We close the door on Amanda Knox with some final thoughts, A couple of intriguing incidents involving airplane behavior by Muslims and TSA Internet posts that could be way more sinister than we know.
Of course, there's some Tiger Woods commentary.
Much more...all with pics and video you'll find nowhere else on the Internet.
"The Charismatic, Catholic, Christmas Choir" is a little fiction piece meant for:Catholics; folks with a sense of humor; people who like Christmas; Those of us just needing a big smile for the season.
For the choir really meant well when it embarked on the ferry to entertain its passengers. The dunk into the bay of sopranos, altos and tenors and the resulting confusion was never part of the plan.
Pic of the Day
What’s the True Story of AirTran flight 297?
The tale of the strange incidents on AirTran flight out of Atlanta on November 17 is weird not only because of what happened on board the plane, but also by how oddly AirTran is treating the release of facts concerning the incidents.
From various web sites, all listed below, here are the details as I’ve gleaned with all caveats noted.
First, know now that AirTran refers to this incident on its web site, Airtran.com, as “Flight 297 – Anatomy of an Urban Legend”.
Second, know now that I have seen very little coverage of this story in any of the Old Media except for a local TV station.
Third, know now that AirTran reports that the flight manifests from Flight 297 reveal that the original fellow who reported the incident was NOT a passenger on the plane. Know now that this fellow says he indeed WAS on the plane and that he has a boarding pass to prove it. Know now that the status of Gene Hackemack, the first to report the tale of AirTran Flight 297, is not yet clear to me as to whether he was a passenger on that plane or not.
Fourth, know that other passengers have verified the claims of Gene Hackemack.
Here’s what happened, according to Hackemack.
AirTran Flight 297 to Houston from Atlanta was taxiing out to the takeoff strip when 11 men seated in the back of the plane began to raise a ruckous. The uproar involved a video camera and some shenanigans which included passing the camera around, loud laughter, in general, a sense of horseplay making all passengers aboard the flight, including Hackemack, very uncomfortable. The 11 men involved with all the shenanigans were Muslim, or at least the original writer so asserted. Perhaps they were dressed in Muslim garb, it’s unclear to me how this was known.
At this point it’s important to note that Hackemack asserted in his first detail of the incident that the whole incident was a “dry run”, which I interpret to mean the enactment of a scripted series of events that “tests” various reactions to the acting to better determine how it might all come down during the “real” event and/or to ascertain any problems before arranging a true planned occurrence, ostensibly a terrorist action.
The flight attendant did ask one of the men passing around the camera to turn it off as it was not allowed during takeoff and I got the impression that the men weren’t sitting quietly and seat-belted properly as should be the case during take-off. I caution that the logistics and stature of the men during all this horseplay is not all that clear to me. What is quite clear to me is that the flight attendant asked somebody to sit down and this is VERY important, the pilot of the plane turned it around AND WENT BACK TO THE TERMINAL.
Evidently the pilot had radioed in his intentions to somebody because once the plane arrived back at the terminal several official types boarded the plane and in due course all 11 of the disruptors were removed from the plane.
The passengers remained on board, I must suppose it was expected that the plane would soon take off. But to everyone’s surprise, TEN OF THE MEN REMOVED FROM THE PLANE RE-BOARDED THE PLANE!
The pilot and the entire crew refused to fly with that group of fine folk and right behind the exit of these people, all of the passengers also refused to fly and all exited the plane. Flight 297 was eventually cancelled.
So okay, no Old Media reported this incident but it is a story percolating around the Internet and now is part of this Blogger’s weekly True Crime entry, read by two to three people every week.
AirTran is behaving with very insincere PR regarding this incident. The airline pooh-poohs the entire matter as being a matter between an unruly passenger and the airline but hey, eleven Muslim types refuse to behave during a flight takeoff, the incident disturbs the pilot enough to not only turn around but to REFUSE TO FLY WITH THAT GROUP, all of the passengers refused to fly with that group, the flight WAS cancelled.
Instead AirTran is attacking the person who originally reported the incident, perhaps with untruths.
