Saturday, September 20, 2014

I hate being right

Especially when I get the feeling the problem is more widespread than we admit.  After our society jettisoned its religious moorings and mocked the idea of common values, we are replacing these with the religion of the day, which is basically centered around us and our hand picked demographics being awesome and everyone else being stupid and evil because they don't admit how awesomely right we are.

The result of this being a media that manipulates these tendencies to help end the Christian West and rebuild a tyranny of, not relativity, but Leftist dogma.  But as the media is so flagrantly a propaganda ministry, I fear we - with our access to the internet and our college degrees - are becoming the same.  We see the world, people, events only insofar as they advance the agenda, and not because they should appeal to some basic sense of decency or values we all share.

Hence the number of people who say terrorism is no big deal, since fewer people die in car crashes and so forth.  That is nothing other than saying nothing matters but that I can be awesome on the internet for being always right.   Or more recently, the sudden burst of concern over that horrible massacre in Florida in which 8 were killed, including six children.  It is horrible.  And it should be something we think about and pray for.  And yet as I said, where were the blogs and editorials a week ago when five were killed, not with guns?

One does not touch pitch without becoming defiled.  An old saying.  And true.  We seek to transform culture, but unless we're careful, culture eventually transforms us.  So here prayers for those so tragically killed, those eight in Florida, and those Five a week ago, and all who may or may not serve a much less important purpose.  For despite what the media thinks, the agenda was made for man, not man for the agenda.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

And it begins again

It's been nine years since we sat out on a chilly September Saturday morning and watched one of our five year olds chase a soccer ball around a field.  Under low hanging, autumn skies, our youngest showed improvement from his first game a week ago.  It's a strange mix of enjoyment and nostalgia at the same time.  I'm betting a lot of his events will yield that bizarre brew.  Anyway, they lost.  But did so with heads held high.  

That's him, almost in the center, 3rd from the left including coach, striking a real action pose

Embarrassing media moments

Like now.  So CNN is all aflutter over the fact that ISIS.... no.  That Putin has... no.  That there is reason to believe our nation is stripping away rights and freedoms... no.  Uh uh.  CNN is all all aflutter over the fact that there was a party in Alaska at which a fight broke out and - get this - the Palins might have been there!  Woohoo! Scandal!  The actual segment said we didn't know for sure if any of the Palin family was in attendance.  At no point did they suggest Sarah Palin was there.  And for that matter, no real details about what happened were available.  And yet an entire segment is dedicated to this crisis.

In addition to the media's growing contempt for humanity and seeing human suffering as only important insofar as it advances the Liberal Agenda, we have this.  I'm not saying I would vote for Palin for president.  But the media rape that she and her family endured was a new low of lows, and it continues.  When the world is blowing itself half to hell and our clueless president only invests himself in the end to non-liberal values, we have the press sending its best and brightest to investigate and comment on this.  I don't care who would have run in 2008, nobody could have survived the reaming that Palin has received and come out looking good. 

All of this is worse, of course, when set in juxtaposition to the press's keen and penetrating examination of Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign (from an interview on the eve of the 2008 election): 

Are we ashamed of our media yet?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Liberalism may not be the answer

I said to myself I was going to leave CAEI alone.  I still go there, because there's always hope.  Plus, in recent weeks, there have been some old posts from years gone by when this Protestant minister convert found a balanced, witty, truthful and insightful voice to unpack Catholicism and all its splendor and glory and foibles.

Nonetheless, today I can't figure it.  Still promoted as a Conservative Catholic, the venom and disgust is uniquely aimed at Conservatives and Conservatism, America and its intuitions, Protestants and especially Evangelicals, and even pro-lifers vaguely defined as liars and hypocrites most of the time.

