Friday, October 7, 2022

Fun is the one thing that money can buy

With all due respect to The Beatles.  

And buy it did. 

After several years of hiatus, we took the family back to the Ohio Renaissance Festival.  We first went there the year our third son was born.  Back then it was a smaller affair.  A few thousand were in attendance on most days, and much of the grounds was empty and spacious with plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy. 

This time, however, there was an ocean of people.  If you told me 30,000 were in attendance I'd believe you.  It made it a bit tough.   You had to arrive at events an hour in advance if you wanted anything close to good seating.  Additionally there was no room to do anything.  Even a formerly large open commons area was now cluttered with booths and stalls, with thousands gathered and sitting anywhere they could. So bad were the crowds that we didn't even eat our obligatory faux Medieval helpings.  The lines to the concession areas were in excess of an hour each.  

We don't know why it was so crowded, other than it was the first year the festival was back in full gear since Covid.  In 2019, the last year we went, it was already getting crowded.  We commented then on the diminishing space and time available due to the crowds.  After all, it now is big enough for full television spots and heavy advertising the season through.  When I first heard about it when we lived in Louisville in the mid-90s, I had to scrounge to find any information (which is why it wasn't until 2000 that we went). But this year? Nothing before came close. 

Nonetheless, despite it all, we had as good a time as we could.  The jousting was good, though one of the jousters seemed a little under-par in terms of abilities.  The Swordsmen (Bold and Stupid Men!), one of the headline acts from the beginning, were as fun as ever, though they're obviously showing their age.  I told one of them (Dirk - the Daring!) that we first caught their show the year our third son was born - pointing to  our hulking son behind me.  He thanked me for the reminder of time's passing.  We do believe they intended to wrap things up on their 30th anniversary (which would have been 2020).  In 2019, they emphasized more than usual that everyone must come back for their big tour in 2020.  We assumed then they were retiring.  Now I'll bet they're going until their 35th year and then will call it quits.  Again, it's not hard to see the difference from over the years. 

We caught a new act, some Moonie fellow who juggled and did various tricks.  It was made better by an audience member he pulled up on stage. If that audience member wasn't a plant, then he needs to join the act.  Never have I seen a random audience member steal the show like that (at one point the performer sat down with the audience and told him the show is his). 

There was shopping and browsing of course, but again always pressed by the crowds.  Plus my wife still has her limits on what she can do in terms of exertion.  The big bonus this year was bringing our son's fiancé to the festival for the first time.  Despite the crazy crowds she seemed to have had a splendid time.  That was our hope.  The rest of us certainly enjoyed it, and the usual souvenirs, handmade leather pouches, and authentic swords were purchased.  

Our youngest and oldest bought display swords, and our second oldest bought some fancy leather pouches for his expanding costume.  I, for one, come dressed as a middle aged Ohio State football fan - the extent of my cosplaying. Though my wife has hinted she wouldn't mind dressing up.  If she does, then it will be a Medieval themed lass walking about with a middle aged Ohio State football fan.  For the moment, she and I were content with two souvenir soup bowls.  I guess we're at that age.  My third oldest, of course, had to go all out and buy a massive two handed sword along with a handmade leather sheath.  

After a brief walk through a very dilapidated maze, and some taking in of the sights, as well as throwing of the knives, we called it a wrap.  My wife was tired and food was needed.  In keeping with the Medieval theme, we finally stopped at a Pizza Hut on the way home.  All in all, a fine day and a good one.  I won't say it was like old times, because it wasn't.  But it was new old times with a soon to be new member of the family, and that's not bad at all.  

No Renaissance Festival should ever be attended outside of Fall.  The weather was nearly perfect: clouds enough to keep the sun from baking us, cool enough for jackets but just enough warmth from the sun to keep us comfortable.  

A portent of things to come.  It took us almost 25 minutes to get in the gates, and that was after arriving a half hour after opening.  Usually by then you just stroll in. 

The family ready for the first event of the day, and the ultimate crowd pleaser: The full armor joust

My wife caught this shot of the two more capable riders approaching each other.

In the next round, I caught the two at the moment of impact.

We saw this show waiting for the Swordsmen.  We had never seen him before.  His humor wasn't always G-rated (but then it often isn't at the festival).  He was impressive, but more impressive was the audience member (in the black t-shirt) he pulled up on stage.  We call that a spotlight stealer. 

The Bold and Stupid Men!  The Swordsmen were so popular the stage was named for them.  They have been one of the main draws there (and at other similar venues) since the 1990s. Alas, they do less now, owing to the passing of time.  Far more joking, though there was more swordsplay than in recent years. 

For reference, this was the Swordsmen with the boys almost ten years ago.  Again, time does pass. 

For food it was a couple bowls of ramen for those who couldn't wait, and sit where you can find a place.  The ramen had several degrees of spice.  We ordered the least spicy.  One bite and my mouth burned for half the day.  I can't imagine what the spiciest was like. 

