Monday, December 30, 2019

Eddie Murphy and the cowardly rebels from of old

One of many greedy little cowards in Hollywood
It used to be said that old people became set in their ways as they got older.  The Baby Boomers, once more, prove that adage wrong.  More and more post-Boomer Americans are shuffling off the coils of old values, standards, principles, ethics, and almost everything they once cherished.  Things that were once the hill upon which to take our stand are tossed out the windows like nickles and dimes at a stunning rate.

And the bold rebels of my youth, who made millions proudly sticking a finger in the eye of American values and kicked down barriers of vulgarity, debauchery and hedonism are becoming groveling thralls of the political Left.  So Eddie Murphy, who took the mantle of George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx and ran it down the field toward new levels of base vulgarity, insults and mockery of everyone has been cowed by the Left's favorite tool to eradicate rights: The LGBTQ movement.

I remember his groundbreaking routine Delirious.  Non-believing, liberal hedonist that I was, I admit his routine was a bit much even for me.  Nonetheless, I watched it, chuckled a few times, and moved on, keeping in mind Groucho Marx's old saying that anyone can be funny by being vulgar, but it takes talent to be funny and clean.

I therefore was stunned to see, around that same time, criticism of him for making fun of homosexuals.  I thought heck, he made fun of everyone.  What's so big about that?  So what if he adds homosexuals to the long list of targets for his swear-fest insults?  I mean, his whole obscenity laced screed was one giant piss over an endless list of individuals and groups.  Everyone laughed, it's the 1980s when nothing is real and nothing to get hung about, being offended is for old fundie types, and who cares?  So what's so special about homosexuals?

Of course going on forty years later, we now see that the LGBTQ movement is the weapon with which the Left has systematically disarmed the building blocks of liberty, freedom, free speech, religious tolerance and the essentials of the Christian Western tradition.  Increasingly young people seem proud to declare they would gladly see an end to the Bill of Rights and all freedoms rather than  allow someone to dare disagree with the LGBTQ movement.  And increasingly we are seeing pushes to do just that.

Part of the effectiveness of this ploy is that so many - from the Russ Moores of Evangelicalism to Catholic leaders to those bold rebels of old in the Entertainment Industry like Eddie Murphy - simply are incapable or unwilling to take a stand.  Saruman spoke well and nailed this generation that will gladly put an end to the 2500 year march toward a free and democratic society if it only means outlawing the right to think any other way than the LGBTQ movement dictates, lest they be deemed enemies of the same.   In the old days, that was called cowardly.  In my book, it still deserves to be called just that.

UPDATE: Apparently comedian Kevin Hart has joined the grovelers.  I won't update this every time it happens, but I wonder.  What is it about the altar of Gay that has lead us to throw all rights and liberties and freedom out the window?  Why is it so singularly powerful?  I realize there are many other thoughts and words nowadays that can cost you your living and livelihood, your reputation and your freedom.  But there is some fluidity in most of those, and some degree of disagreement.  But with Gay, there is nothing, no give, no mercy, no anything.  You buck Gay, and you will come back groveling or else.  Why?  How has that happened, how does it continue to happen, and how is it that so many - including growing numbers of everyone - are fine with saying it would be better to burn all rights and liberties than allow someone not to agree with Gay? 

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Game time again

So it was another great year for the boardgamers in the home.  I've read that board games are all the rage again.  Of course we've been playing board games on a regular basis for years.  My wife and I spent our second date on New Year's Eve, 1991, playing Scrabble with her family.  Since then we've always had a soft spot for the quieter side of life even in our younger, crazier salad days of marriage.

We raised our boys in the same manner, and they're quite good at navigating board games every bit as much as video games.  In fact, two of them seem to prefer the non-digital approach to family entertainment.  But then, they also have their own peculiar interests, such as asking for a film version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, and then schooling their youngest brother on the finer points of the play as they watch it together on Christmas Day.

Alas, the eldest boys are getting older and moving on.  With jobs and college and their own lives to lead, they're not around like they used to be.  They do try to set aside at least one day a week or so to hang out with the family, or do things like have their 'Bro Night' with their youngest brother to keep him in the loop.  But even he has said he prefers time with his own friends now, realizing that the time for his older brothers' inevitable step into the next stages of their lives is at hand.

