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!


Good Folks Friday

There are times when I don't post, not because I don't have thoughts on the events of the day, but because it seems like all the new news is bad news.  Here some good news created by good people doing good things.

'World's Poorest President' Stops His Car To Give Hitchhiker A Ride
A hitchhiker was caught off-guard when a world leader offered to give him a lift.
While Mujica's decision to pick up the hitchhiker was a kind one, the leader is widely known for his acts of compassion. During a television interview in Montevideo last November, Mujica paused to give money to a man in need.
The leader has even been nicknamed "the world's poorest president," thanks to his decision to donate 90 percent of his salary to charity. When speaking about the money he actually keeps, Mujica told El Mundo, according to Univision's translation, "I do fine with that amount; I have to do fine because there are many Uruguayans who live with much less."
Teen With Autism Who Has A Passion For Vacuums Gets Ultimate Birthday Surprise: A Kirby
“I am reaching out to you in hopes for an answer to an unusual request for my son who is autistic. He has always been obsessed with vacuum cleaners. His favorite is the Kirby. He spends hours every day watching videos on his tablet about different Kirby’s. When he isn’t watching videos about them, he is talking about them,” she wrote.
“I really would LOVE to get a demo done for him for his birthday. In fact, I am even getting him a cake made that looks like a Kirby vacuum. I am writing to you in hopes that you can get me in touch with a way to get him this demo. I want to be clear that I do not intend on purchasing a Kirby. I was hoping that I could pay a flat fee or thought that maybe if you have salesmen in training that needs to get in practice demos for training purposes. I do not want anything free, but as the mother of a special needs child, it is so hard to find things to make my son happy. I know that having this demo done would just be so awesome, and it would warm my heart to see him so excited to experience that.”
Kirby sent out a sales guy who did a bang up job with the demo.  Then they gave the kid a brand new vacuum cleaner.  In other news its the first time a teenager has ever volunteered to do house work.

If you walk into Rosa's Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia, you can't help but notice the walls are decorated with hundreds of Post-it notes and letters. The notes are from customers who donated $1 so homeless people in the community can come in and get a free slice.
 Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend.


Cry me a River

We're told its worse if you are black.  Maybe.  I don't know.  I don't think that's true.  Even if it is true, I didn't cause it.  That's not going to stop the Washington Post from promoting the idea of institutional racism.
African Americans for decades flocked to Prince George’s County to be part of a phenomenon that has been rare in American history: a community that grew more upscale as it became more black.
The county became a national symbol of the American Dream with a black twist. Families moved into expansive new homes, with rolling lawns, nearby golf courses and, most of all, neighbors who looked like them. In the early 2000s, home prices soared — some well beyond $1 million — allowing many African Americans to build the kind of wealth their elders could only imagine.
Sounds bad doesn't it?  Poor mistreated blacks living in houses some of which cost more than a million dollars.  The article goes on to bemoan the plight of "middle class" blacks because the housing market has gone against them.  Go ahead and read the whole article but while you do I have a couple of points to keep in mind.
  • Houses that cost over $250,000 are beyond the means of most white "middle class" wage earners.
  • The poverty level for the lower 48 and DC for a family of four FY 2014 is $23,850.
  • The lower level to enter the middle class is apx $65,000 per year.
  • The housing case study in the article involves a house with a mortgage of $560,000.
    • We are not told the income of the homeowners
    • We are told they had mortgage that had some sort of ARM or initial low payment feature that increased over time
  • Assuming traditional mortgage underwriting criteria (what most white people have to do) 80/20 LTV, 360 pmts, normal DTI ratio etc purchase should have looked like this:
    • Purchase price $700,000
    • Interest rate 6%
    • Payment based on a 30 year loan = $3,357 not including taxes and insurance
  • I'm guessing the monthly taxes and insurance are about $800 making the monthly housing "nut" $4,157, give or take.
  • The rules for white people are:
    • 28% DTI housing ratio, meaning no more than 28% of the families income should be tied up in housing.
    • 35% Total DTI ratio, meaning no more than 35% of a families income should be used to service all debts including the house.
    • This means the family should have had a monthly income of not less than $14,846 with no more than $5196 in total debt pmts including the house, if they were white.
  • Another typical rule is to not pay more than 2.5 times for your house what you make in a year, assuming they were held to that rule they should have had an income of not less than $280,000 per year.
We know from reading the article that none of the minimum standards that white people would have had to met were required of the black couple.  We know that because when the mortgage payment shot up to $3,900 they couldn't handle it.  Had they been held to whitys standard they would have been paying more from the start.  If you are making $178,000 a year (minimum amount required to have the payment) or $280,000 a year based on the 2.5 rule, why would a $3,900 payment even phase them?

