Sunday, December 31, 2017

Dogs Of The Apaches

... which was also known as Badlands of Tierrasanta was an obscure, 1950s, B-grade western. In it, the straight-shooting Marshall John Cullen rides into Apache country, looking for a fugitive gunslinger. The film is only known for one bit of dialog, given below. John's deputy, the hot-headed Steve McGregor, spots an Apache Chihuahua running through the brush. Thinking the dog is on the trail of the killer, Steve wants to rush after it, but John knows it's probably a trap. After all, where you see one Chihuahua, there are probably a dozen more, waiting in ambush.

"Don't do it, Steve. Only a fool would take on a Chihuahua out here. They know this country like the backs of their hands."
"Paws, Marshall. Paws."
"Good idea. We'll pause to get our bearings."
"No, I meant paws as in feet. They know this country like the backs of their paws. Chihuahuas don't have hands."
"Oh, shut up."

Saturday, December 30, 2017

I Married Well

My wife and I are both crazed papists. Catholicism informs almost all we do. In the last week, I watched my wife show kindness, forgiveness, mercy and charity to someone who needed it, but had not been all that kind to her in the past. The recipient was a good person who had fallen on hard times and their negative reactions to my wife were a feature of circumstances and not an ill disposition.

In any case, I saw a woman who strives daily to be Christian in all she does do just that, in spades. The end result was warmth and happiness, as much as could be expected.

The analogy that just came to mind was that of ripples radiating out from a full-immersion baptism. By bathing herself in her faith, how she chose to live each day of her life had beautiful effects on people around her. A casual observer might not have made the connection, but I know her pretty well and what motivated her love.

Like my post about the drinks, I'll explain more at another time.

Friday, December 29, 2017

2018 Is Starting To Shape Up Nicely

... considering what I got at Costco today. Pork bellies and beer. The beer, Alpine's Duet IPA, isn't anything special, but it's a decent enough go-to for an evening get-together with friends. The pork bellies are something I've never worked with before, so it ought to be interesting.

You can make bacon from the back, the belly, the jowls and who knows what else. My goodness, it's like pigs are just giant packages of bacon with legs.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Modelo To Open Breweries In Iran, North Korea

... or at least they should. After all, they can't tell where one country ends and another begins, right?

Me, I don't live in space. I live in San Diego. I can tell where countries begin and end. I suspect that lots of the folks at this advertising agency can as well, which is why they don't choose where they live by random chance.

It's lies all the way down, from space to the homes of the Modelo marketers.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Discomfort Can Be God For You

A little tidbit that's been on my mind, triggered by this tweet.

Cries of "Don't judge!" and the body-positive movement that criticizes fat-shaming always bother me. Without discomfort, there's not much motivation to change, to stop bad habits. That's certainly true in my case. My bad habits keep rolling along in the absence of the motivation of shame or criticism. For example, I listen to Christian music and read Christian books to encourage me to be better, not to reassure me that I'm perfect just the way I am. I'm not perfect just the way I am and I don't want to stop working to improve.

Matthew Kelly is a Catholic speaker whose primary theme is becoming the best version of yourself. It's kind of hard to work on that continuous progression is you feel totally comfortable with who and what you are.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Snug In Their Beds

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The three Guards were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of doggie-treats danced in their heads;

Here in the Catican Compound, we all wish you a warm and safe Christmas Eve.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Catholicism And Politics

One of our sons and I were texting yesterday, laughing about the tax bill and Net Neutrality hysteria. I had asked him if the offices where he worked were filled with dead bodies. I told him that our dumpsters had been convereted to emergency mass-burial sites. He asked me if the insane responses we're seeing from the left were normal. I thought about it and said I'd never seen anything like this in my life.

