All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.



Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!

8/31/2014

Circumcision

Why did God ordain the rite of male genital mutilation known as circumcision for the Jews?

God being the designer, and creator could have made man any way He desired.  If He was anti foreskin, why put it on in the first place?  Arguably He didn't have too.  He could have made men foreskin free as the au natural model.  If it was something just for the Jews he could have blessed Abraham with a genetic variation for his male descendants.  Snipping didn't have to be part of the plan. 

In many places today circumcision is the default, it hasn't always been that way.  All a mom has to do is check a box on a form at the hospital and it happens. 

No man has ever wanted a sharp object in the vicinity of THAT part of his body.  That's why they get you before you can think about it, or have any say. Most guys aren't in favor of any procedure that would reduce the perceived size of his manly appendage.  It not only doesn't sound like fun but it seems like it would hurt, a lot.
Yet this procedure is the one that God, in His wisdom ordained as a requirement for his special people the Jews.  It's not like this circumcision stuff was a suggestion either.  It's a big deal to God.  God's number one Jew, (remember Abraham wasn't a Jew, he is the father of Israel) a guy named Moses almost got himself killed over not circumcising his boys.

So what is it about a flap of skin on a wiener (that could have been left off during creation) that drives God bonkers?

Back in Genesis God is having a conversation with Abram about a legal agreement or covenant that they are going to enter into.  The covenant isn't much of an agreement, basically God makes a commitment to do a lot of great stuff for Abram.  Abram gets his name changed to Abraham and all the guys get their manliness trimmed back a bit.  This "deal" is an ongoing ordeal for all the generations of the decedents of Isaac. A few hundred years latter the deal gets amended to; snip-snip, and keep the law of Moses.  Basically the deal remains the same for the Jews, get it sniped on the eighth day or else.

I'm willing to accept correction on this point, but as far as I can tell nothing in scripture tells us why.  No explanation is given that I'm aware of.  Since the answer isn't given, I'm going to take my shot at it.

I think the answer is rooted in two things.  The first is in sin.  The second is the inherent nature of women.

Every married guy can related to the fact that a woman's mind (and her mouth) don't work they way we think they should.  Women keep roughly a quadzillion different things floating about in their heads at any one time.  The female of the species has this insane need to talk about whatever is going on in her head.  She doesn't know she has this need and she doesn't know that her mouth is going speak, but trust me it is. 

It seems like every time the Jews got in trouble with God, the problem was rooted in idolatry.  Throughout history the Hebrews would follow God for a bit and everybody would be happy.  Then they would get involved in worshiping idols and everything would get bad for them.  Most of the time part of what made the idol worship interesting was all the fun stuff you did to worship them.

An otherwise good Jewish boy gets led astray to go worship idols.  This worship was offered either as animal or human sacrifices and a drunken orgy, or as a visit to one of the many temple prostitutes. He pays the money.  She starts getting undressed.  He's thinking to himself, "this beats prayer shawls and phylacteries".  He strips off his robe and starts to make his move.  The girl points and much more loudly than needed and in her most concerned voice asks, "why does IT look like THAAAAAT?".

"Well, it looks like that because I'm one of God's special people that would never worship anyone other than Him" he thinks and sins anyway.  Circumcision was a last ditch reminder that the Jews were God's special holy people.  These people were supposed to do some things and not suppose to do others.  God knew he could count on temple prostitutes to remind His people who they were better than they could remind themselves.

8/28/2014

Memento mori

I just returned home from serving as pallbearer.

It was a nice service.  The whole affair was tastefully done.  The kids and grandkids were gathered as were folks form out of state that made the trip.  Only one of the grandsons was unable to make it.  He is in Okinawa waiting for deployment to some place else.  His LT would allow the visit home but the plane ticket would be over $1,800 and there was no guarantee he could be back in time to make movement.  If he missed deployment it would create serious repercussions for him.  Other than that it was a good funeral if there is such a thing.

I think I first encountered the idea of memento mori in Mr. Rogers English class.  We discussed the idea as it related to the poem in Shropshire Lad, Is My Team Plowing?  The concept came up in other early educational venues as well.  Being young I mostly ignored it unless it was related to some great battle.  Then I glamorized it and promptly forgot all about it.  Latter on I saw the movie about Jim Morrison, it started off with a line that included:
"The movie will begin in five moments," the mindless voice announced. All those unseated will await the next show. We filed slowly, languidly into the hall. The auditorium was vast and silent. As we seated and were darkened, the voice continued, "The program for this evening is not new. You've seen this entertainment through and through. You've seen your birth, your life and death. You might recall all the rest. Did you have a good world when you died? Enough to base a movie on?"
"Memento mori as a literary technique, cool", I thought. Being young I forgot all about the concept and went on living.

