Wednesday, August 31, 2022

How in the world did I miss this?

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

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

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

Who not to trust on the Internet

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

Here was Scott Eric Alt's initial Twitter post:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Expressing your individuality like everyone else

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 29, 2022

So this is happening

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

My unanswered response

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 25, 2022

How stupid was this?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

The things you learn on the Internet

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

I think she means Fr. James Martin

I could be wrong, because she mentions no names.  But Simcha Fisher is pretty upset about those trying to sweep the problems with Bishop Weakland under the carpet.  

Now, I had never heard of the fellow. RIP.  Apparently he was heavily linked to the cover ups in the sex abuse scandal.  That, remember, is what really made the Church look bad.  Only anti-Catholic bigots would fry the Church over the sinful actions of some priests.  But it was the systemic cover ups that sent the reputation over the edge. 

I've seen Fr. James Martin's response to his death criticized in multiple venues .  Donald McClarey's The American Catholic is just one site that looked aghast at Fr. Martin's all but ignoring the real problems with Bishop Weakland.  To see Fr. Martin's response, you'd think the baddies were the ones who had a problem with the bishop paying for gay sex.  He mentions nothing at all about Bishop Weakland's links to the sex abuse scandal.  Which, per Ms. Fisher, is a no-no and fails to account for the ongoing pain from the abuse scandal.  Though, again, she mentions nobody by name. 

Ms. Fisher does bring in Covid and links her point to those who questioned various approaches to the Covid pandemic.  Personally I don't see a connection between those questioning the ever evolving responses to the Covid pandemic and those who enabled and defended the sex abuse scandal.  But that's just me.  Ms. Fisher and I obviously disagree. 


It looks like Fr. Martin apologized.  

He apologized for ignoring the abuse scandal aspect of Bishop Weakland's legacy.  More importantly he apologized for making one sin sound like all the others in order to defend him.  This is an argument, it's worth noting, he has used before about those who indulge in the sins to the left of center.  So that was actually not at all out of step for him.  Does that mean he is retracting that line of reasoning where participants in the sins of the Left are concerned?  We'll see.  If so, then that is definitely a step in the right direction.  As it is, he apologized and that should be good enough for any Christian. 

Monday, August 22, 2022

A PSA from the American Library Association

*Please read update below

On how to sex up the youngest of these in your rural, small town libraries.  Yep.  Read it here.  Not much to add.  Sexing up our youngest children is already underway and increasingly endorsed by our pagan society. Enough Americans still get the willies, however, that it calls for some help in the endeavor.  But those priests of our pagan nation also know that a vast majority of Americans - Christians included - will turn a blind eye or deny.  That's all they need.  

Exactly where we go from here I don't know.  As I said, paganism, even of a secular variety, is the at-rest position of humanity shorn of the revelation of God. Most modern hipsters imagine paganism means getting to  attend awesome orgies at Stonehenge on the Summer Solstice.  Perhaps.  But it also means much, must more, often with a steep price.  And it's a price the grandchildren of our grandchildren are going to have to pay in this world, and possibly even in the next. 

UPDATE:  Apparently the link above goes nowhere since the article in question has been removed.  That's called getting caught.  I have no doubt that the ALA still intends what it wrote there.  It will simply find a different, slicker way to get the message out.  The modern Left is becoming so bad that such subterfuge and mendacity, denial and hypocrisy have become the stock and store of everything they do.  If you want to read what it said, Rod Dreher wisely copied some of the text down on his blog for all of its cringe inducing glory. 

Saturday, August 20, 2022

The end of the Age of Christianity

The Christian Era.  The age of Christianity.  The light side of the dividing line that followed the New Covenant revealed through Jesus Christ. That's what we grew up in.  Or at least we thought we did, not realizing we were witnessing the last breaths of that historical epoch.  I suppose if we were raised in church it never dawned on us that the world would move on past the Christian Era in our lifetimes.  Much less could we imagine that the world would revert to the pre-Christian era values of paganism and heathen gods.  Yet that is what happened.  