On the other hand, liberalism, liberal culture, liberal attitudes and liberal pundits are everything from tolerated to praised.  Liberalism itself is lamented, for apart from some sins crying out to heaven for vengeance, it has so much to offer.  In keeping with Pope Francis, more calls for government charity and government solutions to our myriad problems.  And even someone like Jon Stewart, one of pop culture's most celebrated advocates of those sins that cry out for vengeance, reaps unending adoration and respect from the Conservative Catholic.

So I don't know.  But after three days of post after post after post slamming, blasting, trashing, and obliterating conservatives and conservative views, I just had to say stop it.  I don't know if it's a pro-life liberal who won't admit it, or a Colonel Nicholson approach to attacking his own team, but whatever it is, it's giving endless ammunition to those who are tired of the Church not getting with the program and embracing the post-Western Left.  Assuming, of course, that is not the goal.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering September 10, 2011.

The New York skyline as I grew up seeing it in countless movies and TV shows.  The way it looked on that sunny September morning all those years ago.  No more.  Nor will it ever be.  Like the country that was attacked, it is forever gone.  Today is a day to mourn those who died that day, to grieve with their families, and to mourn the loss of a once great nation, and grieve for the world that will one day find out all too well what a world without America will look like.  

Dearest Jesus, who wept at the death of your friend and taught that they who mourn shall be comforted, grant us the comfort of your presence in our loss.  Send Your Holy Spirit to direct us 
lest we make hasty or foolish decisions. Send Your Spirit to give us courage lest through fear we recoil from living. Send Your Spirit to bring us your peace lest bitterness, false guilt, or regret take root in our hearts.The Lord has given.  The Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

To the forgotten five

Apologies for the dark and frightening side of the Blogosphere. So five children were found dead, likely killed.  Likely killed by their father.  Details are emerging.  They may have been shot.  We really don't know.  The story wasn't even in the first segments of the news this morning.  On cable I didn't see it mentioned at all in the time I had.  By now I'm sure more are discussing it.  I searched the blogs, and nothing.

Was a time, a time I am old enough to remember, that a story like this would have been the topic of conversation for a week at least.  But today?  Silence.  No blogs at all.  Google the story, and you won't find a blog covering it on the first page.  Pick a cop brutality story or mass shooting, and half of the first page of Google is dominated by blogs and comments. Yet today?  Silence.  Not even a prayer on Catholic sites I visit.

This is all leading me to the very disturbing thought that we've turned a corner somewhere.  Turned a corner where such stories now only grab out attention insofar as they help advance an agenda, or score points, or demonize a group or individual.  It's as if we've taken Stalin's famous quip and added a heartless third part: a single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic, but unknown numbers of murdered and tortured are irrelevant unless they advance the agenda and help me win an argument on the Internet.

Hence the selective outrage over one death here and the complete apathy regarding a dozen deaths there.  The cry for action when the horrors in question can be blamed on US policy, while daily suffering around the world is ignored if it doesn't fit an agenda, a narrative, or a point.

Those who suffer, even when they aren't smart enough to suffer for a blogger's pet cause, deserve better.  So to those poor children, killed and dumped like garbage in a case that will only matter if it can be blamed on race, religion, guns, or some other modern gospel message, apologies.  Through God's grace may you have peace for eternity that in your short lives was taken from you in this world.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Harvest Moon

What a concept.  Last night was the Harvest Moon.  And what a bright one it was.  The Harvest Moon is, of course, the name given to the full moon in September.  Back in the olden days, like when MTV still played videos, people were more in tune to the natural ebbs and flows of the seasons.  So much so, they even went so far as giving awesome names to different full moons depending on the month. Because of the timing and the farming and the harvests, this is naturally the Harvest Moon.  This is a good reminder that the season of seasons is just around the corner.  We went out, watched some eerie cloud cover pass over the moon, creating the effect of actual moonbursts.  That's like sunbursts through the clouds, but with moonlight instead.  Cool stuff.