Since then, I've been trying to come up with a reason for the madness and I think I've got it. In the past, I've said that progressivism is a religion.
The young man (a San Diego public school teacher) is a standard prole. He has faith in the progressive religion and "knows" his positions are morally right. When teachers, who care only about children and have the most important jobs in the Universe because the youth are the future tell them that the Democrats are kind and Republicans are greedy and evil, they ingest their catechism without critical thought and go back to their lives.

The fact that the progressivism has sold us all into debt slavery cannot pierce the bubble of faith encasing this fellow in a warm feeling of moral righteousness. Even if he loses his job because of debt loads inflicted on us all by the left, it's doubtful he'll ever do the hard work of learning how and why it happened. He has his progressive religion and it gives his life meaning and value even when things fall to pieces because of it.
The hysteria we're seeing in the media and politicians over taxes and the ISP regulations is faithful progressives reacting in rage against what their religion tells them is evil. It's not measured or rational because it's not based on reason or logic. It's good vs evil in its purest form.

Almost everything I do is guided by my Catholic faith. I reflexively compare decision options against Catholic teaching. I try to pray throughout the day for guidance when going into a situation that I know will tempt me to do wrong.

For example, yesterday, while driving around, shopping, I prayed about what I ought to do that evening. My wife's birthday is today and I've been working long hours and travelling almost non-stop to the point that I'm exhausted. I decided the best thing I could do to be a good husband was to get plenty of sleep that night so that today I'd be full of energy so I could help make the day a happy one for her.

I'd argue that the left has become so religious that they are doing the same things, but to a degree beyond anything I'd do. That's the source of the insane claims of racism over almost everything. Dig this list of 100 racist things from Tucker Carlson. This might be my favorite.

I am absolutely sold on Catholicism. It exudes from my pores. Even I, deranged Papist that I am, would never think to try to apply my faith to flavored coffee drinks. If any of the radical traditionalists on Twitter, who want to return to the Latin Mass, even suggested that Pumpkin Spiced Lattes were a sin, we'd all howl at them in laughter. That's part of it, but there's something bigger at work.

Under Catholicism, I contemplate my sins. Under progressivism, you contemplate my sins as well. I see my sins as my own evil and struggle against them. Progressives see my political beliefs as evil and fight that with the same determination, if not more. They reacted with rage this week, not because people disagreed with them won some legislative victories, but because evil was triumphant. They couldn't moderate their reactions because they were religious reactions, not reasoned ones.

There. That's it for now. The Newcastle United game is on. Have a nice day!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Peggy Noonan, Socialist?

I love Peggy. Let's make that clear from the start. I think she is warm, wise and tries very hard to have a feel for us peasants. She's also a good weathervane for the cutlure. Dig this. In that essay, she says the tax reform bill was a good thing, but now corporations need to do what government would have done anyway.
I end with this. This bill gives American big business more than a boatload of money, it offers a historic opportunity—a timely and perhaps final one.

Big corporations can take the gift of the tax cut (and the continuance of the carried interest loophole, that scandal) and do superficial, pleasing public relations sort of things, while really focusing on buying back stock and upping shareholder profits.

And they’ll do this if they’re stupid, and craven.

Or they could set themselves to saving the system that made them, and helping the country that made their lives possible.

They can in some new way see themselves as citizens—as members of America, as people with a stake in this nation, a responsibility for it. They can broaden, invest, hire, expand and start the kinds of projects that take the breath away. They can literally get young men and women out of the house, into the workplace, learning something. They can change and save lives. This would be costly. Spend.
Um, Peg? Corporations are not formed to save systems. They are formed to offer goods and services that customers want and in so doing, generate wealth. That's it. Yes, philanthropy and civic-mindedess are good things, but that's not the mission of corporations, it's a byproduct.

Cities and states woo businesses becase they want the jobs, the growth and the wealth that comes along with them. It's a tacit admission of reality - someone has to make a profit if you want jobs. Peg goes on.
One of our two political parties is being swept by a young and rising new left that is fiercely progressive and on fire for socialism. It may well in coming decades sweep the CEOs and their corporations away if they cannot rouse themselves to present economic freedom as an ultimate and democratic good.

