The kickoff to our half of the year, our third oldest celebrated his 22nd birthday this week. Times being what they are, the celebrations are faster and less involved than they used to be. But as I explained to them, the older you get the less you tend to dwell on birthdays.
Nonetheless, we hope he had a good time. He's a content fellow, and when we asked what he wanted he said not much. He's happy with what he has. He finally gave us a few ideas, and we pulled a couple rabbits out of the hat we hope he enjoys. One of them, a game from his brothers - for our third son is our game junkie - has already met with his approval.
Having already played it, he approves
But his focus now is on his five, ten and twenty year plan for life. He already made his first year part of the plan last year: getting a promotion to manager, This he did before he was twenty-one. And it demonstrates the strengths he brings to the table
He had lobbied for the promotion for months. When they finally offered him the promotion he wanted, he told them he wouldn't take it for the accompanying pay. He demanded more or he wouldn't accept what he had lobbied for. He drew a line in the sand when he hadn't received the promotion yet. And they gave him what he demanded, promotion and pay.
That's our boy.
One of our all time favorite pictures of him when he was little - it captures him in a nutshell
I must say, this is probably the best way to respond. Would that I have taken time out of my schedule to do the same:
Rod has his issues. I think of Rod as a sort of Thomas Paine figure. He may see the light in many ways, but he isn't who I want for president. Rod sees some matters clearly, more clearly than many Christians have wanted to admit. That's not to say I want Rod leading the pack. For reasons, he isn't reliable or trustworthy enough to do that.
But he gets it right too often to ignore. And in this case, he got it absolutely right. As believers we should rush to God and praise Him for what has happened. For it wasn't just Trump or the GOP or pro-life Christians who aligned the stars for this strange event (how often has a one term presidents in the modern era seated three Supreme Court justices?), but the Almighty.
You/'ve been waiting for it, you know you have. Here is one of his posts on the subject. I've seen several comment on his various posts since the decision. I was going to let them bother with Mark on this one. Most of what he wrote is what one expects.
But this post jumped out at me. Here's why. Take a look at how he frames it:
’m seeing comments all over the web like this:
“We pro-life people now need to work to create the conditions where life can flourish, which means certain social guarantees, including healthcare, decent employment, education (through graduate school), housing, nutrition, freedom from war, and a safe and pollution-free environment.”
The fatal word in this is “now”.
Now I've learned not to trust Mark. For the longest time we could attribute his constant stream of errors and falsehoods to laziness or partisanship on his part. But too often he has spread false accusations and lies, and accepted errors long debunked in order to drive his agendas. By his own standard, whereby a single mistake or misstep by a conservative is enough for Mark to condemn all conservatives, I believe Mark less than I believe your average cult leader in a Waco compound.
Nonetheless, note what he did here. He's suggesting that this is some MAGA conservative pro-life advocate saying 'now we need to care about moms and babies.' As if up until now they haven't. My first instinct is that Mark wrote that quote himself. After all, I know of nobody remotely to the right who would say this. This is laundry list of leftwing and democratic economic agendas and policies and theories.
Or it could be one of those 'anti-abortion leftwing democrats'. One of those liberal or democrat or atheist for life types who are against abortion, plus the death penalty and all other such things, but otherwise hardcore to the left of center in almost everything else.
I'm willing to cut Mark some slack and make that second assumption. He has taken something from a leftwing pro-life advocate and used it to regurgitate the old pro-abortion talking point that people against aborting pregnancies don't care about moms or babies. Or worse, those pro-life advocates dare to question the policies and narratives of the political Left.
That last part I'll buy. There actually are some people who look at the numbers and question the narrative that if we just give more government mandated support for individuals, they'll stop sinning. Some actually believe this sort of mentality doesn't make them sin less, it just shifts the sins around. They believe that, as well meaning as some of these proposals are, they are short term benefits at best, that lead to long term problems that make things worse.
Or Mark is trying to suggest pro-life advocates have never cared about moms or babies. At that point, the invitation still stands: please show data demonstrating that pro-life activists are any less charitable than anyone else.
But I had to respond to this one, since Mark doesn't link to the source of the quote, nor mention it, or identity who wrote it in any way. I'll be charitable and assume it's someone left of center who otherwise is against abortion. But if that is the case, it speaks to the assumption that God is little concerned with our widow's mites, cups of cold water, clothes for the naked and visits to jail; that the Almighty only cares about what political and economic policies of Caesar we support. Which, by my understanding of the Gospel, is a false assumption of the most dangerous kind.
UPDATE: Apparently this was a two parter or something, since I was sent a link to a follow up post. It seems to be some series. Anyway, here is the link. I was going to comment, but again, why? Time is too precious. It's bad enough to read any of it, but for those who enjoy misery, here's your chance.
And a cross between repulsion and hilarity ensues:
If you want the story, here it is. Apparently pro-abortion protesters were crossing a street. The light was green and they were crossing appropriately. Then the light changed, but the protesters kept on crossing. delaying traffic. A verbal confrontation ensued and the truck then drove through the marchers, allegedly running over the foot of one of the marchers.
If you set aside marchers' attempts to portray this as the most horrid crime against humanity since the January 6th, it's enough to say we know nothing of the truck driver, the details, what was actually said, or anything. This is what police say they believe as of now, and that's all.
Yet Daily rushes in and makes it an indictment and condemnation of all pro-lifers. Unhinged rage and blind disregard for facts in order to stoke tribalist hatred reminds us that being a veteran like Dailey is not an antidote against the sins that plague humanity.
That is, take that which is an indisputable truth of historical Catholicism and reduce it to a disagreement over which we can respectfully agree to disagree. Meanwhile, take various leftwing narratives and policies and activism - like gun control as the hope for our nation - and elevate it to the same level as sacred dogma.
You see, there is a difference between abortion - a grave and intrinsic evil - and gun control. One is a Church teaching, one is a political proposal that might or might not work. But for those who compromise with the modern Left, that difference must necessarily be blurred, forever blurred. Otherwise, what can he say? Hurray? It's great we just walked back one of the grave injustices of our modern age? I don't think so.
