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Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Pagan Pastoral Letter

The Winter Solstice Drum Circle

Other Chapters of Pastoral Letter
► Part One - Finding An Old Friend
► Pastor Kenny's reply: The Gospel of John,
Chapter One: They Came in Twos
Merry Christmas and a Happy Yule, Pastor Kenny:

I'm not really a Pagan, but I got your attention, didn't I? I don't know who said it first, but the biggest difference between you and me is that I have rejected one more God than you have. Freedom of religion is also freedom from religion and I am proudly religion free.

However, if forced to choose a religion I would go with one that worships Mother Earth and Her children. My second choice? Pastafarianism because I love the headgear.

First apologies for taking so long to get back to you, Ken. It simply didn't occur to me right away that you'd reply to me through a sermon from your pulpit. That realization took a few weeks. Then, once I found the written version online, I needed to understand it. Your response was wrapped in religious allegory and I'm not as steeped in religious allegory as you. That's why I had to read it many times and why I listened to the audio version many more than that. I didn't want to misinterpret it, which I probably have anyway.

Another reason for taking so long is that I realized it was your last sermon from that church. Whether you were fired, or resigned, or came to a mutual understanding with your church, is something I have no way of knowing. However, your brave stand on LGBT issues almost certainly contributed to your leaving. I chose to respect a mourning period.

Then, because making excuses is so easy, I had other writing and research to do, yadda, yadda, yadda . . . but here I am just in time for the holiday, which seems incredibly appropriate. Is it Synchronicity? [More about that later.]

I note you are now seeking your spirituality with a new church. Clearly, seeking spirituality has been a lifelong pursuit for each of us. To that end, Sunday night I went to my first Winter's Solstice drum circle. Remember I mentioned my fascination with drum circles in my last letter? In another nice touch of synchronicity, it was exactly a year ago when I got hooked on the eternal drumbeat (which I wrote about in The 32nd Annual King Mango Strut. The 33rd Mango Strut is this week.).

The Winter Solstice Drum Circle is a massive dealie with hundreds of people who take over a small section of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Normally the park closes at sunset, which is pretty early this time of year. However, on the Winter Solstice the drum circle is allowed to bang away until 11PM. This huge, family-friendly event was both a delight and a distraction. Ken, I thought about you and this response during the drum circle, but I was not able to find spirituality inside the rhythm that night. It was just too crowded.

I suppose there was a time I found spirituality in a God, but it was so long ago I no longer recall the feeling. I was a child, as willing to believe in unicorns and fairies as Sky Dudes. I don't mean to be insulting, Ken, but we're both old men now and we can be blunt with each other because we've been friends since 1957. As Rob Hampton says in the Study Guide to your sermon:
Since Jesus doesn’t focus on the sin of the people He calls, we can be free to be ourselves in His presence.
In other words, Pastor Kenny: I gotta be me . . . for better or worse. I'm hoping you'll see this Pagan Pastoral Letter as better. If nothing else it will test your capacity for forgiveness.

Where was I? Oh, yeah: As I entered adulthood and became a writer, I started to require proof for things. Unicorns and fairies fell off my list of things to believe in. However, for a belief in God, I was still willing to accept proof. I hadn't rejected Her the way I had unicorns and fairies. That's why in my early adulthood I called myself an Agnostic. I used to tell people that if God were to show up, I'd invite Him in for coffee because I had a lot of questions. But, until then, I was going to reserve judgement. Take it under advisement. Give in to the benefit of the doubt. Suspend disbelief.

As I got older this door I left open a crack slowly drifted closed as refreshing breezes filtered through the belief system in my attic, or my empty head. Take your pick. I remember in my late 20s consciously deciding that being Agnostic was the coward's way out. I was leaving myself a loophole in case God did show up at my door. That way He wouldn't strike me dead with lightening bolts for rejecting Her. That's when I started to check the Atheist box and, quite frankly, never looked back.

I am reminded of the W.C. Fields story when he was found reading The Bible while waiting off-camera for the next scene. A friend couldn't believe it. Atheist Fields reading a Bible? Why? He replied in that drawl that only Fields had, "Ah, yes! Looking for loopholes." I no longer needed a loophole.