Of course none of what is considered "normal" applies in this case study, because what really happened is they bought the house on a high LTV loan paying only $20,000 down and then as the value of the house increased they used the property like an ATM machine until it came time to start paying the mortgage down which they didn't want to do because it was hampering their spending.  So due to irresponsible behavior on their part the lender moved to fully amortize the loan.  Too bad, so sad, and not a racial thing its an irresponsible thing.

One housing related point, this is an all black community for rich DC area blacks.  Blacks are only 13% of the population and they live all over the US.  That means there aren't that many rich blacks to bid up the price of the houses in the community.  Besides not all blacks who make good money are dumb enough to spend more than they can afford, or buy expensive houses to show off.

According to the article Mrs. Bryant is employed as a supervisor in the federal workforce.  Which explains some other things.

Brotherly Advice

Charlie was playing with his little brother Mickey when the little boy asked whether he could fly like Superman.

"Sure you can, Mickey," Charlie said. "Just flap your arms really hard."

So Mickey climbed up on the windowsill, started flapping like mad, jumped, then smashed into the ground just a few inches below.

Horrified, their mother came screaming into the room and said, "What happened?"
Charlie said, "I was just teaching Mickey not to believe everything he's told."


Bound to Happen

If the truth comes out of the mouth of a lawyer, or a politician its generally an accident.  I guess it was bound to happen one day, Obama spoke the truth.  In Obama's Glozell interview he said:
I think people know that treating folks unfairly – even if you disagree with their lifestyle choice, the fact of the matter is they’re not bothering you.
Well he said something that was true.  The first third of the sentence is a personal opinion, which he is entitled to.  The middle part is the truly shocking portion because it's true.  Obama said that homosexuals make a lifestyle, key word here, "choice".  The last part depends on some subjective evaluation so it may or may not be true depending on the POV.

The shocking aspect of this statement is that the official homosexual activist position on same sex attraction is that it is not a choice.  The official story is that homosexual attraction is a preexisting condition that is unavoidable.  The intelligent POV on the topic is that human beings do in fact have the ability to direct their own passion and sexual expression.

What someone does with their genitals is in fact, a choice.  While I'm sure saying so was a huge mistake on Obama's part, he managed to tell the truth.

The last part of his statement is troubling, because while it may have some truth in it, it is the foundation of a lie.  The idea that what two consenting adults do in privacy should not be the governments business sounds a cord in most Americans.  The idea that government has no business in our personal affairs is a American core value.  There is a difference between keeping the government out of peoples business and the idea that homosexuals are not "bothering you". 

In American politics the entire concept behind political organizations, activists, or an "agenda" is to get one groups desires promoted over the desires of another group.  LBGT activists or marriage equality organizations are by virtue of their existence designed to agitate the populace in order to promote an agenda.

If agents of the government aren't kicking in your door and throwing you into prison for homosexual acts, you have achieved equality under the law.  You do not have the right to make other people praise your lifestyle, grant you access to their place of worship, bake you cakes, deliver flowers or avoid expressing opinions that make you feel bad.  Using the government to enforce your world view on your neighbors isn't equality.  It is tyranny. 

Tyranny brought on by legislature, activist judges, or executive order bothers me.


Because Is A Reason

Vox wrote this:
They genuinely can't understand the concept of standing up for someone because that someone stood up for you, even if you don't like him, respect him, or want anything to do with him.
Vox's post reminded me of a story from when Mrs. Ipsa and I were first married.

I had a good friend that I used to hang out with.  Mrs. Ipsa did not then, does not now and probably never will approve of this person.  One day when she was frustrated with not understanding or liking my spending time with him she asked me why he was my friend.

Now here is the thing, every character flaw, bad behavior, etc she objected to was real.  He really was all those negative things.  I don't have an excuse for that.  My answer was, "he is my friend because he is my friend".

That's it, that's the whole reason he is my friend is because he was my friend.  I wasn't disowning him just because I got married.


Lot Lizards @ Lunch

I've worked lots of jobs.  One of the ways to be always employable as a young person is to be willing to take a job in the service industry.  The pay isn't that great, the hours can be less than desirable. If you are going to school or pursuing a different career and need extra money to make ends meet "burger flipper" jobs can be a great way to get to your goal.  I don't know if that is why Jarred is delivering pizza.

What if times are tough and delivering pizza is the best job you can get?

Does that make you less of a man?

