Monday, September 25, 2017

Somewhere, An NFL Marketing Exec Is Beating His Head Against His Desk

I don't think I've ever seen worse brand management than what the NFL is doing right now. It's simply unfathomable. With every day, nay, every hour, they are smashing their own value in exchange for absolutely nothing.

The NFL is in the entertainment business. Their primary customers are men, men who like rough things. Hmm, what political opinions might men who like rough things hold? Conservative, maybe? Here's a Reuters article from 2014.
Why does the NFL have such a tenacious hold on the national consciousness — particularly that of white males, the primary fans of professional sports? It might be that the NFL, in both its high points and its low ones, encapsulates the prevailing white male conservative ethos of modern America better than any other league. The triumph of the NFL is a tribute to the triumph of American conservatism...

Of people who identified themselves as part of the NFL fan base 83 percent were white, 64 percent were male, 51 percent were 45 years or older, only 32 percent made less than $60,000 a year, and, to finish the point, registered Republicans were 21 percent more likely to be NFL fans than registered Democrats.
Can you imagine what the marketing department for the NFL is going through right now? The players, the owners, the broadcasters are all siding with crazy social justice warriors against the core of the NFL fan base. They are hating on cops, white men and the Star Spangled Banner.

They aren't shooting themselves in the foot, they are jumping, head-first, into a wood chipper.

The NFL needs fans to make money. Its product is completely independent of politics. Even if they came out in favor of cops, white men and the national anthem it would be a mistake because it would alienate some fans. The best way to maximize revenue is to keep politics out of the NFL. Instead, this weekend was all about politics and to make matters worse, racial politics. It's insane.

Men who are paid a minimum of $450,000 a year to play a game are giving the finger to their blue-collar customers. Almost everyone else associated with the sport is amplifying the insults to make them as loud as possible. And who is the face of the movement? Colin Kaepernick, a player that is so supremely awful that he can no longer get a job, even on a practice squad.

Colin Freaking Kaepernick.


Progressive, racial politics now dominates another institution and, as usual, is killing it. Iowahawk put it well with this tweet.



Update: Dig this comment from a Daily Caller post about Mike Tomlin of the Steelers unahppy about one of his players, a veteran of three tours in Afghanistan, going out to stand for the national anthem:
I watched something yesterday I never thought I would see. I got out my needlepoint in preparation for the 8+ hours of football that occur in our house every Sunday and when the anthem was played, and the black power salute was given, my husband turned off the games and never turned them back on. My husband is a man who is not usually quiet, but he was yesterday and he said that when someone can give a black power salute then refer to the military, police and him as racists, they don't deserve any respect or any of his time. I tried telling him not to pay attention to a bunch of low-life millionaires and just enjoy what he loves most, he said that was a line he wouldn't cross.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Proposed Modifications To The Penn State Nittany Lion (Charizard) Fight Song

... as a follow up to yesterday's post suggesting we use Pokemon characters for team mascots to counteract the waves and waves of white supremacism sweeping across the country in the form of  team nicknames. You can find the original Penn State fight song lyrics here.

For Penn State, I suggested their team be renamed from the Nittany Lions, which conjures up images of animal cruelty, to the Charizards. Here's how their new fight song would read.
Chorus:
HAIL! to the Charizard, loyal and true.
HAIL! Alma Mater, with your fiery hue.
PENN! STATE! forever, molder of men (and women, lesbians, gays, transexuals, transgendered, bisexuals, questioning, gender fluid and declined to answer),
FIGHT! for her (or his, hir, mer, zir as you prefer) honor — FIGHT! — and victory again.

Verse:
Indiana has its Bulbasaurs,
Purdue its gold and black.
The Voltorbs from Northwestern
and Magikarps on attack.
Ohio State has its Spinaraks,
Up north, The Larvitars.
But the mighty Charizards,
The best they’re ever are.
Really, there's no need to pay me. I do this as a public service.

I'm sure that if we worked hard enough, we could come up with a Brony angle on this. It seems pretty appropriate for a generation who can't abide sexual biology or aggressive, physical competitions.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The LSU Squirtles

If you haven't heard, team names and mascots that might be considered racist are under attack.

