Monday, November 14, 2011

Family Charged in Bunny Bump-Off

The town of Walkersville was rocked this morning by the news that one of their own families may be cold-blooded killers.

Four members of the Anderson family were arraigned in Frederick County Court on charges related to the murder of a soft furry bunny in their backyard. Detective Jason Keckler said the crime was discovered by students walking home from school on the railroad tracks behind the family's Hampton Place residence.

"The deceased was discovered yesterday afternoon near the Walkersville Railroad tracks and Walkersville Park," Keckler said. "The body was still fairly soft. K-9 units determined that the victim was killed in the Andersons' backyard and moved, perhaps even flung, into the wooded area behind their home to avoid discovery."

While motive is yet unclear, police believe sons Timothy (17) and Thomas (13) lured the rabbit onto the family's property with spinach dip. Neighbors had seen the boys building various animal traps over the years but thought nothing of it. "We just figured they were boys being boys," said Ellie Gilbert, a family friend. Police found evidence within the house that the family has a long-standing animosity towards rabbits. Mother Karen Anderson had left an Amish cookbook on the counter, opened to a recipe for rabbit stew. Witnesses said they remember the Andersons complaining about a previous family pet rabbit who chewed some furniture. A well-worn copy of Watership Down was found with the cover ripped off. Traces of rabbit blood were found on the doorstep of the carport. Steven Anderson, the father, was also charged with disposing of the body and tampering with evidence.

"The details add up," Keckler said. "It is certainly hare-raising to discover killers in your midst, but this was a well-conceived plan carried out by a family with a vendetta against rabbits for some reason."

Neighbor Sally Walton, who has lived next door to the Andersons for 11 years and has often cared for their cat Oliver when the family went on vacation, said, "It's just so hard to comprehend. It bugs me, this bunny business. I can't imagine any member of this family perpetrating a violent crime against a small furry creature."

Meanwhile, the fate of the family pets was uncertain. Both the cat and dog were visibly shaken by the news their owners would no longer be serving dinner. Oliver the cat seemed sad about the needless loss of life. "It's a shame, really--a waste of a perfectly good rabbit." Treble the dog denied comment, but simply licked her lips and stared out the window at the spot where the rabbit was believed to have died. She has been seen visiting the site often, apparently to help her deal with her grief.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fights I'd Like to See

In what could accurately have been titled "Juice Box," Lenny Dykstra and Jose Canseco were scheduled for a celebrity boxing match this past weekend in Philadelphia.

Canseco, of course, is a former "Bash Brother", a talented but cartoonish athlete who once knocked a ball over the outfield wall with his head, and a steroid-abusing beefcake who has found a second career as a snitch, author, and authority on all things unseemly in sports. Dykstra, a former all-star centerfielder, has also been linked to steroid use, having been ratted out by Canseco. The man once known as "Nails" has been getting pounded financially in recent years as a series of whiffs on high-profile business propositions left him unable to cover the ground he had promised to some star athletes. Dykstra is now bankrupt, shunned, and the target of wrath for those who foolishly invested with him.

So in some strange way, it makes sense for these two pathological losers to take out their `Roid Rage in the ring: "Nails vs. Knucklehead for the stupid-weight championship of the world!" Let them knock each other out of cultural relevance one last time.

Apparently, there is a regular market for celebrity boxing matches. Most of the combatants are down-and-out wannabes and "D-listers" who are desperate for a buck. But it left me wondering what other tired and overexposed celebrity matchups we might be able to entice to enter the ring? Who could we bring together so they could pound each other into the distant past of our cultural landscape and be heard from no more? I think there are plenty of possibilities I would enjoy.

Justin Bieber vs. Adam Lambert. Girl Fight!

Ray Lewis vs. Jesse Jackson.
The only problem is, there would be so much preachin' going on, they'd never get to the fight.

Tom Brady vs. Tiger Woods.
I'd give the edge to Brady because Gisele would be there but Elin would not. The guy with the wife in the stands always wins in the movies.

Tiger Woods vs. Elin Nordegren.
Oh, wait, we've already seen this one.

Lady Gaga vs. Katy Perry. We wouldn't have to tell them the ring was located inside an arena about to be imploded by a demolition company, in order to make room for... talent.

Conan vs. Leno.
"Last Comic Standing" would be hilarious!

John vs. Jim Harbaugh. Brothers and NFL coaches who need to chill after victories. "One, two, three, four, I declare an over-exuberant handshake war!"

Brett Favre vs. Anthony Weiner. Text War!

I'm sure you can think of a few.

Unfortunately, Dykstra didn't show up for the fight. He claimed he was misrepresented and never agreed to it. What a shame. I think Nails could have taken Canseco. But perhaps he's holding out for a matchup with Sammy Sosa?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Death of a Giant

Even giants fall.