Today I stood wearing my pallbearer carnation on a sunny hill top.  I was lined up with the other pallbearers standing at parade rest.  My position was at the head of the casket that we just positioned over the grave.  The preacher was to my right at the head of the casket delivering the graveside invocation.  My mind wandered.

The cemetery is almost at the center of our town.  It sets up on one of the highest hills.  You over look the whole area.  I could see the grain load outs, the coalmine and power plant, railroad tracks, the state highway and interstate, the old high school as well as the new one.   If the mesa wasn't in the way I might have even been able to see my house.   Hundreds if not thousands of people below us were rushing about their lives on a beautiful summer day.

Memento mori.  Remember your death.  Remember it all the days of your life.  Live accordingly.  One day this life ends.  It is appointed to man once to die and then the judgment.  In the days of my youth I was taught this.  The thrill of living was too new, the rush of blood in my veins to strong, the smell of my lovers hair and the taste of her lips too sweet.  I was taught but did not understand.

Memento mori.  One day your friends and family will gather round.  There will be pretty flowers but you will not see them.  There will be kind words, but you will not hear them.  Hopefully they will laugh at some funny anecdote or quirk of yours.  It will last about an hour.  Then you get to run all the red lights and stop signs on the way to the grave.  A little devotional service, flowers placed on the coffin....

Someone said, "Amen".  Reflexes kicked in and I said "amen" just a tad behind everyone else.  Back to a lunch of fried chicken and pie.

Memento mori.

8/27/2014

Rabbi B

I've developed a theological interest in all things Hebrew.  My reason for this interest has more to do with understanding my own faith than a desire to convert to Judaism.  This last year I started reading a introductory book (Meet the Rabbis) to try to gain an understanding of some basic Hebrew concepts.  That book isn't the basis for all of my curiosity and not everything that interests me is related beyond the general topic of "Jewish".  Some basic questions I have are:
  1. What is a good English translation of the Traditions and other Jewish commentary on the Tanakh?
  2. What other resources are necessary for understanding traditional/ancient Jewish thought?  Are there commentaries that are more esteemed and useful than others?  
  3. Do I need to learn ancient Hebrew in order to undertake a serious study of Judaism or are there enough English translations to keep me in reference material?
  4. If I need to learn Hebrew what are good resources/tools?
Some general if not off the wall topics/questions:

  1. The Jewish year is 5774.  I was wondering what resources there are that would help me understand the method reckoning time according to the ancient methods (I get that it is reckoned from creation).
  2. Somewhat calendar related.  I am curious to learn more about the traditional feasts and symbology associated with them.
  3. Jewish eschatology.
  4.  Circumcision.  Why?  I think I have figured out an answer to this on my own but since I have a Rabbi available I'd like a more enlightened view.
If you can address those 8 it would be a more than generous gift of your time.  I have more questions, but I don't want to over burden your kindness.  If you can point me to good reference material preferably in English I can do research on my own.

My thanks in advance.

Contrast

I'm going to take the lazy blogger approach today and not link to the stories that got me thinking about this topic.  I'm doing that because the stories don't matter that much in my thought process. 

Over the last couple of weeks I've seen several news blurbs about this person or that person going to some third world crap hole to fight for this cause or that.  One story was about some black kid going back to Africa and getting killed.  Another was about going to the middle east and fighting for terrorism.  Sometimes the stories are about immigrants that have done this and are returning to fight in their homeland.  Sometimes its a religious thing, sometimes not.  Some of these kids live in America, but I've noticed that some of the stories concern people that have immigrated to England or Norway or wherever.

The political slant of the person writing the story will tell you how they feel about this sort of thing.  Some writers will call returning to fight "treason" or "un-American".  Others are morally neutral reporting the event.  Which is why I found it interesting when I saw a story about an American kid who joined the IDF and got himself killed in Gaza.  The reporting on that varied from the "objective" morally neutral perspective to the positively glowing.

