Saturday, July 25, 2015

How dumb can America get?

The Left's newest hero 
Pretty darn dumb.  The media, once the point guard for freedom of expression, now leads the way in exterminating art and literature that fails to conform to Leftist dogmas.
imposing thought control and censorship, of eradicating wrong-think and demanding conformity to indisputable doctrines.

Growing up, we all remember when liberals were all about free your mind.  Freedom of expression.  Saint George Carlin.  If we say horrific things about America, Jesus, God, religion, whatever, and you're offended?  Why you're the problem.  And if you spend your time playing records backward to find hidden messages?  Then you're some wicked mixture of Archie Bunker stupidity and McCarthy styled censorship.

Now who is spinning those records to find hidden messages?  Who is demanding that offensive art be removed, that offensive words be punished?  Growing up in the 70s, we were told that such things belonged to the totalitarian states of the 20th Century.  That's what the Nazis did.  That's what the Communists did.  They banned the books, tore down statues, changed city names, erased offensive and challenging words from documents.  And they always justified their evil by wrapping it up in self righteous causes.  Not so for liberalism's promise to America.  I remember in second grade, a young substitute teacher telling us that very thing.  No doubt a child of the liberal promise of the early 70s.

And the greatest allies for this promise were the media, the entertainment industry, the educational system.  All of which, now, are the leading advocates for the very control of expression and eradication of wrong thought that they once so proudly resisted.  What allies for freedom are left we wonder?

Assignment class:  Read Animal Farm.  Reread Animal farm.  Report.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Why we are not honest about Islamic Terrorism

Because the truth is irrelevant.  So my sons noticed that when a white person is in any way involved in the death of anyone who isn't white, the motive is immediately race.  Period.  It takes a mountain of evidence to turn around the verdict that race was involved, and then it may still continue to be the verdict even after evidence has been shown otherwise.

And yet, try to pin terrorism on Islam, or Islamic anything, and watch the modern media industry and the powers that be, up to and including our political leaders, call it like it ain't.  'Why is that?' my boys wonder.  It should be obvious to thinking people willing to be honest.  But if it isn't, perhaps this little skit, that Rush Limbaugh played on his show, will demonstrate how far we've come.  It was supposed to be over the top.  And yet by today's propaganda thought control, it's almost tame and believable by comparison:

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Goodbye Omar

Yesterday the news broke that Omar Sharif died.  It is said that Peter O'Toole once quipped that Omar Sharif is simply too cool a name for anyone to have.  He was right.  Yet the name fit the actor.  Sharif exploded onto the world stage in David Lean's epic Lawrence of Arabia.  He played Sharif Ali, perhaps the most complex and interesting character in the entire movie.  And he did it, as the youngsters would say, with swag.  He starred in another Lean masterpiece, the somewhat difficult to pinpoint Doctor Zhivago.  He would appear over the decades in a variety of roles.   But for most, he will forever be the good doctor and the wonderfully awesome Sharif Ali.  May God grant him peace and eternal rest, and to those who loved him and the many who will miss him.

Monday, July 6, 2015

On the other hand, well done Evangelicals

While I couldn't help but notice modern European secularized liberal socialism would never have made it so far without the help of the Catholic Church, I must tip my hat to those always maligned Evangelicals.  They're that vague group who you are more or less allowed to hate, spit upon, deride, insult and even suggest a second class status for.  And yet they are strong in withstanding the juggernaut.  Yes, they have their issues.  Too much attention on sins below the waistline, and not enough to those that impact bank accounts and country bombing.  But those can sometimes be arguments of distinctions.  When is war just if ever?  What is the best way to reduce poverty?

Not so with gay sex, sexual immorality, abortion, and euthanasia.  And the Evangelicals seem to get that this is not something with which we can compromise.  This is not something we can politely agree to disagree with those who hold the other views.  These views and attitudes are the results of something bigger that seeks to usurp the Christian Faith as the foundation of a dying civilization, and corrupt its adherents as much as possible.  That's why you have gay couples going to Christian bakers and photographers, as opposed to their Orthodox Jewish or Muslim counterparts.

No, Evangelicals are far from perfect.  But look at the track record of Catholics.  And that's not just from the bottom up, but from the top down.  So well done.  Credit where it is due.  And prepare to withstand the slings and arrows of opposition from the Left, as well as from not a few Catholics who would gladly grab the arrows from Satan and help him aim, if they thought they would find their marks in the back of an Evangelical.

