Monday, February 28, 2011

On the Road

So I'm reading articles about who the Oscars snubbed during the In Memoriam part of the awards and the two of the glaring omissions were Corey Haim and Peter Graves.  Although when you really think about it, Graves was more of a television actor and Haim made only two well-known movies and a lot more crappier ones.  But still they should've added him.  But reading the comments on a couple of the articles I don't think the average viewer knows how the In Memoriam portion works.

Numerous people mentioned that Kenneth Mars (The Producers) and Perry Moore (Chronicles of Narnia) should've been in the list.  You idiots do realize that they died one to two weeks ago right and the montage was probably completed a month or so ago.  And I hate to resort to the same excuse they give when people complain but they don't have time to list everyone.  If you want a good list of the people who have passed--in and outside of Hollywood--I recommend the yearly Find-A-Grave necrologies.  Now, onto today's comic.

Has Brutus put in his two weeks?  Now he can spend the rest of his days following the life and writings of Jack Kerouac and working on his model cities.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Take Two Cups of My Foot In Your Ass

Just so you know, there are some Sunday comics posted over at the DCR.  You should go check them out.

So I read "bach-ing it" (batching) as "bach-ing it" (as in the classical musician).  I am angered and amused that these two men cannot come up with a decent homecooked meal. I don't understand why neither of them can read a recipe.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

If He Goes Outside, He Won't Know What He's Missing on Television

If it is nice outside then Wilberforce needs to get away from the TV, get out of that chair and go outside. While I sometimes feel bad that me and my son don't go out and do stuff when I am home, it's freakin' cold outside and I don't like the cold. If it's warm and the sun is shining then yes.  Let's go outside and do something but if it's cold and cloudy then what's the point?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I Prefer Doughnuts Myself

What is Brutus going out for? Does the place he's going to have donuts?  These questions and many others will probably not be answered on the next episode of The Born Loser.

Also, United Media, who syndicates Born Loser and dozens of other strips has turned over syndication of their strips to Universal Press Syndicate.  It is currently unknown how this will affect, or this site but we will see.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rich Still Rich--Money Sacks On Back Order

I don't care if rich people gleefully throw their money around...I'd probably do the same thing if I were a billionaire.  It's when they announce that they are giving themselves massive million dollar bonuses and renting islands in the Caribbean that tend to make people upset.  Veeblefester knows to keep his "board-approved" bonuses and island rentals on the down-low.  Too bad he can't stay away from putting his money in huge sacks marked with "$".

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

No. 20: The Stone

Once a month, Ethan made the forty mile drive to Silver Lake. He wound through the town, following the highway to Beaubien Street. He turned right onto Thomas Road and followed it over the railroad tracks where the paved road suddenly became gravel. He drove another half mile to a cemetery. He turned into the cemetery and followed the small road around the forest of headstones and came to a stop in front of a small stone. Ethan got out of the car and placed a bouquet of fake flowers in the ground in front of the stone. Ethan knelt in front of the stone, which was a simple marble stone with a lamb carved on the top, and stayed with it for about half an hour before kissing two of his fingers and placing them on the lamb. Ethan stood up and got in his car and drove the forty miles back home.

“Yes, sir. I understand that your cable and Internet are not working. There’s an outage,” Ethan said into his mouthpiece. “Sir, you just had a tornado go through your town, you should be glad anything is still working and that you’re alive.” Ethan looked over at Aaron. “He hung up,” Ethan smiled. Ethan watched as Heather, a girl from another department walked by on her way out to smoke. Ethan took off his headset, hit a couple buttons on the phone and followed her.

Heather had just exhaled her first drag when Ethan joined her. “Need a cigarette?” she offered.

“You know I don’t smoke,” Ethan said. “How’s work going for you?”

“Could be better. Only two other people felt obligated to come in tonight so we’re pretty busy,” Heather said then took another drag.

