Home News Archives September 24, 2014


My Two Cents

by Stephen Scalf

That Creeps
Me Out!

That Creeps Me Out! Most weekday mornings, The Book Nook doubles as a meeting place for an early-morning Bible study class. One morning when I got to work, there was a note explaining that the study group had been paid a visit by a rather unwelcomed guest – a bat.

The group had been unsuccessful in capturing the bat or driving it out the door and so the creature had been left for me to deal with it – except I had no idea where it might be.

During my time in the Army, I was placed in combat situations that required a fair amount of bravery. I have been under direct fire, had 20mm rockets explode less than 20 yards away from me, and been in vehicles that have been struck by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). This kind of danger has never really bothered me.

But bats… they really creep me out. If one of them were to land on me, I’d probably be screaming like a little girl.

And so there I was, in the office by myself – or rather, just me and the bat, and the bat had the definite advantage: He probably knew right where I was.

I looked around as best as I could, trying to find the bat, but was running out of time. I had someplace I needed to be. I decided to give up and go to my meeting and try to find the bat when I came back. I was just about to head out the door when I saw it – hanging upside-down on the window shade, right beside the door I was supposed to go out.

Looking around, I grabbed a small trash container and decided to try to trap the bat in that, and somehow get the trash can outside before bat could escape.

Getting close enough to put that trash can over the bat… I think that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. My stomach was all knotted up. My feet didn’t want to move. And I just kept thinking that bat was going to take off at any second and bite my face off.

My little plan worked, though. I put the can over the bat and moved it around until the bat detached from the window blind and was loose in the bucket. Then I pushed the door open and ran outside with the can and the bat flew off – leaving my face intact.

Just thinking about it still gives me the heebie-jeebies, though.

At one point in my life, I thought I had gotten over my fear of bats. The place where I was staying had this reflecting pool and the bats would come out at night and fly all around it, eating mosquitoes and other insects. Bats were zipping and darting everywhere. People would duck and wave their arms whenever the bats came close, but not me! I wasn’t afraid of bats anymore.

“You don’t need to worry,” I bravely told them. “Bats have radar. They won’t hit you.”

Just then, a bat smacked me right in the forehead.

I totally lost it. I just about went into a fit waiving my arms and slapping at my face and my head, trying to make sure the bat wasn’t still attached to me.

Not long after that experience I had a chance to go to Sydney, Australia. There was a little park across the street from the hotel where I was staying, so when I woke up, I decided to go on a little jog through the park. I hadn’t gone very far when I came across a cluster of trees that seemed to be decorated with these strange, black leather bags. Curious, I went a little closer. Suddenly, one of those “bags” unfolded and I found myself just a few feet away from a thing that looked like a medium-sized dog with wings.

I’m not kidding. That thing had a wingspan of nearly six feet. Then it looked right at me with those beady, black eyes… and I was out of there.

I found out later it was a flying fox. Looking at pictures of them now, I can appreciate their beauty. But seeing face-to-face is a completely different story.

If you are around my age, you might remember the singer, Carly Simon. (Just think of the ketchup bottle and the song, Anticipation.)

She sang a kind of Calypso song about bats that included the following lyrics:

The bat, he rat got wings. All the children know that. All I need to know from the Lord Is how to get the wings on the cat!

Got that right!

And that's my two cents,
Steve Scalf

Sharing a Smile

by Tom Metcalfe

Happy New Year

Happy New Year Today is Rosh Hashanah – the first day of the Jewish New Year. Since only 2.5 percent of the USA’s population is Jewish, most of us are saying, “So what?” and many of us don’t know what a shofar is, much less having knowledge of how to play one. Obvious to most Christians, there is a close historical tie between the Jews and Christianity. After all, Jesus was born a Jew. So, boys and girls, let’s have a little education session this week.

In 2013, the web site, pewresearch.com reported that there were 5.3 million persons living in the U.S. that claim some tie to the Jewish community, which represented 2.2 percent of the total U.S. population. There were another 3.6 million (1.5 percent of U.S population) that claim some connection through Jewish background or affinity. These figures suggest that this demographic group would be in a minority. Before I go further, let me make sure that you understand that I am not trying to prove anything except that most of us living in Carlisle probably are not well versed in Jewish customs and therefore don’t understand Jewish holidays.

