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!


But Archie..

Of College

When I was an undergrad, twenty something years ago, things were slightly different than they are today.  For one thing it seems that even the mid tier schools had much higher standards of educational excellence.  Not everybody could get in.  Not everybody could stay in.  You were expected to take a work load that would get you a degree in about 4 years.  That doesn't mean that some people didn't go longer, sometimes you couldn't get a class you needed due to scheduling conflicts, or maybe you changed majors.  Another difference I experienced was the concept of "Liberal Arts" education.  What that involved, was a belief that a well educated person would have a wide appreciation for various intellectual topics and would be able to apply them to "the big picture". 

I took to the "well rounded" educational concept like a fish takes to water.  I loved it.  It was easy.  For me, learning about a wide variety of topics was enjoyable.  I happen to be the sort of person who see's "the big picture" naturally.  I also had the responsibility of paying for my own education, so I was focused on the 4 years and out plan.  I also worked 40 hours a week throughout most of my college days, the exception being one semester where I took 24 credit hours. 

As a parent I want my kids to turn out great.  I want them to have good relationships, build a good life, have fulfilling careers and families.  To achieve that we are home schooling.  We are also saving money for college.  Both my wife and I are college educated people.  I have a masters degree and my wife has advanced professional credentials beyond her bachelors.  So its from that background that I'm beginning to see that the traditional college path might not be worth it.

How bad of a deal is American college and the student loan industry when Al-Jazeera runs an op-ed piece detailing recent propaganda to keep propagating the system?  They even named the piece "The College-Cost Denial Industry".

It's one thing for an old hillbilly to sit on his back porch and tell you that he didn't need an education to get rich and have a good life.  After all he inherited a farm with lots of oil under it.  All you need is 800 acres, wells on 5 acre spacing that produce 240 bbls a day and $100 per barrel at the wellhead on a 40% owners share and you too can be a millionaire inside of  10 months.  Heck ya don't need no book learn'n to have that!  It's another thing when educated people are examining the cost and benefits and coming to the conclusion, that except for a handful of schools and majors, a college education doesn't necessarily pay.

What's blowing my mind right now is that Al-Jazeera is blowing the whistle on American College and Student Loans.  Al-Jazeera isn't known for being a patriotic American cheerleader.  They are a media source that serves a population that is anti-traditional American values.  What could their motivation be?  Do they want to steer their constituents away from making a major life mistake?  Is this some form of black propaganda designed to negatively effect America by under educating a generation of young people?  Is the situation more diabolical than that?  Could it be that the modern American college experience, the degree and the student loan debt, is such a bad deal that even our enemies look at it and wonder how we could be so stupid?


We Don't Know

Just two days ago I was celebrating the release of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag and her two children from Sudanese prison and the overturning of her death sentence for being a Christian.  Almost as soon as I got my post about Answered Prayer up, the news came that the entire family had been rearrested at the airport.

The news reports since then have been full of conflicting information. 

Here as I understand it, are the facts of the story.   Daniel Wani was born in Sudan and is confined to a wheel chair due to muscular dystrophy.  He fled Sudan as a refuge and lived in the United States.  During his time in the US he became a US Citizen and has been one since 2005.  In 2011 Daniel married Meriam, in a Christian ceremony.  Both of them claim life long membership in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

Meriam has a half brother Al Samani Al Hadi Mohamed Abdullah who insists that his half sister Meriam has committed Islamic Apostasy and should be sentenced to death.  He is also the source of the adultery charge.  Under Islamic law if Merriam is not legally married to Daniel, Mr. Abdullah will inherit Meriam's successful businesses upon her death.  Mr. Abdullah is the person who filed both the adultery charges and the Apostasy charges against his half sister.  If the sentences are carried out, he will profit handsomely.

Meriam has steadfastly claimed she is a Christian and has refused to renounce her faith or her marriage to Daniel.

Monday Meriam was released from prison when her conviction was overturned during legal review of the case.  Daniel, Meriam and their two children went to the airport and were awaiting a plane, some reports claim it was going to America, when they were "detained".  From this point on the facts of the story are unclear.

