Friday, December 9, 2022

Medieval does make it bearable


My second oldest has said there are five basic categories of Christmas Song.  

There is the historical secular, the old traditionals.  You know, Boar's Head Carol, Here We Come A-Wassailing,  We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Deck the Halls, and so on.  Some of these date back centuries and remind us that Christmas has always vied with the secular celebrations of Winter.  It's not a new conflict.  

Then there is the religious songs of all ages.  Silent Night, O Come All Ye Faithful, Angels We Have Heard on High, O Holy Night.  No matter what the age or century, the general subject matter of the songs are the same: Christian celebration and reflection plain and simple.  The list of these songs is long but, significantly, confined largely to a pre-WW2 time period. 

Then comes the 'Classical' Secular.  Jingle Bells, Sleigh Ride, White Christmas, The Christmas Song, Here Comes Santa Clause, Winter Wonderland.  Some of these date as late as the 1960s, and stretch back to the 19th Century, but generally don't include the ones earlier (see Historical Secular above).  They are also mostly confined to the 1940s or 1950s or before.   Many were written in the context of the Americanization and commercialization of Christmas.   This is likely the fuzziest category.  After all, is Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree in this or the next category?  How about Jingle Bell Rock?  

Next is the Modern Secular.  I subdivided this into two groups.  The MS Frivolous, and the MS meaningful - but not Christian meaningful.  In the first group is Feliz Navidad, All I Want for Christmas is You, Wonderful Christmastime, Merry Christmas Darling.  Clearly Christmas songs but nothing more about the manger than Silver Bells.  In the second is such fare as My Grown Up Christmas List, Do They Know it's Christmas and, most famously, Happy Xmas (War is Over).  Songs that use Christmas to promote some meaningful message - but one shorn of Christian dressing. 

Finally comes the secular non-Christmas.  That is modern - meaning largely post-war - songs that have nothing to do with Christmas at all.  They may not even mention winter.  They could take place in August or March for all it matters.  Sometimes they had nothing to do with Christmas but became associated with the holidays for this or that reason.  Think Baby It's Cold Outside or Last Christmas.  

The last one brought us to the video above.  My son pointed out that the song could change its name to Last Arbor Day and not a speck of meaning would be changed.  At least Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer mentions Santa.  On the other hand, some of the classics, like Jingle Bells, are no more beholden to Christmas than Wham's little ditty.   And perhaps in a hundred years it will be as engrained in the cultural mindset as Jingle Bells or Winter Wonderland.  

But for now, that's a breakdown I can accept.  And sometimes it might be a matter of how the song is presented as the song itself.  After all, hearing it in the medieval style makes it seem almost plausible as a Christmas tune.  Almost.  

Thursday, December 8, 2022

And the word of the day is Stochastic Terrorism

Yep.  Stochastic Terrorism is all the rage.  Apparently it's driven by the gay night club shooting that appeared to be the result of a member of the LGBTQ community (identifying as non-binary).  I guess that's why I've heard little about the actual shooting.

But all of a sudden this term has exploded across the news and online outlets.  What does it mean?  I had no clue.  Never heard of the term.   The dictionary definition is this:

the public demonization of a person or group resulting in the incitement of a violent act, which is statistically probable but whose specifics cannot be predicted:

In other words, you haven't really called for violence, but we know that's your intention. Hence whatever or whoever was responsible for the gay club shooting, it was really the fault of anyone who dares challenge the leftist sex culture.  You see, any opposition to anything done by the non-heterosexual community is really terrorism, of the Stochastic nature.  That is, you might say you merely question something about the LGBTQ revolution, but you're really calling on terrorists to murder  gay people. 

The same goes for BLM, drag queen shows for kids, people opposing Democrats, not supporting gun control as the solution to our mass killings, or anything on the Left.  To question a leftwing dogma is now Stochastic Terrorism. In just a few days I've seen it applied to opposing trans and gay groomers of children, a Catholic bishop criticizing Hillary Clinton, and inciting anti-Asian hate crimes by asking about Covid's origins.  

In short, it's the next step to the abolition of freedom.  We must do anything to destroy terrorist threats to our country.  Any attempt to question a leftist doctrine or agenda is a form of terrorist threat.  Therefore, well, you know the drill.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Remember the 7th of December

It's that day.  I almost forgot.  Last year this day was actually swallowed up in some quarters by those wanting to ignore this particular anniversary in preference of remembering the beginning of the Japanese (not Italian or German) Internment Camps.  This year there seems to be more focus on that day which will live in infamy. 

I'm not a big Hawaii guy.  I've never been particularly interested in going there.  But if one thing could get me, it would be visiting the Arizona memorial.  It was WW2 that got me interested in history.  And it was Pearl Harbor that captured my attention more than anything else.  I saw it as one of those thick dividing lines in history.  There was America and the world on December 6th, and then there was an entirely new age in the world on December 8th.  And what happened that day in between became one of my focal points in college and much of my younger life.

I'm of that group of historians who actually disagrees with the old adage that for Japan, the attack was a tactical victory but strategic disaster.  Given America's predictable reaction, the strategic disaster is certainly true.  But I've often disagreed that it was some wonderful tactical success for Japan.  It wasn't.

And not just because those carriers famously weren't there.  It failed on some levels because, in the end, Americans reacted far better than the Japanese imagined, and because the Japanese did far worse than we sometimes remember.  

The iconic image of Pearl Harbor: The USS Arizona crumpled and burning
Almost as soon as the first strikes from the first wave (the attack came in two separate waves) finished, the American anti-aircraft fire made subsequent attacks by Japanese planes far less effective.  In fact, much of the damage inflicted on the legendary Battleship Row happened within the first minutes of the attack.  Within about 20 minutes of the attack's opening, the AA fire was beginning to force the next flights of Japanese planes to improvise or abandon their planned runs, or to be less efficient with hitting their targets.  