Don't let the forlorn image fool you.  Our oldest is the official keeper of the family traditions.  Not that the other boys don't care, but he's the one that moves heaven and three earths to make sure the Griffey family traditions are kept and maintained through the years. 

Good timing: The exact moment when my third oldest was informed that our soon to be daughter-in-law actually made her dress by hand.  They were waiting for a glass blowing demonstration that, alas, didn't take place (we have bad luck with glass blowing demonstrations). 

They were supposed to be smiling for the camera, but a passerby decided to intervene and steal the show, so to speak.  Kudos to a couple of the boys for trying to keep their composure and ignore the distraction. 

This was the culprit. 

The theme of the weekend was dress as your favorite fictional character.  So naturally an entire troupe of individuals came dressed as every Dr. Who since the beginning of the show. It wasn't tough getting them to pose.  

While my oldest stayed back with my wife, the others tried their hands at knife throwing.  I think one hit somewhere on the wall.  The one time my wife tried her hand at knife throwing, on the other hand, yielded a bull's-eye right out of the starting gate.  I suppose that says something about raising four sons. 

There's something relaxing about pizza at a pizza place after a long, albeit enjoyable, day.  It didn't hurt that the manager showed the right way to make a restaurant awesome, even as it struggles with the whole post-pandemic upheaval so many businesses are dealing with. 

And so the sun set on another Griffey outing.  It was fun and we made memories, which is the stuff that matters.  Plus, we had someone extra join us this time, and the day was all the more enjoyable because of it.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Neither liberal nor Christain

I submit this link from our local Columbus Dispatch.  It's an editorial from several individuals criticizing a state resolution that would allow parents to know what their children are learning in public schools.  The bill would also make sure parents were in on discussions involving their own children and any gender topics.  Whether the bill delves into transgender athletes or bathrooms, I don't know. It might, given the references in the editorial.  

Rather than comment, I simply copied a few parts that jumped out at me.  I bold lettered things that I felt spoke louder than the words used, and underlined phrases that are particularly telling, IMO. 

All of this shows we are dealing with followers of a new, alternate reality; believers in a new universe with little in common with what we ever imagined to be true.  And it is a reality quickly being acted on and mandated in our society by threat or retaliation.  Any negative consequences of this new reality are ignored or dismissed. There is nothing Christian to this, and the below rhetoric shows it is no more liberal or tolerant than it is Christian. 

Click on the link (if you can - subscription usually required) and read the whole thing.  Though I think the below sections speak for themselves (the italicized part was the intro that describes the three authors of the editorial):  

Ben Huelskamp (he/they) is the executive director of LOVEboldly. Hank Osmundson (he/him) is the executive director of Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio and pastor of Community Engagement at St. John’s UCC in Columbus. Jon Osmundson (he/him) is associate pastor at Hilliard UMC and a father of six, four of whom attend public school

In his official biography on the State Board of Education website, [Brendan] Shea is described in terms of his faith as an “active parishioner in St. Patrick Church,” “the founder and president of the Madison County Right to Life,” and enjoying “Bible study” in his free time.

Shea may read his Bible, but he clearly needs to study it further. Because of people like Shea and their attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community from a perspective called “faith,” Christians have earned a reputation as anti-LGBTQIA+.

However, many Christians believe that a faithful Christian response does not allow for the homophobia and transphobia that Shea’s resolution demonstrates.

A Christian cannot hold a position that educators must out students to their parents based on any identity including sexual orientation and gender identity. [My note: this is key, and a revealing statement that shows exactly what they want]

As Christians, we believe that there is only one Savior [My note: From what, I wonder]. Given Shea’s bold pronouncement that he is a Christian, too, we can only assume that he agrees. Therefore, we are mystified why he and other self-proclaimed Christians are deeming themselves to be the saviors of cisgender children and adults from transgender people run amok, lest we forget the Target restroom uproar of 2016.

To be clear, we are an educator, a parent, theologians, and pastors. We are not scientists, psychologists, or medical doctors. We do, however, trust science. Thus, we feel it is important to point out that the fear-inducing rhetoric concerning the safety of cisgender people if trans people are allowed access to restrooms that match their gender identity is misplaced and false. Just one of the many examples is this 2019 study from Harvard University and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

When Shea next has free time and turns to his Bible, perhaps he will turn to Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:40: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Looking at clouds that way

On this Michaelma, or Feast of the Archangels.  

I wrote a bit on Michaelmas in the early years of the  blog.  I noted that in the old countries, Michaelmas was as much a seasonal signpost as Labor Day or Memorial Day is for us today. 

Therefore it is now the official start of fall for the Griffeys.  And nothing says Fall to me more than those deep, low hanging clouds that remain fixtures on the horizon until, well, Spring.  One of my earliest posts reflected on how those dark autumnal clouds capture the right aesthetic for me, and the reason that might be the case. 

