Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Best To Do Lists

... are written on paper.

I've tried all kinds of ways of keeping track of what it is I need to do, but the only one that works is pen and paper. I've tried Google docs, apps on my phone and the Franklin-Covey Daily Planner and they all stink.

The problem with all of them is the extra steps. Open the app, click on Google docs, find the book and open it up, click on this, copy that. It's too much, I tell you!

Making the list fresh each day also reinforces in your brain what you need to get done.

What do you use?

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

It's The Media's World, We Just Live In It

For the life of me, I can't figure out why I need to keep paying attention to the Florida school shooting. I know why the media is transfixed by it, but I'm so over it, that I've stopped reading Twitter, Instapundit and lots of other things until it blows over. It's all so useless. Here are a few reasons why.
  1. Gun laws aren't going to change substantively. It's not only because of the NRA's clout, it's because there are 350 million guns in the US or something like that. This is a gun nation and it always will be. Get over it.
  2. The narrative is so patently a lie. The NRA and gun laws had nothing to do with the shooting. In fact, it's the perfect ad for the NRA and gun ownership. The authorities had tons of warning and allowed the kid to go on his rampage. Once he was shooting, the cops just stood around until he was done. If anything, it makes me more likely to buy and carry a gun, not less. If this is the protection we get when we disarm, I'm carrying.
  3. The guy was violently insane. If he didn't have a gun, were the voices in his head going to tell him to go read a good book? The Islamist losers have shown what homicidal maniacs do when they are too incompetent to get their hands on guns or explosives. They get in a vehicle and run people over. It beggars the imagination to think that the absence of guns would have done anything but changed the location and means.
The endless yammering about the shooting proves to me that there is absolutely nothing in the Russia "scandal." Of course, there never was and anyone with a lick of sense knew it from the start. This is the closest club with which to beat Republicans. That's it. The media has gone so far off the deep end and made their narratives so obvious that they might as well run on a chyron underneath their broadcasts telling us in bullet points why what they're saying today means conservatives are evil.

Meanwhile, important things are happening, particularly here in California. Homelessness is through the roof, we're at the start of what looks to be a serious drought year and all of our discretionary income is being blown on high speed rail. The high speed rail will never be finished as the state's pension crisis will explode before they can find the last $50B to complete any useful portion of the tracks.

That is not being covered and never will be until, like Venezuela, it becomes too obvious to ignore. At that point, also like Venezuela, the progressives' guilt for the colossal failure will be minimized if not completely ignored.

20 years ago, I was in Astrakhan, Russia. There were partially-finished, abandoned construction projects rusting and decaying all over the place. That's what you get from progressives. California will be no different. 20 years from now, these things will be sitting there in the Central Valley, oxidized rebar sticking out of them, crumbling to bits.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Grilling The Perfect Sausages

... or at least really good ones.

Following the previous day's catastrophe where I turned a whole bunch of sweet, Italian sausages into charred corpses only identifiable from their dental records, I gave it another try last night. I took two sausages from the fridge and warmed them in the toaster oven at 150. Three others were put in a bath of homemade brown (beef and pork) stock at 140. They warmed as the coals in the Weber chimney came up to temperature. The sausages were then grilled, to crisp and mark the skins and finish the last bit of cooking. I ovened them on the Weber for maybe 3 minutes just to be sure.

Wife kitteh was skeptical about the 'boiled' ones, but they turned out the best. The brown stock mellowed the flavor of the sausages nicely and kept them really moist. The toastered ones were good, too, but the brown stock sausages won, going away.

Here are some photos from the event. Enjoy!

After the warming, the brown stock ones had lost their color. The toastered ones looked like they did when they came out of the package.

Direct flamage for just long enough to mark them properly.

Off the fire and on to ovening positions.

Dig in, my friends!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

You Can't Hurry Sausages On The Grill

... they need to take whatever time is necessary to oven them to being done in the middle after you've seared the outsides. If you move them back onto the flames because they are taking too long and people are getting impatient, you end up with this.