By the time the second wave came, the AA fire had formed a veritable canopy of explosions in the air over the harbor, and the second wave proved subpar at best. This was because they weren't prepared for the stiff resistance.  Mitsuo Fuchida, the commander of the attack, said years later that the Japanese air crews were stunned by the speed of the American response.

Remember, the Americans had everything against them. Caught flatfooted, a blindside in a dark room, with the custom of locking things up on Sundays, or recovering from the previous night's festivities, and the general unawareness that comes with being at peace, led the planners of the attack to believe most of the first wave would meet with little if any resistance. 

True, only 29 Japanese planes were shot down (roughly 8% - not a bad number if you're Japan) in the entire attack.  But that's because the AA fire, while brutal and constant, was still from often antiquated or outdated guns that were better suited for old biplanes than the nimble Japanese planes in the attack.  The real consequence of the AA fire was in breaking up the attack runs following the first dozen minutes or so and causing more and more of the Japanese, as often as not, to shoot wide of their marks.  

Plus, you just had poor decisions on the part of the Japanese aircrews.  The reasons have been kicked around for years.  Were they just kids trying to go after big targets when there were none left?  Was it being ill prepared for the US response?  Was it simply Japanese military planners overestimating based on training versus what happens in actual battle?  Hard to say.  Probably yes. 

But whatever the reasons, they missed many opportunities, especially in the second wave.  Not just the oil fields, but the repair facilities and the all important cruisers.  An often overlooked workhorse of the Navy, the Japanese could have added a dozen more ships to the casualty list, but seemed to almost purposefully avoid the less glamorous (but so crucial) cruisers in preference for battleships - even though most battleships by then were already sunk or were damaged or sinking. 

The Pennsylvania sits behind the Cassin and Downes 
In any event, it was not the great tactical smash hit that many suggest.  It was a success.  The Japanese did inflict casualties.  They sank a few ships, a couple permanently.  But almost nothing that had long term lasting consequences.  If anything, it was the air bases around Pearl Harbor that marked the biggest success for the Japanese.  The disastrous decision to pack the planes together in the middle of the airfields rendered them almost useless and, as one book put it, not just sitting ducks, but ducks in rows. 

Still, in the end, only a few ships never returned to service.  The Arizona, the Oklahoma and a training ship that was an ex-battleship - the Utah.  They were the only total losses.  Every other ship was eventually returned to service before the end of the war.  Some of them seeing action against Japan itself.  The planes were a big loss.  188 were destroyed and a similar number damaged.  And worse than anything, 2,403 were killed.  Almost half of those killed came from the two battleships Oklahoma and Arizona.

Compared to that, Japan lost 64 men, including the crews of several minisubs.  24 aircraft were shot down, but it's worth noting that over 70 aircraft were damaged.  That's 30% of the air strike force destroyed or damaged.  Again, the faster than expected response of the Americans.  

Admiral Chuchi Nagumo, the commander of the actual Pearl Harbor strike force, received much criticism from Japanese in later years for not launching a third wave of attack.  IMHO, he was correct not to.  Already the second wave was far less successful than the first, and most of the planes destroyed or damaged came from that wave.  It is unlikely the next wave would have capitalized on much more than the second wave.  Plus most of Nagumo's worries about losing more planes and running up against logistical problems (like fuel) were reasonable concerns.  

In the end, it also wouldn't have mattered.  Unless a really lucky hit manifested itself, there likely would have been no more lasting damage, and the real harm - the rage ignited in the American mindset - was there and couldn't be taken away.  

Japan - being a not-Western nation - has at times suggested that the attack was never meant to be a surprise.  This is something it has bounced about for decades.  If you watch the film Tora, Tora, Tora, it takes Japan's view that not only was the attack reliant upon surprise, but it clearly didn't want surprise and the lack of forewarning was simply a sad case of bad typing.  That's non-Western nations for you. 

Whatever was intended, however, the final assessment is one of ultimate failure.  Little lasting damage was done, beyond the sad death toll.  The attack could have been worse for America in the short term, but a series of failures and subpar performances on the part of the Japanese air crews caused many opportunities to be missed.  And with all that, the horrible strategic nightmare of filling America with that famous terrible resolve was in the books and couldn't be taken back.  Something that citizens of Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki would discover all too sadly before the end of the conflict.  

For a bonus, I found the below photo. It is a photo I have not seen before.  I always appreciate things I've not seen before.  It is of Battleship Row three days after the attack:

The fires are gone and the smoke cleared.  You can see the multiple rivers of oil, most pouring out of the Arizona.  The Arizona is on the bottom right of the ships.  If you look closely, you can see the shadows of its superstructures, striking that iconic image with the fore mast crumbled over into its bow.  The explosion literally obliterated the front of the ship, causing a catastrophic breach straight down through the decks.  The harbor waters rushed into every level and nobody below decks had a chance.  Except for one sailor, nobody in the entire front half of the ship survived.  Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd, the highest ranking officer killed in the attack, was last known to be on the bridge.  His body was never found.  

In front of the Arizona is the Tennessee, nearest the island.  It was damaged, but not badly.  It was one of the first ships to return to duty, early in 1942.  Next to it is the hapless West Virginia.  Hit by everything, it almost capsized.  The captain's decision to counter-flood kept it from doing so, instead it settled straight down, and you can see much of its port side is under water.   It would be until 1944 before the West Virginia was back in service. 

In front of them, nearest the island, is the Maryland.  It was also lightly damaged and returned to service by early 1942.  Next to it is capsized Oklahoma.  Next to the Arizona, the Oklahoma had the largest single loss of life in the attack. 429 died, despite the best efforts to rescue them.  Farthest ahead is the California, which actually sank, but returned to service in 1944.  