The above pictures were over the last few days, when Global Warming caused the temperatures to plunge and really bring out that autumn chill.  At that point you just can't avoid conjuring up images of bonfires, apple cider, cornstalks and things that go bump in the night.  So happy Fall - now it's official!

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

On this National Sons Day

A shameless shout out to my boys.  I'm not given to random holidays just dropped on the calendar.  But times being what they are, I thought I'd take advantage of this little annual news blurb to give a couple thumbs up to the four.

From top left: Our second, Our third, our youngest and our oldest - and the four

I've posted several times recently on my second oldest and his entrepreneurial endeavors.  So far things are skating smartly along.  I have to admit the first month was better than we expected.  He and his delightful young fiancé have done a wonderful job.  The fact that they have done this now, when it seems every day I see more small businesses I've known my whole life close their doors, is impressive.  But that's him.  A restless spirit, he is the one who always has a new hobby, interest, passion, or goal.  For instance, he got a part in our community theater's October production of "Clue" because of course.  After all, working full time, opening a business, and planning a wedding just wasn't enough to have on his plate.  But that's him in a nutshell.  Yet he's not the only one we're proud of. 

Our oldest continues to move steadily along.  The quiet and reserved one, I've written on his roller coaster ride in life.  Originally he was interested in politics, but decided for a career in the culinary world since he has a gift for, and love for, cooking phenomenal meals.  Sadly, or perhaps providentially, he was hit with a catastrophic food allergy to fish.  It is so bad he can't even be in a Walmart super center when the seafood counters are being cleaned without triggering an allergic reaction.  Needless to say, he was advised that almost no culinary school in the world would accept him with such heavy and life threatening restrictions.  So he's moved back toward his original interests.  He's pondered law (in the Constitutional sense), but fortune and opportunities have channeled him toward several semesters of African and Middle Eastern studies. He's now involved in a think tank dedicated to gathering information about Muslim immigrants from Africa in the US - the data from which will be published and used for future analysis.  In October he will be taking part in a forum with Afghan refuges who fled the Taliban after our withdrawal.  Whatever vocation he chooses, I told him there's a reason he's been funneled in this direction. That he's near perfect in his grades and could write his own ticket in terms of any graduate school means he's keeping all these developments and options in mind.

Our third oldest is, alas, in a holding pattern.  That's not easy for someone who is a Triple-A personality plus.  He's the one who was training for law enforcement when he injured his leg and was down for over four months.  It was during this time that the BLM 'Cops as Nazis' narrative took off.  As he said, he wasn't going risk his life for a country that would only care if a Republican killed him.  It was then that we bought furniture from a regional manager from Chick fil A.  He was moving to Texas and was downsizing from a house with three living rooms and a family room to just two living rooms and a family room.  Needless to say, it was impressive.  I asked him what he did for a living, and when he said where he was and how he started, my son's wheels started turning.  That's his goal now.  Climb the corporate ladders as long as possible without going to college (which he sees as a waste of money in most cases), and then only take needed classes with money in hand.  That way he avoids any debt (which the older two were able to do as well).  He simply has to amass the hours and training certifications to get to the next step, which should wrap up next year (a little more on that in a bit). Though whatever he does, we're sure someday he'll incorporate his unbounding love for animals in the mix. 

Honorable son number four is now a teenager first class - and everything that comes with those glorious teen years.  I've written that the three oldest did yeoman's work making him feel part of the family.  Despite being adults, that included sitting on Santa's lap, tricks or treating, playing his games and playing with his toys.  They really did what they could to make him feel part of the four.  To a degree it has worked.  Nonetheless, through the fortunes of life and time, the world and family our youngest grew up in has little resemblance to the world the older three knew.  While my mom and dad often visited and helped take care of the older boys when they were young, our youngest had to help take care of my mom after my dad passed away when he was young.  That, along with the whirlwind changes in our world from the one my older sons experienced, has given him a somewhat altered view of things compared to that of his brothers.  He has a love and aptitude for all things electronic. Recently he's become fascinated with sound recording and engineering.  He's already dabbled with computer programing.  And he adores retro-tech (having bought me a vintage Atari game for Christmas).  He's our fix it guy and the one the family let's figure out how to hook up the latest tech gadgets.  All and all, a young kid who is far older than his years suggest.

That's it.  That's the four.  I would never pretend they're perfect angels.  Like everyone, they have their moments.  And woe betide the bystander when they wade into an argument over something.  The middle two are especially passionate and their disagreements over the years have been epic, with the rest of us usually opting to keep our distance.  

Next year is going to be a year of big events, Lord willing.  Our son's wedding is in May, and our oldest will graduate on the same weekend.  Around that same time is when our third oldest will have passed his requisite trial period in order to move up with a promotion.  Not bad at a meager 23. years old.  Our youngest is going through Confirmation for next year as well, plus he will be moving into high school next fall.  High school already.  Whew.  Time does fly. 