Apparently it does in some peoples eyes.
The situation began Saturday, when Palace Pizza delivery guy Jarrid Tansey delivered $42 worth of pizzas and drinks to the dealership. He was paid $50 in two $20s and two $5s, said Palace Pizza manager Adam Willoughby.
When he returned from the delivery, someone from the car dealership called Willoughby, asking for the driver to return with change -- roughly $7 and some coins.
Having worked for tips, I can tell you if someone pays a $42 bill the way they did, I would assume it was a tip too.  $45 for the bill and $5 plus the change for a tip.  That's about what I'd expect most folks to tip on that amount.  $2 and change would be too small of a tip, adding an extra $5 would make it about right.

Even if I messed up and gave the guy too much, I wouldn't call his boss to complain.  I wouldn't blame the delivery guy for pocketing a tip.  That's how they make their living.  One other thing I wouldn't do is make him come back out to bring me my change.  IF and I mean by some unlikely course of events IF he had to bring my change back, I wouldn't belittle him for an honest mistake, that happened because I over paid him.

One other thing I wouldn't do: I wouldn't take the footage from the security camera of my coworkers mocking him and post it on the internet.  I wouldn't do any of those things.

Which is why I shouted YES at my computer screen when I read this story and saw the video. 

Pizza delivery guy gets insulted, Internet gets revenge

Amanda Rogers, a former waitress, was so moved after seeing Tansey's video on LiveLeak, she called the pizza shop to find out the driver's name so she could send him a check.
"For them to call him back over money he should've received anyway," Rogers said, "I decided to take it one step further."
"Why not get the kid more than he deserves?" she said.
Rogers set up the fundraising page for Tansey. It's entitled "Get Jarrid his tip money!"
Many are leaving donations in $7 increments, the amount Tansey drove back to return to the dealership. One commenter wrote, "You are a good example of someone treating people the way you want to be treated."
Rogers, who was a stranger to Tansey and his wife before this all started, said she hopes the response would prove that, "people are actually nice out there."
Good on Amanda Rogers.  Good on everyone who sent Jared a couple of extra bucks to make up for the lot lizards of the world. 


All Time Winner

Women like to recount and retell birthing stories.  Some women take pride in chickening out and getting the epidural.  Some seem to enjoy, or at least enjoy retelling the story of the 40 hour hard labor.  Some of you judge the rest of women kind as less motherly because you didn't labor at home in the bathtub with a duma.  It's all a big estrogen fueled drama contest. 

Whatever your story of emotionally gripping childbirth, its time to shut up now.  You have been beaten.  I declare the all time winner of women's child labor and delivery stories, Gerri Wolfe.  At age 41 she has topped all of you put together, forever.  It's over you've lost.

'It's my body, it's my birth, it's my baby': Extraordinary moment Australian woman pulled her own twins from her tummy during caesarean delivery - and they're her tenth and eleventh babies.

*Guys, DO NOT follow the link, they have pictures. 


As a high functioning dyslexic, computers with word processing and spell checker have been a messing.

Auto correct however has become my own worst enema.


Good Dad, Bad Policy

I know that most of my male readers are dads.  Before I link to the news story I've got a couple of questions.

1. God forbid, if your child had cancer what would you be willing to do/try for them?
2. Should society allow you to do it?

Here's the story: Adam Koessler: facing jail for giving dying daughter cannabis oil.

Here's the facts:
  • 2 year old daughter has stage 4 cancer
  • Adam gave his daughter a regiment of cannabis oil
  • Adam says he daughter enjoyed a improvement of symptoms and a reduction of pain
  • Adam has been arrested and can no longer see his daughter as a condition of release from jail
I don't like pot.  I don't think smoking it is a good idea.  This isn't about pot.  This isn't about getting high or recreational drugs.  This is about a dad facing one of the most painful situations life could possibly throw at him.  Adam was desperate, any dad would be.  So he did what anyone else would do when faced with cancer, he started educating himself on every possible way to beat it.  He was listening to the doctors, he was doing traditional medicine.  It wasn't beating the cancer.

As things got worse he got more desperate.  Someplace he learned about the medicinal use of cannabis oil and success that some patients were having with it.  When a man is in a fight for his kids life and losing he don't accept the inevitable.  He fights harder.  He try's every trick in the book.  If those don't work you get anther book.  You keep fighting.

"Try a spoonful of this sweetheart" he said.  "I don't want any more medicine daddy" she pleads, "It tastes bad".  "I know honey, maybe this one will be different", he says in the quiet voice men hope reassures their children.  She takes her spoonful.  She seems to get a little better and according to the story she tells her dad that her tummy doesn't hurt.