In response to the Roe decision, we hear from a veritable who's who of zillion dollar global corporations trying to turn the world into a global medieval fief. They have pledged to pay for any employee wishing to travel to a different state for an abortion. That's because drugged up and sexed up godless nihilists make great consumers of corporate pandering. I see this, and the country going bat crazy to stop the babies from being saved, and I can think of nothing so much as this being America's future:
After these things I saw another angel coming down from
heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. And
he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is
fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul
spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have
drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have
committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich
through the abundance of her luxury.”
And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of
her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her
plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her
iniquities. Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double
according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. In
the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same
measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as
queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ Therefore her plagues will
come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned
with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.
For the record, here is the list from Hell's boardrooms:
By pledging to fight like a mad dog to keep abortion as it was: Legal, unrestrained and allowable from conception to mere seconds before viable birth. I'd like to say something about his Catholicism and how our abortion for sex culture is an affront to God and human decency. But this is modern Catholicism. Given our pope's priorities, I don't know how much footing I would have. Suffice to say, President Biden is among those Catholics who believe the only acceptable way to live the Gospel is through the filter of modern, secular leftwing activism and worldviews.
I liked her response to Neil. Until all pro-lifers have lived up to her standards, she sees no reason to think she has anything particular that she wanted. And no Ms. Eden, we don't get to equate political legislation to the Gospel call to feed the hungry and clothe the naked.
Oh, I'd like Ms. Eden to provide the statistics that show pro-life individuals are any less charitable, or giving toward poor mothers and children, than anyone else. My first experience with giving a flip about abortion was in an evangelical church that spend copious amounts of energy and funds in helping a pregnancy center for mothers and children. I think they staged one protest while I was there. The rest was centered no helping the mothers and their children. That was as often as not par for the course in my Protestant days.
It's worth noting that I see Ms. Klassen doing more on a rainy day to halt the horror of our abortion culture than everything I've seen Ms. Eden do for more than a decade. Just saying.
From a West Point study course on Critical Race Theory. Which both does and doesn't exist while nobody is saying it should be taught in schools but if you think it shouldn't you're a racist.
When the time comes, don't assume most in our armed services will throw down their weapons and refuse. Some might. Most will snap to it and begin enforcing the dictates of our new order just like older generations fought to defend the old order.
And yes, this is racism 101, plain and simple, being taught in our military academies. It's as racist as a KKK rally, or a Nazi parade in Nuremberg. At least now we know how KKK rallies and Nuremberg parades end up happening. That goes for Catholics and Catholic leaders who embrace this. Again, now you know how the baddie things of history happen, and will continue to happen. .
Meanwhile Justice Roberts is being portrayed as an impotent compromiser suggesting this is the result of rightwing political hacks rather than Supreme Court justices. Whether that is a fair take on Roberts' statements or not, I don't know. I'm just shocked at the naked partisanship that we all know, but never ceases to shock when it goes to the next level.
It should get more interesting in the coming months.
So the boys were around and talking as we are wont to do. Somehow through the bizarre maze of conversation that defines our talks, we ended up with television show theme songs. Or, more to the point, that shows don't have theme songs anymore. They barely have intros. They just plop down and start. The boys suggested that might be due to the encroachment of advertisements and commercials. With so little time left for broadcasting, something had to go.
In any event, they said for them there aren't any 'theme's' that come to mind when they think of growing up. Not like my wife and me. Not like the shows they've grown up watching from our time, when they actually associate the Andy Griffith theme or Hogan's Heroes with their childhood more than any shows condemnatory to their younger years.
That made me think. They're right. There are themes to shows taht I never watched, and yet as soon as I hear a few notes of the snogs, I immediatley recall another world and another itme in my life. In fact, I decidede to go through and grab a handful of the more memorable TV theme songs and was struck by how few were attached to shows I actually watched (back then there was too much improtant fun to have to waste time sitting in front of a television). Here is the list that leaped out at me. It's by no means comprehensive, but I doubt most of them are unknown to most Americans.
What can I say? This was a favorite show for me as a kiddo (along with the older show Combat!). Most of my friends knew of it, but I don't think there was a bigger fan than me. The opening theme is famous, and despite the many decades of scorn and condemnation aimed at this show, most people hearing the song immediately know its origins. FWIW, Bob Crane, no mean drummer in his own right, played the famous drum cadence for the opening theme. He also scored and performed the various cadences heard throughout the episodes.
If ever a theme song matched the show, it's this. The picture of Andy Griffith strolling with a young Ron Howard has been copied and recopied a million times over the years. Griffith, himself a musician of no small ability, seems right at home with the nonchalant whistling that replaces the song's lyrics. I wouldn't say this is the best, greatest, or most influential theme. It's just the theme of all the themes that couldn't be replaced.
I Love Lucy
The show that started it all. I Love Lucy set the standard and, in its own way, was one of the biggest monster hits in the history of television. Lucy is the face of the show, but it was Desi who was, in many ways, the creative brains behind the show and the visionary who helped establish how television shows would be filmed and produced. It shouldn't be a surprise, therefore, that adding an opening (and iconic) theme paved the way for every television show for the next forty years. And yes, it was performed by Desi's own orchestra.
Dukes of Hazzard
You won't find this on many streaming services, owing to our open mindedness and tolerance. But was there ever better delivery of a made for television theme than this? Waylon Jennings nailed it on every level. It's a narrative song, basically setting the backdrop for the modern adventures of the Duke boys.
The Beverly Hillbillies
I was never a fan of the show. I saw it in reruns growing up, but only paid scant attention. Nonetheless, you can't beat the theme song. Especially praiseworthy is the opening versus, with such a droll delivery you can't help but smile when you think of black gold, Texas tea. Admit it, if anyone says oil, how often does that come to your mind?
