Potpourri: April 21, 2014

During last week’s eclipse, Earth’s shadow covered the moon, making it appear dull reddish. Astronomers say this “blood moon” will recur three more times in the coming 18 months — each time on a Jewish holiday. Texas megachurch evangelist John Hagee just released a bestselling book, Four Blood Moons, saying this foursome may bring the Rapture, the Battle of Armageddon and the return of Jesus. Here’s our prophecy: Nothing abnormal will occur in the next 18 months, and Pastor Hagee will switch to other predictions.


An obit for retired Carbide chemical engineer Philip Pontius related a charming joke: During World War II, he flew B-17 bombers and called himself “Pontius the pilot.”


The Rev. Jim Lewis, a history buff as well as a reform crusader, sent us this item: Until the 1860s, all newspapers were printed one sheet at a time as operators hand-fed pages into presses. But William Bullock invented the rotary press, which took in paper automatically, printed both sides and kept rolling continuously. Journalism was revolutionized (literally). Bullock died when his leg was mangled by machinery as he installed a Philadelphia press, and he didn’t survive amputation.


David “Mick” Staton was a South Charleston Republican who said he was “raised up by God” to be in Congress. He defeated former Charleston Mayor John Hutchinson in 1980 for a single term, then lost to Bob Wise in 1982. Staton became a Washington lobbyist and lived in the Eastern Panhandle until his death last week.


Bearing arms in West Virginia: Danny Rose, 41, of Summersville, is charged with shooting his younger brother with a .380 caliber pistol.


Steve Eichler, who identifies himself as CEO of the Tea Party, endlessly denounces President Obama as a traitor, fraud, impostor, etc. Last week, Eichler said Obama secretly plans to declare martial law and rule America as a dictator. However, he exulted, retired Gen. Paul Vallely “is calling for a massive march on Washington to fight Barack Hussein Obama’s tyranny.” Eichler adds: “Have you signed the petition to impeach Obama yet?”


The cyber revolution continues to grow, but more slowly. The Association of American Publishers says e-book sales increased only 3.8 percent in 2013. Now the U.S. yearly sales tally is: hardbacks $1.5 billion, paperbacks $1.4 billion and e-books $1.3 billion. We’ll bet the latter number counts only e-books sold by regular publishers — not hundreds of thousands of self-published works sold through Amazon’s Kindle and other services.

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