First and foremost, 11 Muslim men behaved so badly on an airplane as to cause the plane to eventually be cancelled. AirTran cannot deny this fact.
11 Muslim men who could have, go with me here, just sat down and awaited the plane to take off and then they could have had their yuks and shared their video, even walk about the plane. Instead they acted like children, why?
Most of us, including that flight crew and those passengers, would not fly a plane with a bunch of jerks behaving so badly and the more intelligent amongst us will not forget 9-11 and other Muslim passengers who behaved so badly.
Next, why hasn’t this incident been reported? It’s not newsworthy? Such things are a matter of judgement, true, but this is, indeed, quite newsworthy and should, if nothing else, be investigated by more than the PR Gurus at AirTran.
Third, attack the messenger? Hackemack says he did dramatize his telling of the tale a bit, not expecting it to undergo such close scrutiny but isn’t Hackemack’s attempts to get a Pulitzer secondary to a plane being cancelled because of the ill-mannered behavior of 11 Muslim men?
I’m not convinced, as Hackemack originally so vehemently asserted, that this incident was a “dry run”, a precursor to a terror event. I am certainly convinced that it is an incident involving very bad behavior by a bunch of Muslims and these people do like to blow themselves up, fly airplanes into buildings, shoot innocent folks on army bases, from time to time.
Feel free to use the links provided for more detail on the incident.
Finally the incident, thanks to the Blogosphere, IS being investigated by the FAA.
No wait…would this be the same TSA arm of the FAA in the odd story below?
TSA Secret Information Documents Posted on Internet
This tidbit passes by with a fury one day last week and I am struck still. Soon enough the media storm is over but I sit and ponder.
First, let’s get this obligatory nod to the insane notion that we should turn over our health care to the government lest all our medical records be put on the Internet for the world to see.
Next, per the longish quote below, this wasn’t just a few blurbs about the TSA and an overview on how it must handle airport security, say for example, provided as a service to you the traveling public so you may understand why the delay and such.
This secret document below is quite explicit. In fact, the discovery of this little gem was made by a Blogger, but of course. The Old Media? Nothing.
The federal government improperly posted an internal guide to its airport passenger screening procedures on the Internet in a way that could offer insight into how to sidestep security.
The document outlines who is exempt from certain additional screening measures, including members of the U.S. armed forces, governors and lieutenant governors, the mayor of Washington, D.C., and their immediate families.
It offers examples of identification documents that screeners accept, including congressional, federal air marshal and CIA ID cards; and it explains that diplomatic pouches and certain foreign dignitaries with law enforcement escorts are not subjected to any screening at all. It said certain methods of verifying identification documents aren't used on all travelers during peak travel crushes.
Before I go into my alternate theory of how this whole mess might have ended up for all the world to see, more detail on just how this happened.
It would seem that there was some intent to have portions of this manual on the Internet for perusal by the American public for perhaps as I’ve suggested above, a peek into why we must get to the airport so early for our understanding or maybe just a gubmint PR sort of thing. Portions of the manual were “redacted”, which meant they were “blacked” out in some fashion. Obviously there are parts of the manual that the traveling public should not see lest they know security secrets they shouldn’t know.
Whatever fashion was used, it turned out that with just a click here and a tweak there, all of the redacted information was readily viewable.
Again, these are the people that will be charged with handling our sensitive medical information, the mind just boggles.
We now learn that five folks from this stellar gubmint agency, soon to be in charge of our health care, start praying.
Five Transportation Security Administration employees have been placed on administrative leave since it was discovered that sensitive guidelines about airport passenger screening were posted on the Internet.
Here’s my concern, not that there wasn’t a fine, fine Muslim fellow who recently shot up a bunch of his colleagues at Fort Hood army base all the while colluding with some other radical Muslim fellow and giving out all sorts of signs about his craziness. But what if a bunch of those TSA folks DELIBERATELY posted this TSA manual online with that redacted portion so easily removed?