There is no penalty for cooking sausages ahead of time and keeping them warm. You might as well start them early and buy your ovening time on the front end.


What Went Wrong

The sausages were taken out of the fridge and put right on the grill. Their interior temperature started at 45 and needed to get to 165. That's too much to ask of indirect heat on the Weber. As the sausages are cooking, the charcoal is being consumed and the temperature inside is going down. By the time the interior temperature hit 165, the outsides had been incinerated.

I spent some time this morning online and found some key tips. First, take the sausages out well in advance and allow them to warm to room temperature. Had they started at 70, that would have been a 25 degree improvement.

Second, you can parboil them before putting them on the grill. If you keep the water (or beef stock or beer or whatever) around 150, you can cook them almost completely without drying them out. Allegedly, that takes about 20 minutes. You then use the grill to brown their skins.

Thirdly, you could put them in an aluminum pan with some liquids, as above, and put that in the kettle as the coals burn. The claim is that this allows the smoke to flavor the sausages while they cook all the way through. I'm skeptical as I can't see that much smoke going through the air-water interface and then the water-sausage interface.

Finally, and this is my own idea, I could put them in the toaster oven at 125 and warm them there for 10-15 minutes before grilling them.

I'm going to try a couple of these tonight and see which one works best.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Can You Regret Love?

I hit the wall yesterday. In the afternoon, I became nauseous from exhaustion and had to leave work early. I called my mom at the nursing home where she is recovering from a broken neck and told her I couldn't come and visit. I'm still not anywhere near finished with my father's estate, he died on January 1, and at work, I'm doing three jobs because my management has been slothful in hiring new people. I typically get up at 4 AM and am working online by 5. I work weekends from home as well. My wife and I rotate visiting my mom, each of us going every other day.

I came home and watched the 1956 Navy war movie, Away All Boats. I needed to vegetate after three straight months of running. As the movie ended, I got a panicked call from my mother. She was hysterical and needed me to come up there. I turned off the computer and got in the car.

I thought it was a drug reaction. We've discovered she can't handle opiates and becomes highly agitated from them. A call from the nursing home revealed it was just severe anxiety. My mom is a tough girl, but the last 6 months have been crazy hard on her and she's at her breaking point, too.

I sat with her and held her hand and she calmed down. By the time I left, two hours later, she was back to normal. As I let her talk, I thought of how my life has gone. I've worked where I have and lived where I have to support wives, children and parents. I sometimes fantasize what life would have been like with no attachments at all. No family, no responsibilities, no commitments. Where would I live and what would I do if all I had to do was support myself?

Given that choice right now, I'd live on the Gulf Coast in Alabama. I've make regular dive trips to the Caribbean. I'd have a barn with three or four old cars in various states of restoration. That's not even vaguely the way I live today.

I wondered why I didn't feel bitterness or regret. I thought that if my mother became completely demented and came to hate me and disowned me, I still wouldn't feel bitterness or regret. How could I? All along, I think I've tried my best to do what God wanted me to do. I've had a few monumental failures and scads of daily, minor ones, but for the most part, I've put family first.

That's what a man is supposed to do. How can you regret that?

My Alabama home would be on the water and I'd own an old tub like this one. I'd constantly be working on it to keep it afloat and running. It would be great fun.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Thaw Your Meat In Brine

Last night, I got home from work and had to take the Catican Guards out on maneuvers. If I didn't, the chihuahuas would lose their minds and a manic chihuahua is considered by many to be a weapon of mass distraction. My wife was comforting my mother at the nursing home and wouldn't be back for another hour. My mom is mending nicely, by the way.

We had nothing thawed for dinner and noms were my job.

I found a boneless ribeye we had in the freezer and immersed it in brine to thaw. These days, I've been trying this set of recipes for brine. For a long time, I've thawed meat in water when I'm in extremis like I was last night, but recently I switched to brine. I figured the meat would thaw faster in a salt water solution and while the brine wouldn't have a long time to work, it would have to do some good.

