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!


Saturday Nights All Right

Saturday at our house has become Family Movie and or Game Night. The reason is Saturday is my only night off.  We make a special meal, and we have some kind of dessert.  (Just so you know Susan, I looked up "dessert" to make sure I didn't spell "desert")  Then we watch a movie or play a game as a family.  If it's  a movie night then the dog gets to come inside and watch the movie with us.  Believe it or not, he kinda likes some of the movies.  He got into Space Buddies and That Darn Cat.  At least he barked at the TV a couple of times.  My daughter is convinced he likes movies about animals.

The dessert night is fun too.  We don't have sweets or let the kids eat a lot of junk food, so it really is a treat.  Normally the treat is home made.  For my birthday I got a pie.  Sometimes mom makes cookies or brownies.  Three weeks ago Mrs. Ipsa threatened to put a end to the treats.  This was unacceptable so I threw my weight around.  Come to think of it, that might be one of her reasons for cutting out the goodies.

My first intervention was to make Tin Roof Sundaes.  We got a couple of weeks worth of ice cream for our treat.  Then last week I bought the makings for S'mores.  They were a big hit.  So tonight we had them again.  Again they were a big hit.

The thing about S'mores is every time I make them it seems to rain. When we go camping, no matter what the weather forecast is, S'mores seems to make it rain.  It did this when I was a kid.  It did it when I was in Scouts.  It did it when I was in college.  When I go camping with the family it does it too.  Even when I'm at my house and can run inside to stay dry, if I roast marshmallows in the vicinity of gram crackers and Hershey bars, it rains.  Last week I made S'mores and it rained.  This week they made it rain again.  I think I see a pattern.

I can't promise rain.  At least I don't feel I can give you a money back guarantee or anything, but for the low, low price of $25,000 I promise to come to your town and make S'mores.  If the pattern holds, you'll see some rain.  On the other hand, if you have a special event and would rather be safe than sorry, for just $5,000 I can stay home and keep the marshmallows in the cupboard.


Falling Off a Bike

Those of you who follow Vox and other like minded economists already know how bad the economy is.  I hope that you have not been personally affected by it.  Fourteen years ago I made a decision to move back to Wyoming.  I've wanted to live "out West" since sometime in the fall of 1980.  I got my first taste of doing that in the mid 90's.  Then I moved away to tend to some unfinished business.  I thought of returning nearly every day I was gone.  Then I met Mrs. Ipsa.  After she agreed that we would move west, I married her.  Agreeing to move at some future date was sort of a pre-nup.  The opportunity came and we moved back where I belong.

The only problem is that my professional skill set isn't very much in demand here.  I'm an excellent banker.  The type of banking that I enjoy doing generally requires a large population.  The places I like to live have very small population.  To make matters worse, I'm not big on travel anymore either.  Which cuts down on the marketability of my other top skill set, consulting.

With the economy being what it is, and with me not wanting to leave this state my job opportunities have been limited.  I haven't had a "real job" in over 5 years.  The job I have now is less than ideal but it allows me to work nights while watching my kids during the day, so my wife can work part time.  No one is happy with this arrangement, but it is the best I've been able to come up with.

Today I hopped in the truck and took a drive.  I went to one of those cute little towns nestled in the mountains.  For those of you who don't know, Wyoming has two kinds of terrain, open prairie and mountains.  Real-estate in the mountains tends to cost a lot more because its pretty.  This little town I went to is one of those towns that started in the old west. 

This little town has a little bank.  This little bank has a man who has worked there for decades and has decided he will retire this year.  They need someone to replace him.  So I took a day off work and went in and asked for the job.  Despite the fact that they aren't interviewing for a couple of weeks, and they had no idea that I was coming, I got to talk shop with the boss.  I expected that I'd get maybe 5 min or so of his time.  We spent 45 minutes chatting. 

I was told that I am over qualified for the job.  That's true, I am. They didn't understand why I would work for them.  So I told them.  I like living in small towns.  I like having time with my family.  I'm not big on being in survival mode and I'd like to go to work every day doing something I've good at.  I know I sounded very alpha in the beginning.  Telling the truth sometimes doesn't sound as "large and in charge" as you want, but that's what I told them, the unvarnished truth.  I thought I shot myself in the foot.  None of the things I was acknowledging as my motivations for going to work for them were likely to get me a job.  I thought I was done.

When I stopped taking my interviewer nodded his head and gave me a kindred spirit smile.  We talked about Adams.  We talked about all the opportunities for big pay working in the big city.  We talked about the big headaches that come with it. 

He didn't say, but I think I'm in the running for a call back interview.

As much as being in the bank and seeing the big vault doors open invigorated me; I don't want the job if its not God's best for me.  Seriously.  I can walk away from the opportunity and be OK with that.  If I did get an offer, the top end of the pay scale is about half what it would cost to live there.  God will have to work out the money, a new house and a way to make everything happen, including Mrs. Ipsa staying at home full time. 

BUT if all of that happens, it will be the realization of a dream 34 years in the making.


Election Results

Here at the Ipsa Homestead we have enjoyed the prosperity of the Obummer years as much as my grandparents enjoyed the Great Depression.  I shouldn't complain.  I have had a job almost all of that time.  I know families that have not been as blessed as me.

The circumstances of the last few years have required me to work a night shift while Mrs. Ipsa works part time during the day.  I do this because the company has health insurance.  One of the blessings that has come from this arrangement is that I get to spend time during the day with my kids.

