Sunday, July 24, 2005



The 16th annual Huckleberry Finn Float was yesterday. 40 men and women
set forth on homemade rafts for a leisurely day of sunbathing, swimming, bbq and beer. Conceived by Bob Owens as a means of getting more people to appreciate an under utilized resource, the annual float is still going strong a decade and a half later! This years float was held on the Indiana section of the St. Joseph river from downtown Bristol to the east side of Elkhart.

The 72 year old Owens still organizes the float and maintains the rafts. He sells souvenir t-shirts to help cover the cost of raft maintenance, charcoal for the grills, and ice. The rafts are made of 12'x8''' platforms strapped over 2 canoes or six 50 gal. drums. Each raft is outfitted with 6-8 chairs, an ice chest w/ice, a table with umbrella, and a Smokie Joe w/charcoal. Everyone brings their own food to grill and a side to share.

This years float lasted around 4 1/2 hours. The weather was sunny and warm, with a nice light breeze. The water temp. was perfect for a swim. Our personal chef Gwen (who I always make sure is on the same raft as me) did her usual stellar job on the chicken, sausages, and burgers! A grand time was had by all!

Other stuff.... Did you hear William Saffire testifying with great anger about "prosecutorial overreach" and the first amendment rights of journalists before congress this week? Saffire let it be known he is furious about the fate of his NY Times colleague Judy Miller (jailed for refusing to identify her source in the Valerie Plame case).

Somebody should remind Saffire that he, as much as anyone, is responsible for the atmosphere in which journalists work today. Long before he began working as a "journalist", it was Saffire, along with Pat Buchanan, who plotted and carried out the Nixon Whitehouse strategy of branding journalists as being liberally biased. It was Saffire who wrote the Spiro Agnew speech that made famous the phrase "nattering nabobs of negativism". It was Saffire and colleagues who pioneered the anti press tactics that Lee Atwater and Roger Ailes would later refine.

Forty years ago, no prosecutor would have been able to force a journalist to reveal their source. No court would have allowed it. Saffire bears as much responsibility as anyone for today's lack of respect for the fifth estate. He should take a good long look at himself and see what his actions have wrought!

The proprietors of THE GREAT WHITE BEAR and THE CHURCH POTLUCK will be vacationing at beautiful WEKO BEACH on Lake Michigan this week. We'll return Monday, Aug 1!

Friday, July 22, 2005



I hate it when I have a week so busy and frazzled that I have no time to blog! That was the week that was. However, I have been feeding the mind; dropping in on your blogs, listening to public radio. Here is the best of the week:

If this one doesn't scare you, it should. The war in Iraq is quickly going to hell in a handbasket. From the TIMES of London (with thanks to Wanda at the blog Words On a Page) :

Weekend of slaughter propels Iraq towards all-out civil war

The brilliant Robert Reich, Former Chair of the Harvard School of Economics and Secretary of Labor has a lot to say about our bi-polar China policy:
The China Problem

Fresh Air rebroadcast an interview with the brilliant, fabulous, insert every superlative you can think of Jon Stewert, in honor of the release of the DVD of INDECISION 2004:
Jon Stewart.

We're cooking three one pot recipes, perfect for camping or a quick meal at THE CHURCH POTLUCK

Saturday, July 16, 2005



just not the NHL. My University of Michigan Wolverines, however, now thats another story! They've had a great recruiting season, with 5 members of the US National under 18 signed. This includes Jack Johnson, who will be the first defenseman taken in the NHL draft. Also Mark Mitera another defenseman projected late first/early second round.

Add to that a pair of goal scorers in RW Jason Bailey and C Zac MacVoy, and it's a very exciting class coming in for the Wolverines. Yes, I AM pumped.

Friday, July 15, 2005



Now cooking at THE CHURCH POTLUCK, 3 recipes for grilled Cornish Game Hens!


As much as I despise Karl Rove, it is beginning to look like he is just a secondary player in the Valerie Plame case. Should he be fired? Yes, because Dubya promised to fire anyone involved in her outing. But is he the big gun? No.

So who is the administration official responsible. Clearly, someone high enough that Bush couldn’t afford to allow the facts to come out before the election. Clearly the Whitehouse is covering up for someone. And the time has come to, as Salon puts it, ask Dubya the question asked of Nixon thirty years ago; “what did you know and when did you know it?” This case is turning into a major obstruction of justice case, which is, after all, what forced Nixon to resign, not the Watergate break in itself.

Salon has a series of excellent articles (the best I’ve seen anywhere) HERE. It would be well worth your while to suffer through the brief ad and view them .