“Yeah. A tornado went through our area and people are calling wondering why their services are out,” Ethan chuckled.

“People are idiots,” Heather smiled and turned away from Ethan to lean on the railing and look out over the river.

“Hey, um, Heather? I was wondering if you’d want to go out with me,” Ethan asked as he leaned against the railing.

“Sure,” Heather looked at him. “I think this weekend would be fine.”

After a couple of months, Ethan and Heather were still together. “A friend of mine is having a birthday party this coming Saturday. I thought that we’d go,” Heather said.

“Oh, I can’t this Saturday. I already have something planned,” Ethan declined. “Besides, I don’t really know your friends all that well. They don’t seem to like me.”

“They like you, they just don’t know you. What are you doing Saturday that you can’t go?”

Ethan paused as he tried to think of an excuse. “I have work. I signed up for some overtime.”

“Really? But you hate overtime. You call it un-American. Besides, your department never offers overtime,” Heather recalled.

“Well, they finally did and I decided to take it,” Ethan nervously said. “Now I have to get to work,” Ethan said and left the apartment.

“Why didn’t you just tell her the truth?” Aaron asked.

“Oh, she wouldn’t understand why I drive forty miles to a cemetery to put flowers on a grave that has no connection to me,” Ethan said.

“Yeah, I can see that,” Aaron nodded. “So why do you do it again?”

“I honestly don’t really know. It seems like I have a spiritual connection with her but I think most of it is because I think she’s lonely. She has no family members around her and is kind of in an isolated area.”

“Why can’t you go do both? You’re only at the cemetery for an hour at most. Add in the drive time, I think you can do both,” Aaron explained.

“Heather’s friends don’t like me. They always seem to look at me a just ‘another guy Heather is sleeping with’,” said Ethan.

“Well, I still think you should’ve told Heather the truth.”

As usual, Ethan had his cell phone off as he drove to Silver Lake. Heather had decided against going to the birthday party and called Ethan at work—who wasn’t there. She then tried his cell phone two times before finally calling Aaron.

“Aaron? Where’s Ethan?” Heather asked, sounding a little angry. “He’s not at work and his phone is off.”

“I told him he should’ve told you,” Aaron shook his head. “Don’t worry. Ethan is okay. He’s driving to Silver Lake—he should be back in two hours.”

“What’s he doing in Silver Lake?” she asked.

“When he gets home, let him tell you.”

Heather waited, thinking the worst. Two and a half hours passed then Ethan walked through the front door. “Who is she?”

Ethan was confused. “What?”

“Your Silver Lake whore. Who is she?”

“What are you talking about? I’m not seeing anyone besides you.”

“Then why’d you go to Silver Lake?” Heather demanded.

Ethan sighed. “I am seeing a girl there but it’s not what you think,” Ethan paused and looked down at the floor. “Her name is Elizabeth Uhl and she’s been dead since 1917. Every month for the past two years I’ve been visiting her grave. I didn’t tell you because I thought you’d think it was stupid or that you wouldn’t believe me.”

“Why do you go?” Heather asked quietly.

“I don’t know. I just do. She has no one else.”

“You should’ve told me. I would’ve believed you and you wouldn’t have had to lie about working,” Heather went over and hugged Ethan.

“Why didn’t you go to your friend’s birthday?” Ethan asked, hugged Heather back.

“When I called to get directions this morning I mentioned you weren’t coming and he immediately replied with ‘so you finally dumped that loser’,” Heather said.

“I told you they didn’t like me,” Ethan smiled.

“When are you going out to Silver Lake again?” Heather asked.

“Next month sometime. Why?”

“I want to come with you,” Heather said and smiled at Ethan.

Ethan smiled back and nodded. “Okay.”

