Friday, April 28, 2023

Which is why charging into battle with Republicans

Is a lot like charging into battle with an accordion.  Here.  

Yep. Very few Republicans put traditional Christian values as their top priority.  I know that they'll invoke the old 'our country can't impose Christiaan values on a pluralistic nation' bilge without once acknowledging the secular left's willingness to brutally impose its godless, leftwing ideological values on our 'pluralistic' country.  

Like most things said by those left of center or surrendering to the same, it's a dodge.  By now, the old sales pitch of 'America has no right be a country based on one set of values from one civilization' should be taken as seriously as the tooth fairy.  The ones who said that did so to emasculate opposition.  Now, with a zeal that a fundamentalist Protestant in WASP America could never fathom, that same movement is seeking to convert America to its vision, and woe betide those who fail to conform. 

Again, I realize Neville Chamberlain famously received a fair amount of criticism for the Munich Conference, and rightly so.  But how much more would we shower endless contempt on him if he kept going back every year after and trying the same thing?   As we keep on accepting the same lame excuse making and mendacious justifications for surrendering to this emerging shadow, ponder that fact. 

Thursday, April 27, 2023

The media template for reporting on mass shootings


And that's how the media does it.  There is no real room for debate.  I welcome anyone to demonstrate that I've missed something, but I don't think this is too far from the mark.  

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Pope Francis follows the way of mainline Protestant denominations

That is, the Church teaches it - until the World says otherwise.  It's going to be a long, dark voyage for faithful Christians in the upcoming years.  After all, even as an Evangelical I appreciated that the Catholic Church was a rock against which the waves of the latest tended to break.  Thanks largely to Pope Francis, that reputation is quickly fading. 

The remnant will remain, but the winnowing is going to be staggering.   It will be from the ashes of whatever world emerges from our genius that people will start looking at the last century or so and conclude mistakes were made, and it's time to do a Josiah.  

Blogging for the next week or two

I  haven't had much time recently.  I'll get to the comments when I can.  Even with cutting down on blogging, these last couple weeks have been a flurry of  activity and deadlines.  For now, we are heading into that week of weeks that's been lurking ever closer for over a year. 

Tonight is our youngest's confirmation.  It was supposed to be in a week, but that was the day of our son's wedding.  Which happens to be the day before our other son's college graduation ceremony.  So we arranged with another nearby parish for him to be confirmed there, though he went through the rest of the time here at our home parish. 

So as you can guess, we'll be mighty busy.  Even now I'm just taking a breather to post this and let folks know what's up.  Thanks for visiting, and again, I'll get to responses when I can.  I appreciate the insights and comments - the best part of blogging.  

Don't know when I'll post next, but probably not much until everything has quieted down again.  Till then, TTFN and God bless.  

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

David French continues to repeat leftwing talking points


I don't subscribe to the NYT, and wasn't interested enough to pull the tricks I sometimes pull to access an article.  I know what it says: leftwing talking points.  Gun owners are the problem. Gun cult is the problem.  Fear and rage among the right is the problem. Anything and everything right of center is problem.  To the left being the beautiful people who are never to blame. 

Oh, perhaps he mentions crime rates within the black community, the high rates of gang and drug violence that contribute to the overall homicide rate.  Perhaps he ponders the uptick in crimes and attacks against police officers and thinks it might have to do with BLM rhetoric.  When he speaks of fear and rage, he might cast a glance at the growing narrative that  conservatives and Christians are engaged in a genocide against the transgender community, and muse over whether that might have had an impact on the Nashville shooter, whose manifesto has yet to be released.

If he goes there, then fair enough.  I'm all for looking at anything when it comes to problem solving.  But if not, then I have a hard time believing French gives a rip about gun violence one way or anther and, like the Left in general, sees it merely as one more weapon in the leftwing arsenal, to be used only when convenient. 

FWIW, I'd love to see the stats on how many lawful gun owners are behind the gun violence, how many NRA members, how many MAGA types, how many who are part of this 'gun cult' actually become involved in gun violence.  Just like the stats that show pro-life people don't care about kids, or conservatives don't care about the poor.  I always ask, and yet I never see.  

In follow up to my Greydanus post

 I was sent this:

Here's the thing.  I don't like the humor.  I don't like making fun of someone - and that's what it's doing - for something they can't help.  I know, he didn't have to run for office knowing full well the problems involved.  And that decision to push forward in the campaign despite the high likelihood of what we've seen happen is a fair debate.  I also know that it is 100% impossible to have a fair debate with progressives.  Even if you tried to lay it out in the most respectable manner, for daring to point out the obvious you'd be accused of hating disabled people or wanting them killed.

Nonetheless, I say we should do what Michelle Obama only spoke of doing, and that's take the higher ground.  Especially since, as Christians, that's part and parcel of the whole Jesus game.  Plus, it does no good to lower ourselves to their standards.  One, we don't have the institutions behind us to cover our tracks.  And two, we lose any moral high ground since actually having consistent morals is supposed to be one of our selling points.  It certainly separates us from the Left's here today, gone yesterday approach to morals. 

With that said, once again we see Greydanus's slip into the cesspool of leftwing rhetorical tricks.  Having spent my life listening to liberals mock and deride elderly Republicans, mock their misfortunes, and sometimes even mock them for their own handicaps (I recall George Clooney once mocking Charlton Heston's Alzheimer's - something I am no fan of at all), it's the height of disingenuousness to make such a partisan swipe.  It suggests strongly that it's not making fun of disabilities that is the problem, but who is doing the making fun of that is the problem.  