This may be the last opportunity for business leaders to do what hasn’t been done in a generation, and that is defend the reputation of capitalism.
Um, no. Capitalism is a fact, it's how the world works. Like biology, it's out of favor right now, but that doesn't make it any less of a fact. The resurgence in the popularity of socialism isn't caused by businesses doing what businesses have always done, it's caused by the current fads of the intellectuals.

CNBC had a couple of tweets after the passage of the tax bill where they highlighted companies who were giving bonuses, increasing pay rates and promising investment. The replies were illuminating. Lefty hatred of business wasn't bought off by the corporations doing good things. Prog after prog replied with scorn and fury. So much for defending reputations.

I don't want the businesses in my city, state or nation to worry about getting lazy 20-somethings out of their parents' basements, either. I want them to make money so they stick around and hire people. The lazy slobs can figure out how to get to work on their own. That's how the world works.

Here we see a typical, greedy CEO, rushing to bury his ill-gotten gains, squeezed from the workers, in his back yard.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

SoCal Wildfires And Controlled Burns

As huge swaths of SoCal burned up recently, I wondered why the state hadn't done more burns to deplete the fuel for the fires in a controlled manner and prevent these conflagrations. I did some research and found out a couple of interesting facts.
  • Because of how dry SoCal is and the requirements to safely do controlled burns, there are only about two weeks a year when you can do them.
  • The firefighters who do the burns are under contract for only 6 months out of the year.
  • Air pollution regulations consider the smoke from controlled burns to be man-made particulates, making it hard to get permits to do the burns.
  • Unlike the South, where controlled burns are the norm, in the West, we have followed a path of all-fires-are-bad and so there hasn't been much political support for increasing the amount of acreage burned.
The end result has been an accumulation of massive stockpiles of fuel in scrub and forests. One site claimed that, due to decades of build-up, the heat and size of the inevitable wildfires are beyond what can be contained.

Another interesting fact I pulled up is that under controlled burns, the flames aren't allowed to get much more than a foot high. The big trees get singed, but not burned down. The idea is to use fire to get rid of the flammable detritus on the forest floor.

Global Warming Climate Change may or may not play a role, but it's what is getting all the blame. Instead of that, it looks to me like we should have put a lot more effort into burning out the fuel stocks and less into worrying about air pollution and funding high-speed rail to nowhere. In the end, the air got polluted anyway and the cost of the damage was massive to the state.

On the plus side, we will soon have connected a couple of tiny, rural towns with high-speed rail service. Massive wildfires are a small price to pay for that!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

This Is What's Wrong With America Today

Just look at this.

Back in the frontier days, when America was great, we didn't have 911. No, Americans defended their country themselves. This little boy needs to learn self-reliance. If he thinks the Grinch is going to steal Christmas, the proper response is to be trained and armed and take out the green villain when he tries to put an end to our favorite holiday.

After all, Davy Crockett killed him a bear when he was only 3.

Consarn it! If 5 years old is not too young to learn about all 131 genders, it's not too young to be able to defend your home and holidays from that rantallion, the Grinch.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Steve Young Wearing A Tablecloth

... perhaps one he took off a picnic table.

Watching MNF last night, we were assaulted by this sartorial horror from the old 49ers QB, Steve Young.

What has been seen cannot be unseen.
Hideous. Simply hideous.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Snow In The Rockies

I shot this one with my phone from the plane's window yesterday as we flew back from Chicago to San Diego. I left it pretty big, so it might be worth a click. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

What's Next, A Game Show?

I saw this and I still don't believe it.

Next up on NBC, "Let's Make A Diversity Deal" where contestants attempt to assemble the most diverse team to accomplish mundane bureaucratic tasks while combating racism!

The elites who run NBC have completely lost their marbles. Why do I need to think critically about race and food? Why can't I just have some pho or wings or Pad Thai or fish and chips, drink a beer and watch the Monday Premier League match at lunch?