As I do a quick scan over the four of them, I don't mind what I see. They're hard working and stubbornly reliable.  Unless they are extremely successful as sneaks, they walk a good walk, especially in our heathen culture, where sin is mandated and virtue condemned.  They also pursue attitudes and exercises in good behavior that are roundly condemned today, so that's a plus.  Though they are busy up to their earlobes, they still find time for the family.  Not as much now of course.  But when they can, they do.  They also go out of their way to keep Sundays open so they can go to church, with the family if possible.  Sometimes this means stacking their schedules and working backbreaking hours to make sure Sunday mornings at least are open.  Again, in this day and age, I'll take it. 

The boys and my longsuffering significant other

Monday, September 26, 2022

It's like Birth of a Nation for black Americans


Yep.  This isn't just getting it wrong, as movies often do.  This isn't having to combine characters or chisel away a few facts for dramatic coherence.  

This is pure racist propaganda.  It turns a brutal elite group of warriors charged with doing their empire's dirty work where imperialism and slavery were concerned into brave and heroic superstars.  It completely flips the truth and facts of the period to maintain the 'all White Westerners are Nazis, all others exceed Jesus in superior virtue' narrative of the modern Left.  In so doing, it appears to rewrite the actual history of the subject in a way that would make D.W. Griffith blush. 

Friday, September 23, 2022

It's Fall!  Hurray.  And yesterday was Hobbit Day (being the birthdays of both Bilbo and Frodo).  This year I read through The Hobbit over summer to fulfill my yearly Tolkien obligation.  There are some books I haven't gotten around to, plus I've received some new ones because of a new local book store.  So I wanted to make room on my plate.

Things are changing in our home for sure.  With all the boys adults or teenage, the old time fall activities will be waning.  We'll still come together to do a few of the staples, but times being what they are, and time constraints being what they are, we imagine there will be fewer of the little things than in years past.  Which is fine.

After all, the world is changing fast, as is our society:

With an all out war on any tradition from west of the Urals, our society seems a strange mix of traditions most people do and those in the extreme fringes seeking to throw down those traditions.  In 2020 I actually saw articles from 'pagans' wanting to reclaim Halloween from the Church.  We all know what Thanksgiving has been hit with.  Christmas is still allowed as a more or less secular pagan consumerist feeding frenzy, but not much else. These are driven by the extreme fringes, but those fringes have been weaponzid by the media and the powers that be.  How long the old traditions last will be anyone's guess.

For our part, we'll still be those radicals and rebels.  We'll embrace the old time harvest feel.  No puss zombies or adult entertainment costumes for us.  It's caramel apples and apple cider, pumpkins and cornstalks, ghosts and goblins, haunted houses and spook movies. 

With that said, I'll step back and let old James Whitcomb Riley take it from here.  You can't do better than this for setting that autumnal mood:

When the Frost is on the Pumpkin

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then's the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bare-headed, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pitcur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries --kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below -- the clover overhead!
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

Then your apples all is getherd, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin' 's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage, too!
I don't know how to tell it -- but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me
I'd want to 'commondate 'em -- all the whole-indurin' flock --
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Look at them!

Here's a snapshot of what greeted me on a newsfeed this morning as I was checking out the world around me:

How about that!  That's in the local paper, you can read it here.   In addition to that, they're scheduled for a segment this coming week with the central Ohio ABC affiliate, Channel 6 Columbus.  

I'll admit their first month far exceeded our expectations. Not that we didn't support them, but I've seen a lot of businesses come and go over the years.  I was involved in a business start ages ago before we imagined a President Bill Clinton.  I'd say I didn't learn how to open a business as much as how not to open a business.

Nonetheless, they've scratched, kicked, clawed and bit their way into opening their doors, often getting as much for as little as possible.  Much of their inventory has been donated.  Their décor and furnishings come from garage sales and discount venues.  In some cases, the furnishings have been from donations as well.  This includes whatever promotional and marketing materials they can muster for a few pennies here and there.  

From what I've seen in reviews and scuttlebutt, their store has been well received.  People like the atmosphere and the general feel of the place.  It doesn't hurt that theirs is about the only functioning brick and mortar book store between the north of Columbus and Lake Erie.  

Patrons also seem to like the two of them. Based on the general reception, people appear to smile and enjoy their spunk.  Things aren't great in our old world, including here in the US of A.  Try as they might, the national press can't make things wonderful when people's lives say different.  

Because of this, people appreciate their optimism and attempt to chase that dream, even as so many dreams are dashed in our crazy age.  At a time when businesses struggle, when the economy lags, when inflation soars, when society itself appears to be teetering, here you have two engaged kids leaping out and saying 'We can do it!'.  Something about that boundless enthusiasm in this day and age has injected a little positive into a time of so many negatives. 

