Friday, July 29, 2022

Taming the untamable beast

So here is the situation going into July, 1942.  Or at least our version of it.  Beyond everything my son has done, he surprised me by sending elements of the 1st SNLF division (that's Japan's marines) to take New Caledonia.  Beyond its deposits of iron, nickel and cobalt for the always resource starved Japan (represented by the Resources symbol), it is a key location southeast of the Solomons.  He will use it to build a defensive parameter around Guadalcanal several hundred miles away. Then he can gather forces to launch into Port Moresby, and eventually Australia proper.  Or, as he has hinted, he might sweep into the Fiji islands and establish a base from which to launch a major campaign against Hawaii - from the south. Plus he will use airbases there to fly missions over the convoy lanes from mainland N. America down to Australia.  This he will do to disrupt merchant tonnage, supplies and those all important oil shipments. For my part I sent the three existing US carrier groups into the Coral Sea to intercept.  It turned out, however, that despite rough seas due to bad storms, he brought Japan's Kidu Butai to meet me head on.  That caught me off guard because I didn't think he would take that task force from guarding the precious supply lanes to the East Indies' oil resources.  This task force contained no fewer than five carriers, as well as the famous battleship Yamato.  Fortunately their scouts never found me, but in the two clashes I had with his support groups I came out the worst. I lost far more planes as well as the cruiser USS Brooklyn. Several other ships on both sides were damaged and aborted, some severely enough to be sent back to shipyards for repairs over the next few months.  Significantly, this included his battleship Ise and light carrier Hosho, putting them out of commission for the near future. I decided to retreat and rethink my next moves for the remainder of the month in light of these developments. 

All of this was a single phase, in one turn, of a scenario in what the Guinness Book of World Records names the largest commercially available board game ever published.  World in Flames it's called. Originally released in 1985, it's seen multiple optional additions, fixes, expansions and editions.  We bought this for our third oldest on his 21st birthday last year.  He had wanted the original release for years, but I was unable to find an intact copy for anything close to a reasonable price. At least a copy with a guarantee it was intact.  

Instead, I found the grand slam complete deluxe collector's edition from a few years ago that combines pretty much all of the subsequent editions and expansions from over the years.  We figured it being his 21st birthday, the cost was acceptable.  Plus it was brand new and never opened!  And boy was it - big. 

Taken together, if all expansion maps are used, along with the additional charts and tables, it would require almost two 5' x 9' ping pong tables to contain it all, with scant space left over.  In addition, if combined, there are almost 10,000 game pieces (counters or chits) for use in both the game as well as informational charts.  Even the basic game, all extras stripped away, uses over 4,000 pieces.  For the grand campaign scenarios, the recommended set-up time can run between two to three hours.  That's the set-up time, not the game time proper.

This is because the game sets out to accomplish a simple task: recreate the entire Second World War.  All of it.  From the importance of Edward R. Murrow's reports from London to Operation Barbarossa.  From the vast naval clashes of the Pacific to special operations and intelligence gathering and espionage.  From fifth column and partisans to the intricate diplomatic dances heading into the war years, especially regarding the all important entry of America into the conflict.  In two thick instruction manuals and a half dozen supplemental rulebooks, it sets out to show it all.

And does it ever.  Though I would lie if I said it was all peachy keen.  I still consider Empires in Arms to be the most perfect war game ever.  In terms of mind breaking complexity, that would go to Struggle of the Nations.  For its scale, the Battles of Waterloo is still my favorite. 

But the sheer bulk force of a game that seeks to recreate in its entirety the biggest and most destructive conflict in human history is impressive.  There are flaws to be sure. I think I'll touch on those first.  The instructions were written by someone with a passion for something, but certainly not writing instruction manuals.  They're a mess.  The above mentioned marine units have special features, including the ability to hop across water separating two hexes without need of naval counters  Well, you have to read through hundreds of pages to find five different parts of the manuals to learn that and other specialties. It doesn't bother putting things into one clear and obvious place. We won't even get into the stupidly pointless examples it often gives. That's why my son and I putting our heads together are still trying to figure out the game's finer points after eight months of trying. 

