Oklahoma City’s Black Mass

My native Oklahoma is a conservative state, and yet the city manager of Oklahoma City has allowed renting out part of the Civic Center for a Satanic Black Mass.  Unlike the kerfluffle at Harvard (see here and here), the group putting on this event has reportedly acquired a consecrated host, which they will then publicly desecrate.

Now the group has insisted that it will not break any laws.  That would presumably rule out the normal Black Mass practices involving urine, excrement, semen, and the ritual abuse of a naked woman.  So instead of being a “traditional” Satanic liturgy, I guess this it will be a “contemporary service.”  But they will do something nasty to the Body of Christ.*  And if the city manager will hold them to their promise not to break any laws, what about Oklahoma’s blasphemy law? [Read more...]

The real Osage County

I grew up in northern Oklahoma, so I’ve been noting with bemusement how Osage County all of a sudden has a presence in popular culture.  First there was Ree Drummond, a.k.a. the Pioneer Woman, whose show on the Food Network has introduced foodies to the cuisine I grew up with and whose blog about her life on the vast Drummond Ranch has introduced a wide audience to Oklahoma culture.  Then native Oklahoman Tracy Letts won a Pulitzer Prize for his play August:  Osage County, which was then turned into a movie featuring a whole army of A-list actors, such as Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Julianne Nicholson, Sam Shepard, and (of course, since he’s seemingly been in every other movie this year) Benedict Cumberbatch. The film was shot on location, so all of these Hollywood superstars lived for two months in a condo complex in Bartlesville and shot the movie in a house in Boulanger, with scenes in Pawhuska and Barnsdall.  So I had to see this movie. [Read more...]

The Tulsa Sound

J. J. Cale died, the musician and songwriter responsible with Leon Russell for developing the so-called “Tulsa Sound.”  This was a bluesy, rock ‘n’ roll shuffle, often adorned with a honky tonk piano.  The most notable exemplar of the Tulsa sound was the non-Okie Eric Clapton, but it can also be found in the numerous collaborations of Leon Russell and in groups like the Tractors.

As someone who grew up near Tulsa and went to college in Oklahoma in the 1970s, I can say this is my kind of music.  (In addition to the music, the Tulsa scene at that time included late night TV with “Mazeppa Pompazoidi,” a.k.a. Gailard Sartain, a comic genius who would later go to Hollywood for Hee Haw and other mostly bit parts unworthy of him, with Gary Busey as Teddy Jack Eddy.  Busey also went to Hollywood and had a pretty good career.  Though known for some meltdowns, he became a convert to Christianity.  Did anyone else out there stay up late for the The Uncanny Film Festival and Camp Meeting?)

After the jump:  J. J. Cale playing his most famous song and a good survey of his life and music. [Read more...]

The tornado set a record

One of the tornadoes that hit the Oklahoma City area on Friday was the widest ever recorded at 2.6 miles.  It was rated an EF5, which is the very top of the tornado scale.  Nine days earlier, another EF5 had hit Moore, an Oklahoma City suburb.  And in 1999, Moore had another of the rare EF5′s.  That twister featured winds at 302 m.p.h., the strongest winds ever recorded.  On Friday, the extra-wide tornado had winds just short of that, at 300 m.p.h.   Good thing it struck out in the country or Oklahoma City would have been blown off the map, with untold numbers of casualties.  As it was, 18 people were killed, including two tornado chasers.  The three tornadoes that we endured that night paled by comparison. [Read more...]

Dodging tornadoes

Oklahoma City and surrounding communities were struck by multiple tornadoes Friday night, killing nine people.  This was only 11 days after an EF-5 tornado hit Moore (a southern suburb of OKC).  We were in northeast Oklahoma, a long way from the tornadoes that made the news, for my father’s funeral.  But our county too had three tornadoes.  The funeral was in the morning, but that night the tornado sirens went off three times and we had to scramble to find shelter. [Read more...]

Tornado destroys Moore, OK. Again.

Growing up in Oklahoma, in tornado alley, I remember hearing that tornadoes, like lightning, never strike the same place twice.  Well, that’s not true.  In 1999, Moore, Oklahoma–a big suburb between Oklahoma City and Norman–was struck by a monster tornado, an F-5, one so big scientists had to alter the scale, killing 44 people and wiping out a big swathe of the city. (I happened to be there a couple of days later and saw houses, shopping centers, and office buildings reduced to piles of garbage.)  But Moore rebuilt.

Yesterday, Moore was hit again by another huge tornado that might have been even worse.  The funnel at the top was two miles across and killed over 50 people (a toll that will likely go higher).  I know two families in Moore, relatives by marriage of my wife.  We got word that both of them lost their homes.

We’re on the road and should be driving through what’s left of Moore later this week.

UPDATE:  Now they are saying 24 were killed, rather than the larger numbers released before.  See this.

Huge tornado levels Oklahoma City suburb, killing dozens – The Washington Post.


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