Rod Dreher called it in his book The Benedict Option.  Dreher might not be the messenger we need, but his message was loud and clear for a people who missed the memo: We are entering into something the Church has not encountered since the earliest years of its existence.  A pagan world in which paganism once again has the wealth and power and minds and hearts of the masses, and those who follow this first century messiah supposedly born in a stable are the fringe outcasts.  

Granted, it's a secular paganism.  It mostly accepts a very atheistic view of the universe.  That is, reality is matter and that's about it.  Perhaps there are parallel universes or such, and energy fields and all. Maybe there is some core energy field behind it all.  Call it God, Allah, Buddha, or Bill Pullman for that matter.  None of it maters because religions are just fairy stories invited by the ancients in lieu of having science.  If there is some  divine thing, it is as irrelevant as quantum physics is to most of the human population.  If we must personalize it, we do so only to affirm me and otherwise it may stay out of my way. A seductive gospel to be sure.

Which is why it's the one that has swept the West.  What the rest of the world will do with this post-Western, post-Christian society remains to be seen.  When Russia invaded Ukraine we initially said the whole world would rally against this naked display of barbarism and slaughter.  But it hasn't.  China, India, the Middle East, S. America - all are just sitting on the fence at best, likely waiting to see what happens.  I can't help but think that not a few people in the world would be happy to watch the West eat itself. 

Nonetheless, we in the West are so far gone that such a reality check barely registers.  That's because we are dead as the civilization we once were. At this point I would support someone who wants to remove 'In God We Trust' from our money since it's a bold face lie.  Whatever god our nation trusts in today has little to nothing to do with the God revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures, the prophets, Christ and His apostles.  The God who was the default understanding of God until I was old enough to remember holds no more place in our social mindset than the tooth fairy. 

My son accepts the theory that the two World Wars did it in.  First Europe after the First World War, then America after the Second, it was the end of the Christian Era and the beginning of a new, godless, pagan, secular era of self-worship and hubris that would shame the Tower of Babel.  However long ago we trace the roots of this decline, it can't be denied that in the years following WWII, the decline happened like a row of tumbling dominos. 

It's fitting that by the time I was in high school the academic world was pushing to eliminate the designation BC/AD from our timelines.  Of course many Christians instantly complied.  By the time my sons were in public school, not only did their textbooks and resources exclusively use the non-Christian 'BCE/CE (that's Before the Common Era and Common Era), but they were taught exactly what they meant and why it was incumbent upon them to adopt the same designation.

I'll say this, at least the are honest.  Ever day we see the chipping away, if not the demolition, of values, truths, beliefs, virtues and views established by the biblical revelation of God.  Donald McClarey posted a NYT editorial pondering the virtues of cannibalism in light of our modern climate crisis and food shortage.  Abortion is increasingly a badge of honor, not something horrible to be hidden.  And our medical establishments are beginning to warm to the mutilation of youth based on the mental health industry's insistence that a person who says she is Napoleon must mean there is no such thing as an objective Napoleon.  The world of the modern paganism.   

Paganism, I'm convinced, is the at-rest position of the world.  Even a secular brand of paganism.  We invent our gods in our image and proceed afoot.  In paganism, there is no sanctify of life.  Humans exist as food for other humans born into various strata of power and privilege.  Unlike the ancient pagans, however, who could still achieve lofty and honorable accomplishments, we have reduced ourselves to animals in trousers with not much to seek except the latest physical pleasure or self-worshipping proclamation.  We are the privileged ones, able to hate with justification and support the extermination of those not-me types since we're sure such practices will never turn on us, simply because we are better than anyone born before us.  Nothing honorable, much less sensical, about that. 

What the near future holds is anyone's guess.  A growing number of believers are simply throwing off the shackles of the Old Time Religion and finding new and creative ways to do in Rome now that Rome is back.  If they won't lay a sacrifice at the altar of Caesar, they will certainly find ways to party at the ceremony afterwards (from Russ Moore's statement that he couldn't attend a gay wedding, but he would happily attend a gay wedding reception).  No doubt such compromises will suffice for the new paganism - for now.  Down the road the line in the sand will be moved again, and more believers will happily leap accordingly. 