Had he simply called this out and said it was in bad taste, then no problem.  I would agree. But he then pulls a favorite tactic of the Left of using a single event to tarnish the entire pool of political opponents.  Perhaps he is so deeply lazy into his partisanship that he didn't bother to see if such rhetoric has been employed by his allies on the Left.  To be honest he would have to have lived in a hole for these last several decades to miss it.

Otherwise, he knows it's true and doesn't care because it's his side doing it.  Or he knows it's true and, like so many in our tutorial class today, is banking on his readers' own lazy ignorance so as not to be called out.  In any event, it's once again a bad look from someone who used to be one of the good guys.   

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Steven Greydanus is one unhappy pappy

I've had a couple folks point me to Greydanus's apparent boil over at Twitter for some reason to do with blue checks or such.   I'll be honest, I know virtually nothing about Twitter.   I have no clue what this is about. I just know that like Greydanus, the Left has insisted we are on the brink of a catastrophe of biblical proportions because Elon Musk and Twitter, and Mr. Greydanus is accepting that narrative.

Until he announced his plans to buy Twitter, Musk was at worst a curiosity, at best a hero for electric cars and going green and all.  But then he presented the possibility that upon buying Twitter, the Left would lose its comfortable monopoly across the tech corporate world of social media.  

Note well, when conservatives complained that they were overwhelmingly targeted and banned and blocked on social media platforms, they were told to stop crying like babies.  After all, it's just social media.  That's not important.  It's no big deal.  

Once news broke that Musk was buying Twitter, however, it was like everything to the Left of center.  Invoking its favorite tactic of a 'here today, gone yesterday' approach to truth, it declared democracy and perhaps the entire human race to be in jeopardy.  Before we even knew what Musk would do, he was now discount Himmler.  And of course, the donkey-thralls responded as donkeys always do when you whip them.  They brayed like babies. 

Now Musk has done this, but I'll be honest I have no what idea what this is. Below are a few screenshots of some of Greydanus's posts about the issue.   I wish I knew more, then I could comment on the validity of his anger.  But I can certainly notice trends when I see them.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Our world is so deep into idiocy

That this quote is actually reported as a valid argument for transgender normality:

If you are forcing a trans child to go through puberty when they are trans, that is tantamount to torture, and this body should be ashamed,” Zephyr said during her speech on the amendments on Tuesday. 

From this story.   How do the evils of history happen?  This way.  If you oppose this mind numbing stupidity, you increasingly have a target on your back - literally.  And we saw how little anyone - including Christians - seemed to care about 6 Christians, including 3 children, murdered by a transgender activist.  

If you think there will be some miracle moment when those opposed to this turn and make a stand, I have bad news for you.  Those six people were gunned down in a Christian school and most Americans - including Christians - went about business as usual.  We could talk about guns and that was all, and most - including our leaders - obliged by focusing on guns or saying nothing.  Whatever moment was supposed to be the last straw that rallied the opposition has come and gone.  Now it's just waiting for the inevitable.  

A relic from a bygone day

So my wife and I settled down to a viewing of the 1976 movie Logan's Run.  I remember when that was broadcast on network television when I was in late elementary.  It was a big thing that received quite a lot of attention.  As a Michael York fan, I am able to watch almost anything of his and enjoy.  And for my money, he's the best John the Baptist I've seen on film:

Anyhoo, Logan's Run is like There! I Said it Again, as performed by Bobby Vinton.  That song is known to music historians, not because of anything special about the song.  Instead, it is remembered because it was at number one on the American charts until it was knocked off the top spot by I Want to Hold Your Hand, thus ushering in the musical and cultural revolution brought to our shores by Beatlemania.  

Logan's Run was, in 1976, about as much as you would get from Hollywood in terms of Science-Fiction or Fantasy.  Save for Kubrick's space trip 2001: A Space Odyssey, even at the top of its game, Sci-Fi and Fantasy were relegated to the card table of Hollywood dinner parties.  That was the best those genres could get.  As often as not, they were placed even lower on the scale to somewhere between N-Level to Z-Level leftover circus meat status. 

Logan's Run was certainly the best you could get in 1976.  The 70s were, after all, the Decade of Realism, and movies wanted everything to look "real", grimy, messy, vulgar, violent, whatever they believed would make a movie realistic.  In such a context, movies about spaceships or vampires just didn't cut it.  If you got horror, it would be some occult supernatural thriller like Carrie or The Exorcist.  In those cases heavy doses of makeup (the art of which was improvising through the 60s onward, see Planet of the Apes), or simply camera tricks and your imagination did the trick.  Science Fiction was even more difficult to translate into 70s cinema on a respectable level. 

For its part, Logan's Run is a sort of post-post-apocalyptic movie, where humanity has built a pleasure dome for itself in the wake of the horrors of overpopulation and war.  The pay off?  Nobody can grow past 30 ( the age is younger in the book (21), but York and Jennie Agutter were both in their 30s).  

Of course people believe they can be 'renewed', when the truth is much uglier.  York plays a 'sandman', essentially a cop whose job is to stop people from trying to escape this paradise of pleasures.  He is charged with finding out about something called Sanctuary, and begins to figure out that not all is good and fun where their little Utopia is concerned.  He must do this while being pursued by a Javert like former friend and sandman still holding to the indoctrination.  Fun stuff, and the primary actors - including the always solid Richard Jordan and scene stealing Peter Ustinov - make it a worthwhile watch.  

