Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day

There's a lot wrong in our nation, and it doesn't take a brain surgeon to see we're going in a bad direction.  Nor is it some secret why this is happening.  Nonetheless, we owe it to those we remember on this day to do something about it.

No civilization lasts forever, but nobody wants to be the ones labeled as those who let it die.  That's not something I want to imagine when reflecting on the ones who came before and gave their all.  So perhaps on reflecting, we'll commit to doing something to stop the spiral.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Beware of madness

Growing up, one of the most common terms used to describe Germany in the 1930s was madness.   In old documentaries, in books, in articles, in editorials, madness and the Nazis, madness and the German people, madness as a plague across Germany was a common description.

So beware the madness. A nation descended into madness is ripe picking for history's next atrocity.  

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Always remember

Young people today are taught that when they see this:

They should think this:

My eldest son said it best, after one of his college history classes.  The age old question - how could Germans do such a thing, in reference to Nazi Germany - has finally been answered.  How could Germans do such a thing?  Easy.  They were white Europeans.  That's what white Europeans do.  He said that after such a discussion in his class.  

I consider that when I see something like this pop up:

Note there is no reason for the 'guy' to be described as white.  The joke works fine without it.  Yet it is mentioned.  Because 'white' increasingly is a euphuism for racist.  Back in the day if you gratuitously mentioned someone was black for no reason, or Jewish, or any such identifier, it was said to be evidence of your racist thinking.  Yet think how often today 'white' is mentioned, always pejoratively, and often when there is no reason to mention it. 

And while this development has been touted by white liberals for decades, it's not hard to see that a growing number non-white individuals are warming up to the trend.  Just where those white liberals fit into this and its logical ramifications I can't say.  I just know bad and dangerous trends when I see them.  That comes from studying history most of my life. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

David Carlin at The Catholic Thing goes crazy

And wonders if prayers might actually be effective.  In fact, he doth blaspheme our Secular age by suggesting the problem with mass shootings isn't too many guns, but too few prayers.  

Wow.  I feel like Carlin said he just saw Elvis working on a road crew in Houston.  It's amazing when you see something like that, which is A-B-C level Christian believing, and realize how radical it is, even within our churches.  When so much basic level Christianity is rejected and condemned by so many believers today.  But then you realize something else.  Many believers today are effectively atheistic in all but name.  Save for an hour or two on most Sundays, they increasingly seem to accept perspectives from a decidedly secular/atheistic point of view.  

So much so, that when the godless condemn 'thoughts and prayers', how many religious believers (and, indeed, their leaders) join the chorus of condemnation and mockery?  If we wonder why young people are leaving the Faith, and not a few older ones are joining them, I think the answer is easier than we make it. 

Since so many who grace the doors of the local church today don't appear to believe in the historical Faith in any practical sense, why should anyone?  The constant attempt to reshape the Faith to fit the latest - when on any given day we can be hit with a hundred new latests - mixed with constantly condemning the first 2000 years of believers as the irredeemable reprobates they were, is no doubt a big part of the problem.  

But no less is what a youngster said at a youth group years ago.  When asked why young people are leaving the faith, the answer was to the point: because most adults in churches don't seem to believe it, why should they? When you consider how many 'believers' employ the atheistic contempt for prayer and our relationship to God as a solution to our nation's (and our world's) problems, that sentiment makes sense. It might be tragic, but it's honest and does answer a lot of questions.  

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as men do.”  Matthew 16.23

Monday, May 22, 2023

Why I'd generally prefer to have a liberal on my side when playing a strategy game

I saw this story about Elon Musk slamming those who want to work from home.  In a strange way, this is something that both sides appear to oppose.  When the lockdowns happened, many legions of workers had to work from home.  Happened in our house, and in households around America.

Well, one of the first things to go with the passing lockdowns was tolerance for this work at home culture.  Now I have no doubt that, with work ethics being what they are, in some cases productivity suffered from this work at home movement.  But I also know in other cases it didn't.  I know, as in my wife's department, productivity increased because most liked working at home and worked their tails off to show it could be beneficial to the company.   Plus, my wife's level of title and those around her means they spend much time meeting with people from almost anywhere in the world not down the street.  So where they actually are physically doesn't matter. 