We have what could arguably have been a “dry run” in the story of those well-behaved Muslim airline passengers above and hey, now we have the TSA manual on the Internet for all the terrorists across the planet to access for immediate information they might need to smuggle bombs and such on a plane. No need to be emailing or snail-mailing or phone calling just boom, put the thing on the Internet, let the word get out, and any terrorist with access to a laptop wanting to plan an attack just signs on and there it all is.
Not that, like I said, we didn’t have a fine fellow all in the army for years all nuts and threatening Jihad and in general waving red flags all over the place that here was a nut so why should we believe gubmint employees might overlook obvious signs of terrorists?
The Obligatory Tiger Woods Post
I imagine that I was just as flabberghasted as the rest of America over the recent Tiger Woods flap.
I mean, come on…he’s so cute! His wife is so pretty. His children are adorable!
One of Tiger’s conquests says she’s not a whore.
Then we hear that there’s non-stop action at Tiger’s house what with him driving his Escalade into trees and fire hydrants deep in the night and if that wasn’t enough, in early December there’s more late night action at the Woods’ house with mother-in-laws collapsing and goodness we all stand shocked, shocked I tell you.!
From Radaronlin…Tiger’s Mother-in-Law collapses in Woods’ House.
And every day here during this holiest of seasons we hear of yet another Tiger mistress/girlfriend and the latest as of this writing is that Tiger rather enjoys multiple partners, at the same time, and a Madame now reveals all the prurient details about Tiger’s enjoyment of a certain prostitute. Not that, by this time, anyone’s surprised at this turn of events, assuming it’s true.
The thing is, we’ve got Kobe Bryant, Iverson, all those football players and other sports figures and damn even the cute, young Phelps fellow got caught on film smoking dope so it’s not like sports types getting into trouble and such is anything new.
But Tiger Woods went to such great pains to create an almost angelic image. And whoever “handled” this ball of testosterone sure did a great job.
Tiger’s scandal is all the more shocking because of his formerly pristine image.
I suppose the man will continue to play golf but there will be snickers, lots of snickers.
Sometimes, as in the case of the impossibly talented, the unlimited wealthy, the unbounded beautiful, the only thing that keeps them humble and within some sort of normal behavior limits, is the mockery of the society around them.
Because Tiger, you got away with some kind of crime with that Escalade but okay, you can pay to fix the hydrant and you can probably buy ten new Escalades just on your chump change.
But you can’t buy off the collective snickers of all of America.
Maybe some other stupid jerk with everything America had to offer those with talent and a willingness to work hard –which Tiger Woods had, and did- will learn something.
But probably not.
**Immediately after I wrote this, Fox has the three thousandth breaking news and a press release from Tiger reveals he will be taking a leave from pro-golf.
Woman Shoots Intruder While On Phone With Dispatcher
This is a True Crime story that doesn’t involve a cute, precious child, or a pretty missing female, or a serial killer or even a stupid criminal.
And yet it’s one of the most heartbreaking stories grounded in a reality that had to be what it was and had to happen how it happened.
The story did capture the interest of many who follow such things and the release of the 911 tape is surely riveting.
It’s not at all clear just why Billy Dean Riley was banging on the door of Donna Jackson but he was. Jackson phoned the police all the while Riley was banging on her door and even as he began to throw furniture at the door to gain entrance.
Jackson was on the phone with the dispatcher the whole time and it’s a short audio but it’s riveting.
The dispatcher did her best to get Jackson to safety from her determined intruder. Police were dispatched straightaway and obviously the police dispatcher wanted to avoid bloodshed.
But Riley, who is believed to have been high on some kind of drug, kept screaming and banging and throwing things at the door. Donna Jackson had a gun and told the dispatcher that while she didn’t want to shoot this guy, she’d shoot him “graveyard dead”.
The dispatcher urged Jackson to retreat into a safe room but Jackson refused to back into a corner and make herself more vulnerable.
Finally the dispatcher told Jackson that she will have to do what she must do.
And Jackson did. Billy dean Riley is dead. Graveyard dead.
Youtube video that so intrigued Internet viewers.
Amanda Knox-Over With…For Now
I am delighted that so many Americans haven’t bought into the spin purchased and paid for by the fine, fine murderess Amanda Knox and her family.