One of the reports from Sudan says that the family was not detained by the government.  It is unclear if this report is true.  If it is correct, then the family has been kidnaped by a Islamic group with their own agenda. 

The account of what happened that is being reported today, claims that the government has detained the family over an issue regarding their travel documents.  This is being proclaimed as the official version of events.  It is unclear if the family is in prison, or in some form of halfway house, as the accounts differ on this point.

It is my hope and prayer that the family is in official government custody.  If they are not, their situation is much more grave.  Also, if they are in some sort of official detention then diplomatic channels can be used to secure their freedom.  Daniel and his children are legally US citizens, although Meriam is not.

At this point we do not know what is happening.  I'm still praying and fasting on their behalf.


The family is in government custody.  They are now facing 7 years in prison for problems with their passports.  Meriam Ibrahim was 'kidnapped' and I went to police before she boarded flight to America, her brother says.  He still wants her executed and is planning on appealing her release from prison.


In the backwoods of Arkansas, Mr. Stewart's wife went into labor in the middle of the night. The doctor was called in to assist in the delivery. To keep the nervous father-to-be busy, the doctor handed him a lantern and said, "Here, you hold this high so I can see what I'm doing." Soon, a baby boy was brought into the world. "Don't be in a rush to put the lantern down. I think there's yet another wee one to come." Sure enough, within minutes he had delivered another baby. "Now don't be in a great hurry to be putting down that lantern, young man. It seems there's yet another!" cried the doctor. The new father scratched his head in bewilderment and asked the doctor. "Do ya think it's the light that's attractin' them?"


Of Fairness

There is a basic ingrained desire in the human heart for fair play.  We're not talking about "legal", we're talking about moral.  Under the laws of the land, things may be "legal", but we react at a gut level when they aren't "fair".

For example, when the news reported that a little girl who was mauled by pit bulls and terribly injured was asked to leave a KFC because her scares were upsetting the other customers, American's reacted at a gut level.  "Who asked her to leave?" we wanted to know.  Right behind that we demanded, "Who do they think they are, to be so hurtful to a little girl?".  Soon cash was coming in to help pay for her medical bills.  KFC, due to the bad publicity chipped in $30,000 up front.  Not too long after that some very gifted, and very expensive, plastic surgeons were offering to fix her scars for free. 

America reacted that way, because, by golly, it wasn't fair.  Nobody likes to hear about a little girl scared for life by dogs.  Nobody wants to hear about her getting kicked out of a fast food joint because she doesn't look normal.  We don't want to have to see bad things happen and we don't want even more bad things happen to people that are already suffering.  It's not fair.

By the way, it is beginning to look like the little girl's grandmother lied about being kicked out of the restaurant.  KFC: No evidence mauled child asked to leave.  Is KFC asking for the $30,000 back? Nope.  Even if the grandmother lied, they don't want the cash back because its going to help the little girl.  Taking away her chance of a full recovery wouldn't be fair.

The rest of our society works the same way.  We expect the traffic laws will be fairly enforced.  We don't care so much if a person is let off for a minor violation.  We care very much if we are charged for more than we did.  For example how many of us have been 10 mph over the limit and been ticketed for 5 mph?  We don't like paying for the 5 mph ticket, but we pay it.  Imagine you were driving 10 mph over and were ticket for 15 mph.  That's not fair.

Every aspect of our lives work on this fairness principle.  Sometimes events work out in our favor, sometimes not.  We play along because we expect that the rules are being evenly enforced.  I may get struck out on a high and outside pitch, but if the ump called it the same way for the other team, well he's blind, but he's not unjust.

Our level of outrage varies according to the degree of the offense.  We might stop visiting the offending KFC restaurant.  We'll gripe about the high and outside strike.  We'll go to court over the traffic violation.  What happens when the violation is more serious than that?

Depending on the situation we have laws in place to protect the innocent and punish the guilty.  We expect our public institutions that are charged with maintaining order and justice to do their collective duty.  Most of the time that's how it works.  What happens when the people in charge of the institutions are the ones corrupting the processes?  Who holds them accountable when the corruption is top down?