On one hand I agree it is "un-American" to go fight in a war in which America has no national interest.  But if we use that as a test for sending young men to war, then the United States Government has been involved in "un-American" wars for about 150 years.  Even if going off to fight in someone else's war isn't kosher (except in the case of the boy getting killed in the IDF) that doesn't mean people shouldn't be allowed to do it.

It's a great idea for people to take sides and go fight for what they believe in.  I'd like to see more of it.  Consider what would be the out come if every person in the US who thought he had a dog in someone else's fight, simply went and fought.  I didn't say, agitate till we as a country sent our boys to fight.  If you believe someone's war is a good war, pick your side, get your own gun and ammo and go fight it.

As long as people leave this country and go fight in another country its all good.  Let every Muslim go back to the middle east and do what they think best.  Same with the blacks, go shoot each other in Africa over whatever it is you shoot each other over.  Same with the Jews.  Same with the fair-haired white folks in a snit over the Ukraine.  There is a war somewhere, go pick a side and fight it.

As long as you leave the rest of us out of it, and don't bring the problem here, I think its a fine idea for you to go fight for "your side".

Killer


8/25/2014

Home Town Proud

I like pizza.  I used to like pizza more than I do today.  Back in college I did a stint as a night manager at what was at the time the busiest Pizza Hut in America.  My enjoyment of pizza has only gone down hill since then.  As I reflect on this story of the socially undeveloped, over reaching into other peoples business, I can only wonder if Steven's pizza is any good.

Pizza parlor's church discount gives atheists indigestion
Steven Rose loves Jesus and pepperoni pizza.
But when the Searcy, Arkansas restaurateur decided to mix church and cheese it gave a group of out-of-town atheists a bad case of indigestion.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is threatening to sue Steven after he offered a discount to customers who bring in a church bulletin. They said Bailey’s Pizza is violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
To paraphrase the words of another great southerner, "Arkansas restaurants don't need Wisconsin Atheists around anyhow".

A handful of socially autistic religious fanatics, that are based in Wisconsin, are mad that a pizza place in Arkansas gives folks a 10% discount on their pizza if they bring in a church bulletin.   Not only are they mad, but they want to take the guy to court over it.

Searcy is a town of about 23,500 people not counting the enrollment in Harding University.  For a town of that size they have (according to quick count I did on the internet) 73 churches.  I'm pretty sure that not everybody in White County goes to church but if they did it would mean that the average size of a church in Searcy would be about 320 people.  Incidentally White County AR is what is known locally as a "dry" county.  That means no alcohol sales except under specific exceptions.  What do you think the chances are that these people take their church going seriously?

My guess is that its about as easy to get a church bulletin in Searcy as it is to get a "howdy" walking down the street.  That bulletin will get you 10% off a pizza Bailey's Pizza.  Well somebody ought to put a stop to that.  Thank god we have concerned atheists up in Wisconsin to put an end to this unmitigated evil.  Maybe while they're at it they could make it mandatory to serve beer to wash it down with.

When it's all said and done, the FFRF have driven more business in to Bailey's than any amount of church bulletin discounts could ever have.  If it hadn't been for the FFRF I'd never have wanted to go to Searcy for pizza.  Mostly I try to get catfish and hushpuppies, but now I'll have to think about getting a slice next time I'm in town.

8/22/2014

TSA Lied?

After 9-11 the United States Government forced the Department of Homeland Security on innocent Americans.  The DHS is an effort to duplicate and combine the Reichsinnenministerium and Geheimer Kabinettsrat.  One of the greatest most importantest things they set out to do was protect our airplanes and keep them from ever again being used as weapons.  Which is why our airports now have more strip searches than our prisons.  After all that 90 year old Jewish women might be a Islamic terrorist, we won't know she isn't without grouping her boobs and swabbing her hooh ha for explosive residue.  Make sure no one has a pony of Jack Daniels in their pocket either, or too much tooth paste.  We wouldn't want a passenger to have a little nip on the plane or sparkly white teeth.

Which is why it is no surprise that: Letter Confirms Illegals Allowed to Fly without ID, Just ‘Notice to Appear’.  You read that right, if the color of your skin is brown, and you have no legitimate picture ID, and you are in the country illegally, all you have to show is a document that proves you are in the country illegally to get on the plane.  The article doesn't say, but I bet if you can't speak English, or at least act like you can't, they will expedite your boarding process.  No news on how many of these illegals have received "enhanced screening".  Probably none, we wouldn't want to racially profile anyone.  

