Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Helen Kane Repairs Cars

Well, she doesn't repair them, she just works the front desk at the place where I get my cars fixed. And I'm not sure it's really Helen Kane as I think Helen is dead. In any case, it's a young lady who sounds an awful lot like Helen Kane. She's super sweet, but her voice is incongruous with turning wrenches and hoisting engines.


When I call up to find out about my car will be done, I get this high-pitched little sweetie on the line talking to me about my radiator or head gasket.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Purple With Ice Cream On Top

Tiny flowers in our front yard. I left the original file quite large, so the image ought to be worth a click. Enjoy!
Since this little guy is in my front yard, I ought to know what it is, but I don't. I'm going to have to call my flower and gardening expert mom to find out.

Moms. You never stop needing them.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

This Is Your State Department Run By Jon Stewart

That's your American State Department, boys and girls. "The promise of the hashtag." It's beyond parody. Even Bad Argument Hippie can't go far enough.



Friday, April 25, 2014

Supernatural

I've got the photos from the Proper English Breakfast (which was splendid), but I don't have the time to post them right now. Instead, here's one of my current obsessions, DC Talk.


Clearly, I need a new car stereo. I was blasting this while driving and I can still hear.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

You Can Always Get Angry Later

I know I've posted about this before and perhaps many times. Still, it's always such good advice for me when I follow it that I like sharing it.

My default reaction to disappointments, annoyances and disagreements is anger. A random selection from the archives of the blog will show you that. Polemics come easily. Forgiveness from the polemicized comes hard. I think I've managed to keep the nasty snarks to a minimum with my family for the past several months. I find myself tempted and I manage to suppress it.

OK, "manage" isn't the right word. I didn't want to make this another religious post, but here's the truth: At Cursillo, when someone gives a talk, the prayer over the speaker is to have the Holy Spirit speak through that person. I sometimes pray for that when I get angry and it makes me think of Christian ways to deal with the situation and avoid verbally shredding someone else. I don't always do this; sometimes my self-restraint is simply long-range, enlightened self-interest. I can yell at you today, but our relationship after that point isn't going to be very good. You're going to be looking for reasons to yell at me.

When I've held back, I find myself thinking the next day just what would be happening over dinner or in the bedroom if I had cut loose and yelled the night before. I'm always glad I restrained myself.


No storm today. Just a beautiful ocean and sunshine. Life is good.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hollywood Invertebrates

I'm making a traditional English breakfast this morning (photos to follow), so this will be short.

I had a conversation on Twitter last with a Hollywood writer. It started with me a bit saddened and shocked by a crude joke he posted. His stream isn't like that, he's usually quite good. I jabbed him a bit in reply and off we went. When challenged to defend such language, he quickly turned spineless. It was all, "everyone does it" and "what's the big deal?"

It was a trifle surreal. I argued he was better than that and he argued that he wasn't. There was no merit to his coarseness, just a sense of moral ennui.

Meanwhile, his audience is tearing itself apart.
On Easter weekend, 45 people were shot in the city (Chicago), six of them children.

Five youngsters under the age of 15—four girls and a boy—were shot in a playground where they had gone after Easter services at a nearby church.

Witnesses agree that a car pulled up and one of the occupants asked the youngsters if they were in a gang. There is some dispute about whether the youngsters even got a chance to say no before the people in the car started shooting.
These are the fatherless ones, the ones who watch the most TV. They aren't the ones reading books or learning how to build things. What does Mr. Hollywood offer them? More swear words, more violence, more sex acts.

Like they needed to see that.


Just one more Hollywood invertebrate going with the flow.

Monday, April 21, 2014

If You've Got A Degree Then It All Makes Sense

We're funny people. We can live our whole lives observing things all around us and then throw evidence and experience out the window when someone with a degree from a prestigious university tells us something that, said by anyone else, would be dismissed as ludicrous nonsense. Feminists, for example.