The bureaucrat hides behind the impenetrable wall of policy and obscuration.  The institution is good because it was established by law.  When asked about wrong doing, they will point to conflicting policy statements, endless memorandum, and explain that they were only trying to accomplish "X" and were not aware that it conflicted with "Y".  No congressional subcommittee, no special prosecutor, no person of common sense, is ever supposed to be able to overcome the bureaucrat vial of double speak and find out who knew what, when and how the laws were violated, because policy.

Thus Eric Holder will run guns to Mexican drug cartels so they can shoot American Boarder patrol agents.  Because, policy.  The IRS can and will interfere in the election of America's policy makers by restricting access to tax favored status by grass roots organizations.  The state department will shrug their responsibility to protect out interests and embassies.  We will negotiate and (probably) pay bribes to terrorists.

Nothing will get done about it, because policy.  Instead special interest team D and special interest team R will fight over who gets to abuse the process and institutions for the benefit of the politically connected.

Common sense tells us that when something is broken, stop using it and fix it.  When corruption exists from the top to the bottom, its time to close up shop, fire everyone and prosecute the criminals.  Only after that is done can we start over.


Answered Prayer

About a month ago I asked for my readers Counsel on a writing project.  I don't think I posted on it, but I started a 3 day fast during that same period.  I don't post much about my personal spiritual journey, but I do practice fasting from time to time.

The purpose I had for that period of fasting was to seek out guidance and blessing for some form of increased income, either from writing a book or from a new job.  Heck, I'm always open to Ed McMahon showing up too.  Anyway, I was feeling pretty down about my personal situation and even started feeling sorry for myself about how "bad I had it".

About 1 day into my fast I was alone praying and I was struck with an overwhelming feeling that I was focused on the wrong question.  I had been aware of the plight of Saeed Abedini. I had recently become aware of the situation of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim

I started praying for them.  They weren't the only focus of my prayers this last month but their needs have been frequently raised to God by me.  Part way through I devoted my fast to their needs instead of mine.  I asked God to deliver Meriam, her child imprisoned with her and her unborn baby from prison. 

As time went on Meriam delivered her baby.  This was terrible news. She still was in prison.  The birth of her baby started the clock on her execution date.  She was to be hanged for being a Christian once the baby was weaned.  Every thing looked hopeless.

I resolved that I would keep praying anyway.  I did another fast.  I kept praying, trying to remember to pray for them as if I was the one suffering their fate.  I received a sort of revelation that most people that are called to die for their faith actually end up dying for their faith.  I acknowledged that this was true.  I started arguing with God.

I was reminded that I needed to pray for "His will to be done".  I agreed.  I started praying that.  I asked Him to give strength and help them remain faithful to the end.  Oh and by the way God, please release her from prison and let her be reunited with her husband so they can be a family.

On judgment day after they pass out the crowns, they may give out some other "awards".  I don't know if I'll come in first but I'm sure to be a contender in the most obnoxious prayers category.  I'll probably get a mention in the "who does he think he is addressing God like that" category too.

More days passed.  More prayers offered.  More and more I had a feeling that I need to submit myself and my desires to the will of God.  Increasingly I became aware of my own failures in obedience and my rebellions of heart that limits my fellowship with God.  I kept praying for Meriam and Saeed.  I have argued the case with heaven.  Each argument I've made has been turned back onto my own heart.

"Can Meriam go back to her family now?", I asked before going to sleep last night.

This morning I read this story, Christian woman freed after death sentence in Sudan.

Thank you Father for hearing my prayers and granting my petition.  You are faithful to your promise to hear us.  I give you praise.  I thank you for your kindness.  I honor you as God.  I praise you for the release and return of Meriam to her family.


Who Is Christian?

Who is Christian and who is not, is a question that has been around for centuries.  The first major problem with who was and who was not a Christian started early on in the faith.  We have many tid bits recorded by the Apostle Paul addressing the subject of true faith.  Latter on in history Christian faith was sometimes defined by where you lived and what group was in charge of the state church.

Sometimes the control of the state overshadowed issues of faith for the individual.  Other times individuals were successful in addressing and correcting issues within the frame work of the state church.  Throughout this period of history there was a divide that most people recognized.   The division was one of faith/action and state acceptance.  A person could be accepted or rejected by "the church" based on conforming to the official doctrine. 