But what makes it noteworthy is its position on the edge of a cinematic revolution.  JAWS had already been released in 1975, being the first film to surpass 100 million dollars at the box office.  It appeared to usher in the Summer Blockbuster, but not really.   The question was whether its success was good timing due to the movie's theme (be afraid of the water) and the summer beach season, or if there really was something advantageous for aiming particular movie genres at a summer release date.  The year after Logan's Run, that question was answered once and for all.

Because the following year saw the release of Star Wars.  I once had a professor in college who said there were three cultural landmarks in the 20th Century that overnight changed the direction of not only entertainment, but of culture as a result of their appearance:  The conversion of film from silent to sound, the arrival of The Beatles, and the release of Star Wars.  They all had impacts well beyond their actual contributions, had impacts almost immediately, and had influence well beyond just their particular artforms.  Even television, as massive as its influence turned out to be, didn't change things overnight in the way of those three events.  

It's also fun to look at Logan's Run and see what passed for science fiction, special effects, and basic film production in 1976, and compare.  If you look at the opening sequence of Logan's Run and compare it to Star Wars a year later, it's not hard to agree with Steven Spielberg's appraisal at his friend George Lucas's screening: in the first 20 seconds he knew Lucas had changed the movie industry forever.  Whether for better or worse, as in all three of those landmark developments, remains to be debated.


Thursday, April 20, 2023

Transgenderism and the Mark of the Beast

How's that for hyperbole?  I obviously read through Revelation during Lent.  It's one of my favorite books of the Bible, just because.  

I don't get into how locusts prove Russian helicopters or the prophet represents The Beatles.  I do feel the  book is given to Christians at that time in history for Christians through all times in history.  One of the mega-lessons is perseverance.  Don't lose faith. Stay close to God, even when the world seems to be collapsing around you and turning against you.

Yes, there are certainly digs against things like Rome that are steeped in apocryphal symbolism.  But the greater message is that as the Church struggles with its place in Rome, and as Rome changes and events unfold, it's important to remember what the Gospel is all about.  Don't be like those who curse God.  Don't be like some in the seven churches who simply find ways to compromise with the pagan world.  Be faithful, even to the point of persecution.

A famous passage from the book is the Mark of the Beast.  Theologians have pondered that for centuries.  Most agree it has to do with gematria, calculating the number given and ending up with a name, likely Nero.  There are debates of course, as there always are in scholarship.  But everyone agrees that it would have made sense to the first century reader within the Christian beltway. 

Debates about particulars aside, the Mark represents the willingness of people to sign off on the grave evils of the age in order to get along.  In order to continue buying and selling in the marketplace, you sign off on something that is clear and obvious evil - an afront to God.  You receive the Mark willingly. 

Therefore, the Mark is simply that thing which you openly and willingly accept in order to keep on keeping on, rather than suffer hardships or persecution.  In Nazi Germany, the Mark was going along with, if not supporting, the Nazis.  In the Jim Crow south, accepting or defending Jim Crow racism.  It might be continuing to support and defend the sexual revolution in light of 36 million dead from AIDS. It could be turning a blind eye to the oppressions in the Islamic world or persecution in China out of fealty to an ideology.   It typically means something so nakedly bad with overwhelming evidence that it's without excuse, and yet you sign on anyway. 

Hence transgenderism, which I have called the eugenics of the 21st Century.  In fairness to eugenics, it's likely that the average schmuck in America or Europe had little to no clue about eugenics or the practices visited upon people groups because of the theory.  Most were likely ignorant of such evils.  

Transgenderism, which continues to lower the age in which we will surgically alter the bodies of teens, push to keep parents from having say, and increasingly says anyone who believes in boys and girls had best watch their derrièresis not hidden in the halls of science and academia.  It is visible for all to see, shouted from the rooftops and increasingly laid out as the Mark you will receive if you wish to continue buying and selling in the marketplace.  Hence, Mark of the Beast.  It's obvious, it's clear, most in their guts know it is bad news, most with brain cells know it is idiocy and lies.  The harm and damage done?  It can be put in lights on Broadway and we won't say anything.  It is pure evil based on cowardly idiocy. 

Yet how many are fully embracing it?  How many more are simply burying their heads in the sand to avoid it?  That second one is also a way to receive the Mark.  Remember, the Mark merely symbolizes a willingness to openly and willingly side with a force of evil in order to keep on with life in this world.  The point of Revelation being that if you do so, then this world is likely all you're going to get.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

A full broadside assault on EWTN

Like many who entered the Catholic Church in the 2000s, EWTN was a big help to me, even if I never really had access to the network where I lived.  That used to bug Marcus Grodi that I had to watch EWTN on old video tapes since I lived in an area without it.  Nonetheless, I could visit the website and there was plenty of good things for someone trying to grope about for understanding Catholicism.  And sometimes I might catch an episode here or there.  Once on vacation, I saw Scott Hahn unpack the Sacrament of Reconciliation in a way that made sense to my Evangelical ears. 

That's not to say I was in love with the network.  Even in the day it seemed a bit 'corporaty' for my sensitivities, like a vast corporation rather than a ministry.  When we at CHNI went to the big memorial to Mother Angelica I was both impressed and a little squeamish.  Nonetheless, I felt the good far outweighed the bad. 

Which goes to show I would make a miserable Leftist.  For the Left, there is no outweighing the bad of rejecting sacred doctrines of the Leftist State.  You conform or else.  I have no doubt that EWTN has, like the Jesuits, changed over the years.  It is likely too Trump friendly for my taste, and perhaps focuses an inordinate amount of time criticizing Pope Francis.  Again, I don't know since it isn't available here, and I don't have cable anyway. 