Whether it's because deep down they haven't really believed the Gospel message or not, I don't know. I have a hunch there is less real faith in our pews than we might believe.  Heck, we all know how tough it is to believe when we've lived in a ruthlessly secular state for generations.  I imagine some long ago lost that faith, but since there was no cost for indulging in a fine Sunday fellowship, it was no problem. 

Now, as the new Caesars of the new paganism consolidate control, free believing and free worshipping aren't going to be as easy as it was.  I fear those who cling to that Old Time Historical Gospel will increasingly be the pariahs, the outcasts, the ostracized.  And many of the ones charging forward with rocks ready to stone the dissenters will be those we once sat next to in our pews. 

Friday, August 19, 2022

Why we homeschool

Because I don't want my sons taught that they are second rate citizens who deserve what they get because they are 1) Christian, 2) white, 3) male, 4) heterosexual, 5) American.  That's why.  For instance, the Minneapolis teachers union has negotiated a contract whereby any staffing cuts would cut white-skin teachers before non-white-skin teachers.   A school that treats its staff that way will treat its students that way. 

Yeah.  It's as Jim Crow as Jim Crow.  It's also based on attitudes and agendas fully embraced by our corporate interests, pop culture, education systems, news media and not a few of our religious traditions as well.  Remember, the majority will always follow the easy way. If the easy way is singing God Bless America and waving the flag, then so be it.  If the easy way is labor camps and ghettoes for the undesirables and wrong thinkers, again, so be it. 

Granted, not that Christianity equates to White, but one must understand the real target here.  It's none other than Jesus Christ, as He said it would be.  It's not us that the world hates, it's Him.  The purpose is the destruction of the saving message of the Christian Faith.  The destruction of the civilization it helped build is the most logical, and easiest, approach.  If we have to generate race-hate against those who were the majority ethnic group within this civilization, again, so be it.  That so many willing to do this are themselves white shows it's probably not a desire to punish or retaliate against white people in general that is their main goal.  

Again, the main goal is the destruction of the historical Christian Faith.  The destruction of the Gospel.  The crucifixion of Christ.  It's been done before.  It will be done again.  We're about to learn what it was to live the Gospel in a majority pagan land that sees the Gospel as a threat to its earthly designs. 

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."  John 15.18-19

Thursday, August 18, 2022

A one party nation

Is the goal, and there are plenty bureaucrats and ex-bureaucrats who are about making it happen:

From the files of 'Making our goals nakedly obvious.'  Just a quick post from something passed my way. 

We're back!

I'm not one to announce being away from home ahead of time.  Ever since one of the Patheos trolls made it clear he knew me and knew where I lived, I've played such things closer to the chest.  But we finally got a little time away over the last week, hence the silence (that Friday post was pre-written to publish on Friday). 

Yes, it's our first vacation since before Covid.  That was 2019, a very, very rough year in our lives.  As a last ditch effort to salvage something good that year, in October we took a brief jaunt down to St. Meinrad Archabbey, my unofficial spiritual home.  Unfortunately our third oldest was still in crutches and that, along with a string of crazy occurrences on the trip, made it a less than perfect experience

Still, we soldiered on because, in October of 2019, we believe the following year the boys were going to be moving out and moving on.  That was the plan.  By the fall of 2020 they would all be living together, sharing expenses, as each went his particular direction in life.   Then came Covid. 

Owing to a variety of ups and downs, mixed with lockdowns and just getting through the crazy of those two years, we didn't have the chance to really travel anywhere.  So we decided by one way or another, we would all go on a trip together before next year.  

I'm  not one given to visiting 'touristy' places.  I've gone to some historical tourist spots, like Colonial Williamsburg.  On the whole, however, I prefer more low key and away places with fewer crowds and less tacky.  

Nonetheless, I broke with my usual preferences because my wife, when she was in a church youth group, went to Gatlinburg, TN and had fond memories of the time.  She has brought that up more than once over the years.  This year we decided to go along with her wishes. 

