Sunday, November 30, 2008

Messiah @ High School Musical

Last year I went to this high school Christmas musical. I remember the one thing I noted was that, for a public school, they were pushing Jesus pretty hard. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

What I didn't tell you about was the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. It wasn't sung by the youngsters but by parents and staff - grownups! Last year I almost went up there on a lark to blend in with the tenors.

This year I am officially in it! I have my sheet music and my CD with the tenor part. (Sheet music doesn't do me a lot of good. One day I may get around to learning how to read music.) Rangewise the tenor part is right in my wheelhouse.

The first time I heard Handel's Messiah was live at the Rhein Main Air Base Chapel performed by the American members of the Mainz Symphony Orchestra. I was hooked before the overture was finish. I never heard anything like that before in my life.

I always see Messiah live here in Tampa every year. But this is the first time I will be a playa, even if it is just a small portion. I am stoked!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

When I said I was a Bible thumper...

....that was a figure of speech.

CLEARWATER - A man arrested for disorderly conduct on Thanksgiving almost hit several Turkey Trot 10K runners with a Bible during a street sermon, police say.

Mark Alan Sutto, 48, was delivering a street sermon at South Lake Avenue and Nursery Road when he interfered with the event by shouting at runners, getting in their way and waving a large Bible in their path, police said.

Sutto, who is no stranger to the Pinellas County Jail, refused to stop disturbing the run even after several warnings, according to an arrest affidavit.

Here's what the police officer wrote in the complaint: The (defendant) also waved a large bible at head level with his arm extended into the roadway, nearly striking several race participants."
Earlier I've had my fun with Obama's pal Father Pflegler. This is just an example that kookery can be ecumenical.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Seven wierd reading facts

Thank goodness for memes when blogging is tough! Basically, just seven oddities about one's reading habits. Since reading is quite personal, I expect that these will give some people quite the turn; some will possibly prompt "Yeah, me too! I thought I was the only goofball who did stuff like that!"; some will perhaps make you shudder in horror.

1. I used to be a mortal terror to books. At first it was just because I was an idiot and didn't know how to take care of stuff properly. Later it was because I had gotten into bad habits. Now I'm quite twitchy about keeping them in good shape.

2. Because of point one, I became adept at quick repair jobs to books with an exacto knife and clear packing tape. My old old paperbacks of the Lord of the Rings are essentially reassembled in this fashion (I got those in pretty bad shape), and I have fixed many a dust jacket.

3. I usually read more than one book at once, and usually a balance: something light on one hand, something heavy on the other. Then I have the occasional magazine or home-written draft to read and/or revise. Basically, I'm like a book junkie: instead of hiding cigs or weed or booze, I have printed material all over the house to dip into at odd free moments. And more generally, I am a stationary junkie. Whenever we go to a bookstore, office supply shop, or Target, my wife has to gently herd me away from the neato journals, pens and pencils, and etc. I have at least one half-dozen blank ruled books of various styles, completely untouched (in some cases, unopened), that I will eventually write in, along with unusual pens and pencils that I may never open because they aren't made anymore. I will probably die with a closet full of unwritten-in and unwritten-with stuff because I accumulate it faster than I can use it.

4. For some books, I cast actors in the various roles and mentally stage the action. I will also sometimes compile soundtracks... to the point of actually writing down song selections. (I have yet to actually rip a CD but it's only a matter of time.) Point 4-A: if I'm "casting" or "scoring" I will often cast myself in a particularly sweet role, because I'm obviously the great undiscovered middle-aged talent of the early 21st century.

5. In the olden days, my folks used to send me to the corner deli to buy Dad's cigarettes if he was busy. (It was a more innocent time - hey, let's give this ten-year-old two packs of Camels!) But I couldn't actually do this if anyone was in the store, for fear that someone would think I was smoking them myself. To avoid my alleged and untrue crime (which wasn't even one at that time), I'd commit a real crime - I'd loiter, looking to all the world like some wandering urchin trying to five-finger a candy bar. And during that loitering I'd read whatever was around me at the time. One busy Saturday, my Mom actually showed up, fearing that I'd been flattened by cars, snatched, mugged... only to find me hiding from the other patrons, reading potato chip bags, waiting desperately for everyone to clear the building so I could whisper, "Two packs of Camels, please, for me to take home to my Dad and not in any way consume myself."

6. I was a very early reader... I can't remember a time before I knew how to read, so I'm guessing I picked it up when I was about three years old.