Well, not all team names, just some. Here in San Diego, the SDSU Aztecs got rid of the semi-goofy Monty Montezuma mascot because it was offensive to indigenous peoples. You know, those indigenous peoples who enslaved other tribes so they could practice mass vivisection. We wouldn't want to taint that noble memory.

The LSU Tigers are garnering protests because their nickname, the Tigers, allegedly referred to the tiger-like ferocity of Louisiana units that fought for the Confederacy. Similarly, the Washington Redskins are under constant threat because their nickname, while liked by American Indians, is disliked by people who claim to represent American Indians.

Enough of this already! I, KT Cat, have the answer.

Let's name our teams after Pokemon creatures. The Washington Zubats. The LSU Squirtles. The Southeast Wyoming Technical Trade School Rattatas. It all makes perfect sense. No one is offended and the souvenirs and clothing are already plentiful.

You're welcome.

Here, the mascot of the Penn State Charizards strikes a fearsome pose. Flame on, beloved alma mater!

Friday, September 22, 2017

When The Kids Move Out

... sloth moves in.

Pondering my own significant decrease in willpower over the past couple of years, it dawned on me that when our kids became self-sufficient, I lost my primary motivation for self-denial. When your life is dedicated to someone else, when their success hinges on your support, there's a reason to forgo the vacations, toys, parties and what-have-you. When all you have to worry about is yourself, you can relax.

And relax I have. My MGB project has taken years longer than it should have. My self-paced learning has almost ground to a halt. I've tried a number of times to become a better photographer, but I always had this voice in the back of my head asking why I was bothering. The list goes on and on.

There are many rites of passage in life: going to school for the first time, learning to drive, kissing a girl, moving out, getting your first, self-supporting job. One that gets much less attention is that moment when the last of your children no longer needs you for survival. It's a glorious day, to be sure, but on the other side of it lies ... what?

It snuck up on me. Slowly, stealthily and without warning, it struck. I was helpless.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

How Long Can You Hold Your Breath?

... or go without checking the web?

At work, I'm on my browser all day. Lots of open tabs, clicking here, typing there, it's a frenzy of webby goodness. During the day, I find myself checking Twitter, Instapundit, the WSJ and more. Why? It's fun, that's why. Why not?

Therein lies the problem of willpower. I've been re-reading (re-listening) to Willpower. In it is a description of some dude who is an endurance artist. An endurance artist is another word for a mentally ill person who does things to such extremes that it makes you want to lie down with a cool washcloth on your forehead. In one case, this lunatic held his breath for more than 17 minutes.

That's nuts, but his training was interesting. He built up his willpower through acts of self-denial that simulated the insane stunt he wanted to attempt. I waste a lot of time on the Internet in the mornings. It's my time, but I find myself simply burning it on nonsense. Let's see if disciplining myself during the day can help my self-control in the mornings.

General Burkhalter would tell me that I just need some good, old-fashioned, German self-discipline.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

You Need One Of These

We saw this at a local consignment store. I think you need it in your living room.

It's glorious. Simply glorious.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rioting For Heroin Dealers

Andrew Klavan made a great point about this week's St. Louis riots on his show yesterday. Just what are the rioters supporting? The guy who got shot by the cop had a long list of priors, was seen doing drug dealing actions, rammed a cop car with his own car twice, led the cops on a high-speed chase and then was reaching for something in his car when he was shot. Drugs and a gun were found in the car.

If this happened in my neighborhood, we'd be delighted, as much as one can be over such things, that a bad dude had got his. There's no way we'd be rioting. We'd want him taken out of our lives, one way or another.

Would anyone want this kind of guy within 100 yards of his kids? I don't think so.

So just what was it that they were endorsing with the riots? More justice for heroin dealers? Safer streets for heroin dealers? Perhaps they just want the cops to go away so they can live in isolation from the rest of society. They're trying that, implicitly, in Chicago and Baltimore. That's not going so well.