If an individual "sinned" they could be kicked out of the church.  In some cases this involved serious social consequences.  A person who had been "read off" at mass might suddenly find his line of credit suspended at the bakers.  A person charged with engaging in some form of official heresy might loss trading privileges or access to local markets.

When Henry VIII King of England decided to dump his wife and the church refused to let him, he decided to dump the church.  This caused Englishmen of conscience more than a little anxiety as they had to chose a side, and they knew full and well following their faith might cause their downfall.

In the US today things aren't that tense.  People can pick and choose a church with about as much thought as they select which fast food drive thru to visit afterwards.  If you don't like Church A, Church B is right around the corner.  People church hop all the time.

What do you do when a Church decides that things that scripture declares an "abomination"  that will cause the unrepentant participants to go to  hell are now "Christian" and "Holy"?  Of course you can leave and hop over to another church with teaching more to your liking.  What do you call the group you just left?  Are they still "Christian"?

Christian denominations  haven't always gotten along and accepted each other.  There has always been a bit of distance.  Some of that is preference based and some is theological based.  While we haven't always agreed to worship together we have generally agreed who is and who is not a Christian.  Thus Jehovah's Whiteness, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, and despite the name, Christian Scientists have been regarded as "not Christian" while most of the rest, despite large differences in doctrine are.
Now that the Presbyterian Church has embraced the example of the Episcopalians they will slide further into irrelevance.  The question becomes should we officially recognize that they are no longer following the Bible?
FWIW I blame Calvinism, Biblical relativism and Feminism, in that order, for the downfall of the Presbyterian Church.  The truly sad thing is that this course of action is going to serve to harm the cause of Christ, despite the professed belief that "acceptance" and "tolerance" are somehow "Christian virtues".


Culinary Porn

It may come as a surprise to some of you but our very own Farmer Tom is  a provider of internet pornography. Some time ago he posted in the comments section here links to his Face Book account.  None of us were able to access his photo's and I eventually forgot about it.   Then today I was checking out his blog page and I discovered that almost two weeks ago he had posted pics there too.

Here they are.  It's safe for work, but not if you haven't had lunch yet.

When I was a kid we went out mushrooming in May.  There are two wild and easily identifiable mushrooms that are edible.  They're more than edible, they're wonderful.  The first is the beefsteak.  Think of it as the poor mans morel.  Then there are morels.  Morels come in two varieties, black (or common) and white.  Both are wonderful.  Farmer Tom has examples of both (lucky bum) in is bowl.

One of the few downsides of living where I do now is the lack of morels.  It is one of the few things I miss from the Midwest.  The other is ruff grouse and woodcock hunting.  I'm kinda fond of some of the fishing too. 

Shrooming is a fantastic activity, mostly because it leads to eating fresh morels.  There is no finer fungus.



One day a government worker was digging through his office drawers when suddenly he came upon a magic lamp. (Oh, c'mon, I'm sure there's one buried in your desk too.) Since he'd heard these jokes before, he knew that he had to rub the lamp and make the genie come out.

So he rubbed the lamp and -- oh, surprise -- out popped a genie. The genie asked, as genies will, “What is your first wish?” The government worker thought about it for a second, then replied, “I would like to be rich!” So the genie granted him his wish, and poof the man was surrounded by piles of money rivaling the heaps of even Martha Stewart and Bill Gates.

Since the government worker knew the whole wish process, the genie didn't even have to ask for number two before he said, “My second wish is to be on an island with beautiful women surrounding me and obeying my every command!” And poof, he was there. Then the government worker -- or, as I like to call him, civil servant -- decided on his third wish, “I don't want to do any work ever again!” and poof -- ubiquitous ironic twist -- he was back in his office.


Right to Try

I've posted on legalizing pot, and at least conceptually, other recreational drugs.  I think that is an interesting social issue and it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

There is another aspect of pharmacological freedom that doesn't get much press.  I suspect it is because there isn't a long line of aging hippies waiting to get on the band wagon.  Another reason may be that since there is no recreational potential for these drugs, no one is interested.  Pot's cheerleaders have always used medical marijuana as a stepping stone for legalizing recreational marijuana.