7. As per point #5, I will read nearly anything... including reference material as if it was meant to be read cover-to-cover. As a boy I actually looked forward to the encyclopedia's annual volumes.

Thanks to ricki, sheila, and many other reader-y types who have done this. I tried to do mine without reading theirs first, which I guess makes no sense at all but too late, it's over. If you'd like to join in, I shan't tag, but the comments are available to you, as always.

I need to get out more

Today, thanks to the Creative Minority Report, I learned what rickrolling was.

I must be the last person using the Internet not to know of this phenomenon. I have never been rickrolled until yesterday, when Mr Astley himself rickrolled the entire country at the Macy's Parade.

It wasn't until the Fly's wedding week that one of the groomsmen introduced me to Leeroy Jenkins.

That's right, I'm reading Catholic blogs. I'm in so much trouble if my pastor finds out.

Black Friday...

...has claimed at least one life.

A Wal-Mart worker died after being trampled when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island store Friday morning, police and witnesses said.

The 34-year-old worker, employed as an overnight stock clerk, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m.

These people tore the doors off the hinges. And they let nothing distract them from those $349 laptops.

Before police shut down the store, eager shoppers streamed past emergency crews as they worked furiously to save the store clerk's life.

"They were working on him, but you could see he was dead, said Halcyon Alexander, 29. "People were still coming through."

Only a few stopped.

"They're savages," said shopper Kimberly Cribbs, 27. "It's sad. It's terrible."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The mechanics

Or, well - at least I think I fit the description.

In a joint blog, I suppose that this fits either the average of the co-writers, the wildly-dominant writer (I do have the majority of posts because I've been here longer), or an accurate reflection of both writers if they both write from a similar viewpoint.

Or it could all be a load of hooey, designed to get me past the holiday and the current dry patch of blogging. I vote for that explanation.

Your disease is too white... get charitable support.

OTTAWA -- The Carleton University Students' Association has voted to drop a cystic fibrosis charity as the beneficiary of its annual Shinearama fundraiser, supporting a motion that argued the disease is not "inclusive" enough.

Cystic fibrosis "has been recently revealed to only affect white people, and primarily men" said the motion read Monday night to student councillors, who voted almost unanimously in favour of it.
I came to RU as a 28-year-old freshman, I mean, first year student. I had already been brainwashed at Lackland AFB, then later on by the Holy Spirit, so by the time I got to RU I was impervious to efforts of Rutgers to indoctrinate me.

But I saw 18-year-old kids lose their minds. Never have I been in a place where so many people obsessed over their skin color, or their gender, or which gender they wanted to bed. I once had a talk with a guy who was bent out of shape because Jesus Christ was black and know one knew it. Of course I obsessed over Jesus Christ being the Savior of the world and not enough people know about it.

There were people walking around who thought I served in Vietnam. "Sure, back in 1970 when I was 11." During the first Gulf War I saw porn being used as a form of political protest. Fake draft notices were put in student mailboxes.

Hopefully, most of these people came back to their senses when they set out into the real world.

(h/t to Michelle Malkin)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from Cracker Barrel

I and others are going to Cracker Barrel for Thanksgiving. Wonderful people, wonderful food, and you don't have to do dishes. (But no leftovers!)
When this Yankee first came to Florida, I thought the name of this place came from that barrel, which must have been full of crackers. Only after learning some of the local lingo, I realised that the cracker may be the old guy in the chair next to the barrel.
At least I'm not going to this place.

Happy Thanksgiving

And now, this holiday message.

and futbal, kthxbai

Picture courtesy I Can Has Cheezburger, because I give thanks for cats and funny pictures.

I hope that you all are spending today with people you love!

[originally posted last Thanksgiving. I'm too sleepy to write anything new, and I haven't even eaten any turkey yet - nf]

Friday, November 21, 2008

They'd like to welcome their socialist overlords

Sometimes I get really embarrased for old Long Island. (h/t to Ace of Spades)

A New York school has been renamed in honor of President-elect Barack Obama. The former Ludlum Elementary School, in Long Island's Hempstead Union Free School District, was renamed at a school board meeting Thursday - effective immediately.

The school board claims they did it for the children, of course.

Somehow I doubt that the children were huddled up for the past three weeks saying, "I don't know who this Ludlum bloke was - capital chap, I'm sure - but honesty, I'm drawing a blank on his CV, don't you know. I say! Let's rename the building after our president-elect! Capital idea!" This was done solely to flatter the egos of the board, by properly paying homage to the Son of Government.