Another bugaboo is that the scales are all over everywhere.  The European map, the Pacific map, the African and Americas maps are all of different scales.  Which can be maddening.  More annoying is that unit counters themselves are all over the place.  Land counters represent everything from divisions up to army groups. Except for divisions, however, there are no practical differences.  It's mostly aesthetics.  That's why one wag on a forum said if it's tough wrapping your mind around an army corps descending on tiny Kwajalein Atoll, just say 'elements of'' (hence my wording above).  

On the other hand, ships - from light cruisers on up - represent each and every ship in the major navies of WWII.   So when the Brooklyn went down in that battle, that meant the Brooklyn, not a counter representing X number of cruisers (though each ship counter is considered to include a couple destroyer and auxiliary ship escorts - just to cross ts and dot is for figuring larger task forces).  

On the other end, air counters mean almost nothing.  Ostensibly each counter represents from 200 to 500 of the respective planes shown on the counter.  But none of that really means anything.  In the Guadalcanal campaign, there were not 300 to 400 B-17s flying about.  Likewise, most air raids over Europe had more than a hundred or so bombers and fighters.  Nothing really makes sense of the scale.  Only carrier planes - if a naval supplement for the game is used - come close.  Using those rules, the Akagi, for example, sports plane counters representing roughly 60-70 planes on board, which is about correct (it could hold 60 planes historically). 

That might not bother some, but things like that bug me.  I can suspend belief, or obsession about trivial things, to a point.  But unit counters meaning so many different things converging on the same battle, that bugs me.  I simply developed my own scale to help the counters make sense when the given scales don't work. That way B-17s are measured in the tens and not hundreds over those South Pacific islands.  For a game this in depth striving for its level of historical accuracy, I can't imagine why a little more time and effort wasn't added to better accommodate the scales. 

Finally, the maps.  They may be impressive, but they're also a nightmare, especially for my fading eyesight.  The maps have hexes overlaid on all land areas.  Sea zones are a different animal altogether. In each hex can be a variety of bits and pieces of information crucial to the game.  That's wonderful in itself, but at times very unwieldy.  For instance: 

That's a copy of the maps I downloaded and added graphic embellishments to in order to draw out key features. I have that on my phone so I can use it during play.  There is just no way I can lean over the five foot wide table and see the small images, writing and numbers.  There's too much information.  That's why there are no 'ownership' counters showing who owns what.  You make notes or keep it in your head.  Trying to add something like that would push over the top an already over the top playing map.  

It looks like this post went longer than planned, and almost all negative. What do you expect for a post musing on the most stupidly over the top game ever sold?  I guess I'll have to invoke Henry II from the film Becket: I have confided in you my hate, not my love for this game.  I'll do that in a follow up post.  Till then. 

Leftwing tolerance is like kosher ham

This is actually a story.  Set aside the stupid Quidditch sport existing in the first place.  I often wonder if those hipsters who do such things know they are doing just what the corporatism they despise loves to see happen:  People obsessing and immersing themselves in a culture of corporate driven fanboy products. 

Anyway, it exists.  A game based on that sport played in the Harry Potter novels.  Well, it did exist.  They'll still play it, but now they are changing the name.  Why?   Because author J.K.Rowling has failed to conform 100% to leftwing same-think. 

Did she come out and oppose transgenderism?  Perhaps by now, but not initially.  Initially, all she did was defend a high profile Brit scientist - a woman - who was fired for saying scientists shouldn't be fired when they fail to see the science behind the transgender movement.  Like most who initially grovel before the Left, she made her statement wrapped in endless praise and adoration of feminism, the LGTBQ movement, transgender rights and any other leftwing cause.

But it did no good.  Despite her assurances of leftwing conformity, she nonetheless challenged a crucial veil for the latest attack on reality.  That is, the science isn't there behind the whole post-gender movement. Some scientists say it is, but a surprising number of scientists admit the science just doesn't add up with gender being nothing to do with anatomy.  That is why Rowling spoke out against that high profile woman being fired for saying scientists shouldn't be fired when they don't see the science behind transgender normality. 