Still, for those times when we are together, it's eating together and then enjoying movies, the big game, or a "quiet' board game or two during the down time that still marks the primary way in which we spend time together.  This Christmas saw quite an addition to our collection of games, and hopefully over the next couple weeks, when their schedules are loosened and they're not hanging with their own kind, we'll get to plow through a few of them.

Here are the ones we received this year.  We'll see how they are, though some are already known to us and I think they'll be just fine:

I have no clue on this one.  This was for me from the boys.  It certainly looks fun, and taps into my preference for history oriented games, especially in the Medieval realm.  If quality of product is any indicator, it should be fun. 

We have the game Mansions of Madness, which is quite fun, but time consuming, long to set up, and requires the better half of a ping pong table of area to play.  I heard this is similar, but more condensed.  My one son said it is well reviewed, if not a bit graphic for our youngest.  We'll see.  But the set up and play time seems more restrained than MoM, so it might be a good goto for those dark, scary nights when an appropriate themed game is in order.  

We had this game when my oldest boys were younger, and played it extensively.  I'm not sure how our marriage and family survived.  We lost a couple pieces from the one we had and hadn't played it in years, but I found a copy intact this year.  I would call this perhaps one of the most stressful and exasperating games I've ever played.  It's a race against the clock to find four keys, dodge guard dogs and guards and booby traps, and get the keys back to shut down the alarm before time runs out.  Especially at harder levels (those with less time allowed), not a beat can be missed or you'll likely loose.  It's a team effort.  My wife and I played the guard and guard dog respectfully, letting the boys team up - such as it is.  We played it once and that's all our nerves could handle.  But the fun factor means we'll likely play it again soon. 

My third son, our resident game connoisseur, found this. I don't know what it is.  It seems to be like a German game we found years ago called Labyrinth.  Basically you put tiles down that have all manner of labyrinthine paths.  The goal is not to collide with another player and not end up being sent off the side of the board.  It's a fast game, with the two we played lasting no more than about ten minutes.  With no time to set up, and fast play, this will be a nice goto when the boys are around for a quick evening and not much time. 

My best friend bought this in 1986 at the same time I purchased the company's other game, Axis and Allies.  Not interested in history or such, my friend - at the time all into the college ROTC program - jumped on this with its obvious military/Red Dawn vibes.  We played it once before he became enraged and threw the game - board, pieces and all - out the door.  I had told my boys about that for years and, along with the fabled Dark Tower board game, it loomed large in the myth of my youthful days.  My third son, again, warranted this one, and so far he seems quite pleased with it.  The theme is America fending off a joint attack during a fictional late Cold War meltdown (set in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries).  For me, it was interesting insofar as it assumed America as the good guys, and framed things against the USSR which was still the baddie.  
What a difference a couple decades make. 

Not sure about this one.  It seems an unpacked and expanded variation on Simon Says.  It seems to be a beat the clock game, everyone do what they are told to do in the order they're told to do it, and hit the button within an allotted amount of time.  

Got the game a few years ago, but the electronic component didn't work.  This was from my best friend again.  He had the game when we were kids, I didn't.  We played it quite a few times.  To be honest, by now it's younger than my boys, and even our ten year old is likely beyond it.  Still, they enjoy these games from back in the day and typically see them in the most positive sense, with admiration for the creativity, quality and imagination.  The gist of the game is pretty simple, the electronic part of the game gives clues as to the thief's whereabouts.  I bought a new electronic component that needed replaced, so we'll see. 

This was seen by my oldest and I when we were shopping for one of the brothers.  We have played the old game 221B Baker Street and, such as it is, it's always been a fun, atmospheric romp through the London of Holmes and Watson.  This seems to take it and, as my sons said, inject the concept with steroids.  I've seen good reviews of it, and we're looking forward to it, though it doesn't appear to be something you can polish off in an hour.  Which is fine.  It also seems to be something you can return to over a course of time. 

Honorable Mention:

We got this years ago per recommendation, but we couldn't figure it out.  More than once we sat down and attempted to work it through.  Perhaps it's because Asian history/culture, while mildly interesting to us, is not our main focus, but we couldn't get a handle on it.  Then this year it was the Big 10 Championship game.  Ohio State was losing badly to Wisconsin.  My wife and third son concluded the football game was too stressful, and decided to let the blood pressure go with me and the other boys.  To fill time, they pulled this off the shelf and decided to have another go.  And guess what?  They broke the code!  Turns out this is a fine game, quality product and a lot of fun.  Takes a bit of time and space to set up.  A bit like Mansions of Madness.  But the effort was worth it. So I add this to the list because 2019 will go down as the year we broke Yedo!