In any event, like any football coach will tell you, the minute you win today's game you begin planning for next week's game.  This is this month, soon to be ancient history.  They have a thousand months to go.  This month was good, better than expected.  Now we have next month, and the one after that.  May they turn out as well or better for them than their first month's foray into the world of entrepreneurship.  

Friday, September 16, 2022

So where have I been?

Obviously blogging has dropped significantly over the last few weeks, as I said it would.  And for the reasons I said.  There are simply more things on the plate than there used to be.  That's because of changing demands of the day, growing and aging family members, and the general shifts in life.  

My wife's promotion is great, but also demands much from her.  And funny thing, but homeschooling one student, even in middle school, is tougher than homeschooling several.  I suppose because when the three were together, they could sometimes turn to each other for help or questions before appealing to mom or dad.  Now, it's him.  It's us.  Usually it's me. 

In addition to that, we're now and only now starting to work to push back the mess that came from the big 2020 floods.  Hard to believe over two years later, but with everything we were hit with over 2021 and into 2022, only now are we beginning to sort things out.  Which is odd, given everything else going on right now.  But then, that is part of what is adding to the list!  It's crazy.

Anyhoo, it will be a few before I can make too much time for the blog.  Even the fun and family posts are sitting on deck waiting to get written.  Hopefully things slow down, but even then, I'm sure they'll be filled with other projects that are also on deck.  So we'll see how things go in the near future.  Again, it's a matter of time.  It's finite.   Therefore it's a case of getting some spare time back when there is little time to spare, and then I can muse and noodle things.  

In the meantime, think The Benedict Option. I don't think Dreher's solutions are altogether spot on, but he sees the problems coming our way, more clearly than most I think.  It may not be new Benedictine communities that are the upcoming model for the remnant.  Instead, it might be the faithful as English separatists for those who aren't willing to throw the heritage of our Faith under the bus to keep up with the latest. We'll see.  Till then, God bless and TTFN. 

Gratuitous Autumn picture, just to set the mood

Sunday, September 11, 2022

One last September morning

 It looked like this:

And then it didn't.  We didn't know it then, but we were watching the beginning of the end of America and the West that day. 

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Busy week!

Whew, that was a week.  Much of it was spent catching up.  First week of school was the big priority:

A walking stick instead of a sword - just right for learning

Yes, our youngest is now in 8th Grade.  One more year and he's a high schooler. Of course he's homeschooled.  He's also going through Confirmation classes. In addition to hammering out the Faith, we hope that will get him back with kids his own age - something that has hit the skids since Covid.  With his older brothers all moving on, and fulfilling their own obligations, he's been doing quite the solo act. 

Things will still be slow here on the blog.  First, because of the pile in my outbox.  Also, partly because I'm noodling blogging and the whole social media shtick that has dominated the world over the last decade or two.  I'm not 100% convinced it's been a net boon for humanity.  It certainly hasn't been a boon for democracy, freedom, the Gospel, the sanctity of life, or the future. 

I saw a reflection on the spiritual pitfalls of commenting on the Internet.  I must admit, if I answer the questions honestly, I would seldom comment on anything.  Sometimes I think that might be the better way.  

Though I'm also mindful of the fact that much of what we're seeing today - the completely terrifying batnuts cockadoody crazy being not only endorsed, but mandated - is the result of the news media weaponizing the crazy that does exist on this platform.  A platform that has become a digital lynch mob inquisition run by psychopaths, usable when convenient by our news outlets, universities, hospitals,  schools, and even churches. 

So just abandon the Internet?  I dunno.  That might not be the best strategy.  But simply rambling on about the same old, same old isn't working either.  For instance, I saw this.  I find that the most significant story I've seen in months.  I wonder if my readers can guess why.  

Anyway, still much to do.  Can't say when and how much I can blog.  This upcoming week is already pretty busy, with the calendar already filled.   I'll stop by when I can.  Appreciate all the prayers and support, especially for the young'uns' bookstore.  Keep up the prayers, and more news to follow.  If nothing else, it will be family and fun blog posts, which isn't a bad way to spend blogging.  Till then!  God bless, and TTFN. 

Thursday, September 8, 2022

You have to hand it to Queen Elizabeth

A woman so amazing that she gets American Catholics to come together and celerbate the death of a Protestant English monarch.  That's not bad in the least. 

At this point I wouldn't be surprised if Deacon, Dawn and I disagree on the color of an orange.  I have expressed my disappointment with where these two have gone, as I used to have high regard for them both. 

But those are nice tributes, and I heartedly agree.  I especially liked Dawn's rainbow reference.  In the olden days, that would be more than coincidence in the minds of the general population.  I hope that was the intention of bringing it up.

It looks like the accolades are rolling in and it is one giant chorus of praise and adoration for Queen Elizabeth.  Let me join in with the chorus as well.  In an age that would have us divided in as many ways possible, it's nice that her one last act in this world is to be a point of coming together and agreeing. 