IF and I mean IF making her tummy seem to hurt a little less is all the damn good that oil did, then let her dad give it to her.  What the hell are they thinking in Australia?  Are they really afraid that a two-year old who has a 50% chance of seeing three is going to get hooked on pot?  Do they think the kid's dad is trying to get her addicted to drugs?  She already is taking some of the most power and dangerous drugs we have because of the cancer.  Their worried about cannabis oil. 

What's the worst that could happen? She is already dying.  I don't know if a regiment of cannabis does any good or not.  I really don't know, I wish I did.  I'm not a doctor.  I'm not a cannabis activist either.  What I am is man who loves his children.  Let Adam give his daughter the oil.  At this point what is it hurting?  For crying out loud if she can't have the oil, what do you hope to gain by not letting her have her daddy as she lies dying?

Daddy has to be kept away because he believes the oil was working.  Maybe it was.  Probably he did see some improvement in her condition.  Adam is in a fight for his daughters life and he isn't going to stop trying.  He goes to court again next Tuesday.


All Religions Are The Same

England was, a long time ago, a place of great ideas and great learning.  I suspect that C.S. Lewis's failure to reproduce himself ended the last line of Englishmen capable of truly intelligent and civilized thought.  I may be wrong.  I welcome examples in way of rebuttal. No Lord Mockton doesn't count.  He is a liberal who has learned that he can pander to the American right and have them pay attention because he sounds British and has "Lord" in his moniker.

I offer you this story from the Daily Mail, Christian nurse, 37, says she was sacked for 'harassment and bullying' after PRAYING for a Muslim colleague.

Some facts:
  • Two women who work together talk one of them Christian, one Muslim.  Both women share some basic things about their religion to the other person. I'm sure they talked about any number of other things as well.
  • The Christian women asks her friend to come to church with her and prayed for her when she was sick.  There is no information in the story about if the friend accepted her invitation or not, or if she asked her to not pray for her.
  • The Christian women gave her friend a book about someone who left Islam.
 Some thoughts:
  • Women jabbering about something never surprises me because that's what women do. I'm not sure how to stop this from happening in an emancipated society.  Perhaps passing a law that forbids women from working outside the home would have prevented this situation from ever occurring.
  • People invite their co-workers to any number of non work related events outside of work hours.  Would she be in as much trouble for inviting her friend to a Manchester United match if she knew her friend to be a Liverpool fan?  Most Englishmen take football more seriously than religion.  What if the Christian wanted to go a pub for lunch and invited a Muslim friend?
  • If, as we are told by the MSM, Islam has the same God as Christians and Jews, why would it matter if a Christian prayed for a Muslim to get healed of a sickness?
  • Giving her friend a book about someone who left Islam was clearly a move meant to foster the idea of conversion.  So what?  The Muslim could do what everyone else does when they get a book forced on them: say thank you, then return it after 6 months of collecting dust on the back of the toilet.
  • How insecure of ones religious beliefs do you have to be to have someone fired from their job because they invite you to go to their place of worship, or pray for you to get well, or give you a book?  Is Islam so fundamentally unsound as a religious system that its participants can't withstand the mere mention of some other religion? 
  • As an employer in what is optimistically called a "Christian Nation" how can you justify firing someone for being a Christian and being concerned about the health of a co-worker?  In a civilized society how do you punish someone for an invite to a non-work related event?  Are the English going to start burning books that the Muslims don't like? 
Don't be too quick to mock the English.  The United States is so close behind England in the decline of our culture that saying it will be years before this happens here is ridiculously naïve.  Throw the Muslims out, they aren't here to join our civilization they are here to destroy it.



Rabbi B has been helping guide my interest in learning more about Judaism.   One of the challenges that I have is figuring out the nomenclature.  The difficulty I have is that even when the documents are translated into English, they often contain Hebrew terms that are Anglicized into phonetic English.

That wouldn't be a problem if there were only a handful of specific terms with specialized meanings.  I could make a list and memorize them.  That wouldn't be any different than studying any other subject. 

In Judaism there are hundreds of specific religious and cultural words that I don't have the slightest clue what they mean. Figuring them out isn't always a quick and easy task.  I've bought a Hebrew dictionary.  I'm considering another one to go with it.  Frequently I go to the Net and Google things I don't understand.

of study leads me down numerous rabbit trials.  Recently I came across the word "Ketuba".  I had plenty of opportunity to chase rabbits with "Ketuba".  As I was chasing those rabbits I came across something interesting.

In case you didn't follow the link, a Ketuba is the formal solmization of Jewish wedding vows.  While marriage can properly be described as an "action" the Ketuba is akin to the contract.  My explanation doesn't do justice to the nuances that you would discover if you studied the term fully, but I think you get the general idea.  "Ketuba" equals the formal or legitimate basis for marriage.