Some of the propaganda aims at Italian courts, some is based on the “truth” as told by none other than Amanada herself, some is that there are always people, out there somewhere, who need some criminal or another to champion their innocence despite their obvious guilt…I don’t know why this is so.
The full story of Amanda Knox has been detailed on this Blog ,HERE and HERE.
Amanda Knox has been tried in the judicial system of the country in which she committed her crime and has been found guilty.
Amanda did the deed, yes she did. Amanda Knox does not deserve any compassion or soft sobs. She brutally murdered her roommate even as the roommate was being sexually assaulted by one of Amanda’s druggie/drinking friends and as Amanda coldly slit her throat.
It’s over but we’ll leave the Amanda Knox story with a link to two very wise essays on the matter.
From Libby Purves:
Well, the appeal must decide whether the conviction is safe. But one thing that grotesquely stands out is the common expression “sexually adventurous”. Knox’s supporters online use it with indignant defensiveness (hey, man, this is the Sex and the City generation! We’re no prudes!). Media deploy it with gloating prurience.
From Ann Coulter:
Whether it is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Weather Underground, Central Park rapists, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Jim Jones and the People's Temple, welfare recipients, Palestinian terrorists, murderers, abortionists, strippers or common criminals -- liberals always take the side of the enemies of civilization against civilization.
In the view of The New York Times, every criminal trial is a shocking miscarriage of justice -- except the ones that actually are shocking miscarriages of justice.
Thus, in last week's Times, Timothy Egan wrote about a shocking miscarriage of justice being carried out against a "high-spirited" American girl accused of murder by a crazed prosecutor in Perugia, Italy.
Those who want to waste their lives on the emptiness known as Amanda Knox just consider the very many who could use such dedication.
The rest of us are moving on.
Hillary’s Campaign Buddy Paid With Stimulus Funds
“Theft of the U.S. Treasure While Lying to the Public About It.”
Above is the name of the crime for which President Obama should be charged. And if the granting of six million dollars of the stimulus money alleged to be for “stimulating” the economy to Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Mark Penn’s firms to repay her campaign debt isn’t outright, brazen thievery of our tax dollars than there is no such thing.
The Obama administration laughs at our silly outrage and says the six million saved three jobs.
From Hot Air.com:
Nearly $6 million in stimulus money was paid to two firms run by Mark Penn (photo above), Hillary Clinton’s pollster in 2008.
Federal records show that $5.97 million from the $787 billion stimulus helped preserve three jobs at Burson-Marsteller, the global public-relations and communications firm headed by Penn.
It’s kind of like Global Warming. You gotta close your eyes and pretend. Close your eyes and pretend that this money to pay off Hillary’s campaign debt, something Obama promised to do, is REALLY something the stimulus money should be paying and not robbery of our tax dollars.
Close your eyes and pretend the polar bears are dying.
Close your eyes and pretend that the Obama administration never lies or steals.
The man is lower in percentage approval rate at this point in his presidency than any other president…EVER.
Close your eyes and pretend it’ll get better once he takes over the country’s health care.
Pervert Appointed “Safe School Czar”
Although stealing so blatantly from the U.S. Treasury is a big crime we are expected to ignore, an argument can be made that at least it was us adults so fooled and robbed by electing Obama.
Making a pervert something called a “Safe School Czar” is really a crime against innocents.
Kevin Jennings formed an organization called GLSEN…meaning Gay/Lesbian/Straight/Education/Network. Before reading another word…say what?
GAY LESBIAN STRAIGHT EDUCATION NETWORK?
Was there some sort of urgent need for this organization? Is this, like, a sex education sort of thing? Is the idea to extend such “education” to GAYS and LESBIANS up to an including STRAIGHTS?
But enough of my own personal confusion. Kevin Jennings has a right to create his organizations of choice.
Another Kevin Jennings/GLSEN outrage: Go to GLSEN-Boston's MySpace page (which attracts their teen audience). The "friends" include the expected GLBT organizations: Human Rights Campaign, Bisexual Resource Center, BAGLY, Lambda Legal, PFLAG, Translate Gender, Boston Dyke March. These are bad enough! But it also links kids directly to very sketchy adults with no organizational affiliation who are clearly cruising for sex. Outrageous.