Welcome Back Kotter
The most successful of all TV themes ever. There were other themes that made it onto the Billboard charts. But this was by far the most successful. Written and performed by John Sebastian of The Lovin' Spoonful and released under the abbreviated title "Welcome Back", it was a mega hit in 1976. Other themes did well as releases - I'm thinking the them from S.W.A.T. - but none matched Sebastian's tune that I'm aware of:
Lavern and Shirley
Speaking of hit theme songs making the charts, this was another one from that crazy summer of '76. A spinoff from the show Happy Days, Lavern and Shirley's opening theme, Making Our Dreams Come True, was also released as a single. It was performed by Cyndi Grecco. If her name doesn't ring a bell, don't worry. I had to look it up. Truth be told, I always favored this song over others. I was always a bit nostalgic for the world my much older sister grew up in, and this song combined a strange sense of nostalgia and optimism. That's probably why I liked it then, and still do today.
Simon and Simon
Ah, poor S&S. In a decade where many one hour shows became mega-hits, Simon and Simon was always the bridesmaid. Its first season almost tanked the show. Happily, execs decided to move the time slot and link the show to that 1980s uber-hit Magnum P.I. Though it was successful (it ran as long as Magnum), it never came close to the monster ratings of Magnum. Nonetheless, whatever Magnum had that S&S didn't (most likely a weekly dose of Tom Selleck running around shirtless), its theme was cooler in every way. Magnum's theme may have had that upbeat 80s feel, but S&S oozed with cool and swagger.
All in the Family
In terms of iconic television theme songs, I'm at a loss to think of one that passes this. All in the Family didn't last as long as you'd think. But it changed television - for good or ill - forever. Conner and Stapleton do perform the song, and it was a song with lyrics that should have told the American audience that Americana was about to get a big finger in its eye. Still, whatever we could say about the show, Those Were the Days is a song that can't be missed as soon as you hear the first words.
Hill Street Blues (Chariots of fire of TV themes)
For aspiring piano players everywhere in the early 80s, there was no movie theme that captured their aspirations more than Vangelis' theme to Chariots of Fire. If movie themes weren't their cup of tea, however, on the television front this theme was a fine substitute. I can't remember how many students who played the piano sitting in the school's music room and plucking their way through this. Most of the song is orchestration, but those first gentle pinna notes that lead into the theme couldn't be missed. As soon as you played it, everyone in the room got the reference.
Hawaii Five-0 - the champ
The songs on this list are subjective, and I'll freely admit others might think of theme songs I've ignored. But I'll defy anyone who suggests the theme to Hawaii Five-O isn't one of the most awesome - if not the most awesome - television theme song ever. Every high school band in the history of high school bands made sure this was played at least once each year. And when the band director brought it out of the music room, everyone cheered. Especially the low brass sections (in which I played).
Special Mention: Gilligan's Island
I know. This song? Yeah, this one. Let's face it, who doesn't know it, and who hasn't heard it referenced at least a thousand times over the years. Just a couple weeks ago someone said 'no telephones', and it was immediately followed by 'no lights, no motorcars! Not a single luxury!'. And that was a group of mixed age individuals. A tale of a fateful trip, a three hour tour, All of these can be said and the bulk in any room will know the reference. In terms of cultural impact, you can't do much better.
I've noticed that, for all the chest pounding and warnings that you don't want to tick off the side of the issue that owns all the guns, there are few who can withstand the Left's assaults.
Of course releasing this video series may have been pre-planned before everything erupted against Bishop Barron. But I've seen people going after him and WoF for many moons now. And I don't know when this was planned or produced.
Ms. Purvis is a Catholic who drinks deeply from the well of BLM. I don't know which parts of BLM she rejects, but she accepts the premise: an inherently racist nation with white racist Americans in racist Catholic Churches who should be ashamed of themselves because white means being racist. In short, she represents that - hopefully - small but likely growing number of blacks in America who are told to stop with the forgiveness and reconciliation rubbish and get that pound of flesh.
I don't know if WoF wouldn't have published her series or not. After all, woke/cancel,BLM,#MeToo are all ingredients in the same recipe. And Bishop Barron famously went after woke (leftwing censorship). Or perhaps WoF had every intention of publishing this in order to give voice to different sides of the debate. Something Bishop Barron's tendencies make believable.
In any event, I saw that this was met with great cheers by some who had targeted WoF and Bishop Barron recently. It's not hard to imagine that, like Chik fil A or the Boy Scouts or anything the Left targets, it could be the result of inevitable surrender and retreat. Those are outcomes that, quite frankly, mark the typical results of the conflict between the traditional values of the Christian world and the new values of the secular pagan world.
The saddest part? This skit was produced after the initial invasion. Yet months later, it's not far off the state of things. Initially we were told Putin would never invade. We were told the Russian forces were moving away. Then when they returned we were assured they would never be so brazen. Then when they invaded, we saw things unravel for the Russians and people said Russia would be chased out in a few weeks. And now here we are.
I think the point of China is the biggest issue. When Russia did invade, everyone watched to see what China would do. After all, Putin was clearly cozying up to China. China not coming out and throwing its support behind Putin was greeted with cheers and applause.
The problem is, China didn't condemn Russia either. Nor has India. Nor has most of the Middle East. In fact, apart from NATO, there don't seem to be many countries in the world who care to express outrage at Russia. It's almost like they're waiting to see if this might be the first step in the last walk of the West.
I have a feeling there wouldn't be too many tears around the world to see the West die, even if they might be sorry to see it go. Our own official narrative is that the West brought virtually nothing to the world. Anything we brought was pointless because the world was already better. Given that within the West there are many happy to see it go, I'd wager there are many outside the West who share the same opinion. Hence the fence-sitting and pondering the next steps if, in fact, Russia comes out the winner.
Whatever happens, it will likely have little to do with us. We're already sliding toward 2nd World Status. Clearly we don't have the same clout we once had. We can't even get baby food on our shelves. And our military is far more concerned with drag queen performances even as they have to suspend training exercises because of the growing number of accidental fatalities occurring. I guess at this point it really does matter where these other countries end of landing, because we've made our position clear, and as of now, it has not had the impact Americans have long taken for granted.