It turns out that freezing your eggs in your mid to late 30s is a really good idea for women. That way, they can focus on their careers and still have kids later in life without the increased risks of birth defects from having children in their 40s. Brilliant, no? We know this is ingenious because people with important degrees tell us it is. Never mind what it would be like to try raising teenagers when you're in your 60s or what your social life would be with the other parents on the soccer team when you're old enough to be their parents. The woman with the fancy degree said this was good, so it must be.

Of course, if Jolene from Pine Ridge, MS, cosmetics saleswoman from Walmart told us this we'd reply, "What in tarnation are you thinking, Jolene? You ain't gonna find no man who wants to be having babies from frozen eggs when you're 45. If'n you wanted a family, you oughta have hitched up with that nice Wilson boy when you was cute and 22 instead of heading off to get that worthless degree from that Yankee university up north! At your age, you'll be lucky if old Blind John from the bait store down yonder will have you."

That's oversimplifying things, to be sure. The 45-year-old career-crazed feminist is going to have a lot harder time getting a husband than Jolene from Pine Ridge, MS. For one thing, Jolene would probably at least have a clue about men. The women in that article (at least the first page of it which was all I could handle) don't seem to have any comprehension of men at all. Dating in your 40s is pretty awful, but you can still find a gem out there if you try. Dating a woman who froze her eggs so she could focus on her career would seem like willful suicide to me.

When I told her I thought gender theory was total idiocy, she reacted badly.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

复活节快乐 (Happy Easter!)

How beautiful to read this on Easter Sunday.
"It is a wonderful thing to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It gives us great confidence," beamed Jin Hongxin, a 40-year-old visitor who was admiring the golden cross above Liushi's altar in the lead up to Holy Week.
This image comes from another lovely resurrection story.
Happy Easter, everyone!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

More Evidence That The English Premier League Is The Best League In Sports

I just finished watching last place Sunderland beat second place Chelsea in an absolute scorcher of a match. In the EPL, the bottom three teams are relegated to the league below at the end of the season and the top three teams from that league are promoted in to the EPL. That means bottom-tier teams have to play just as hard as the top-tier teams. With 3 more games to go, both ends of the standings are up for grabs.

Near the end of the season in American leagues, whether it's baseball, football, basketball or hockey, players on last place teams are typically thinking about golf tee times instead of playing the game. In the EPL, they're playing like fiends.

Imagine what the Houston Astros - New York Yankees series in late August is going to be like. I feel vaguely dizzy and nauseous just contemplating it. Meanwhile, I can't wait to see almost any of next week's EPL matches.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sweet, Sweet Normalcy

My wife and I teach the remarriage class for the Diocese. The Catholic Church requires you to take marriage preparation classes if you want a Catholic wedding. The classes have been great fun and we feel we're making a difference in these couples' lives with our stories and lessons.

Every class starts with the couples introducing themselves and telling their love story. The stories are sometimes funny and sometimes touching, but they all have the same dynamics in common. The man talks about how beautiful he thought the woman was and the woman talks about how kind and capable she thought the man was. They say it with humor and they say it with love. It always gets the class started out on a happy note.

The couples are all different ages, races, wealth levels, education levels and so on. It's a lovely cross-section of America. For 7 hours or so, all of us in the room share intimate stories and discuss important topics in daily life. Seating is haphazard, so when the class breaks into discussion groups, the combinations are random. There's never any problem with that.

When I see stories about UCLA students occupying buildings over "microaggressions" or Chris Matthews telling us we're swimming in racism or hear that we're not supposed to use the word "bossy" any more because it somehow prevents little girls from growing up to be leaders, I think of these classes and wonder how Chris Matthews, the Huffington Post writers and the student protesters got so darned weird.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Electrical Engineering In Alabama?

Next year, one of our sons will graduate with an EE degree. San Diego may still be where he finds a job in the field, but from his internship search for this summer, it's not a foregone conclusion. One of my Cursillo buddies, a banker, tells me that California in general doesn't have a healthy employment outlook. So where to go if you're young and bright and have an Electrical Engineering degree?

How about Alabama? Dig this.