Who is the audience for this podcast? The only group I can think of is people who are just like the podcasters - educated, woke, hip and utterly disconnected from reality. All the while they're working on their podcast, kids by the millions in single-mom homes are falling farther behind their peers who come from traditional families.

It's so detached from the serious problems of the real world that it makes me want to rant on and on and on. Don't worry, I won't. I'll just stop here before I go completely off the rails.

We're in the Windy City for a family wedding this weekend and, of course, we went to a tap room to sample the local suds. This is what it looked like.

They have lots of local, Midwestern craft beers at The Brass Tap in Chicago. All of their IPAs were horrible, probably because they were brewed without first critically thinking about race and hops.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

It May Not Be Spoken

... but it's OK if it shows in their behavior.

The Boston Globe recently did a series of articles probing Boston's reputation as the most racist city in America.
But this much we know: Here in Boston, a city known as a liberal bastion, we have deluded ourselves into believing we’ve made more progress than we have. Racism certainly is not as loud and violent as it once was, and the city overall is a more tolerant place. But inequities of wealth and power persist, and racist attitudes remain powerful, even if in more subtle forms. They affect what we do — and what we don’t do.
I haven't read the whole thing, but it triggered my thought from yesterday - there are topics we can discuss, like racism, and there are ones we can't discuss like cultural rot. When I started reading the Globe's work, I wondered, "What if there's a basis for the feelings? I wonder if they deal with that in the series."

I have a friend who is a dyed-in-the-wool progressive. They love to talk about racism and they have the obligatory lefty hatred of the South, particularly of southerners who still like the Confederate flag. In San Diego, there's an excellent soul food restaurant in one of our few black neighborhoods. The prog won't visit it because they don't feel safe. Personally, I've got no problem going down there and getting my fix of deep-fried okra. The prog will preach to you at length about how racist America is, but their actions show they feel there is merit to the racists' arguments.

There's the elephant in the room again. We can talk about the Stars and Bars, but we can't talk about the reality of communities where the traditional family has broken down. We clearly know what it means in terms of crime and ruined lives because we quietly avoid those places, but we dare not say what we're implicitly thinking.

Going back to Boston, how many of the readers of that series will be nodding their heads, thinking about how terrible it is that so many of their neighbors are such racists all the while never having shopped, eaten, worked, lived or gone to school in those neighborhoods because, well, look at them, they're such cesspits!

It feels like our conversations about race are really all about ourselves and whether or not we are virtuous. What would we discuss if our first priority were the people who live in those neighborhoods?

A park in Boston. There are no statues of Robert E. Lee, but plenty of racism. Hmm.

Friday, December 15, 2017

You Can Only Solve The Problems You Can Discuss

When my wife and I teach the remarriage class for the Diocese, we talk about the elephant in the living room. That's where a couple avoids discussing a major issue and it gets bigger and bigger until it's like having an elephant in your living room that you pretend you don't see. You never bring it up because you're afraid of the argument that will result.

I've been trying to put my finger on what really bugs me about the destruction of Confederate monuments. The two thoughts that keep returning to my mind have been:
  • If the monuments are so horrible, why are the pathologies in the black community the same everywhere, whether there's a statue of Robert E. Lee present or not?
  • What are we hoping to gain from this? Is there some metric of black success we expect to rise once the monuments are all gone?
I do understand that to some people, removing them itself is a good thing because of the nation they represent. I can respectfully accept that while disagreeing with it. To me, they represent men fallen in battle and removing those monuments is essentially telling the descendants of those soldiers, "Your ancestors were scum."

But that's not the elephant in the living room. Nor are any of the other Social Justice fads like cultural appropriation, whiteness, white privilege or what have you. No, the elephant in the living room is our debased culture.

I'm using black America here, but understand it's a proxy for all of American culture. It's handy because the statistics are stark and the national conversation is obsessed with race. I have argued before that skin color is irrelevant and I don't see the need to recap that here.

