I have a talent for inspiring people to hate me

Way, way back in 2007, a guy in Morris decided to generously donate a great big fancy electronic carillon to the cemetery near my house, which was nice. Except that he programmed it to play hymns and patriotic tunes loudly, every 15 minutes, all day long, every day, from 5am to 10pm. He lived nowhere near his giant cheesy loudspeakers. I did. I complained. Other people in the neighborhood complained. Nothing was done, because this is small town America, and how dare you question a person’s right to screech Sousa marches and Lutheran hymns into your ears all day long are you some kind of commie pinko atheist or something? It went on for a few years (millennia?) with constant complaints & letters to the paper & some brave hero cut the wires & it was repaired & the guy left town in a huff & took his precious colossal beep-boop Nintendo away with him & donated it to a more grateful town in Arizona where the residents appreciate his contributions to the spiritual life of the community.

He has retired and moved away, but he still writes in to the Morris paper to tell us how much the carillon is loved in its new location, or how he visited some other town that had one and they adored it, and how Morris is full of philistines and liberals.

Well, Ted Storck is back in the paper again.

He’s still nursing his resentment. His account is accurate, as far as it goes. The bit where he says Things then got even worse… and refuses to say how is a little misleading, though. What happened, as I recall, is that town officials finally asked him to turn his music down and maybe play it a little less frequently, which I think is what prompted his hissy-fit and his decision to take his toys away.

It’s silly and stupid, but I have to note that Ted Storck has been seething in rage for fourteen years now and is focused on me as the source of his impotent grudge. That’s not good. I’ve had many obsessed haters over the years, but they all tend to be far away and more into railing at me over the internet. This goon knows where I live, and apparently visits the area now and then. I’m a little worried that some day I might open my door and there’s Ted Storck with a shotgun, and that’s how my story ends, blown away over a petty, small town dispute by an “insufferable self-important Christian” who can’t even spell “Pharyngula”.


  1. says

    I remember when this first happened. That was about the time I started reading your blog daily. I thought this was dead and buried. WTF is wrong with that man?

  2. hemidactylus says

    I knew you were a meanie on usenet (grumble…snort), but had no idea you hated religiously inspired noise pollution. I suppose the mumble rap the kids are playing in the neighborhood these days isn’t that bad after all. At least it is usually only momentary. I can’t imagine dealing with a stationary bee bop Nintendo in my neighborhood. There is one neighbor who sometimes booms solid infrasonic bass that rattles my dishes. In my day that would be a sign of divinity, but now I’m old I want it off my lawn.

    OK after a few beers I sometimes open my windows and boom the electro. Dynamix and Illektrolab should stymie the philistines and their Generation Z mumble rap nonsense.

    I do kinda miss sitting under the loud pipe organ during chapel in my one year of parochial school. But that was transitory and not next to my house.

  3. Bruce Fuentes says


    He is a self-righteous entitled, white, christian. That is WTF is wrong with him. We all deal with their microaggressions every day. This was and is a macroaggression.

  4. kurt1 says

    Classic guy posting his L’s in the local newspaper. “Here is how one P.Z. Myers on his blog Laryngitis (or something) owned me so hard I am still mad about it 14 years later”.

  5. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    with the approval of both cemeteries
    I’m sure all the corpses voted for this without hesitation

  6. PaulBC says

    Confession: the pandemic has given me a chance to watch Gilmore Girls, finally. It’s an imperfect show, but it has its moments. I’m up to season 5. It takes a while to realize that it’s not a comedy/drama as much as an extended Twilight Zone episode. After that readjustment, it makes a lot more sense.

    I am now beginning to wonder if my assessment is wrong, and towns like Stars Hollow actually exist. PZ’s plight sounds exactly like season 4, episode 11 In the Clamor and the Clangor which came out several years earlier in 2004. (If I read Ted Storck’s letter in Taylor’s voice it almost works.)

    Also, it’s a cemetery. Shouldn’t the bells play dirges or similar?

  7. PaulBC says

    donated it to a more grateful town in Arizona where the residents appreciate his contributions to the spiritual life of the community

    Was it the same town that has the London Bridge? It’s their “thing” collecting other people’s junk.

    Maybe they will also take the River Street sign in Santa Cruz, which is still there and for all I know has become a beloved part of Santa Cruz history.