Let me be clear about a belief in God, any God: There have been many times in my life that I was sorry I didn't belong to a religion, that I didn't have a God to fall back upon. How nice it must be, when the gale forces of the world are blowing against life, to find peace and serenity by believing in something bigger than oneself. That whole "confession/forgiveness" dealie of some religions is just the icing on the cake. No matter what you've done wrong, all you have to do is confess and do the penance. Suddenly your ticket to heaven is stamped GOOD TO GO all over again. Atheist me? I just feel guilty about things until the feeling passes or I feel I've atoned in a real, tangible way for my screw ups.

Anyway, I wasn't an evangelical Atheist like Richard Dawkins, nor a showbiz Atheist like Bill Maher. I have always believed a person's relationship with their God, or lack thereof, is a personal matter best kept to oneself. Which is why writing about this has been more difficult than I thought it would be when I begain.

Now, keep in mind, Kenny, I was still living in Canada. People in Canada are far more reserved about expressing their religious views. It's not that they are any less deeply held. It's just the Canadian way to be more reserved about everything. So, I was quite shocked when I returned to the States 9 years ago and saw so much religious proselytizing that it even extended to the bumpers of cars.

Then I became aware of the Fox "News" Phony War on Christmas and everything changed for me. There's an entire history on the innertubes of my writing about Fox "News" mendacity so I won't bore you with all of that, Pastor Kenny. However, when I first got back down here, I couldn't believe the crap that Bill O'Reilly was selling about there being a War on Christmas. Year after year that fatuous asshole has proclaimed there's a War on Christmas. Hell, the last 2 years running he's claimed that he single-handedly defeated the dark forces who would ban Christmas from 'Merkin life. You can only win a war once, Bill O.

That's when I consciously chose to be an Atheist who speaks out about the extreme contradictions in religion. It turned out, once I started to examine my feelings closely, I realized I actually resented a lifetime of being forced to participate in a religious holiday I didn't believe in -- have never believed in -- even when I believed in God.

IRONY ALERT: Until Bill O'Reilly brought it up, I never gave it a second thought when someone would wish me Merry Christmas. It was just what people said at this time of year and I accepted it in the spirit it was intended. But that was BO, Before O'Reilly. Now I'm deeply offended when someone who doesn't know me wishes me a Merry Christmas, but not nearly as much as I resent it when people who know me do it.

Why is this the default position? Why do people automatically assume I'm part of their Christ Club? I came to recognize it's the same resentment that I have when White people say racist crap to me assuming I belong to the same White Skin Club they've paid a lifetime of dues into. That's White Privilege personified. Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, regardless of what they may believe, is Christian Privilege.

Why would people like Bill O'Reilly get their Christmas stockings in a twist if people use the more inclusive "Happy Holiday"? Even an Atheist like myself can get behind that because New Year's is a holiday I celebrate.

It's taken a lifetime, living under this dominant religion, for my resentment to build to this heat. Let me share some of that with you, Ken. Growing up I was forced to sing Christmas Carols in school, just like everybody else. Never once did we ever sing about a dreidel. For a solid month radio stations feature Christmas music, but nothing about the many days of Hanukkah. Stores are decorated for this holiday as if a wartime prohibition on lights and glitter has suddenly been lifted. This year people are enormously proud that their Christmas decorations can be seen from space. Is this the reason for the season? Or, is it keeping up with the Joneses? To my mind it's breaking the Commandment against idolatry.

I never talked about this with you, but I can say with confidence that you were never called a Kike, a dirty Jew, a Christ Killer while growing up. Once I had a kid once look at me very closely. When I asked him what he was looking at, he said, "I don't see any horns." He was serious. He thought Jews had horns. Where the hell do people learn things like that, because it's sure not in any Bible I've ever read? 

I can only imagine the chagrin my parents felt when I came home singing "This Little Light of Mine," a song I didn't even know had religious connotations until years later. It's a simply, catchy tune and kids love simple, catchy tunes. Maybe that's why singing in church took hold. Song is a great way to distribute propaganda.