We've heard about the plight of terminally ill cancer patients who want to smoke pot to help with the chemo.  I've seen people go through chemo.  Despite the development of drugs like Nabilone, people want to smoke pot.  When you see how sick they are, its hard to come up with reasons not to let them.

A more pressing issue in pharmacological freedom is the use of experimental drugs.  Every year there are people dying of various maladies and there are companies trying to develop drugs to treat them.  In the US the FDA determines which companies, which products and which group of people (by reason of control group studies) will get to participate in which trials.

True pharmacological freedom isn't just letting people smoke pot, its letting any patient try any therapy they and their doctor think may benefit them.

Are there risks in pharmacological freedom?  Yes, of course.  The right to take those risks belong to the people whose lives will be affected by them.  If a person is sick and dying and there is a new drug in development that might help that person, why not let them and their doctor experiment with it?  The manufacture needs data from human trials to demonstrate the effectiveness of the drug.  The sick person wants to take a chance that might extend their life.  None of this is the FDA's business.

If we are going to let the terminally ill smoke pot to ease their suffering, we should let them try whatever experimental drug therapies they deem acceptable to extend their life too.

The Crabby Cabbie

I know this is bad, but I laughed.

A successful businessman flew to Vegas for the weekend to gamble. He lost the shirt off his back, and had nothing left but a quarter and the second half of his round trip ticket. All he needed to do was somehow get to the airport, and then he'd be home-free. So he went out to the front of the casino where there was a cab waiting.

He got in and explained his situation to the cabbie. He promised to send the driver money from home. He offered him his credit card numbers, his drivers license number, his address, etc... The cabbie said, ''If you don't have fifteen dollars, get the hell out of my cab!'' So the businessman was forced to hitchhike to the airport and was barely in time to catch his flight. One year later the businessman, having worked long and hard to regain his financial success, returned to Vegas and this time he won big. Feeling pretty good about himself, he went out to the front of the casino to get a cab ride back to the airport.

Well who should he see out there, at the end of a long line of cabs, but his old buddy who had refused to give him a ride when he was down on his luck. The businessman thought for a moment about how he could make the guy pay for his lack of charity, and he hit on a plan. The businessman got in the first cab in the line, ''How much for a ride to the airport,'' he asked? ''Fifteen bucks,'' came the reply. ''And how much for you to give me a blowjob on the way?'' ''What?! Get the hell out of my cab.''

The businessman got into the back of each cab in the long line and asked the same questions, with the same result. When he got to his old friend at the back of the line, he got in and asked, ''How much for a ride to the airport?'' The cabbie replied, ''Fifteen bucks.'' The businessman said, ''OK,'' and off they went. Then, as they drove slowly past the long line of cabs, the businessman gave a big smile and thumbs up sign to each of the other drivers.


Whose Fault is it?

Neil Diamond had a hit in 1980.  "America" had the line  :
We've been traveling far
Without a home
But not without a star
Only want to be free
We huddle close
Hang on to a dream
 On the boats and on the planes
They're coming to America
Never looking back again,
They're coming to America
Sorry about the ear worm, scratch it here.  In most of the live versions I heard when he gets to the part in the song when he sings "My Country Tis of Thee" the crowds start echoing back one word: TODAY!  Gotta get to America, TODAY!  Life is gonna get better, TODAY!

Coming to America, that's the dream.  It's better in America.  I can make a life in, America.  Life is good, in America.  Just gotta get to America!  It's America.  It's beyond urgent that we get there.

