the youth band upstairs playing a familiar song during their “youth hour.” Sure enough, it was a cover of “Freebird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Okay. Is this a new Baptist youth group anthem? Were the kids in the audience all holding up flaming Bic lighters and yelling “FREEBIRD!”?

12. I've heard that Ken Follett's book The Pillars of the Earth, a fictional account of the building of a cathedral in 12th century England, is a phenomenal read. Has anyone read it? If so, was it good?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Midweek Poem

Just and Unjust
by Lord Bowen

The rain it raineth on the just
And also on the unjust fella;
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust steals the just's umbrella.

Michelin Man Muley

Now you know why my kids so frequently say, "Daddy, you're GOOFY." This is a shot of me last week at the Schlitterbahn waterpark. It looks amazingly similar to me after an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner at Ryan's Steakhouse here in Waco.

Remember Electricity? Those Were the Days

Waco got hit with a helluva lighning and thunder storm overnight (not the one pictured to the left, but probably close to that). It started about 2 a.m., and by 3 a.m. our 9-year-old daughter was in our room, frightened to death by what sounded like Armageddon being fought outside our windows. The rain came down harder than I've seen it in a long, long time, and our normally bone dry August Texas lawn was fast becoming a lake.

At around 4:15 a.m. our power went out, so we got to listen to the sonic booms in a room lit only by candles. Finally, the storm moved off -- at least the lightning and thunder part -- and we were able to get some sleep.

I had to take my morning constitutional in the dark, with the help of a lone flashlight. I can't be sure that I shaved well, or have matching clothes on. It's harder than you think to get groomed and dressed in the dark.

We forget how utterly, hopelessly dependent most of us are on electricity and modern conveniences until we lose power for an extended period of time. Just about every part of my morning routine had to be altered in some way because we had no juice. I couldn't even drive the car out of the garage in the normal way to go to work because I rely on electricity to open the door for me.

The neat thing was, though, that this morning brought something I usually don't hear getting ready for work -- quiet. There was no TV blaring with the morning news, no toaster popping, no radio going, no blow driers whooshing. There wasn't even an air conditioner humming. All there was was darkness, and the steady beat of the rain on the roof. I found it very comforting, except for the fact that I knew a gallon of ice cream in the freezer was slowly melting away.

Mrs. Muley stayed home with our daughter, awaiting the renewal of precious power. She called me about 10 a.m. to report that the power hadn't yet come back on at our house, so with the help of our daughter she cleaned out our refrigerator of all the most crucial items and drove across town to her mother's house, where the power was still on. Just as she had transferred the items to the new refrigerator, the power went off at my mother-in-law's house as well. So now my wife is in the dark again, and the ice cream has resumed melting.

Power is out all across Waco, so we're forced to patiently wait our turn. I hope things get back to normal soon. But I can surely be thankful for answered prayers that we didn't get hit by lightning or flooded out. And I am also thankful for being forced to pause and consider just how fragile my reliance on something as basic as electricity really is.

UPDATE: It's 12:05 p.m., and still no power in either our house or my mother-in-law's. My daughter has been placed in the house of a friend with available electricity, and Mrs. Muley has made it to work. If we still don't have power by tonight, we're considering taking a cue from Gilligan's Island and rigging up an old stationary exercise bike to provide pedal-power electricity. Guess who gets the first riding assignment.

FINAL UPDATE: It's 1:30 p.m., and since we can now get our answering machine to answer when we call home, we believe our power is finally back on. It's still raining, though, and reports of scattered flooding continue to seep in from throughout Central Texas.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Top Single: This Week in 1975

What single was #1 on Billboard's singles chart 30 years ago today, on August 9, 1975?

"Jive Talkin'," by the Bee Gees. It would remain #1 for a total of two weeks. This is the song that began the Bee Gees' comeback, which would soon peak in the Saturday Night Fever days.

Other top songs that week:

#2 I'm Not in Love, 10cc
#3 Please Mr. Please, Olivia Newton-John
#4 One of These Nights, The Eagles
#5 Someone Saved My Life Tonight, Elton John

Empty Nest Trial Run

Our oldest daughter Rebecca, who's 12, left today to accompany her best friend and her family on a 5-day vacation to Corpus Christi and the Texas Gulf coast. Rebecca is excited, but since she's also a homebody, she's also been reminding us of how much she will miss us. Except for a one-night church trip years ago, this will be the first time she's been away from home (out of town) without us.

Mrs. Muley and I already miss her, and we understand that this is just the first of the trips away we'll have to live through, culminating, of course, in that big, final trip away from home during or after college. (Of course, we're not even entertaining the idea that Rebecca might end up a bum and try to live with us until we physically kick her out at age 43).