Monday, February 21, 2011

Garfield the President

I don't really have a favorite President.  I like Lincoln and FDR.  I'm more interested in things completely unrelated to the person being president.  Take James A. Garfield who was assassinated on July 2, 1881 by Charles Guiteau.  One of the bullets lodged in Garfield's spine and was unable to be located.  It is surmised that Garfield may have survived had his doctors been a bit more capable.  One doctor even inserted his unsterilized finger into Garfield's wound and punctured his liver.  Garfield died September 19, 1881 after only 200 in office.  Guiteau used an insanity defense and proclaimed that while he did shoot the President, his doctors had been the ones to kill him.  Guiteau was hanged on June 30, 1882.

As for my favorite money, I prefer the twenty dollar bill and the fifty cent piece.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Keeping Out of the Penalty Box

So is Wilberforce just running around in a parking lot shooting a ping pong ball into a net?  Also, who is he practicing all this with?  He doesn't hang out with anyone else but Hattie?

I was supposed to post an entry for the DCR today but I looked through all the comics that we get and only found two worth commenting on so I will carry those comics until next week and hopefully next week there will be a massive post that all can enjoy.

Also, a group of people are trying to save an old bridge northeast of Ottawa, Kansas.  The bridge, known as the Tauy Creek Bridge, was built in 1895 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.  It was recently abandoned by Franklin County and passed into nearby landowners possession.  The group wants to either preserve the bridge where it is and turn it into a pedestrian bridge or move it to a park in nearby Ottawa for use as a pedestrian bridge.  As I get more information about saving the bridge I will let you know what you can do to help save this piece of history.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

They've Owned That TV for Over a Year...He Should Know How to Work It By Now

Usually it's the TV button plus the power button if it is a universal remote.  If it's just a TV remote then you just use the power button.  It's really not all that hard.  The buttons on a remote control are pretty self-explanatory.

#226: Taphophile

taphophile (n.) A person who is interested in funerals, cemeteries and gravestones.

I've been a taphophile since my last years in high school. I've been to numerous cemeteries from Colorado to Illinois. I've been to nearly all the cemeteries in my county and countless others scattered in the surrounding area. I was so thrilled when I found out my love and appreciation for cemeteries had a name that wasn't "dork" or "weirdo".

Clinton Cemetery
I've written many stories that include cemetery scenes and there are a few more that I am planning on writing including a new first novel. I know what it will be about but I don't have a title or even how the story will go but I know I will have a good time writing it. I have chosen to depict the main characters in a fictionalized version of Clinton Cemetery which is on the southwest side of Clinton Lake.  I chose this cemetery because it's one of the few that I haven't spent as much time in along with Rock Creek, Dodder and Worden because you have to drive around Clinton Lake then back toward the lake but it is one of the oldest cemeteries in Douglas County and is still being used so it has over 150 years of history to unearth.

One story that I am looking forward to is my take on Anna Jessie, the five-year-old daughter of an American Indian and a black woman who died in 1878.  Her tombstone was found in a field by a farmer and, not knowing where the girl's grave was, donated the stone to the Wakarusa River Valley and Heritage Museum.  In 2007, the Sons of Union Veterans placed the stone in Clinton Cemetery next to freed slave Nickerson Cowen.

When it gets warmer and the snow melts and it's not as muddy I plan on writing histories of a few cemeteries around the area and getting pictures of stones and possibly researching some of the people buried in those cemeteries.  It's something I've been wanting to do for a long time but haven't had the good weather or really the time but I should be able to at least get a few of the cemeteries done.

Also, I hope to get my last short story done for sometime next month.  I've been writing on Carrying Valerie since early November and I only have a couple more chapters to go but the main problem is the party scene.  You see, I was invited to very few parties when I was younger so I am not exactly sure what happens at some parties which makes it hard to write party scenes.  I can usually fake it or write around it but I actually need this scene.  I also figure if I stopped spending so much time on the Internet, maybe I could get some writing done.