What do we want? More homicides! When do we want them? Now!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Fried Hog Jowls

I love to do goofy voices. It's an affectation and I'm sure it annoys plenty of people, but I've gotten to the point where they just come out.

I've always loved saying I was going to make a mess of fried hog jowls in my redneck accent. The other day, I finally looked up the recipe and it intrigued me. I found that my favorite supermarket, the utterly low-end Food 4 Less, had smoked hog jowls a-plenty. At $1.69 a pound, how could I pass them up?

The long and short of it is that they fry up like bacon. These tasted saltier than the bacon I'm used to, but I'm sure that's due to the particular curing. In fact, they're also called "cheek bacon." They come as a small slab and you slice them to your preferred thickness. Below is my photo essay from the adventure. I don't think I'd do them again, but they weren't horrible. It was definitely worth doing once.

Enjoy!

I couldn't help myself. Jowls are such happy things!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

I Can Speak With Dogs In Their Own Language

... and it's no big deal.

Sally Quinn writes for the WaPo. She writes a religion blog. Sally is also an occultist. Which the WaPo did not find important enough to reveal to their readers until recently. Also which was not a reason to disqualify her as the writer of a religion column.

And so the WaPo published articles on religion from a woman who believes in and practices hexes, spells and séances. And everyone at the WaPo went to work in the morning, got their cups of coffee, wrote a little bit, made some phone calls and then picked out a place for lunch. How about that deli across the street? No, we go their all the time, I'm in the mood for Thai. Let's invite Sally, because when she stands in line, she casts spells on the condiments and then they taste so much better. Great idea! Say, did you hear that the local Catholic bishop is still pushing traditional marriage? How primitive! (Laughter.)

I would bet that the folks at the WaPo firmly believe that they can communicate with normals. I'm sure Sally has been innocently writing her columns all this time believing, deep in her heart, that she understands us and she can reach us where we live.

When I was in junior high, I had a friend who believed his dog could understand what he was saying. He would say something sweet to the dog and it would roll over or lick him or whatever. Being a curmudgeon even at that early age, I said something horrible to the dog in a sweet voice and it behaved the same way. We couldn't talk to the dog at all. It was just so much self-deception on the part of my friend.

Sort of like Sally Quinn and the rest of the WaPo.

This perfectly represents Sally Quinn's ability to truly communicate with us normals and the WaPo's opinion of us as a whole.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Catican Patrol!

It's like Rat Patrol, only starring the Catican Guards.

I took them out on maneuvers yesterday in Mission Trails Regional Park. Thanks to Global Warming Climate Change, the temperature has dropped into the mid-70s and it was very pleasant. Anything above 80 and Bodie, the largest of the Guards, really struggles.

The kids had a great time, running about in the brush. I got some shots of them on the move, the one below is my favorite. I love the subtle and yet distinct contrast of their fur with the scrub. I left it a bit large, so it might be worth a click. Enjoy!


By the way, does anyone remember watching Rat Patrol? I remember it being on and watching it from time to time, but I can't recall anything about the show aside from the Aussie dude with the cool hat.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Changing Your Thought Patterns

... is the hardest thing I've ever tried to do and that includes trying to understand algebraic topology, something at which I failed.

I've always felt that if I put enough effort into it, I could have mastered topology. Changing my thought patterns to fight recurring sins, that's another thing altogether.

I blogged about this crusade a while back, complete with an idea for using Christian music to guide my thoughts. Sometimes that works, sometimes it gets overwhelmed. When my mind gets on one of the old tracks, the music is drowned out and the old ways come roaring back as if nothing had changed. Decades of habit dig pretty deep grooves in the brain.

Still, we're called to try, not to succeed. We are fallen, sinful creatures who are destined to keep sinning. All we can do is fight the good fight, no?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

On The Plus Side, The Recipients Would Pay For The Service

Seriously, I just can't get enough @RepJayapal. She's so sweet and kind and childlike, it's like following a really good-natured toddler. Dig this bit of goodies-for-everyone.
With our $20T debt and $440B annual deficit, this new benefit would be paid for with borrowed money. That borrowed money would be financed by ... wait for it ... our children.