What is it the TSA is protecting us from again?  Dignity when traveling?  Unreasonable searches of our person or possessions without a warrant? Too much toothpaste and mouthwash?  The one thing they are not protecting us from is people from other countries that might want to do bad stuff to us with airplanes.

8/21/2014

Cops, Race, etc

I've got mixed feelings on the Ferguson mishap.  It breaks down to just a couple of points.
  • I agree the police in this country are out of hand
    • We have to many counterproductive laws on the books
    • We are enforcing laws for profit not policing for safety
    • Cops shouldn't have weapons/armor/etc that are denied to the people
  • I disagree that the problem is strictly racial in nature
    • It's not automatically whitey's fault
    • Criminals that attack people run the risk of getting shot
    • Attacking a cop, or another citizen earns you a bullet, or as many as it takes to stop you attacking
    • Blacks commit more crimes than whites.  If that bothers you and you happen to be black, stop committing crimes and get your friends to stop committing crimes
  • Criminals and their friends tend to tell lies, take that into account BEFORE you loot the Korean guys liquor store as a way of  "protesting" white oppression
  • If you want me to believe that "your people" are just as smart, capable and worthy of inclusion in polite society, perhaps you should get all the facts before you riot over a cop shooting a criminal that was attacking him.  In other words, act like you belong in polite, law abiding, rational society
The police in this country are out of hand.  I agree.  The reason I agree is because, get this, they are out of hand.  My POV doesn't depend on the color of my skin.  Cops that don't obey the law and protect the rights of the citizens are bad cops.  It doesn't matter what the cop's skin color or the citizens skin color is.  A bad cop, is a bad cop.

A criminal is by definition someone who doesn't obey the laws.  Some of those laws are stupid, arbitrary and useless.  Some of those laws however have been around for thousands of years no matter which culture or time period you may have lived in.  Stealing has been against the law, pretty much every place on the planet for as long as we've been here.  The right to self defense against an attacker is likewise a universal concept.

If a cop confronts a man who has just stolen from a store, and the suspect chooses to attack the police officer, the cop has a right to self defense.  The cop can shoot the attacker.  The rule in most places is that person being attacked can fight as long as needed to stop the attack.  This is true if the victim is a cop or a regular Joe. 

Much is being made of the cop shooting six times.  So what?  The criminal could have stopped when he was ordered to stop.  He could have stopped when he saw the gun.  He could have stopped when the first bullet hit him.  He could have stopped at any point and at any time between bullets 1 through 5 hitting him too.  He didn't stop until bullet number 6 entered his brain pan.  If you are going to make, or buy the line that the cop could have stopped shooting at anytime, you have to accept that the converse is true as well, the criminal could have stopped attacking at any time.

Who is responsible for a black criminal getting shot in MO? The black criminal.
Who is responsible for blacks looting in MO? Black looters.
Who is responsible for blacks rioting in MO?  Black rioters.

Fortunately Eric Holder is on the scene promising change.  What change is going to come?  Whites have been supporting blacks with welfare for over 40 years.  Things have gotten worse.  Blacks have been intentionally given special treatment in all levels of education for over a generation.  Nothing has improved.  Whites having been hiring and promoting lesser qualified blacks at the expense of better qualified applicants of all races for more than 40 years.  The economy is doing worse than during the great depression.  A black man is in the Whitehouse.  We are more oppressed and poorly governed than at any other time in our nations history.

I ask the question again, "What change is going to come?".

What we need is improving circumstances not change.  If what we've been doing is clearly not working, then the only change that will bring about positive results, is to stop doing it.

8/20/2014

Intended Post


I had planned to put up a post last night. I was going to call it something like "4 Plates".
 
It was going to be a happy little post. I had been writing it in my head for over a week. My new weight training program had been coming along nicely. As you may recall I had switched over to the 5 X 5 plan. As part of my change over I cut back the amount of weight I was lifting and was focusing on form and getting the exercises right.
 