Down the road I might post on the thrills and chills that comes with renting a cabin that includes looking out the side door and seeing a black bear walking by.  For now life is busy, busy, busy.  More to come down the road.  See you soon. 

The boys on the road again for one more adventure.

Coming home we were met with my wife's roses in full bloom.  That's nice.

Friday, August 12, 2022

The family that plays together stays together

That philosophy has certainly developed over the years in our house.  We always enjoyed the odd game or two with the family, but it became especially true over the Covid lockdowns of 2020 and early 2021.  Naturally, even with the older boys doing their Bed and Breakfast strategy over the last year, we don't play games as a family the way we used to. 

Despite all of this, the boys still try to get one day a week for the family.  Unless some school or work obligation bears down on them, they will set aside one day to be with the family as a whole.  My third son, manager though he is, has  pulled what strings he can to get as many Sundays off as possible to be together for church as well as that day of rest.  And, in our case, fun.

Now fun often has to manifest itself in many different ways.  Sometimes a movie we've traditionally watched every year.  Or a holiday special.  Or a big feast for the season. But when those are scarce, and the weather angry, the boys will pull out what games they can and we'll sit around the table and play..  

So what games are the ones we've played the most over the years?  Granted, different ones of us have at different times enjoyed this or that game.  Sometimes if a few were around we might play a different game that has fewer players.  And the boys have the games they play when they can.  

I'm talking here about the games we've played over the years as a whole family.  The ones that allow all six of us to play (five before our youngest, but six since).  The standbys.  The old faithfuls.  Here are the main ones, in no particular order, that all six of us have enjoyed as a family through the years:

Catan - First prize would have to go to this gem.   I picked it up years ago at Barnes and Noble.  I knew nothing of it.  Just something to get for Christmas.  It's only for four people, but with an expansion can include six.  The premise is that you're settling a new land and have to build up resources, settlements, cities, and fend off other players doing the same.  It's not a quick game, but not terribly long.  I can't imagine trying to count the times we've played this over the years.  It's our go-to game.  When we have enough time, but not too much.  Everyone, including our youngest, gets it.  True, he has yet to win, but he's come close a couple times. (he just won as this was being written)  Against five adults who don't pull too many punches, that's not bad. 

Eldritch Horror - I already wrote about this here.  Suffice to say, it's giving even Catan a run for the money.   

Poker - deal me in or deal me out.  I often regale the boys about the days of my youth.  My best friend had a mom who everyone liked.  She was Lithuanian, quirky, and always hospitable. Naturally, his house became 'the house' at which to hang out.  Among the pastimes would be games, usually cards. 

Sometimes RISK was the game.  But often it was poker.  By late high school and early college, we would play for hours into the night.  Sometimes all the way through to the morning.  Different friends would come in and out.  Some would bring snacks and drinks.  Sometimes his mom would make sandwiches or snacks.  Friends would play for a time and leave only to be replaced by someone else.  I called those our 'deal me out' nights.  I think the boys like capturing a bit of that when we play, and it's also a nice, relaxing game.  There's something about a round of poker (no money) with sandwiches and snacks that just captures the right aesthetic for us.   

Apples to Apples - we've possibly played this game as much as any other game ever.  It takes no time to play, set up, or win.   One person puts down a card with a word on it, and everyone else tries to put down cards that have people, places or other things that are closest to representing that word.  We all take our turn as the one to judge the other cards.  For such a simple premise, it has yielded as many laughs as any other game we play.  

Dungeons and Dragons - can you believe it?  When it was the raging fad of the day in my high school years, I barely noticed it.  Now?  It's my sons' love for fantasy and sci-fi, born of their coming of age when The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Marvel were the cultural backdrop of their world, that tipped the scales.   They even have me be the referee; the one who knows very little about science fiction or fantasy beyond Tolkien, Star Wars, and my wife's love for Star Trek, and next to nothing about RPGs in general except what I read.  Nonetheless, my boys say I don't do badly, and compared to other RPG games they've seen or played, I run a strangely sedate game that almost never has anything happen, and yet has all the more tension because of it.  In fact, they believe my ignorance of the overall fantasy/sci-fi genres actually makes the game better.  I'll take their word. For my part, I enjoy reading the old books I got in my youth but didn't use, and trying to make something with a semblance of logic and consistency out of the mess. 