The location quotient is the ratio of the area concentration of occupational employment to the national average concentration. A location quotient greater than one indicates the occupation has a higher share of employment than average, and a location quotient less than one indicates the occupation is less prevalent in the area than average.
Huntsville and Birmingham are hotbeds of electrical engineering. Why? Well, for Huntsville, there's Cummings Research Park (CRP).

The second largest R&D park in the country with 200+ companies, 25,000+ employees.
I found an NPR story out there from 2011 focusing on downsizing at NASA, people being fired at CRP and working the red state political angle, but two years later those stump-toothed, inbred, redneck hillbillies still seem to be doing alright if the Bureau of Labor Statistics is to be believed.

Or are they to be believed? A Monster.com search revealed 3 EE positions up for grabs in Huntsville vs. 10 in San Diego. Correcting for population sizes, Huntsville (183,000) and Sam Diego (1,338,000), then Huntsville has effectively 22 jobs for the same population. Yep, there it is. Huntsville, AL has a larger concentration of EE jobs than San Diego, CA.

Wow. I would not have believed it if I hadn't clicked around myself.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Love Makes A Family

Renee Aste (why aren't you following her on Twitter?) linked to this news story recently.
In the picture Shanesha Taylor is staring straight into the camera with tears streaming down her cheeks. It’s her mug shot, taken after the Arizona single mother was arrested for leaving her children in a locked car with the windows slightly cracked.

Horrible as that sounds it’s only part of the story. As Shanesha explained to the arresting officer she had no one to watch her kids while she interviewed for a job. The 35-year-old mother is homeless; she risked leaving her children for a short time for the chance to get work.
Shanesha and her two children were living in her car. How horrible! One or more of the following things must happen immediately:
  1. Shanesha should be thrown in jail.
  2. Shanesha should be released and given shelter.
  3. The State needs to pay for free day care for all.
  4. Shanesha's kids should become wards of the foster parent system.
  5. Shanesha needs parenting classes.
  6. (fill in the blank here)
What's the big deal? We're taught that "love makes a family." Wasn't this love every step of the way? Didn't Shanesha love the father of her children? Didn't Shanesha love her children? Wasn't Shanesha doing the best she possibly could? Seriously, I would bet that the answer to all those questions is a resounding "Yes!"

Here's something that will not be recommended from this news story:
  1. We all need to honor the Biblical injunctions on marriage and sex.
Shanesha did what almost all Americans do and then her life went very, very wrong. Until it did, she was following modern, secular morality. Shanesha didn't know it would turn out this way, otherwise she never would have done it. The same goes for all of us. Those of us who get away with it were examples to Shanesha. She saw us do it, so she did it, too.

If love makes a family, then how did Shanesha go wrong when every step was based on love?

Here, the porcupine social worker is placing the children into custody as the bird mom bids them a tearful farewell. Love wins again!
If there is a God and he loves us, wouldn't he give us rules for life that led us away from fates like Shanesha's? Looking at it from the Shanesha angle, defining adultery as a sin is an act of love.

Addendum: Shanesha is a hero in my book. There aren't words to describe my admiration for her.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Our Children Are In Good Hands

Highlights from my daughter's high school history class notes taken on Thursday of this week. The class is learning about the War of American Aggression, or "The Cold War."
  • The Soviets won the space race with Sputnik
  • The CIA made secret, high-altitude flights over Soviet territory
  • The Soviets knew about American spies
Comrade, do you know your history?
There's nothing in her notes about gulags, mass starvation, Soviet aggression, religious repression, the Eastern European uprisings in the 50s ...

Why would there be? This is Soviet American history, after all.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Atheist Hypocrisy Is Worse Than Christian Hypocrisy

We all have limbic systems that drive our animal appetites. Sex n' drugs n' rock and roll are desirable because the primitive lizard brains that sit inside of our glorious human brains says they are. Your limbic system is what drives you to do both the things necessary for survival and the things you really oughtn't like lust and gluttony. For Christians, we face a constant fight with our limbic systems as we strive to be what the Bible tells us to be. When we fail, we're hypocrites. We preach one thing and do another.