Nonetheless, any support of Trump or any criticism of Pope Francis would incur the merciless and unyielding wrath of those left of center.  After all, it isn't just theology, sexuality, gender, bigotry, ideas of no personal responsibility, affronts to common sense and discrimination that the Left is peddling.  It's also helping us understand how unfair and prone to abuse such ideas as equality, forgiveness, looking beyond the past and reconciliation have been over the years.  So if you're on the Left, no need to reach out to understand or engage in some attempt at reconciling those who dissent from Leftwing conformity.  You go straight to executing the guilty verdict. 

So there is now a petition to get the Catholic bishops in the US to renounce EWTN and forbid any use of materials from the network.  You can look at the petition here, which has 10,000 signatures apparently.  

Will this do anything?  I don't know.  Most Catholics probably don't know much about it one way or another.  It's just symptomatic of the times.  These pushing the petition will likely be those coming after their fellow believers when the time comes.  They have made it clear if you don't get on the good ship Liberal, then they will gladly join the Left in punishing you to the fullest extent that they can, your relationship to Jesus or the Faith being of no consequence.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

If all people everywhere stopped paying attention to the News Media

We might just become informed.  Here's a startling headline: 

A Christian group has amassed more than 12,000 signatures to oust the Tennessee Republican leader who expelled two Black lawmakers 

Here is the story.   Of course if you follow the peanuts, you find out this is a 'Christian' activist group entirely allied with the modern secular Left, right up to embracing the eugenics of the 21st Century.  Hard left.  Note the story doesn't say 'hard left Christian group' or 'leftwing Christian group'.  

Nope.  In this case, just Christian group.  Of course it is dishonest; a falsehood that is so because it purposefully neglects to tell you what you should know, and what we darn well know it would say if it was a conservative Christian group going after a liberal Democrat. 

I sometimes think if people just stopped paying attention to the media, it might go away.  If anything else, we might begin to find out what's really happening in the world.  After all, we wouldn't have to go through the effort of unlearning that half truths, diversions and false narratives that inundate us on a 24/7 basis before we even get started looking for the information the press doesn't tell us.  

BTW, the fact that the lawmakers were black appears irrelevant.  And it came down to one vote difference.  Yet every single news outlet rushed with the emphasis being only on skin color.  Which reminds me that the only thing worse than naked racism is nakedly exploiting racism.  Again, turn off the news and cancel the subscriptions, and you might just learn what's happening in the world. 

Friday, April 14, 2023

George Sellios, John Allen and World in Flames

So last year, when I was just noodling around, I posted what was supposed to be the first of a few posts unpacking that game of games, World in Flames.  I intended to delve into why I love it so much, though it technically belongs to my third son owing to his 21st birthday.  Fortunately he loves the game too, though he admits it's a bit overwhelming and the brain can only take a couple hours at a time playing. 

Unfortunately, life caught up with me and I never got back to the posts.  Worse, as I was typing in my typical stream of consciousness way, I ended up focusing on a few of the gremlins about the game, especially the convoluted rules manuals and conflicting scales.  This might have given the idea that there is something bad about the game, or that I don't like it, or that it isn't worth playing.  Far from it.  It's more of a hobby than a game, and worth every minute of it.  

But to get why on one hand it can elicit no end of fussing and critiquing, while at the same time being such an impressive accomplishment in terms of strategy games, I thought I would bring out two names from my past: John Allen and George Sellios.  Game designers no doubt, correct?  No, in both cases they were famous for their - model railroads!

Now bear with me.  You all know I've written how I wanted a model railroad growing up.  I've also mentioned that my dad was never into the idea, any more than he said a person working in an office would want to play around with toy office buildings when not at work.   So despite my wishes, we never did plunge into the hobby.  

That's not to say I didn't spend many hours reading up on the subject, something I continued to do well into my early marriage.  It wasn't difficult finding materials.  Through the 1970s and into the 1980s, model railroading was hands down the most popular hobby in America.  And I found all I could to study, research and learn about the hobby and those in it. 

No names were better known or more celebrated than George Sellios and John Allen.  Sellios was the founder of Fine Scale Miniatures, a company that produced modeling kits and supplies, primarily for model railroading. With immediate access to all the supplies he needed, and possessing quite an artistic flare, Sellios built the legendary 'Franklin & South Manchester' model railroad layout. 

It is known and celebrated worldwide as one of the best, if not the best, model railroad ever.  Not only is it massive, but the level of detail and attention to the tiniest elements of the models makes it almost pass as  a real life setting in Depression era New England.  Just take a look at these:

Tell me I couldn't convince you at least a couple of those photos are from real life.  His weathering (making models look real and aged and dirt covered) and the faded faux ads on the sides of buildings are his trademark.  It is a sleek, well oiled, well built and realistic railroad setting that is almost scientific in its accurate portrayal of railroading in 1930s New England. 

One of Sellios's biggest influences was John Allen.  John Allen is considered by some to be the founder of modern model railroading.  A photographer with a similar artistic knack, he constructed the most famous model railroad layout ever, the legendary 'Gorre & Daphetid' (that's pronounced 'Gory and Defeated').  