In our home we have an event each day know as "lunch".  Lunch is that time of day when otherwise normal kids turn into epicurean tyrants.  It seems that most things done by a man in a kitchen can not match up to the efforts of his wife.  Never mind if that man has been a professional chef.  Evidence of the mastery of the sauté pan is not admissible in the court of kids.  What matters is that the PBJ is cut into FOUR squares, not TWOOOOO.  Don't let it bother you that "squares" are really "triangles".  Just because "square" means four sides all the same length in the adult world, it doesn't mean that in the world of the preschool aged female.  Do what she means, not what she says.  Time to make another sandwich.

Once the stay at home dad learns a couple of basic skills, the job becomes easier.  The first skill I recommend learning is the "beat the kid half to death without leaving any marks".  Once you have the kids believing that a near death spanking experience is "just this close" at any given time, you will have fewer problems.

Getting thorough the day problem free is only part of the challenge.  The next challenge is having them sing your praises to their mother.  Single guys don't know this, but she quit being your wife exactly 2 seconds after the doctor confirmed she was pregnant.  From that second on she became this creature known as "mom".  If you are kid, mom is the greatest thing in the world.  Seriously mom's know everything.  Mom's do everything better.

The trick is to get the kids to convince mom that you are the best thing ever; well at least since mom.  A man can do this one of a couple of ways.  The first way takes about 40 years of hard work, being there for the kids, listening to a lot of stuff and wasting time doing things they like.  Then you up and die while the kids are out happily living their own lives.  About the time they have kids of their own, they will miss you, and start to think, despite the near death beatings, you were OK.  You can go that route if you want.  There is an easier way.  You can fix the election results.

You do that the same way you do in a real election, you pay off the voters.  Thankfully its not as expensive a process as a real election, and you don't have to lie to the voters.  You may have to lie to the election authority (the wife), but you should be used to doing that if you've been married for any length of time.

Today I was elected "The Best Dad Ever®" for the second time in a week.  Here's how I did it the first time.  I went to the store on my way home from work and bought: 1 package graham crackers, 1 package marshmallows, 1package Hershey chocolate bars.  I then made S'mores.  Result?  Best Dad Ever ® on a Saturday night.

Best Dad Ever ® for a weekday lunch is a little more involved.  We can't have any screw ups cutting sandwiches or its an automatic default.  I had a plan.  It all started with a after work, midnight trip to Wal-Mart.  When I walked in the door I saw that they had a big bin full of sweat corn 5/$1.00.  I got 5 good ears.  Then I got a package of hot dog buns (the hot dogs were already thawing at home).  The buns are important because the kids hate eating the dogs in bread.  The I saw the huge display of Pringles. (Queue angels singing, and light shining down from heaven).   I made a bee line to the cookies aisle and found the double stuffed fudge Oreo's.  Incidentally the FDA recently discovered that Oreo's are crack for kids.  Hopefully they will start labeling them that way.   If they do it will help new dad's develop a shorter learning curve.

Corn on the cob, hot dogs, pickles, potato chips and Oreo's for the lunch time win.  In case your counting that's 2 Best Dad Ever ® in four days.  Not too shabby. 

It's fair to say that mom's do lots of stuff better.  My kids have always wanted mom to do certain things for them.  I mean heck, just because a guy mistakes 160 grit sandpaper for baby wipes once or twice (ok three times) doesn't mean that Dad doesn't deserve a shot at the parenting pedestal.  Mom's may be able to "make it all better" with a kiss and a Scooby Do Band Aid.  Dad's have junk food and high fructose corn syrup.  Plus sometimes you can let them skip out of their homeschooling work a little early and go outside.  It makes the kids happy and it lets me get a little blogging in.  Besides they aren't going to tell mom.  They know who The Best Dad Ever® is, and why.  Plus they know about the beatings.


A Marine squad was marching north of Fallujah when they came upon an Iraqi terrorist who was badly injured and unconscious. On the opposite side of the road was an American Marine in a similar but less serious state.

The Marine was conscious and alert and as first aid was given to both men, the squad leader asked the injured Marine what had happened. The Marine reported, “I was heavily armed and moving north along the highway here, and coming south was a heavily armed insurgent. We saw each other and both took cover in the ditches along the road.

“I yelled to him that Saddam Hussein was a miserable, lowlife scum bag who got what he deserved. And he yelled back that Barack Obama is a lying, good-for-nothing communist who isn’t even an American. So I said that Ahmadinejad acts and dresses like a frigid, mean-spirited lesbian! He retaliated by yelling, Oh yeah? Well, so does Nancy Pelosi! And, there we were, in the middle of the road, shaking hands, when a truck hit us.”


A Request

I have a request that I would like to make of those people that come into my world for the next 36 hours or so.  I want to get through the rest of this holiday weekend without hearing anyone say anything along the lines of "Thankful for all our servicemen and women", or "we remember all of our veterans".

This is Memorial Day weekend.  Folks have loaded up the boats and polished up the BBQ.  I think that's all well and good.  Enjoy a three day weekend.  Have a blast.  Just don't thank all of our vets, you ignorant pseudo-patriotic moron.  Put that flag away.  You don't deserve to wave it.  You aren't worthy of the lives lost by our servicemen when you can't be bothered to learn what the purpose of the day is.

Memorial Day is about remembering the dead.  That's right, it's all about dead people.  It's not about the official kick off of summer.  It's not about getting out to the lake.  It's not about having a great cook out or the start of patio beer season.  It's about men, most of them young men, who believed in their country and what the country wanted of them enough to pick up a rifle and go fight.  These men died offering service to this country and the people living in it.