So, yes, it's bad when you do things like this:
We shouldn't have done that. We tell others we're trying to do what's right and then we go and give in to the lizard brain. Our lives are constant struggles with Mr. Lizard. Mea culpa.

Then you come to the case of the atheist hypocrite like Sam Harris. Sam's big thing is logic. He's superior to me because he uses logic and reason and evidence and I don't. I drag my knuckles in the ground, grovel in front of crudely carved statues and eat my peas with a knife. I can barely be called civilized. He, on the other hand, is quick to tell you how totally logical he is. He evangelizes his atheism by crowing about his logic. Yes sirree, he's full to the brim with logic. He writes books packed with the stuff.

Except for when they aren't.

Sam's book, Free Will, is one of the worst books I have ever read. I listened to Sam narrate it from Audible.com and I nearly drove off the road ten minutes in. Here's the howler that got me laughing so hard I almost wrecked my car:
You don't have free will, but your decisions still matter.
That has to be one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. I posed it to two of our kids and they instantly blurted out the obvious question, "Why?" Sam doesn't have a logically-derived answer for that. It's possible that the question didn't seem important to him, but not very likely as it's the crucial to much of the book. Instead, he must know full well he doesn't have a serous answer to it.

Sam Harris, you see, is a logic hypocrite.

To me, this is far less forgivable than my succumbing to lust or gluttony or sloth (three of my favorites). While I'm engaged in perpetual neuron-to-neuron combat with my lizard brain, Sam has no such excuse. Logic is very unforgiving. It's either there or it's not. When you toss out a bit of trash like "You don't have free will, but your decisions still matter" without rigorous proof, you're violating your code of logic. When you do it in a book, you know you're flipping all of us the bird.

Sam slipped that piece of rubbish into his book knowing it was nonsense. As a Christian, I believe we are all sinners and have to try to do our best. I sin and need forgiveness. As an atheist, Sam believes he is logically logical and full of evidential evidence that derives his deductions. His whole act is based on him being utterly logical. When he makes premeditated "sins" of logic, that's a totally different thing in my mind. I have an excuse: my limbic system. Sam has none.

Luckily for him, he has no free will, so I guess we shouldn't hold him to very high standards. Or buy any more of his books.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Yellow

I'm out in Charleston, SC this week. This morning, I wandered over to Isle of Palms to try to catch a good sunrise. The sunrise was a little disappointing, but I spied this little, yellow beauty on my way back from the beach. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Everything Belongs, Even $1000 Jeans

I'm in Charleston, SC this week, eating tasty Southern food and otherwise having a good time. On the flight out yesterday I was reading Richard Rohr's Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer. The woman next to me was reading Harper's Bazaar. I read about giving away the world to join with God, she was flipping through pages of conspicuous consumption.

She seemed like a nice enough person and for all I know she works at a convent. The juxtaposition of our reading, however, was delicious. I think I got the better end of the deal. The Harper's Bazaar photo spread containing Madonna was pitiful. What's wrong with that woman, anyway?

:-)

Monday, April 07, 2014

Laughter, The Best Medicine

... and the best disinfectant.

Renee left a great comment on yesterday's post where I discussed how my daughter has been subjected to racialist ranting at her public high school.
I already forwarned my children, once they end up in public high schools to don't argue with the teacher. If there is a problem come to me, but don't speak up in class.
All of our kids learned to do that, both in high school and college. I would bet that the majority do it. As the teacher screams at them that they're oppressing this or that minority, the kids are sitting there thinking, "Yeah, whatever. I didn't do it, so stop yelling at me." In the case of my daughter and American racial sins, this is true in spades as she is a foreign adoption.

Whenever I engage one of these nuts on Twitter, I take a serious line and try to dissuade them with facts and logic. It never works as their beliefs are religious and not philosophical*. From now on, I think I'm going to go the "You realize your peers are laughing at you rather than with you, don't you?" or "Can't you find something better to do with your time instead of badgering the rest of us?" route. Making fun of them is more appropriate for our counterculture movement anyway.