And now it's this.  And this is only one of many pogroms against Rowling since the whole thing erupted.  Calls to ban her books, sever ties with her brand, ostracize her have become quite common.  According to my boys, there are entire movements dedicated to bringing her down.  Not because she disagreed with transgenderism or the Left.  But because she dared even think of questioning one of its main tactics: conformity at gun point. 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

The Left and the ruination of everything

Some say the Left ruins everything.  When I think of what it has done to the Boy Scouts, to sports, to the military, to churches, I'm inclined to agree.   But what do we expect?  Increasingly those on the Left are opening up with their Marxist, pseudo-communist leanings.  They fully reject God and the Gospel and Jesus Christ.  They declare their opposition to the Bible and the Christian values and teachings of the Faith. They make plain their desire to throw down the Christian West and the American experiment. Therefore, those who see value in the heritage of Western Christian civilization can't help but see the destruction and damage done to all areas of life this movement touches, including art and our basic values and cherished principles. 

The above clip looks to be in response to calls for the removal of Gone With the Wind that happened a couple years ago.  His dig about the hallowing and sanctifying of Presentism as the Left's prime approach to history was nice to see.  An approach universally condemned in my undergrad and graduate days, it has become the exclusive approach to studying the Western tradition over the last two decades.  I'll leave you to figure if this approach has helped or hindered the quality of our cultural output.  

Monday, July 25, 2022

A chance to help a young couple live the American dream

How's that for a lead in?  So my second oldest, in addition to getting married, is pursuing that ultimate dream of being his own boss.  His fiancée's love of reading, mixed with his own literary tastes, has led them to plan a used book store in our home city, which has been without such a store for years.  

They've also discovered that Elon Musk is correct.  My son could walk into almost any door in America and walk away with a 50K dollar student loan for college, no questions asked.  But go and beg for a 15K loan to start a business and it's 'here's your hat, what's your hurry?'.   Sometimes I wonder if such  modern disparities are altogether accidental. 

Anyway, my oldest son has posted a gofundme to help them out.  We're beginning to promote it this week. I understand this is a little different than other such requests.  I also realize that unless you're in our town, you probably won't be perusing the bookshelves you help them obtain.  Though I'm sure they will have an online option when things are up and running.

But for them to be up and running, they need help beyond the structures and financial SOP of our modern society.  If you would like to help, click on the link above and I'm sure anything of any amount would thrill them, and more than help them on their path toward living the dream. 

BTW, below are some pictures of one of the most amazing things I've ever seen.  It's a scale model of their bookstore built by his fiancée's aunt.  On the whole, it isn't too far off from how they envision it when it's finally opened.  So put your envy for such phenomenal craftsmanship aside, and take a look at what would be nice for our town to have, and not bad for my son and his fiancée either.  

The actual model on a shelf

(FWIW, the books are actual copies, and can be opened to see both writing and illustrations - they're actually miniatures of the books in question!  Oh, and the record player actually spins.  It's that breathtakingly awesome). 

The liberalism of my youth versus the Left of my sons' youth

 This was liberalism when I was young: 

America was still great, we were still an inspiration to the world.  Yes, we had our sins, but liberalism was all about making sure everyone was free, equal and could enjoy their rights with everyone else.  That was the gist of liberalism when I was young.  Or the gist as it was popularly presented. 

Contrast that to this:

This is the modern Left.  A sampling.  Many, especially among the young, think of the Swastika and the Stars and Stripes as one and the same.  Life, like truth and reality, is anyone's guess.  Radicalism, violence, hate, rage, and sexing up our kids is only the latest frontier.  And all will conform or face the consequences - in the name of diversity, equity and inclusion. 

I won't apologize for the graphic nature of the photo with the child.  That is going on even as we sit here.  Just as the gay movement was only coming out of the shadows when I was young, and abortion was still a limited affair discussed in the back room of the family gatherings, so we're seeing the beginning of the next stage. .  