Here is where the rabbit trail gets interesting.  According to Talmud Chullin 92a&b (for those of you wanting to look it up) One of the reasons that God destroyed the world in the Flood of Noah was that men were writing Ketuba for men.

That's right, according to rabbinic tradition, gay marriage was one of the reasons for the destruction of the world.

The Babylonian Talmud was compiled from the oral law (as well as private written notes) sometime between 200 and 500 AD.  Parts of the Jerusalem Talmud are known to have been written earlier and incorporated.  In any event, that's when they wrote it down in the form we have today.  The teaching behind it had been passed on for centuries before that.  All of which proves that it's a lot older than the current gay marriage debate going on in the United States.


Of Whiskey

This post is a continuation of a thread over at Nate's.

I asked our Scotch expert Waterboy what his five favorite scotches are and he suggested that the topic deserved a thread of its own.  I'm putting this up as a starter.  If he is willing Waterboy can have his own post(s) devoted to the subject.

For the record I'm not much of a drinker.  I'm more of a sipper these days and even then I don't imbibe very often.  When I do have a glass I want to enjoy the culinary experience.

I like whiskey.  Generally I like it on the rocks.  I enjoy the changing characteristics of a beverage that starts out strong and cold and progresses through a evolution of flavor as the beverage dilutes and warms.  I've found that most all quality whiskies can be enjoyed this way and when I have a sip this is how I prefer to go.  I generally don't mix whiskey with anything other than ice or maybe a splash of water.

Content of the mash, distillation, grain content, ageing, processes etc all effect the flavor.  Distillation is probably the most noticeable quality to a novice drinker.  Whiskey is normally distillated between 1 to 3 times prior to ageing.  An example of single distilled whiskey would be most Canadian made whiskeys.  American whiskey, and Highland Scotch are normally distilled twice.  Lowland Scotch and Irish Whiskeys are normally distilled three times before aging.

Whiskey is known for having a "bite" when you taste it.  The distillation process effects the perception of how "smooth" the beverage is.  If you like the effect of a strong "bite" when you start drinking then the single distillation whiskies are probably going to be more to your liking.  If you enjoy a "smooth" experience that allows more potential to explore the subtle flavors then the double or triple distilled products should get your attention.

So far you'll notice I haven't said a word about what is better, American, Canadian, Irish, Scotch.  That's because with the exception of Canadian whiskey, I like examples of them all.  Canadian whiskey is an abomination.  That said there is one Canadian whiskey I would like to try.  The only reason for trying it was that my great grandfather bootlegged it during prohibition.   

Waterboy, I leave the rest of this post in your capable hands and knowledgeable palate.

Girls with Guns

I have a problem with telling someone they can't or shouldn't have a certain job.  I realize that my reaction is purely irrational.  Of course some people shouldn't have some jobs.  It's a bad idea to do some things if you want to enjoy a specific outcome.  That said, it's a shame that our society has come to the place where my first reaction to this story was, "good glad she had a gun", and my second reaction was, "why is a girl delivering pizza's in Atlanta, is she crazy?".

Papa John’s delivery driver shoots robbery suspect
"She arrived at the location and a male began approaching the vehicle she thought was there to pick up the pizza," Capt. Stephen Fore with the DeKalb County Police Department said. "When he got to her he produced a handgun and forced her out of the vehicle and on to the ground."
Fore said she had her own handgun in her pocket and was able to reach for it and shoot the suspect.
For the record, this is the best possible outcome for this situation.  Bad guy down.  Good girl still alive and in one piece.  Unfortunately the story won't end here with a much deserved "happily ever after".   There are going to be consequences, the police are going to "investigate".  There might be civil or criminal proceedings against her.  Then there is this:
Young talked to the delivery driver’s mother by phone.
She said that her daughter is still in shock, shaken and scared about the encounter. Her daughter is now hoping she can keep her job.
Her family is scared she may lose her job because she was carrying a gun at work, even though the gun may have saved her life. 
It's apparently against the rules to carry a gun at work.  I understand why an employer would have such a rule, liability.  I also understand why a employer would chose to ignore enforcing such a rule in this instance.  Actually there are two reasons, good and common sense. 


A Midget from Texas ...

A midget from Texas was experiencing constant pain in his crotch area, so he went to the doctor and told him about his problem The doctor told him to drop his pants and he would have a look. The midget dropped his pants.

The doctor stood him up onto the examining table, and started to examine him. The doctor put one finger under his left testicle and told the midget to turn his head and cough, the usual method to check for a hernia. "Hmm..." mumbled the doctor, and as he put his finger under the right testicle, he asked the midget to cough again.
 "Aha!" said the doctor, and reached for his surgical scissors.
Snip-snip-snip-snip on the right side... then snip-snip-snip-snip on
the left side.