    In 2001 (when I lived there) it went up very fast in a part of town that had almost nothing, though I guess some consider it a “gateway.” A sign, you say. So what? This is no mere sign but a honking mass of raw steel that cost $83,000 to construct. This picture illustrates its scale and curious placement very well.

  8. whheydt says

    I rather like Sousa marches. I suspect the real problems were (1) starting at 5AM (10PM is also pushing it) and (2) the sheer volume. Every 15 minutes is also rather much.

    One of my fantasies is to connect a wall transducer to my car door and when there is a vehicle next to me blasting rap or some such at high volume, put on Joseph Strauss Sr’s Radetzky March as loud as possible right back at him.

  9. bcw bcw says

    Hell’s bells, what’s his problem? It’s Surprise AZ but the bells are in Hammond IA in the court house, it they’re still there.

  10. billseymour says

    whheydt @10:  yeah, except that my fantasy is blasting the Ramayana Monkey Chant at them (ca. 16:20 into


    (We had that album, and played it, at KRAB FM, Seattle back in the ’70s.)

  11. PaulBC says

    billseymour@13 My ring tone is Sun Ra’s Space is the Place in its entirety. The opening really is attention getting (so it rarely gets more than 10 seconds in). I would not want to use it intentionally to annoy people. It’s not there “ironically” though I have to be in the right mood for it.

  12. monkeysea says

    You’re too smart.
    That’s what the crazy guy said (over & over) as he tried to smash my buddy’s head into the bricks & push him into the fire.
    You’re too good. What a threat.

  13. birgerjohansson says

    2007? I remember your conflict well,
    Ed Brayton was still alive and we (at least I) thought the end of Bush would lead to Merican politicians might get a consensus about climate change being real, and maybe not helping Israel with stealing land.

  14. nomdeplume says

    Surely the “right” to play loud Sousa marches in a cemetery (!) stops where PZ’s ear drums start?

  15. brightmoon says

    If someone wakes me up at 5 am the house better be on fire or else. ( remind me to tell you how much I hate daylight saving time in the spring.)

  16. greg hilliard says

    Looks like Ted moved to Surprise, which is northeast of Phoenix and near the Sun Cities. I saw a letter in a Surprise paper in which Storck said he’s still technically a Minnesota resident because he pays less in income tax because of it.

  17. PaulBC says

    greg hilliard@20 Does he drive? Where is his car registered? I remember someone being “turned in” by another apartment building resident for having out of state plates too long in California.

    And where does he vote for that matter?

  18. robro says

    “Not As ‘Idyllic’ As We Think” — I would think that getting rid of his boombox would make Morris more “Idyllic”.

  19. PaulBC says

    brightmoon@19 Remind me to bring some matches and a gas can if I have to wake you up early.

    …though it seems a bit extreme.

  20. Rich Woods says

    PZ, you should write to the paper too, saying that you still think Storck is an inconsiderate arrogant jerkwad, an idiot, an obnoxious jerk and an insufferable self-important Christian. They might print it just in time for Easter.

  21. puzzlecraig says

    2007?! I can’t believe I’ve been reading your blog this long – and yet, I mentioned Pharyngula in an email back in 2008, so I guess I have. Mind blown.

  22. lumipuna says

    I’m a longtime Pharyngula reader, but not that longtime.

    I know American Christianity tends to be garish and proudly loud in style compared to European Christianity – or at least the Nordic Lutheranism prevalent in my area. It still really boggles my mind that a group of two secular (?) cemetery organizations would be happy to have such monstrosity installed as “landscaping decoration” or whatever, as long as they only have to pay (?) for the electricity it consumes.

    Over here, one of the most basic and expected features of a cemetery is that it’s a quiet place. Not a place where you can enjoy outdoor music anytime, just within the limits of local noise ordinance. Also, here you can’t start making noise until 7am. Do most people in Morris get up around 5am?

  23. PaulBC says


    Over here, one of the most basic and expected features of a cemetery is that it’s a quiet place.

    Oddly enough, I would have said this about American cemeteries, at least everywhere I have lived.

  24. lanir says

    PZ… I feel like I just read the Stephen King short story version of your life. That’s how a lot of his stories go. Lots of boring small town slice of life then minor bits of supernatural weirdness culminating in sudden violence.