Nonetheless, it's clear from media reporting on this subject that most to the left don't like this.  Why?  I don't know.  I have a feeling there is something rather freeing and family focused with people liking to be home.  They like being away from the mandated cattle herding.  They enjoy not having to turn the kids over to state regulated daycares at the age of six months forward. Something about that goads the modern Left. 

But why are conservatives against it?  Again, if productivity suffered I can see laying out an ultimatum that you'll get your act together or else back to the office.  But otherwise?  Why are conservatives assuming the worst from people who want to work from home?  Many of these workers, when asked, have said they like being home, close to the kids, allowing the kids to stay home and not be shoved into a daycare center to be taught by minimum wage workers.  They feel it has helped their families, their kids, and their overall priorities. 

Why are conservatives against this?  Shouldn't they be the ones charging forth and saying 'You're darn right, if the job allows and you are productive, you should be close to home, close to the family, close to kids. After all, we value those things!'

Instead, most conservative responses are right there with the liberals.  Only in the case of conservatives, it appears to be some 'only slipshod lazy loafers want to stay home because they're losers' reasoning.  No consideration for the family/kids angle.  In fact, in a few cases where I've seen people bring the issue up in an online discussion, the conservative response has been the classic Limbaugh principle: if you want to work at home, become a corporate mogul and you can do anything.  Otherwise, suck on it and put those kids in the daycares and get to the office since you're probably a slothful ne'er-do-well in the first place.'

I've never seen a movement more willing to shoot itself in the foot, and shoot one another, and destroy its own principles and values, than modern conservatism.  Conservatives often talk about liberalism coming after them to destroy what conservatives value.  I don't think the Left needs to. It merely needs to stand aside and let conservatives do all the heavy lifting where destroying conservative values and priorities is concerned. 

For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.  Luke 16.8b

Saturday, May 20, 2023

I wouldn't let most modern press outlets feed my goldfish

Much less trust them to inform me of important world events.  Or any events for that matter. 

I mention that because I see, on internet websites, news of a WaPo poll that found the vast majority of Americans oppose altering the bodies of minors in the name of 'no gender that we can see.'  Most Americans also hold the old timer view that gender is a thing where the male and female of the species is concerned.  

Not a single network news station I follow, either national or local, mentioned the poll.  I've found few national level press outlets in general - apart from the WaPo - that have mentioned it.   Do you really, really, really believe that if the poll found overwhelming support for transgender activism, it would have been passed over by the press?  My guess is it would have been a top of the first hour, headline story for days.

As it is, the facts don't support the lies, therefore they are ignored.  Again, how many times do you have to be lied to in order to stop believing the source that keeps lying?  What's the old saying, fool me once?  At this stage, if you believe the moderns press it's on you. 

He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”  Revelation 21.7-8

I always liked that.  Somehow just throwing in 'and all liars' makes it all the more emphatic.  As if to say all those who practice such horrible things will not enter into the New Jerusalem.  Oh, and that includes all liars.  

It's even more noticeable in the Greek.  In the Greek, the cadence is 'the cowardly, and faithless, and polluted, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars.'   Get that?  And  this and that and this and that and all liars.  The word 'all' (Greek pas, meaning 'all' or 'every') is put here, and here alone, to modify liars.  The importance of Truth being one of the most important parts of life.  

Which is why that line from the movie Excalibur is a favorite of mine.  When Arthur asks what the most important virtue of knighthood is, Merlin responds that it must be truth above all.  After all, Merlin says, when a man lies he murders some part of the world.  Given that standard, I'd say the modern news media more than deserves its place among history's greatest mass murderers.  

Friday, May 19, 2023

RIP Jim Brown

Brown as Dad remembered him
Legendary professional running back Jim Brown has died.  

Jim Brown was a name that loomed large in my childhood.  That's because my dad was as much a Jim Brown fan as he was a Frank Sinatra fan.  Dad was sort of a Cleveland Browns fan as a result, though I always felt his allegiance was tied more to Jim Brown's time with the Browns than with the Browns themselves.  On my mom's side, her oldest brother and her dad were true, blue Browns fans.  My uncle, in fact, never missed going to a Browns home game until the last years of his life, when health interfered. 

Nonetheless, for my dad, I think had Jim Brown been on any other team, that team would have been a favorite.  He not only liked, but he admired him.  As one not afraid to speak out about America's sins, he didn't mind as Jim Brown became more vocal in his Civil Rights advocacy.  That's not to say he always agreed with Brown.  My dad was of that time where disagreeing didn't negate and sever all ties and relationships. 