The midget was so scared he was afraid to look, but noted with amazement that the snipping did not hurt.

The doctor then told the midget to walk around the examining room to see if his testicles still hurt.

The midget was absolutely delighted as he walked around and discovered his testicles were no longer aching. The doctor said, "How does that feel now?" The midget replied, "Perfect Doc, and I didn't even feel it.

"What did you do?"

The doctor replied "I cut two inches off the top of your cowboy boots".



I have no idea why this popped into my head today.

Xerxes I otherwise know as Xerxes the Great is remembered by history for some great accomplishments, mostly because of various building projects.  Xerxes inherited the Persian Empire built by his father Darius.  Darius had conquered large tracts of land and most of the eastern Mediterranean world was under his influence if not his direct control.  He completed his fathers building projects, maintained an impressive road system and was known for his grandeur.

Xerxes ruled over large tracts of land.  He had many impressive construction projects.  He was famous for crushing revolts in Egypt and Babylon.  Xerxes was an able executive, builder, and warrior.  He was far more successful as a king than any number of men who have held that honor.  Depending on how you rank such men, he is definitely in the top 20 of such rulers in oriental history.

However 2,500 years after Xerxes lived, reigned and died, the world remembers and honors one of his enemies the son of Anaxandridas.  This other man was a king too.  He ruled a small city state that was unnoticeable in terms of land mass and population, compared to Xerxes.

The son of Anaxandridas had no major accomplishments as a builder, administrator or conquer.  This king wasn't even his father's or his countrymen's first choice as king.  As a boy he was sent off to public school just like the other boys in his town.  He wasn't groomed to be a ruler or regent.  He is best known and probably only remembered because he defied and was defeated by Xerxes.  Two words that he uttered are remembered by mortals, "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ".

Leonidas was the looser and Xerxes the winner.  Despite what you may have heard it wasn't just 300 Spartans at Thermopylae.  Originally there were between 7,000 to 9,000 in the combined Greek army.  Leonidas and the Greeks stood off the Persians for week. Probably because Leonidas knew the defense of Thermopylae was hopeless, and wanting to preserve the bulk of the men, and maybe he believed the rest of the army was coming behind him, he ordered a retreat.  Being a man of honor he commanded the rear guard.  Also not generally known is the fact that two other groups were present for the last stand.  There were about 900 helots (a group of people enslaved by the Spartans) and about 700 Thebans.

The Thebans surrendered at the start of the battle.  Nothing is known of how the slaves conducted themselves.  They are assumed to have been killed early on.  The battle accomplished nothing for Greece militarily.  Yet Leonidas and his little band of 300 are held in honor.


Of Church Trends

Why do Americans pick the church they belong to?  Good programs for the kids?  The pastor has good sermons? Grandma went to this denomination, so I will too.  We like the kind of music/entertainment, etc.  For most American church goers, most of the time, those are the kinds of criteria  they use in "picking" a church.

Pastors know this.  They even have classes on it.  "How to be a seeker friendly church", is a topic actively taught on across denominational lines.  Pastors, like any other marketing professional, learn how to "read" a customer. 

If that last line rubs you the wrong way, good.  There may be hope for you.

American's church goers (I didn't say Christians) have become "customers" and the pastors are "salesmen" delivering a product.  Who gives the pastor the most feedback?  Who gets involved?  Who has meetings? Who organizes service projects?  Who does VBS?  Who shows up to do youth activates? Who goes to talk to the pastor?  Who does the pastor have to make happy to keep his job?

The women.

Women as a group are generally more involved in church stuff than the men.  For years churches have had a high degree of female involvement.  Combine that with the American feminist movement  in the culture and we have a trend of decreased respect for men. 

The average pastor has between 1 and 4 speaking/teaching presentations a week for his congregation.  The majority of his performance feedback comes from females.  Even if he is not specifically aware of what is happening, he will receive positive feedback for the presentations that he makes that are more appealing to the female mindset.  Since most people like positive feedback, how do you think he will craft his next presentation?

What happens is after a period of time the pastor develops a style that defaults to a presentation designed to accommodate the female mindset.  This has been going on so long that it's no longer an individual trend.  I'm convinced that after better than 40 years, we are turning out new pastors that come preprogramed to accept this pulpit pandering not only as "normal" but as "proper".

The guys typically won't say much one way or the other, because we're guys.  If we are being men and treating the pastor the same way we would another guy whose job we are evaluating we would say things like: "That didn't suck as bad as last week, Bob", or "Jeez Bill, did you even read your bible before class this week?".

