114. Wherein Marty Appears

It's Friday and it's time for sweetness and light. Bitter Political Rancor, you can have the night off!

Old News.
I saw a bit of a History Channel documentary the other day about the Kennedy Assassination. Did you know there is quite a bit of interest in this topic? No, honest, there is!

Seriously, I have been intrigued by the story like millions of others have. We lived in Ft. Worth for about four years in the early 90's and my daughter and I once made an excursion to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Honestly, I have long been sympathetic to the possibility of multiple gunmen having been involved in JFK's death. In the museum, I stood as close to Lee Harvey Oswald's sniper's nest was as the exhibit will allow. I looked through the window to the street. And to my untrained eye and mind, it seemed impossible for one man with a bolt action rifle to do what was done.

However, after watching the show, I've changed my mind. Someone has taken the famous Zapruder film and matched it up with some animation software. The software is able to "fill in" the spots in the film where the motorcade is blocked by the sign, for example. I can't explain as it deserves to be explained, but it's convincing. It demonstrates, I think, that Oswald was the only shooter. I tried to find it on the History Channel website, but gave up after a few minutes. I didn't remember the name of the program. But it's worth seeing if you can.

Now, does this eliminate all possibility of conspiracy? I don't know. The one man who might have the best knowledge was shot in the gut in the Dallas police station basement by a guy with Mafia connections and who really had no business being there. You tell me. The show did mention this, however, and pointed out an important bit of info. In the years since, hundreds of Mafia have been arrested and, facing life in prision or capital punishment, not one has even hinted at knowing anything about the assassination. If somebody knew something, you figure they would talk to save themselves or to get a better deal.

Which leaves us with this: We may never know.

Or, maybe we do know - it was always, only Oswald.

Quick Hits
Burgers, I get. I used to eat them everyday myself. But not with that goop on them!

I have had a question or two about the Logos posted on the right. The idea is to post graphics that I think are interesting or attractive to me. Sports images dominate right now, but there might be something new from time to time. Have you noticed the new ESV Study Bible image? Is that a nice looking cover, or what?

Do I get them all in one spot? So far, yes. It's called Cris Creamer's Sports Logos Page. He's done a lot of work and it's a great site. If you like art, colors, creativity, graphics, or history you'll enjoy snooping around, even if you are not that interested in sports.

Speaking of logos, the NBA's Seattle Supersonics of North Texas have a new logo and it's hideous. Actually, the team has really moved to Oklahoma City and they are called the Thunder. Oy. Steal Seattle's oldest franchise, the only team to win a championship in the Emerald City, and move them to a minor league town, give them a minor league name and a logo that looks like it came out of a logo generator program. (You provide the Team Name! You provide the Colors!) Double oy.

It will not be posted or linked. (If you dare to look, remember, I warned you.)

I have not made it to the ipod generation, yet. My son has one and I am familiar with the concept. I know about 'Shuffle'. I have also mastered e-mail.

Meanwhile, the other day, I was listening to my radio account at an online service where they play songs based upon my preferences. They use a mind meld. Anyway, here's what happened to me: I heard The Mills Brothers’ “I Don’t Know Enough About You” with their trademark harmonies, upright bass and rhythm guitar, and then went directly into ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man” with their trademark guitar and drums pounding out a relentless pace. Jarring! Ricky Nelson’s “Hello Mary Lou” was next. What a set!

Bob Ryan, one of the nation’s best sports columnists, tackles Major League Baseball's MVP debate. Obviously, I love his conclusion about the NL choice.

Here's a stand-up guy. We could use more of these kind of people. After reading this, I am an Ed Hoculi (hawk-you-lee) fan. I think all decent people should be. Even if you don't care about football, I think you'll appreciate Hoculi.

Once upon a time, I began spinning tales in email correspondance to my cousin. The stories had to do with some rather ordinary folk muddling along through their ordinary lives. Today, we hear from Marty again -

Marty is hardly ever surprised by what he finds in his mailbox. Usually just ads and bills. Ads and bills. He had never thought about that before. Isn't funny that all that is usually in the mailbox is ads to get you to buy stuff and bills for the stuff you bought? Sometimes there's a wrapper from Taco City in there and he hasn't quite figured out why. The wife? The kids? The dog? No! Not the wife! But usually, it's the same stuff all the time.

Except today.

Today there was something from the bank in the mail and it wasn't the monthly statement. Hmm. Marty went to open it. Another mystery. How do they get the information sealed up inside where you can only open it by ripping off the perforated ends? Who does the perforating?This must be important. Maybe it's a check! Marty imagined a little orange card that said, "Bank Error In Your Favor. Collect $200."

It wasn't a check. But Marty, having ripped the perforated ends off, sincerely hoped there had been a Bank Error. It was a message from the bank that they had levied a fee against Marty's account. A fee of $11.17. Wow, he thought, eleven dollars and seventeen cents! Where am I going to get that kind of money?