In fact, Pastor Kenny, I've become far more cynical about Christmas since returning the States, where it is celebrated as if it's an Olympic event. This is supposedly the birthday of the Savior, yet the holiday itself is being used to divide people. The Bill O'Reillys of the world use religion to attack others, while portraying themselves as the victims. In the words of Gandhi, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

While on the topic, the commercialization of Christmas is something that I simply find amusing. It's almost as if more people believe in Santa Claus than they do Jesus Christ. In the '60s evangelists in this country burned Beatles' records because John Lennon said:
Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I'll be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first—rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me.
I agree with Lennon; I'm just more sarcastically cynical. All of this preamble is to explain why I created a hashtag for times when (I believe) people have taken the Lord's name in vain. When I am truly exasperated by crazy, evangelical MoFos I share their blathering on social media with #WhoWouldJeusBitchSlap? appended. To my extreme disappointment this hashtag has yet to go viral. Maybe one day. Feel free to use it.

A Letter to My Congregation: An Evangelical
Pastor’s Path to Embracing People Who Are Gay,
Lesbian, and Transgender into the Company of
, by Ken Wilson, is available at Amazon,
but order it from your local bookseller instead.
I know it seems like I'm rambling, but what a difference a month makes. Last month I was thrilled to learn of your book (which, I confess, I have yet to read) and that you were the Senior and Founding Pastor of one of the first churches in the country to be accepting of the LGBT community. Acceptance is miles farther along the path to Humanism than mere tolerance.

Imagine my disappointment when I learned, from your sermon no less, that you are no longer Senior Pastor of that church. I guess they were not as accepting as I thought. Hell, I guess they weren't as accepting as you thought. Or, as accepting as Jesus.

One positive element religions provide is a grand capacity for forgiveness, something else I wish I had. I'm sure you've already forgiven your former-church for kicking you to the curb after 40 years of dedicated service. I haven't yet. Forgive me if I've yet to forgive them because they are discriminating -- in the name of God -- against my family and friends who are part of the great LGBT rainbow. I'm certain I have family and friends who are LGBT that I don't even know about. Nor is it any of my business. Nor is it important. What's important is what kind of person they are and their capacity to love, not the person they've chosen to love.

I felt a weird kind of frisson to know you replied to me from the pulpit and that it was the last time you would address that congregation in that church. Weirder still is that your reply seems to imply that I you believe I was sent by Jesus to help you bring about a religious revival. [Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, on any of this.]

Don't get me wrong. I was honoured, sorta, that you would speak through me to God, or through God to me. Or through God to you, and then to me. Or, you to God and then me. [How does all of this work?] Several of your descriptions of "pairs" resonated with me, as if you were describing us:
[...] Jesus sees something in Nathaniel that maybe he didn’t see in himself until Jesus named it. Maybe Nathaniel was the ignored kid in school, the one no Rabbi would call to be his dis iple [sic], because he didn’t have much promise. Maybe Nathaniel half believed that about himself but didn’t buy it fully.

Jesus comes along and names the thing about Nathaniel that Nathaniel most wants to be, a true Israelite in whom there is no guile. And when Jesus speaks it, Nathaniel says, “Yes, Lord!”

Don’t be afraid to be seen by Jesus through-through. We harbor these feelings that maybe we are special. We’re afraid, though, to name it. Afraid that it’s just ego, or that we’re just fooling ourselves. Jesus knows what that thing is in each of us. And when he names it there’s no denying it.


We end with an allusion to Jacob who became Israel. Jacob on the run after really getting his brother Esau angry. Jacob going into exile. Like Israel centuries later would be driven into exile.

Exhausted, weak, out of gas, Jacob lay down in a field, his head on a stone for a pillow, fast asleep. And saw in a dream, heaven open and a ladder come down and the angels ascending and descending. And promises of blessing were made to him in his weakness.  And when he awoke he said, “Surely God is in this place and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God and the gate of heaven.”

All these pairs, John the Baptist-Jesus, Andrew-Peter, Philip-Nathaniel, Jacob-Esau. But over them all, God. And among them and between them, God.

Serving a great revival underway. 

More synchronicity, Ken. I am currently serializing Farce Au Pain at the Not Now Silly Newsroom. Within the electrons you may recognize Zachary's house as the one you grew up in and Adrian's house as mine. Still further synchronicity: Chapter Two starts off with a list of duos, which could be called pairs, if you squint.

