THE INTERNET MONK SATURDAY BRUNCH
”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
Photo by Ted at Flickr. Creative Commons License
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We’re hosting the Brunch from Cincinnati this weekend, where tonight we’ll be enjoying one of our best singer-songwriters, Paul Simon, in concert. I thought while we were here, we might explore a few of the strange and unusual sites The Queen City has to offer.
How about we start with the American Sign Museum, where its collection starts in the 1970s and goes back into the 1800s, featuring signs of every sort, made from almost every material imaginable. Among the notable signs are the Sputnik-like “Satellite” sign, hand-built to advertise a strip mall, a single-arch McDonald’s sign with the pre-Ronald “Speedee” character, and over 200 other signs. Some of the most beautiful signs are those from the pre-neon era, including signs advertising haberdashers, cobblers, druggists, and other turn-of-the-century businesses.
Then maybe we’ll pop over to Ohio’s Lucky Cat Museum, where you can enjoy displays of over 1,000 examples of the iconic plastic cat statues that beckon customers to enter Asian restaurants across the country. The Lucky Cat or Maneki-neko is a Japanese symbol that dates back over 100 years. Makes me hungry for crab rangoon…
Allergic to cats? Well, how about we go mushroom hunting — mushroom house hunting, that is. Cincinnati’s Mushroom House was designed by architecture professor Terry Brown. Brown used warped shingles and oddly wrapping staircases to give his one bedroom home in the Hyde Park neighborhood a look like no other. Come on, be a “fun guy” and join us!
Of course, for long time readers of Internet Monk, you know that no visit to Cincy would be complete without a jog up the road to Monroe to see the big Jesus statue at the Solid Rock Church.
You may recall that Chaplain Mike, Jeff Dunn, Denise Spencer, and several other iMonks had gathered in Cincinnati to go to a Reds game in Michael Spencer’s honor one weekend in June 2010. When, lo and behold, the skies opened, an angel of the Lord descended, and the glory of the Lord in a lightning storm turned the original statue at the church into a giant fireball. That previous statue, King of Kings, was made famous in the Heywood Banks’ song, “Big Butter Jesus.” It was also known as “Touchdown Jesus,” and it became a popular photographic subject for fans of The Ohio State University, who would align Jesus’ upraised arms as the “H” when spelling out “O-H-I-O”. Heywood ended up writing another verse about “Fireball Jesus,” but the church persevered and put up another one.
This new one is officially named Lux Mundi — Latin for “Light of the World.” But it has garnered some nicknames too: some call him “Hug Me Jesus,” but my personal favorite is “Five Dollar-Footlong Jesus,” because today’s Jesus won’t settle for loaves and fishes; he wants loaves and delicious deli meats.
Ladies and gentlemen, let’s hear it for our Brunch entertainment for the day: the peerless Heywood Banks.
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YEAH, THAT’S GONNA HELP…
Here in Indianapolis, we had a public controversy about a display this past week. Don Woodsmall, head of a company called LightPoint Impressions, sold advertising space on a billboard on one of our main highways to a “group of patriotic Americans” who he said were denied advertising by national companies. Here’s the billboard about the prophet Mohammed they put up:
Ain’t it great, livin’ in the heartland?
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WASH OUT YOUR SPIRIT WITH THIS…
Ah, but there are always those who go above and beyond, sacrificing to overcome evil with good. In my town, we had the feel-good story of the week.
After our town cemetery was hit with some of the worst vandalism we’ve ever seen around here, a local man, Franklin Monument Company owner Tim Stakelbeck, took care of the costly work of repair and would not take payment for it.
Just before Memorial Day weekend, some knuckleheads did damage to a dozen of gravestones, some more than 100 years old. It would have cost at least $1000 to repair them, but Stakelbeck stepped up and did the work gratis. Back in 2008, when devastating floods knocked down 73 headstones, he volunteered his time and helped repair that damage. Now, he’s gone the extra mile again.
This is what living in a small town and being part of a community is all about.
Kudos to you, Tim Stakelbeck.
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AND NOW THE BAD NEWS, BROUGHT TO YOU BY TEXAS…
We learned this week that the state of Texas has the worst maternal mortality rate in the developed world. A University of Maryland-led study found that the state’s maternal mortality rate doubled between 2010 and 2012. Especially troubling is the finding that black women have 11% of the births in Texas, but they have a death rate of 28%. Representative Shawn Thierry, a black woman who almost died in childbirth four years ago, has spearheaded efforts to research reasons for this crisis and find solutions. But the legislators in Texas apparently have other things on their minds.
According to an article in the Texas Observer:
In the 2017 legislative session, [Representative Shawn] Thierry’s No. 1 priority was legislation requiring more research into why so many new African-American mothers in Texas are dying. But despite bipartisan support, the measure was indiscriminately killed by the far-right House Freedom Caucus last month as part of what came to be known as the “Mother’s Day Massacre.”
Despite what appears to be an alarming crisis, lawmakers set only modest goals for the session. Most legislation focused on extending research efforts, rather than addressing what the maternal mortality task force has said is the underlying problem: lack of access to health care. Even the calls for more research languished during a legislative session in which trans people’s bathroom use was a top priority. In the end, only two piecemeal bills dealing with maternal mortality passed.
Legislators failed to even extend the task force itself; it’s now set to expire in September 2019. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick killed legislation that would’ve continued the research group through 2023 in order to try to force a special sessionover the so-called bathroom bill and property tax reform. (The task force bill was caught up in a last-minute standoff between the House and Senate. The House added an amendment that would have avoided a special session by continuing critical agencies, including the Texas Medical Board. Patrick balked and the bill never came up for a final vote.)
“Women’s health once again got caught in the political crossfire,” said Thierry.
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50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SIX-DAY WAR
Here’s a special section in the Jerusalem Post, where you can read articles and day-by-day summaries of each day in the 1967 conflict.
Here’s a picture essay at Reuters.
Here’s an intriguing piece about how a conservative religious party in Israel has gained power, beginning with the Six-Day War.
Finally, the Six-Day War sparked a renewed interest in “biblical prophecy” that is talked about in this Times of Israel article, which spotlights a CBN docudrama called “In Our Hands,” marking the war’s 50th anniversary. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Gordon Robertson, son of the outspoken conservative televangelist Pat Robertson, remembers being nine years old when his Southern Baptist pastor father sat the family down, Bibles at their side, to read and understand the ramifications of Israel’s recent victory in the 1967 Six Day War.
“We would normally talk about politics over the dinner table,” recalled Robertson, now 59, “but this was different, this was, ‘all right, everyone, open your Bibles, I’m going to walk you through the prophecies that were just fulfilled.’”
“He wanted to emphasize that not too many times in your life do you get to say, a prophecy just got fulfilled,” he said. “This isn’t just a prophecy from the Old Testament, this is a prophecy from the New Testament as well, that just happened.”
Israel’s victory in June 1967 was a seminal moment in Robertson’s young life, followed by his first trip to Israel two years later at age 11, when he visited the Western Wall for the first time.
“The joy, in 1969, was absolutely incredible,” said Robertson. “The exultation — I can’t really explain it, it’s one of those things that’s really intangible. There was a moment there, there was a part of Judaism I had never seen before.”
Robertson has been sharing these personal anecdotes with the press as he publicizes his latest Christian Broadcasting Network project, “In Our Hands,” a 108-minute docudrama created by CBN Documentaries to mark the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War.
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QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK
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Meanwhile, back in Cincinnati, I can’t wait for tonight…