I let it thaw for an hour, but it was a thick steak and that wasn't quite enough, so I poured the whole thing into a large skillet and warmed it on the stove. Home by this time, wife kitteh joked that I was going to serve her boiled steak, but I was careful to keep the heat low and not let the water get above touchably-hot.

The result was quite satisfying. Because I used a salt and brown sugar brine, I didn't season the steak at all. The meat came off the grill properly salted. I foolishly added a little bit of salt once it was on my plate, but not enough to ruin the thing.

I came to the conclusion that brine is like a tea. There are recipes for brine with all kinds of things in it like white wine, garlic powder, thyme and so on. I didn't use any of those recipes nor did I shotgun one, but I started to wonder if I couldn't pre-mix a brine in the morning and let it stew all day before putting meat in it when I got home. Of course, that would require thinking ahead, so it's all a laughable fantasy. Still, I can dream, can't I?

I think it was still frozen at the very center, so once I seared and marked the outside, I put the lid back on my Weber kettle and ovened the steak on indirect heat for about 15 minutes. That's a tricky bit of business as too long results in shoe leather meat. This time, I guessed correctly.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Simple Way To Prevent School Shootings

... would be to turn our schools into prisons.

It's for the children.
Think about it. We could have guard towers, razor wire, dogs, multiple layers of security checkpoints, visiting hours supervised by armed personnel, constant video surveillance of all areas of the school and a large staff of strong, heavily-armed, highly-trained guards, ready at all times to rush to the scene of any disturbance.

Turning our schools into prisons would have many benefits. Students would not be able to play hookey any more, ditching school after lunch and running off to do who knows what. Fights and bullying would be instantly detected and quelled. Riots and gang fights inside schools would be a thing of the past. Everyone would be able to learn in the calm security that comes with the rigid oversight of a police state.

And then we could all relax. Ahh.

Or maybe we could not allow the rare actions of severely mentally-ill individuals to spin all 300+ million of us up into paroxysms of rage against one another and stop legislating from 6-standard-deviations-out-from-normal events.

Nah. This is so much more fun. By all means, let's arm teachers, build walls, frisk students, abolish the second amendment, confiscate all guns, send everyone to firearms training and, above all, scream at each other.

If you don't want to do all of these things and more, you have the blood of children on your hands.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

An Imperial Storm Trooper Blogging?

A friend at work showed me this and I had to share it with you. I don't know why, but I liked it. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

This Is Not A Racist Country

Dig this snippet of a black motivational speaker yelling at a school full of black students. The key point is not the yelling, but something hidden inside of the yelling.

Here's the interesting bit. He says that when he goes to speak to white, Jewish or Latino kids, they aren't just quiet, they take notes.

Wait, white, Jewish and Latino schools invite in a black motivational speaker? And they're respectful? And they take notes?

Is this part of the rampant White Supremacist movement that I missed?

Hmm. Maybe we're not racist. Maybe those schools hire this guy because he's good at what he does and they like him. Maybe we're not awful, racist people after all.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Lindsey Vonn Is All About Lindsey Vonn

Dittos for that gay, figure-skating dude who decided to snark at Vice President Pence. Dittos for the NFL players who knelt.

In case you didn't hear it, Lindsey said she would snub an invitation to the White House from President Trump. The gay dude made similar statements about Mike Pence.

Can't anybody here play this game?

The Olympic athletes run on donations and TV ratings. The NFL runs on ticket and souvenir sales and TV ratings. Those are important things. Without money, they're just athletic guys and gals going to Mammoth for the weekend or playing rec league touch football. Dig this.
Coming off an initially weaker than expected performance, the Salt Lake City native put some history on the ice at the XXIII Winter Games in NBC’s primetime as he pulled off a record five clean quadruple jumps and one more with a touch. In the end though, like the efforts of Lindsey Vonn in the women’s super-G ski event, it just wasn’t enough to make it to the podium.

In an Olympics that is down almost 8% overall from the XXII Winter Games of 2014 and looking to be heading towards an overall low despite its multi-platform efforts, NBC may be feeling a bit like that coming off the first Friday of official competition of the 2018 Games.
There are lots of reasons the ratings are down and the political posing of the athletes is only one, but why in the world would you poison your brand with irrelevant and unnecessary commentary? (Bangs head against desk) What are these idiots thinking?