Family fun on the Fourth of July

Loving America as a Christian is always tough.  Our country has never been a 'Christian Nation.'  The few times such things as building a real Christian society have been attempted have ended in disastrous blights on the Church's reputation and ages of apologies and backlashes as a result.  So that's probably good that we aren't actually a Christian nation.

On the other hand, European - and by extension American - society had, for most of its existence as a civilization, been founded upon some level of Christian world view and moral fabric.  That tension has been at its highest in America, where our founders deliberately avoided a Christian theocracy, and yet presupposed a Christian society.  Or at least a religious one founded however loosely on Christian values and ideals.

The subsequent centuries following our founding were anything but smooth, and many horrible things would happen.  Often by people committed to the same Faith of Jesus Christ as we today. Which makes you wonder.  Were they that bad, stupid, uncaring, evil, or what?  Did they know they were wrong and didn't care?  Or did they, in some twisted way we later generations can so easily see, believe - really deep down believe - they were right.  When Lorne Greene sits and reads his Bible while one of his slaves is being beaten in the groundbreaking series Roots, did he get the problem?  Or did he really believe there was nothing to see there?

And that gets me to thinking, as I am wont to do.  How do I know, how do I really, really know, that I'm not guilty of some flagrant blind spot like those we so quickly and mercilessly condemn from days of yore?  Sure, I can see all the other Christians and how wrong they obviously are.  But what about me?  Is there something I'm all about, knowing fully that it is completely acceptable, when in generations people will look back and see me sitting here at my computer while whatever happens and thinking it's just fine and dandy and ask 'how the Hell'?

I don't know.  At what point do we bail?  For many, the bail has already happened.  America has been weighed on the scales and found guilty and without redeeming qualities.  For others, America and the Kingdom of God are one and the same.  They really mean it, probably more than Winthrop, that America as the city on the hill is the same city that Christ spoke of.  For others, we realize that the two are not the same, but when did it pass that point of no return, or when will it?  Just when do we jump aside and let the nation drive over the cliff, lest we also be implicated?  That's the question.  For some, unless we change we are guilty of being Lorne Greene.  For others, that guilt is quickly approaching.

No answers, just kicking things around as we lit fireworks, watched movies, had cookouts, and did the same things we do every year because, as of now, we can.  As I say, the tough thing about history is that you have to wait for it to happen to study it.  So with all that, here are some important pictures of our Independence Day celebrations (which spilled over onto the 5th, since we all had Sunday off!):

Episode 5, which focused on the late, great Richard Winters
Still worth watching, despite the deplorable job moderns have in thinking over the history of the time
(my boys yelled 'censor it!' every time they saw the Confederate Flag, just for fun)

Our youngest psyching himself for the fun
The boys, the smokers, the sparklers - enough said

Don't know what happened, but he was beating a hasty retreat

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble...

Getting ready for chocolate fondue redux
I don't know, but he seems to be anticipating the treat

Our youngest is no shy wall flower when it comes to chocolate treats

Even my Mom, after a life of meat and potatoes, enjoyed the fondue moment

The family, the fondue, the fun - a jolly 4th.  Thanks to the Founding Fathers and the Veterans for making it happen

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Birthday America

And may we wake up from our stupor soon, before it is too late for our posterity, and live up to what has, after so many eons, been given to us through so much sacrifice and suffering.  Perhaps reading that little greeting card from all those years ago might help us wake: 

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
   Button Gwinnett
   Lyman Hall
   George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
   William Hooper
   Joseph Hewes
   John Penn
South Carolina:
   Edward Rutledge
   Thomas Heyward, Jr.
   Thomas Lynch, Jr.
   Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
   Robert Morris
   Benjamin Rush
   Benjamin Franklin
   John Morton
   George Clymer
   James Smith
   George Taylor
   James Wilson
   George Ross
   Caesar Rodney
   George Read
   Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
   William Floyd
   Philip Livingston
   Francis Lewis
   Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
   Richard Stockton
   John Witherspoon
   Francis Hopkinson
   John Hart
   Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
   Josiah Bartlett
   William Whipple
   Samuel Adams
   John Adams
   Robert Treat Paine
   Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
   Stephen Hopkins
   William Ellery
   Roger Sherman
   Samuel Huntington
   William Williams
   Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:

   Matthew Thornton

Supporters of gay marriage should thank Catholics everywhere

Among Christian traditions, few are reliably more supportive of the new paganism of the left than Catholics.  Especially in America.  But based on stats from Europe and S. America, the new paganism's evangelists are having their way beyond our shores.  
Remember, this is supportive of Gay Marriage (TM).  Not just gay rights.  Gay normality.  Post-Christian sexual ethics and morality.  This is the seal and signature of post-Christian morality.  For every person who supports actual gay marriage, there are ten at least who indulge in the rest of non-Christian morality.  And look at those numbers.  Given Pope Francis's fire and brimstone aimed at those who hold to more traditional and conservative Western values, one would imagine Catholics around the world were overwhelmingly there, and only a small minority of progressives held sway.  But the numbers suggest otherwise.

They suggest that Pope Francis may need to reconsider his priorities and where the bulk of his passions are aimed.  And it might suggest that advocates of gay marriage and the paganism which is sweeping the dying West need to pause and thank our Catholic brothers and sisters here in the States.  They never could have made it without them. 

Which America do you want?

Your choices:

One represents the old America which, however flawed and imperfect, bred a nation of people who sought the better of things other than themselves in some even vague reference to the idea that our individualism and individual responsibility were oriented to things greater than ourselves.

One represents the new paganism, which promises us that we are alone the center of things, that freedom is about me, that nothing matters more than me, and that we are giants gazing back at insignificant dwarfs who paled in comparison to us, and were only of worth when they pointed forward to a world in which everyone else can have their liberties compromised in order to satisfy my desires for myself.

Which one will we pick?  Only the future will tell.

Tyler Blanski nails it

As a nation of drugged up, horny idiots continues to throw the birthright of freedom and liberty out the window in the hopes of the latest smart phone, legalized drugs and better orgasms, Tyler traces the breakdown of our moral fabric vis-a-vis gay marriage, and does a wonderful job eviscerating some of the lame arguments against traditional marriage that count on a generation of college educated idiots to accept.  Read it here.  I have nothing more to say.  

Columbus Red, White and Boom 2015 was an embarrassment

Not because the fireworks themselves weren't good.  And they weren't.  Perhaps it was the weather, the lack of wind, the moisture, but most of the display was a giant multi-colored cloud of smoke for most of the night.  Still, I don't fault the fireworks for that, because they are now digital and don't adjust well to sudden changes in conditions. 

What I fault it for was the deplorable music.  If you like rap and hip-hop, then it was just right for you.  But if you expect things like patriotic music or themes, then a massive disappointment.  With the exception of a couple songs associated with The Ohio State University, Proud to be an American, Neil Diamond's America, and the annual military music medley, there was nothing.  Nothing.  No God Bless America.  No This is My Country.  No Stars and Stripes Forever.  They didn't even have the 1812 Overture which, admittedly, has little to do with our independence but has become a staple on 4th of July over the years.  Nothing. 

It was hip-hop.  It was rap.  More hip-hop.  Some sexually charged themes. A few allusions to drugs. More sex.  Hip-hop.  Rap.  A momentary nod to the Scorpions' Rock You Like a Hurricane.  One or two songs from the 60s and 70s.  Back to the rap.  Hip-hop.  Then two movie themes I didn't recognize to round up the show.  

In some country that had little to do with independence, freedom, or God, it was good enough.  Perhaps a country that cared for nothing other than hedonism, narcissism, sex, drugs and more sex, it was just the right mixture of keen and inspiring music and show tunes.  But for those silly folks who think America is something more, you couldn't help but be disappointed.  

The good news is that PBS was showing an older concert and fireworks display in Baltimore hosted by the always wonderful John Lithgow.  We saw the last five songs, and not a non-patriotic song among them.  Well done Baltimore.  

Friday, July 3, 2015

Have a happy and blessed 4th of July

For all its faults, and for the ease with which our most educated generation in history is throwing away liberty and freedom for a romp in the sack (my sixteen year old says the Founding Fathers tried to foresee as many challenges as possible, but they didn't see us coming), it is still a great country.  For all its sins - sins shared by all cultures, nations, kingdoms and empires in history - it was also a shining beacon, if only for a season in the history of the world.  