The NHL deal is finally done, and my question is, why bother? This is an agreement that is almost guaranteed to plunge the NHL into the same kind of obscurity enjoyed by indoor soccer, arena football, and major league lacrosse. It screws the teams it needs the most, the Red Wings, Maple Leafs, and Rangers. On a case by case basis:

THE RED WINGS: America’s team. The Wings are to hockey as the Yankees are to baseball, and the Cowboys to football. Love em or hate, nobody is neutral on them. Television ratings across the county rise by 10% when the Wings are on TV. Nobody comes close to selling the amount of licensed merchandise the Wings do. They play in North Americas hockey hotbed, where even the college teams sell out all their games. The NHL NEEDS the Wings to be successful. This contract guarantees they won’t be. With only 16 players under contract, their payroll is at 38 million. The cap is 39 million. Minimum salary is now $450,000. Do the math. The Wings will be forced to buy out a number of stars contracts. Under terms of the new deal, you cannot re-sign these players. Look for Chelios, Yzerman, Hatcher and Joseph to be gone. Unless Nick Lidstrom decides to stay in Sweden and play fewer games for more money. That might save Hatcher.

THE MAPLE LEAFS: Are to Canada as the Wings are to America. Every English speaking Canadian grows up wanting to be a Leaf. TV rating go up if the Leafs are playing. Again, they are also hard up against the cap.

THE RANGERS: Original 6 team in North America’s biggest market. Outside Detroit, this is the market the NHL needs the most if it is to rebound from obscurity. While they are not quite as hard up against the cap as the Wings, Leafs, and Flyers (another crucial market), this cap leaves them no flexibility to improve. And the NHL desperately needs the Rangers to improve.

Worst of all, this cap guarantees many of the sports European stars will stay in Europe, further diluting the talent pool. It also means there is a better than 50/50 chance that the supposed savior, Sidney Crosby, will save Swiss hockey instead. Lucerne has offered him a contract worth at least 4 times what he can make under the NHL $850,000 rookie maximum salary. If it were me, I’d already have passport in hand.

I think this year, as last, I'll don my maize and blue jersey and spend a lot of time watching my Wolverines on Comcast Sports!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005



Okay, watching the All Star game, broadcast from my hometown, has made me crave a genuine Detroit style pizza. And just what is a Detroit style pizza you ask? Well, let me tell you. The image on the right is a true Detroit pizza, from Buddy's, one of two pizzerias claiming to be the first in Detroit to serve this dish. Also known as Italian bakery style pizza, the perfect Detroit pizza features a thick crust, crispy on the outside and bottom, soft and tender on the inside. A thick, rich sauce is topped with mozzarella cheese, which, because it's baked on a high sided sheet, gets golden brown and crispy along the edges. A true Detroit Pizza is as close as you will ever come to heaven on earth.

Chicago, with Edwardo's and Nancy's and Lou Malnoti's may be more famous for pizza, and trust me, I LOVE Malnoti's in Old Town (and, but none of the above hold a candle to a good Detroit style pizza.

The best pizza in Motown (and the world) is at Nikki's in Greektown, followed very closely by Buddy's (Southfield and Auburn Hills), The Cloverleaf Bar and Pizzeria (Eastpointe and St. Clair Shores) and Shield's (especially the Southfield and Commerce locations).

And just so you know, I have never forgiven Buddy's for moving from my old haunts in Waterford to Auburn Hills!

Thursday, July 07, 2005



from left: Erich Fromme, Thomas Paine, Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington, Jesus Christ, Voltaire

We all pretty much know what we believe. But ever ask yourself why you believe what you do? Did you have an epiphany? Ever think about who might have influenced your thought process? Do you believe the things you do simply because it's what your parents believed? My challenge to you.... Tell me who you are, what you believe, why. Who influenced you, who you admire. Post it on your blog or in my comments (let me know if you blog it).

I am:
descended from a long line of hard working men and women of French, English, and Celtic stock. We have cleared forests for farms, been innkeepers to a President, supplied the Revolution. Successive generations of us homesteaded first Ohio, and eventually Michigan. We have been lumberjacks, woodsmen, miners. Builders of unions, trucks, and busses. We have worked as dockworkers and teamsters. Most of us have lived clean and with deep faith. My father was in on the beginning of the UAW, a boxer on the top team in the army, a war hero, poet, student of history, avid golfer, and top notch fast pitch ballplayer. He was also the best grandfather anyone could possibly be. I have struggled in his shadow most of my life. I am well read, have a broad range of interests, love sports, history, sociology, politics. I am a an outdoorsman and canoeist. An atheist. But mostly I am a father and grandfather.

I believe:
in the principles of Christ. Not that these principles have anything to do with organized religion. They don't.
I don't believe these things because I am convinced of his deity, but because they seem logical to me. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Love your neighbor, judge not lest you be judged, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. It seems to me that this would be a much better place if everyone practiced these principles. It appears to me that Jesus was a mind your own business kind of guy. His message seems to be you worry about how you live your life, the rest will take care of itself. A radical message in this day of church and state meddling in your relationships and bedroom.

in the philosophy of the Enlightenment and the Founding Fathers. I believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In free speach. In protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority. That you can't have freedom without democracy, but you can have democracy without freedom.

in the value of community.

the Republican party has gone astray because they have abandoned the men who made the party great. They've forgotten Abraham Lincoln, who said "all men are created equal". Today's Republicans seem to believe you're more equal if you live in the top 1% of income earners. Or if your brand of Christianity has strong southern roots.