Some of them died quickly, some slowly.  Some knew it was coming, some had no idea that it was even possible they could die when they woke up that morning.  A few of them not only knew they were going to die, they knew that their deaths were completely meaningless, those men still fought on. 

I hope you find yourself in possession of a ice cold beer this weekend.  Go ahead and open it.  Stand up, take off your hat, lift that beer high, look up to heaven and say out loud, "thank you men, I remember you" and drink it down.  Drink it all.  While you are drinking think of the 1,321,612 who had their lives cut short in war for the benefit of this nation.

Just don't you thank "all our service men and women".  We have a day for that, its November 11th.  You cheapen the sacrifice of the dead when you lump them together with the living.


One hand I feel bad about people getting killed by deranged rich kids.  It's hard not to feel bad for the victims of crimes, especially when avoiding the incident was not foreseeable.

On the other hand its hard to get worked into a full blown snit about it either.  Seven people are dead in California.  Three were stabbed (no one is big into reporting that cause of death).  Four were shot.  The killer took his own life.  In some crimes we are left wondering what the motive was.  In this case we know.  The killer confessed his motive was not getting laid by the slutty girls at his college. 

Apparently he "played by the rules" but the chicks didn't dig him.  Which is hard to imagine when you are driving a Beemer, have a rich father who gives you cash, and is in "the business" as they say.  So rich boy decides to off as many sorority girls as he can.  Then he offs himself.  He was a looser in life and an even bigger loser in death.

Let the media circus begin.

Lets blame everyone, well not everyone.  Lets blame the NRA.  It's the NRA's fault that guns exist.  It's the NRA's fault that these kinds of crime happen.  Blame the NRA.  Blame the gun culture.  Pay no attention to the fact that California has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation.

Let's blame the mental health system.  The parents called the police and warned them about the boy's statements and online posts.  The cops even took the time to check on the kid.  Nothing came from it.

So goes the blame game.  The media will rush back and forth blaming someone.  They are clueless who to blame so they will point as many fingers as they can and pacify as many liberal pressure groups as possible.  The professionally and permanently aggrieved class will get much satisfaction wringing their hands and shaking their heads.

I have a suggestion.  Lets play the blame game a little differently.  Here is who I blame, in descending order.

1.  The shooter.  A morally bankrupt rich brat who has had everything handed to him his whole life, is mad that he couldn't attract a one night stand, or a LTR with a girl that would screw him.  He couldn't hire a whore or invest in a trip to meet a foreign chick that would marry or at least hook up with him.  He decided to shoot people and kill himself to prove how much of "man" he was.  If he had to resort to crime, why not throw a party, get some stripper drunk and slip her something?  Date rape would have done less damage.

2. The parents.  If you are so concerned about your kid that you call the cops and have them do a psych check, maybe you should take time out of your life and go yourself.  Maybe they did, who knows.  That's only part of why I blame them.  As a parent you have a responsibility to teach your kids right from wrong.  Mom and dad, you failed.

3. Madeline Murray O'Hair.  She is more to blame than the NRA.  I don't believe that the United States has ever been a Christian nation. I very much doubt that at least 60% of the population in this country has ever been what is called "a bible believing Christian".  If we ever were, we haven't been for around 150 years or more.  What we were was a nominally Christian nation.  We shared a common morality, not a common faith.  That common morality, call it the judeo-christian ethic, was something we as a nation embraced.  At the center of that belief system was the idea that a universal moral standard existed OUTSIDE a person and that all of us were bound to observe it.  O'Hair hated that ethical standard and the ancient faith that it sprang from.

The judeo-christian ethic was taught in the public schools.  Kids learned to read and write by copying bible verses.  They even had school prayer.  This was too much of O'Hair.  She wanted it all gone.  Well she won her court case and now its all gone.  In 1962 school prayer was ruled unconstitutional.  In 1963 reading the bible met the same fate.  In the last 51 years, public morality and decency has been in free fall.  For over 40 years wages in the United States have been in decline as well.  Societies faced with declining economic realities and no common moral groundwork produce people who truly believe that "man is the measure of all things" and "it's all about me".

When a person believes that they are the highest arbitrator of moral standards, and that they should be at the center of the universe with society in general cratering to them, and there is no real economic benefit to be had from cooperation with others, then why not vent violently?  After all the school system teaches that there is no universal truth, no moral standard required of individuals.  If there is no god, then there is no one higher than the individual and no consequences for evil behavior.

We don't need more gun or other laws.  Murder has been illegal for thousands of years.  We didn't have mass school shootings prior to the gun control act of 1968.  Fully automatic machine guns used to be available for sale via mail order in this country.  There were no background checks, no waiting period, and no school shootings.  What we had was a common national ethic.  That ethic included things like; "Thou shall not kill", "Thou shall not steal", "Honor thy father and mother" and "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you". 

We don't need common core.  We need the judeo-christian ethic taught again as the common moral standard.


A Good Cop

I don't know anything about Capt. Paul Fields or his record as a police officer.  I'm guessing he is the sort of man who started off as a patrol man and worked his way into an administrative job over the course of his career. 

There are a couple of things we know about him.  The first is in the course of his official duties as a police officer, when criminals have threated to harm a mosque and those attending it, he has provided them with proper police protection.  That is his job.  He is a police officer doing what is expected of him, serving and protecting the rights of the citizens in his jurisdiction.

The second thing we know about Capt. Fields is that he is a Christian that doesn't want to spend his time being proselytized by Muslims.  Both of these things seem very normal to me.  After all there are any number of people that I serve in the course of my job.  I try to do the best I can for these folks and meet their needs and exceed their expectations.  This is what is known as doing your job.  On the other hand, if they show up on my front porch on my day off wanting we to join their religious group, I'm going to politely ask them to leave.  I'm not obligated to give them one bit of my time or attention beyond what is needed to serve them at work.