What do lower ratings mean?

They mean that financial contributions are higher this time than they will be next time. People and advertisers will contribute less if they feel the athletes disrespect them and the ratings are lower. It means that Lindsey Vonn and the gay skater will have had the benefit of more funding than future Olympic athletes. It might be a small drop or it might be made up in other ways, but putting their politics ahead of the brand is selfish.

They have a soapbox and they're using it because it's all about them. Too bad for you, future Olympians, Lindsey Vonn insists that we all need to know her political views.

I get it. You're a regular Cicero and you have a lot to say. Now just shut up and ski.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Purpose Driven Life Is Better Than Good

... and vice versa.

I love to read self-improvement books. As I watered the garden yesterday, listening to Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven* Life, I realized that I should have been reviewing them here and keeping a page with a ranked list. Oh well. One more thing to do.

I like Pastor Warren's book. I think he's got a lot of good things to say and I agree with much of it. I don't think I'd recommend it over some others, though. For example, Zig Ziglar's Better Than Good has a nearly identical message and I think it's much better. Unlike some of his other Audible titles, Zig reads this one instead of performing it live in front of an audience, so you miss out on his greatest charm, his wild enthusiasm, but the content is still excellent.

I've long pondered starting a Catholic podcast and/or writing a book. I recently changed the tagline for this blog to "Love. Forgive. Party." which summarizes the theme I would use. I've tried a bunch of Catholic podcasts and, like Rick Warren's book, they are too serious, too ponderous. Jesus came to teach shepherds and fishermen. Have you ever hung out with farm workers or deck hands? They are too smart for clever philosophy. They know that the important things in life are pretty simple, hence Christ's teachings are simple. Love. Forgive. Party.

Rick has all the right ideas. Without a purpose, you drift. Without God and the Bible, you struggle to derive a purpose from first principles. He then takes you through the process of finding your purpose, illuminating the steps with passages from the Bible.

I'd prefer passages from Van Halen songs.

For the love of Pete, where is it written that the Bible needs to be the beginning and the end of our learning? This is one of the reasons Zig Ziglar is so much more effective. Zig acknowledges the Bible as the ultimate root of our purpose, but he quotes from it sparingly. Instead, he illustrates his points with stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It's accessible and full of enthusiasm. Like any good Protestant, Rick Warren knows his Bible, but he doesn't recognize its limitations. Read the thing, absorb the message and get on with living life directed by it. Emphasis on living life. Stop beating me to death with it!

There. That's all I've got for today. I need to get back to some web development work now. I hope you have a wonderful Sunday or whatever day it is you read this.

Update: Looking for a video to use as the insert on this blog post, I came across this one. It's excellent. Enjoy!

* - The actual title of Rick's book is The Purpose Driven Life without the hyphen. That is grammatically incorrect and we don't do that kind of thing here.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Ripples Of Love In A Pond

About a week ago, I blogged this bit about my elderly mother breaking her neck.
I've heard people question the existence of God because there is evil and suffering in the world, but this makes no sense to me. If our lives were nothing but painless joy, how would we love? It's in moments like this that we can show tenderness and compassion. Without suffering, there is no chance to love.
Last night, we went to Cursillo* team school where we prepare for the next retreat weekend. 40 people must have come up to me and asked how my mom was doing and let me know they were praying for her. They had mentioned her in their prayer groups and all of them showed a lot of love for her through me. It was wonderful.

Thinking about it this morning, I saw an analogy of a stone thrown into a still pond where the ripples go out to the edge. My love for my mom may have been the biggest and first, but theirs were present as well. The accident gave them the opportunity to show us just how deep their love for us was.

Opportunities to love one another through suffering are all around us.
* - Cursillo is a life-changing movement within the Catholic Church designed to make us better Christians.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Guns Are The Problem

For the most part, I stayed off of social media yesterday as the conversations were all choreographed long ago. Like an old waltz, after the school shooting in Florida, the pundits and activists took their places and danced. No one was honest, no one was sincere. Everyone just yelled the same, boring cliches.