If liberalism has taught us anything, it's that the Slippery Slope might be a logical facility, but it's also a historical fact.  What was a fringe outlier promoted by fringe liberals yesterday will be endorsed and mandated in about two generations.  So take a long look at that photo with the child if you want to know what America will be by the time my children are grandparents. 

This is the difference between old liberalism and the modern Left.  How many liberals haven't seen the difference?  How many former conservatives attempt to convince themselves that the liberalism they're joining is form the top image, even as they must ignore, pander to, or even condone more and more from the bottom image?   They will only be able to ignore such things so long before they are given the choice of the prophets of Baal.  

Saturday, July 23, 2022

He's alive!

Ohio senate candidate J.D. Vance is alive!  Rumors were beginning to swirl here in the Buckeye State.  Since he won the primary election, we've seen neither hide nor hair of the man.  No commercials.  No ads.  No Super PACS.  Nothing.  I've not seen local GOP threads mentioning him.  There has been no news from local Republicans of any appearances or talks or get-togethers.  Nothing.  If it wasn't for his opponent Tim Ryan, you'd never hear Vance mentioned.

So at least he's alive.  He talked to FOX - a national news outlet - so barring conspiracy theories, he's up and moving.  Why he's decided to follow the Biden principle of staying underground and pretending like he doesn't exist, I don't know.  It worked for Biden because he had the DNC, the MSM and most major institutions in our country on his side.  Vance does not have that benefit. 

That's why I can't figure it out.  Why ignoring Ohio, Ohio voters and keeping away from us and not promoting his campaign appears to be his strategy.  You can bet the results won't be to your favor when the only one talking about you is the one who wants to defeat you. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Reading the signs of the times

So a school board in the Buckeye State, just down the road, has officially decided to recognize the Muslim holiday Eid.  I know this district because I taught there for my one year of teaching high school social studies. If you look on its calendar, you will see no mention of Christmas, certainly no Easter or Good Friday, or anything Christian. But recognizing an Islamic holy day by name?  You bet ya. 

Again, from the top: The Left is the enemy of God, Man, Freedom and Democracy.  It hates and seeks to destroy the heritage and values of the Christian Faith, the Christian West and the American Experiment.  To that end, anything willing to join the Left and seek the demise of its enemies is its friend. 

Likewise, any who oppose the goal - including Muslims, blacks, American Indians, women, Jews - become the enemy just the same.  No amount of ethnic slurs, racist attacks, anti-Semitic dog whistles, sexist or misogynistic attacks is too much for them.  

Monday, July 18, 2022

A headline that speaks louder than words

 Here, at Reuters:

Imagine that.  Basically it means those students with plans will consider changing their plans - and we all know why and what's most important in their lives.  That's called priorities.  

As I've often said, how do you get one of the freest, most prosperous, most charitable and arguably most self-reflective societies in history to flush itself down the tubes?  Easy.  Turn as many generations as possible into a bunch of sexed up, drugged up nihilists. 

The results speak for themselves.  Imagine the attitude we've cultivated: 'I could have gone to this college I've dreamed about attending for my whole life, but if I can't abort my pregnancy as a last ditch effort to keep my sex life afloat, I'm out of here.'  Thus is pagan American values, 2022. 

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Modern Christianity and Roe in a nutshell: A final reflection

When  I compare the reaction to the Roe decision, I notice something.  Among those modernist Christians who have swung to the Left, there is an almost dearth of celebrations over the abolition of Roe and how it might save even one unborn life.  On the other hand, the reaction by so many traditional pro-life believers, is prayers, rejoicing, and celebrating that even one baby might be saved, or one life kept from the hellpit of our modern debauchery and decadence. In thinking on that, I have come to a sad conclusion. 

Traditional pro-life Christians try to find things like this to celebrate:

While new, modernist, post-historical Christians spend their time defending this:

I'd say that's about right.  Nothing.  Nothing I have seen in the many reactions to the Roe decision suggests there is any error in this observation.