Fief - In terms of capturing 'the spirit' of a game's theme, I'd have to say Fief does the job about as well as any. The setting is medieval France, with each player trying to seize land, titles and wealth in order to buy himself the throne or even the papacy.  Plenty of  backstabbing in this one.  Some of it might go over our youngest's head.  But what he lacks in the nuances of grand strategies, he makes up for with a bulldog tenacity that won't let go when he believes he's been scorned.  Basically we wait for someone to do something to him, then take comfort in knowing that person will have our youngest around his neck for the rest of the game. 

Shadows over Camelot - another 'themed' game, the source being obvious.  It's a strange mishmash of rules and play, but it gets the source inspiration right. Perhaps it's the art or the overall quality of the product, but it does evoke a bit of the Arthurian, and for a game based on the same, that's not bad.  It isn't terribly difficult to figure out.  On top of it all, it's more of a cooperative game.  Yes, there's the token traitor who becomes the 'him against us' of the game.  But we figure there is only a one in six chance of our youngest drawing that.  Most of the time he's part of the team.  Though he has a nasty tendency of acting like the traitor and therefore throwing everyone off.  Something that has enraged more than one of my sons over the years. 

Monopoly - this game gets a lot of grief in modern times.  Some call it the worst game ever.  I think that's a bit harsh.  True, luck plays a major roll in the game.  You can make some decisions here or there, but they are going to be filtered down through luck of the dice.  Still, it's so well known and easily played, it's a great way to pass time and enjoy fellowship.  We don't have to stop and ponder complex rules.  We roll, we buy, we pay, and we visit.  That last part is worth its weight in hotels. 

Dungeon - I remember seeing this at a friend's house back in the day.  I thought it was a board game version of the more popular D&D. I was surprised to find out some years ago that it was actually a precursor to the cultural fad that was Dungeons and Dragons.  Truth be told, it seems D&D lite, and it's often our youngest who likes this, since it is simple and doesn't take too long.  The older ones can be a bit competitive with things, and sometimes they've made it into a sort of Vegas style Dungeon game.  But in the end, it's one that everyone gets and can play largely on the same level.  Trying to balance five adults with a youngster who is almost ten years off the rest is an important consideration in our most popular games. 

Clue - an oldie but a goodie.  Like Apples to Apples, it's for those times when we are in a crunch.  Maybe a movie, maybe something else; perhaps a cookout with some time left over.  Inevitably someone says let's play a game.  Not enough time for anything else, so it's whip out the Clue board and avenge Mr. Body.  I don't know that I've ever won this.  I get that it should be simple, but my mind doesn't work in a way that can outpace the others, who have all won at least once I believe. 

Those are the biggies.  There are others of course.  And this list doesn't include the myriad four and five player games, or chess, or various two player games, or the more 'hobby' focused ones that might include more than five, but my wife often sits out.  That would be games like wargames or Emprise in Arms and such.  These are the family times, the ones we hold until everyone is here.  It's far less common now than in years past.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Mark Shea and the Left's modern racism

Read it here.  We call that a lack of self-awareness.  Mark posts his usual rant against modern conservatives as being racists to the core.  He says for MAGA types racism is a feature, not a bug.  He then claims that any attempts to reach such MAGA types are doomed to fail.  They're that bad. 

Note, however, the way in which Mark writes of 'white' people.  At no point does Mark refer to 'white' in any way but as a pejorative term. If you took what he wrote about whites and replaced it with blacks or Jews, do you think it would seem racist?  You bet it would. And you'd be correct to say so. 

The genius of the modern Left - driven largely by wealthy, college educated white liberals - has been to weaponize racism against their own ethnic identity.  Quite brilliant if you think on it.  Because almost any challenge can be seen as denying the racism that they clearly see.  After all, they see the real problem, why can't you?  Doesn't that mean you're a racist?  Pure genius.  

