One man fights back beautifully against Westboro Baptist Church. The strangest international event I’ve ever heard of. And the joy of lunatic sports radio callers

westborobaptist.house

Sometimes, when coming up against an individual or group so despicable, so hostile, and so just downright evil, you have to respond with a smile.

“Kill ’em with kindness,” I believe the expression goes. My former partner on the high school sports beat at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Buddy Shacklette and I, would always say that to each other when a high school coach would give us crap about one thing or another. After a while it got to be a joke between us, as the more angry the coach got, the happier and kinder we got.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve all unfortunately heard of the Westboro Baptist Church, the “religious” group that pickets military funerals, puts forth hate-filled messages to gay people, and in most other ways make complete asses of themselves in public.

Well, a man named Aaron Jackson decided to get some sweet revenge and tweak the hate-mongers as well. Jackson, a 31-year-old community college dropout, noticed there was a house for sale across the street from Westboro Baptist’s main headquarters in Topeka, Kan.

So he bought it and decided to paint the house completely in the colors of the gay pride flag (that’s the house in progress, above.)

“We’re going to take the negative attention and try to spin it into something positive,” said Jackson’s friend and roommate, Davis Hammet. “Instead of millions of children around the world getting this hate message, they’re going to see this message of compassion and love.”

I love it. You go, Aaron Jackson. I’d love to see the look on the face of Fred Phelps (Westboro’s leader) when he leaves in the morning and has to see that every day.

**And now, in honor of March Madness (one more day till my favorite day of the year!), we present a lunatic sports radio caller from Kentucky, who blames liberal socialism for the Wildcats not making the NCAA Tournament. Yep, that’s it. For you WFAN old-timers like me, this guy makes Jerome from Brooklyn seem sane…

Pancakerace

**Finally today, this has to be the most bizarre and random international sporting event ever. For the past 50 years, the people of Liberal, Kansas and Olney, England have held an annual race on International Pancake Day (what, you didn’t know there was an International Pancake Day? March 13, baby. This is what you get from this blog, all kinds of useless info.)

According to this fascinating and weird story I heard on NPR’s “Only a Game” radio show, back in 15th century England, a woman was busy making pancakes out of those foods when she realized it was time for church.

“She heard the church bells ringing and dashed off to church realizing that she was late,” an organizer of the event said. “Well, she still had her pancake in her hand, and ran all the way to the church like that.”

In Olney, a town of about 6,000, this whole running-with-pancakes thing kind of caught on, and they started to have a race each year, requiring the women of the town to run while holding pancakes in frying pans. In 1950, a resident of Liberal named RJ Leete read about Olney’s racing tradition in Time Magazine, and well, the rest is Aunt Jemima history.

So yeah, every year women in both towns run as fast as they can for three blocks wearing  a headscarf and apron, and, of course, carrying a pancake in a skillet. And no, they’re not required to flip the pancakes while they’re actually running, though they do have to flip them once before they start, and again after crossing the finish line, just to prove they still have them.

The race happens in both towns, and then afterwards the townspeople in both places meet to compare times and see who won.

I love this so much. I might just have to go to Liberal, Kansas one day to see it. (the whole town basically shuts down every March 13th for the race).

At the very least, you gotta figure you’ll get a delicious breakfast out of the trip.

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