Built over three incarnations in his home, the third version saw him excavate a large area of his yard to accommodate its growing size.  Featuring plaster mountains that stretched from ceiling to floor, walk through aisles, matte paintings and mirrors for giving the impression of an even larger layout, it was a fever dream concoction that threw reality out the window.  If he wanted seven bridges crossing each other, so be it.  If he wanted desert here and pine forests next door, no problem.  He built what he wanted and how, but made it work in a spectacular way (until, sadly, his house burned and took the layout with it). 

So what's the point?  When it comes to historical strategy games, it's a bit like these two fellows and their model railroad layouts. 

Most games try to streamline it.  They make the rules as tight as possible.  They try to focus on a set goal and stay there.  The game Empires in Arms, unpacking much of the Napoleonic Era, is an excellent example of this.  Some consider it the best strategy game ever produced.  It manages to capture the feel, and remain faithful to the basic gist of the time and those involved in the Napoleonic era.  The rules are tight and well written, the gameplay is just complex enough for variety but not overwhelming.  If it has a flaw it's that you can only get the full impact of the game with several players able to play over endless months of gatherings.  

Several of the games I have are like it.  Games that focus on everything from the Roman Republic to the Battle of Waterloo to the the American Revolution, are like EiA.  They pick a focus and stay there.  Some are grand strategic, others are smaller and tactical.  Their rules, sometimes a bit overwhelming, can generally be mastered with a few tries.  There is enough nuts and bolts for variety, but generally the focus is on playability.   Those would be George Sellios games. 

Then comes World in Flames.  If John Allen designed a game, it would be World in Flames.  When it comes to games, the question is how much detail?  How much nitty-gritty stat crunching?  Generally the broader the scope of the game, the less minutia is involved in the turn by turn play.  The Republic of Rome sets to recreate that entire period in Roman history.  Much of it is in the abstract, as it would be impossible to account for every small detail in such a broad, sweeping period of time.  

On the other hand The Battles of Waterloo is very focused.  You distinguish between different artillery types, cavalry types, and how different buildings and structures and terrain impact cover and defense versus different types of weaponry.  Single units have specific stats separating them, and everything is boiled down to a couple hundred yards per space on the actual playing maps.  In the case of these and similar games, they give, they take.  

In most World War II games, it's a case of picking what little to focus on.  There are some broad 'World at War' games that try to hit on the entire conflict.  In most such cases they content themselves with generic military maneuvers across the various theaters, with only the slightest focus on non-military concerns. Most, however, narrow the focus.  They choose a theater (Pacific, European) or a campaign (Invasion of Russia, North Africa) or even a particular battle (Stalingrad, Guadalcanal).  That's because trying to account for enough detail to make a tactical wargame plausible, while also accounting for the grand scope of that entire global conflict, just isn't feasible. 

Enter World in Flames.  It looked at the subject of the Second World War and said 'Yes we can!'  We can have a game that will cover, well, World War Two.  We can have plenty of detail, down to divisional level.  And in some cases, like naval operations, we can make it ship by ship.  We can move from mere hex to hex movement, and have multiple objectives spread everywhere that can occupy the map.  We can focus on more than just the military.  We can bring in intelligence, production, economics, trade, supplies, oil - you name it.  In an expanded supplement (called Days of Decision), we can even throw in diplomacy.  We can actually do all of World War Two from big to small. 

And it looks it.  Like John Allen's crazy mishmash G&D, World in Flames is a big, sprawling, overwhelming, beautiful mess.  Beyond the poor quality of editing behind the convoluted rules, and the habit of constantly revising the game without necessarily redoing parts of the game impacted by the latest revision, much of the mess is due to its biggest selling point.  That is, it tries to be the 'every game'.  A game that gives you the world, yet gives you as much nitty-gritty detail as possible.  

Yes, it is at time unwieldy.  Yes, it is a long haul proposition.  The scenario we're currently beginning took over six hours to set up (spread over several weeks).  A single phase in one turn can last an hour  or more (and there can be fourteen or more phases per turn in a game that could have over sixty turns). Yes, the tape and glue approach to its production output can be frustrating.  Yet the whole jumbled mess strives for the impossible and, with only a few exceptions, succeeds in flying colors.  Considering what it sets out to do and how it does it, that's not bad at all. 

And that 9'x5' setup isn't everything if you included the DoD game expansion!
An extra dining room table would be needed in that case.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

We fell for it

We heirs of the Christian West fell for the modern progressive notion that any condemnation, or even criticism, of an 'other' is tantamount to Nazism.  No matter what Muslims do, we can't criticize.  No matter what blacks do.  Gays do.  Chinese do.  Mongols do.  Aztecs do.  Women do.  Transgenders do.  If anyone not in those groups were to criticize anything about those groups - Nazi.  Heck, sometimes if anyone in those and similar groups criticize those groups they get smacked down.  We might be able to condemn an action but never, ever the actor.  

Therefore the only real way to express any notion of trying to fix a world we're supposed to save was through this strange demographic masochism that has defined our modern age.  Condemn others in our own demographic group, if not our entire demographic group.  

So men, spew hatred and vitriol on all men throughout all time as the misogynist rapists that they are.  Whites, it's the white race that alone is a racist pox on humanity.  Heterosexuals, just admit how superior those in the LGBTQ community are to us boorish birthing people.  Americans?  Let's not even start with any other country's evils but the United Sates.  Europeans, is there any other civilization as vile as ours?  I think not.  And on and on.

It was easy.  It gave a little dose of the pharisee's prayer (for behind any such condemnation always seems to lurk that subtle 'thank you Lord, that you didn't make me like all the other sinners in my demographic).  Plus, as often as not, much of the condemnation was based on lies, stupidity and all out BS.  So after 9/11, you could beat up on evil Christians as the real source of death and terror in the world, safe in the unspoken knowledge that you weren't likely to be beheaded for your efforts. 