What their long term goal is I don't know.  What they think things will look like in another fifty years of such rhetoric is beyond me.  I just recognize racism when I see it.  When your attitude toward any ethnic group echoes a racist attitude against any other ethnic group, I'm calling it racist.  Even if it's an attitude aimed at your own ethnic lineage. 

Bonus points if you see Mark's all too common blunder of gleefully calling down woes on the rich.  He forgets, apparently, that for most of human history and the majority humans in the world today, Mark is filthy rich indeed.  Perhaps missing that little tidbit demonstrates how Mark could miss that the logical result of calling down endless hellfire on his own ethnic group might not exclude him or his posterity

their fantasies of fascist self-pity and “Benedict Option” revanchism is just grotesque (and blasphemous to anybody who knows the first thing about the gospel which neither knows nor cares about the ethnics distinctions so cherished by this white supremacist freak show).

Written by Mark, a man who spent the entire article making ethnic distinctions, albeit about his own ethnic group. Once more I become convinced that to align with the modern Left demands an unprecedented level of lacking self-awareness. 


In three ... two ... one.  The story of four Muslim men murdered in Albuquerque exploded on the news feeds this last weekend.  Multiple broadcasts reported on the obvious connection between the victims.  President Biden jumped in.  Authorities expressed concern for the Muslim community.  By Monday that was one of the lead stories at the top of the morning news across the networks.  Concerns about Islamaphobic hate crimes on the rise were mused on as Albuquerque  officials rushed to protect mosques and other Muslim centers.

Then the news broke last night that a suspect was apprehended.  A Muslim.  Of possible Middle Eastern descent.  They mentioned it this morning on the back end of the first hour of the broadcasts.  This obviously wasn't what the press had hoped for, because we all know what the press was hoping.  So I'd say that's that.  The whole thing will be dropped like a hot potato.  By Friday Albuquerque will return to its rightful place as the location where Bugs Bunny should have turned left. 

RIP to the victims and their families.  Their pain of loss will continue, even if the coverage they might have received will not.  

Monday, August 8, 2022

RIP Roger Mosley

L-R: John Hillerman, Tom Selleck, Larry Manetti, Roger Mosley
I saw that Roger E. Mosley has died.  For most who knew of him, especially from my generation, he was Theodore Calvin - T.C. - the chopper pilot friend of Thomas Magnum in the 1980s mega-hit Magnum P.I 

His character was an important one in those days, and it was mentioned then that his role was not merely of a token black man.  He was not Magnum's black friend as much as he was Magnum's friend, who just happened to be black.  A big difference since many shows back then that featured black characters made it clear their main purpose on the screen was being black.  He also played against stereotypes.

One of the show's running theme-gags was that the high cultured British gentlemen Jonathan Quale Higgins (played by Texas born Jonathan Hillerman), was a man of class, culture and sophistication.  This was set in juxtaposition to Magnum's beach bum, beer and chilidog and baseball cap persona.  While it was clear Magnum was educated and culturally aware, it seldom interested him. Rick, the other main character, was altogether culturally ignorant.  

The character of T.C., on the other hand, was - next to the Higgins character - the most culturally sophisticated of the regulars.  On more than one occasion he could quote literature, appreciated music, loved the ballet and could reference opera.  In addition, while Rick was a philanderer and Magnum's morals were considered cutting edge in those days (though seldom shown), T.C. was the man who spent his off hours helping kids and coaching little league and being a mentor to the down and out in his neighborhood. That went a long way, in the early 1980s, toward breaking old Hollywood stereotypes. 

It's also worth noting that the show itself used T.C. to build on some of its main themes.  In those days, an uber-theme of our society was reconciliation.  That was big in the early 80s 40th Anniversary of WWII.  On multiple occasions I remember the lessons of the war being about reconciling and putting the ills of the past behind us.  Magnum P.I. had more than one episode where that was the point, including stories about past racism, bigotry, wrong doing and persecution.  And they weren't afraid to put the character of T.C. into the mix as both victim and survivor of such wrong doing, but always ready to forgive and reconcile. A different world to be sure. 