What happened was Paul Fields was directed to attend, and get other officers to go to a "law enforcement appreciation day" at the local mosque.  At first it was voluntary. Nobody wanted to go.  I don't know why the cops under Capt. Fields didn't want to go.  Maybe it was a day off.  Maybe they had to work but had more important things to attend to.  Maybe Muslims aren't known for having good BBQ or donuts.  Maybe none of them wanted to get their picture in the paper as part of a photo op designed to promote Islam.  Incidentally that is exactly what happened to some cops that showed up.

Capt. Field's employer, the city of Tulsa OK decided that Capt. Fields needed to be ordered to attend.  When he refused, citing his deeply held religious beliefs, he was punished with a reduction in grade and a two week suspension.  Paul Fields then sued his employer on grounds of religious discrimination. 

The courts have all sided with the City of Tulsa.

In the appellate court decision it is pretty clear that the City sends officers to a number of community activities about 10% of which occur in religious facilities.  In the cases of the other religious groups, it has always been a voluntary participation.  Capt. Fields knew this.  He even stated he had no problem with his men going on that basis.  He simply refused to make it mandatory, or go himself.

Why is it voluntary for cops to go to an activity at say a Presbyterian church but its a requirement for cops to go to one at a mosque?

Would a Muslim cop be forced to attend a Jewish Synagogue, or observe an Easter Mass?

I think, at least maybe, one the reasons non-Christians don't give much consideration to the principle of "deeply held religious beliefs" of Christians is that the Christian community doesn't do a very good job of demonstrating that they have them.


Obama's Bank

Barack Obama walks into the bank to cash a check. “Good morning, Ma’am,” he greets the cashier, “could you please cash this check for me?” “It would be my pleasure, sir. Could you please show me your ID?” “Truthfully, I did not bring my ID with me as I didn’t think there was any need to. I am President Barack Obama, the president of the United States of America!” “Yes, sir, I know who you are, but with all the regulations, monitoring of the banks because of impostors and forgers, etc, I must insist on seeing ID.” “Just ask anyone here at the bank who I am and they will tell you. Everybody knows who I am.” “I am sorry Mr. President but these are the bank rules and I must follow them.” “I am urging you please to cash this check.” “Ok, this is what we can do Mr. President: One day Tiger Woods came into the bank without ID. To prove he was Tiger Woods he pulled out his putting iron and made a beautiful shot across the bank into a cup. With that shot we knew him to be Tiger Woods and cashed his check. Another time, Andre Agassi came in without ID. He pulled out his tennis racquet and made a fabulous shot, making the tennis ball land in my cup. With that spectacular shot we cashed his check. So, Mr. President, what can you do to prove that it is you, and only you, as the president of the United States?” Obama stands there thinking and finally says, “Honestly, there is nothing that comes to my mind. I can’t think of a single thing I’m good at.” “Will that be large or small bills, Mr. President?”


A Rip Off?

OK I know this confession doesn't bode well with the last post.  So be it.  My favorite rock band of all time is Led Zeppelin.  I say this, because they are the greatest rock band of all time.  I like ever single song they ever did.  I had all of them.  Every one.  As a teen I even had the 45 (you do know what a 45 is don't you?) of the Immigrant Song just so I could listen to "Hey Hey What can I Do?".

It seems that an old controversy is raising its ugly head. 

Here is a link to an article about the lawsuit.

The "controversy" is all about the biggest grossing, and most famous 8 minutes of rock and roll, "Stairway to Heaven".  Who really wrote "Stairway to Heaven"?  Short answer: Led Zeppelin did.  BUT the intro sounds like a riff from Spirit's "Taurus".  BUT Led Zeppelin had Spirit open for them.  BUT Jimmy Page probably heard "Taurus", more than once even.  Zeppelin ripped off other artists.

All of that is true.  None of it matters.  IF "Stairway" had never become a big hit you would have never even known that "Taurus" existed.  No you wouldn't.  Nobody is that big a fan of Classic Rock or of Spirit. 

I have no doubt that Jimmy Page heard parts, if not all of "Taurus" at one time or another. 

Here's the deal people.  The first rift of "Stairway" is the easiest thing that can be played on a guitar.  Anyone can do it.  Here's a vid of how to do it. The vid is less than 7 minutes long.  The vid is that long because there is more to "Stairway" than the first rift.  Incidentally ONLY the first rift, and then only part of that sounds like "Taurus".

There is a reason that most guitar shops have sings on the wall that say "NO STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN".  The reason is that every kid, teen and perpetual adolescent of any age comes in and starts picking out those notes.  Anyone can do it because its just a matter of walking your pick across the fret board.  "Stairway to Heaven" has been the reason millions of dollars have been spent buying kids guitar lessons.  Every kid who thinks he wants to play can pick up the first rift in less than 10 minutes, and mom and dad are stuck shelling out cash for lessons because the kid comes home able to pick out notes that are recognizable as a song.

Did Jimmy Page rip off those 8 notes and build a rock anthem at Spirit's expense?  Probably not.  The rift is based on a natural progression of notes.  "Stairway" takes those notes and builds into a rock power house that sounds nothing like "Taurus".  You can make a better case for Page and Plant channeling Aleister Crowley  for source material. 