Except now this Jennings character, so obsessed with sex, especially of the homosexual sort, has some really odd habits and “teaches” some really strange activities.
“Fisting”? “Water Works”? Safe Sex/young boy/older man?
His own GLSEN web site features sex ads from all sexual persuasions.
And yet THIS is the guy we appoint as something called SAFE SCHOOL CZAR?
Second question…WHAT THE HELL IS A SAFE SCHOOL CZAR?
In fact, it’s the very concept of a safe school czar, a “job” that Americans, all busy carrying this country on their backs, do not understand. Which is why the screams that should deafen us all are quiet.
If the Republicans could be found somewhere in the tanning booths, they should be all over the TV, op-eding in the Wall Street Journal, shouting from Fox News about this pervert who, evidently, will have some involvement with innocent school children.
There’s almost 300 million people in this country. So we need THIS pervert in charge of making our schools safe?
Talk about the fox guarding the hen house.
More Teacher/Student Sex But This Time Teacher’s Innocent
In June, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that, when the student is a willing participant and is 16 or older, the student’s consent can be a defense for teachers facing a sexual assault charge. The judge referenced that decision in his ruling.
This would fall under the “STRAIGHT” Education Network of Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings’ GLSEN organization we must suppose.
I like to post stories about student/teacher sex relationships. They are most always illegal, often against school policy and almost always unethical.
Except in Georgia where this fine teacher Christopher King was able to have sex with a 16 year old student that was very legal.
Seems the state of Georgia thinks 16 year olds are mature enough to handle sex with a teacher.
Well the Judge had to rule as he did. The Georgia Supreme Court had ruled that despite the ethics of teacher King, the child he seduced was mature enough to handle it.
Hey, maybe the very mature student was educated by the GLSEN Safe School Czar?
In Honor of the Season…Ending With a Smile
Well, there is good news and bad news about my Christmas decorations this year.
Good news is that I truly out did myself this year with my Christmas decorations. The bad news is that I had to take him down after 2 days. I had more people come screaming up to my house than ever. Great stories. But two things made me take it down. First, the cops advised me that it would cause traffic accidents as they almost wrecked when they drove by. Second, a 55 year old lady grabbed the 75 pound ladder almost killed herself putting it against my house and didn't realize it was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not happy). By the way, she was one of many people who attempted to do that. My yard couldn't take it either. I have more than a few tire tracks where people literally drove up my yard.
Kind of feel like I gave in to the man by taking him down but my neighbor did confirm to near miss accidents on the busy street next to my house. I think I made him too real this time
So it was fun while it lasted
PICTURE BELOW, Scroll down:
The Charismatic, Catholic, Christmas Choir
It wasn’t the entire choir of Most Holy Blessed Sacrament that agreed to participate in the Christmas party at the Leonardtown Ferry terminal. Which is no matter because so far as the public in Warren county, Washington and locale of the Most Holy Blessed Sacrament Catholic church knew, it was the entirety of the Most Holy Blessed Sacrament choir that got all mixed up and ended up with five members-, an alto, two sopranos, a bass and one tenor, in the waters of the Monogasat Bay,- swimming for their very lives as the Leonardtown Ferry merrily sailed away unmindful of the desperate choir members struggling in the waters below.
This did not make Father George happy because, as he explained that night after the incident, the local newspapers referred to the choir members overboard as the choir of the Most Holy Blessed Sacrament and this incident did not reflect well on the parish of the Most Holy Blessed Sacrament. Father George was ever mindful of public relations in Warren county as he’d just had two spanking new buildings erected next to the Most Holy Blessed Sacrament church, a Parish life center and Religious Education Center. Father George promised Bishop Wright that he thought he could sign up maybe three thousand more parishioners at Most Holy Blessed Sacrament but now, what with the choir taking a dunk in the Monogasat Bay and the bizarre story behind it all he was not at all pleased for having to calm down Bishop Wright.