Going back to the culture and things we don't discuss, try this on for size. About 50% of all black pregnancies end in aboriton and of the remaining half, about 3/4 are single women having babies. That means that 7 out of every 8 times a black woman gets pregnant, her man won't commit to her and the child.

Civilization is built upon the family. Those stats reveal a foundation that is rotten to the core. I've likewise blogged incessantly about the problems that arise from broken families - crime, drugs, education, etc. Compare the effects of some statues in a park nearby and having your parents, grandparents, friends' parents and neighbors' parents unmarried and in transitory relationships. It's insane to suggest that the two have even vaguely equal value, but we discuss the statues/racism all the time and the culture almost never.

I don't know any racists and I'm a pretty gregarious person who travels all over the country. If racism was a serious problem, then statistically, I'd expect to know at least a few. I don't know any, as in zero. I know plenty of children from broken homes, though. It looks to me like one problem is solved and the other has been allowed to grow until it's huge.

That's because American family culture is the elephant in the living room.

We'd sooner pay for a massive remodel than discuss what it's doing in our house.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Little-Known Theology Fact About Bacon

We recently celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is a little-known fact that during one of Mary's visits with Juan Diego, she told him, "Cuando cocinas tocino, el bebé Jesus sonríe" - "When you cook bacon, baby Jesus smiles." He told this to his neighbor, Maria Consuela Roberta Chata Lupe Garcia-Garcia*. Recent research has revealed that Maria was granted a vision after Juan told her this crucial Catechetical fact. An angel of the Lord came to Maria that night and told her, "Cuando cocina tocino con manteca de tocino, el bebé Jesús sonríe con ángeles cantando, también" - "When you cook bacon in bacon grease, baby Jesus smiles with angels singing, too."

And now you know.

The Catechism is silent about what happens when you chargrill oysters, but St. Catherine Labouré was convinced it involved Cherubim.
* - Maria Garcia-Garcia was a proto-feminist. Although it was the 1530s and the patriarchy reigned supreme, she was a fiercely independent woman and refused to take her husband's last name, hence the hyphenate with her maiden name.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Problem With Being A Good Cook

... is that most restaurants disappoint.

I'm way down south in Dixie this week, my favorite part of the country with my favorite cuisines and outside of pilgrimages to Waffle House, where the company is more than half the attraction, and some fried chicken at Po Folks, it's been disappointing.

That's not unusual, most of the food in San Diego is disappointing as well. In the end, we go out to eat because we're tired or we want to go to a tap house for uusual craft beers. There are a couple of Italian joints in SD that my wife adores, but I can't tell them apart. Tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, basil and some pasta is all it is to me. Meh.

Yesterday, I had some Crawfish Etouffee. It was good, but mine is much better. I use homemade seafood stock and I do a lard roux that takes about 50 minutes. No restaurant is going to be able to do that.

Where local Southern eateries shine is when they can serve something you just can't find in SoCal, like crawfish. A crawfish boil, man that's some good eating and unless you want to pay big bucks to have them shipped in live, you can't get it in San Diego. Meanwhile, the rest of the food is pretty good, but I wouldn't go out to those places if I lived here. I'd stay home and cook it myself.

As for the fried chicken and biscuits at Po Folks, they were unreal. I do a triple coating for my chicken: seasoned flour, beaten eggs and Panko crumbs, but these guys look like they did a buttermilk soak and then just the seasoned flour. It was the best fried chicken I've ever had. The crust was crunchy and delicious, but not thick like KFC or mine. The biscuits simply dissolved in your mouth in a wash of buttery goodness. Fabulous.

OK, enough is enough. I need to get in to my local work site. It's going to be a 22-hour work day for me today, what with early morning work at the hotel and then flying home late tonight. Sigh. I wish I was taking some time off so I could scoot over and spend some time in Alabama. I loves me that state, I surely do.