Speaking of:

Nice.  Again, a global chorus of praise.  

RIP Queen Elizabeth

The only British monarch of my lifetime, she was a giant among giants.  She, and her era, will be missed.  I'm sure there will be no shortage of commentary and coverage in the coming days.  For now, prayers for her, and thanks for the lifetime of service.  

Monday, September 5, 2022

It's a wrap!

One day of business in the books

A year ago, when they first mentioned, in the fledgling days of their relationship, that they would begin a business together ... well, you know how parents can be.  We smiled and encouraged them, and assumed once they were engaged and about the business of entering into the world they would begin to drift slowly toward that wider path in life taken by most of us. 

Well, no.  Against a Himalayan sized pile of odds, my second oldest and his fiancé demonstrated a bulldog tenacity matched with a herculean effort to do what was hard to imagine a year ago.  Yes, they have had plenty of help, prayers and support.  Both families have done yeoman's work stepping in and building, painting, carrying, hauling, and anything they could.

But it was never in place of their efforts, merely in addition to their efforts.  As I've said, I'm proud of all my sons.  Each one is carving his own path in life, none of which seem terribly similar to the other.  They are hard workers, dependable, reliable, and strive to do the best job they can, in the most honest and upright way possible.  

But the courage and sheer dedication they brought to this is admirable.  Before they are married, they have already learned more about working with each other than many couples will heading into their fifth wedding anniversary.  Yet, as of now, it has worked well and they have been blessed. 

The newest entrepreneurs in the American marketplace

It's official!

I told my son that as soon as those doors open, they will have done what 90% of Americans only dream of doing.  At the young age that they are, that's not bad.  Goodness knows I never had the courage to go all into my own business.  So I tip my hat to them. 

Sunday, September 4, 2022

The deadline approaches

 Tomorrow is the big day!

It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterwards were as nothing compared to it. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Friday, September 2, 2022

And a happy birthday to our number second son

So our second oldest just passed his 24th Birthday a bit ago.  To celebrate, he's decided to open his own business with his fiancé!  That's where we'll be over the next several days.  That, and getting ready for the new school year for our youngest, will keep me more than busy.

In addition to his birthday, he finally received his college diploma.  He graduated last year but, times being what they are, didn't receive it until the weekend of his birthday.  So it's official!

We are, of course, extremely proud of him.  We're proud of all of our sons.  Each one has forged his special little path in life (or is in the process of), all of which are radically different from one another.  So far, each has managed to move ahead according to plan, even when the plans have hit the rough spots (see our former gourmet chef's sudden food allergy). 

But to open your own business, to take that leap out and grasp at the ultimate American dream - that's something.  We won't even discuss them doing so at such a young age.  I've told him that come Labor Day, when the doors open, he and his fiancé will have done what 90% of Americans only dream about doing.  Yes, I know.  The odds are long and stats are stacked against them.  They know this, too.  But as I've told my boys their entire lives, if you don't try, then at least you know for sure you will fail.  The only real benefit of not trying: an assurance you don't want. 

Nonetheless, because of it all, and a few other little obligations tossed on the fire, I'll be scarce over the next several days.  Likely well into next week.  So have a safe and blessed Labor Day weekend.  Enjoy this last gasp of summer as we turn to Fall, that wonderful season of seasons.  Till then, TTFN.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

I know it's not even Labor Day

But you have to admit, as evening skies go, this strikes that autumnal feel:

I wouldn't have been surprised if Gozer the Gozerian stepped out from behind a tree.  It looked like quite a floodgate was about to open over us, but the system skated along just north of our town.  I'll take it. 

Official Gozer reference photo, from the 1984 hit Ghostbusters:

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

How in the world did I miss this?

And for more than 20 years!  Apparently the largest D-Day reenactment in the US is just down the road apiece from where we live.  Really.  Read this story.  I saw it only after we got back from our vacation.  I weep. 

I have Word doc calendars that I use for planning.  I started that years ago.  Since the Kavanah hearings, I've been encouraged to keep track of my comings and goings.  I usually build them around the school years, getting one for next year before this year is over.

Well buster brown, I went ahead and put the 2023 school year into motion just so I could mark this down on my calendar.  There will be no missing it next year.  Barring incident or intervention from a more important than me source, you'll know where to find me. 

Who not to trust on the Internet

So this came to my attention, from Mark Shea's Twitter page: 

Here was Scott Eric Alt's initial Twitter post:

So that we know it's not some strange thing Scott Eric Alt pulled out of the air - the equating Biden's student loan debt proposal to the Gospel  message - can be seen here:   

And just to make sure it's not all about equating policy to religion, we have a bold activist stating that as one who paid off his debts, he's thrilled that people's lives will be forever changed by Biden's actions. Apparently there will be no negative side effects because, well, none of these brilliant commenters seem aware that there is anything but perfection with Biden's proposal: 

There is much that is obviously wrong with all this.  The equating of a dashed off political policy to the Gospel is something right wing Christians were once accused of doing.  And if they did it, it was wrong.  As it is wrong now.  But the point is, all they are doing is defending Biden.  That's what all of this is about.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Everything else is irrelevant. 