Is that the greatest thing or what? Hey, those little rugrats are the one being cared for, why shouldn't they pay for it?  Pramila Jayapal, you're the best.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Dean Points Out The Madness Of Our Times

... with an offhand tweet. Dig this.
Which was in response to this.
Like the rest of us, Dean can't keep up with who and what has been expelled from Proper Society. Seriously, I can't keep track of it all. I go into the garage to work on the MGB and I come out to find that a half dozen people and statues are no longer part of the Community of People Who Hold the Right Opinions.

Dig these tidbits from just the last few hours.
What on Earth is going on? Since when did we live in a country where mobs rushed about ripping people, information and things down on an hourly basis? It's a frenzy, a madness. And yet, nothing is really changing.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Monday Night Football Illustrates The Divide Between The Elites And Normals

Last night's game between the Chargers and Broncos featured Beth Mowins as the play-play man, err, woman. It was the first time a woman announced an NFL game.

I hated it.

I had no idea who she was. At first, I thought it was a guy with a weird voice and an odd delivery. Then I realized the voice was vaguely feminine. I wondered just why we were having to listen to a woman announce an NFL game. What was the added value? To me, it was just another in-your-face social justice cram-down. Look how "woke" we are! We've got a woman doing play-by-play! If you don't like it, you're a misogynist!

And to be truthful, I wondered if it was actually some transgendered dude. This was ESPN, after all.

Over on sbnation, they had a blog post about the glorious step forward. Here's a tidbit.
There’s a woman calling play-by-play for the Chargers-Broncos game, and it’s about time.

Beth Mowins will be in the booth doing play-by-play for the Chargers-Broncos matchup on Monday Night Football. This marks the first time in 30 years a woman has called play-by-play for an NFL game...

Mowins has been calling play-by-play for college football games for ESPN since 2005. She was only the second woman in NCAA history to do so. She’ll start her NFL play-by-play career on one of the league’s biggest stages: Monday Night Football. She’s ready for it.
Why was it "about time?" She's ready for it? Who cares if she's ready for it? This isn't about her, it's about us. We, the deplorable rednecks to whom she has the misfortune to broadcast, we're the ones who matter. So how did she do, this Susan B. Announcerny? Badly. Very badly. Here are some representative comments from that blog post.
  • This Mowins chick sounds like a man who smokes about 20 cartons a day. Her voice is so irritating that I’m switching to 9/11 documentaries. That sidelines person named Dipp can hardly get a sentence together. He needs to go.
  • I have three people over to watch the Charger Game and NOT ONE of the people including me can understand a single word the Female announcer is uttering. Why have an announcer that NO ONE can hear. We are watching the game with the mute button ON.
  • But I’m picturing a 13 year old boy, at the beginning of puberty, listening to her talk.
  • I have the mute button on as I can’t stand to listen to Beth Mowins in any sport. I prefer a male announcer but surely there is someone with a better voice than Mowins.
  • She is the worst NFL announcer I have ever heard in my life. Why? Why torture us with this hag's horrible voice? I'm skipping this game, I'll watch the scoreboard from NFL.com instead of suffering this cow.
  • I thought Dennis Miller was bad. This woman is horrendous. Absolutely miserable to listen to. Ruins the entire game. I know ESPN is the snowflake liberal, ultra PC organization that actually removed an announcer from a SEC game, ‘cause his name was Robert Lee (he’s Asian decent. Lee is a common name in Asia). But this is about a last straw for me. With the spoiled players now thumbing their noses at the American Flag and anthem and now this miserable, so annoying MNF announcer. I’m not even going to watch this **** any more.
There's the difference between the elites and the normals in stark relief, illustrated by an NFL broadcast. The elites are all excited about Beth being ready for her opportunity to shatter the glass ceiling of broadcasting. The normals hated it.

Sadly, all the normals can do is hate it and change the channel. It's not like the elites can hear us complain.