For Brown's part, he was definitely one of the greats in American sports.  A running back with few rivals, he was as comfortable running over his opponents as running around them.  Watching old games, it's easy to see how you couldn't imagine him getting up after a particularly brutal hit. Then, when the next play started, he was up and running like a tank. 

Like not a few high profile athletes, especially football players, Brown tried his hand at acting.  Though it wasn't his first line of work, he wasn't half bad.  One of his highest profile roles was in the movie The Dirty Dozen, released in the Summer of Love and a smash hit at the same time.  Strange. 

Brown plays one of the convicts, and the movie wasn't afraid to show the racism aimed at him.  Toward the end of the movie, when the mission is coming to fruition, it is Brown's character who is charged with running across an open parkway, throwing hand grenades down into a series of exhaust vents.  I must admit, the movie is worth watching if, for no other reason, you can watch him run.  In that brief couple seconds of him running, you realize just what made him so legendary as a running back, an athlete, and competitor. 

With the miracle of the Internet, I've had the chance to watch old clips of Brown, and I must say my dad's hype was not overstated.  As an individual, of his life and beliefs, I know little.  I know there was scandal and accusations and the dirty laundry that comes with fame in the mass media age.  In any event, he was someone who my dad admired, and that was not a large fraternity.  Dad divvied out high respect and admiration with an eyedropper.  But if you earned it, he was willing to overlook a multitude of sins (though never deny or ignore them, just like with America).  For that reason alone, I pray Brown will receive that loving grace from the Eternal One, and a small part of the happiness he brought millions, including my dad.  

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Russ Moore and religious clickbait

Distraction is the basis of illusion
So my old classmate Russ Moore stepped forward a while back to demonstrate just what a court prophet in our new era will look like.  Russ isn't like some who simply align blindly with the leftwing colossus of our time.  He continues to keep one foot in the old time religion while trying desperately to stay friends with those whose feet are firmly planted in the profane. 

That is, after all, one of his selling points for the modern Left.  He maintains a 'still a Bible believing Christian at heart' identity while continually assuring the Left that all its hatred and accusations against Christians, especially Evangelicals, are spot on.  One of the few times the Left will spot you some dissenting views is if you make sure to confirm its hatred and contempt for others in your hated demographic. 

But how do you balance that 'I could never attend a gay wedding, but I sure could party at your gay wedding reception' approach without losing the old timer side of the aisle?  Easy.  You get back to basics now and then and do what worked in the past.  A little trick called distraction. Pay no attention to this hand, just look at what this other hand is focusing on.  Magicians use it all the time. 

In Russ's case, this is accomplished by getting our attention away from his mounting allegiance with the modern Left and pointing out that a major threat to America today is - drum roll please - Dungeons and Dragons!  I can almost conjure images of Russ on the set of the 700 Club next to Pat Robertson on this one.  Fantasy Roleplaying is hurting America!

That's as much a costless slab of meat for the more traditional supporters of Russ - and he still has them - as anything.  In recent years, his pronouncements have begun to make some who have stood by him a bit uneasy.  His claim that Evangelicals, being the racists we know they are, never cared about the unborn but used abortion to attack Jimmy Carter for daring to oppose racism, raised more than a few eyebrows.   

Likewise, his ardent anti-Trump rhetoric, in which he insisted that almost all support for Trump was from hypocritical fascist sexist Christians, ruffled more than a couple feathers.  It's worth noting that his famous 'Evangelicals are now what they once warned us about' quote deftly ignores the glaring hypocrisy of the Left in its condemnation of Trump over sexual behavior.  But that's a court prophet for you.

Just like this swipe at Dungeons and Dragons. He assuages fears of being a fundamentalist stereotype by snickering at the old 'it's of the devil!' concerns.  Instead, he says it's truly of the devil because of the terrible ways it portrays things like violence and heroism and fighting for a cause that stinks more of ancient pagan virtues than Christian ones.  

Which is likely fair.  But what he doesn't mention is that this is simply a small part of a broad pop culture attitude that can be found every bit as much in the latest Marvel movie or Disney outing as any D&D book on the dinner table. 