Then we went in and watched a classic Hammer Horror film, Dracula: Prince of Darkness.  Too early for the round of Universal Monster movies.  And we might even have a few new movies come around the corner.  We had cider, but it wasn't the best.  Sort of stale tasting.  And for reasons we can't figure, the grocery store didn't have anything fall-like except tacky Halloween decorations.  Big Lots had Christmas out (a little late this year).  Nonetheless, a good season planned.  And it started well with a nighttime look at the man on the moon in all his glory.

Not sunlight, but moonlight, Harvest Moon style.

He's that happy to be out looking at the moon.

Actually they all appear to be having a good time with a relatively simple activity.

Down but not out; sickness knocked him out of football, but he's ready to push on.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Even the press is getting a feeling about Obama

On CNN, Candy Crowley, no enemy of the Democrats, is looking at Obama's announcement that he is going to wait until after the elections to take action on immigration.  Of course supporters are trying to blame congress, but it reinforces the point I'm coming to believe.  Fanaticism and zealotry can be bad, but those who are only conveniently behind something are worse.  Being against Hispanic immigrants because you hate Hispanics would be bad.  Exploiting and toying with Hispanics only for political gain, however is much worse,  After all, the racist can be reached. But the person who claims disgust at racism, only to exploit an ethnic group for personal gain?  How do you reason with them?

Representative Tony Cardenas, being interviewed by Ms. Crowley, is good enough to blame Obama's advisers, almost as if it's a forgone conclusion hat Obama has absolutely no leadership qualities and is a slave to his advisers.  Later, on the round table, LZ Granderson* invokes one of modern liberalism's most common defenses: everyone else has always done it (played with people's lives and toyed with national well being for political gain).  When you have to assume an unacceptable premise to defend someone, that person has, somewhere in the past, jumped a serious shark.

*As a pundit, it's Mr. Granderson's job to defend at all costs.  But I am a little tired of hearing another modern liberal defense of Obama that he invoked when the issue of ISIS came up: American's just don't understand nuance.  That is, we're still the ignorant masses unable to fathom the breadth and depth of the first person in history who God prays to every morning.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The creepy and the kooky

So the other day we were informed that the refugees fleeing ISIS are the responsibility of the US since everything happening in Iraq is the US's fault.  Fair enough.  The US certainly has dropped the ball in recent years.  Which validates that idea of the Evil West.  That's a popular liberal mantra.  The Christian West and its bastard child America is the sole cause of all suffering and evil in the world.  Inferior in every regard, it still manages to be wrong about everything while contributing virtually nothing but the high ideals of post-Christian progressive ideologies.

Still, there are variants, and denominations and levels of devotion to this popular mantra.  So one fellow comes in to affirm the complete guilt and burden of responsibility that America has in all this, which is fine.  But then he dares to suggest that not all Muslims seem quite as passionately against ISIS as we might want.  Eerily quiet perhaps in their protests against ISIS.  Just like in the years after 9/11, when more than one observer noticed that while Muslims, when pressed, would condemn the attacks, many seemed to wiggle a little bit from complete condemnation, while also wanting to somehow blame everything from America to the Crusades.

Well, that won't do.  If liberalism has taught us one thing, it's that you can't have tolerance and diversity unless you achieve total obedience to the dogma.  So one of my favorite posters swings in to chastise this wayward commenter. It's not enough that he has declared the US the cause of all evil in the Middle East, and the prime contributor to ISIS and its reign of terror.  He has erred by suggesting that the non-Western/non-American world is anything but pure and wonderful, except those who understandably hate us because we made them hate us.

Fortunately, this is but one corner of the Catholic blogosphere.  Unfortunately, it reflects a suicidal attitude and belief system held by a growing number of Westerners, Catholics, and enemies of the Christian Western tradition.  Still, you have to admit, it's fun to watch.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Day Japan Surrendered

Ignored in most liberal, and not a few Catholic and similar sources, September is when the guns fell silent for the second time, and an average of over 100,000 people slain a month was finally stopped.  A month ago, we had the usual racist genocidal Americans nuking thousands of innocent children.  A month later, and you'd not know that anything major happened.  Heck, even I forgot.  In fact, the only reason I remembered was because I came across an article reminding us something interesting.  