Yep. Probably no demographic group has been more devastated by absent fatherhood and the rise of broken families more than African Americans. In fact, it's become so obvious that we say it and miss the implications of what we're saying.
A few years ago, to demonstrate the idea of 'privilege', some PSA organization produced a video. In that video, it had a hundred or so people line up on one side of a field. Then the narrator asked questions. If the answer was yes (or no, can't remember which), you stayed put while everyone else stepped forward. The line of people attempted to represent people from every possible demographic group, and who had the real privilege at the end.
The first question out of the box was 'How many of you gre3w up in a broken home?' It seemed almost half the people stayed put. And of those who stayed put, the vast majority were black. And among those who remained to continue the walk across the field, very few blacks were left.
The message was supposed to be what privilege is really all about. Yet nobody who made the video, or the outlets that showed and promoted the video, or the various websites that shared the video, seemed to get the most obvious problem. Per the sampling chosen for the video, the overwhelming number of blacks were left standing after the first question because of one reason: broken households.
So naturally today Google, like most of our nation (our own parish notwithstanding), chose to emphasis the inconsistently promoted Juneteenth and downplay, if not altogether ignore, Father's Day. Except for a brief mention on the news and a special BBQ segment on the local news, it was Juneteenth all the way (with Pride Celebrations elbowing in for a close third, if not second).
With each passing day, I become less able to convince myself that our leftwing ruling class isn't purposefully encouraging the worst behavior and attitudes in the black community in order to foster a self-fulfilling prophecy that can be used to dismantle the heritage of America and the Christian West. At some point, there simply isn't any other explanation for what our eyes can see and our ears can hear.
True, it could be our modern arrogance and hubris that leads to continuing support for the LGBTQ lifestyle and a whole month of PRIDE in the era of AIDS. But more and more it seems deliberate. After all, even the most obstinate narcissists can't possibly miss what is so nakedly obvious.
Note: Apparently this is already a meme. Google had to do Fathers Day before Juneteenth because you can't celebrate blacks and fathers at the same time. Ouch, yet as one fellow said, don't blame the messenger, Google wrote that joke itself.
Or any Civil Rights Righteous Gentiles? I though of that when this came across my desk. It's just a local page going over the various Juneteenth celebrations in the area.
But that brought to mind a local story I saw yesterday that interviewed someone about Juneteenth. It dawned on me that, if that report had anything to say about it, there were no white people involved in the events of Juneteenth. To hear the individual interviewed, it was just blacks finally and inexplicably being freed after not being able to be freed and celebrating freedom. Nothing about who actually freed them.
And this made me kick around what I've noticed before. There are no Righteous Gentiles of the Civil Rights Movement. You get who the RGs are I assume. Those are the non-Jews, both Christian and not Christian, who risked and lost their lives to save Jews from the Nazis. In Jewish culture, they are held in high esteem. There are memorials, tributes and special accolades. Oskar Schindler is the most famous, but there are many others. It's the Jewish community's way of making sure those who did what they could are remembered and celebrated.
But I see none of that in the modern BLM/Civil Rights Era. Truth be told, I've not seen such an emphasis ever. The focus within the black community seems to have ever been on the sins of America and white Americans, and not those who broke with the majority to aid the black community.
In recent years, however, it seems to purposefully downplay or ignore anything positive done by whites on behalf of black Americans. I saw on a streaming service a 'making of'' special telling how the movie Harriet (as in Tubman) was made. In fairness I didn't see the movie. But if the special about its production is any indicator, you'd never know white people had anything to do with the Underground Railroad. It was blacks saving blacks and helping blacks and smuggling blacks. Again, the movie might be different, but not if that special was anywhere near accurate.
Same with the Civil War. I saw a black professor back in February talking about the plight of blacks in America. He spoke of blacks being victims of a racist terror state, the indignities and horror of their experience being on par with Jews in Nazi Germany. When it came to the Civil War, he made it clear there were two armies of racists fighting each other over slavery, and yet not caring about slavery at all.
What is it with the black community and refusing to give credit to white Americans? Do they do so, and the press just bends over backwards to ignore it? Is there a majority of blacks who do celebrate the sacrifice and bravery and courage of white Americans who stood by them? Are there black Americans who acknowledge that without July 4th you don't get Juneteenth in any event? Does the press simply make sure it's only the radicals who want America bleeding on the floor who are represented? We know the press is capable of such tricks.
Or are those radicals the majority view within the black community? I don't know. It's just something I've noticed in recent years. And call me a troublemaker all you want, but I'm always leery of anyone who refuses to give credit where it is due, especially to an entire ethnic group, especially for those within that group who died for their cause.
I am not a doctor. I run an informal blog where I just noodle about, reading this or that story, commenting with my feet propped up, blathering about what interests me. I avoid my own areas of expertise because I just don't have time to do them justice. This goes triple for subjects like medicine or almost any science, law, auto mechanics, or ballet dancing - subjects that are well beyond my ability to speak to them even halfway credibly and not look stupid.
But this story jumped out at me. Sadly we know several who died from Covid. That's why I don't make light of it. I get the problems, the Covid regulations, the disaster that all these measures were and the lives shattered by them. But the disease is still serious.
Nonetheless, a few weeks ago my wife and I were discussing these last couple years. We thought of those who we know who died. A few of them were already in medical facilities because they were suffering from serious, basically terminal, problems. When her uncle died of Covid, I was shocked he was still alive. He had about a half dozen serious and essentially fatal conditions.
But something else came to us as we thought about the people we know. Everyone who died was in a hospital. Even if they went to the hospital only for Covid. True, almost everyone we know who died had some serious aliment one way or another. But whatever the case, they were all in the hospital when they died.