Why not throw all of the modern pop media culture offerings onto the fire?  Why pick on D&D?  That's what Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell would do. Like them or not, they didn't just stop with screaming at D&D, but would launch full form against Hollywood, the whole of the entertainment industry, vast corporate interests, or anything they saw as a threat to their Christian values and understanding of the world.  

But why doesn't Russ do that?  Why single out D&D?   Because regarding D&D, even in 'the age of the Geek' when geekdom and nerdiness are mainstream and even powerful, the old stereotypes that emerged from media brainwashing in the 80s still apply.  So it's an easy target.  It's what old timers called 'shooting cripples.'  Attack something that will cost nothing in return. 

But Marvel Studios?  Disney?  Modern Hollywood?  The general media culture of our day?  That's where the money is.  Buck such outlets and you might just loose those cushy dinner parties and media events hobnobbing with the beautiful people.  And we can't have that.

So just throw out a little slab of meat to the uneasy in your more traditional camps.  And make darn sure to ignore the donkey in the living room, since that might jeopardize your next media dinner party.  Look at the D&D in my hand, not the cozy relationship with vast powers opposed to the Faith in the other.   A little sleight of hand, a bit of the old distraction, but that's how it needs to be done.  For now at least.     

Friday, May 12, 2023

Interesting point

I'm back!  It's been a whirlwind to be sure, as the previous posts demonstrate.  Thanks for all the well wishes and comments and emails everyone!  We certainly are blessed.  

As I've said before, I don't intend to keep up with the old pace of blogging, times being what they are, and obligations and family dynamics shifting and all.  Nonetheless, I'll still comment a time or two each week, though I hope to spend more of my blogging time on the finer things of life.  

You know, family fun and games, the latest book or movie, or just being glad about our new bishop who actually makes us think we are important to him.  The previous bishop - Bishop Brennan - also gave us that feeling, but he was sent back to his stomping grounds in Brooklyn before we had a chance to get to know him.  Nonetheless, our latest bishop more than rises to the occasion, and I can't say how nice it is to have a bishop who seems genuinely glad about not just his Catholic Faith, but its traditional roots as well (bonus point: he's also an official exorcist for the Church). 

Nonetheless, I thought I would throw out this little observation that caught my eye and has made me think. It was something that really made sense, is obvious, and yet something I hadn't put together.  It was pointed out that up until WWII, most of humanity believed two crucial things.  One, that there is something very important beyond this physical world.  And two, that there are things in this world that are more important than me.

After WWII, those assumptions began to collapse quickly.  Soon individualism became 'me, myself and I, as opposed to the rest of the world that is dead last in importance'. You can see this in those media psychiatrists who insist we owe it to our kids to put ourselves first ahead of them, or anyone else for that matter.  Heck, you can see it everywhere. 

And the importance beyond this world, which likely was already collapsing in the West among the upper classes before the World Wars, began to unravel fast across the board.  Really.  I wonder how many Christians today believe that one's religious confessions have anything to do with the afterlife.  For that matter, I wonder how many think anything has to do with the afterlife, other than the assumption it happens and we get to see our loved ones and cuddly puppies after we die, because of course we do. 

But those two beliefs, bigger than this world and a world bigger than me, were far from exceptional, even if humans had millions of different ways to unpack those beliefs.  But in the modern age, it's largely me as the center of my world, and nothing beyond this world of terrible importance, if there is anything at all.  The results of these perspectives speak for themselves.  

File this observation under 'solutions to the problem that the media will never cover.' 

Monday, May 8, 2023

Another big part of the weekend

 Oh yeah, while we were seeing our second son get married, this also happened this weekend:

I'm rather proud of him.  Those little tassels indicate graduating with honors.  Summa Cum Laude to be precise.  He graduated from OSU.  That means 16,000 other graduates on Graduation Day.  But he was informed that the old 'calling out the honors grads' that happened when I was in school wouldn't happen.  Because of the numbers, there is no 'name by name' receiving of a diploma, so no real personal recognition (beyond the PhDs).  To tackle that, back when I graduated they would have those who graduated with different levels of honors to stand and be recognized.  Everyone would then clap, and on we go.  

But in the name of not discriminating, they would not be calling out any special accomplishments this year.  That, plus the possibility of bad weather that would have made it tough on my mom, plus just being one in sixteen thousand, caused my son to decide not to go to the ceremony after all.  Even though he had worked for years for this, he said no.  He's not going to be just a number.  Instead, we will put together a little celebration giving nods to his hard work and accomplishments once his brother and sister-in-law are back from their honeymoon.