I was given a link to this piece.  It's a somewhat whimsical comparison to the destruction of the Death Star and the end to Roe.  We know ending Roe doesn't end everything.  Nor did destroying the Death Star for that matter.  But for anyone who cares about All Life, there should at least be some happiness over even one baby not aborted.  Somehow, some woman - or birthing person - might not get an abortion.  And isn't even one baby saved worth rejoicing over? 

Apparently not.  Since almost everyone who has cozied up to the modern Left found anything to say other than a simple praise over the decision.  Except for Deacon Gredyanus, who did celebrate the decision before echoing pro-choice talking points about the problematic ramifications of the decision.  Otherwise, not a single Christian I know who has aligned with the Left said anything positive about the SCOTUS decision in a clear and explicit way.  

Not one bothered to at least say if it helps save one baby, that's a good thing.  They either posted vague, strange, ramblings (my old classmates Greg Thornbury and Russ Moore), or shifted the posts and regurgitated old pro-abortion talking points about sexist men or pro-lifers not carrying about babies.  That was all.  Even Pope Francis's response was watered down and restrained.  Not a single praise over the possibility that even one baby might be saved.  Not from Mark Shea.  Not from Sean Dailey.  Not from our very Catholic president.  Not from Dawn Eden.  Not from Simcha Fisher.  Nobody I know who swings left of center had a modicum of praise for what unborn life might be saved.  That, to me, screams volumes. 

So point and match goes to the pro-lifers.  Most I know aren't fooled over what is ahead.  They know the fight is only beginning.  They also make sure the world knows we always have been about helping the moms and the babies. Sometimes they have done this to such an extreme they echo the objection from pro-choicers.  But on the whole, they prayed, rejoiced, and took the attitude that if even one baby is saved, or this gives someone second thoughts about indulging in our modern AIDS era sex and drugs culture, then it's a big win.  

Goats.  Sheep.  It's about more than just giving a drink to someone who is thirsty.  And unless Pope Francis's little asides about there probably not being a Hell are true, I'd say the broad and narrow gates are being defined as sharply as they ever have been in the 2000 year history of the Faith. 

Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Matthew 12.33

Friday, July 15, 2022

I missed it!

This hurts.  The last Arthur Treacher's fish and chips restaurant in the whole state of Ohio celebrated its 50th Anniversary on June 30.  Doggonit.  I would have moved heaven and earth to go to that.  Growing up, AT's was a favorite of mine.  

We weren't the most adventuresome eaters in my household.  Both of my parents - and I love them as the best parents who ever lived - were children of the Great Depression.  Therefore they developed rather mundane appetites.  It was meat and potatoes most meals.  Spaghetti (not pasta, spaghetti, for I was unaware of any other type of pasta for most of my youth), was a glaring exception.  That yielded a plate of spaghetti with a simple salad, bread and meat sauce.  Otherwise, pick from a dozen menus and add potatoes.  Even fish - always fried - was accompanied by fried potatoes. 

Our eating out stayed in the same culinary slow lanes.  Truck stops, diners, and steak houses were the norm.  I usually got a hot dog.  My parents got whatever fare was on the menu - with potatoes. So stuck to meat and potatoes was our daily diet that we never even ate casseroles - baked mac and cheese being the grand exception (and a dish I will not eat to this day). 

So you can imagine how out of the box awesome a place like Arthur Treacher's was.  It was named for the British actor known to most Americans as the befuddled constable in Disney's Mary Poppins.  Apparently he had little to do with the restaurant chain.  It was just marketing, seizing upon the popularity of the movie to draw in customers. 

It must have worked.  I remember almost every town in our neck of the woods sporting the old Arthur Treacher's lantern-like signpost. Eventually Long John Silver's came along and seems to have gobbled up the fast seafood chain market.  Over the years, most of the ATs I ate in closed - including the one where I usually ate in Marion.  Nonetheless, for much of my childhood, fish and chips and an old British actor were one and the same in my mind. 