Anyway, this is nothing big, nothing of any consequence in the world and its turnings, except that we know it's just the first of those little separations we will have to buck up and accept as parents. It's a part of life for sure, but we'll sure be glad to see Rebecca when she returns on Saturday.

We've Got Our Excuse Now, Guys

LONDON (AFP) Men who are accused of never listening by women now have an excuse -- women's voices are more difficult for men to listen to than other men's, a report said.

The Daily Mail, quoting findings published in the specialist magazine NeuroImage, said researchers at Sheffield university in northern England discovered startling differences in the way the brain responds to male and female sounds.

Men deciphered female voices using the auditory part of the brain that processes music, while male voices engaged a simpler mechanism, it said.

The Mail quoted researcher Michael Hunter as saying, "The female voice is actually more complex than the male voice, due to differences in the size and shape of the vocal cords and larynx between men and women, and also due to women having greater natural 'melody' in their voices. This causes a more complex range of sound frequencies than in a male voice."

The findings may help explain why people suffering hallucinations usually hear male voices, the report added, as the brain may find it much harder to conjure up a false female voice accurately than a false male voice.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Howdy Again, Ya'll

I'm glad to be back in the blogosphere after an absence of almost a week. We had a good vacation with another family from our church, and the kids had a blast, which is, of course, the point of a family vacation.

The one thing that didn't happen on our trip was that I didn't get to meet Stacy of Not a Desperate Housewife in San Antonio. Her family's vacation there just happened to coincide with ours, and I had hoped that we'd both by chance find ourselves at the same place at the same time, but it didn't happen. I did, however, get to talk with her briefly by cell phone, and she sounds as interesting "live" as she does on her blog posts. She's still on vacation today, and I hope she and her family have fun.

I have a few topics I'd like to post on, but don't have the time right now to sit down and type. My desk is piled full of stuff that was waiting for my return, and there's lots of work to be done on our overgrown yard to boot. So I will hopefully be back by tomorrow with something halfway interesting.

In the meantime, I noticed while I was gone that Marla Swoffer, one of the contributors to Intellectuelle, is taking what she calls an "indefinite sabbatical" from her personal blog. I not only found her long post explaining her decision, titled Dying to My Blogging Self, to be quite interesting, but it also contributed to some thoughts I've had in my own head about the future direction of Muley's World (which I'll share sometime down the road). If you have five minutes to spare, Marla's post is worth a read.

One final memento from the trip -- a movie plug. If you're looking for a good family movie to go to, one with a decent plot, some funny situations, great special effects, and no bad language or vulgarity, try Sky High, the latest movie from Disney. It stars Disney veteran Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston as married real estate salespersons who just happen to also be the world's mightiest superheroes. However, most of the story revolves around their teenaged son, who is starting "Sky High," the high school where kids of superheroes go. Each kid at the school is branded either as a "hero" or as "hero support" (a PC name for "sidekick") based on how good their super powers are. This allows for subtle comment on high school cliques and stereotyping amid all the fun. It's not as good as the first "Spy Kids," but it's a good way to spend an afternoon with your family, even the pre-teens. And I don't get paid for this endorsement.

Quote of the day:

"I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it."

--Harry Emerson Fosdick
in Riverside Sermons

Friday, August 05, 2005

Requiem for a Waterpark

I filed this audio post the day after visiting Schlitterbahn, the big waterpark in New Braunfels, Texas.

this is an audio post - click to play

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

On the Road Again

I swear this is a true story.

Last night, I was shopping at Wal-Mart to get supplies for my family's upcoming trip. Suddenly, I heard the following message come over the public address system:

"Immanuel Kant. Immanuel Kant. Please meet your party up front at the checkout area. Paging Immanuel Kant."

Now, I think I can say without reservation that this was the first time I'd ever heard an 18th century German philosopher paged in Wal-Mart. Did Manny get separated from his "Back From the Grave" bus tour group? Of course, some wisenheimer was behind it all, probably some straight-faced philosophy major from Baylor. The poor checkout lady no doubt was unaware that the man she was paging had been dead more than 200 years.

I mentioned that I was shopping for another trip, and it's true. The Muley family is hitting the road again, this time to New Braunfels and San Antonio. Every year, we and another family from our church make a daylong visit to Schlitterbahn, often voted the nation's best water park. It's an incredible place, with spring-fed water coursing through 65 acres into every imaginable type of chute, waterfall, slide, river and whatnot. When I say we'll make a daylong visit, I mean it. We arrive when they open the doors, and we're some of the last prune-skinned people to leave. The kids love it, and even though it's Texas in August, it's okay because you're in cool water most of the time. And I love it because I get to show off my latest additions of flab and fish-white skin to lots of tanned, lean people with tattoos.