It didn't help, BTW, that the commencement speaker was someone that OSU boasted was well known for promoting 'racial justice.'  Another reason my son gave for saying there are better ways to spend a Sunday.  He does make me proud. 

Sunday, May 7, 2023

The newlyweds


We pray for all God's blessings for them and their new life.  I must admit, my prayers punched well above their weight when she came into my son's life.  I hope the other three will be so blessed in their futures.  

Saturday, May 6, 2023

The Boys

 Wedding Day - 2023

For old times' sake

It's been quite a ride, these couple decades with the boys.  Our second oldest will be married by the end of the day tomorrow and moving on.  Technically, the older three were supposed to have moved out by now.  The plan was for the first two to move out together when they transferred from a local community college to Ohio State.  Then our third son would get a transfer (he works in a chain restaurant) and move in with them, so the three could share expenses.  The staggered moving out would also be a little easier on our youngest, who wouldn't have to see all three move out at once.  That was the plan in the autumn of 2019, to be ready to move out by spring of 2020.  And we all know what happened next.

We don't begrudge it.  As I've said, save for the Covid upheaval and ban on events of  2020, that was the nicest year we had in many a year.  From 2015 we were hit with a tsunami of events and near disasters, often multiple in a month or so.  In 2019 there were only a handful of weeks where I wasn't in a medical facility several times with someone in the family. 

In 2020, again save for the Covid crazy, things slowed down.  We righted ourselves, my wife was given a major promotion, and things got back on track.  Though we had played boardgames as a family, they were usually only part of our activities.  In 2020 we became boardgame gurus.  And that wasn't all.  Fortunately we have a well stocked library, DVD library, audio and video game library enough to keep everyone busy while we were forbidden to go out.

That fall ended up being one of the nicest we ever enjoyed, again if you don't count the lack of travel opportunities.  Halloween didn't have rain - one of the first times for our youngest.  Thanksgiving saw everyone together for the whole day for the first time in years. And it was one of the nicest Christmas seasons ever.  With lockdowns and at-home learning and working, we all managed to have the entire week following Christmas through New Years off.  Aesthetically it was the proverbial white Christmas, one of the loveliest in my memory. 

But as all things must pass, so did 2020.  2021 saw a return to several events of varying levels of seriousness.  The worst was Covid over Christmas 2021.  Also my wife's heart attack, my mom had a serious health crisis, and other such things like one son being hit by a car and general trials and travails of life.  

The one good, bright spot to come from that year was my son meeting his bride to be.  That delightful young girl with a Cheshire Cat grin I've written about.  In the overall scheme of things, you can't ask for much better for your sons.  Not to be too theologically unsound, but if I must endure some misfortune to balance the good fortune that came with her coming into our lives, that's a price I suppose I can handle.  

Nonetheless, by 2022 it was clear that the reprieve we had been given in 2020 was quickly passing its sell by date.  Our oldest was delayed in college, largely because he was forced to abandon his life plans when his allergy hit just as he was set to begin schooling.  The other sons were not so hindered, but all three clearly were coming to that point of getting restless as 2022 came and went.  

We allowed them to stay at home to avoid going into debt in college, though not entirely free of charge.  It worked, and both graduates will have done so without owing a brass farthing in debt.  But no matter the logic of the arrangement, it's been clear for some time that the Gray Havens are approaching, in which they feel the call to move on to their own lives and new families and futures.

Before our second oldest moves on, however, the four decided to have a final 'Bro Night' as they called them.  And in a fitting farewell moment, they took the old Dark Tower boardgame I found some years ago, and went to our son's soon to be new apartment to play.   

Once things settle down, it will be a new era for the family, and one I'm sure will bring its own opportunities and joys.  But it will be different, and I can't help admit I will feel a bit melancholy.  After all, the boys developed the reputation of being 'The Boys'.  As someone once said, as soon as one walks through the door, you know the others will follow.  "Here come the Griffeys" was a common response to their appearance on the scene.  Not that they didn't have their moments.  Four stubborn young men with strong opinions?  But when the dust settled, they emerged as their own best friends in most of their lives together.  May it remain so, but with a new member of the family to celebrate.  

One more charge at the Tower