The other two battleships are out of the picture.  The Pennsylvania was in a dry-dock and barely touched, though two destroyers in front of it - the Cassin and Downes - were blown to pieces and would take several years to return to service.  The Nevada was the other battleship.  The fleet's flagship, it was located behind the Arizona.  The only one to try to make a run for it, fear quickly arose that it would go down in the channel and block the opening to the harbor.  Therefore it was ordered to cease its desperate gamble.  

That's the gist of the battleships.  It would be carriers, not battleships, that made the difference in the Pacific War.  And by luck, fate or providence if you prefer, the American carriers were not there that fateful morning.  The USS Enterprise was supposed to be there, but a sudden storm at sea damaged several of its escorting ships.  Instead of going forward and keeping schedule, the captain decided to stay behind and help the ships damaged by the storm.  As a result, the full wrath of the Japanese aircrews that morning fell on the capital ships - the battleships.  Even when  there were none left untouched, the subsequent waves would still attack targets that would have been better to ignore. 

One final musing.  Here is a scene from the movie Tora, Tora, Tora.  A flop at the box office, it tried to be as accurate as two separate tellings of the same event - an American and Japanese perspective - would allow. On the whole, it succeeds.  This is near the end of the attack.  I've always loved the lone American machine gunner.  His fellows are all dead.  All around him is destruction and carnage.  Explosions are everywhere.  His cloths are in tatters and he is wounded and bleeding.  But he'll be damned if he gives up.  And the choice of the pilot he finally hits, as well as the gunner's own actions, perfectly embodies the attitude and grit and determination both sides would bring into the conflict.  Wars are horrible things, but sometimes they bring out the absolute best in people.  A lot better, as we've discovered, than peace and luxury and leisure tend to do.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

RIP Bob McGrath

Bob McGrath passed away.  Who was Bob McGrath?  He was one of the original cast on "Sesame Street".  He was the one who reminded me of a friend and coworker of my dad.  That's why he stood out in my mind as a child.

I was never a big Sesame Street fan.  I didn't watch much TV growing up.  As a kid, the only 'must see' kid's show for me was an old Japanese cartoon called 'Kimba the White Lion."   In the evenings I watched reruns of "Hogan's Heroes" and "Combat!"   Otherwise there wasn't much must-see television for me. 

But Mr. McGrath holds a special place in my memories.  When I turned five, my parents moved from our house in the country and bought a house in town.  It was actually the house that was a nursery school my parents took me to the year before.  A small little ranch next to a hive of troublemaking kids.  My days of quiet and carefree fun in the county had come to an end. 

It was right before Christmas, and I remember looking out the back sliding door at the row of snow covered houses facing away from us beyond our back yard.  I remember the smoke coming out of their chimneys in a scene straight out of a Hallmark greeting card.  Living in the country, I wasn't used to seeing that many houses in one place.  Dad was busy working to improve the house we hadn't settled into yet.  Mom was consoling me since it was a big move.  The only house I could remember was a thing of the past.

To help, they got me, among other things that year, a record of Sesame Street sing-alongs.  The first song on the record?  "People in Your Neighborhood" by none other than Mr. McGrath.  I can still see that little record player, and the primary colored record spinning as McGrath introduced us to policemen, mailmen, and others whose names would eventually need changed.  

Again, I never watched Sesame Street much.  For that matter I was one of the few in my school who didn't sit clued to the TV when "The Muppet Show" was all the rage.  Just not my cup of tea.  But I appreciated what it was in its early days and the genius that went behind its creation.  Beyond that, one part is forever engrained in my childhood memories, and that just happened to involve Mr. Bob McGrath.

So RIP Mr McGrath, and thanks for the memory.  

Monday, December 5, 2022

The legacy of Feminism

Is best summed up here.  Some woman I've never heard of receives praise and adoration from her fellow sisters and an enthralled audience.  Why?  Because she boldly announced she is leaving her husband of fourteen years.  Why?  Because she wanted a life more focused on herself, that's why.  And being a woman, she can proclaim such a reason as 'self-love' to an adoring world and receive endless accolades and high-fives. 

Yep.  I've said before that I haven't been able to find an earlier example of a group of people able to declare themselves the only thing that matters and being socially applauded for the trouble.  Not that men haven't been self-absorbed, self-focused rascals over the ages.  But they had to wrap it up in something pretty: God, king, country, providing for the family, helping the village - something. 

But with feminism, at some point it stopped being about the right to vote and became 'women should focus on themselves - because, that's why.'  Certain things, like sexual liberation, were eagerly welcomed by men who apparently thought this would solidify women as one dimensional sex objects for men's sole consumption.  Women played along. 

Now, of course, men have been all but emasculated by feminism and what women want.  Think on abortion.  The current dogma says a birthing person woman gets pregnant and can decide if it's a precious life or a worthless bunch of sludge to be eliminated.  Men?  What can they do?  Not a damn thing, that's what.  They stand in the corner wearing a 'castrated dunce' cap and wait for the woman to decide - keep the baby, at which point the man had better fork out the bucks to pay for it, or terminate the baby, sorry about your luck guy.  

I've often said it's likely that men of this age will not be the men future generations of men look back to as anything other than a cautionary tale.  So beholden to women did men become as sex became the only thing that mattered, they would happily sell their sons down the river in order to get some, no matter what women do, say, or grab for. 

Naturally women aren't the only benefactors of this idea.  The whole 'it's about me' has poured over into almost everything.  So that most young radicals and activists are proud to say it's their world to save and inherit or drop dead.  After all, why should women have all the fun?

By the by, if I could add one more thing.  The power of this feminist narrative is such that when I bring things like this up, I can almost bet 50% of conservative men and 2/3 of pro-life, traditional Christian women will pounce on me with some version of 'Hey!  Women should have rights!'  As if raising a question or challenging the narrative in any way is the same as saying women should have no rights.

I know this for a fact.  I can't count the times in conversations I've mused on the impact that this approach to feminism has had, and even some of the most down home, stay at home, Ephesians 5 women will fire back that I'm some how suggesting women should be what feminists say men have always wanted them to be. 