We're not having a serious conversation and we're not trying to understand each other. It's simply yelling. Guns are the problem and the 2A folks need to be able to admit it. If we didn't have several hundred million guns, if private citizens were forced to go to extreme measures to own even a single gun, these mass murders of children would become very rare. You can't drive a van into a school to run over the kids. Vans don't fit through the hallways.

I'm not in favor of reducing the number of guns.

I don't trust the government, not for a second. The most recent revelation from the farcical Russian collusion story is that the FBI honcho whose wife worked for GPS Fusion, the creeps who created the rubbish intel on which the illegitimate FBI spying on Trump was based, did not declare his wife's income source to the department. If he had, he should have been instantly removed from the case.

It's called an OGE 450. By law, he has to file one. Look it up.

The FBI lied to everyone in order to spy on a political enemy. President Obama ran the most corrupt administration in history. He used government enforcement agencies as his own, private Gestapo. If there was a way to oppress his political foes, of which I was one, he did it. Imagine what he would have done against an unarmed populace.

So I want guns in the hands of private citizens. Lots of them. I don't want the government having any more control over them than it has right now. In exchange for that, I know that this will lead to school shootings by lunatics who somehow manage to get their hands on guns. That's the honest tradeoff. Take away the guns and people like Barack Obama will have practically no limits on their behavior. Allow us to keep guns and we'll sometimes have school shootings. It's a shame we can't be honest with each other.

I'm with Chuck on this one, but I acknowledge there's a serious downside.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

When You Think You've Got It Rough

... you find someone who really has it rough.

My mother, 88 years old, recently broke her neck in a fall, was moved from the hospital to a nursing home to recover. We felt pretty bad about her pain and how she has been hit with so many problems lately, especially losing my dad 5 weeks earlier.

She was put into a room in the nursing home with an elderly woman who was clearly deranged, writhing and crying out in her bed. The woman's husband was there, patiently sitting with her, giving what love he could. It was a sure bet that this had been his lot for a long time.

We got my mom moved to a quieter room, but it was pretty sobering to see how that old man was coping with a horrific situation. It put our problems in perspective.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

This Is Kind Of Creepy

Today is both Valentine's Day and National Organ Donor Day.

It gives the phrase, "I gave you my heart" a whole, new meaning.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Love Is Fun

... but getting to it isn't.

I've been spending a lot of time with my mom in the hospital. To recap, she's 88 and fell and broke her neck a week ago. My dad died on January 1, so she was already hurting before this catastrophe. She's healing and should leave the hospital for a rehab nursing home tomorrow.

As I was saying, love is fun. When I get there to sit and hold her hand, it feels wonderful. It's what I'm supposed to be doing and it makes her feel good. Driving there is another story. That's when I'm grousing about having to do it, what a hassle it is and how I have so many things I'm not getting done. When I leave, I have such a sense of happiness. I've made someone's day brighter. It's lovely.

What's the deal with the dread of going? Some of my Cursillo friends would argue that it's Sparky trying to get me to not go. I dunno, I think it's more like some kind of separation pain from my normal, daily routine.

It's weird.

Monday, February 12, 2018

My Favorite Clip Of The North Korean Cheer Squad

... would be this one.

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, but the progs in the media have been drooling all over the North Koreans at the Olympics. CNN, Reuters, the New York Times, NBC, they're all in love with the Nork "Charm Offensive."

They're slaves. The North Koreans are slaves. The media is cheering slaves singing and dancing for the entertainment and profit of their masters. It's beyond surreal, it's utter madness, driven by their deranged hatred of Trump. If you haven't seen it, dig this tiny selection of the progs' sick gloating.

Shorter version of the lefty infatuation with the Norks: "Why, just listen to the music and look at the dancing as they pick the cotton cheer for their team. How can you see that and say they are oppressed or unhappy?"

Sunday, February 11, 2018

It Are My Blogiversary!