“I expect each and every one of you to sign up a new parishioner by the end of this month,” Father George told us through tight angry lips. “Maybe then I’ll forget that whole sad episode and the insanity of doing such a thing without the blessing of the church.”
Father George then gave Judd Turner a quick glance and walked off in a huff.
Actually it was Judd Turner, the music director of the Most Holy Blessed Sacrament church, who was responsible for all the confusion of the now infamous choral performance of the MHBS choir on the Leonardtown Ferry which was supposed to be at the Leonardtown Ferry TERMINAL, not on the actual Ferry and if Judd hadn’t messed up that little piece of information at the very least none of us would have fallen in the Monogasat Bay while singing “The First Noel/Pachebel’s Canon” on the rolling deck of the Leonardtown Ferry. Saddest of all, while Elsie, our flute player, didn’t fall into the Mongasat Bay, she lost her flute, just another victim of what has come to be known at MHBS as the Mongasat Bay Choir Massacre, dubbed so by a few wisenheimers on the pastoral council.
The whole thing began when Judd sent us all an email advising us that a parishioner heard us singing at the 7 am mass and inquired as to whether we might like to perform for the Leonardtown Ferry Christmas party scheduled in early December. I thought it was a great idea and returned the email telling Judd to count me in. The Ferry Christmas party was scheduled on a Wednesday night while our choir practice was on Thursday nights. At the next choir practice, Judd said he thought the Wednesday night date would interfere with our practice and with the Christmas program of MHBS so close to the date of the Ferry Christmas party he didn’t think the choir participation to be a good idea.
I was disappointed at Judd’s announcement but not surprised. Judd had been the music director of MHBS since the church was built, then some ten years, and Judd was not known far and wide for his vigor and enthusiasm to try anything new or expand his horizons.
“It’s too bad about the Ferry Christmas party,” Wendy, the choir’s song conductor and her words stopped me as I packed up my music to head home after practice. John Ryan, the choir’s best tenor, and Allen Markham, our most dependable bass, looked up.
“I don’t know why he won’t let the choir participate in some of these local events,” Nancy Ryan, John’s wife, said. “Last year we were asked to sing at Sunfest and Judd turned them down flat. Sunfest is in the Fall, hardly any busy time for our choir. Now Judd has the excuse of the church Christmas program being so close to the Ferry party but that’s all it is, an excuse.”
By now about ten members of our choir were standing around, grumping and complaining about Judd’s decision to not allow the choir to participate in the Ferry Christmas program. Seems I wasn’t the only one disgruntled by Judd’s iron hand and besides I had no idea he’d blocked us from singing at the big Sunfest event, a huge local event designed to bring tourists to our local beach areas after the summer season had passed.
Even now, a full five weeks after the unfortunate event it’s been difficult to compile, correlate and calculate just how the confusion came about but as best as I can tell, it was Nancy Ryan who began the email game of “gossip” that made an original email stating that Judd was thinking about relenting to her pleas to allow the choir to sing at the ferry terminal, that, if so, we should be there at 7:00 pm on Dec. 6, and we would probably be singing “Mary Did You Know?” and “Praise to the Newborn King” as we already knew these songs to turn into an email stipulating that Judd had definitely agreed to allow the choir to sing on the Leonardtown Ferry, that we should be there for take off at 7:30 pm, that we would be singing “The First Noel/Pachebel’s Canon”, a song we barely knew.
There were other factors that contributed to the big mix-up, not the least of which was the fact that Nancy did not have the correct email addresses of all the choir members so she sent out to those whose email she knew and asked us to forward the emails to those not included on the original email list. Jane Martin got an email from Bob Doyle that an email was being sent out about singing on the Ferry. Jane sent an email to Joe Tang asking about it and Jane got Joe’s email address wrong so it was returned to her. Jane saw Joe’s wife the next day at the grocery and asked what was going on with the Ferry. Joe’s wife didn’t know a thing about it so she emailed Barbara Wooden who said she couldn’t make it that night but she’d just talked to Allen Barker and he wanted to know what song the choir was singing so he could bring the right music. All of this email-go-round went on after our weekly Thursday choir practice on the week proceeding the Wednesday when we were scheduled to sing on the Ferry so Judd Turner was essentially, out of the loop.