That's power for a narrative.  Beyond proving my axiom that no matter what liberalism hoists on the world, at least 1/3 of conservatives will jump on the bandwagon, it shows just how engrained the world's approach to feminism has become.  That' s why most men, no matter how much they lament the state of things, stay quiet, at least in terms of looking deeply into the modern state of women's issues.  Sort of like white people questioning not just BLM, but the whole modern culture of modern black Americans.  You don't dare.  And you can bet if you do, half of everyone who normally agrees with you will turn on you and fire. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Why orthodox Christians putting their hope in the GOP is a profitless endeavor.

Exhibit A.

Of course the problem isn't the bill, which goes out of its way to enshrine gay marriage as a core American value.  It's that it accepts the premise that once you let those rascally conservative republicans do something like limit abortion rights, the next thing you'll have is lynchings and gas chambers and women dying in back allies and tortured homosexuals.  That's what this bill was all about, riding that wave of media hysteria that claimed with Roe overturned, the next thing they'll do is go after gays, interracial marriages, and other nasty things. 

The idea that 'once a conservative wins, the universe is that much closer to exploding' is an oft invoked media narrative.  Time and again whenever the press reports on a conservative proposal, it's framed as either an immediate threat to various groups, or a stepping stone toward Jim Crow, swastikas and pogroms.

The Republicans who voted for this are either too thick to know this, or they don't care because they are no more conservative than Bernie Sanders.  Or, like many conservatives, they operate on the idea that if we just insist we're not like those nasty racist sexist bigot conservatives over there, they'll like us - they'll really, really like us!  Foolishness of the highest order.

In any event, the GOP is all there is for those who don't want to support a party beholden to the secular paganism of the global Left.  Those who don't want to crawl into a cell and let the world burn that is.  Because the Left is a movement increasingly clear in its designs to destroy liberty, freedom, equality and the sanctity of life.  

Nonetheless, never forget how flawed this alliance is for those who seek the right means to the right ends.  At best it is the least of the evils.  At worst it's a terrible and ultimately fruitless waste of time. 

Monday, November 28, 2022

The City of Truth versus the City of Bigotry

This is what I want us to look at.   It's an article from the Zanesville Time Recorder. I'm sure we're all subscribers. 

The TR is the paper for Zanesville.  If you're not a Buckeye, that name might not mean anything to you.  Zanesville is a city named for Ebenezer Zane, the man who carved Zane's Trail through modern day Ohio.  He gave his son a plot of land that eventually became Zanesville. 

What caught my eye was the opening sentence in the article:

"Had Sarah McIntire lived "in this day of woman's rights, she would not have been relegated to obscurity," wrote Helene Louisa Sullivan in 1892."

You see that/?  It's because of sexism, short version, that Mrs. McIntire was 'relegated to obscurity."  Who was Sarah McIntyre?  She was Ebenezer Zane's daughter.  She married John McIntire.  It was John who received the land that eventually became Zanesville. 

What did Sarah do?  According to  the article, she was a heck of a homemaker.  She was generous and kind. She did charitable work, which was hardly uncommon.  A nasty rumor over the years is that Protestant Christians in America laughed at charity.  Reality suggests otherwise of course.  She  also helped lay the groundwork for different projects and helped start a Methodist church in the region.  

In fact, here is a nice summary of her at the end of the article:

 Sarah "was a notable housewife, and a splendid cook," Sullivan wrote, and "having established themselves in their forest home, they dispensed hospitality with a liberal hand, all being welcome to their dinner table within the sound of their dinner horn."

After John died, Sarah remarried David Young, a minister, and later helped establish the first Methodist church in Zanesville. She funded the construction of both the Second Street and South Street M.E. churches in the city. "Sarah McIntire was truly an extraordinary woman," 

So what am I getting at?  My point is, I'm sure Ms. Sarah was a fine person.  And like so many in this world, a remarkable one in her own right.  But why would she be remembered beyond any one of a million men or women who did similar things?  Why assume it's only because of sexism (the backhanded assumption behind the statement 'in this day of woman's rights' is supposed to suggest) that she faded into obscurity? And then it dawned on me.

I don't think we realize just how Bigotry is the uber-narrative of history in our modern mindset.  That is, Bigotry is the great mortal sin.  It is the unforgivable, all defining sin. Bigotry is the template through which everything in history is explained.  Bigotry is why everything we think is right can actually be wrong.  This is because all of history is somehow the ones in charge who are necessarily bigoted corrupting the real truth and oppressing the ones who should be listened to. 

We see it in - everything.  The idea that all of history was corrupted by a global patriarchy dominated by men.  We see it in America, where anything and everything is the result of colonialism and imperialism and racism.  We see it in the gay rights movement, where the only reason we didn't realize how true homosexual normality is comes from ages of homophobic bigotry. 

In fact, it's sort of an ideological 'get out of jail free' card for progressivism.  Don't like something?  Want something new?  Want to change things?  Just say they're the result of some form of bigotry.  Sexism works since men and women have been around for ages.  But any form of 'this group v. that group' of bigoted oppression will work.  

There is no reason to think Ms. Sarah wouldn't have been obscure had things happened a hundred or two hundred years later.   Typically we don't know about the spouse of people who accomplish notable things.  Sometimes we do, based on circumstances. I learned about Martha Washington, Abigale Adams, and Eleanor Roosevelt.   On the other hand I know little of Teddy Roosevelt's wife.  I have little information about Catherine the Great's or Amelia Earhart's relationships because the focus is on what those women accomplished. 

It reminds me of the movie Hidden Figures.  I recall one of the morning news shows talking about the movie.  One of the anchors said when she was in school she never heard of the black women portrayed in the movie.  Cleary, the others on the broadcast concluded, this was due to our sexism and racism as a country.