I've often thought the reason why Mom broke with family tendencies and went there was because her and Dad always talked fondly about taking my sister to see Mary Poppins when she was little.  Also, I had a hunch Mom would have enjoyed a more adventuresome diet than the one we enjoyed.  Which is why one day when I was young, we stopped at a new place we noticed called Taco Bell.  But that's its own story. 

Pro-abortion rights Catholic politicians and the Eucharist: A different take

The issue over openly pro-abortion rights politicians who are Catholic and whether they should receive Communion has come down to two basic camps: Yes they should, no they shouldn't.  

For the most part, the 'Yes they should' camp swings left of center, and often advocates for a host of modern, post-modern, post-Christian agendas and values.  On the other hand, the 'No they shouldn't' camp tends toward conservative, traditional, and openly critical of the Church's attempts to fashion the Faith in the likeness of our post-modern society. 

I would never say everyone falls exclusively into those two camps.  Most that I've read and heard, however, can be placed into those categories with little effort.  So I was pleasantly surprised to see John C. Wright step into the fray

Mr. Wright takes a different approach.  Ultimately he echoes the 'Yes they should' camp by suggesting it's not our business what goes on between God and a politician who flouts the Church's teachings.  But - and this is the departure from that camp - she absolutely should repent and stop what she or he is doing. The politician in question should be made aware of the grievous sin being committed and the eternal consequences that await those who mock God. . 

Having been informed and pastorally admonished, if the politician continues to flaunt the Gospel yet  ignore biblical warnings about unworthy communion, then so be it.  That is between them and the Almighty and their eternal destiny.  

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Out of the mouths of babes

In the series finale of the television show Frasier, Frasier Crane says his goodbyes before he flies away to a new chapter in life.  He says his farewells, gives his hugs, and receives best wishes from his closest friends and family.  Then he comes to his brother Niles, played by David Hyde Pierce, whose performance as Frasier's pretentious brother is considered by many the reason the series became a smash hit.  One constant set piece for the show was the two brothers discussing various topics over coffee in a local Seattle coffee house.  As Frasier moves toward Niles in that last episode, Nile responds with a simple statement that summed up the mood of fans everywhere: "I'll miss the coffees."

When our second oldest gets married and moves out, and when the other boys move on in their own times, I must say that sums up my thoughts as well.  Our family has had many adventures, many ups and downs, taken trips, built traditions, enjoyed vacations, attended sporting events and concerts, watched movies and shows, and played a million games together. But when all is said and done, and my wife and I turn back to our empty nest, I admit more than anything else, I'll miss the coffees.  That is, our endless talks and conversations over the years.  

Sometimes we went off topic during prayer time.  Or we began rambling on during dinner.  Or we prattled on if we were in the van together traveling from place to place.  Or sometimes we were just chilling after a long day and began a conversational stream of consciousness that could take us from Mario Brothers to the Battle of Jutland to the filioque clause to gay marriage to the tonal differences between Aliens and Terminator 2 to the proportional influence of Chuck Mangione compared to Bach, to looking into Nietzsche's abyss, to the benefits of organic vegetables.  It didn't matter.  The sky was the limit when our conversations reached the tarmac.  Sometimes we watched hours go by, and everyone - even our youngest - would offer his or her two cents worth, before the talks wrapped up.

Which brings us to the point.  We don't have the full family talks as often now owing to life's obligations. When we do, sometimes it is shorter, with commentary from this or that son following a day or so later.  After we had a hefty discussion about the lack of emphasis on the hereafter in our modern society, and why we need to recapture that within the faith, my youngest came to me to offer his take. He mused on the role our material obsessed culture has in distracting us from the invisible part of Creation.  He thought for a few about what heaven must be like, as well as the alternative.  Then he gave his thoughts about all the things people want today rather than the important things of God and loved ones. 

He said heaven must be where there is nothing to own, but we have God and all of our loved ones to spend eternity with.  Hell must be where you have everything you ever wanted to own, but nobody around to spend eternity with.  Not to downplay the great theologians or doctors of the Church, but I'm at pains to think of a more poignant image of our eternal options.