In the program I'm doing a complete evolution consists of a two week period. The first week is set up so that you lift on 3 days with a day of rest between each day you lift. It looks like this:

Week 1
Monday "A" Day Wednesday "B" Day Friday "A" Day
5 X 5 Squat 5 X 5 Squat 5 X 5 Squat
5 X 5 Bench Press 5 X 5 Overhead Press 5 X 5 Bench Press
5 X 5 Barbell Row 1 X 5 Dead Lift 5 X 5 Barbell Row
Week 2
Monday "B" Day Wednesday "A" Day Friday "B" Day
5 X 5 Squat 5 X 5 Squat 5 X 5 Squat
5 X 5 Overhead Press 5 X 5 Bench Press 5 X 5 Overhead Press
1 X 5 Dead Lift 5 X 5 Barbell Row 1 X 5 Dead Lift

 
 

The cool, and challenging thing about this program is that every day you add 5lbs to the weight you lifted the last time you did the exercise. During every two week evolution you add 30 lbs to your squat and 15lbs to every other exercise. Sunday is the start of my workweek so for me that is my first "A" day in the evolution. Then I take Monday as a rest day and so on.
 
Last night should have been my night to use 4, 45lb plates on Squats with this coming Sunday being the day for me to hit 4 plates on the bench press.  Sunday night I decided to injure my right forearm so badly that I could hardly carry my gym bag out to the truck after I finished.  My injury is my own fault, after hitting it hard on the bench I broke form and did not one but every single set of my Barbell Rows incorrectly, even though I was in serious pain when I started the 4th set.  I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing and now I'm paying the price.
 
I know that 4 plates at 45 lbs plus 45lbs for the bar, each doesn't sound like much, but hitting 225 lbs for my squat and bench press is a far cry from where I was when I unexpectedly plateaued this spring.  It's also a ways to go on my mid term strength goals.  Those goals are 400 + lbs on the Squat and 275 lbs on the Bench Press.  I should hit those goals sometime in the first part of next year, if I can keep on track and progressing in a linier mode.  Which means I have to avoid hurting myself.  I haven't set strength goals for the Overhead Press, the Barbell Row or the Dead Lift.  I suppose I should, but I hadn't been doing those exercises before I started the program and just picked a weight to start from.  I don't have any idea what a man "should" be able to lift doing those exercises.  Any thoughts on what a goal for those should be would be appreciated.
 
Long term, I want to get to 325 on the bench and 500 lbs on the squat.  I don't know how long term that goal time frame is.  Maybe 500 lbs squat by age 50.  It could be a chant "500 by 50", "500 by 50".  As long as my body weight is under 190 lbs, making my goal should make me one buff old fart.   We'll celebrate with pie and ice cream.

BJW


8/18/2014

Misconception

I see variants of this story Why You Should Fight an Out-of-State Speeding Ticket from time to time.  I especially get a kick out of the common example of Wyoming highways, both the interstate and state highways being a hot bed of eager cops waiting for a chance to write you a speeding ticket.
It’s summer, and you and your family have packed up your RV for a road trip to Yellowstone. You hit the open road and have clear blue skies for the entire drive. Along the way you stop to see a few famous sights, including the Devil’s Tower — that mountain in Wyoming that many people may recognize from the Steven Spielberg movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
It’s a little later than you had planned when you leave the Devil’s Tower, and you still have several hours of driving before you get to Yellowstone. You want to make it in time to get settled and have dinner at your campsite, so on a stretch of highway with no other cars around, you hit the gas pedal a little hard. The next thing you know, you’re being pulled over for speeding by a Wyoming trooper.
I'm calling BS on this.  Crook County Wyoming has maybe 2 to 4 troopers stationed in it.  All of those guys are in Sundance.  The county is patrolled by the sheriffs department.  As it happens I have meet 6 of the 8 or 10 guys who work in that department over the years.  I've met them at various gun related events, one of which I travel to Sundance to shoot in.  There is one deputy that in his 25 plus career has written two, count them two speeding tickets. 

It's very hard to get a traffic ticket in Crook County. Incidentally I've gotten one.  Not for speeding, for failure to stop, and for being a smart ass.  I've been pulled over 3 times in that county since 1994.  Two of the times were for a rolling stop (in town more on that latter) once was a South Dakota cop who pulled me over just east of Sundance for speeding.  We had a little argument about his authority in Wyoming.  Long story short, no ticket that day.

I'm not claiming to be an excellent driver.  I would like to point out how it works here.  Rural interstates are posted as either 75 mph or 80 mph.  State highways are posted as 65 mph.  In Wyoming the Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer.  Sheriffs department policy is what controls traffic stops.  In most counties the departmental policy is that 10 mph over the posted limit a traffic stop is left to the officers discretion.  At 11mph over the limit a traffic stop is recommended, but writing a ticket or giving a warning is discretionary.  At 15 mph over you are getting a ticket. 