No, it had nothing to do with sexism or racism.  When I was in school and learned about the space program, I learned about the astronauts.  The guys in the rockets.  That's because if something went wrong, they died.  So it was a brave thing to do.  And on that level, the level of basic information that schools give, that was enough.  I was only vaguely aware that anyone worked on the ground.  Until the movie Apollo 13, in fact, I didn't think much of the ground crews since they were never the focus.  And most of them were men.  It had nothing to do with sexism or racism.

Yet that is how we frame things today, isn't it?  That is the default template, the 'City of God' template, for our modern age.  If Augustine's The City of God attempted to frame history as the history of the Earthly City and the City of God, the modern version frames it as the history of the long silent Oppressed finally overcoming the bigotry of past Oppressors.  We can assume anything and everything was the result of oppressive bigotry.  Therefore anything and everything can likely be wrong.  

And it isn't new.  Look at that date in the quote from the article.  1892.  That's 130 years ago and already a woman was framing things  as 'clearly the problem was male dominated sexism' before we even entered the 20th Century.  Even if it had nothing to do with sexism, but merely the way the world works.  That's a long time to believe anything and everything in the past is likely the result of the wrong people oppressing right-people.  

As we see, it's a very powerful narrative.  By default, anything we assume to be true might only be the result of some oppressive group corrupting everything and keeping the real truth down.  Hence the speed with which people are willing to go to the mattresses over the cisgender bigoted idea that men or women exist or men can't have babies.  Why would we ever think there were men and women and women had the babies?  Why - Bigotry! 

See how darn easy that is?  Remember, not a few Christian scholars will readily concede latent sexism, patriarchal oppression, even racism and homophobic bigotry in the truth claims of the Bible (at which point logic suggests they can no longer be called the 'Holy' Scriptures).  That's not just a Catholic thing.  I've read scholars from all three major branches, to some degree or another, accept the premise.  Nor is it some radical leftwing thing.  Even conservatives will be caught shuffling feet or explaining away biblical teachings that run afoul of progressive dogmas, appealing to some 'they didn't know any better because ancient bigotry' version of the past. 

What a powerful premise this is.  If you don't think that model of history is a powerful force, just think about how quickly we're now fighting for the right to perform sex change procedures on minors since obviously everyone in the past was wrong about gender - because Bigotry!.  And all this in barley over a decade.  That's because for over a hundred years we have assumed anything we think is true might not be, because bigotry and oppression.   Think on that. 

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Now this was awesome

 Seeing one of the most recognizable movie themes in the history of movies performed live:

Friday, November 25, 2022

Our official Christmas kickoff theme

Back on this post, Nate Winchester commented that it's funny what kids sometimes remember from their parents. He's right.  

For example, as many of you know, we've always tried to build traditions in our family.  Many were based on what memories my wife and I could scrape together from our younger days.  Some just happened and grew over the years.  Some were things we would do for this or that reason without thinking, but suddenly took on special meaning - at least for the boys.

So when my wife and I lived in Kentucky, we would visit my family for Thanksgiving since they were closest.  Because we wouldn't be back over Christmas (after the first couple years, we stayed to our own home on Christmas), we would inject any Christmas tradition we remembered from times with my parents and family. 

One was always listening to Christmas music on Thanksgiving.  That was part of my mom saying she would never, ever decorate for Christmas or even acknowledge Christmas until Thanksgiving.  When my dad received a CD of the Carpenter's wonderful A Christmas Portrait album, we started playing that while we vested them.  We used to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade when the boys came along.  After it was over, we would turn on the music.  As often as not, it was the Carpenters.  

One year, when the boys were still young to early teen, we were still going to my parents' house for Thanksgiving.  We went through the same old same olds.  For whatever reason I put some other CD in and hit play after the parade.  FOUL!, my sons cried.  That's not the right CD!  It's the Carpenters we play first!

They were serious.  My second oldest then explained that I didn't understand.  He said in their minds, hearing those first notes of Happy Holidays by the Carpenters is as much the kickoff to Christmas in their minds as Santa in the parade or Black Friday news.  As soon as those chords are struck, in an almost Pavlovian way, they begin getting giddy over the great season of their year.  They said as long as they live, when they hear those chords, they will think of our Thanksgivings and the beginning of Christmas with the family. 

I loved that.  Over the years, I've learned there are other things they associate with special times of the year, even now.  Sure, it's more a formality now.  As they boys traverse their own paths in life, I'm sure they'll develop their own traditions.  Or at least I hope they will.  But I've always cherished that moment when my boys reminded me that many things I took for granted were quite important to them.  Important because they combined the feeling of the season with what our family did to celebrate.  

So with that, enjoy the sounds that, for my boys, were the the sounds that said Christmastime is here!

Thursday, November 24, 2022

A Thanksgiving post

A nice article recapping that famous story of the pilgrims. It focuses on Edward Winslow, whose account of the Plymouth Colony's first year is an eyewitness source for that famous dinner story. 

I was going to write about all the different takes, attacks, celebrations and musings on this holiday.  I thought of pointing out how this is the way modernity wins against tradition every time.  But I decided to leave it go. 

I've tried this week to focus on what I'm thankful for.  To that end, I've avoided almost everything beyond books and family and church and home.  I have kept up with a few worthwhile websites.  But I've attempted to keep focused upwards.  

There will be time to take note of things down the road.  And we are called to be in the world, not remove ourselves from it.  Nonetheless, if the first pilgrims and friends could celebrate after their dumpster fire experiences of the previous year, I certainly can.  In fact, it reminds us that the best level of gratitude happens when our thankfulness is not bound by temporary circumstances.  Happy Thanksgiving. 

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

Monday, November 21, 2022


 If you play certain computer games, you get this:

It took me a few, since I haven't played such games for many moons.  But once I got it, I had to chuckle.  I especially liked the deadpan newsy talk of the anchor.  