On the other hand, we also know many who came down with Covid who didn't die. In fact, almost everyone we know came down with Covid, including us. It could be serious and some of us were hit hard by the symptoms. But almost none of us went to the hospital. I think only one we know of went to the hospital who didn't pass away.
Three we know had it bad. Real bad. Close to death bad. This includes two close family members - one who was fully vaccinated and the other who wasn't vaccinated. There were times we thought we were going to lose them. But they stayed home and fought it off. And both have medical issues, including one with serious respiratory limits. Yet they didn't die.
Everyone we know of who died died in a hospital. I have no way of knowing if they were on ventilators or not. I think one was, a young fellow who was a classmate of my oldest. He went to the hospital early December and was on a ventilator through most of the month, sadly passing a week or so before Christmas. Yet everyone we know who lived stayed put and stayed home.
I won't say I'm not trying to say something, because I clearly am. We've watched as the medical community has fumbled the ball a dozen times with this. And that's without the politics of it. Just the initial promise of what the vaccinations would do versus what they actually seem to do - based on what we know right now - is staggering. When my wife and I thought of this, and then I saw the above article, I must admit it did little other than reinforce our initial observations. And suspicions.
Doesn't really exist, despite the LGBTQ community embracing and celebrating Ukrainians everywhere:
We've seen the same with the LGBTQ community and Islam. Despite the fact that all across the Islamic world, those in the LGBTQ community are marginalized at best, and outright persecuted and even executed at worst, the love is palpable. More than once the LGBTQ community has marched in solidarity with Islam over and against the nation where gay marriage is legal and almost anyone who speaks out against it can be ostracized for spreading hate.
Does it make any sense? No. At least it doesn't if you think this issue is about the rights of people being different genders or having a particular sexual proclivity. Just like thinking other such social justice movements care about blacks and violence or women and sexual assault. If you think these things matter to these movements, you'll be puzzling about such seeming contradictions until your puzzler is sore.
If you have the nagging suspicion that none of these minority groups matter at all, however, and they are being exploited and hoisted in order to advance entirely separate agendas, you might sleep better at night. You might not have the definitive answer about what the agendas really are. But you'll at least be able to rest peacefully knowing what they aren't.
The unperson. You know the reference. In the current framework, it means those who are out of favor because they are irrelevant or inconvenient for the cause. You know, the former homosexual who put the lifestyle behind him to get married and raise a family. The woman who believes children need two parents in distinct roles to raise them from a home, not a daycare center. Heck, the woman who opposes abortion. The black who votes republican and rejects the theory of systemic racism or even admires Robert E. Lee. Or the most recent and growing unpeople, those who regret that their parents and doctors changed their gender because at the ripe old age of one, someone reached for a blue blanket. You get the point.
On the other end of this scale are the negative unpeople. Those are the ones who aren't white or male or Christian or American and yet do naughty things. The black who murders whites after posting a racist screed against white people. Or worse, the black who murders Hispanics, Jews, or anyone else in a designated minority group. The child raping homosexual. The Islamic terrorist who coincidently keeps mentioning Allah whenever she kills someone. You know, the ones that break the 'if it's evil, it must be white or conservative or male or Christian' narrative.
But then you have the worst group of unpeople, the inconvenient victims. Jazmine Barnes will forever be the poster child for that group in my mind. They are the ones who suffer, die, are tortured or otherwise oppressed and abused - but can't be exploited to advance a progressive agenda. Mass shooting victims at the hands of a Muslim or a racist black man. Children abused by transgender or gay individuals. Victims of almost any disaster that can't somehow be laid at the feet of a group targeted by the Left. And that includes Americans suffering and struggling whenever there is a Democrat in the White House.
To deny that this is the way it works - and not just passively, but on purpose through carefully constructed media narrative templates - is right up there with believing the moon landings were a hoax. It's nakedly obvious. And it's purely evil. Especially evil is that last category. For the Scriptures do not say care for the widow and the orphan if doing so dost glorify the Left, otherwise ignore them. Yet how many believers today seem so programmed by the media's machinations that you can bet they will care when the press cares, and care how the press cares, or not really care at all.
I thought of that when I got this email from a reader. I don't typically post emails I get - though I read them all. But this one is worth noting just to see it's not me running about imagining things:
I noticed something kind of amusing. The usually verbose Deacon Steven Greydanus, always eager to share his thoughts on systemic racism and the moral turpitude of Donald Trump voters (a group I do not belong to), was uncharacteristically silent in response to the Kavanaugh news on Wednesday. Nothing on Facebook or Twitter.
Yep. In fairness to Deacon Greydanus and everyone else, if you blinked you'd miss the media coverage in general. You have to Google the tragedy by name to find stories. I Googled 'News' when I first heard about the horror to see if how low on the list of stories it was. Turned out it wasn't even mentioned in the general news feed. And that was a mere couple days after it happened. They just don't matter because Christians murdered are themselves small beans in the leftwing narrative. If they were murdered by members of a designated minority group, that's even worse. The story must die and die fast.
A terrible, demonic evil. Yet when I went to several Catholic sites and blogs to see any prayers or mention of the attack, I saw none. At least Deacon Greydanus did mention the horror, chastising the press for failing to mention Pentecost in its stories.
But that's it. That's the only mention I found from him. Others like Shea or Dawn Eden, at least based on what I found on their sites that I know about, mentioned nothing at all. True, there could be other social media sites where they post and perhaps they did. Perhaps they commented somewhere else if it was brought up. I sure hope so.
But I know on the very same platforms in which they went on tirades about gun control, or lambasted Kavanagh, or pledged to post on Twitter a daily celebration of BLM, there was nothing. And that silence, driven by the media's mandated concern for human life only when it can be exploited, screams volumes.
Bishop Barron. Poor fellow. For more traditional Catholics, Bishop Barron is too wishy-washy. He plays with universalism and tends to have a 'let's just get along' approach to enemies of God and man.