And so on December 6, eight members of the choir of Most Holy Blessed Sacrament boarded the Leonardtown Ferry. We were surprised that we had to pay for the trip across Monogasat Bay but then again no one ever addressed the matter one way or the other. We were also surprised that only eight of us showed up what with all the email and excitement but we shrugged and said we’d carry on, that we made a commitment. A trip across the Monogasat Bay is not cheap, however, coming in at about $15.00 per passenger and we were all in a bit of a snit over having to put up our money when we were, essentially, providing the entertainment. At least as we saw it and no one knew the name of the parishioner who originally suggested we sing on the ferry at any rate, no one knew who had come up with the song choice, no one knew, for that matter, where the hell the other 15 members of the Most Holy Blessed Sacrament Choir were that night and, of course, it was windy and rainy and the ferry was rocking.
It did turn out that Santa Claus was to be on the ferry that night so we all figured we were in the right place. We went to the ferry’s lounge but there was no room anywhere for a choir what with the big Santa seat set up, the roped lines for the children to wait their turn to sit on Santa’s lap and goodness all the photography equipment.
John Ryan, the only tenor to show up that night, along with Alan Markham, the only bass, found someone who was in charge of the social activities on the ferry but she had no idea where the choir was to stand as it seemed, ahem, there was no room at the inn. She also did not know why we had to pay to get on the ferry so we dropped that issue and decided to deal with it later.
The ferry’s social director did find a roped off area out on the deck of the ferry and she directed us all to it. “When we get close to the Cape Jerome shore the ferry captain is going to summon all the passengers out to this area so we can see the pretty lights of the decorated Victorian homes as the ferry pulls into the Cape Jerome terminal. I’m thinking this is when the choir would be singing Christmas carols, to entertain the passengers as they watch the lights.” The ferry social director wiped her face and apologized for the awful weather but explained that this is the nature of planning activities so susceptible to unpredictable weather.
All eight of us began to grouse about having to sing in the pouring and blowing rain. We went on to moan about the fifteen bucks we had to pay then, now worked up to an angry rage, we all vowed to quit the Most Holy Blessed Sacrament Choir and we vowed to give that lazy Judd Turner some gigantic pieces of our minds.
Nancy Ryan finally shushed us all up and gave us a lecture on doing what we promised to do, that Christ the Savior would be born this month, that Mary gave birth in a cold manger in nasty weather herself and here all we had to do was sing. I found a little fold up umbrella in my purse that I’d forgotten I had and we all managed to get under it and in due course we got to laughing about our predicament but it was in the spirit of the season so we decided to brave on and deal with the problems later.
The fact that only two people even bothered to come out on the deck at the behest of the ferry’s pilot urging over the boat’s PA system was a bit disheartening but we all huddled under that little flimsy umbrella and decided we would entertain those two brave folk with the best rendition of “The First Noel/Pachebel’s Canon” they’d ever hear coming from the mouths of eight wet, cold and seasick people. We didn’t even let the fact that we didn’t know that song save the first two of ten pages stop us from our quest.
It was when the ferry let out a huge belch of smoke and rolled up over a huge wave that came out of nowhere that the real problems began. And there we were singing our anthem bravely and not doing half bad except for the roaring wind which drowned us out and a couple of us got to coughing when a wind gust swept a cupful of water into our mouths unexpectedly. This took alto Nancy Ryan out of the harmony along with our tenor and bass. The sopranos were able to continue on which is why we probably missed the ferry’s dip into the Monogasat Bay that sent five of us overboard plus Elsie’s flute.
The ferry quickly righted itself and the five of us swimming in those cold waters struggled to keep above water as Elsie screamed at us from the deck of the ferry to save her flute and none of us knew if help would come soon enough.
I was doing an okay doggie paddle and managed to quell my panic enough to notice that we weren’t far from the shore line. Nancy Ryan, however, is a somewhat large woman and she kept going down below the waves. Her husband John, not a small person himself, kept trying to get to her but Monogasat Bay was angry and roiling.