Like all characters in high profile parts, T.C. became Mosley's chief identity. But there was more to him than that.  I heard years ago that, in a way similar to his on screen alter ego, he dedicated himself to coaching and mentoring young people in Los Angeles.  While he continued to act and perform, I can't help but think of his work with youth as his significant accomplishment.  How keeping in character can you get? 

RIP Mr. Mosley, and thanks for the memories. 

Friday, August 5, 2022

Happy Birthday to our youngest!

Obviously from last year, but it still captures him well

And a big birthday at that.  It's his thirteenth.  That means he's a teenager.  It also means that for the first time since the mid-1990s, there are no pre-teens in our house.  That's a big leap forward in life's seasons.  

For his part, he's rather inscrutable about his likes and designs in life.  We know he like technology, especially technology history and old time - what he calls retro - technology.  Hence he managed to find for me a fully working Atari system for Christmas.  I think dealing with his three older and often boisterous brothers, he's balanced being outgoing in some things and being quieter with others. 

Like his older brother, he's not too demanding for things.  Getting him to give us an idea of anything he wants is like pulling teeth.  Usually they say they're more or less content with things, don't have time for much more than they have, or prefer the time they do have to be with the whole family.  

Nonetheless, we squeezed some ideas out of him, one of the stranger being a collection set from the group King Crimson.  A musical group I had never heard of is now one of the most played artists in our house.  And it's through our youngest and our second oldest that we've been exposed to them.  I must admit, it's an acquired taste.

He wanted a return to an old favorite - Dark Tower.  A 40 year old game that still delivers

Nonetheless it fits with him.  He has his own relationship with each of his brothers, having something he does differently with each, and music seems to be his connection to our second oldest.  Our oldest has always been more his 'live in uncle', owing to the vast difference in age.  Our third oldest was his playmate, and still tends to be the one who will rough house and play on ground level, though as they're both getting older that is diminishing. 

So here's to him and a blessed year ahead.  He's kept us younger feeling than we might have been with the older three moving on at this time.  But time happens, and he is getting older, too.  We pray he will find his path and prove himself on par with his older brothers who have spent so much of their lives being there for him. 

One of my favorite pictures of the boys

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

If Dr. Phil was pope

I can't think of many differences between a letter he would write to an LGBTQ outreach event, and this one from Pope Francis: 

Dear brother,

Thank you for the letter you sent me a few weeks ago, along with the “Outreach 2022” brochure. Congratulations for having been able to make the event happen this year in person.

I am aware that the most valuable thing is not what appears in the brochure or in the photos, but what happened in interpersonal encounters. In fact, the pandemic made us seek alternatives to shorten the distances. It also taught us that certain things are irreplaceable, among them the possibility to look at each other “face to face,” even with those who think differently or those whose differences seem to separate or even confront us. When we overcome these barriers, we realize that there is more that unites us than separates us.

I encourage you all to keep working in the culture of encounter, which shortens the distances and enriches us with differences, in the same manner of Jesus, who made himself close to everyone.

I assure you of my prayers. Don’t stop praying for me. May Jesus bless you and the Blessed Virgin care for you.



No mention of anything of religious substance.  Just 'hang in there' levels of pep-poster talk.  Nothing about wanting to help people come closer to God, Christ, a moral life, or anything.  The idea of leaving a sinful lifestyle isn't even worth mentioning.  Where Jesus and Mary and God exist at all, is where they exist in our modern paganism - at best to bless me no matter what I do or want, otherwise stay out of my way. Which is just what one would hear listening to the latest installment of Oprah Winfrey.  

In fact, apart from how he spends his Sundays, I can't really think of anything that makes Pope Francis sound any different than any one of a thousand talking heads, pop psychiatrists, television commentators, and self-help gurus in our modern world.  If there is a bigger problem with a pope, I'm at pains to imagine what it is.