That's why he was beloved of many moderate and even liberal Catholics. It was through them I was introduced to the works of then Fr. Barron. Especially enjoyable was his video series on Catholicism. And critics of Fr. Barron from back then? Just a bunch of right wingers, so forget about it.
Now, however, it's those same Catholic liberals and former moderates leading the charge. The accusation is the unforgivable sin of sexual misconduct. Far removed from the dreamy, hazy days of rehabilitate and reform, sexual misconduct is one of a growing list of unforgivable sins that should be branded on your forehead for life. Until Jesus forgives you and lets you into heaven that is. Otherwise, your criminal arse belongs to us - so said Beth Moore in a conference a couple years or so ago.
As with all such things, it's not the sins or failings of a single person, but guilt of one taints all. Thus it becomes a 'workplace' issue. You know the terms: hostile workplace environment, toxic workplace environment or, my favorite, hypermasculine boy's club environment. Heh. That's because we're setting BLM and Trans athletes aside for the moment and bringing back the old #MeToo narrative of 'the always honest woman against the always sexist man' template. Oh, and genders are binary in this case.
Why the sudden move to destroy Word on Fire (for that's what this is about), and wreck the reputation of Bishop Barron? I dunno. But I've seen posts, articles and Twitter for months now going after him. A man who was once a darling of moderate Catholics everywhere. Again, I don't know why. I can guess, but there's really no telling since people usually don't admit to ulterior motives.
Or at least usually don't. I'm thinking of the Bill Cosby Pound Cake speech. I mentioned that some time ago and one of my readers sent me to a link to The Atlantic. In that piece, the journalist appeared quite honest about the connection between his speech and the subsequent accusations made against him. That's because Cosby didst blaspheme the liberal gospel. In that infamous speech that outraged the Left, Cosby said he'd give you racism and American white supremacy, but it's time for black Americans to stop whining about the past and take responsibility for their own actions. Within months there were accusations of sexual assault and the beginning of the end.
This has that vibe to be sure. I know Bishop Barron has outraged Pope Francis fans by agreeing with Pope Francis, but not heaping scorn and loathing on the critics of Pope Francis. I also know shockwaves went through the Catholic Left when Bishop Barron condemned leftwing intolerance and censorship (euphemistically known as Woke or Cancel Culture). More to the point, he doesn't filter Catholic moral teaching through leftwing political narratives. For many today, there appears to be politics to the right that are intruding upon the purity of our faith, and then to the left is Jesus. Such a view doesn't allow for non-liberal hermeneutical options.
I'm not saying if there was wrongdoing it shouldn't be addressed. From what it looks like it was in the fellow's personal life - which is soon to be nonexistence if the Left has its way. I'm simply noting that this does not appear to be about righting a wrong, but the Left's old favorite of Destruction by Association. That is, a guy does something wrong, and suddenly all men are misogynists in a sexist environment terrorizing women. There is a big difference between those two.
Our second youngest and his fiancée got their engagement photos. There were many splendid pictures, but the two below are among my favorites:
I love these two. The top picture with them happily skipping forward into life together. The bottom with the two of them gazing at the horizon after their first round of being together in this crazy world. There were many other pics, too, but these were the ones that jumped out at me.
Or perhaps the second is them looking at the horizon of their future. Because as if getting married and starting a new life together isn't stressful enough, they're also embarking on their own business venture. They're starting their own business - in their early 20s no less. I know, it's crazy. I've talked extensively to my son, drawing on my own brief experience in the world of entrepreneurship. He isn't naïve or in denial about their chances, but he maintains that it's their goal and their dream and they're not going to give up.
That's fine with me. If that's their dream I wouldn't have it any other way. I've learned in my five decades traveling this vale of tears that John Greenleaf Whittier was right: For of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been!'
Coming into this eleventh hour of our family's traditional time together.
Last Christmas my third son, our board game aficionado, received a game called Eldritch Horror. It's based, as you can guess from the name, on the works of H.P. Lovecraft. I was never particularly into Lovecraft, just as I'm not into Sci-fi and Fantasy in general. I've read some of his stories. The first story I read was Pickman's Model. That's because I discovered an old Night Gallery episode I remember being scared by as a kid was based on that story. From there I read some of his better known stories. Eh. I liked them as far as they went.
But the board game my son received, I must admit, puts a tremendous amount of fun and suspense in game form while remaining true to the 'feel' of Lovecraft. I like that. Games that purport to 'recreate' a particular historical period, or fictional genre, or specific mythos, had best do so. I find they often fall short, and end up being nothing but checkers with embellishments and artwork.
But Eldritch Horror strikes that fine balance between playability, mood and feel, complexity and accessibility. Not bad, considering the most cumbersome part of it is the set up. If it has one serious flaw, it's that it takes my son an hour or more to set it up. This is a game we can only play if we have the better part of the day at hand. Given how seldom that happens, it's amazing we've played it as much as we have. That we have played it so often shows how much we enjoy it.
To me, the best part is the globetrotter feel. The premise is that, per Lovecraft, some crazy super-tentacled elder space god is just itching to break out and exterminate life on Earth. To stop this, the players represent a ragtag bunch of heroes who are rushing about the world, looking for clues, fighting slimy meanies, and otherwise doing what they can to close these gates between our world and that strange other place of Lovecraft's mind.
This isn't the first 'rush about the world' game we've ever played. As youngsters, my boys had a game called Dragonology, based upon a kid's book they owned. It was fun in its way. But the fact that you needed to run around the world never seemed to mean anything other than move your playing piece. I've found other, similar games to be the same.
In Eldritch, however, where you are in the world has a direct impact on what happens to you. If you're in the Amazon your encounters will be different than being in London, or in Istanbul, or in the Himalayas. It matters where you are, and the flavor text and possibilities varying with different locations is a major boon for me.
Charlie and the accumulating items and helps
Throughout the game, each player plays a different character, sometimes more than one since life expectancy for characters is often limited. I typically play the same one, Charlie Kane (as in Charles Foster - get it?). He doesn't do much and is no fighter. A tycoon presidential candidate wannabe, his job is to use his business skills and contacts and wealth to obtain much needed items and resources, and then divvy them out to the others so they don't have to waste time getting such items themselves.