Bubba Smith died recently at the age of 66. Smith was a football star in the late 60s and 70s, a ferocious defensive lineman, the number one draft choice of the Baltimore Colts in 1967, and a monster of a man who's perfect name, enormous size and super hero strength made him an object of awe for many little boys like me.

I don't have a memory of watching Smith play football. What I have is a memory of staring at his football card. By age six or seven, I had a box full of them and some bicycle spokes rat-a-tat-tatting with them, but Smith's card was a special object of fascination. On the front was his frightening face, with the huge afro, the beard and the stare filled with impending destruction he was about to bring. But it was the back of the card that held my attention. There, among a few cartoon images of football players and a random fact ("Bubba's high school coach was his father"), it listed his size. Six foot seven, 305 pounds. Three hundred and five pounds! Are there really people that big, I wondered? It was like the mystical nephilim of Genesis, "the heroes of old, men of renown." Can you imagine!?

Nowadays, of course, three hundred pounds is nothing. There may not be an offensive lineman in the entire NFL who isn't at least 300 pounds. Here are the sizes of the current offensive line for the Steelers: Legursky, 6-1 315; Scott 6-6 345; Kemoeatu 6-3 344; Essex 6-4 324; Foster 6-6 325; Gilbert 6-3 330; Starks 6-8 345; Even the smallest of the bunch, center Maurkice Pouncey, is 6-4 304.

Heck, now there are high school players that big, and reality TV stars--women--who weigh that much and are trying to become the biggest loser.

But back then, at age 6, weighing all of 45 or 50 pounds after Thanksgiving dinner, wearing snow boots and a heavy winter coat while playing imaginary games of football alone in my backyard, as I nimbly evaded the terrifying giant named Bubba while scoring the winning touchdown, it was the thought of a 300-pound man chasing me that spurred me to greatness. The fear of dying at his hands led me to victory. My brother might have been the one named David, but it was I who was conquering the giant. You can't catch me, Bubba Smith! Touchdown!

Now, my first giant is really dead. New reports confirmed that Smith died of high levels of weight-loss drugs which complicated some existing heart problems. It seems the giant couldn't nimbly evade himself and his own size in the end. Like most giants, it was his size that killed him. Tragic, but not surprising. He was a giant from a different era. And his time had come.

In the end, Bubba Smith was too big--even for himself.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Live the Life

It has been six months since I've written for my blog. I'm rather ashamed of that, actually. This is something I need to do, both for my own spirit and hopefully for the benefit of someone else who may be encouraged by something I write. As I sat down to write this, I realized what an amazing life I get to live! Look at what's happened in the past six months!

* My son Jon graduated from high school. His final days of high school were quite exciting, between the baseball team making it to the regional finals, our church's senior banquet, and the opportunities he had to perform his songs publicly at a couple venues in Frederick.

* Tim had an outstanding junior tennis season, losing only 3 times.

* We had a long awaited and wonderful 9-day vacation to Colorado. We stayed in a beautiful rental house near Durango. We ate like kings, hiked in the mountains, white-water rafted, sang with cheesy cowboys, rode horses, sat in the hot tub, and spent time with family and old friends. I wish I could live in those moments every day!

* We came home from that vacation to our newly-remodeled kitchen. It's amazing, and it was definitely time! Our old kitchen (original to a 50-year-old house) was literally falling off the walls.

* Jon and I went to Ecuador on a mission trip for 10 days. It was a phenomenal experience and something we would like to do again. We met many wonderful people and saw God do amazing things.

* Thomas and Tim went on mission trips to Pittsburgh and Portland, Maine, respectively. They both had marvelous times.

* We spent a few days at Rehoboth Beach.

* We survived dropping Jon off at Grove City College. It would have made a good blog, for sure!

* Tim is in college-mode now. We have some decisions to make. We are actually having a family meeting tonight to talk about it.

* Thomas made his 8th grade travel basketball team.

* Thomas and I celebrated his "coming of age" with a surprise trip to see Switchfoot in concert, complete with backstage passes and some awkward talks about, you know, man stuff.

* Karen is back to teaching 4th grade for another year. She is an amazing person. I get to see her a few times a week.

* We had an 80th birthday party for my father. It was a sweet time, although my aunt, his sister, passed away shortly afterwards.

* I kicked off another year of youth ministry at MVCC. Highlights so far this year include a ridiculous number of kids each week at our middle school meetings, and over a dozen decisions for the Lord including nine just this past weekend at our annual fall retreat.

I'm sure I missed a few things as well. So what this tells me is that 1) I need to make time for writing this blog, because it's not going to happen without discipline, and 2) I have so much to write about, I have no excuses.

So here's my promise to myself, and perhaps to you, to write at least twice a month.