Maybe with my recent change of life, I will be able to get some stuff done...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thank You For Calling

I don't normally talk about my job, mainly because it's unprofessional but this strip is just so reminiscent of my job that I have to comment.  I work for a government contractor and answer phones for one of the most expensive programs our government has.  What is interesting is that the contract requires (requires!) that the callers wait on hold for at least three (3) minutes.  So what happens when they can easily get through the voice menu system and get directly to an agent?  They pull people off the phone to build up the queue essentially forcing that no waiting quickly turns into a fifteen minute (or more) wait time.

Your tax dollars at work.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stull #8

"Why is it always cloudy around here?" Frank asked outloud as he got closer to Rock Creek.  He turned into the town and saw that it was all in ruins.  All the houses were burned down to their foundations.  Some piles of wood and brick and stone were still smoldering.  "What the hell...?" Frank breathed.

He saw another car up ahead on Main Street and slowly approached it.  He parked and got out of his car.  A man was standing next to the car wearing a suit.

"What's going on here?" Frank asked as he approached the man.

"And you are?" the man replied.

"Frank York.  With the Rock Creek Township Historical Society.  Who are you?"

"Detective Edmund Bilko.  I was hired by the county to try to figure out what happened here.  We tried contacting the Historical Society but got no answer," Detective Bilko said.

"Do you have any idea what happened here?"

"No.  County sheriff began receiving calls early this morning but no one actually saw what happened.  They just called to report the burning wreckage."

"So essentially Rock Creek just spontaneously combusted?" Frank said seriously but meant for it to be a joke.

"That's currently what we are describing it as," Detective Bilko said.  "Only thing left standing is the old Catholic Church," he pointed behind him toward the white Catholic Church Frank knew all too well.

"Of course," Frank sighed.

"Whatever Happened to Rock Creek?"
The attic of the old Stull farmhouse was filled fill of family heirlooms, old pieces of furniture and mostly worthless junk.  "Where do we begin?" Katie asked as she and Matt entered the attic.

"I know books were usually tossed into an old hope chest so I guess we'll find that and start there," Matt said.

With all the clutter in the attic it was difficult for Matt and Katie to walk through and the chest was covered by musty faded dresses and surrounded by old dress mannequins.  Matt moved the mannequins and the dresses and Katie knelt down and opened the mahogany hope chest.  Wrinkled pieces of papers and books slid out of the overfilled chest and fell onto the floor.  Matt knelt beside Katie and scooped up the stuff that fell.

"I guess we should go through this and see if there is anything Frank would want for the Society," Matt sighed.

"It's what good employees would do," Katie agreed.  She began going through the papers and books still in the huge chest while Matt sorted through what had fallen out.  "There are first editions of classic novels in here," Katie pulled a book out of the chest.  "'Catcher In the Rye'!  With an author photo," Katie shrieked.

"After the kids moved out a lot of books came up because they were taking up space that would better be used for commemorative plates and Hummel figurines," Matt explained.  "All these papers are old tax forms, property information, titles to cars long smashed into cubes.  With the occasional recipe, of course."

"Of course."

Matt stacked up all the papers and moved them out of the way.  He and Katie looked at all the books that had been placed in the chest.  All of them were either commercially produced books or rare books about grammar, spelling or the English language in general.  There was no sign of the book they were looking for or any diaries.

"An attic full of crap and diaries and books about their family history are the things they throw away," Matt groaned.

"Could the book be with your mom or Uncle John?" Katie asked.

"Maybe.  When we get back to the Society, I can call my mom and Aunt Wanda and see if they have a copy."  Matt took a few of the books with him and Katie took a handful also.  "Let's head downstairs..."

The inside of the church was just as Frank last saw it.  The thick carpet of dust with patches of clean floor due to the few people have walked through remained.

"So...what do you know?" Detective Bilko asked.

"The truth is a bit out there.  Sure you want to know?" Frank smiled.

"If you think it'll help in finding who did this."

"Rock Creek was partially populated by vampires," Frank revealed.

Detective Bilko gave Frank a look and began laughing.  "Seriously?  That seems a bit far-fetched."