This is as good a time for my definition of synchronicity, cribbed from one of my earlier posts:
Think of your own personal synchronicity as a blanket you are shaking rhythmically up and down. The sine waves created by the blanket is a two dimensional representation of your synchronicity in a 3-Dimensional space. However, everyone knows that synchronicity works in the 6th Dimension, where it interacts with the 'waving blankets' belonging to everyone else. Where these waves collide are where the EXACT moments and locations the FSM has stitched together Space and Time and Gravity and Dimensionality and Predestination. If, as they contend in Quantuum Mechanics or String Theory or Whatever They're Calling It These Days™, all choices are possible in the Alternative Universes that exist, then the chances of anything so improbable can be proven possible by multiplying boiling water with pasta and adding sauce.

While tongue in cheek, it's not far off what I believe about random chance, like that which allowed us to find each other after 40 years of radio silence.

Ken, if you and Jesus expect me to take part in a great religious revival, I have to be honest with you both: This heathen is not be up to the challenge if it requires a belief in a Supreme Being. That's simply not happening. I'm more inclined to test your religious faith than you instilling any in in me.

When you delivered your sermon I was disappointed you skipped over a small portion of my email when witnessing to your church. That's because it was the most important part of my email, in my mind anyway. It becomes that much more important now that you've been pushed out of your church.
I have a hard time squaring that [your total acceptance of the LGBT communities] with the evangelicals I am always reading about. I know the squeaky wheel gets the ink, but I keep reading of evangelical hate for various factions of folk in this world, whether it’s The Gay, or the poor, or people of colour, or immigrants both documented and un. While the religion preaches love, there’s a whole lot of hate expressed quite openly. One shudders to think of what might be said in private.
That paragraph encapsulates my overarching feeling about organized religion. Religious texts seem to preach something entirely different than the organized religions that profess to follow them. Using the Bible people find their justification for hate and discrimination. Your Third Way is simply a new interpretation of the very same words. That you found justification for treating LGBT folk with dignity is admirable, but how can you be any more certain that your interpretation is any closer to the truth? And, don't even get me started on lobster and shrimp.

I do want to sincerely wish you a Merry Christmas, Pastor Kenny. I hope Santa brought you everything that you and your family wished for all year. More importantly, I hope your religious prayers are answered.

Before I sign off, it occurs to me that I don't really know what you believe. That you believe in God is a given. That you believe in Jesus as the Son of God is also a given. Beyond that I can only guess.

Do you believe that Jesus' birthday is December 25th or are you willing to accept the proposition that, no matter when His birth actually occurred, it was moved to be closer to Winter Solstice in order to co-opt the Pagan holiday celebrated for millennia Before Christ? Do you even believe there were millennia BC?

Geez, look at that. Even our date numbering system is based upon your religion, even though experts think it's off by as many as 6 years. Jews are living in their year of 5775, but how much farther back does time go?

I hope you've taken no insult in anything I've said, Ken. In all honesty I am thrilled to have found you and would be sad if I were to lose you again, especially if I pushed you away. For many years I have lamented privately that my event horizon for friendships goes back no further than the day I moved to Canada. Soon after I moved to Florida 9 years ago I received an email from one of my sons. He had been contacted by Jeff Deeks -- do you remember him? -- looking for me. I used the email and phone number he provided many times, but Jeff never replied or called back. And, I didn't even attack his religion like I have yours. I do hope you reply and we can continue this dialogue as far as it takes us.

Lastly, in your writings you use the word "gospel" a lot. Not meaning to be patronizing, you may be gratified to know that Gospel music is a favourite genre. While I must have been aware of Gospel prior to this, but I clearly remember when Deeks introduced me to it. He took me on a bit of a mystery tour downtown by DSR, refusing to tell me where we were going. Eventually he led me to a Black church he had read about in a newspaper. We were the only two White faces in the pews as we listened to Aretha Franklin singing Gospel in her daddy's church.

As I like to say, "I don't know Jesus, but I sure like his music." That's why I'm going out on my absolute favourite Gospel tune:


With all my love and affection,
your childhood friend,
Marc Slootsky

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Headlines Du Jour ► Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hello, Headliners. Today's birthday belongs to actor, writer, singer Harry Shearer. Here are other Headlines Du Jour of yesteryear:
And now today's Headlines Du Jour:










North Korea has been blamed for one of the most destructive
cyberattacks on a company in US history. It's just the latest in
a string of hacks sanctioned and funded by governments





Headlines Du Jour is a leisure-time activity of Not Now Silly, home of the Steam-Powered Word-0-Matic, and your rest stop on the Information Highway. Use our valuable bandwidth to post your news comments in today's open thread.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Packing Up 2014 ► Unpacking The Writer

A billboard erected in my honour will look nothing like this.
Howdy to new readers. Old readers know Unpacking The Writer as the monthly post where I pull back the curtain Wizard of Oz-like to reveal the interior life of a writer. AUNTY EM!!! AUNTY EM!!!