Actually, that's one of the reasons I love Schlitterbahn. It's like visiting a walking museum of post-modernist art, as every other person is copiously tattooed. Since people have very little clothing covering their bodies, these tattoos are shown off in their full glory, not hidden underneath 9-to-5 work attire. Some of the tattoos are quite elaborate, and fairly insane. If you've ever wanted to see a green dragon breaking out of an egg and devouring a Harley Davidson, you can see it or something like it on someone's back at Schlitterbahn. It's an eye-opener for sure, but I enjoy it. I mean, they want people to look at them, right? So I look.

Suffice to say that I will be taking a vacation from blogging until this Saturday or Sunday, unless I can squeeze in an audio post or two. We'll see.

One of the neatest things about the trip is that there's a small chance I might be able to meet my first blogger in person! Stacy from Not a Desperate Housewife will be down in San Antonio with her family the same time we are going. They're hitting Schlitterbahn as well, albeit on different days, but there's a chance our families might be cruising the San Antonio Riverwalk at the same time, so we'll see if we run into each other. I hope so.

Quote of the day:

"God's ability to perform is far beyond our prayers -- even our greatest prayers! I have recently been thinking of some of the requests I have made of Him innumerable times in my prayers. And what have I requested? I have asked for a cupful, while He owns the entire ocean! I have asked for one simple ray of light, while He holds the sun! My best asking falls immeasurably short of my Father's ability to give, which is far beyond what we could ever ask."

--John Henry Jowett

Midweek Poem

While Doubters Ask
by Andrew Young

While doubters ask "Is God asleep?"
And "Why does He not help us now?"
His presence is in men who keep
Strong hearts, clear eyes, and a calm brow.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Top Single: This Week in 1975

What single was #1 on Billboard's singles chart 30 years ago today, on August 2, 1975?

"One of These Nights," by The Eagles. It would only stay #1 for one week.

Some Things I Ponder in Idle Moments

1. In a school, if there's a fire, children are supposed to go outside to safety. During a tornado, children are supposed to seek shelter as far inside the building as they can get. Where do they go if there's a fire during a tornado?

2. In the movie Ella Enchanted, the title character was under an evil spell which caused her to comply with whatever command was given her without hesitation. I know this included verbal commands, but did it include written ones as well? For example, if Ella was driving down the road and noticed an Arby's sign which said "Try Our New Beef and Cheese Sandwich," would she be obligated to pull in and order one?

3. If things (such as planets) get hotter the closer they are to the sun, and if hot air rises, then why are the tops of mountains cold places instead of burning hot? It seems to me that, since they're closer to the sun, mountaintops should be the places that people go to when they want to sunbathe or escape the cold. Consequently, why aren't the lowest places on Earth -- those farthest away from the sun -- the coldest? This would mean that a place such as Death Valley would be covered in snow year-round, and the Dead Sea would be frozen much of the year and would become the site of lots of ice skating. Why is it just the opposite?

4. If a man had dual citizenship, and the two countries he was a citizen of declared war on another, and he was subsequently drafted by both countries, what would he do? Would he be obligated to try to kill himself, or at least beat himself up pretty badly, since one half of him would be officially at war with the other half?

5. I find myself pondering two issues about guard rails on roadways. The first is: when there's some minor damage that's been done to a guard rail -- say, when it's been slightly dented by an errant car -- why do road crews come out and spend time erecting big orange signs saying "Guard Rail Damage Ahead?" Couldn't they have used the same muscle power and time needed to transport and erect those heavy signs to just bang out the dent in the guard rail, and thereby negate the need for a sign in the first place?

6. And speaking of those "Guard Rail Damage Ahead" signs, what is their purpose? What are drivers supposed to do with the information that the guard rail up ahead is bent or banged up? Is this for tourists who want advance warning so they can slow down and take a picture? ("Now this next slide shows a guard rail we saw banged up just north of Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. Oooh-wee, look at that big dent there!") Or, are they designed for people, say, who want to commit suicide by driving off bridges into creeks and rivers, and the signs show them the places where their car will have an easier time of it because the guard rail's already been weakened?

7. After singer Ella Fitzgerald did those popular TV commercials for Memorex back in the 70s and 80s, the ones showing her hitting a high note and shattering a wine glass, did sales of her recordings plummet, as anxious homeowners sought to protect their glasses and china from destruction? Did diehard Ella enthusiasts have to construct foam-padded listening rooms to placate frightened spouses?

8. Finally, we've been told that when the Apollo 11 astronauts became the first men on the moon in July 1969, they left behind a plaque on the moon's surface which read "Here Men From the Planet Earth First Set Foot Upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D., We Came in Peace For All Mankind." And we've even seen supposed images of the plaque, like the one here. But can we be sure that's really what the plaque says? I mean, have any of us gone to the moon and seen it? What if, instead, the plaque the astronauts really left contained a map with the Soviet Union and China highlighted in red, with the message, "If You're Looking to Destroy Something, Attack These Red Parts First"?