"No, I agree.  When I originally discovered it was vampires I just thought how it just smacked of bad writing where they couldn't figure out a good villain or something and just threw in some vampires for drama."

"Where do we even begin to figure out what happened here?" Detective Bilko asked.

"We may never know what happened..." Frank said.

Back at the Historical Society, Frank made a copy of the graverubbing and placed the books on a shelf at the front of the building.  "You two did good today," Frank said.  "I can't belive you actually did a graverubbing.  I'm proud."

"Told you," Matt said to Katie under his breath.  "I just wish we would've been able to find that book.  I called other family members and while they either remember the book or had it at one time, it disappeared years ago."

"No problem.  There's got to be a copy somewhere.  We'll look at the Stanton County Historical Society tomorrow and if we have no luck there then it's off to the state historical society," Frank said.  "I'll see you two tomorrow."

"All right Frank," Matt said as he and Katie headed out the door of the Society.  "See you."

Judith has a stroke which distracts Frank as they try to find the book.

Chip Does Good

I can't find anything wrong with this strip.  A lot of kids don't like a lot of food.  My son doesn't like eggs even though they are basis for just about anything we eat.  I also do not really like quiche.  So here's a video for you.

DuckTales College Humor Theme

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Today Was a Good Day For Me...

I want to know where you go to get a title assigned to you?  Is it Department of Labor or Social Security or Department of Health and Human Services?  I assume only one can be the born loser but that's not what I would want anyway.  I'd want to be something like "jovial contemplator" or "misinformed linguist".

Can you chose your assignment because if so, why would anybody choose to be a "born loser"?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Joanne Siegel 1917-2011

Joanne Siegel, widow of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel and inspiration for Lois Lane has passed away at the age of 93. She worked endlessly to preserve the legacy of the Superman creators and in 2008 helped win a court ruling giving the Siegel estate, the Shuster estate and DC Comics shared ownership in Superman but the details are still being sorted out.

Tiger Woods? Now That's Topical

I appreciate Tiger Woods going back to what he does best after all his marriage and sex with whores trouble but I'm thinking he needs to retire or stop playing professionally for awhile.  I don't know, it just seems like he has some anger issues or something.  He has the money, just stop and find something else you are good at.

Just not that.

Not On Board With Man Caves

Friends?  What friends?  Al?  Veeblefester?  That guy at the diner?  Wastrel?  Brutus has no friends so obviously he has just been eavesdropping on guys talking about their man caves.  You know where else you can go to do your special interests?  A spare room, the garage or the basement.

Monday, February 14, 2011

It Is the Law

Wilberforce makes a good point.  I'd be a bit curious if my wife didn't want to be my Valentine.  "I don't want to be your Valentine this year.  We should find other people this year."  "You're a bitch."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Corner Store? You Mean Walgreens?

I've never understood Mother-in-Law jokes.  Mother Gargle has seen the merchandise she unloaded, right?  It's about on par with Brutus.

Five dollars is kind of a lot to spend on candy.  But considering candy no longer costs under a dollar anymore then it makes perfect sense why Wilberforce asked for five dollars.  $2 for candy and $3 because that's Hattie's current going rate.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Parentless Waif

Hattie's parent have apparently went on another bender and have abandoned their child leaving the Thornapples as Hattie's interim guardians.  Calls have been made but one wonders when the State is going to get involved.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I love how Chip did shout-out to my man, Regis Philbin.  I've never met Reege but it's on my bucket list.  And I'm sure meeting me is on his.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Don't Forget Those Robot Surgeons

What the hell--?  Copyright date is 2011.  Date is signed 2/9.  Why is this a Christmas strip?  Have the Thornapples really had their tree up this entire time?  Chip is really reaching for a joke today.  I'm very disappointed.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Suburban Cleveland Got a Snow Day

It's good to see Brutus and Gladys actually agreeing on something this time.  I especially like seeing them in agreement about the junk food in their fridge.  I'm just wondering if "goodies" means actually junk food or if it's groceries for the next two, three weeks.  Because there is nothing better than a fridge full of groceries.