First an apology to my most rabid readers. I've not published as many original stories this month as usual. While Headlines Du Jour is fun to put together, and a very popular series, I don't consider any of that original writing and don't take all that much pride in it, other than a job well done when it's done. It's aggregation. I'm fine with calling it that, but wish I had published more new stuff this past month. Maybe I can make that my very first New Year's Resolution to break.

Meanwhile, I've been going though the Not Now Silly Newsroom archives and sharing important, funny, or just plain weird stories on social media. I know it doesn't fully make up for a lack of NEW, but as I like to tell people, "It's not a repeat if you never saw it before."

Part of what's been keeping me busy is the Friday Fox Follies, which I've been crafting the last few months for PoliticusUSA. Because I always saw it as an outgrowth of Headlines Du Jour, from the start the idea was to use actual headlines found on the innertubes to craft a story arc that covers Fox "News" shenanigans and tomfoolery from Friday to Friday. Trying to shoehorn in the actual headlines creates some grammatical irregularities and awkward constructs, but overall I think it's working. Your mileage may vary.

In the beginning it took me almost 2 days to compile and write, but I've managed to get it down to a solid 6 hours of writing for approximately 1200 words. Here's my methodology: During the week I compile intriguing Fox "News" headlines as they present themselves. Midweek I look to see what themes might be developing and I start thinking about the shape the column might take if these trends continue. By the time I wake up Friday morning at 5AM to start writing it, I have the basic outline and an opening paragraph in my head. After taking a quick look to see which Fox "News" personality said something stupid while I was sleeping, I hit the ground running. Provided there are no power outages (never a guarantee around here), I send it off to the editors some time between 1 and 3PM.

But still, those 6 hours are 6 hours I can't devote to writing about Coconut Grove, the E.W.F Stirrup House, and what I still hope will be a new ongoing series, Pastoral Letter.

Speaking of my Friday Fox Follies, this happened:

The Charles Avenue Historic Marker with
the E.W.F. Stirrup House in the background.
Also keeping me busy this month has been some pretty extensive research concerning Coconut Grove and Charles Avenue. I'm pulling at several different subject threads simultaneously. This has required spending many hours in the City Clerk's office doing some deep research on Charles Avenue, the E.W.F. Stirrup House, and Miami Commission meetings, with still many more hours to come.

I have been researching two of these topics for an entire year. While I had hoped to hold them until I had all my ducks in a row, a recent flashpoint has made it important to finish one in a timely manner. To that end I now have outstanding emails with both a Media Relations Associate at a bank's HQ and a City of Miami Commissioner. Each email requested ON THE RECORD written answers to a series of questions. We'll see whether I even get the courtesy of replies. If I'm not satisfied I may have to resort to another FOIA request.

Meanwhile, the residents of West Grove continue to get the short end of the stick, while Aries Development and Gino Falsetto seem to get away with everything short of murder. My interest in Coconut Grove started with falling in love with a house, researching its history, falling in love with the legacy of the man who built it, and then falling in love with the people and the neighbourhood, that is sadly being gentrified out of existence around the edges.

I can remember -- vividly -- how years ago, after my first visit to Coconut Grove, I came back and told a group of friends that I thought I had found an interesting story at the corner of Charles Avenue and Main Hightway, I just wasn't sure what it was yet. How could I have possibly known back then it would lead to even bigger stories on Trolleygate, Soilgate, Demolition by Neglect of the E.W.F. Stirrup House, rapacious developers, much potentially illegal shenanigans, a [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner, and mapping The Colour Line that still surrounds the historically Black neighbourhood of the West Grove? No wonder there are times I feel so busy.

Join the campaign to Save the E.W.F. Stirrup House on Facebook.