In the example cited, this means that the person in the RV was going 91 mph.  Let that sink in, 91 mph in a RV.  That means someone was able to get one of those busses up to and exceed highway speed.  Most of the time I see these clowns on the interstate they aren't doing 55.  The real question isn't if a cop pulled them over, the real question is how do we get the guy driving to teach other RV owners how to accelerate up to the speed limit.

Lots of Wyoming communities don't like the cops writing tickets to folks from out of state. They are dependent on the tourist industry and have a policy of giving warnings.  Crook County is one of those places.  If you are from Wyoming and they catch you speeding, different story.  FWIW unless they changed the policy in Crook county, its still one of the places you can have a open beer in your truck.

In practice it is rare that you get pulled over unless you are driving more than 85 mph on the interstate or 75 mph on a back road.  That's how it works out of town.  In town it's a much different story.  Wyoming's 3 largest cities are Casper, Cheyenne and Gillette.  Cheyenne is the state capital and the city cops tend to be better behaved towards out of state plates.  Casper and Gillette are different stories.  These two towns have the most militant police forces in the state.  The situation is so bad that other counties and cities don't (some refuse to) hire cops that have been on force in these towns.

That's those towns in particular.  In general, the cops don't care to much about a couple of mph out in the country where no one is going to get hurt.  In town they watch it.  If you go 10 mph over in a school zone, you will get a ticket, and you should.  There aren't a lot covert speed traps in Wyoming.  For the most part we post things clearly and you should be more careful in town anyway.

The other place I hear about cops targeting tourists is Montana.  I've lived there and traveled a good deal in that state as well.  Until 2000 they had no daytime speed limit.  None.  While having out of state plates I did get pulled over once.  I was doing about 110 in a 55.  The ticket cost me $5.  I understand they have changed the law since then and that they do enforce speed limits but they are liberal about giving a bit of leeway.

Since 1994 (when I first moved to WYO) I've gotten pulled over in WY with out of state plates 3 times and been ticketed twice, both times I was ticketed inside of city limits.  Both tickets were BS.  In each case when I received a ticket I had a Wyoming drivers license and was in a rental car.  Both tickets were in a city known for its unethical police.  With the exception of getting pulled over by a SD cop in WYO  I have only once been pulled over for speeding outside of town and was given a verbal warning.  It's hard to get a speeding ticket in Wyoming and if you're on vacation playing tourist and happen to exceed the posted limit by a couple of mph out on the road some place its not likely that anyone is going to be around to notice, but if they are you are really going to have to be flying to get a ticket.

FWIW according to the same website that published that story I linked to, another story rating Wyoming as the best place for motorists.

8/17/2014

Prayer Request

Our church has an automated prayer request line.  You can get it via email, or I think text too.  I just have the email version.  Anyway this one came across and I thought I'd share it.

(Church member whose name I'm withholding)'s brother-in-law was in a motorcycle accident last night.  He has a broken neck, cuts, and bruises.  He is 80.
 
Some thoughts:
 
The person who made the request is pushing 90.
 
I'm sure we all feel bad for a man wrecking his bike and being seriously injured.
 
He's 80 years old.  He's still out running the roads on his motorcycle. 
 
I don't feel that sorry for him, not out of animosity, I don't know the man.  I don't feel sorry for him because at 80 years old he is still out living a man's life.  He isn't cowering in a nursing home.  He isn't sitting in his own piss hoping someone will take pity on him and wash him up.  He wasn't waiting for the grim reaper and watching Jeopardy.  He wasn't in an easy chair wondering why the kids hadn't called.  In his eighth decade of life, he was out living. No Jell-O cups for this man.  He was out getting bugs in his teeth.
 
I realize that a broken neck at 80 most likely means it's curtain time.   I do feel horribly sorry about that.  As much as I wish it hadn't happened, it did.  It sucks.  It really sucks.  What would have sucked worse was not taking that ride.  Motorcycles are risky contraptions.  They are also fun.  Real men have fun and take risks.  EVEN. IF. IT. KILLS. THEM.
 
Anything else isn't living, even at 80.  Probably especially at 80.
 

8/15/2014

Revelation

A little while back I was having a conversation with a young man who reminded me a little bit of me, 20 something years ago.

This young man was very concerned about a situation heralding the decline and fall of America.  After much haranguing over the topic of evil du jure he was astonished to realize that not only did I agree with him but that I had several points of contention that he had not considered. 