Also, Hattie's perfectly made snowfall has caused Wilberforce to have a mini-stroke.  But he's feeling much better now.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

America Runs on Dunkin...and Snow Days

So there was a commentator on my local paper's website that every time there was snow in the forecast, even if it was just a dusting would threaten the school district to close school.  She would argue that it was too cold for kids to be out and much too dangerous.  And if school wasn't canceled, then she would keep her kids home anyway.

I personally didn't care what she did with her kids but she seemed like one of those parents that would yell and scream and curse for the district to cancel school because it was cold and dangerous but would then take her kids out to Target or Walmart to do running around.  In one comment she made the mistake of mentioning going to Dunkin Donuts one morning when school was canceled basically creating a running joke all her own.  She has quit posting because she could barely dish it out and she definitely couldn't take it but the Dunkin Donuts jokes continue every time there are threats of snow.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Marriage Is Apparently a Concept of the Devil

Is it me or does Mother Gargle's nose look more crooked than usual?

How come movies, TV, books and comic strips, not to mention numerous other things out there in the world, showcase marriage as some horrid one-sided argument where only the women win and the man is always miserable and praying for death?  What started this trend and when, for the love of all that is holy, is it going to end?

Friday, February 04, 2011

That's Not How Thermoses Work

Well, that sounds better than what Hattie has for lunch which is a pack of sugar and peanut butter smeared on a playing card.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

That's What She Said?

The groundhog--Punxatawney (sic?) Phil--did not see his shadow so Spring should come early.  I could care less.  I want all the snow to melt.  I want to not feel sick anymore.  Both of those things are out of the hands (paws?) of a damn groundhog.

Also, I've never understood the "six more weeks of winter" vs. "early Spring" thing.  Technically, couldn't early Spring be five weeks from now?  Lousy groundhogs....

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Stull #7

"You're going alone?" Matt asked.

"I think I might be perceived as less of a threat if I go alone," Frank explained.

"Or perceived as easier to kill. Why don't I just go with you?"

"People know where I'm going. They can't kill me because it would call attention to them. They are not just going to kill people because then they leave evidence that they exist."

"I've seen those vampire television shows and townspeople are killed all the time and no one seems to care," Matt said.

"I will be fine.  Besides, you and Katie are going out to find your old family cemetery.  I'll see you tonight," Frank smiled.

Frank sat down at the table across from Judith.  She had already ordered herself something to drink and was going over the menu thoroughly.  "So glad you could join me, Frank.  I've been wanting to get together with you for awhile," Judith said.

"My pleasure.  After this, I'm driving out to Rock Creek to hopefully check that off the list."

"The vampires?"

"So you've heard?"

"Except for a few, they all live peacefully and the peaceful ones keep the others in line."

"Well that's good.  Which ones are the good ones?" Frank asked.

"That we don't know.  But I'm sure you can figure it out," Judith replied.  "But I want to know more about you.  When's the last time you saw your sister?"

Frank was taken aback by the direct question.  He took a deep breath, "She's been in the Ohio State Psychiatric Correctional Facility since I was six so it's been about twenty years."

"You've never visited her?" Judith asked.

"She killed my parents and would've killed me.  What exactly would we have to talk about?  Madeline may be my sister but she is not family," Frank said.

"Why do you think she did it?" Judith asked.

"Psychologically?  I don't know.  From what I remember our parents were decent people and Madeline was a normal preteen until that night.  I blame it on the curse even though I know that's just an easy answer that doesn't actually answer any questions."

"And you went to live with your aunt and uncle?"

"Yeah, my mom's sister and her husband.  He killed himself when I was fifteen.  She died of lung cancer shortly after I graduated from college.  Since then it's been just me."