The article is here.  It's China giving Japan a finger wagging about its relative lack of zeal in fessing up to its history.  Though in fairness, many in Japan have begun to hold its feet to the fire more than ever in the last half century.  One of the things that has helped overturn Japan's official account of WWII that is embraced by liberals and critics of America, is the emergent Asian world.  Funny thing that. In most history books, WWII began on September 1, 1939 and centered around the defeat of Nazi Germany.  Japan is often an afterthought.  Usually Pearl Harbor, brought about by racist American policies against Japan, and of course the aforementioned Atomic Bombs. 

But in Asia, where the casualty rate turns out to have been around a hundred thousand a month, we begin to see that the case against the bombs is not as clear cut as many have tried to make it.  We begin to see that to many in Asia, Japan and its reign of terror was the central hub of the conflict, with the defeat of Germany being a necessary, yet distant, priority.  Not that the bombings were justified.  But the popular notion that America (evil and racist always) ignored the peace love of Japan in order to nuke babies and terrify the Russians so that the US Military Complex could conquer the world, is beginning to crack.  Anyway, thanks to all who paid the ultimate price all those years ago.  An empire that may have been worse than America was finally defeated.  I apologize for how our generation has so failed to be worthy of their sacrifices.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

The boys

This is actually from our youngest's birthday.  Though I have yet to throw a kudos out to our sixteen year old for his big celebration this week, I saw this and thought it captured the essence of the boys.  They're what keeps me going.  If we have nothing else, we have four pretty awesomely awesome boys who, even if I wasn't related, I'd still want to get to know.

For living in a suburban setting

We do get bugs.  And I mean bugs.  For instance:

Don't know why.  Perhaps because we let our trees remain when most others had their trees cut down.  We have squirrels, at least one deer a few years ago, raccoon, chipmunks, one flying squirrel that has obtained periodic access to our basement, a pandemic of frogs in the garden, and now these.  My boys think God is sending plagues on us.  Only time will tell.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

It's almost that time of year again.  My favorite time of the year.  It's not here yet, alas.  And despite an endless litany of problems, illness, worries, financial woes and the usual closed doors we've received from the Church, we're ever optimistic that we can make this a wonderful season.

It will start next Saturday, when September begins our prep time.  We already have watched some supernatural thrillers, like The Sixth Sense and The Others.  Hound of the Baskervilles as always.  We've also added to our library of silent films, with John Barrymore's classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as well as Metropolis (we saw that on TCM).

Our garden, alas, is dwindling as our black walnut and hickory trees continue to defy odds and careless home builders by growing and thriving.  The good news is that it's turned our back deck into a tree house. The bad news is that those growing roots are sapping the nutrition from our plants.  Where once we had tomato plants 8 ft. tall, now they wither before 3 feet high.  Where once we had plants like cucumbers and squash that could spill into half our back yard, now they shrivel and pass before August is done.

So we've gotten our next to last harvest already.  We also had to step in and harvest our herbs, which have done well.  We've also picked up quite a bit of black walnuts.  A different taste. And acquired one, too.  But it's a harvest, be that as it may.  Some tomatoes, some basil and rosemary and thyme, some hot peppers, including some habaneros we're not sure what to do with, all round out the harvest season.  Our summer end cookout will happen Monday, then next week our youngest starts soccer.  Our football player, alas, didn't last as a serious virus hit him and knocked him out for almost three weeks.  The doctor said it was unusual, but pretty brutal.  He could have stayed on the team, but he wouldn't have played.  He decided it wasn't worth it.  Plus he was the only homeschooler, and we think that may have had something to do with it.