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. The Biblical name for this holiday is called Yom Teruah (Hebrew: literally "day [of] shouting/raising a noise") or the Feast of Trumpets according to the correct biblical calendar of the 1st and 2nd temple period, not Rosh Hashanah. It is the first of the High Holy Days which usually occur in the early autumn of the Northern Hemisphere. Rosh Hashanah is a two-day celebration, which begins on the first day of Tishrei. The day is believed to be the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, and their first actions toward the realization of humanity's role in God's world. Rosh Hashanah customs include sounding the shofar (a hollowed-out ram's horn) and eating symbolic foods such as apples dipped in honey to evoke a "sweet new year". (Wikipedia)

Moving along to the more typical, less inspirational writing that you are accustomed to in this column, according to ranker.com approximately 70 percent of the USA's working American comedians are Jewish. At this site you will find a list of 113 Jewish comedians from Adam Sandler to Woody Allen. Not surprisingly, many of these comedians specialize in Jewish humor. With the exception of the named holidays, the following story could have happened at my church – First Baptist of Carlisle:

One Shabbat morning, Rabbi Levy noticed seven-year-old David staring up at the large plaque hanging in the shul lobby. It was covered with names and small American flags were mounted on either side of it. David had been staring at the plaque for some time, so Rabbi Levy walked over to him and said quietly, “Shabbat shalom, David.” “Shabbat shalom, Rabbi,” replied David, still intent on the plaque. “Rabbi, what is this?” “Well, David, it’s a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service.”

Soberly, they stood together, staring at the large plaque. Then little David, in a barely audible whisper, asked “Which service, Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur?”

A Jewish comedian I am not. Happy “R H!”

Last week’s trivia question - Who was known as the “King of Country Music”? – Roy Acuff

This week’s trivia question - What Jewish comedian/song writer recorded “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah, Here I am at Camp Grenada”?

And On That Note...

by Ross Haney


Not-So-Sporty From a very young age, I think my parents knew I wasn’t going to be the next Lebron James, Babe Ruth, or (insert famous football player’s name here). Early on in life, I realized that our traditional sports just weren’t my thing. I wasn’t really what someone would classify as athletic – I was just about as uncoordinated and athletically challenged as they came.

I started my short sporting career in the Nicholas County Little League Basketball program, where I began to realize that the saying “it doesn’t matter as long as you’re having fun,” was most likely labeled after me. I’m pretty sure I finished the entirety of my Little League career with around six points – two of which were for the other team.

I had a short run with Little League Football, but I don’t think that worked out so well. I eventually found my way out of playing it for good – my dad’s a sucker for the water works.

Until I went into seventh grade, I was one of those kids that would try something, and then I’d quit it a few days in. I never really liked to do anything – sitting on the couch was pretty much it. But when I joined the marching band in 2009, I took a strange liking to it, despite its demand of physical exertion, coordination, and all around skill, and my lack of the aforementioned attributes.

Marching band – especially in the competitive circuit – is in all aspects a sport. I don’t know many athletes that walk at paces sometimes similar to that of a fast jog, maintain balance and stability of everything above the pelvis, maintain the adequate breath control needed to play an instrument with good tone and breath support, constantly adjust their embouchure to intonate with other members of the ensemble, and constantly keeping even their step size in mind in order to ensure that a quality program is put out to an audience of people and a panel of adjudicators.

I found out quickly that even when I became good at what meets all the characteristics of an athletic activity, I was still not really what most would identify as athletic or “sporty.” I exert more energy and burn more calories in one six minute performance than some athletes cover in an entire hour game, but I’m still not characterized as an athlete by most.

I don’t think we’ll ever see a world where the DCI Championships are as big as the Super Bowl, or people will drive all across the state just to see their local school’s marching band perform. But honestly, as much as I enjoy my “extracurricular activity,” I’m quite alright with being “not-so-sporty.” And on that note, I’ll leave you!

And on that note, I’ll leave you!

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