Watch the video I linked.  There are several old men in the audience.  Neil Diamond is a pop/rock singer and there are old guys there to listen to him.  At the end they are on their feet, TODAY!  Proud? Of What? America!
To a new and a shiny place
Make our bed and we'll say our grace
Freedom's light burning warm
Freedom's light burning warm

There is one old guy in the crowd.  He is setting next to a women and wearing a Yakama.  It makes me wonder, did he come after the war?  Was he in a camp?  Is that what the song means to him?  He's here now.  Good for him!  He made it to America!
This song sparks a certain patriotic pride.  Who wouldn't want to immigrate to America?  It's better in America.  Gotta get to America.  On a gut level we get it, people want a better life.  I was brought up to believe that life in the US is as good as it gets this side of heaven. Who wouldn't want that?
So we, a nation of immigrants, let them come.  If some poor family sneaks in without the proper paperwork, because they just want to work and feed their kids, we don't give them the boot, we give 'em a wink and a nod. 
I've met and like many immigrants.  My surname is a very old one here in the states, pre revolutionary war.  I don't hold it against anyone that they or their parents came after mine.  If I was them, I'd sneak in too. 
There is a problem.  The people coming today aren't coming to build a nation.  They aren't always even coming to stay.  They're coming to get what they can.  If things stay good they'll hang around, if not they're out of here.  Some of them don't even bother learning the language.  Billions of dollars earned here are sent home to other countries.  Mexico alone expects to see $26 billion in 2014.  That's $26 Billion dollars in private wealth that was earned here in the USA exiting our economy.
It's worse than that.  According to this, 57% of immigrant families (legal and illegal) are on some form of welfare.  This doesn't account for the unpaid medical bills or ER visits.  How about the fact that 33.6% of people sentenced in federal court in 2002 are non-citizens?
Neil ought to change his song to:
Want stuff for free
Give it, give it to me
I don't know all the answers to this problem but it starts with closing the border, now.  No amnesty for anyone in this country illegally and its time to kick people out.  What about the kids born here?  Kick them out too.  But they are citizens by birth.  Maybe, but as long as they have a right of return to their parents nation of citizenship, they are a dual citizen.  Let their parents take care of them at home.  IF they want to come back as a self supporting adult we can talk about it then.  No student loans to attend college, no welfare.
The next part of the equation is language.  English should be made the official language of the USA.  In France they speak French.  If you want to immigrate you have to speak the language.  No exceptions.  No multi-lingual government forms.  If you can't function in English, get out.
Then we need to change some laws.  If you are an immigrant, no welfare of any kind for 7 generations.  No government loans.  No critical worker programs.  You pay taxes and you don't get squat from the rest of us.  No more free ride.  Any state that wants to do it differently shouldn't get federal funding for any project.  Screw California.
Health insurance is the law.  The rest of us have to have it and pay dearly to comply with the law.  Immigrants should too.  Can't pay for that ER visit?  We've got one more freebie for you, we'll give you a free ride to the nearest boarder.  You're outa here.
As for criminals I propose a two strike death penalty.  Are you in this country illegally? Strike one.  Did you commit a felony?  Strike two.  We'll give your remains a free ride back to your country of origin.   Commit a misdemeanor? We tattoo your crime on your forehead and give you a swift kick in the seat of the pants as you go over the boarder.
I don't buy the argument that there are some jobs that American's won't do.  There are some jobs that American's won't do, at a given wage.  Maybe the employer could pay more.  We don't need illegals to keep America's economy going.  On the flip side of this argument is the point that minimum wage laws may be hurting every one.  Why not let a low skill citizen employee have a job at a lower rate?  We don't have to bring in a person to do that job illegally.  Maybe the costs of doing business in America are too high and that's why we like illegal labor.  Reduce the compliance cost and more people can afford to comply. 

If your religion requires people to convert or be killed, you don't get to come here at all, ever, not even for a visit. 
Immigration problems in the USA, whose fault is it?  Ours.  We know there are things we can do to fix it, but we don't want to.


Emotionally Inappropriate Relationship

There was a time when a man showing romantic interest in women was accepted because the assumed out come was marriage.  This seems totally acceptable to me.  Man sees girl, develops relationship, gets married.   As long as the mutually agreed purpose, and the expected out come of a relationship is marriage, most people are comfortable with the situation.

This is true even when large age differences exist between the man and women.  If there is a honorable reason for the relationship, morally the situation is acceptable.  At least that's my working theory.