Have a great day and I'll post again tomorrow.

I believe that an excellent way to understand Southerners is to spend time hanging out with them at a Waffle House. Try it a half dozen times and I would bet that any lingering prejudices you have about Dixie will be washed away.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Electing Robots

I had a few other posts in my head for today, but I decided to go to the Roy Moore card just by way of self-explanation.

The teen-girl fetish accusations from decades ago don't really bother me. I can't imagine what bland weirdos we'd end up with in the Senate if everyone was held to an altar boy standard for their entire lives before we let them run for office. They certainly wouldn't be representative of our porn-soaked population.

What really bothers me is the anger and judgment against gays that comes from him. Waving a Bible around and then screaming at any group is disgusting to me. It's pretty hard to work your way through the Gospels and then nod your head at Roy Moore when he starts going off. Truth be told, I'd have a really hard time voting for him today. I couldn't vote for the pro-abortion dude, either. What's his name? Doug Jones? John Smith? Joe Everyman? Hey, he didn't have a thing for teens, vote for him! Don't look at that mountain of dead babies behind him, we'll clean that up as soon as we get the elevators to the crematoria working again.


Pulling back up to the 30,000 foot level, these guys are just voting robots. The odds that the (D) candidate wouldn't vote in 100% lockstep with his Party masters is practically zero. He doesn't look like he's had an original idea since he discovered Crayons came in boxes larger than 8. Meanwhile, Roy Moore will be a reliable vote for his party as well. He does have original ideas, but they're all bad.

So what is it we're fighting about? A voting robot. Great.

With indescribable horror, Alex realized that both candidates were following, intent on inflicting their hideous stump speeches upon him.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Impeaching The Goose That Lays The Golden Eggs

As I was savoring yet another great week for my 401K recently, it dawned on me that yes, indeed, a rising Trump tide lifts all boats. There are a ton of state, local, university and union pension plans invested in the market that are in a world of hurt from over-promising their employees. They all assumed insane rates of growth in the markets to stay solvent and up until this year, a whole bunch of them were staring at bankruptcy.

Now we have insane rates of growth in the markets and, for some of them at least, things aren't looking so dire.

Now we must impeach the president.

Good idea. That won't put an end to this stock run that's saving their bacon.

President Trump is a clear and present danger.
How hard would it be to behave normally and just rip every word out of his mouth, but let him stay in office while he staves off catastrophe for the blue states and unions? In the old days, that's what wise politicians did on both sides. Now we're so enraged that we'll take fiscal collapse just to get rid of Trump. That many of their constituents and employees will see their pensions practically zeroed out is of no consequence to the crazies.

Can't anybody here play this game?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Some Unnoticed Ironies In The Roy Moore Imbroglio

Republican Roy Moore, sometime teen fetishist running for Senate in Alabama, is best known for his resistance against the Federal government, trying to keep the Ten Commandments displayed in his courtroom against the Separation of Church and State.

Separation of Church and State came in the 1940s from an Alabama Democrat klansman nominated to the Supreme Court by FDR.
Separation was a crucial part of the KKK’s jurisprudential agenda. It was included in the Klansman’s Creed (or was it the Klansman’s Kreed?). Before he joined the Court, Justice Black was head of new members for the largest Klan cell in the South. New members of the KKK had to pledge their allegiance to the “eternal separation of Church and State.” In 1947, Black was the author of Everson, the first Supreme Court case to hold that the first amendment’s establishment clause requires separation of church & state. The suit in Everson was brought by an organization that at various times had ties to the KKK.
In a second irony. Moore is runing to replace Jeff Sessions, a Republican who made his name prosecuting the Alabama Klan, sending one of their members to his execution and fining the Klan millions of dollars, effectively bankrupting them.

You've come a long way, Alabama.