I'll be honest that many of the rules are a bit beyond me, and I look to the others to guide me along with what's going on. That's why I like that character. For his part, he only tries to get his hands on rare items to help the others, so I don't worry about the greater strategies or goals. Though I try to be cautious because, of course, every city in the world has its dangers. I've already come to a bad end twice in San Francisco's Chinatown.
But there you have it. Again, we don't have nearly the time we used to. We still have some time, but in those cases the amount of time is limited to a sit down, reading books together, maybe a movie we've watched together, sometimes chattering about religion or politics, or a quick game. But when we've had the time, we've brought this one out and enjoyed it. As far as games based on genres that aren't my cup of tea go, I'd say this one is near the top of the heap.
If I count a post I've scheduled for a later date (I do that sometimes), as of now I have written 10,000 posts for the blog since I began in 2010. Not bad. As I've said before, the original reasoning for the blog passed many years ago. Since then it's became an informal setting for me to just spout on about things, but usually not things in my own areas of expertise. That's so I don't feel pressured to do much more than type off the top of my head, hit spellcheck, and then publish. A sort of 'sit a spell' place to bounce around ideas and observations. Truth be told, its the comments more than my own ramblings I find the most valuable.
But something interesting caught my eye. It isn't that I've published 10,000 posts. I've actually only published 4,913. So where are the rest? Left in mothball for the most part. Those are posts, some of them quite long, that I had second thoughts about or decided there was a reason I shouldn't hit publish. Some I've deleted over the years, most I keep around for reference if need be. But that's over 5,000 posts I wrote out, then chose for reasons not to publish.
Not sure why that made me think. I'm conservative by nature, though not necessarily 'a conservative.' That is, I tend to exercise restraint. If I write fast and spellcheck fast, I nonetheless will sometimes let a post sit for days or weeks before I decide to hit publish. And as is obvious, in at least 5,000 cases, I may think the better of it and decide not to hit publish at all.
For instance, I saw a story about Pope Francis a couple weeks ago. Something about him and education. It wasn't anything that surprised me. But after about a half dozen paragraphs of fussing, and hitting save, I went back and figured it would do no good to publish. One, there was nothing especially new about the complaint. And two, to be honest, a more charitable take might have given a different spin than the one I took, and I could see how someone could take that approach. So I decided not to publish. That's why most of the over 5,000 posts sit there collecting digital dust.
Just thought that it interesting I've not posted more than I have posted. Plus, that it was an even 10,000 total was, I felt, noteworthy and fun.
Is the news coverage of the Nigerian massacre on Pentecost. I didn't even hear about it until a day later, and haven't been able to find out much information. By today there were no stories at all. It's horrific, and I have many friends from Nigeria I've met over the years. In my ministry days, working with those through the International Missions Board, it was my blessed privilege to meet so many, and see what true joy in Christ really looks like.
It breaks my heart that this is their life, and has been for decades. Again, you don't know it because the press ignores it. So do most leftwing pundits. We can't really blame the Islamic driven violence on European colonialism, or the US government, or GW Bush. So it's small potatoes. I know people can point to the WaPo, or Reuters, or CNN - all who have run some stories. But can you in all seriousness say it compares to something like the coverage of the New Zealand mosque shootings? I can't come close to mustering the level of denial to make that claim.
Nonetheless, I know from those I've been blessed to befriend that their joy will continue apace. Despite disease, hunger, persecution and death, they are among the most joyful and caring Christians I've ever known. I still remember when my dear, late friend Joseph first met my dad. My mom and dad were visiting us while in seminary. I introduced Joseph to my dad, and he immediately rushed over and grabbed my dad and lifted him in a giant bear hug - just because. Anyone who knew my dad gets the humor with that one.
But prayers for these forgotten victims. They serve no practical purpose to the media by covering their sorrows and suffering. Pray for their loved ones. Pray for the Church universal. And dear Lord, pray that we never slip down into the media's pitcher plant of demonic evil that measures charity and sympathy against a politically expedient yardstick.
In this piece, NBC goes to war over the importance of bringing sexual attraction to the world of young girls' doll collections. The importance of sexing up our children so that we may bring our children into the sexual fold continues apace.
I'll admit you have to love how the Left has all but thrown out the pretense of its post-war duplicity. There is no room for debate. There is no room for dialogue. There is no room for discussion. No tolerance. No diversity. You either conform 100% to leftwing same-think or you're a homophobic bigot. Period. End of statement. The old 'stop being divisive and admit you're a Nazi' that defines the leftwing concept of unity.
Think of it. As long as you conform 100% to the Left's dogmatic definition of diversity, the Left is completely tolerant and open to anyone who thinks the way the Left demands you think under threat of retaliation. Thus is the double-talk that is taught in schools and colleges, endorsed by the media, promoted by pop culture, reinforced by our publishing industry, mandated by our Wall Street corporate interests and increasingly injected into the Gospel Message in too many churches. Thus is life in our secular pagan age.
I feel a great era of purging and pruning is on the way. I fear too many of us believed we were on the straight path heading toward the narrow gate. We're finding out now just how many had, all along, been trudging along the broad path toward destruction and didn't even realize it. I believe the point of what we're seeing is to make the distinction crystal clear. To give a clear warning of who might be the tares and who might be the wheat. And if you're shrugging your shoulders over mutilating the bodies of youth in order to inject sexual desire into their pre-K minds, I'll leave you to figure out which side of the harvest you're likely on.
Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and straight is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it! Matthew 7.13-14
Is like talking about the ninth inning of a football game.
Here is the latest from that post-Christian branch of Protestantism known as United Methodism. One of its openly gay preachers, who also preaches under the drag queen alias of Ms. Penny Cost, has come out and denounced the Bible. Yep. It reminds me of when the Episcopal Church voted to declare the New Testament an anti-Semitic, racist propaganda rag.