Is Led Zed going to have to pay out some cash over this?  Maybe.  If they do its just going to leave Jimmy singing "Nobody's Fault but Mine".   At least nobody has claimed that they helped write that too.  If Zeppelin has to pay out for Stairway, how much should Spirit have to pay them for the making them a foot note in Rock history?


I'd like to hear the counsel of the Christians who visit. 

I am considering doing something that I have never done before.  I have no idea if it will be any good or work out in any way.  I have no idea if I have any talent or skill for my project.  My motivation is money. 

I have prayed (a limited amount) about this and not received any leading.  I am starting a fast to seek guidance.  I am willing to either walk away or embrace the project with enthusiasm, depending on the result of the fast.

If I don't pursue this project, I have ideas for two others that might be profitable uses of my time.  This isn't a all or nothing situation.  I have no idea what the time frame would be for me to complete any of my ideas, or which one if any, would make me more money.  If any of the ideas works out, it would be a blessing, and I would be grateful.

The project I am considering is writing a book or perhaps a trilogy.  I have had an idea for a story in my head for about 4 or 5 months now.  The more I consider the story, the more I think that there might be a market for it. 

My reason for being unsure of doing the book is that my story idea is based in themes of the occult and demonology.  My intent would be to conceal the occult themes inside a sci-fi/fantasy fiction plot.  In the end the good guys would be good and the bad guys bad and evil will be known as evil.  It is not my intent to produce something for the "Christian" market.  If published I intend to use a nom de plume.

What effect if any, do you see this type of book having for good or ill?
What effect if any, do you see this having on my Christian witness?

I have no idea if I can produce something worth while.  I may get bored with it before I get into it.  I may stink at this and 86 the project 2 hours after I start banging the story out.  I don't know.  I guess that I've come to the point in my life that if I can't ask the Lord to bless something, and reasonably expect that outcome, I don't want to bother with it.  Your thoughts on the matter are appreciated.


Halal Not Kosher for the Christian

So what is all the fuss about not eating Halal meat?  Why won't British companies label Halal food as Halal?  It's just the Muslim form of Kosher, isn't it?  Isn't Halal "better" somehow?  Kosher is "better" right?  Isn't Kosher in the Bible?  Why can't we all just get along?

There are a handful of passages in the New Testament that deal with the topic of what a Christian may eat.  It's not a long list, or even an overtly major point of doctrine.  In fact the purpose of most of those passages is the liberalization of what is permitted for "God's people" to eat.

It may come as a shock to some of you, but the term "Kosher" isn't in the Bible.  The idea of Kosher is, but the term and the exact practices used today are based on traditions that arose based on the teachings in the Torah.  Modern Kosher practices are the result of thousands of years of Jewish tradition based on the law of Moses.  It doesn't mean that Hebrew National hot dogs are somehow more spiritual than Ball Parks.  It just means that those hot dogs don't contain any "unclean" animal products and that the process to kill the meat conforms to certain standards to eliminate blood so that it isn't eaten.  There are some other procedures involved as well like the blessing of a Rabbi and certain facility inspection standards.

There is a misconception that Kosher meat is somehow incorporated into some form of Jewish sacrificial worship.  This is completely false.  Ancient and modern Jews had no prohibition on eating meat, other than the requirement for it conform to the law of Moses.  There never was a requirement that meat eaten had to be offered to God first.  This was a common practice in some pagan religions but it was never part of Judaism.  The sacrificial system in ancient Israel allowed for three uses of the meat.  The first was for its total destruction.  The second was that some sacrifices were to be used solely by the priests and Levites for food for their families.  The third was some offerings, like a Fellowship offering were eaten by the worshipers on the day of sacrifice. 

So is Kosher OK for a Christian to eat?  I don't see why not.  Kosher is simply a processing standard that recognizes the Mosaic law regarding the eating of meat.  You're not a "better" Christian if you eat, and you're not less of one if you do not.  So, if you like Hebrew National better than Ball Park, enjoy.  The worst thing you have done is pay someone to keep a Jewish food standard, and employ a Rabbi to invoke a blessing in the name of YHWH.  Unless of course, you ate the hot dog with copious amounts of sauerkraut and onions.  If you did that, then you are required to eat one or more Tic-Tac's afterwards.  The theological rational for this is "halitosis".

The whole Kosher thing was easy enough.  Since we all KNOW that Halal is just Muslim "Kosher", pass the lamb chops and mint jelly, right?  Not so fast.  Allah isn't YHWH.  See yesterday's post for clarification if you haven't already read it. 

You are going to have to decide for yourself who you believe Allah is.  Basically you have 4 choices. You can believe that Allah is:
  1. Who the Muslims say he is, i.e. despite all the evidence to the contrary it is the same deity the Jews and Christians worship. 
  2. Allah is a non-deity, a made up god with no real existence apart from the minds of his worshipers.
  3. A member of the pagan Arabic pantheon. 
  4. A demonic being, perhaps Satan himself.
If you are a Christian you have to pick a side in this battle.  What option you pick determines how you make the decision on if its OK to knowingly eat Halal. Notice, I added the qualifier "knowingly".  If as a Christian you eat halal unknowingly all you have done is have a meal.  There is no reason to suspect that God is displeased with you for eating.  He made food for the body, you ate it, that's the end of the matter.  What if you were shipwrecked and the only food available to eat was canned lamb form Yemen?  It's even stamped "Halal" and "fuel for the jihad".  Personally I think Jesus covered this in his discourse concerning David and the shewbread. 

In its most basic meaning "Halal" means permitted or lawful.  In that sense it is like Kosher, it is a term that designates what is religiously acceptable to eat.  What is it that makes a meat unquestionably halal?