Eventually it became so engrained that even those supposedly not buying into this, bought into it. Liberals ate it up, but non-liberals fell into line just the same.  Conservatives would preface any statement with variations on 'I'm not like those other uncompassionate  conservatives.'  Or white conservatives would begin by conceding the racism of most [not me] whites in our racist country.  Or men would bow before feminists and concede that history has been a giant sexist conspiracy against women, but I'm feeling much better now. 

It was a piece of cake.  Far easier than saying the black community is off the rails and doesn't seem to care enough to fix it as long as they can blame white people.  That women putting themselves above anything else, including family or human life, is selfish and wrong.  That there is probably a reason why a vast number of AIDS deaths in America are men who have sex with men.  That the Islamic world may not have given up on its age old desire to subjugate Europe to the Muslim way.  Nope.  Say any of those things and you might actually get push back. They might say mean things to you.  Heck, it could get worse than that. 

That's why it was so easy, so cheap, so safe.  We could pat ourselves on the back, revel in our righteousness and bravery, knowing that we had virtually nothing to lose.  This was especially true if we aimed our holy wrath at those in our demographics who were long dead and unable to defend themselves.  Bravo I tell you. 

So on we went, building our righteousness on the capstone of demographic self hate.  So now, as the best of the transgender community sanctified the Nashville school shooter as a bona fide victim, others made the murderer the only real victim, and not a few even mocked and celebrated the deaths of the victims including the children, us not-trans people shuffled our feet and looked the other way.

Not the Catholic bishops, not most Protestant faith leaders, few Republicans, only a handful of conservative pundits, and virtually nobody else called out the trans community, called out the horrific evil of the worst of the trans community's vitriol, or chastised the whole of the trans community for trying to equate the murderer to the murder victims. Imagine if, after the Buffalo market shooting, someone came forth and pointed out that middle aged white men are now a big suicide demographic, and even subtly suggested there might be a connection to that, our modern approach to race, and the shooting.  Imagine how fast such a person would be skinned.  But the trans movement did just that - and experienced cricket chirps for its troubles. 

For those who have said anything at all other than Guns!, it's been like my old classmate Russell Moore.  A man who has basked in the limelight given him for throwing under the bus evangelicals, men, whites, and Americans as the sexist, racist, white supremacist extremists that they are.  As it is?  It's a vague and generic 'Why can't we all get along?  Why is there so much hate?'  No real zeroing in on the obvious this time. 

But in fairness, at least he has said something.  Many have left it at Guns! or simply dropped it like the hot potato it is.  There is no way we can condemn an 'other'.  At least if the other is not white, male, heterosexual, Christian, American, European or conservative.  Those not in one of these groups can always condemn everyone in these groups, as we're seeing now.  And as we watch nobody do anything about it, we realize we are now along the next step in the path.  We're dealing with traditional Christians murdered, with few actually caring enough to state the obvious - including 'traditional' Christians.  So if you thought if it came to murder then boy that would change everything, once again you were wrong. 

We lost the war for the just the and good because we raised a generation devoid of character, convictions and courage.  They chose the easy way of beating up on little old blue haired ladies among our ancestors to avoid standing up to the threats and evils of our lifetime. We accepted that the slavery of the first civilization to abolish slavery is the only slavery worth condemning.  That's why we can see emerging a movement as bad as the Hitler Youth, that defends slaughter, promotes harm, and rejoices in its superiority with no fear of being stopped.  All we can do is count the losses of this dodge, knowing it will be our posterity who has to cash in the chips. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

From Melchizedek to Transylvanian armadillos

I am going to miss our talks.   Our second oldest is less than a month away from the wedding.  Though it won't be some permanent end to everything, some things will certainly change. 

Over the years we tried to have sit down meals, as much as our modern age of hectic would allow.  We also tried to do things as a family as much as possible.  One of our routines was our nighttime prayer time.  An informal thing, it typically consisted of prayer, most often readings from the Scriptures - usually the Gospels, but not always.  Sometimes Rosaries.  Sometimes writings of this or that luminary of the Faith.  But always centered around prayer.  As often as we could we tried to make sure as many were present as possible.  

If the readings or prayers brought anything to us, I must admit it was our discussions that will be the part I miss most.  In a brain crazy conversational stream of consciousness that would make Salinger blush, we could go in any, all, and varied directions all at once.  

Sometimes the conversations were pretty deep.  Which is nice.  When you homeschool, you fear you're doing the kids a disservice and somehow undermining their educations.  You just can't help but worry. But listening to them over the years has helped allay that fear.  When they can reference Chekhov to Aquinas, Paul McCartney and Plato, the latest Marvel movie or Mozart, while bringing up everything from the Punic Wars to Watergate to some modern current event, and sometimes just because we mentioned a passage in Scripture dealing with Rome, I'd say mission accomplished.

It was when the conversations went off the rails that the most fun occurred.  It could happen anywhere, and not always prayer time.  Dinner, road trips, just hanging around on the backyard deck.  It was prayer time, however, when the deviations could take on a life of their own. 