But soccer ho!  And that's when we'll break out the apple cider, the spooky movies (not Halloween specials yet), and some pumpkin pie.  We might actually find that elusive hidden cemetery this year.  Who knows?  But whatever, we're going to try against everything to have a good time, a pleasant time, and make some good memories for our ever maturing family.

A Labor Day reflection

One of the conflicts we've had for years is the poor vs. the rich.  In ways that would shame Marx, we are told today that the rich getting richer while the poor getting poorer is an affront to human decency and a mockery of God's intentions for human relations.

Well, yeah.  If you support the unbridled accumulation of wealth by any means possible to the exclusion of all other priorities, you're running afoul of some pretty clear teachings in Scripture.  Outside of that, it doesn't do much for the common weal when wealth becomes the possession of an ever shrinking set of individuals.  Especially if those individuals increasingly don't share the values of the greater masses.

Now I'm not one to cast a longing glance across the waters toward Socialist Europe.  That's like looking to the Cleveland Browns for ideas for building a winning football franchise.  Nor am I one who thinks it works to strip the wealthy of their wealth and redistribute it.  I think if you run the numbers, you'll find that all the wealth of the wealthiest (however defined) would sustain Americans for about a day and a half.

Still, even without seizing the wealth of the wealthy, that little ugly fact that the middle class appears to be dwindle, and a shrinking number of Americans have enough to even get by, while a small set of wealthy continue to get ever wealthier, doesn't help the reputation of free market and capitalist evangelists.  Here's why.

In the classic movie The Ten Commandments, one of Pharaoh's high priests comes to complain to Pharoah about Moses.  Moses is being soft on the Hebrew slaves.  He gives them a day of rest, which they call 'Moses' Day.'  He allows them to raid the temple granaries!  At that point, Pharaoh (played wonderfully by Sir Cedric Hardwicke), casts a glance at the priest and quips, "You don't look any thinner."

And that's the problem with the rich getting richer.  It's not hard to see that the corporate answer to all the economic woes today appears to be: decrease quality and quantity while increasing prices and screwing laborers.  That's not really denied.  I work in a financial institution handling million dollar accounts, yet my salary barely equals what a kid bagging groceries would have made when I graduated high school.  And the prices and the quantity and the quality?  The old adage that the Free Market will right things and lead to superior products and services doesn't seem to be holding, as the market appears to be thriving under the 'Less for More' principle.

When this is pointed out, advocates of the FM and Capitalist economies fire back that it's all the Government Regulations.  It's taxes.  It's Washington policies and intrusions.  Fair enough.  I'm not an economist.  I'll assume that the government can mess the economy up as well as it can anything else.  But here's the thing.  While the consumer is increasingly screwed, and the workers are screwed, and the middle class rots, I notice that the richest aren't getting any thinner.  If these horrible government regulations are hurting anyone or anything, the rich make darn sure it isn't them, often by reacting to the government by shafting everyone else.

Really.  As corporations seem to move from 'here's our superior product or service at a lower price' to 'here's our inferior quantity at a higher price, now be damn glad we let you be our customers', it's not hard to see that those making such calls continue to thrive no matter how Americans, or America, struggle.  And that's where the whole 'war on the rich', while substantively baseless, still has a certain bite.  If there was a moral reaction, one would expect the rich to be hurt along with anyone else.  Or the rich to react by making sure everyone can keep up with at least the least.

But as it is, no matter what damage done, how many harmed, the country or the consumer hindered, the wealthiest rise above it all, sometimes by reacting to government intrusion in ways that trickle down to everyone and everything else but themselves.  And as long as they bellyache about regulations, while making sure that everyone but themselves are hindered by them, expect people to buy into the idea that taking out the wealthy will be some magic formula. It won't of course.  But that doesn't mean there's not some validity to the frustration.  And someday, we might end up losing everything as a result.