In addition to the meat having to come from certain approved animals,  Halal meat is made such by the reciting of a shahada over every animal slaughtered. The words used are “In the name of Allah, Allah is the greatest”. The animal is literally being offered to Allah. Now the Christian has a problem.  The animal has in the mind of every Muslim just been offered as a literal sacrifice to Allah.

Remember I said the Christian has to pick a side?  Who is Allah? 
  • If you truly believe option #1 above, no harm and no foul.  You're a mental midget, but innocent of any real sin.
  • If you believe option #2 above, again no real harm although it may affect your Christian witness to any Muslims you know, and eating has to be evaluated in light of that.
  • If you believe option #3, you now have a potentially serious faith issue to deal with.  You MUST make a determination on the theology of 1 Corinthians (and elsewhere) i.e. eating food offered to idols. 
  • If you believe #4 to be true you would potentially be engaging in an overt act of worship of the enemy of YHWH.  If others know about what you believe and about what you are doing, you have committed a serious sin, see Rom 14:23.  Even if others do not know, you may have sinned against your own conscience.
In three of the four options above you could potentially find yourself in real physical danger if you chose to fully explain your reason for refusing the meat.  In a time and place under Sharia law explaining any of the 3 beliefs about Allah is tantamount to the capital crime of "insulating Islam".  You can be put to death for it.

I have alluded to places in scripture that a person should investigate.  There is one that I seldom see mentioned so I'll include it for your consideration here:

Revelation 2:20
Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.
There is another verse, also in Revelation that I think is perhaps applicable. 

Revelation 20:4
And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God.
Sharia law prescribes beheading as the preferred method of execution for those who insult Islam or Christians who refuse to convert when offered the chance to renounce their faith in Christ.
Christian, who is Mohamed's Allah? 

If you have a choice, why would you want to economically support Halal meat?

Theme Park

One of the most endearing traits of children is their utter trust that their parents will provide them with all of life's necessities, meaning food, shelter, and a weekend at a theme park.

A theme park is a sort of ARTIFICIAL vacation, a place where you can enjoy all your favorite pastimes at once, such as motion sickness and heat exhaustion.

Adult tolerance for theme parks peaks at about an hour, which is how long it takes to walk from the parking lot to the front gate. You fork over an obscene amount of money to gain entrance to a theme park, though it costs nothing to leave (which is odd, because once you've been inside the walls for a while, you'd pay anything to escape).

The two main activities in a theme park are (a) standing in line, and (b) sweating. The sun reflects off the concrete with a fiendish lack of mercy--you're about to learn the boiling point of tennis shoes. Your hair is sunburned, and when a small child in front of you gestures with her hand she smacks you in the face with her cotton candy; now it feels like your cheeks are covered with carnivorous sand.

The ride your children have selected for you is a corkscrewing, stomach-compressing roller coaster built by the same folks who manufactured the baggage delivery system at the Denver International Airport. Apparently the theme of this particular park is "Nausea." You sit down and are strapped in so tightly you can feel your shoulders grinding against your pelvis.

Once the ride begins you are thrown about with such violence it reminds you of your teenager's driving. When the ride is over your children want to get something to eat, but first the ride attendants have to pry your fingers off of the safety bar. "Open your eyes, please, sir," they keep shouting.

They finally convince you to let go, though it seems a bit discourteous of them to have used pepper spray. Staggering, you follow your children to the Hot Dog Palace for some breakfast.

Food at a theme park is so expensive it would be cheaper to just eat your own money. Your son's meal costs a day's pay and consists of items manufactured of corn syrup, which is sugar, sucrose, which is sugar, fructose, which is sugar, and sugar, which is sugar. He also consumes large quantities of what in dog food would be called "meat by-products." When, after another couple of rides, he announces that he feels like he is going to throw up, you're very alarmed--having seen his meal once, you're in no mood to see it again.

With the exception of that first pummeling, you manage to stay off the rides all day, explaining to your children that it isn't good for you when your internal organs are forcibly rearranged. Now, though, they coax you back in line, promising a ride that doesn't twist, doesn't hang you upside down like a bat, doesn't cause your brain to flop around inside your skull--it just goes up and then comes back down. That's it, Dad, no big deal.

What they don't tell you is HOW it comes back down. You're strapped into a seat and pulled gently up into acrophobia, the city falling away from you. Okay, not so bad, and in the conversation you're having with God you explain that you're thankful for the wonderful view but you really would like to get down now.

And that's just how you descend: NOW. Without warning, you plummet to the ground in an uncontrolled free fall. You must be moving faster than the speed of sound because when you open your mouth, nothing comes out. Your life passes before your eyes, and your one regret is that you will not have an opportunity to punish your children for bringing you to this hellish place.

Brakes cut in and you slam to a stop. You gingerly touch your face to confirm it has fallen off. "Wasn't that fun, dad?" your kids ask. "Why are you kissing the ground?"

At the end of the day, you let your teenager drive home. (After the theme park, you are impervious to fear.)

Copyright 1999 W. Bruce Cameron
[ ]


The Same God?

Last week I made a promise over at Vox's that I would post about Halal food.  I'm still planning on doing that.  Before I get to the question of if it is permissible for a Christian to knowingly eat Halal, there is a larger fallacy that needs to be tackled first.

It seems that almost every time the topic of Islam comes up I hear some total ignoramus repeat something to the effect that, "Allah is the same god for the Jews, Christians and  Muslims".   When you come across this lie, you can be assured of two facts:
  1. The person you are talking to is ignorant of the historic realities of Islam.
  2. That person knows even less about Christianity and Judaism.
There is a third option available.  I have made the assumption of ignorance.  I am not being unkind, ignorance is the nicest thing you can say for such people.  The other option is that the speaker is a servant of the Father of Lies.