How about we let the guy actually attempt to do something worthwhile before we rename the next schoolhouse or bridge, eh wot?

The Miracle @ the Meadowlands

Or as the Nightfly would call it, The Fumble. This is an event which the Fly and I have differing emotions, being that we were on different sides of this event. Actually, I don't know how well the Fly remembers this event, since it happened when he was in first grade.

The events of November 19, 1978 changed the history of two NFL franchises and made Herm Edwards and Joe Pizarcik names forevered remembered. It changed forever how teams deal with the end of football games. The reason why teams now take a knee in the "victory formation" is directly related to the events at the Meadowlands that day.

The Iggles went on to the playoffs that year, and a few years later to the 1981 Super Bowl, which was the last football game I bet money on.

The Giants recovered. This event eventually led to the hiring of Bill Parcells and Super Bowl glory.

And hopefully Giants fans such as the Fly also recovered.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from Angels Showbar

Angels Showbar is up the street from my place of employment. I pass by it every day. Technically it is not a strip joint. Since they serve alcohol the ladies have to keep a few scraps on.

On the side of the building is a sign announcing that they are open Thanksgiving Day 7:30pm-3a.m., and that Thanksgiving dinner is free.

Now I don't want to sound like a prude, and any red-blooded American guy can do whatever he wants.

But if your plans are to spent Thanksgiving in technically not a strip joint, you may want to sit down and take a cold hard look at where your life is going.

"So Spider, how do you know that this place serves alcohol and the ladies aren't fully nekkid? Hmmmmm?"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dry patch

Sorry folks. I'm not so chatty right now. Nothing's wrong, just ruminating.

Therefore, look at this extreme close-up of the Official Puppy.

im all up in ur grille, bringin teh cute

Monday, November 17, 2008

RU 49, USF 16

Boy was this a fanny-whoopin! And I was there to see it.

When I saw this game on the schedule a month ago, I assumed that Rutgers was going to get clobbered. But as RU was getting better and the Bulls were tanking I thought the Scarlet Knights had a chance at pulling this one out.

Did I think that RU as going to give USFit's worst home loss ever?

The southeast corner of Raymond James Stadium is where all the away team fans sit. It was Christmas a month early for this RU fan. There were a couple thousand of us, a big red wedge in a sea of green and gold. I was doing RU cheers and singing the alma mater for the first time since I was on The Banks of the Old Raritan.

There was suprising little violence in the stands. The USF fans were too humiliated. Gosh it was so much fun!

The man knows how to hit the spot


So quoth Lileks. I'm surprised I missed this at the time (it came out last Monday). There's much more to it than the Onion-worthy headline, however. The stinger is particularly good, but I won't spoil it by quoting it... ya just gotta read the whole thing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Son of Government

So, the Dow's down another 1200 points since the party responsible for the crackup won the White House. (Hat tip to the Ace of Spades.) That empty coffee can is looking like a sound home for my investment dollar(s) right about now. But hey, the sale of Obama tchotchkes is a booming cottage industry. Who needs energy independence and a strong manufacturing base when you can just sell tacky commemorative baubles?

Just the other day I was driving home behind a jeep with a "Got hope?" bumper sticker. (And really, who ever could have guessed that the "got milk?" thing would have such legs? This may just have been the last halting step, however. Can we sink a 12-year-old advertising meme that leaked into the popular consciousness? Yes we can!) To underscore what they were talking about, the sticker had Obama's goofy crop-circle logo as the dot of the question mark.

Now, I do have hope. It's in Jesus Christ and not any phony-baloney politico; that's a big reason why I can get on with my life no matter how an election turns out, while the folks across the aisle tend to flip their wigs instead. They've got too much invested in it to do anything else. I'm not even thinking primarily of the last eight years, either, though the seething fury of it all was at turns entertaining and nauseating. I'm thinking of how the Left tends to act when they win. Compromise, reach across the aisle? Heh. Not so much, actually. They make noise like that until they don't have to anymore, such as when they have all three branches of the government under their sway.

As an example, I'd like to quote the Big O's valedictory speech from Grant Park. (Sorry.)