I decided to swim over to both of them with images of proud headlines about the Most Holy Blessed Sacrament’s choir member who managed to swim to the shores of Cape Jerome while pulling over four hundred pounds of human flesh to safety. Except on my second swim stroke my feet touched something odd and I realized it was something solid, not watery at all. I plunked my foot down and stood up and found I was only in water up to my knees at that point. In a few seconds I slipped again but my hands did a Braille type of maneuver and I realized I was on some rocks. I screamed over to John that he should grab Nancy and move forward a couple of feet, that there was a rock jetty right close.
All five of us managed to get atop the rock jetty and I don’t know, we thought maybe there would be a bastion of Coast Guard boats with blinking lights at the ready to pluck us from the cutting rocks and out of the chill air, to safety, perhaps a warm towel. Instead we heard the ferry horn blow hoarsely and watched Elsie as she continued to beg us to save her flute.
We were actually able to walk along the jetty to the ferry terminal at Cape Jerome where the ferry’s social director and a few other ferry personnel awaited us. They were getting ready to summon a rescue for us we were assured.
So it turned out that the Christmas party was at the ferry TERMINAL, on the Leonardtown side, alas, not on the actual ferry and, indeed, about twelve choir members of Most Holy Blessed Sacrament Church were, even as we shivered from the chill and fear, singing “Mary, Did You Know” after receiving a rollicking applause for a few other holiday tunes they’d sung earlier. Judd Turner was also at the Leonardtown ferry terminal and he’d been griping the whole time about where were we , his best alto, bass and tenor, when we’d been the ones complaining about wanting to attend the Christmas party at the very start.
A couple of local reporters happened to be on the ferry that night, one complete with a camera. St. Catherine’s, located across Monogasat Bay in Cape Jerome, is an ersatz rival of Most Holy Blessed Sacrament and the reporter was a St. Catherine’s parishioner. St. Catherine and MHBS are friendly rivals as these things go, to be sure, but given a chance one church will revel in the travails of the other. Which must be against some commandment as I lamented to John Ryan in the aftermath of our disaster. It was the stuff of mockery, the photo of five very wet, bedraggled members of the Most Holy Blessed Sacrament choir not to mention their absurd story to accompany the photo. Alongside the pictures of our five pathetic selves, of course, was a merry picture of the rest of our choir, all dressed festively, laughing, eating snacks, drinking punch, hair perfectly coiffed, enjoying their time at the Leonardtown Ferry terminal’s annual Christmas party.
I managed to coax a parishioner from St. Catherine’s to come join Most Holy Blessed Sacrament church in fulfillment of Father George’s “punishment” for our mess up. Nancy and John Ryan managed to convince the two reporters from Cape Jerome, also parishioners of St. Catherine’s, to sign up for MHBS. “I want to belong to a church which has such brave and audacious choir members,” one told Nancy. After the story of our mishaps was published in the Cape Jerome newspapers, we heard rumors that over fifty people called for information to sign up to be MHBS parishioners.
Judd Turner devised a special email listing, with an email address that would be used ONLY for choir issues. He’d enjoyed the Christmas party at the Leonardtown Ferry terminal so much and like John Ryan said, a little publicity goes a long way in attracting new parishioners.
Not that we made a big deal of it, but a few weeks after it all came down, weeks of mirthful publicity about the dunking taken by the MHBS choir, the pictures of the new buildings on the MHBS church campus, the publishing of a video on the MHBS web site of the concert given at the correct locale- the ferry TERMINAL- on that fateful night, attendance at the church has increased, inquiries about joining the MHBS parish family keep coming in, darn, Elsie was invited on TV for the local cable channel and was gifted with a brand new flute. The Leonardtown Ferry returned to each of us who showed up to sing for the passengers on the Leonardtown Ferry the $15.00 plus two free tickets for a future trip, date of our choice.
Father George has dubbed us the underwater members of the Most Holy Blessed Sacrament Choir and every once in a while has us step forward after the choir sings the anthem for proper introduction.
With a stern but bemused smile on his face, of course.
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