Monday, September 11, 2017

We're Not Even Trying Any More

Global Warming Climate Change dogma is so affixed in our culture that it's become a throw-away line in conversation. Dig this.

Prior to these, we've had no major hurricanes since 2005. This year, we've had two. If Global Warming Climate Change causes hurricanes, what causes the lack of them?

Whatevs. Like racism is the cause of all social pathologies, Global Warming Climate Change is the cause of all bad weather. It just is, so get over your denialism. If you disagree, we'll send the ANITFA folks over to your house or maybe we'll just fire you. We don't have time for conversation, we're too busy leaning forward.

Whatever that means.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Some Good News For Key West Today

Their pollen count will be very, very low.

This is from the weather.com forecast for Key West today.
That's bound to happen when you get 3" of rain and 90 MPH winds.

It's an ill 90 MPH wind that blows no good, you know.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Grateful Flamingos

From the WSJ comes this image and caption.

Flamingos take refuge in a shelter ahead of the downfall of Hurricane Irma at the zoo in Miami, Fla., on Saturday. 
Not the best of flyers, I'll bet these guys are pretty happy to be out of the way of the wrath of oncoming Irma.

Speaking of that, I took a look at Miami's forecast for tomorrow. 80-90 MPH winds and 4 1/2" of rain. That's not something we will ever see in San Diego.

Stay safe, Floridians.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Real Worries Trump Silly Worries

This week we had a cancer scare. One of the members of the Catican staff was diagnosed as having a tumor, which would have been their second. The first had been dealt with, so we had assumed we were safe, but this appeared to be a return of the crab*. Any round after the first is bad news as it typically means metastasis, so we started dealing with an uncertain future for all of us.

Yesterday, we had further diagnosis and discovered that the lump and shapes on the screen were not cancerous and there was an innocent explanation for it all. Thank you, Jesus!

I've been at the epicenter of a few atomic bombs in my life, but this was the first one of these. Starting to work through the emotional and physical ramifications of a possibly terminal illness in the family was new to me. Everything else faded as if the world was an image in Photoshop and I was turning down its intensity, save for the central part. Things at work which had occupied my thoughts were dismissed as irrelevant and minor irritations became meaningless.

That's something I've learned from previous crises. Your Worry Scale changes when you get hit with big problems and you realize that what you had thought was the upper end of Things to Worry About wasn't anywhere near the real upper end of that scale. With each crisis, I find it easier and easier to deal with little troubles in my life. I've learned to recognize how truly small they are.

I've felt that way about a lot of the cultural wars we've been waging lately. ANTIFA is made up of young people because they're inexperienced. They've yet to be seriously tested in life, so they think that statues and flags and campus speakers are terribly important. They're not.

Had the crab really returned, I wouldn't have spent the next several months writing strongly worded letters to my representatives about statues. Had the crab claimed it's victim, I'd discover that I instantly had deep bonds with other veterans of battles with the crab, regardless of their political positions.

That's one of the many ways the whole identity politics things falls apart. We can quickly find intimate connections with people who have similar interests and experiences regardless of race. I'd rather have a black security guard who is an SEC football fan over for jambalaya and the LSU game than a white member of the New York City ballet. My Hispanic Cursillo friends who come over to the Catican Bayou for good food are always a lot of fun. White, atheist, ANTIFA Bernie-Bros? Not so much fun.

Skin color is a shallow starting point for relationships. Experiences, loves and hobbies are the best connectors.

I'm rhetorically wandering around now, still a bit mentally dazed from the relief I feel. Sorry about that. I'll leave you with this little snippet from Woody Allen's Love and Death where an escape from death leads to changes in life. Enjoy.


* - If you don't know the reference, the Crab is the Zodiac constellation for Cancer. Cancer is Latin for "crab." I first encountered this turn of phrase in Solzhenitsyn's excellent book, Cancer Ward.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

I Love The Deal With Schumer And Pelosi

... and I don't care about the details.

I need an easy post today, so reacting to the Trump deal with the Democrats to increase the debt limit and fund the hurricane relief is it.