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas

Wise men, they say, still seek Him.  I fear the number of wise men in the West is diminishing, and yet there is always hope.  Christmas is a magical time, in that it speaks to a world beyond the petty universe we too often obsess over.  May God bless those who earnestly seek Him at this time, and grant peace and the yearning to seek Him to those who do not realize what they truly need. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

On this merry Christmas Eve

A Christmas wish from a world long, long past.  The past, they say, is another world.  I don't know why, but the picture* on this post strikes me as indicative of that sentiment.  In case you don't get it, it's a Christmas card sent out by the company that produced Dungeons and Dragons.  The various caricatures are the individuals involved in the game's creation and publication.  There were other games and items produced as well.  No doubt some of them were involved in the other products.  The post itself walks you through who each is supposed to represent.

But it hit me how ubiquitous the Christmas/Christian culture was, even with something as 'controversially counter-culture' as the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game.  I've mused on that before, such as where MTV was as late as my college years in the mid and late 1980s, how Christian culture still cast a long shadow already awash in Woodstock, MTV and secular materialism.  In 2011 when I posted the MTV link, I wondered what radical changes would happen in the future.   In 2011, I had no idea that there would be serious debates about abolishing free thought, free speech and religious liberty in order to eliminate the right to think there is such a thing as boys and girls.

Something happened in our country.  I think it had been happening for a long time, subtly, slowly, under the radar.  But between the late 80s to early 90s, that slow, purposeful movement burst out of the shadows and gave us what we are seeing today.

Of course I'm not saying there are no Christmas images from products today.  I'm not suggesting there is not even a swift nod to the holiday.  I merely notice that if it is there, it seems nowhere near as plentiful as it was in the day.  After all, as late as the year of Star Wars (1977) the trappings of the holiday as traditionally understood in American society found itself in the greeting card of a game dedicated to fantasy role-playing and all the trappings that came along with it.

In any event, enjoy this blessed Christmas season.  In the end, we'll always have the true spirit of Christmas, and nobody can take that from us.  Merry Christmas.

*I chose not to post the picture due to ownership and copyright issues.  If you check the comments, you'll see why.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Mine was Twister

A fun little list highlighting significant events around the Christmastime of each year going back to about 1947.  The big highlight of 1966?  Twister!   Woohoo!  Personally I'd like to think anything else in 1966 was more significant than that.

Oh well.  Such is the world of Internet Lists.  Nonetheless, it's fun and a times a bit nostalgic.  Though I could do without hearing or seeing yet another gush-fest over Mariah Carey's saccharine holiday song. 

Lies and Religious Freedom

I know, I know, I said I would no longer post on issues.  Unless certain conditions warranted it.  Well, those conditions have been brought to my attention.  I blocked and banned Patheos from my browser some time ago.  As a result, I haven't read anything from Mark Shea for a long pleasant time.

But it came to my attention from someone I still follow on FB that he has posted a blogpost about an Ohio law attempting to loosen restrictions on religious expression and access in public schools.  As most know, it's a convoluted topic with no clear guidance: some schools all but banning the phrase God bless you when someone sneezes, others allowing anything short of Bible lessons and altar calls.

This bill seeks to clarify, while making sure students of religious upbringing can openly express their religious views in a host of classroom and academic settings.  It also makes it easier for religious groups to use school facilities in the same manner as non-religious, activist groups can use them.

Naturally the Left - requiring the usual toxic mixture of lies, BS and idiocy for tyranny and censorship - jumps in and says that the law will allow students who believe in the divine goose egg to insist the universe came from said goose egg while denying the existence of science.  And in a sadly predictable manner, Mark vomits the leftist, anti-Christian talking points.  Which isn't surprising.  In fairness, I didn't have the stomach to read his full article.  All I saw was a copy shot of the first paragraph, and that was enough to catch the gist.