I'll let Rod Serling take it from here (an episode we've watched that might have inspired his thinking): 

Friday, July 8, 2022

Busy, busy, busy!

The next few days and into next week are going to be pretty filled around here.  We're wrapping up the reporting for our youngest's homeschool.  He's homeschooled but, like his brothers, is enrolled in a Catholic private school that offers a high school diploma through their program.  The good from this is a classical education that results in an accredited diploma. The flip side is paperwork and reporting and recording on our part, since it has to be in line with their rather lofty standards.   Plus, we are getting all the registration in for the upcoming year.  His eighth.  Whew.  The years do fly. 

With this, along with the usual obligations, I'll be scarce until next week.  I do want to revisit the reactions to the Roe decision.  I at least want to offer a summation of what I noticed between the 'traditional' and the 'new whole life' Christians.  Something I noticed that, to me, was telling. 

But that's for next week.  If I have time I'll post, otherwise it will be next week for anything of substance.  Until then, God bless and TTFN. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

I don't know this Jesus of whom you speak

So suggests Chris Pratt.  Ah, Mr. Pratt, we hardly knew ye.  

Mr. Pratt exploded on the world stage in the wake of three unlikely mega-hits: The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Jurassic World.  He had been that big, frumpy, floppy, simple-Simon fellow on the television show Parks and Recreation.  Then he met Anna Faris who whipped him into shape - literally.  In The Lego Movie we didn't see the difference.  It was his voice still being that guy from Parks and Recreation.  But when he appeared in Guardians, muscles and ripped abs and everything, he swept millions of female fans off their feet, and impressed many male fans along the way.

With a self deprecating humor, he wore his religion on his sleeve, spoke openly of his Christian faith, defended conservative views, and came off like everyone's next door dad, husband and good old friend.  His and Anna's open and gentle care of their special needs child endeared him even more to the masses, especially those within the Faith.  

Over time, his antics did grate on the nerves.  His insistence on conveying religious values with the mentality of a Nickelodeon kid's show at times became embarrassing. After his wife left him (the speculated reasons are many, but most I've heard feel it was her inability to watch his career skyrocket while hers floundered (The Emoji Movie?)), he seemed to convey those values less and less.  

My sons, who are more in tune with the goings on in pop culture today, say that Mr. Pratt has been a target of the digital lynch mob for some time.  More than once his failure to appropriately bow before the 90 Foot Left caused him to dodge and parry against one assault after another. 

By the Trump years, Marvel, like Hollywood in general, completely immersed itself in the Left's neo-McCarthyism, while more and more Marvel actors came out to condemn Lenin and Stalin for failing to be leftwing enough.  In such an environment, it isn't hard to imagine how maintaining a traditional set of Christian values would be difficult at best. 

Nonetheless, like so many we've seen in the last couple decades, the pressure was obviously too much.  In a recent interview, he downplays his religious walk, condemns religion in general, and espouses variations on the famous' Religion sucks, but I have some vague sort of kind of thing about something faith you know.' 

It's not renouncing Jesus before the altar of Caesar as much as insisting you never heard of Jesus or Caesar in the first place.  A dodge meant to cover one's own rear.  No doubt it is due to mounting pressure from the always tolerant Left.  It might also be scraping together credibility as the beaming spotlight that once illumined him has begun to dim in the wake of one turkey bomb after another.  

In generations to come, the Church will need to revisit the topic of apostasy and prepare to receive those who may return to the flock.  A good point of reference would be John 21.15-19.  Even if it takes three times, Jesus is forever willing to forgive a denial to save one's stardom, and welcome them, like He welcomes all, back into the sheepfold through the narrow gate. 

Monday, July 4, 2022

One of my favorite scenes

 From a movie that would never be made today:

How far we've come and how low we've sunk.  Remember, it won't be us who pay the price.  It will be the grandchildren of our grandchildren who will receive the full brunt of everything we deserve.  

Saturday, July 2, 2022

It's true, it's true!