That they elevated a controversial - from all sides - policy to the equivalent of the Christian message shows why they shouldn't be trusted to speak to things of the Faith.  That they clearly don't care about who might be hurt by this shows why none of them should be listened to regarding the needs of the hurting.  That they seem oblivious to the many criticisms of Biden's proposal from all sides shows why they shouldn't be listened to about politics. 

Facts, data, context, and basic mature and reasoned approach to the subject are as far from these posts as east is from the west.  Which is why, unless you conform to their particular brand of same-think, they probably shouldn't be listened to at all.  

Oh, and have I mentioned I wouldn't do Twitter if my life depended on it?  If you need a reason, just look at the sampling above.  I could get better from kindergarteners on a playground. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Expressing your individuality like everyone else

Is the mantra of our modern age.  It's worth noting that true non-conformity has never been vogue.  True non-conformists will always be outcasts.  It happens.  Societies have that which is acceptable, and that which is not.  Nonetheless, during the counter-culture revolution of the 1960s, the flower children of that age managed to systematize non-conformity in a way never really seen.  Presenting themselves as freethinking rebels with a cause, there are probably few cases of more like-thinking conformity in history than the entire 60s hippy movement.  I mean, you could see a free thinking flower child hippy rebel ten miles away because they all looked and acted the same.  

Since then, and with help from the good people at Madisen Avenue, non-conformity has become big business.  There's money to be made in convincing people that the best way to be a non-conformist is to get in line and do what all the other non-conformists are doing. 

I thought of this when I saw a story about some local police department changing its policy where tattoos are concerned.  I mean, how much of a rebel are you when the symbol of the oppressive machine is on your side?  More to the point, when the symbol of the oppressive machine is groveling at your feet and willing to change policy in the desperate hope that you apply for a job!  Perhaps that's why so many celebrities and rock stars grovel before the State Machine today instead of boldly rebelling against it - if they ever really did rebel against it. 

I have to say, based on the evidence around us, I'd call my sons about the most rebellious non-conformists I know.  And generally it was with little prompting from us parents. In most cases they were free to pursue their appearances and interests as they saw fit.  Long hair I would tolerate, though I wouldn't recommend it.  That's a battle I wasn't going to fight.  But I drew the line at piercing and tattoos.  Anything that could cause an infection would not be allowed as long as they were on my insurance.  They more or less accepted those  boundaries, and thus far, none of them have gotten the body art or piercing or goth this or dyed hair that is embraced by about 97% of their free thinking peers.  Which makes you wonder just who is the bold non-conforming rebel.

Monday, August 29, 2022

So this is happening

China is joining a right fine group of countries in Russia for some uneventful troop exercises. Nothing to see here.  I'm sure most who hear of this will dismiss it as no big deal.  Or they will bet the farm that if it is a big deal, it will become so only after they have passed on from this life to the next. 

My unanswered response

Fall as it ever is in my mind
As many regular guests to my blog know, we are a family of seasonal traditions.  And no season gobbles up more time and effort tradition-wise than that greatest of all seasons: Fall.  This year, with a host of changes and obligations and time constraints, we'll again have to broaden what, when and where we do things.

In the olden days, the rules were binding: We didn't begin 'Fall things' until after the Autumnal Equinox.  That is, no cider, caramel apples, bonfires, hayrides or fall decorations.  Then came October, when we quickly turned to the spooky side of life, with ghost runs in cemeteries, Halloween specials, horror movies (kid appropriate) and all the fun that went with that time of year.  In those days Fall and Halloween largely overlapped. 

Eventually we had to spread things out.  As the boys got older and filled up more space on their calendars, time became limited.  So we expanded to all things Fall by early September, right after Labor Day.  For a while we began with some 'generic' horror mystery type reading or viewing even in August - The Invisible Man, The Hound of the Baskervilles.  But our second oldest requested we hold off until after his August birthday.  So it was back to post-Labor Day for fall.

We still kept Halloween proper until October.  Nonetheless, as the years went on, we found a loophole and decided to designate the time after Michaelmas as the time we turn towards that season of spooks.  We still try to decorate only shortly before Halloween since I believe too early and the decorations lose their umph. 

This year we have to expand again.  Our second oldest granted us a dispensation by saying we can have our annual Harvest Fest before his birthday this year.  Heck, we can even watch a few things like Fantasia, that we've sometimes used as sort of kick-off viewing.  

Our youngest is old enough that we'll likely set aside some of the things we've continued to do for his sake.  Plus with my son's bookstore opening up over Labor Day, he will be an occasional guest visitor to the house.  This doesn't count the increasing time burden on the other two older sons in their vocational pursuits, plus more responsibilities for my wife with her position, and my mom who continues to move along nicely, if also more needy. 