"What about friends, relationships, girlfriends?" Judith asked then lowered her voice.  "Boyfriends?"

Frank chuckled.  "I was never one for friends.  They always seemed to move away.  Only Matt has remained.  As for girlfriends, I've had one since high school.  It ended badly and I don't like to talk about it."

"You'll talk about your parent's murder and your sister but not about your ex-girlfriend?  Very well.  What about the girl you work with?"

"Katie?  She's a great girl but only a friend and an employee.  To want anything more with her would be unprofessional, not to mention weird."

"Cem-e-tery!" Matt loudly enunciated to his 93-year-old Great-Grandma.

"Oh!  Cemetery!  You'll have to speak up, Matty.  You mumble too much," she patted Matt's cheek.  "No one asks about the cemetery.  Probably best left forgotten.  The old family cemetery is along the creek.  On the back end of the farm.  Are you staying for dinner?"

"I don't think so, MeeMaw.  Maybe some other time.  Katie and I are going to go find the cemetery.  Thanks, MeeMaw."

The Stull Farm was located three miles northeast of Stull and had been in the family since the town's founding.  It was 120 acres of good farmland and while most of it was going unused, it was leased to the Herkimer family who ran a dairy, paid taxes and kept the profits for themselves.  They helped keep up the farm and helped MeeMaw keep up the house.

The east end of the farm was bordered by a creek thick with decades of tree growth.  Matt and Katie walked to the southern boundary and began heading east.  They walked for almost an hour and nearly passed the cemetery because of it being hidden by trees and the cemetery only had one headstone remaining.  The stone was a moss and lichen covered obelisk barely legible due to over a hundred years of neglect and nature.

"There's only one stone," Katie said.  "How do we know who is buried here?"

Matt took out a piece of rice paper and a charcoal crayon from the backpack he brought and knelt down in front of the single stone and began doing a grave rubbing.  "We'll have to look at my family tree and see where everyone is buried.  The ones we don't have a grave listing for would be buried here."

"How many do you think are buried here?" Katie asked.

"No more than a dozen--if that," Matt finished the rubbing and stood up.  "Frank will be proud that I actually did a grave rubbing.  Let's head back to the house."

When they got back to the house, Matt approached his MeeMaw about the cemetery.  "MeeMaw?  Katie and I found the cemetery.  Do you know who is buried in it?"

"Oh, GeePaw's grandpa, his grandpa's father.  Their wives.  A few children," MeeMaw said.  "I'm not really sure.  There was a book published in the early 20th Century about the founding of Stull.  The book used entries from G.W. Stull's sister's diary.  Only a few copies were made and it very unpopular with our family because it depicted the Stulls as murdering thieves."

"Oh my God!  I need that book!  Do you have a copy?" Matt asked.

"I think so.  It should be in the attic.  The diary is long gone though."

"That's okay.  The book is all we need."

"Be careful in Rock Creek.  You never quite know what to expect," Judith said as she and Frank stood outside the restaurant next to his car.

"You never quite know what to expect anywhere around here," Frank said and got in his car.  He started the engine, backed out and waved to Judith as he pulled away.

As he drove out of Tontzville on State Highway 571 and exited at the Stull exit, the sun shone brightly.  As he traveled toward Rock Creek along the county road, the sun became hidden by clouds that seemed to appear from nowhere.

Next: Rock Creek disappears; Matt and Katie search for the book.

Diner Mishaps

Because turkey and chicken are the exact same thing.

Years ago, I was traveling to Houston and we stopped at a Hardee's at a rest area on the Kansas Turnpike near Belle Plaine.  We had to wait forever in line to order and they were out of fries so they substituted fries for pies but they didn't have apple, they only had cherry.  After we had eaten and were leaving I overheard people in the back announce that they were almost out of hamburger.

You are probably one of the busiest Hardee's in the midwest and you don't have enough hamburger meat?  Come on!!