There is a tendency in our times to view religion as an evolving concept.  This is a biblically inaccurate concept, but it is popular today both in the religious and secular worlds.  Because the evolutionary view of religion is a popularly accepted concept, people don't seem to question it when it comes up.

The idea that Christianity is an evolution of Judaism is totally false.  Christianity did not evolve from Judaism.  Judaism was the vessel for bringing Christianity to the world.  When the book of Acts records that the Berean's were more noble because they studied the scriptures daily, its not talking about the "Christian Scriptures" or what we call the New Testament.  The scriptures it is talking about is what we call the "Old Testament".  What they had is the translation of the Hebrew text into Greek.  This work is known as the Septuagint, or LXX.  The LXX translation was made about 300 years before the birth of Christ in the City of Alexandra, Egypt.  The information that those noble Bereans were looking up, were prophecies concerning the identity of the Messiah.  Incidentally, the New Testament books of Romans and Hebrews were written as a logical defense for the idea that God had always intended for a Messiah for all of man, not just the Jews.

Christianity started out in Jerusalem, with only Jewish believers.  As it grew the pagan Romans were tolerant of the group because they thought of Christians as "just another kind of Jew".  When persecution against the church  begins, it is the Jews, who can't stand the idea of the gentiles being included, who start it.  A system of legal government backed persecution of Christians begins in the mid 1st century and continues until 313 when Constantine legalizes the Christian religion.

According to Islamic tradition Muhammad began his "prophetic" ministry around the year 610 AD.  By this time Christianity had become the dominant religion in the Mediterranean world.  Muhammad, due to his wife's trading business, enjoyed wealth and leisure time and started proclaiming that "god was talking to him".  At first Muhammad tried to convert Christians and Jews to believe in his "revelations".  Being better read and more biblically literate than Americans, they rejected him and his "new religion".

So who is this Allah of Mohamed? That of course depends on what was most expedient to Mohamed on whatever day you happened to ask him the question.  The oldest middle eastern reference to Allah is, not surprisingly found in the home of the occult, Babylon.  This reference is found in the Epic of Atrahasis chiseled on tablets dating to around 1700 BC.  In that case he is described as a god of "violence and revolution".  He was the first "hater" of the patron god and encouraged the other "lessor gods" to fight and do battle against the "greater god".

At other times, like when Mohammed was first getting started in Mecca "Allah" was the name given for all 300 of the local deities. This is the basis for Salman Rushdie's book, The Satanic Verses. Most semi educated people are aware of the fact that "Allah" is also commonly used to refer to a deity that depending on the nomadic group in question was either a moon deity or a deity associated with the planet Venus.  Some scholars have even put forth that Allah is a Arabic reconstruction of the Egyptian Osiris cult.  For those interested in a more scholarly explanation, here is a linkHere is a even better link.

It's very hard to tell who exactly this Allah of Mohamed's really is.  Let's go to the Quran.  According to the 109th Surah of the Qur’an, Muhammad and the unbelievers did not worship the same Being:
Say: O disbelievers! I worship not that which ye worship; Nor worship ye that which I worship. And I shall not worship that which ye worship. Nor will ye worship that which I worship. Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion. S. 109:1-6
According to the Quran the god Allah is the great deceiver.
But they (the Jews) were deceptive, and Allah was deceptive, for Allah is the best of deceivers! S. 3:54; cf. 8:30 
 Despite the fact that modern translators often translate the Hebrew word "El" as the English equitant "God" or "Allah" when translating into Aramaic, the word "Allah" should be understood as "god", notice the small "g" in most usages, unless specifically identifying the deity YHWH.  Also, there are several verses in biblical text that identify the personage of God.  I didn't get into those because Islam itself teaches that Allah and God are not the same deity.  At best according to Islam, Allah is one of, or all, of the gods in ancient Aramaic pantheon.  At worst he is the spiritual being known to Jews and Christians as Satan.  Under no circumstances, despite protests to the contrary, is Allah the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Again according to Islam, Allah had no son.  Jesus can't according to Islam be the "Son of God".  By definition for Christians, Allah is not God the Father.


The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger and Tonto hitch their horses outside a saloon and go inside for a beer. Soon after, a man walks in and asks, "Who owns the silver horse outside?"

The Lone Ranger replies, "I do. What's the problem?"

The man says, "You better go look at him. I think he's hot."

The Lone Ranger goes outside to check on his horse, and sure enough, the horse is overheated and distressed.

"Quick, Tonto, run circles around Silver. You will create a draft and cool him down."

Tonto starts running around the horse to cool him down, and the Lone Ranger goes back into the saloon to enjoy his beer. Soon after, another man walks in and asks, "Who owns the silver horse outside?"

The Lone Ranger again replies, "I do. What's the problem now?"

"You've left the Injun running."


May 5th

Happy excuse to drink Mexican beer day. Today is the one day a year that it is cool to be Mexican in America.  Seriously today it is cool to be Mexican because today is Cinco De Mayo.  For those of you reading the last 3 words in that last sentence and wondering what "cinco" is and why its in your mayo, have a Corona.  This too will pass.  Corona btw was regarded in Mexico as a women's beer.  It became popular in the US because Tom Cruise was seen drinking them in Top Gun.