Saturday, November 19, 2022

About time!

I understand the Covid pandemic was an unmitigated disaster on many fronts.  I get that there has been tremendous suffering.  I quipped that 2020 was the best year we had for some time, not counting Covid.  I was right.  Compared to previous years, we came through 2020 at a net positive.  That's what the previous five or six years were like.  

Nonetheless, it wasn't without casualties.  And yes, while we breezed through in 2020, it came back and caught us in 2021.  Still, despite it all, there was one thing about the entire 2020 Covid period that gnawed me as much as anything.  It might seem trivial to many, but it bugged me until, well, last Saturday.

When I was eleven years old, my dad took me to my first Ohio State Football game. It was November 11, 1978 and we played Illinois.  Little did I know I was watching one of the last games to be coached by the legendary Woody Hayes.  The tickets came to us courtesy of our local realtor, who was my dad's biggest fan.  That's because Dad was always itchy about moving on, even if for no particular reason.  He would buy a house, fix it up, sell it, and buy another to do the same thing.  Seldom were we in the same house or neighborhood for more than a few years.  Sometimes no more than one.  Obviously the realtor did his best to stay on Dad's good side.  Hence the tickets.

I remember that fondly.  I remember parking in the open fields where now sits St. John Arena.  I remember the very, very good seats (near the 50 yard line, lowest deck, Buckeye side).  I remember the fall drive home, and the chili dinner awaiting us as family from Akron was down visiting.  

Because of this, and because it seemed as good an age as any, I decided when my sons were eleven, they could go with me to their first Buckeye game.  Up until then, my wife and I went together for our annual big date outing.  But she handed over the seat to our oldest in 2006, and from then on it was the boys.  Each would take turns to make sure they got the same chances to go with ol'dad to his alma mater.  

That's how it worked, and it usually went pretty smoothly.  We diverged from the rotation a couple times.  One year my second oldest bowed out so that I could take his oldest brother - and biggest OSU fan - to a game on his 18th birthday.  But it usually worked - until 2020.

That was the year our youngest turned eleven.  He had been looking forward to it for over a  year.  He tried to bargain to go in 2019, but we held firm and told him just one more year, and it would be his turn.  That's been that poor kid's life as often as not I'm sad to say. 

As things would have it, he grew in a different direction and, to be honest, I don't think he would have cared to go or not to go by the time this year rolled around. I guess you can get burned so many times before you develop a natural stoicism about things.  But he went ahead and agreed to go if I could swing the tickets this year.  With my wife's meteoric rise in her company and this year's whopping promotion, and despite jaw dropping prices for tickets, we went.  

Through much of October and into November, the weather was stunningly fine.  Except for  Halloween, it was dry, warmer than usual, and a good time to be out and about.  Some days we joked about going to the beach it was so nice.  Until, of course, the Friday before the game when the temperatures plunged and snow fell, and freezing temperatures swept the state.  Again, our youngest's general life experience.

Despite it all, however, we had fun.  He was a trooper.  He's known to complain about things, often to the chagrin of his older brothers.  Their answer is that they endured years in the trenches of the public school system, so he has no room to complain.  But he didn't complain Saturday.  

He doesn't care for crowds.  And overly loud noises bother him.  He doesn't mind the cold - when you get used to it.  But when the weather has been late spring until the day you spend six hours out in freezing weather it isn't exactly a thrill a minute.  Hemmed in between tens of thousands of fans and ear splitting cheering, sitting in freezing temperatures, he didn't say a peep.  He smiled, occupied himself (he's not necessarily the big sports fan of the day), and kept whatever misgivings he had about the situation to himself. 

The closest to complaints came during the walk to the car.  As Ohio expands, its parking moves farther and farther away from the stadium.  That's a several mile walk for us, because he didn't want to take the shuttles crammed full with people that you have to stand in line for a half hour for anyway. 

Other than that, however, it went off without a hitch.  We did all the 'traditions'.  Breakfast at Bob Evans, wander the campus, allow me to point out the places I remember, go to the new Student Union, listen to the chimes, then off to the Shoe.  From there, it's really about the pre-game traditions.  After that, the game is usually an afterthought.  After all, I could see the game comfy at home on the telly.  But he soldiered through, seemed to enjoy the experience, and we had a wonderful time together. If there was nothing else but that last part of the sentence, it all would have been worth it. 

Enjoying some warmth in the Student Union

We tarried outside Orton Hall in order to hear those famous chimes

As if to ask what did they do with Mirror Lake

Experts at work: These marshlands were once among the most
beautiful spots on American college campuses.  More on that later

Not bad seats for a forgone conclusion of a game (Indiana, FYI)

For him that's a big smile.  Cold and all.  We call that a fine time.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

I'm not surprised

As I said here, this is why I have only passing allegiance to the GOP.  Much of the GOP operates on the same trajectory as the Democrats.  Wealth, power, worldly pleasure - that's the motivation.  I would never say they all go this way.  But enough do as to make the GOP a very unreliable ally in any fight, much less the important fights. 

The problem isn't sanctioning the gay marriage branch of the post-Christian sexual revolution.  Hey, last year the lion's share of new HIV cases was once again homosexual men.  No biggie.  The press will barely mention it.  Try to bring that into the discussion and watch how fast you are targeted and attacked.  We continue plodding along as suicides spike, STDs are on the rise, and millions continue to get infected or die from AIDS while millions of more lives are ruined from our age of Sodom and Gomorrah debauchery.  But those are small beans since the World has made these problems small beans compared to an unrestrained sex life.  

The real story here is that the Mormon Church buckled and caved.  When the Left is becoming more naked in its designs, and more appalling in its agendas, more and more defenders of the virtues and heritage of the Christian Faith are surrendering.  Years ago when it was just 'gee, can't we agree that homosexuality is completely normal', these people were willing to hit the beaches to resist.