That's why now, in these unusually cool August days, I find my mind beginning to wax autumnal.  Which brought to mind a 'spooky' fall post I did a year ago that cost me a reader.  Now there was some debate among my longer term readers if he was, in fact, a troll or not.  Since he usually kept things on topic - a tactic almost anathema to internet trolls - I generally assumed good intentions. 

Nonetheless when I posted my reflections on our secular age of tech and industry with spirit stuff relegated to Sunday mornings before the coffee hour, he swooped in with a very curt comment then kicked the dust off his heals and moved on, never to comment again. Here is the post with his comment and my response.  

I still stick to my guns, as my response that he never responded to makes clear. The older I get the more I become convinced that we Christians went the wrong direction in light of the amazing era of discovery and invention in which we grew.  We allowed the non-believer to have his way, and replaced the Christian worldview with a rather atheistic one, with religion stepping in  only if all else fails.  That was the purpose of my post, which set off who had become a somewhat regular commenter. .

Thursday, August 25, 2022

How stupid was this?

I don't know.  It depends on what year you're talking about.  

A joke about a pregnant slave seems pretty darn stupid today, in 2022.  But you know what?  That was the gist of humor when I was young.  Push the line, be cutting edge, offend as many people as possible.  That was comedy in the 70s and 80s.  

Nonetheless, there has never been a less tolerant or more judgmental time in my life than now.  Almost every day someone is punished for saying something that offends someone.  That's quite a cultural whiplash for me, who grew up in the 70s and 80s when pushing the line and being as offensive as possible was all the rage.

I remember an old humor magazine - Cracked I believe - that did a lampoon of the old Hogan's Heroes television show.  The point was that Hogan is upset and nobody can figure out why.  Finally he blurts out that everything is wrong and the whole show needs a revamp.  What was that revamp?  In the last full page frame it shows us - they're no longer POWs, they're in a death camp!  Complete with striped issue and shaved heads, Klink is now a death camp SS commandant and everyone can finally cut loose.  The last line of the strip?  Klink, leaning on Hogan's shoulders, asks if he's finally happy.  Sure, Hogan says, you bet I am - it's a gasser!

Imagine that today. Such were liberal values, c. 1980.  Not today.  In fact, if I have to pick one reason not to trust 'progressives', it's that every day I see the Left change the values that the Left I grew up with openly endorsed.  From the fascism of banning books or art, to personal  behaviors, to the sudden insistence that we must not be color blind when, as recently as my sons' schooling, they were taught the importance of being a color blind society.  

I have little patience for a movement with a 'here today, gone later today' approach to principles.  Especially when it's also quite prepared to retroactively punish those who were foolish enough to listen to the past message now suddenly condemned. 


Ah, the things you find on the Internet.  So Catherine McClarey did the digging I didn't imagine could be done and found that last page punch line:

Wow.  It was more offensive than I remembered.  And yet, perfectly fine back then, since offend and disrespect was all the rage.  I you were offended, you were the problem.  Have I mentioned that I don't care for a society that changes it's values faster than you can change the diapers on a 3 month old baby on a beans and broccoli diet? 

The things you learn on the Internet

We were talking the other day with the boys about school lunches.  The older three went through many years of the public school trenches together, and knew the routine pretty well.  They reminisced about the different meals they did and didn't like.  They also recalled the black market for goodies brought from home, especially popular among the students whose parents packed healthier snacks. 

My wife and I tried to recall some of the foods we had.  I was about packed lunch kid about two thirds of the time.   Sporting an 'Adam 12' lunchbox, it was usually a sandwich, a Hostess chocolate snack (Ho-Hos being my favorite), and a thermos (Adam 12 set) of drink - probably Kool-Aid.  Perhaps chips for a side, but I can't recall.  I'm sure it wasn't anything close to veggies or carrot sticks or the like.

In the cafeteria, we had weekly warnings about the menu printed in our local newspaper.  First, we always had fruit, no matter what.  That must be said.  Among our favorite main dishes were fish sandwiches, sloppy joes, tater tots, and king of them all - cheeseburgers.  Pizza was served but it was eh.  Sort of like cardboard with tomato sauce.  

There were also some dishes that prompted an increase in lunches from home.   Baked macaroni for me is a dish I will not eat - ever.  Also a popular catalyst for packed lunches was cream chipped beef on mashed potatoes.  Another one that always sent me packing was Johnny Marzetti.  I remember hearing the daily menu on the morning announcements, and hearing that name.  It always seemed a strange thing to call a lunch dish. 

Well, it turns out there's a story there!  And right here from C------s, Ohio no less.  If you've ever heard of Marzetti salad dressing, you now know where the pasta dish named for Johnny came from.  Amazing.  It's one of those things that's locked in your memory that you never use, but never quite understood. I guess there are some good points to the Internet after all!