This makes 12 years of daily blogging. It's gone from an attempt to generate income to an outlet for expressing my thoughts to a tool for learning to an act of OCD appeasement. When I think of quitting, I curl up in a fetal position and start rocking back and forth, muttering, "Can't stop. Can't stop. Can't stop. Can't stop. Can't stop."

In all seriousness, this thing has been my primary avocation for years. It's brought me lots of good things, primarily interactions with you and things I've learned researching blog posts. It also brings stress, like today when I'm wiped out from caring for my mom* and just want to kick back and watch the Newcastle United game.

Speaking of which, the game is on now, so I'll just wish y'all a happy blogiversary from me because without you, this really is madness.

Note: I experienced a miracle while caring for my father as he lay dying. I thought about sharing it today, but I don't have it in me right now. I promise to post it soon.

* - Mom is 88 and fell and broke her neck on Tuesday. My father died on January 1 of this year, so she's had a really rough couple of months. Her name is LaVerne, in case you want to offer up a prayer or two for her.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

We Are Not A Racist Nation

... otherwise, in a country of about 350,000,000 people, the pride of the White Nationalist movement would be able to find a lawyer.

If we were truly a racist nation, you'd expect him to find hundreds willing to stand up for der volk.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Stupid But Not Insane

... is the best thing you can say about the Republicans these days.

So we now have a new budget deal. Yay! The government will stay open!

It also blasts the deficit into orbit.

In a time of plenty and peace, we're spending like drunken sailors. Looking at the chart and reading as much as I can through my fingers held up in front of my face in horror, I wonder how they came up with the budget at all. I mean, if you're going to ignore deficits, why stop at a gazillion dollars to study what happens when you feed rats too much tofu, why not two gazillion? Seriously, if no one cares about the debt at all any more, what restrained them from adding zeroes on the end of every number?

Maybe they just didn't think of it.

There is no party of fiscal responsibility any more, no more adults in the room at all. At least, in the past, you could count on the Republicans to mouth platitudes about the debt even if they ignored it as soon as they got elected. Now we're not even going to get that. It's candy and cake all the time for everyone! Yay!

Meanwhile, the Democrats have gone completely crazy with their Russia hysteria and full-on Nazi racial paranoia.

What a country.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

There Is No Love Without Suffering

My 88-year-old mom fell and broke the C2 vertebra in her neck on Tuesday night. There's no paralysis, but due to other health issues, recovery, if she manages it, will be long and complicated.

I sat by her bedside in the hospital yesterday and held her hand. She's a tough little dame, one of the toughest. She handled the tremendous pain well. In her hospital room, I felt what I had a few weeks ago as I did the same for my dying father - a tremendous sense of gratitude for the opportunity to love.

I've heard people question the existence of God because there is evil and suffering in the world, but this makes no sense to me. If our lives were nothing but painless joy, how would we love? It's in moments like this that we can show tenderness and compassion. Without suffering, there is no chance to love.

It's time to go. I've got to run to the hospital this morning in the hopes of catching the doctor as he makes his rounds. They're like leprechauns, you know. Everyone talks of these magical creatures called "doctors," but almost no one has ever seen one.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Serf's Up On Twitter!

I scored a serious Twitter snark on that horrible sociopath Stephen King last weekend. I won't quote it here, but it got over 150 likes and then a couple of replies which led to to arguments. Yay!

Watching it evolve, I realized that I (1100 followers) was the peasant and Stephen King (4,550,000 followers) was the knight. I was taking part in a medieval battle and I was part of the expendable, unarmored rabble. No one would remember who I was, it was all about Stephen King. Likewise, it's all about Trump, Hillary, Sean Hannity, the CNN morons and so on. When we go out there and engage in arguments, we're just bashing each other over the head for the honor and glory of our noble masters.

Here, Stephen King shows his valor and puissance by jousting with Donald Trump. How noble the steeds, how fine the armor, how gay the livery and plumes!
This is you and me. We've got wooden clubs, we're wearing women's housecoats and we're so stupid, we're not even facing each other as we flail away blindly. No fair lady will mark our fall with a tear, no priest will shrive us as we die. Only our swine shall mourn us.
We argue over what our leaders say, not over what we truly believe. For most of us, our beliefs have not been derived from first principles or logic. Instead, we have been indoctrinated into one of two catechisms by our "betters."