Marty sat down at the table to think. There was no real explanation for the fee. He knew that he made a deposit last week after he was paid. Since then there had been no big purchases, no grocery store run and the car and the truck both still had half a tank, so no gas. What could it be? He had made a couple of little purchases, but nothing at all significant. Oh, they got the pizza Saturday night. And he bought a Coke and a Hershey bar, also. And on Sunday, too. And Friday. Wait. Friday wasn't Coke, it was Dr. Pepper.

Marty decided he'd better call the bank. He found the number on the bank's envelope. It was a One-800 number. One-800? I could walk there in 10 minutes, he thought. He called it and a recording told him the call might be recorded. "Might be?", thought Marty, "Sounds like it already is!" Then they asked him to punch in his account number. "I don't know my account number! Who memorizes the bank account number?" Then he thought it might be on the notice from the bank and it was. He began to push the number and after 3 digits he heard a voice and he put the phone back to his ear.

"Please enter the account number followed by the pound sign," said the machine. "That's what I'm trying to do!" yelled Marty to no one. He got the account number, followed by the pound sign, entered and the recording began listing all the options and the appropriate number to push for the option.

Since he didn't hear a number for Perforated Envelope In Your Mailbox, Marty had to listen to all the options again. He finally decided to press '0' for a Customer Service Specialist.

He got the recording asking him to punch in his account number. Marty looked for something to throw. From today's mail, he grabbed the flyer from Hammerin' Herb's Hardware Haven and flung it across the room. Immediately he regretting having done that because Hammerin' Herb usually had pretty good prices on things Marty might need some day. "When I get off the phone, I'll go pick that up," thought Marty.

A voice on the phone. ". . . your account number, followed by the pound sign." Aggravated, but throwing nothing, Marty punched in the number. And the pound sign. Here came all the options again. This time Marty chose the number having to do with the checking account. There was a pause.

Then a recorded voice said it wished to verify his account number and proceeded to recite it in a strange, mechanical voice with horrible diction and lousy inflection. If, the voice said, the number was correct, press '1'.

Marty had no idea if it was correct or not. He didn't listen. He was pretty tired of his account number by now. He punched '1' anyway. The voice said, "Would you please enter the last four digits of your Social Security number? Well, thought Marty, here's a new request. Maybe we're getting somewhere. He put in the requested digits. No pound sign required.

The voice started talking about his balance and his last deposit and his next statement. Marty, not one to cry, was beginning to feel desperate. All I want to know," he thought, "is why I owe the bank $11.17. Is this too much to ask?" He was beginning to think he should have walked 10 minutes to the bank after all. He would have been there by now.

The voice ended. Then the voice started. With the options again. The urge to throw something returned. Then Marty thought about walking to the bank to throw something, but then he thought that would probably be a violation of some sort that would make the $11.17 look like a good deal.

"Why can't I just talk to someone, a real person?" Marty pleaded as he looked at the picture of the plastic bins to hold fasteners on the upside down Hammerin' Herb's flyer accross the room. "I might need those," he thought.

Marty heard the phone say "Press 5" and so he did, not knowing what this would do.

"New Accounts, may I help you?" said a real, live person. Marty, not one to cry, thought he might. "Yes, I hope so. I got this notice in the mail that says I have a $11.17 charge against my account and I don't know why. Can you tell me?"

"Well, this is New Accounts, . . " said the real, live person. "I know," said Marty, "but can't you look?" The real, live person decided that it would be alright to help. Just this once.

"I'm sorry," said the real, live person after a minute, "but I don't see any charge or fee against your account."

"What's that?" said Marty.

"There is no fee," said the real, live person.

"Why did I get the notice in my mailbox?" said Marty.

"I don't know, sir."

"So, it was just a mistake?" said Marty.

"Well, the bank doesn't typically make mistakes."

"So, I have a notice of a fee. And you say there is no fee against my account. And this is not a mistake?"

"That's right," said the real, live person.

"Well, what if there really is a fee?" said Marty.

"You would get a notice in the mail."

"But I have a notice right now!" Marty yelled.

"Yes, sir. But you don't have a fee."

Marty took a deep breath. "How can I be sure that, in spite of the fact that I have notice of a fee, that there is no fee as you claim?"

"I don't know. I'm not authorized to answer that," said the real, live person, "I could transfer your call."

Marty cried.


Ryan said...

Mike...you should get either an ipod or a zune (which is what I use). It is not too late for people from your, um "generation" to enjoy this wonderful technology! I get some great podcasts that are automatically downloaded and synced to my zune daily...from the likes of Piper, Mahaney, Driscoll, etc. My guilty pleasure currently is listening to some old Hall & Oates...don't tell anyone.

Bob Wingate said...


I really enjoyed the latest installment of the Marty saga. That phone conversation with the bank just seems so real, almost like it was inspired by real life!

Interesting about the Sixth Floor Museum, too. I followed your link to their site, and looked around...the FAQ's and such. There was mention of the limosine being at the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit. I can vouch for that, I spent a fascinating afternoon there once and for a few minutes stood next to and looked at the limo. Somewhere I have that on a VHS video tape. If you're ever in Detroit, that museum is one place I highly recommend. There's so much variety of things on display, you're guaranteed to find stuff you're interested in looking at.