For myself, I await news to confirm that I may have a new job, one that pays substantially more than I've been paid in many a moon.  My wife also has an interview on Monday.  My Fifteen year old appears healthy, and things are about as good as they've been in recent memory.  We're praying that it continues. 

We will have cookouts, watch fireworks, ponder the answer to Francis Scott Key's lingering question in light of the new paganism's machinations, and of course reflect on our nation, our blessings and our prayers for the future.  Here is a little post I did about movies we watch during Memorial Day.  They work for Independence Day as well.  Especially the movie Gettysburg (though apologies for its rank and despicable displays of the Flag that cannot be mentioned).  

In it all, there is still much to be thankful for, and maintain hope that as close as we are coming to the cliff, we can still turn around.  God, I don't think, hates America as much as some would have us think.  And if we don't deserve God's exclusive favor, I don't believe we alone of the nations deserve his wrath (though some strong kicks in the pants are more than deserved, as they always are).  Though if we keep listening to those who would have us believe we have always deserved God's wrath, then I have no doubt we'll eventually deserve it. 

So God bless America.  Real America.  Actual America.  Historic America.  God bless those whose labors gave us this nation that has always been, at its best, among the greatest civilizations in history, and even at its worst, no worse than most that has defined human history.  May we be worthy of the blessings we ask from God, of those who struggled, worked and died for our liberties, and may God and common hobbit sense protect us from those who would have us sell our birthrights of freedom and liberty for a quick romp in the sack with the carbon-based life form of our choice.  

And call me an old heretical Catholic, but if I must pick a heroic image of Americans to celebrate outside of the faithful Saints and Martyrs, I'd rather pick something like his:

than the hipster favorite celebrated by so many cool and sophisticated Catholics across the internet today:

Though I admit, one is likely a glorified and false image set up to inspire hero worship, while another actually tries to capture the genuine attributes and characteristics Christians everywhere should hope to identify with and even emulate.  Ah, silly old me. Happy 4th!

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.    2 Chronicles 7:14

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Happy Birthday Number 15!

Yes, I know.  Gay marriage continues to be the club with which the New Way bludgeons the old religions of the past.  The ACLU is talking about ending this religious freedom rubbish - which is refreshing.  At least it's being honest. We're making friends with Communist Cuba.  Russia continues to intimidate.  Pope Francis has declared a global government to be the hope against the evils of Corporations.  There's just so much to talk about!

Well, I've been busy with the important things.  Those things we never read about in history books, but we have some vague idea that they happened.  Contrary to popular belief, the Middle Ages weren't dominated by Inquisitors wandering up and down and torturing people every day in every village.  Nor were American settlers spending every waking hour trying to imagine ways to beat slaves or slaughter Indians or burn witches at the stake.  Just like today, we aren't all about gunning down people in churches, or blowing up buildings in Iraq, or executing innocent prisoners in gas chambers.

For most of us, life goes on.  As it did in Colonial America, in the Middle Ages, in Ancient Greece, or anywhere.  And so in keeping with the ages old tradition of actually living life rather than imagining that human existence is only about what the latest scholars decide should be on the next chapter heading, we decided to set aside an entire weekend to celebrate our Fifteen Year Old's birthday.

Last year, things happened, crazy and wacky and worrisome, and we never quite got around to really celebrating his number fourteen.  Even though he insists it was still a good birthday, we know better.  So this year, he merely asked for a couple Lego sets, a Nintendo game, and a tropical feast.  So we went to work.  And in a burst of blessed fortune, we had one sunny day between a dozen rainy, cloudy days.  And here is the result.

A football player who wanted flowers on his cake.  I love it. 

Happy Birthday number 15!

In keeping with the tropical theme, we made (alcohol free) margaritas 

The brothers get in on the margarita act

Our youngest struggles with the drink's umbrella while his older brother looks on

He's reading "Le Morte d'Arthur", but I'm not sure he's getting it all 

Our birthday boy with friend 

Hand made sign says it all 
It was tiki time, and that night, we did fondue with tiki light and torch light around the deck
(followed by some awesome stargazing at a gorgeous nighttime sky)

The beginning of his creation; so much more to do

The obligatory shot of the world's most tolerant wife wearing a Hawaiian shirt and lei (we all did, at our son's request)
We love you kid.  The doctor says he thinks you're better, and we hope so.  You're that little burst of sunshine that has always brought more to us than we ever could to you.  Happy Birthday!  May God bless this day and a million more.