They've abandoned Teddy Roosevelt, who understood it was the job of the government to protect the people from the ruthless and powerful, whether a foreign government, or a wealthy trust. Who understood the value and necessity of conserving and protecting the environment for future generations. Today's Republican is more interested in how he can exploit the environment than preserve it.

They've forgotten Ike, who warned us of the danger of the military/industrial complex. I have one word for you... HALIBURTON. Today's Republican party is not only in bed with the military/industrial complex, they are having one hell of an orgy.

we desperately need another Teddy Roosevelt. There is none in sight

that hockey is life, the rest is just details.

that the best pizza in the world is at Nikki's (Greektown, Detroit MI)

tht the best American Fries in the world are at The Whitehouse Restaurant (South Bend IN)

My epiphany came:
in a small bookstore catering to geeks and philosophers. Specializing in the classics and Dungeons and Dragons. In the basement among the used books, I noticed a book entitled MAN FOR HIMSELF by Erich Fromme. I had gradually become disillusioned with the church, not only my denomination, but all the others I investigated. Then I started to read this marvelous book, and I not only began to understand myself, but WHY I was disillusioned. And I discovered a philosophy of life that made much more sense than anything I'd ever come across.... Humanism. I quickly purchased and read ESCAPE FROM FREEDOM and THE SANE SOCIETY, and was ever after hooked on Fromme. He he has certainly been the biggest influence on my view of life.

Sunday, July 03, 2005



HAPPY BIRTHDAY! My baby is 19 today!

Now cooking at THE CHURCH POTLUCK, Crowd Pleasin Chili!



So, What DO Paul Harvey and Karl Rove have in common? Besides the fact that both are right wing nutjobs? Both are in serious trouble this weekend! Let's start with the 85 yr. old Harvey, who recently signed a 10 yr., 100 million dollar contract with ABC:
In one of the most disgusting diatribes heard on radio in recent memory, Harvey not only waxed nostalgic for biological weapons, slavery, and genocide, but lamented the fact we haven't used nuclear weapons in Afghanistan or Iraq. He managed to insult Aboriginal Americans, Black Americans, and the entire middle east in one 2 min. commentary. Quoth Harvey: "Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and into this continent by giving small pox infected blankets to native Americans. Yes, that was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever. And we grew prosperous. And, yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves."

You can read the entire transcript HERE. Contact ABC radio and add your two cents worth at:
Phone: 212-456-5387

A great big white paw up to:
Agitprop (
Fairness in Media (
Eric Zorn/Chicago Tribune (

And on to Mr. Rove:
It seems that we now know conclusively who outed CIA agent Valery Plame. Guess what? Just as everyone expected, it was Karl (I don't swallow, I spit) Rove. That according to the folks at Time Magazine, who are preparing to turn over all information to the Special Prosecuter. And the Chicago Tribune is speculating, based on the large numbers of Administration officials (including Bush and Chaney) being interviewed, that S.P. Patrick Fitzgerald has expanded his investigation to conspiracy to leak Plames identity, and a possibly an illegal White House cover up. Can you say WATERGATE?

Paws up to:
Good To Be Blue (}
Huffington Post (
Editor and Publisher (

Saturday, July 02, 2005



Yes friends, the image on the right is the sad look of a man who has had his bubble burst, whose fantasy has run smack dab into reality. Someone who suddenly realizes his ordinariness. A bitter pill indeed!

I have always thought my name to be unique. Growing up, I knew every one of the small number of Spurriers in the state of Michigan. In fact, to this day, I've never met another Spurrier I didn't know. So, I've always believed myself to be unique in the world. THE Mark Spurrier. Then I made the mistake of googling myself. Turns out that there are at least 8 other Mark Spurriers. Even worse, they are all more accomplished than me! I suddenly feel I've let the other Marks down.

There is Mark, the computer geek in Oklahoma. Mark, the MD in Missouri. Mark, the Deputy Chief of Law Enforcement at NOAA. Mark, the state park naturalist in Maryland. Mark, the college Track and Field coach. Mark, the electrical engineer in VA. Mark, the Rugby player in Australia. Mark, the poet in Baltimore. To this I want to add Mark, the truck driver in Indiana?

I did learn some interesting things about my ancestors during my time websurfing this morning. It turns out that Spurrier is a Huguenot (French Protestant) surname. My first ancestor born in this country was Michael Spurrier, born around 1640, to parents who undoubtedly fled France in fear of persecution or burning at the stake (the time frame coincides with the fall of the last Protestant Free City in France).

His son and grandson operated an Inn at the toll station on the National road in Ann Arendal county, Maryland. Spurrier's Tavern is mentioned over thirty times in George Washington's diary. My favorite entry. "Spent night at Tom Spurrier's tavern. Sick horse died."

During the revolution, Spurrier's Tavern served as an important supply depot for the Colonial Army, and for two weeks served 4,000 Colonial and French soldiers bivouacked there on their way to the battle of Yorktown. All of which makes me eligible to become a member of the Sons Of The American Revolution!

Yeah, I'm sure the other Mark Spurriers are there too ('cept maybe the Aussie rugby player). Damn!

p.s. The photo is actually of a guy who has had too much hard cider!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?