In reality that's not how these things happen today. 
PERRY HALL, Md. - The father of a Perry Hall High School student struck a teacher with a baseball bat after police were made aware of a series of texts between the teacher, a 42-year-old man, and a 15-year-old student, Baltimore County police said.
Enter a family whose names are withheld by the press presumably because the daughter is 15.  Late one night mom and dad discover some "friendly" texts on the girl's phone.  That might not be so bad but the texts are part of a conversation with her 42 year old male teacher.  The context of the texts haven't been released but the cops are saying they weren't criminal in and of themselves.  Nothing was said that was too kinky or creepy, and the cops, despite being called at 3am aren't going to arrest the guy.

The girl's dad is a smart guy.  He knows that there are only a couple of reasons to develop a close emotional relationship with a female.  He isn't down with his teenager becoming "close" with her 42 year old school teacher, for any reason, ever.

So far dad seems like a good guy.  The daughter is a little loopy, but still might be totally innocent.  The teacher is suspect.  I'm assuming that between 3:00 am and 7:00 am someone, either the police or the daughter told the teacher what was going on because the teacher showed up at the girls house.  Dad told him to beat it.  The teacher refused to go.  Dad hit him with a baseball bat.  The police were called.

So far nobody wants to press charges against anybody else.  Which is probably how it should be.  The thing that makes me think the teacher might be a good guy that accidently got in over his head with this girl, is the fact he showed up right away to talk about the situation with her parents.  He really may be a "nice guy" who was being "friendly" to a student without an ulterior motive. We know he isn't very smart because he didn't leave when the angry man with the bat told him to.

Either way society is better off when dad's police their kids relationships.


Mc Dojo

Vox took a momentary break from whining about SF publishing and the Jaba like creatures in the industry that don't like him anymore.  When he posts about Sci-Fi it's hard not to picture Vox as Golem slinking behind a herd of Visigoths making their way from the Weight Watchers meeting across the parking lot to the All You Can Eat Old Country Buffet sniveling; "precious, precious, my preciououousssss, see how right I am?". 

I have no doubt that Vox is right.  None at all.  He is very smart and good at recognizing trends.  It starts to grate on the nerves after awhile.  Not his being right, the whining about it. Anyway Vox decided  to talk about something different, the Self Defense industry. 

There are a couple of ways you can learn how to fight.  The first way is to go out and start fights with people.  You hit them, they hit you.  Eventually you will learn how to hit them more and harder than they hit you.  This is a long hard and somewhat anti social way to learn self defense.  If you go this route long enough it does have the added benefit that eventually you will end up in jail.  There you will get the opportunity to fight a lot.

The second way is to get someone to teach you. 

There is a whole industry built up around teaching people "self defense".  I remember Bruce Lee movies and the TV show Kung Fu being popular.  I also remember all the hype about which style is "the best".

I have a couple of thoughts on what "THE BEST" self defense method is.  It's a lot like this question, "What's the best hand gun for self defense", or this one, "What's the best kind of insurance to have".  Here is the definitive answer to these questions.  The best type of insurance is one that pays the bill when you need it.  The best kind of gun for self defense is the one that is reliably going bang and putting bullets into the bad guy.  The best fighting style is the one you can use to hurt the other guy and keep him from hurting you.

I haven't spent half my life in a dojo grabbing other guys and tossing them on the floor.  I have no idea what which is better, ching chang fu of fu chang ching.  I doubt that most of the guys yacking about it do either.  The whole thing reminds me of the which gun is better debate.  The one I shoot your hostile butt dead with when I need to, is just fine.

There are a lot of guys out there promoting themselves as "defense experts".  I suspect that some of them are legit.  I suspect that some of them are posers who posture toughness as a way to make a buck.  I suspect that like most things the guys yacking about it haven't ever got popped in the mouth by bigger guy.  Posers telling other posers how tough they are won't keep you safe.  Common sense like staying away from bad places and bad people will go a long way.  Being aware of your surroundings and being on the look out for trouble so you can avoid it will be another help.

If you can't manage that, make friends with three big guys who spent time in the big house and pay them to hang out with you all the time.  The debate about the effectiveness of chung yu tu is meaningless. 