In man speak the first comment was a backhanded compliment and the second was a mild rebuke.  In church-speak, well in church speak you can't say either one of those things.  "Fine sermon, pastor" is acceptable, even when it is a lie.  So the pastor panders to the women and the church lies to the pastor.  Everything is "fine".  Keep the music "upbeat".  Keep the kids "engaged".  Keep it all "seeker friendly". 

One day there is a game on TV.  The man knows that nothing of value will be said by his pastor, because the pastor hasn't said anything that wasn't milquetoast for 12 years.  So the man stays home and watches football.  That man gets the exact same amount of spiritual enlightenment as he would have if he spent 2 hours at the candle light service, standing around in the dark singing love songs to another man.  Next week he stays home again. 

Why did he stay home?  Because men don't need potpourri pastors.  Men need, and respond to manliness.  When you present holiness and obedience to scripture in a way men understand, they stick around for more, because men love Jesus too.  But we don't make Him valentine day cards with little pink flowers on them.

Recently heard in church, "God can't use you till you're broken".  Wrong!
  • Noah built an ark, it took him 100 years, there is no record of him picking out floral patterned borders for it, or pastel colored deck chairs, or asking his wife's permission
  • Abraham defeated 5 kings in open warfare, after moving his wife across half of the middle east
  • Moses brought Israel out of Egypt, without stopping at a gas station for directions
  • Joshua lead Israel in war, no focus group, committee meetings or consensus building 
  • Teenaged, king to be, David picked up 5 stones and charged a giant after refusing the King's armor
  • Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, defied the greatest king on earth choosing apparent death rather than sin against their God
These are not "broken" men.  They are real men, with real faith in God.  Like real men, they go out and do stuff.  It's manly stuff, done in a manly manner.  God has established a chain of command for the human race.  It is, God, man, women, children.  There is no other hierarchy established in heaven for earth.

Remember the story of Deborah?  Do you know why we call it the story of Deborah?  It's not supposed to be about her at all.  It's supposed to be the story of a man named Barak.  Do you know why we don't know it as the story of Barak?  Because Barak pussed out and refused to go into battle without Deborah, so God stripped him of the glory for the victory.

Is God stripping Christian men in America of the glory from their victory?  I don't know if you can call it that.  It looks more like Christian men in America are surrendering.  


How Long?

After the pastor finished his sermon, he stayed at the doors and shook the people's hands as they went by, making sure to give a smile and a kind word to each one.

By the time he finished, most of the people milling around in the church lobby had left except for a few. The pastor noticed in particular one elderly woman who was sitting on one of the hallway plush benches, nearly in tears, rocking back and forth. Concerned, the pastor walked over to her and heard her emit the words, "How long, Lord? How long?"

Touched, he laid a hand on the white head. "Ma'am, God has heard you. I am sure that he will come through for you," he said soothingly. She looked up at him with a small smile and thanked him.

Feeling that he had done a very good deed, he turned and was about to walk out the doors when one of the bathroom doors opened and someone came out.

The pastor definitely had a feeling of chagrin when the old woman yelled, "Praise the Lord!" and ran inside.


Getting my Goat

Last night I was winding down when I got home from work and discovered what was intended to replicate a TV talk show by Sid Roth.  (It really was a 28 min infomercial) From reading the website I gather the show is broadcast on cable as well as the internet.  I saw it on the net.

Because the link to the show was on what I sometimes regard as a respectable news source, I decided to give it a shot.  The BS detector went off almost immediately.  This happens when people start calming that "God gave them a message". 

The Bible is something I take very seriously.  I happen to believe that God can give people messages.  I mean that last sentence exactly like I wrote it.  I believe that God can give people a special message or revelation.  If He is, is another matter.

Fortunately we have a two prong test that allows us to test these claims.
  • Does the prophetic claim contradict anything in written scripture?
  • Does the "sign" or "result" come to pass?
Both Sid Roth and his featured guest Jordan Rubin claim to be Messianic Jews.  That is they say they are religiously both Hebrew and Christian.  I'm OK with that claim and I see no inherent contradiction in it.  Mr. Jordan Rubin claims to be an evangelist/pastor of a Christian church who has, as he claims, been given a special message from God, that is guaranteed to make those who respond "10 times Wiser, 10 times Healthier, 10 times Closer to God".  According to Mr. Rubin and Mr. Roth this can be accomplished in just 10 days after purchasing a "kit" for $69.99.