He had assumed incorrectly, that I was simply an old bastard of his uncle's generation that might be sympathetic to his politics, if only he could reeducate me.  (his uncle and I are friends)  It blew him away that not only had I fully grasped the situation at hand, but that I had already analyzed it more in-depth than he had.  I think he was surprised by the fact that what he considered MAJOR points were to me minor indicators.  In short, not only did I not need his help in seeing the situation correctly, I already fully understood the matter and could explain why things were worse than he thought.

This set him off in a minor funk.  Not only was he not able to win a convert to his POV, but he had been shown that his point of view was only the tiniest tip of the iceberg. I threw his public school educated psyche a bone and asked him about the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.  To his credit he had heard that there was a Roman Empire.  He knew next to nothing about it.  However I talked history for a bit (no doubt boring the boy near to tears).  He had never heard of Gotterdammerung, but he instantly grasped the concept.  Once he understood that I moved on to comparisons to the USA.

All in all he is a good kid.  Smart even.  Frankly I was a bit amazed that a kid of 22 had escaped the public schools with as much of his intelligence intact.  The amazing thing is that he reminded me a bit of, well me.

Several years ago, before the internet was off the ground, we had a national wake up call.  It didn't wake many people up, but we had the call.  There was this incident in Idaho reported in the media as Ruby Ridge.  Back then if you believed Randy Weaver was in the right and the FBI was in the wrong you were likely to be called a conspiracy theorist or nut job.  This was before Gary Spence beat the US government in open court and won Randy's freedom and lawsuit. 

As it happens, I was the eager young patriot who had researched and knew the facts of the story.  I was the righteously indignant young man with his fist in the air.  One night I was spouting off about the out of control, morally corrupt, insert long diatribe of adjectives here, behavior of the federal government.  I was doing this to a person whose respect and validation I very much wanted.  He hit me between the eyes with a verbal 2x4.  He interrupted me and said something along the lines of, "stop with the indignation BS and tell me what happened".  I was a bit crushed.  I didn't want to be thought of as a conspiracy theorist or nut case but that's how it was starting to go down.

So I told him the condensed and unemotional facts of the story.  He shook his head and said something like, "it figures".  My mentor agreed with me.  We talked about Ruby Ridge and the evils of our government.  I  was surprised and relived in my little moment of validation. 

I had forgotten all about that conversation until tonight.  My host that night was not surprised or shocked by Ruby Ridge, just like I wasn't shocked over current events.  It didn't shock him because he had his wake up call a couple of decades before at Kent State, or Woodward Ave, or any of a list of civil incidents when he was 20 or so years younger.

America has been getting wake up calls on restraining the government for decades.  We are no longer shocked by the misdeeds of our officials.  We keep hitting snooze.  Pretty soon we won't even hear the alarm.

8/13/2014

How to Be Rescued

Two men were stranded on an island. One man just sat down under a tree and did nothing. The other man looked all over the island. When he came back, he said, "There is nothing here -- no food, no shelter, no nothing. We're going to die."

The first man said, "I make $10,000 a week," and continued to sit.

The other man again looked all over the island and came back dejected. "We're going to die," he said.

The first one again replied, "I make $10,000 per week." And he sat.

The other man took one more look all over, returned, and said, "There's no way we will ever get off this island. We're going to die."

Once again the first man replied, "I make $10,000 per week, and I tithe. My pastor will find me."

8/11/2014

Regaining Ground

I'm almost back at 100% blogging ability.

I had been knocked out of access to my blogger account.  This was very strange because I utilize the "stay logged in from a trusted computer" option.  After clearing all my cache and deleting all my browser history and waiting 48 hours, I suddenly had access again.  I have no idea what caused the problem in the first place or how to keep it from happening again.  It may be the result of "bx-coding" issues.  I don't know.  If that's the case it seems that the problem is IE and not blogger.  There is still an issue which is keeping me from resetting my account password.  For the time being I can access my blog and hopefully in the next 24 hours or so the folks at blogger will resolve the password issue.

So far my experience with the blogger help people has been very good.  Blogger is a free service and accessing assistance is only done via a help forum.  Considering that we pay nothing to use this service, the help desk people do a great job getting to your problem quickly.  Yes it might take them a little while to get to your question, but all things considered its a reasonable process and the response is generally helpful.

As soon as they get me 100% squared away I'll let you know.