Digging really deep into my id without revealing too much: It was just a month ago when I embarked on what I thought would be a great series -- my own Tuesday's With Morrie -- when I published Finding An Old Friend ► Unpacking My Detroit. It still might. However, I must admit to initially being totally flummoxed about where to take it. Let me explain:

I was overjoyed to locate my childhood friend Kenneth Wilson and surprised to learn he was one of the first (maybe only) evangelical pastors in the entire country to OPENLY argue for the church to be inclusive (not just tolerant) of the LGBT communities. I wrote him that open letter, which I posted, and then waited for a reply. It didn't occur to me until a few weeks later that maybe Pastor Kenny posted his reply somewhere on the innertubes. Turns out I was right. What surprised me more was the realization that he delivered his reply as a sermon from the pulpit. A printed version is at The Gospel of John, Chapter One: They Came in Twos and a live (slightly different) recording can be found HERE.

I arrived back in Kenny's life at an interesting time for him. In his sermon he says goodbye to his church. He's not explicit about who fired whom, but it's clear this is his last sermon from the pulpit of The Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor. Obviously the same notoriety that allowed me to find my childhood friend so easily caused a rend in the tapestry of his church.  He said, in part:
Ann Arbor Vineyard, carry the seed of the kingdom with you into your next chapter. If there are tears, and I hope there will be a few, use those tears to sow the seed for a new harvest.

I could imagine you becoming an even more multi-ethnic congregation than you are now. I could imagine your ministries flourishing in new, unforeseen ways.

To those who will join Emily and me in new Blue Ocean Church Plant, lets use our tears to sow the seeds we bring with us, from this awesome place, this house of the Lord…

Together, Ann Arbor Vineyard and your newest Blue Ocean church plant lets make this our song:

Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.

My final practical tip [as the recorded sermon deviates slightly from the printed version], is at a moment like this, when you don't know what you're supposed to say, don't say nothing. 
And then he called for 2 minutes of silence which ends his reply to me. 

I've now read, and listened, to Pastor Kenny's Pastoral Letter to me several times. I kept more than 2 minutes of silence because I wanted to respect any mourning period he may have had for losing his gig, but more importantly, because I simply didn't know what to say. So, I said nothing.

His sermon -- his reply to me -- was religious allegory and I'm not steeped in religious allegory. It took me quite a while to interpret it. And, I recognize, I may still have it all wrong. However, it has meaning for me now when it was just words when I first read it. That's why I'm working on the next Pastoral Letter, which (like everything else) is taking longer than I thought. However, it's been started and is the next post I intend to finish. Meanwhile, Ken did send me his phone number and I really have to clear some time to phone him.

Incidentally, for those who keep track of this kind of Westerfield Minutia, Zachary Harvard Weed, who inhabits the pages of Farce Au Pain, lives in the house that Kenny's family once lived in. Adrian Roland Thompson lives in the house I grew up in.

A snapshot in time: The All Time Top Ten at the time of this writing.
At year's end it's always nice to take a look at some stats, facts, and figures, especially as we get closer to launching a brand new, improved Not Now Silly Newsroom under our own domain name.

I'm quite proud of my All Time Top Ten, at left. Except for #6, Chow Mein and Bolling 5, which is silly fluff, but the readers just love it. I like to think the rest are all important stories on important topics and thank my readers for having the intelligence to boost them to the Top Ten list. The Blogger platform doesn't give me very many stats, but one that's always intrigued me is the search engine results that people received just before they washed up at Not Now Silly. Because this is getting long enough, and because I've got other shit to write, I'll end this with 3 pics: The All Time search results, the top monthly search results, and the weekly flotsam and jetsam. 

See ya next year!

All Time:

Headlines Du Jour ► Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hello, Headliners!  Today's birthday belongs to composer and guitarist Frank Zappa. Among the other Headlines Du Jour of yesteryear:
Here is today's Headlines Du Jour:











As The Planet Warms, A Remote Alaskan Town Shows Just How Unprepared We Are



NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered more than
950 confirmed planets orbiting distant stars.
Planets with a known size and orbit are shown below,
including Kepler 186f, an Earth-size planet in the habitable zone.


Headlines Du Jour is a leisure-time activity of Not Now Silly, home of the Steam-Powered Word-0-Matic, and your rest stop on the Information Highway. Use our valuable bandwidth to post your news comments in today's open thread.