Monday, February 05, 2018

Want To Be A Better Husband?

My wife and I have a great relationship. I can't recall the last time we had a fight. I love travelling with her because I love being with her. It took me a while to learn that she's not the talk-all-the-time sort, so now when we walk the Catican Guards together and don't say much for about 40 minutes, I don't wonder if she's mad, I know she's enjoying being together like I am.

So why is this "Want to be a better husband?"

Yesterday, at Mass, I saw an elderly couple in the Communion line. They were absolutely ancient. She had some kind degenerative spinal problem and was so bent over that her face was directed towards the ground. She was short to begin with and now she was even shorter. He shuffled along, in decent shape for someone in his 90s. They walked, arm-in-arm.

I thought of their lives together, the road getting to February 4, 2018 in San Diego. How they were so infatuated when they were younger, how they used to make love, how they raised their children. I thought of the times when money was tight with them and when they took vacations. All of that was in the past and now all they had were each other. Watching them shuffle along, arm in arm, it felt like they had achieved what God asks of us - the two shall become as one.

It was so beautiful that I teared up. Writing this, I'm getting a bit of that now.

I wondered what I would feel when I was that age as I walked in the Communion line with my wife. I wondered if I would feel regret and wish I had the years back so I could be a more loving husband. I thought of things I could improve now.

The choices I make now will lead me to a future where I will be walking with her in sadness for not having seized opportunities to be more loving or one of happiness for having found that deep, soulful joy that God tries to give us. I'm sure the image of that elderly couple will fade with time, but for now, at least, it will help me be a better husband.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Why The Nunes Memo Is A Big Deal (And It's Not About Trump)

... because it shows that the FBI and DOJ were completely out of control.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC or FISA in the media these days) is the court to which our law enforcement agencies must plead to be permitted to surveil people. It is supposed to be independent of said law enforcement agencies and is there to protect us from overzealous govvies.

FISC presumes that the FBI is acting in good faith and is presenting them with all relevant information. When the FBI and DOJ lie to FISC, as they did in the Trump surveillance case by omitting the crucial information that they were being fed unsubstantiated rumors by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaigns, FISC is effectively taken out of the loop.

Without FISC, the FBI can do whatever it pleases, including spying on you and me, simply because someone in the FBI feels like it.
(FBI agents break down my door in a surprise raid, grab, handcuff and drag me away as they ranscack my house.)

Me: What did I do? Why are you doing this to me?

FBI agent: Some dude somewhere said you were selling cocaine to underage prostitutes.

Me: I've never done anything like that in my life! What made you think it was true?

FBI agent: Hey, we don't have time to corroborate every tip we get. It sounded good enough to us. Besides, we don't like you.
And that's that. This did, in fact, happen in the past which is why FISC was set up in the first place. Law enforcement agencies figured they could surveil "undesirable" American citizens by claiming they were agents of foreign governments. FISC was established to force the FBI to have to prove it.

For us Normals, living outside of the ever-crazier Beltway madhouse, this isn't about Trump or Comey or Hillary, it's about making sure the leash on the FBI and DOJ is on good and tight.

After getting a tip from ligneus and reading my blog, they figured a bazooka would be a good idea.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Why The Nunes Memo Must Not Be Released

Two reasons.

Russians hate money

We need to get to the bottom of the whole Russia-Trump collusion scandal by doing years and years of investigation to find out why Russia skewed the American election in favor to Trump who was guaranteed to lower the price of oil which is where Russian oligarchs get almost all of their money.

Political extremists are perfectly fine with their side losing power

We need to ditch the Nunes memo because it's obvious there is nothing there. After all, there's no way a hard-left authoritarian like Barack Obama would have used the FBI to spy on Donald Trump like he used the IRS to crush the Tea Party.

Stop the madness!