Today as I mentioned, is the one day it is cool to be Mexican in America. Go ahead and break out your finely tuned multi-cultural skills.  Order a burrito, nacho's or taco while drinking your imported beer and  tequila.  Incidentally Mexicans have many wonderful dishes in their culinary repertoire, Americans can't pronounce them, but that doesn't take away from the quality of the food.  It just keeps us from experiencing something better than Taco Bell.

Go into an ethnic themed restaurant.  If its an Asian eatery you can order by number.  "I'll have a number 14 and some hot and sour soup please".  They will bring you something wonderful and not curse you for your inability to speak Cantonese.  Actually most Asians would rather you not pronounce their dishes.  They don't like that funny face you get when you say, "I'd like some chow yuc and som young dong".  They know why they are smiling politely, you sound  like a retard trying to speak their language.  They don't get why you take pleasure in asking for an extra side of dong sauce.

The French know their food is good, at least compared to any English speaking nation.  They despise you for not speaking French, because you are not as good as they are.   In France, the superiority of all things French is an universal law, sort of like gravity, except the law of gravity may have exceptions.

Go into a good Mexican restraint, order something that isn't deep fried or wrapped in a tortilla.  You aren't going to be able to pronounce it.  Which is why you probably never order it.  Yes the waiter is looking down at you while pretending to be deferential.  That's OK because on May 5th we celebrate the Mexican army beating the French.  At least you didn't ask to puk som dong.

Of course everyone beats the French Army.  The only time the French win is when a.) they are lead by someone who isn't French, of b.) America is involved in the war effort.  The reason we like the Mexicans over the French, isn't just because they beat the French.  When you go to French Restaurant you pay $100 for a salad made from ditch weeds, three frog legs and a glass of white wine that was filtered through a Frenchmen's sock before being funneled into a fancy bottle.  You go home hungry, with a headache and the knowledge that even though you tipped $250 on a $100 dinner, you still somehow didn't do enough.

Compare that to dinner in a good Mexican joint.  The chips and salsa are free.  The wait staff are friendly.  For $30 bucks you get 3 beers and a shot or two, a great big plate of food and the staff smiles and is nice to you.  They don't expect a big tip.  If you leave one, they love you and next time you come in they remember and treat you even better.

So happy Cinco de Mayo.  Celebrate.  Enjoy yourself.  Please respect yourself enough to not drink Corona.  Have a Dos Equis instead.  Try the barbacoa, cabrito, or something in a Oaxacan  Mole Sauce.  You'll be glad you did.

A Sad Day

Today is a day of bitter disappointment.  A day of mourning.

2014 License Draw Results

     License Type                                              Results

RESIDENT MOOSE                                  Unsuccessful
RESIDENT BIGHORN SHEEP                 Unsuccessful

Every year for the last 7 years I have missed the cut off for a moose tag by 1 point.  The draw stats won't be available for a couple of months but I suspect that this year was no different.  The bighorn sheep tag is becoming almost impossible to draw in Wyoming.  With any luck I may be able to draw one before I am too old to hunt.  If I had drawn a moose tag this year, I may have been able to draw one more time in my life.

Star Wars Day

Yesterday was the (unofficial) "Star Wars Day" ... you know ... May the 4th be with you!

I hope you enjoyed that.  This will not take away from your Bad Joke Wednesday quota.  That joke is already in the queue.


Hating Boys

It's no secret that I regard Fred Reed as one of the most enlightened reprobates spewing forth electrons from his keyboard today.  A link to his work is over on the right side of the links column. Fred has a unique way of hitting the nail on the head, over and over again.  If you want to know why the education system in this country is as bad as it is and why things are only getting worse, listen to Freed.
The two lowest-scoring careers are education, overwhelmingly female, and public administration. Thus we have morons, administered by slightly worse morons, trying to teach boys who, at the high end, are so much smarter than the teachers as to constitute another species.
He's right.  Boys don't belong in todays public schools.  No child does.  Public schooling is an insidious form of child abuse.  It wasn't always that way, but it is now.  I witnessed the fall of public education first hand as a student.  As I've followed the news stories over the last 30 years or so, it's only gotten worse.

Fred makes a good point over all about intelligence, performance and failure.  A smart kid will get bored in classroom.  A teacher doesn't want bored kids.  Bored kids act up.  Bored kids find stuff that won't make them bored.  Bored kids are a problem.  Bored kids get extra attention.  Extra attention adds stress.  Stress produces side effects that can be very harmful.

Using a roomful of little boys and girls to validate a middle-aged women's emotional needs isn't teaching, its cruel and unusual punishment.

My own educational career was extraordinarily lackluster.  It started out well enough in a small country school.  It went down hill after that.  My dad moved us to a big city for his job.  I had a horrible year that first year in the city.  Over the course of my career, I was double promoted, held back, sent to prison a boarding facility, ended up in one of finest private schools any ware, got kicked out for moral violations, did one last year in public school, was told despite all A's except French, I wasn't going to be allowed to graduate, told the school to F off I had a scholarship for college, and became a high-school drop out.  Along the way I was diagnosed as dyslexic, was sent to remedial class, took honors and advanced classes, narrowly avoided MENSA, CLEP'd out of economics in college, and managed to get an AA, BA, and MBA.  My LSAT's were good enough to get me into most law schools, but I decided not to go.  When I wrote my dissertation proposal for my Ph'd application to CSTU the men on the dissertation committee were impressed enough to suggest I do the work at one of their alma mater's.  I was intrigued but the $270,000 price tag was too steep.  Eventually I dropped the whole idea of a Ph'd.

I guess all of that is a long winded way of saying,  I've run the gambit of American education, including an invitation to attend an ivy league school. I've come to the conclusion that public school sucks and you can learn what you want on your own