I was going to write a long blabbering post about how so many liberal Protestant denominations have gotten to this point. How I could sit next to colleagues in my ministry days and hear a United Church of Christ pastor say she just can't understand the arrogance behind believing in a personal God. But why bother?
Suffice to say, when you look back at the history of these denominations and how they began to turn in the 19th and 20th centuries, it's not hard to see parallels to the Catholic Church over the last few generations. Remember, they didn't start this way. This dumpster fire result started by letting the World dictate priorities and deciding it was time to change their teachings to accommodate. Only after generations of doing that did we end up with Ms. Penny Cost. And it won't stop there. A word of warning to the Catholic Church today.
When pondering the hot mess police response in Uvalde, Texas, one of my sons said something damning. He said the kids in the school were braver than the adults in uniform. We then discussed why. We concluded there was a time when the natural fearlessness of children was formed and shaped into bravery, sacrifice, honor, duty and loyalty. Not always perfectly, but that was the goal.
Today, that natural fearlessness of children is formed and shaped by Wall Street, Hollywood, our schools and universities and even many of our churches into cowardliness, narcissism, nihilism, hedonism and decadence. Had those poor children been outside their school, I feel they would have charged forth blindly to save their classmates. It took growing up and being weaned in our post-modern nation to get the response from adults that we witnessed. Though the bravery of those who did act shows that, like old teaching, the new hedonism doesn't always stick either.
I thought of that when I saw the below speech. It's from a Harvard undergrad. According to John C. Wright, it was met with stunned silence. Because she is spot on. And we all know it. And those who have surrendered and consigned future generations to tyranny and oppression and squalor know it, too.
Kudos young woman. You are a credit to those who waded ashore at Normandy and in every other conflict that was waged to keep us free. You're better than the schools, culture, corporations and even religious traditions that raised you.
Over at The American Catholic, Donald McClarey has someniceposts about this anniversary of D-Day. As he always does.
I was going to wait to see how it was commented on in the press today, but alas, it wasn't. I found one article on the AP mentioning memorials. But that was it. On the outlets I found or watched, including local, there were none that bothered to mention it.
At least it wasn't December 7 last year. There were some stories that briefly mentioned Pearl Harbor, but a surprising number of outlets focused instead on remembering the beginning of the Japanese American interment camps. So perhaps no news or remembrance is, in this case, a good thing.
I would amend it in one spot. From Catholic to Eastern Orthodox there might be OK with, but from Orthodox back to Catholic it's definitely does NOT like.
I'm often amused at the naiveté of some Catholics who think reconciliation with 'Orthodox Christians' is just a day away. Not quite. When Catholicism eliminates Papal infallibility, and the Catholic Church grovels and begs forgiveness for it's persecution of Orthodox Christians', then maybe. Not until then. Nowhere near until then.
You do know you are implicitly, if not explicitly, supporting Ukrainian citizens who are arming themselves to the teeth in order to defend themselves against the Russian invaders, right? Perhaps you might want to think that through and ask some tough question. Though I'll admit such an approach is typically antithetical to being at peace with leftwing activism.
In just the last few days I've seen almost everywhere variations on 'Stop Star Wars Racism' and 'No Racism in Our Galaxy' and 'Star Wars Fans are the Worst.'
What gives? I confine my Star Wars fandom to the original, pre-CGI version I fortunately obtained years ago. I also have the VCR sets, just in case. I tolerate the prequels, more as a fun diversion whereby the family watches them with a sort of Mystery Science Theater 3000 approach.
I haven't seen much of the later releases. I saw the first one with Harrison Ford's last hurrah. I think one other. It made that much an impression on me. So I'm completely lost on this. The boys sometimes keep me up to date with such things, but them going their ways as they are, they're not around as much.
So is Star Wars suddenly racist? Is someone in the cast racist? It can't be because of a black character, since Lucas tended to that oversight back in 1980. I don't know. I thought perhaps some readers out there with more knowledge of the current trends might have an idea.
The crazy is boiling over these days. I haven't followed Mark's twisting and turning in light of the Roe leak that much. Why bother? Likewise I haven't bothered with his reaction to the two shootings the media has covered over the last couple weeks. Again, why bother?
True, I get links and images of what he says. Usually I don't waste time reading them because, again, why bother? Some say Mark is a cautionary tale. That is, if we're not careful we could end up like him. Certainly there is the problem of Mark promoting a false gospel as a professional and endorsed apologist. If we take seriously the eternal implications of people being led astray, that is important. But again, there is only so much we can do, right?
Nonetheless, I had to, just had to, post this from an ongoing set of posts about last week's horrible shooting:
Saying absolutely nothing of value in 46 words
You see that? That's called defeat. Crushing defeat. That's called admitting you're absolutely wrong without admitting it. That's called nothing meaningful to say in return. Because it's true. Within days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Western press began focusing on the heroism of the Ukrainians. Included in this were endless stories of praise for armed Ukrainian citizens rushing out to defend their nation against the evil Russian invaders. From celebrities and media outlets to pundits of all stripes, the heroism of these gun toting citizens was universally celebrated.
And rightly so, I should add. No matter what one might think of other angles of the Russian invasion, bravery is bravery. But there is a problem. The praise was going to citizens using guns to fight a major military invasion from a sovereign nation in our modern age.
When American gun owners say defense against such threats is the purpose for the Second Amendment, they are typically met with mockery, laughter, derision and outright condemnation. Mark himself has often heaped mountains of scorn on such thinking, stating that there is no way a bunch of gun wielding yahoos could make a difference against a modern army. And yet, here we are.
So what do you do if you are a gun control activist faced with yet another case where gun control narratives are based on falsehoods? Well, you do what Mark did. You post a rambling bunch of blather akin to what you might expect in a middle school locker room. Heh. I have to admit I laughed out loud when I was shown his Twitter post. That's why I posted it. To share the fun. And to relish in yet another leftwing narrative brought low by pesky facts and realities.