Or to quote the temptress Lili von Shtupp, it's twue! In a bid to regain some level of political relevance, Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for a crack down on Crisis Pregnancy Centers because they dare attempt to dissuade women from having an abortion.  Really.  I saw images of her Twitter post, but still found it hard to believe.  So I went hunting for some news stories.  And there they were (in mostly local outlets). 

The reason for her proposal?  Apparently it's bad when women are dissuaded from aborting their pregnancies.  Because, you know, nobody is actually pro-abortion:

Because per the American Medical Association Journal of "Ethics"

The centers, also referred to as pregnancy resource centers, claim to provide comprehensive women's heath care - while their true, and often religiously-inspired, mission is to halt women from going through with an abortion. 

Once again, we are reminded that while some doctors, intellectuals and scientists fled from, or bravely resisted, the Nazi Party in Germany, most happily stayed and did the Party's bidding.  After all, we know Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers never encourage women to have abortions.  That's why they aren't unethical.  Thus says the ethics of the AMA.    

I especially like the subtle assumption that the real deal breaker and scary quote should be the 'religious' part of the centers' missions.  Yep.  When did we used to think that scholars and scientists and doctors are perforce objective seekers of truth and goodness and good will discourse?  Are we past that yet? 

Anyhoo, Ms. Warren puts the lie to the old 'pro-abortion activists care about women and babies' talking point.  Like most things liberal, they care - when convenient.  The moral grounding of post-war liberalism is that it's true only if convenient, and people matter only if convenient.  Hence the MSM attempts to assure Americans that hope is around the corner and things could always be worse where the economy is concerned - because a liberal Democrat is in the White House.  Or the monthly ignoring of the horrible rates of murder within the American black community.  Again, doesn't help the narrative. 

The funny part is that this also shows the lie of the pro-abortion activists who insist abortion opponents don't care about women or babies. By calling these centers out, it shows the world that someone may actually care about and work for the well being of women and children, even if they oppose abortion. They just don't do so in accordance with the Left's dogmas.  

Yet for the Left, that last part is enough and all that matters.  If you saved a million babies from starving, it would be as filthy rags if your charity failed to align with secular liberal dogma.  I'm shocked at how many Christians appear to have warmed up to this little sleight of hand.  And yet, a brief survey of Church history should make me wonder why I'm shocked. 

Friday, July 1, 2022

Food for thought

Yep.  With that happy thought, have a great Friday night!

Bishop Barron responds to Roe


Yep. Succinct and true.  We allowed, if not encouraged, America's womenfolk to abort over 60 million pregnancies in the course of a few generations in order to sustain our modern sex and drugs culture. And we did this despite the rise of AIDS and tens of millions of lives otherwise lost or ruined to our unchecked debauchery.  Of course women were already aborting pregnancies before Roe, and those numbers had been increasing.  They increased pretty much in line with our post-war acceptance of a post-Christian era that would see whatever good lessons we tried to learn from WWII corrupted by the promise of a rampant narcissistic world.  A world where life ends when I say so, but my life never ends because everything is everyone else's fault.  A paganized message oddly embraced by no small number of Christians. 

Bishop Barron gets to the point, nonetheless, and reminds us of the horror we've lived through.  A horror that, unlike a Second World War, has been easily ignored by so many. And unlike the Second World War, where the world at least tried to learn a lesson or two, even now we're seeing millions fight to make sure we learn nothing at all from our abortion culture.  We're seeing them fight to keep piling on the bodies of aborted babies to sustain a cultural decadence that has piled on its own bodies by the tens of millions.  

They say the very existence of the Jewish people is proof of God's existence.  If that's the case, then the very fact that our post-Christian society still exists is more than ample proof of this God's longsuffering grace. 

Our very Catholic president continues to fight the fight for national abortion rights

This time by wanting to temporarily drop the filibuster rules in order to ram through federal legislation to guarantee the right to abortion keeps chugging along.  

By now the old euphemism 'pro-choice' or 'reproductive health' no longer apply.  This is 100% pro-abortion plain and simple.  It's a good thing the modern Catholic leadership no longer puts much stock in the first 2000 years version of Catholicism, or we'd have some big troubles right about now.