The debt ceiling was going to be raised, so it's no big deal. The hurricane relief was going to be passed, so it's no big deal. Trump got them both with no muss and no fuss. He also cut the legs out from his lefty critics by dealing with their leaders. If there is pork inside or other unwanted details, who cares? 5 years from now we won't even notice.

The best part of all was that it was a 2x4 upside the heads of the Republican leadership. They promised to rescind ObamaCare and didn't do it. Instead, we got to watch "Maverick" John McCain prancing around in front of the cameras like he always does. What a creep. They've promised tax reform and have passed nothing. They had 8 years to line up legislation, waiting for this day and they had nothing at all ready to go.

I hope this hurt. I hope it was humiliating. I hope they are drenched in shame and nauseous with betrayal because that's the way we've felt for the last 6 months.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

A Little Bit On DACA

I'm not completely up to speed on DACA, but here's my quick take.

The people that came here illegally decided that America was better than the countries where they were. They also decided that America was better than their other options. They didn't go to Sudan, Bolivia or Zimbabwe, they came to America.

America's goodies are predicated on the rule of law. Without it, we're run by mobs and life is unpredictable. No treats like top universities or good jobs then! So the DACA people came here because the rule of law allowed us to create the things they wanted to consume. Now that they're here, the rule of law is in their way and needs to be suspended. Just for them. Just in this circumstance. Because they say so.

Welcome to the United States of DACA.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

A Minimalist Stereo For The MGB

I've done the last installations for my MGB rewiring project. The relays (4 where there were only 1 originally) and fuse boxes (11 where there had been 7, no inlines any more) are both mounted in the engine compartment. All I need to do is clip and connect. A day will finish the project.

Last night I bought the stereo for the car. It has no screen and only two buttons and a knob. Check it out below, the mighty DROK 50W. It's a bluetooth receiver with a power amplifier, powered by 12V input from the accessories feed. It puts out a head-warping 50W of power per channel.


OK, that's not head-warping, but it's good enough for the Time Eater. I never have the top up* when I drive, so the road noise is really loud. The speakers will be practically in front of my face, so we don't need a lot of power or fidelity.

Everything will be driven from my phone, which is how I use the stereo in the BMW X3 I'm driving now. I never use anything but the Bluetooth connection, so there's no real point in having a tuner, CD player or all the rest. The DROK has an aux port as well, but I can't imagine using it.

Now all I need are speakers and a different center console.

* - In fact, I remove the top from the car completely. Like the French Army, it's annoying, it gets in the way and it accomplishes nothing of value at all.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Romans, Ottomans And North Koreans

I never finished The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, but I got about half way through that prodigious tome. I did manage to finish The Ottoman Empire, which itself was quite a beast.

What you saw in both cases were nations that practiced offensive defense. That is, if they felt a country on their borders was a threat or would become one in the near future, they would attack and conquer it. If they thought they needed some buffer space on their borders they would also attack and conquer neighbors so any invader of them would have to go through less-valuable conquered territory first.

As near as I can tell, that was a pretty common practice up until the age of nuclear weapons. In fact, the Warsaw Pact was a buffer zone for the Soviet Union. The concept is part of a bygone era, one in which the United States never really engaged. I suppose you could consider the Mexican-American War to have been that sort of thing, but not being up on that conflict, I couldn't say.

It seems to me that we're re-entering that world. A nuclear Iran and a bellicose, nuclear North Korea would long ago have triggered the Ottomans and Romans to take self-preserving action. We didn't and now we're sitting around trying to figure out how we can make it all go away. That doesn't seem to have much hope for success.

Human nature hasn't really changed in 2000 years. Maybe the Romans and Ottomans were on to something.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Trump And Korea

Since I don't watch the news and only read the WSJ and Instapundit these days, I can only speculate on the connections that are being made between Trump's tough stance on North Korea and their H-bomb detonation. I'm sure there are plenty who are questioning the wisdom of getting tough and are pining for the days of cool-headed diplomacy.