Newcastle United is laying down like dogs every game these days and you think I'm going to sit here worrying about gender-neutral linguistics? What kind of idiot are you?
* - This, by the way, explains the logic of the Brendan Eich firing at Mozilla. The gay activists are not philosophically based upon tolerance, they are religiously based upon total equality. That biology contradicts their claims of total equality does not phase them in the least.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap

Behold the harvest of the secular left.
Today the Millennials, write the Pew analysts, are “relatively unattached to organized politics and religion,” and significantly more unattached than the age cohorts (Generation Xers, Baby Boomers, Silent Generation) that came before...

Most Millennials say they believe in God, but it’s a smaller majority than among older age groups, and only 36 percent say they see themselves as “a religious person,” versus nearly 60 percent of their elders. Some 29 percent of Millennials are religiously unaffiliated. They’re evidently moving away from their parents’ religion but not moving toward one of their own.

One reason may be that people tend to join churches when they marry and have children — and Millennials, so far, aren’t doing much of either. Only 26 percent of Millennials age 18 to 32 are married, far lower than other generations were at their age (Xers 36 percent, Boomers 48 percent, Silents 65 percent).

Millennials aren’t entirely rejecting parenthood, but 47 percent of births to Millennial women are outside of marriage. Even so, about 60 percent of Millennials, like their elders, say that having more children raised by a single parent is bad for society.
After decades of the popular culture embracing subjective, personal morality and schools marinating their students in racialist nonsense, it's no wonder that the mistrust of institutions has spread more widely. When you're taught to question authority, it's natural that eventually people will question the ones telling them to question authority. It's hard to snipe at institutions. Destroying trust in organizations is done more with strategic bombing than high-powered rifles with scopes.

While packs of fatherless children ransack businesses, we focus on gays. The CEO of Mozilla was forced to resign because he refused to agree that sexual morality is personal. Meanwhile, 47% of the babies born to Millenials yesterday had no fathers committed to them. Today, 47% of those babies will suffer similarly. Tomorrow, another 47% will come into the world handicapped in the same way. But all we can talk about are the gays and how the traditional family isn't that valuable after all.

Well, that's not entirely true. We talk about gays only when we're not talking about race.

At my daughter's public high school, her history teacher preaches racialism morning, noon and night. Almost every time we've asked for extra credit assignments, they've been suggestions to watch racialist movies like 12 Years a Slave, The Butler, Cesar Chavez and so on. In order to gain some extra credit points, my daughter had to go to the MLK Day Parade here in San Diego. The textbook is no better. The chapter on WW II is a wonder to see.

The first 8 photographs in the chapter are of minorities and women. The chapter deals exclusively with WW II, not the lead-up to it nor the aftermath. It's straight-up wartime history twisted into racialism. The white guy with the biggest photo in the chapter is ... President Clinton apologizing to a Japanese internment victim. Eisenhower's photo is 1/6 the size.

My daughter's English class isn't much different. Every novel they're reading this year is racialist. There's one about blacks being oppressed, one about women, one about Hispanics and one about American Indians.

As far as the students can tell, the American past is filled mostly with evil. While the intent of the progressives in the education industry is to indoctrinate the kids in critical race theory, their tools are not nearly as focused as they think. Instead of racialism, the kids learn to mistrust their ancestors. The progressives being ancestors as well, they end up caught in their own nets.

None of our kids learned the critical race theory lesson. Instead, they all mistrust racialists and the teachers as well. The ones who have taken the mandatory racialist diversity classes in college mistrust them even more. Sitting in classrooms for weeks on end listening to Julius Streicher's proteges screaming at them about oppression and seeing lots of evidence to the contrary all around them, they've learned to mistrust everyone and everything.

So it's been do your own thing, what's right for me may not be right for you and all of America to date has been fueled by race and sex and gender oppression.

Were you expecting a generation of church-going flag wavers to come out of this?



The progressive self-loathing of American culture has been a raging, err, success.