You're also exquisitely beautiful.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Romans 1 Could Have Been Written Today

I'm making my way through the New Testament and I just finished Paul's Letter to the Romans. The first part could have been written to today's elites in entertainment, the media, politics and academia. Check it out.
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Harassment, Then And Now

I'm not taking a position with this one, but something occurred to me today. Men harassing women is an old problem. My wife has suffered it many, many times.

All before I knew her or some guys would have been picking their teeth up off the floor.


I saw an article today by an older feminist who suggested that we might be defining harassment too broadly. Personally, I'm kind of torn about whether or not Al Franken being coarse and Roy Moore having a thing for legal teens is such a big deal. I couldn't be friends with either of them, just based on that, but do we need to ruin them? Kevin Spacey and Brian Ross, yes. Franken and Moore? Meh.

I wonder if the difference in defining it is because a few decades back, young women were looking for husbands whereas today, they're looking for careers. Is it all about accepting the downsides that go with trying to achieve a goal?

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Lawyers Changing Oil With Lawsuits

... it's a weird analogy, but work with me here. I was trying to think of professional-types trying to do something practical using bureaucratic methods. Shrug. It's early and I have to get on a plane. They can't all be good.


First, there's this, a story about lawyers suing the California Department of Education over lousy schools.
Assessments found less than half of California students from third grade to fifth grade have met statewide literacy standards since 2015. Both traditional and charter schools are failing, Rosenbaum said.

Of the 26 lowest-performing districts in the nation, 11 are in California, according to the lawsuit. Texas, the largest state after California, has only one district among the 26.
I did some quick research, found a list of bad schools in California, picked one at random and looked at the demographics of its zip code. Half of the families were single women with children.

Well, duh.

Meanwhile, all of the people in suits and ties and with excellent degrees are in plush courtrooms, expensive universities and big government offices, yelling at each other and pointing fingers. Just like they were doing last year and the year before that. Meanwhile, lots of children from single-parent homes can't read. Children growing up in communities where single-parent homes are the norm are particularly screwed.

The usual solutions are being tried.
Ainsworth pointed to more than $10 billion annually in extra funds for English language learners, foster children and students from low-income families. Some 228 districts will get additional support next year to help struggling schools, including the three named in the lawsuit.
Just like they were tried for the last couple of decades. I'm sure it will all work out this time because now we've got lawsuits and court cases, which always helps.

Fortunately, things haven't gotten so bad that we're trying something totally insane like this.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Trickle Down Economics Doesn't Work

I know this because Really Smart People with Important Degrees like Paul Krugman and the entire Democratic Party tell me so.

Since I don't want to participate in something that doesn't work, I'm going to stop doing everything that is Trickle Down.

We do alright. We're not rich, but we can afford a maid service once a week and a gardener once a week. That's wealthy people hiring poor people, as far as I can tell from the political pundits. It's the very definition of Trickle Down. Our first step will be to fire these people and send that money to the government.

Government spending, as we all know, is not Trickle Down and there is no moral opprobrium or economic argument against more of it. Ergo, the right thing to do is to stop Trickling Down and use those resources to fund government programs.

Next, we're going to look at voluntary spending. When we buy ribeye steaks instead of, say, flank steak, all kinds of less-fortunate people get our money from the markup between the low-quality cuts of meat and the premium cuts. No more good meat or fish. All of those savings will be sent to the government.

We are pondering some home improvement projects where we might hire a contractor to work for us. Forget that! That would be Trickle Down, too - people with disposable income paying lower income people. Not good. Good spending is government spending. We're going to cancel our kitchen remodel plans and send that money to the government.

Finally, there are our charitable donations, of which we make a sizable amount, almost all to Catholic organizations who help the poor. No more of that for us! It's not only Trickle Down, it's misogynistic and homophobic, not to mention discriminatory against people of other faiths. No, we're going to stop all charitable donations and send that money to the government.

If we do that and you do it, too, we will finally be able to put an end to the scourge of Trickle Down Economics. Everyone will be better off.