Now they're caving before the idea that standing in the way of unlimited abortion must mean homosexual marriages is next.  And we can't have that!  This is the same movement that is pushing the mutilation of teenager's bodies over a crackpot psych agenda that insists anyone should be celebrated for their personal versions of truth, but we really need counseling to get us through the terror of Cicada Stress Syndrome.  As a former supporter of, and worker within, the mental health arenas of society, I freely admit it's gone off the rails and has become a major player behind the darkness we're seeing.  

Of course this legislation is less about protection gay or interracial messaging as much as reinforcing the narrative that pure evil is resisting any dogma of the Left.  Remember, this legislation came about after Roe was struck down by the Supreme Court. The premise being that if you let liberalism fail even once, then it's national lynchings and sanctioned rape cultures and gas chambers and Matthew Shepherds on a daily basis.  You are either 100% to the Left, or you are guilty of, and desire, all evils imaginable.  Each GOP senator, and the Mormon Church, approves this message.  That is, if they've even bothered to think it through beyond simply caving. 

When I was growing up, we watched those old black and white news reels of Nazi Germany and wonder how the German people could be swept up in such madness.  We used to watch and wonder why Germans who knew better didn't stand up to the clear and obvious evils sweeping their nation.  Well, now we know.  As my son has said that with each passing day it becomes easier to sympathize with those Germans who lived through the 1930s.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Where Peter Is reminds me of The Friendly Atheist

The Friendly Atheist is a blog that, as the name suggests, purports to be a happy place where nice atheists are all warm and fuzzy and friendly. Utilizing a good cop/bad cop tactic, however, the FA was typically radical leftwing atheism that spent most of its time attacking anything remotely center-right, and all things religious, especially Christianity. While most of the main contributors did so on the slick, in the comments sections atheists were given carte blanche to spew any hate and even violent wishes on religious freaks and conservatives who they clearly hated. 

Where Peter Is reminds me of that.  It suggests a site dedicated to the importance of the pope in Catholicism.  But it doesn't take long to see the ideological leanings of its contributors.  Most posts follow a decidedly leftwing template where political liberalism's stereotypes of conservatives can be assumed, but to the left is nothing but beautiful people usually being correct about everything. 

It also demonstrates a trend among the 'former Christian conservative' movement we've seen over the last decade.  Some contributors claim to be 'former right wing Christens'.  Nonetheless, it isn't difficult to see that they have simply taken the problems with fusing the Faith and Right Wing Politics and now apply the same to Left Wing Politics.  They're still the same politically partisan Christians, but with an ass on their hats rather than an elephant. 

To me that is a big problem with those who tack Left.  Conservatives, if they have nothing else going for them, typically admit - even celebrate - their identity as conservatives.  Liberalism has forever shrank away from such self-identification.  Those on the Left prefer simply being correct about everything and without guile; advocates of truth and fact and nothing else.  Therefore the injection of politics into the Faith must always be the fault of those other types who aren't them.  

That forthrightness among conservatives, BTW, is why I tend to identify more with conservative Christians, even if I don't always agree.  There's something about honesty over duplicity that gets me every time. 

Friday, November 11, 2022

Veterans Day

This, Charlie Brown, is what Veterans Day is all about:  

1944: A French couple puts flowers on the body of a US soldier killed in front of their home.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Mark Shea and that vaunted whole life ethic

 On full display here:

Heh.  I know. It's Mark Shea.  Still, you have to love Mr. Seamless Garment New Prolife Catholic.  He basically tells the GOP to stop cheering.  Because they won Florida and Texas, which are friendly toward retirees.  That means their gains were among the elderly, who are old and will die soon.  

Maybe it's me, but that just doesn't strike the old 'What would Jesus say?' tone.   But then it is the New Prolife Catholic ethic, and I think we're all clever enough to know what that euphemistic label actually means.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

It's Election Day!

Me on Election Day
Woohoo.  I'm not one who cares much for the GOP.  I figure most Republicans wish they could go back to the good old days of a strong military to help our financial fortunes, with everything else 'who cares?'.  Not that all Republicans are like that.  But the 'GOP' as a whole seems interested in being just enough 'not Democrat' to curry favor with voters every couple years, but not enough 'Republican' to do much else.  

Donald Trump disrupted that of course. Not that he's my cup of tea either.  As I've said before, I was so ahead of the curve that I didn't like Trump when liberal Democrats and Hollywood superstars loved the guy. Before he committed the unforgivable sin of putting an 'R' in front of his name.  I still don't care for him.  Though he did a service by drawing out the professional class of 'not conservatives unless the cameras are rolling' pundits who made the GOP everything worthless (I'm looking at you Bill Kristol).

The Democrats' problem is that they put their eggs in the secular progressive basket.  The "Left', we'll call it, is a movement that smells strongly of Bolshevism, and increasingly makes its goals clear: the utter destruction of the Christian Western tradition. Almost every day the Left finds some virtue, truth or principle to destroy, the suffering and misery that subsequently arises being small beans.  

That the Left enjoys an alliance with the Western institutions of power not seen since WWII makes it tough to resist.  It's a testimony to the awfulness of the Left's platform that with such an overwhelming monopoly of social messaging, there are still so many who question its dogmas.  Yet every day it makes strides. 

Because of that, I find myself thinking that no matter what, I don't dare take a chance on giving the Left any more power than it has.  Since the Democrats, on the whole, appear fully invested in following the Left blindly wherever it goes, that means giving Democrats more power and influence is akin taking the flag out and burning it along with my children's freedoms. 

Exactly what will happen today, I don't know.  I'm sure there will be some runoffs.  History favors the party not in the White House during midterm elections.  And that's if things are chugging along.  We are living in a dumpster fire as a civilization right now, and the one hanging his hat in the Oval Office will typically get the blame. 