Sure, there was always a time when I (or someone, if I was a culprit) would have to step in and say it's time to get back on track with the prayers.  But how crazy those talks could be, and how wide and varied the topics.  Each one of the sons would show his own personality when this happened.  Our oldest and his slow, methodical thinking, our second oldest with his quick recall and rapier wit, our third with his bombastic hyperbole, and our youngest who has shown an amazing ability to grasp the substance assumed by us adults, while giving as good as he got in the sometimes passionate debates.  When our oldest moves out, I wish him - and all the boys - the same level of traditions and good times.  I know it's been a blessing for their mom and me. 

For the record, the blog title here references one of those deviations from the topic at hand.  It was during prayer time over Holy Week.  The passage was from the Last Supper.  We began with kicking around the implications of the new Eucharist versus the Passover Feast.  Then it turned to Moses and Elijah and the Transfiguration, and finally Melchizedek (a favorite topic in our household).  Finally, somehow (I'd lie if I remember how), we ended up discussing Tod Browning's inclusion of armadillos in the  1931 Universal version of Dracula.  Debate has raged over the years about why Browning added a couple armadillos in Castle Dracula. Some say because of his American roots, others because it was symbolic of old folklore. Nevertheless, when we watch that during our annual seasonal viewing, it never ceases to get a chuckle out of us.  

How we ended up there from the Last Supper or Melchizedek, I don't know.  But then, not knowing how we got there was always the best part of the talks. Someone observed that if the FBI was monitoring our house and stepped away for a moment, their head would spin wondering how we got from point A Bible to point B Transylvanian armadillos.  We all laughed mightily at that thought.  That was always the best part of it, and part of the fun we've had over the years that will be missed. 

The boys take a chess break while helping expand the bookstore in March
L-R: Our oldest, youngest, second and third son

Sunday, April 9, 2023


And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back; for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid. Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.  Mark 16.1-10

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Heading into Easter

A little post from back in the day, showcasing our annual viewing around this time.  We won't get anywhere near watching all of these now, with busyness and our second oldest ready to move on.  Fact is, the very weekend of his wedding, our oldest is graduating from college.  Also our youngest was supposed to be confirmed that weekend, but he will be going through another church a week before.  Plus our third is passing his year long training stint for his promotion at work.  Did I say May and this time in general would be busy?   

Anyhoo, that was our viewing for many a year, and this year we'll see some of it.  We already watched The Ten Commandments on a big screen and projector the family bought me for Christmas a year ago.  One of the perks of those old 'great rooms' that were all the rage some years ago.  We can fit a mighty big screen that's as close as you'll get to theaters without being there.  I must admit, seeing it up close and giant was a new way of enjoying the spectacle.  

Blogging will go back to being light as we head into Easter.  I came out of semi-retirement because of the Nashville shooting and the clear corner we turned as a nation.  Christians were killed because of the relevant church's adherence to historical Christianity - and we darn well know that plays into it.  Yet the Left made it clear we would not go there and, for the most part, our nation didn't.  No nationwide Christian prayer vigils.  No protests.  No Christian leaders decrying the horrible post-shooting vitriol from the transgender community.  The US Catholic Bishops have been silent.  Few if any even mentioned a thought or prayer, and nobody looked glaringly at the movement increasingly comfortable saying anyone who believes in boys and girls must go.  Again, because the Left is now Caesar, and as far as most Americans are concerned - including a large swath of believers and their leadership - what Caesar says, Caesar gets .

Pondering the implications of living in a hostile empire in light of Easter this year will certainly cast a new light on things.  We are no longer an anti-Christian nation.  We are a zealously pro-secular pagan nation.  There is a new god in town, and a new Caesar who rules.  Neither will tolerate disobedience and, more to the point, in most cases neither will receive any.  Nashville showed that in flying colors. 

Those few, those remnant few, who keep to the historical Faith increasingly will be targeted.  Nashville was merely a mile marker.  One more that historians will look back at and study when the inevitable question of 'what went wrong' is pondered.  

Nonetheless, all the viewing (Charlie Brown excepted) above reminds us of a time when even our entertainment industry conveyed the message of our faith in troubled times.  So let us hold firm and rejoice.  Even if the bulk of our leaders flinch and cower, we can look past them to the God we serve. Our nation says now that there is no God, and our faith is myth at best, evil at worst.  At some point, dust off the heels is an appropriate reaction. 

It won't be easy in the coming years.  But as one of my sons said, if we just take an honest look at the track record of our post-Christian nation and civilization, that alone should be enough to instill a solid faith in God's revelation that they so openly reject.  

BTW, bonus quote from one of my sons while discussing the state of things: "For moderns, perseverance is the only solution to failure." I liked that.  Because it's true.  It took the most educated generation in history to refuse to admit failure  no matter what the body count.  The problem is, so few leaders with access to the national stage will call it for what it is.  

Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Thanks sisters

Thanks a lot:

Granted, I had a hard time navigating all of their sites, and perhaps they did express some sort of regret for the victims of the Nashville church school shooting somewhere.  Beyond guns at least.  But I was unable to locate anything.  Again, I'll happily concede the point if someone knows of something.

Bonus here.  USA Today article in which a doctor unpacks altering the anatomy of children.  Takeaway quote:

“We use puberty blockers, which don’t have permanent physical changes to the body,” Hodax said. “It’s not until teenager years, like mid-teenage years, that most clinics will start things like hormones like testosterone or estrogen that can have more permanent changes to the body.”

Most gender-affirming surgeries “aren’t happening until after 18," she added.

Did you notice that?  Most.  Meaning not all.  Remember only a year ago the lying LGBTQ advocates screamed foul regarding any suggestion minors were being 'surgically transitioned.'  Now, not only do they admit it as they do here (though the surgical experimenting on minors is downplayed), but there is abundant momentum to eliminate the ability of parents to stop the madness.  That's quite a fast turnaround.  