Without Trickle Down Economics, the government will be able to provide good jobs at good wages.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

The Tops Of The Clouds At Sunset

I shot this one from the window of an airliner yesterday evening. It's a bit muted, but I still like it. I left it rather large, so it might be worth a click. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Have Some Sympathy For The Homeless

... and for the city of San Diego.

We have great weather here. Everyone knows that. The weather attracts the homeless. It attracts everyone and with limited real estate, rental prices here are crazy high - averaging $1700+ per month for a one bedroom apartment. Once here, the odds of a homeless person finding lodging is pretty small. They don't have the skills to get a job paying enough to cover rent. The end result is a chain of tiny tent cities downtown, looking like this.

I don't go downtown that much since I don't volunteer at Catholic Charities any more, but when I did, I marveled at what looked like an REI sample lot. Street after street had tents on the sidewalk. One of our sons worked for a while downtown and every day he had to navigate the tents and residents to get to work.

San Diego has recently seen an outbreak of hepatitis among the homeless and tens of them have died from it. The response has been to erect a couple of massive tents to house and care for hundreds of them. Before you become outraged at that or blame one political side or the other, think about the financial aspect of it. San Diego real estate prices are very high which means the city is in the same boat as the homeless - no one can afford to create, permanent low-income housing. Thus, the tents.

When I worked at Catholic Charities, I met lots and lots of homeless people. These were people with low IQs, language difficulties, addictions, stories of serious hardship or abuse and mental illness in some combination. They were beautiful children of God like you and me, they had just rolled snake eyes in life and/or made some horribly bad choices.

There is no good political solution for this. There isn't enough money to give them decent housing and if you do, you invite more of them. For the most part, they aren't going to find jobs or get training to be able to afford San Diego rents themselves. It isn't conservative greed or liberal handouts, it's just the breaks in cities like San Diego.

This is why salvation is personal, not collective. While there is no large-scale, long-term solution, there is an individual one. We have Cursillo friends who know one of the homeless and take him in when the weather gets bad or when it looks like he needs a shower and clean clothes. At Catholic Charities and Father Joe's Village, volunteers take care of individual cases, funded by Catholics across the Diocese.

A friend of mine is a recovered homeless drug addict. When I asked him if he gives money to homeless beggars, he said, "No way. I'm not buying some guy's drugs. Instead, I buy them food. Try going into a McDonald's when you're homeless. The stares, the whispers and the ostracism is terrible. Get the guy a hamburger instead of cash."

You can't vote to solve the problem universally, but you can solve one person's problem, at least temporarily.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

I'm Going To Pay More And I Don't Care

It looks like the tax reform bill passed last night by the Senate will remove deductions for state income tax. As we live in insanely-high-tax California, that no doubt means we will pay more taxes. I'm fine with that. To me, the key was to dramatically cut corporate taxes so our kids and their generation have better employment prospects. We got that, so I'm happy.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Men And Women Need Each Other

... because if not, then we must be competitive or antagonistic, right?

As I watch Pervageddon sweep through the arts, the media and politics, I keep being reminded of  St. Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body - that men and women are complimentary and that we were designed by God to need each other.

As I watch the reactions on social media and in the news, that message is lost. Instead, it's all retribution and how we have to change our behaviors because men are pigs. I agree with the idea, but not the with prescriptions that seem to be anti-masculinity and anti-men instead of positively stating how we were made for each other and how sexual harassment and assault are hideous perversions of our divine purposes.

From this point, I think of a CD I listened to a while back, 5 Things Women Need To Know About Men. I don't remember the last two because the first three were enough for me. Here's what the author said men need from women (read: wives), with which I agree.
  1. Respect
  2. Admiration
  3. A physical relationship
When I see all the "toxic masculinity" nonsense and claims that men need to be re-trained to not be so, well, male, I see the first two elements wiped out. With porn available almost everywhere, the third gets wiped out as well. If those three things are either negated or fulfilled by something other than a woman (wife), where does that leave us?