We do realize that Obama is one of the worst presidents in history

Correct?  I mean,we are aware.  Despite the media's backbreaking attempts to paint everything as forever becoming awesomer all the time, I think people are beginning to wake up to the fact.  Obama is clueless.  He has accomplished nothing.  His stellar legislation continues to create as many problems as it solves.  He's of course been a buddy to the LGBTC crowd, which is the Left's most useful tool for crushing liberties and freedoms. That's worth something.  He's also helped, by virtue of being if nothing else non-white, the rise of new-racism and the exploitation and promotion of racism for political gain. 

Otherwise, pretty much nothing.  Compared to him, Jimmy Carter seemed competent.  Nothing shows this more than the international events blowing themselves halfway to Hell, and him appearing to have not a clue what to do.  For liberals, we have met the enemy and it is US.  But events unfolding around the world suggest otherwise.  Despite the ongoing attempt to pin all problems on the US and its policies, there is strong evidence that it's not all us after all.  And perhaps realizing this is a first step to having a clue. 

Which Obama doesn't have, and is shown to be clueless when put in juxtaposition to David Cameron's rousing speech against the slaughter fest murderers in ISIS.  I realize this is FOX News, dedicated to finding anything at all wrong with Obama.  But that's OK, since the rest of the media is dedicated to distracting us in any way possible to avoid calling Obama out on anything.  Read and judge for yourself.  But I see a leader, even in Britain, willing to deal with reality in a way that our President and, quite frankly, many of our fellow countrymen, refuse to accept. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

If Ohio State loses to Navy

I won't care.  Why?  Because I can't watch it, since the ever entangled mess of corporate contractual agreements which see churls consumers as pawns to be played has shut off access to the game unless I buy yet another addition to our cable package.  Therefore I've decided to give away my tickets and move on in life.  I'll still pay attention and may even watch a few of the biggies this season.  But I grow tired of the almost flagrant disregard that such corporate interests as cable providers, television networks and universities have for the people they laughingly try to convince us they care about.  Maybe I'll go back to the NFL.  At least that is flagrant in its disregard for morality where financial profits are concerned.

I often wonder

If we are evangelizing the world, or if the world is evangelizing the Church.  Fr. Longenecker gives a shout out to a 'Catholic' approach to evangelizing, which is sort of the old 'don't be exclusive but live our lives out in order that all come to the fullness of Christ through the Church.'  In short, I have no clue.  Do we think that isn't exclusive?  Do we tell people that's what we want?  And what do we mean by living?  Holy living?  Chaste?  Pure?  Party animal who's saved?  This is, and no disrespect intended, what I mean when I say Catholic unspeak.  It sounds wonderful, but try to put it into some coherent practice.

But most of all, it reminds me of just how radically the world has changed and thrown the gauntlet down before the Church.  And how, so often, the Church can only respond by bowing and vowing to change.  I'm sure we imagine that mass conversion - if we should even want that - is on the verge of happening.  And yet I still can't help but think for every perceived step forward, the world is compelling us to take three or four very real steps back.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Prayer update

My Mom went to the doctor's today and had two of the areas on her arms removed.  They were sent to labs for a biopsy.  We'll know in a week just what it is, if it actually is cancer, and how serious or, if it can be called such, non-serious it is.  Prayers definitely appreciated and thanks.

In addition, my wife continues to work through her recovery, and we're praying that she will heal and need no further surgery, at least in the near future.  She had to go to the doctor yesterday, owing to some issues she was having around the surgery, but the doctor still seems to be optimistic.  So prayers for her continued progress and big prayers for my Mom's health.

Almighty and merciful Father, by the power of your command, drive away from Mom and Dee Dee all forms of their sicknesses and diseases.  Restore strength to them and joy to their spirits, so that in their renewed health, they may bless and serve you, now and forever more.  We pray this in Christ's name.  St. Raphael, pray for them.  St. Peregrine, pray for them.  St. Luke, pray for their doctors and caregivers.