Add to that the fact that so many saw murdered children in Nashville as not much more than a big inconvenience and a hurdle over which to leap, and I'd say we've just dropped another big rung on the ladder to Hell. 

We need Easter more than ever.  The Second Coming wouldn't hurt either.  

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Because of the news media

That's why:

"This is how it came to dominate the marketplace and loom so large in the American psyche"

Because the news media ignores stories that don't fit the press's agendas and narratives.

Because the news media has perfected the practice of making molehills out of mountains and mountains out of molehills.  

Because the news media waits until an AR-15 or similar gun is used and then keeps the discussion focused only on that one element of the story.

Because the press spends little to no time focused on any crime, murder, killing or other tragic event unless it can tie it around America as racist, phobic, bigoted nation or an AR-15 or similar weapon. 

Because the press all but refuses to allow any solutions, causes, symptoms or anything about violence in our modern culture to be discussed if it can't be linked to American racism, bigotry or assault weapons. 

Heaven forfend the press allows the conversation to drift to the godless morals, values and narcissism we've all but sanctified as a culture, all of which preceded the sudden emergence of the era of active shooter events. 

That's how it happened.  It's not rocket science. 

It reminds me of journalists sitting around the table on a Sunday morning newscast wondering why Americans are so obsessed about a story the press has been headlining 24/7 for the last three weeks.  Sometimes you just can't make it up.  Nor can you fathom how the press can write these things and not see the obvious.  It's either naked mendacity, or it's a pathological lack of self-awareness. 

Monday, April 3, 2023

In these changing times

The fourth angel poured his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch men with fire; men were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues, and they did not repent and give him glory. The fifth angel poured his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was in darkness; men gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores, and did not repent of their deeds.

Revelation 16.8-11

No, I’m not saying global warming is fulfilling Scripture!  Or if you arrange the clues, it proves that political party over there is the Beast!  That’s not the value of Revelation.  As I said here, Revelation was written as Rome was beginning to look toward persecuting Christians as a matter of course.  It was long removed from the days when St. Paul could appeal to Rome to avoid persecution by the Jewish community.  Jewish Christians had long been banished from their communities for following Jesus by the time of Revelation.  Now Rome was emerging as every bit the threat.  

Plus, Rome had been going through some pretty tumultuous times in general.   Then you had the destruction of Jerusalem that some believers thought would usher in the Last Judgement, but didn’t.  Shaky faith, persecution, societal upheaval.  The message of Revelation, no matter how you parse the horns and frogs, is persevere.  Hold on to the Gospel of Christ.  Do not give in, do not surrender, do not receive the mark, stay firm even if everyone around us is receiving the mark and cursing God and you. 

A great many today are abandoning the Faith one way or another.  They’re trying to jettison the world the Church helped build, and change the Church to justify doing so.  They’re watering down the Gospel.  They are throwing down teachings and truths that even common sense, much less divine revelation, declares indisputable.   And those are the ones still going to church each Sunday.  Outside of those a vast number is abandoning the Faith altogether, renouncing the Gospel and God, and joining the prophet and his minions. 

That’s the setting for the call to hold firm.  Not because there is some wonderful rapture that will bail us out of the tough times.  If that were the case, there would be no need to hold firm.  Instead, the message is that no matter how bad it gets – and the cyclical revelations in the book show things get worse, and worse and worse – we must hold firm and that’s that. 

The thing proclaimed in so many churches today bears little resemblance to almost any version of Christianity taught before the 20th Century.  But there is a remnant, a faithful remnant, and that is as much the target audience of Revelation as anything.  Not that those abandoning the faith or allying with Caesar aren’t invited to repent.  See above.  The statements ‘they did not repent’ are stated with a sense of sadness.  With everything collapsing we could repent and run to God.  Yet so many won’t.  

But those of us who do?  Be inspired and be comforted.  God will not abandon the faithful no matter how many abandon God.  And the increasingly common idea that it won’t matter what we do to God, because God is honor bound to reward us with eternal paradise?  That’s just a backhanded way of cursing and mocking God.

Just some thoughts as we head into Holy Week increasingly aware of our surroundings. 

The fifth bowl

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Unmistakble evil

By now if you're not willing to at least call the transgender movement out as a movement of evil, I'm not sure what will do it:

Dancing on the graves of murdered children.  What will it take?  Charlie Chaplain mustaches?  Swastikas?  My son believes that there are forces trying to provoke traditional and conservative Americans into rising up in arms so they can officially be crushed.  The problem is that we just don't seem to care enough to use harsh language, let alone anything else.  

If you have to act this stupid to defend your agenda

Then your agenda might be indefensible.  So NBC asks the big question:  Why are people bothered by kids at sexed up drag queen shows?  Milton Berle wore a dress! Right. Have fun with that one. 

The older I get the more ridiculous the arguments for post-war liberalism appear.  From '70% of new HIV cases are men who have sex with men - it must be homophobic bigotry!', to 'how can a black man who hates white people and kills white people be racism?', to 'what does the sex and drugs revolution have to do with AIDS?' to 'how can you say a Muslim killing people in the name of Islam is about religion?', the list is endless when it comes to having to believe a suffocating level of stupidity that appears to be the essence of aligning with the left. 

It's as if those on the left know how wrong they are, and hope by constant screaming outrage and vitriol that nobody will notice the idiocy.