But it is the usual lies as can be expected from the  movement of the Father of Lies.  The bill does no such thing and explicitly says that students will be obliged to learn and demonstrate knowledge of the subjects as taught in class, including science classes.   Here is one of many local stories doing the actual work of reporting the news.  Remember the local press is no more unbiased or hard right leaning than most, so Mark's take and those he references run afoul of what an otherwise sympathetic outlet is reporting.  The headline doesn't match the story, one of the clues that the story is likely correct (headlines often written by those other than the reporters in question, and often the journalistic equivalence of click-bait when trying to buttress a story that doesn't square with the hopes of the copy editor).

Again, the bill simply makes it clear that students can more openly express their religious views in public schools, on assignments, and have access to school facilities.  That's all.  They still have to learn and answer the subjects as taught.  The scare hysteria and lies of the Left are per usual wrong.  That Mark would so predictably side with the forces dedicated to silencing the religious expression of public school students by spreading lies about those trying to guarantee their right to be religious outside of the church ghettos shows one more reason why a banned list that had no other website banned but Mark's would be a fine banned list indeed.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Some Harry Potter behind the scenes fun

When I say I like The Lord of the Rings, people will sometimes immediately assume I'm some big Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan.  I'm not.  I like LoTR despite the fact that it's fantasy, not because.  Same goes for The Hobbit and the rest of Tolkien's vast universe.  I appreciate the quality and the talent and passion behind it all.

Likewise, I dis on Harry Potter quite a lot, and people sometimes confuse that with some profound dislike for it.  I don't dislike it, though I feel the later books of the series lacked the same charm and quality that the earlier books possessed.  As one of my sons said, Rowling tried to make an epic fictional universe that ended up being too big for her talents to fill.  To me it was like the movie Titanic, not as bad as its harshest critics suggest, but nowhere near deserving the accolades and success it enjoyed.

In the same way, I enjoyed the movies, though their quality tended to diminish along with the books.  Those radfans who insisted Rowling was the holy mother of authors and Potter was the Gospel incarnate, and who blamed directors and Hollywood and evil fundamentalists and bad editors and everything else for the quality problems were just blowing fanboy hot air.  She just hit it big at the dawn of the  global internet era and Harry Potter Org. was the result.  The disparity with her abilities was more to do with market shifts and worldwide consumer base than a fool editor causing her books to be what they became.

Nonetheless, I have fond memories of that whole phenomenon, just as I do The Wiggles and Miss Pattycake and Barney the Dinosaur or everything else that defines my boys' younger days.   That, as well as The Lord of the Rings (and their subsequent delving into all sorts of fantasy RPG sci-fi interests) are, for me, a special part of my life.  I can still remember the final book release and the big midnight HP party at a nearby Barnes and Noble.  My oldest son, who looked a lot like the boy wizard, was quite the conversation piece (I think he enjoyed the attention no matter what he said at the time).  Likewise, when the credits of the last HP movie rolled, I felt a certain sadness that a period in my boys' life had come to a close.   The same feeling I had when Luke beat the crap out of Vader in Return of the Jedi.

But that's the way of things.  So this was a fun little piece to go back and look through.  I'm sure actual fans of the movies (and maybe the books) will have more fun with it.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Thinking on Advent and the Long Defeat

A fine article over at the National Catholic Register.  Ours is not to fight for this world, but the next one.  Yes, that can be overplayed, and we have a responsibility for the here and now as well as the hereafter.  But to think by using the World's tactics the Kingdom will end up better is as foolish as the new trend of adopting the World's latest tactics and philosophies and imagining the Kingdom will end up better.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Pearl Harbor

Today is that day that was supposed to live in infamy.  Here is a link to a post of mine with links in it to other posts of mine where I have mused on this anniversary over the years.

Clearly FDR didn't see the millennials coming.  But then, neither did the Founding Fathers.  And sometimes you wonder just who did see it coming.  A generation, as so many on my Patheos blog made clear, is proud to disdain knowledge of the past, reality, standards, values or anything really. 

We speak of Internet Trolls, but in some ways you wonder if this tendency toward trolling is as much a part of modern millennials and younger generations identity as a tactic they use.  A combo of pride, a lack of substantive accomplishments, and a general willingness to say the only thing that matters is winning the latest argument and getting what I want. 

As I've said many times, either America's education system failed beyond anything imaginable, or it succeeded beyond its wildest dreams.  The future will likely determine which.

So a date that should live in infamy?  Yes.  A date that does?   I doubt it.