An H-bomb takes a while to make. Like at least a year or something. I mean, it's really tough, harder even than beating the last level of Bubble Blast on your phone. That means the Norks must have started Googling "How do I make a hydrogen bomb?" prior to Trump winning the election. That could suggest to some observers that strategic patience was just about the worst conceivable idea and was a product of delusional thinking, the type you find so common in Ivy League faculty lounges.

On the other hand, embracing diplomatic solutions with countries that regularly chant, "Death to America!" or whatever it is the Norks chant, is the kind of thing that gets you invited onto NPR talk shows and to the best cocktail parties in the nicer parts of the Acela Corridor, so there's that to consider as we ponder the possibility of West Coast cities getting incinerated.

There are smart people in the Ivy League faculty lounges. Lots of really, really smart people. Much smarter than you or I. We might have suggested that it was a good idea to knock off the Norks before they got nukes, but that would have been wrong because we called them "Norks."

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Serving Feels Good

Things have been a bit ... off in the Catican Compound lately. Life's been weird and blogging an exercise in unpleasantness.

Last night, my wife and I went to a benefit for a Tijuana resource for the poor. When you say "the poor in Tijuana," you're really saying something. The benefit was put on by a bunch of my Cursillo brothers and sisters. We went and donated and had a good time, but it wasn't until I grabbed a tray and started bussing tables at the end that it really felt good.

Serving others - it's good for what ails you.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Parallels With Merton

... dim parallels, but parallels nonetheless.

After years of struggling with it, I'm almost at the end of Thomas Merton's autobiography of faith, The Seven Storey Mountain. I couldn't find an unabridged version on Audible, so I'm reading a real, paper book. How taxing! Anyway, the book details his journey from communist wastrel to Trappist monk.

How's that for a transition in life?

Thomas Merton entered the monastic life in the second week of December, 1941. Something else happened that week, what was it? Oh yeah. This.

December 7, 1941: Presaging ANTIFA, the Japanese responded to white supremacist hate speech.
Merton gave up his old life in order to gain a new one. He wrote about the freedom that comes with surrendering to God, the shedding of old sins and the embrace of divine love. He was a terrific writer, so it's more eloquent than that, but that's the idea. In a world falling into strife and chaos, he embraced the peace of Christ.

Last Sunday, I blogged one of my standard posts about chucking all the political hate and turmoil. I don't have any illusions that this vow will be more successful than previous ones, but why not try?
I need to avoid the things that trigger the unwanted thoughts. Anger wasn't one of the things I was working on, but it was front and center this week, brought on by my consumption of political posts on Facebook and Twitter. It was really rough as the progressive onslaught upon the culture and their obsession with race was infuriating.
I've pretty much stuck to that plan. I'm down to maybe 3 political people on Twitter and consuming only Instapundit on the web. I've found much more peace in my life because of it. I miss the anger that came with reading stories of outrages because anger, like all sins, is fun. Lots and lots of fun.

Meanwhile, the world continues to spiral into hysteria. Dig this.
The University of Mississippi cut short a fraternity retreat this weekend when a participant threw a banana peel into a tree...The meeting then began to unravel—some participants left the room crying—and students departed from the campsite as they no longer felt "welcome" or "safe."...Makala McNeil, president of Alpha Kappa Alpha and one of the students who happened upon the peel, told the student paper, "You see how much fear and how much anger you incite in black people just from an unintentional image."
Some dude ate a banana and couldn't find a trash can, so he tossed the peel into a tree. That sounds like something I would do. "Hey, it's biodegradable!" is an excuse I've used plenty of times. In one of the least racist nations on Earth, this resulted in rage and fear.

A banana peel in a tree resulted in rage and fear. "You see how much fear and how much anger you incite in black people..."

It's not the attack on Pearl Harbor or a world at total war, but it's a difference in scale, not in kind. We've become so convinced of an existential threat that doesn't exist that we see it everywhere. It's a national mania, fed by an academy that has become completely detached from reality, an unthinking media that enforces orthodoxy and a political class that is terrified of the media.

It might not have been such a bad idea to unplug from this insanity after all. It makes blogging harder, but that's not such a big price to pay for the peace.