Friday, April 04, 2014

You Know What Mozilla Needs? It Needs A Good, Old-Fashioned Purge

Thanks be to random, sub-atomic particle variations! That spawn of homophobic, Christic superstition, Brendan Eich, has resigned from Mozilla. Eich proved his homophobia by donating to Proposition 8. After that,what choice did open-minded people have but to force him out through protests and threats? Eich's removal, while a crucial step in the right direction, is not enough.

Ponder this: Where do CEOs come from? Many times, they come from a company's employees. Just because we've managed to dispose of that scourge of diversity and free thought, the danger hasn't passed. In fact, it may have only gotten worse. Eich's removal means there is a void at the top of the company. If he is replaced from within, it will create a ripple effect of openings all the way down the management chain from CEO to team leader. Who's to say that many of these spots won't be given to homophobes?

If steps aren't taken, then removing Eich may well have made things even worse. Unless Eich's ouster is accompanied by a company-wide purge, we can't be certain that the threat has been removed. It's not just Mozilla, either. These purges must occur in all of our workplaces. Mozilla's product, a web browser, is very nice, but it's hardly as important to the critical task of moving America forward as, say, fair trade coffee, reusable grocery bags or hybrid cars. We must all take action immediately if we are to rid ourselves of these monsters.

Do you know which of your coworkers are homophobes? Some of them may be indentifiable through the Proposition 8 donor database, but most of them will not be so easy to spot. The best way to find them is to determine which of them belong to homophobic cults. Which employees are Catholic, Evangelical, Lutheran (Missouri and Wisconsin Synods) or Moslem? Some of them may self-identify making culling easy. Others will try to go underground and conceal their homophobic activities.

Fortunately, the Federal Government is on the side of the righteous. With the help of the NSA, the FBI and the IRS, tech companies have access to massive databases profiling individual behavior and, in particular, affiliations. Individuals who donate to their churches are required to report these donations if they wish to obtain tax deductions. If a person surfs to a parish website, it's a good bet they're trying to find the schedules for cult activities. Phone records and text messages will also show who among us is associated with these hate-based groups. Since Silicon Valley companies are on our side, it will be easy to spot the cult members if we all pull together.

Thanks to the foresight of the Obama Administration, these tools are at our disposal right now. All we need do is use them. Eich's removal was just the beginning of what will be a long, arduous process of ridding ourselves of the scourge of homophobia. Do your part and demand the purge. Only after we remove and re-educate these people will we be able to live in a truly open and free world.

Re-education camps for the homophobes don't have to be dull, dreary places. They can be filled with fun group activities like this!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

These Things Take Time

I've got this Sanctus Real number one thumbsed-up (thumbed up?) on my Newsboys Pandora station and figured I'd share it. Enjoy!

Here's the album: Pieces of a Real Heart.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

It's Not Even 7 AM And I Want To Drink A Beer And Watch Sports

... actually, by the time I post this, it will be after 7 AM, which makes it after 5 PM somewhere, I guess. Here's what triggered my overwhelming desire to reach for my security blanket. Here's the tidbit that sent me over the edge:
The city of Madison hosted the 15th annual national White Privilege Conference last week at the Monona Terrace to discuss issues of white supremacy, social justice, education and the Tea Party. The MacIver Institute attended multiple breakout sessions and will be releasing our highlights over the next couple days.

Our first account comes from the breakout session titled Stories from the front lines of education: Confessions of a white, high school English teacher.

The session was facilitated by Kim Radersma, a former high school English teacher in California and Colorado. Radersma is currently working toward her Ph. D. in critical whiteness studies at Brock University in Ontario, Canada.
For the love of God, Kim, please go find something more productive to do. Anything. Hoe weeds, paint your trim, clean your gutters, vacuum the house, iron clothes you never even wear any more. Critical whiteness studies?!? There was a whole conference on this?

I didn't finish the article. You can if you want, but all I want to do is reach for normalcy and embrace it with deep passion.


Thanks, Drew. I really needed that.

Special note for the SLOBs: Dig that the Tea Party is somehow tied into White Privilege.