Invading France, One Last Time

At 19 Mr. Jordan made it to the beaches of Normandy as part of the invasion of France.  At 89 he did it again and left his care takers at the old folks home at a loss concerning his whereabouts.  This story warmed the cockles of my heart.
Bernard Jordan, 89, left The Pines, a nursing home in Hove, England, on Thursday morning and did not return that night. Dressed in a gray raincoat with a jacket underneath that had his medals pinned to it, Jordan took a bus to France to be there for the anniversary of the largest amphibious assault in history, according to a report by The Guardian. Meanwhile, the nursing home reported him missing to the Sussex Police at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, resulting in a search of the area and local hospitals. 
The story goes on to say how much the old folks home values Mr. Jordan's freedom and how it was always OK for him to take the trip.  Yada yada yada.  He told them he wanted to go and they couldn't get him in the group they wanted him to go with, so he got his own ticket and went anyway.

I love it!  Mr. Jordan good on you!  The only way this story could be better is if I was able to come to England and buy you a pint and hear you tell me about the trip in person.  The only thing that would top that is a second pint and the story of your first trip.



Today is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

I have had the honor of visiting the American Cemetery in Normandy.  I've been looking for my old photo albums to dig up a pic for you, but so far I haven't found them.  If I do I'll update with a photo.  If you saw the movie Saving Private Ryan, you saw the cemetery in the opening scene.  It is one of the few cemeteries that I have visited that I found to be some how majestic.  It's as if the graves themselves are a monument to the men in them.  If a graveyard can be a place that inspires pride in ones country, the one America dug for her soldiers overlooking the D-Day beaches does.

That statement will strike some as purely sentimental patriotic nonsense.  It has been a quarter of a century since I was in Normandy.  I still remember that feeling from my visit.  Perhaps its just a silly emotional reaction.  I don't know.  That is the way I remember feeling that day.

I saw this story about a man who was the first out of his landing craft on D-Day.  He carried no weapons.  He was there to fight a different battle.  He wasn't a medic.  He was a Chaplin.  He started the day by conducting services for the men aboard eleven of the ships waiting for the invasion.  Then he was the first off his LC when they hit the beach under fire.  He ran, dodging bullets to the sides of wounded men and prayed with them. 

No mega church pastor can say that.  George Barber knew what it was to be a minister.  Col Barber called his unseen fortitude under fire faith.  He also had a fair amount of guts.


Little Johnny

Little Johnny was in class and the teacher announced that they were going to try something different to help everyone get to know each other a little better, and to help with their spelling. She explained, "I want you to stand up and give us the occupation of your father, spell it, and say one thing he would give us all if he was here today."

The first student raised her hand to volunteer. "Marcy," the teacher said. "You may go first." Marcy replied, "My father is a banker. B-A-N-K-E-R and if he was here today, he would give us all a shiny new penny." The teacher said, "Very nice, Marcy, who wants to go next?"

Kevin stood up and announced, "My father is a baker. B-A-K-E-R and if he was here today, he would give us all a freshly-baked cookie." "Very good," the teacher told Kevin.

Jeff was next, and he said, "My father is an accountant. A-K, no wait, A-C-K, no..." Before he could attempt to spell it once more, the teacher cut him off and told him to sit back down and to think about it for a while. When he thought he knew how to spell it, he could stand back up and try again.

Little Johnny raised his hand in excitement hoping to be acknowledged by the teacher. The teacher called on little Johnny to go next. Johnny said, "My father is a bookie. B-O-O-K-I-E and if he was here today, he would give us all 20:1 odds Jeff will never be able to spell "accountant."

Little Johnny is always being teased by the other neighborhood boys for being stupid. Their favorite joke is to offer Johnny his choice between a nickel and a dime -- Little Johnny always takes the nickel. One day, after Johnny takes the nickel, a neighbor takes him aside and says, "Johnny, those boys are making fun of you. Don't you know that a dime is worth more than a nickel, even though the nickel's bigger?" Johnny grins and says, "Well, if I took the dime, they'd stop doing it, and so far I've made $20!"

A new teacher tries to make use of her psychology courses. The first day of class, she starts by saying, "Everyone who thinks they're stupid, stand up!" After a few seconds, Little Johnny stands up. The teacher asks, "Do you think you're stupid, Johnny?" "No, ma'am, but I hate to see you standing there all by yourself."