If the TV show is to be believed, the majority of the material behind the system that God told Mr. Rubin about when he was in India is found in the book of Daniel.  Apparently the special message centers around eating only kosher vegetables and water for 10 days, as well as keeping kosher, intermittent fasting and some other conditions found in the kit that you get for a low, low  price of $69.99, shipping included.

According to Mr. Rubin God hasn't changed his mind about anything and all of the Old Testament requirements are still in effect.  My memory may be a little rusty, but I don't remember anyone paying  to get a special message from God in the OT.  Maybe I just need to be 10 times wiser than I am now.

In fact I know I need to be wiser than I am now.  I propose a test.  I am willing to eat only water and vegetables like Daniel did.  Mr. Roth can pick how much and how often according to the message he says God told him.  I will continue my normal exercise routine, basically a three day a week version of strong lifts 5X5 with some cardio. 
  • I am willing to be tested in any independent standardized IQ test before and after the 10 days to see if I am "wiser". 
  • We can track my vital health statistics with BMI, blood work, and whatever other scientific methods (echo cardio gram etc) that Mr. Rubin and Mr. Jordan propose.
  • The next part about being 10 Times closer to God is more tricky.  I freely admit that I'm not a very good Christian.  Any improvement in this department would by its very nature be a highly subjective.  The proof of improvement therefor needs to be something that is undeniable.  I think a visible miracle preformed at my discretion would suffice.  Mr. Roth and Jordan can name the miracle, walking on water, miraculous healings, lame to walk (I pick the cripple), water into wine etc. 
If they are correct and these things come to pass, I am willing to pay 10 times the cost of the kit, $699.99.  I'm willing to lower my expectation to an improvement in these areas to 5 times where I am now.

However, if they are wrong, I propose we follow the Old Testament to the letter.  Mr. Jordan has already made the claim that this is the correct way to view scripture so I think we should take him at his word.
Deut 18:20-22
But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.' 
And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?' —  when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously ; you shall not be afraid of him.
It's one thing to be a snake oil salesman.  It's another dimension of sleaze when you pretend God told you to do it.  IF God really told you what you claim, He will back you up.  Here is your chance.


Perspective, Assumption, Conclsuion

When I was 11 or 12, there was a big brouhaha about the advertising of what was euphemistically called feminine hygiene products on TV.  At least it was a brouhaha among the "respectable" women in my mothers social circle and at our church.

At that age I didn't have the slightest clue what a "feminine hygiene product" was or what it was used for.  I was however into current events.  I read the paper, especially the commentary and editorial section.  I liked being "up" on the events of the day.  I liked being included in "adult" conversations. 

Then one day at a social event I bit off more than I could chew.  There was a man at our church who was well regarded.  He was what they used to call an industrialist.  This was back when being an industrialist was a good thing.  He was smart, had money and was a member of the country club where I worked as a caddy. 

This was my chance to make points with the upper crust.  The only business related topic I was up on was the "feminine products" advertising scandal.  I had a go with that topic as a conversation starter.

I'm not sure now what I said, but it was in the line of a generally disapproving view on the subject.  I guess I thought that I was defining if not defending the moral high ground.  "Why shouldn't they be allowed to advertise on TV?", he asked me.  "It's a legitimate product isn't it?". 

I had no idea what the product was or what it was used for.  Only recently I had the experience of standing in my friend's back yard and seeing his back door neighbor take her bra off in her bedroom.  I'm not sure how much I saw.  The bra came off.  The clouds opened and a light shown down.  I think angels were singing in the background.  Beyond that I didn't have much experience in the "female" department.

"Well?" he inquired.  "I guess I don't know", I admitted.  I think he knew I didn't have the foggiest idea what I was talking about, but he mercifully let that part go.  "If the product is, legal, has a market that wants it, and is legitimate why shouldn't they be able to advertise the features that they think the customer wants?" he wanted to know.

I didn't have an answer, because there wasn't a logical reason they shouldn't be allowed to do what they were doing.  I had been operating on a faulty assumption and a false perspective.  My conclusion sounded good and noble but was wrong.

Americans display the same faulty thinking that I had on maxi-pad advertisement.  Someone whom they regard as respectable makes a comment about something.  The person making the comment doesn't explain why they think what they do.  They just assume that the reason is obvious and that there can be no other explanation than the one they are implying.  The next person that comes along just makes the assumption that the opinion they have heard is the right one and they go with it, as if it was an undisputed fact.

This process is how our society transfers "gossip" into "consensus" and then into "policy".  Finally that policy becomes law.  There is a reason that America is governed with the mental acuity of a 12 year old boy discussing the advertising strategies of menstrual rag manufactures.  The reason is, we think like hysterical pontificating women and we let those influenced by them run things.