My guess is that polling favors the Republicans.  That's because I've seen about a week or so of news stories warning poll workers of violence and worrying that the election could be compromised by election deniers and voter oppression.  If the Democrats were ahead, I bet the stories would strike a different tone.  

I'm sure if the GOP wins anything beyond the House (which most have conceded for some time), we'll hear endless news stories of angry white men, sexists, voter oppression and voting rights violations galore.  It won't be like 2020, when the USA popped off an election that was almost too perfect for heaven.  It will be more like 2016, or 2000, or even 2004.  You know, when elections were corrupt, stolen, compromised or illegal.  You know, when Republicans won.  

Beyond the assurance of Mike DeWine getting a second term, however, I have no clue about outcomes.  After all, the last time I made a prediction was before the 2016 election, when I conceded the inevitable victory of Hillary Clinton.  So obviously my ability to predict elections isn't worth much.  Therefore, I'll leave history to do what it does, and find out the results tomorrow, or the next day, or whenever we finally know.  

Monday, November 7, 2022

Transgenderism and Eugenics: History doing what it does repetition-wise

If you've ever wondered where you would have stood a hundred years ago when Eugenics was the horrifying crackpot scientific fad theory of the day, just look at where you stand today. Transgenderism is the Eugenics of the 21st Century.  Based on warped ideologies and activism, with virtually no debate or discussion, it has zilch to do with science.  Brought to the stage by an increasingly bloated mental health industry drunk on its place of privilege in our culture, it said if you think you're Napoleon it's fine.  Who's to say Napoleon is an objective reality? 

There is no scientific consensus at all behind it. It is only settled science if you accept the premise that all scientists agree, because those who don't are transphobic hater fascist types who don't count and deserve to lose their jobs anyway. 

Of course this movement has already dug itself into the global mindset that would push to eradicate the Christian Western heritage by deconstructing anything that can be labeled Western or biblical.  To that end, power player think tanks have converged to celebrate the mutilation of adolescents and teenage minors, while sexing up the youngest of these, all in the name of this crackpot shamanism. 

Think on it.  A month or two ago, news broke that a children's hospital in Boston was preforming gender surgeries on underage minors.  Not so! the hospital responded.  Local media outlets circled the wagons.  National press outlets did their part by burying the story altogether.  Fact checkers rushed forth to prove this was a lie - there were no 'transformative' surgeries being done on minors.  It was a viscous, transphobic, right wing fascist lie.  There were preliminary procedures being administered in order to prepare the teens to receive double mastectomies and hysterectomies once they turn eighteen.  But no surgeries on underage kids!

Yet within a couple months we have the President of the United States calling immoral any attempts by states to keep minors from being so 'treated'.  We have a CBS article praising the practice that only a month or so earlier was denied.  That's quite a turn around.  And that shows that the powers behind this are far more established than the powers in the early 1900s who would bring the logical fruits of Eugenics to their most horrific conclusions at Auschwitz and Dachau and Treblinka.  

There's not much we can do of course.  You can raise your kids otherwise, but imagine trying to tell Rolf that Herr Zeller is wrong.  It isn't as easy as it looks.  Not when every major national institution, and a fair number of global institutions, now sing the praises of Herr Zeller and his obviously infallible perspectives.  Especially when the most we're getting from our brave religious leaders is silence, or assurances that we all just love everyone.  

Again, if's fun to imagine that if we lived in the olden days, we would have been the brave heroes standing up to the evil of the age.  Today, we spend all our time condemning the evils of the past and anyone in the past for failing to do as well as we clearly would have done in the same position.  But how are we doing now?  If we're standing by this affront to children and life itself, not to mention common sense and truth, chances are I know exactly where we would have stood when rumor came along about those strange camps in the German woods. 

Friday, November 4, 2022

The Devil's children

 At CBS.  Remember things like this from back in the ancient days:

See that?  Age appropriate only.  Nobody does transgender surgery on minors.  That's what news outlets said when a story broke that a children's hospital in Boston was doing just that.  Local media circled the wagons (national media did it's part and largely ignored the story).  Fact checkers assured us nobody performs surgeries on minors.  Ever!

Well, read that CBS article praising hospitals for doing just that.  See this quote:

True, can anyone really know what a kid is?  I mean, fourteen might just be an old geezer at this point.  You never know with the modern Left.  Anything could be true, or false, or both or neither. It's that easy.  So easy, this passes as an argument worth quoting in a major US news outlet:

When I see the horrors of this unfolding, the absolute lack of resistance by any institution or leaders, and the lies and duplicity needed to advance it, I remember a few things.  One that leaps to mind is this:

You belong to your father, the devil, and you wan to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  John 8.44

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Gloria Purvis works to keep the legend alive

That is, the legend of America and the West as exclusively a racist, genocidal slave culture filled to the brim with racist, genocidal slavers, and only the rarest of saints standing firm against it.  She has certainly embraced the BLM narrative.  The piece is, not surprisingly, on the very Jesuit American Magazine podcost. 

Of course as a high profile Catholic representative, she could labor to help the American black community overcome its staggering levels of violence, homicides, domestic violence, broken families, drug use, gangs, and abortion rates.  Heck, she might even call out racism within the black community against non-blacks and against other blacks sometimes deemed not black enough. 

But that might force issues that so many are unwilling to confront.  Heck, it might even challenge a dominant leftwing narrative.  Best to keep dragging America's sins out and stomping on them, especially as they pertain to Caucasians of European descent.  We call that dodging by deflection. 

By the way, in light of yet another story of a rap star being shot and killed, are there other musical genres with the same body count?  I mean, is there the same level of murders and shootings and drug deaths in, say, polka music?  Classical?  Bluegrass?  I don't know, I'm asking. Because it seems nary a month goes by without some form of killing, overdose or similar happening within the world of multi-millionaire rap stars.  Is it just that I miss all those cello players and ukulele aficionados and their endless parade of homicides and drug violence?  Or could something else be the matter?