To those who would tear the world down: we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: tonight, we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

Now, that almost sounds like something George W Bush would say - I approve of the sentiment (with certain caveats). But a nagging part of me suspects that this part of the speech was not directed at foreign dictators, terrorists, or other enemies of our country. I'm pretty sure that "we will defeat you" is meant for the GOP. Obama's entire professional life has been geared toward working against political adversaries. The goal was to win - above all else, to make sure that a particular side was given charge of things. I'm not sure that he's capable of changing his mental outlook from that of a partisan campaigner to that of a leader and officeholder. Most of the Congress, in fact, fails at doing that, so it's not a knock on the Democratic Party per se, just a description of reality. Being out in the everyday working world lends a perspective that career politicians sometimes lack; it's an accomplishment to win one's living in the world, and an accomplishment to work fruitfully at things one enjoys and is skilled at. Producing good work of any kind is a challenge that teaches people a lot about themselves, about how to get along with people, about what works in the real world and what doesn't.

Beyond winning elections at many levels, Obama's actual accomplishments are slender. Nobody seems to know what he did, exactly, while editing the Harvard Law Review. His college years are nearly a blank. A veil has been drawn over a lot of what he did while community organizing and state Senatoring. The things we do know aren't really highlights: getting his wife's employer a bit of government sugar, for which said employer tripled her salary; voting present instead of yea or nay on nearly everything except his "nay" to protecting infant survivors of abortion attempts; and willingly associating for most of his adult life with racist preachers and domestic terrorists. The people who knew him then aren't talking AT ALL, which is odd on many levels - he's only 47, so it's not like the people aren't around, and if they like him and think he did good work, why wouldn't they say so? For that matter, why wouldn't Obama himself say so?

The bumper sticker outlines the most peculiar thing about this recently-concluded election: I'm being asked to hope in a complete cipher. The man wrote two memoirs, and yet nobody knows much about him. He acted as if it was wrong to dare to ask about what he'd done before and planned to do after. But hope has to be about something. Why vote for a man who won't tell you what he plans to do if he wins, and won't tolerate your asking what he did when he won in the past?

At least with "the man from Hope" we actually did know about the things he'd done as Arkansas governor. Bill Clinton had a lengthy public record and talked about it; the parts that weren't so hot, he spun or glossed, but he didn't react as if someone had jabbed him with a branding iron when he was questioned. You'd think that Obama would be similarly proud of whatever he's been doing for 25 or so years since college. It's quite likely that he knows that if he ever owns his true record, he would be through as a national figure; hence it must be hidden.

Besides, it's more fun to play Secular Messiah. Got hope? Of course. He's also got the truly creepy singing-kids cult video, a collection of sacrosanct relics to rival any canonized saint's, the Andy Warhol-meets-Soviet iconography posters, he's even all over the sports pages lately. Hey, if Bill Simmons wants to vote for the guy, cool - he can even lead a column with the quote I used above (and that's where I quoted it from). I can deal with it. Some observations, however -

1. Quick, name a conservative sports columnist. There are some, of course, but do you know or care how a sportswriter votes? No. But now name as many sportswriters you can who lean left, or who you know voted Democratic because they wrote about it. Tons, right? Half (at least) of Page 2; Rick Reilly, Peter King; you could list dozens of local examples yourselves if so inclined.

2. The NBA, under the direction of David Stern, is now a global brand, hugely popular across the Earth with people from every continent and ethnicity. There are Russian and European and Asian and American (North AND South) and African and Australian NBA players, often stars. It was a niche sport when he first joined the front office, and now it's a global brand and a part of mainstream society. So why all of a sudden is Barack Obama so important to basketball? Not to be outdone, he's also enlightening the sports world in general.

Part of this I get - Barack Obama is the first black man to be elected President of the United States. That is a big deal, and I fully appreciate the magnitude of it... but I will be much more impressed if, having gotten to the Oval Office, he is treated exactly the same as his predecessors. Letting him get into the office with nearly no scrutiny is a bad early sign; criticizing any scrutinizers is a worse one. Talking about how his very presence changes everything continues this trend. In fact it is an attitude much more in keeping with how people feel about religious figures, not politicians - hence the Secular Messiah and Son of Government tags I've been using. I'm not trying to label, but the cult of personality developing around the President-elect is alarming, and would be in connection to any politician. Remember the Caesars - they went pretty quickly from being merely powerful rulers, to being elevated to godhood upon their deaths, to demanding to be called gods while alive. The whispered warning, "Remember that thou art mortal," soon fails to hold any power - how can it, when the one who hears it can put to death the one who whispers it, at whim and without consequence? Soon enough, people learn better than to whisper at all. Nobody from Obama's past will talk about the guy - even positively.

And the worst thing about voting for a guy as if one was coronating a Caesar is that as long as the focus on on who he is, nobody's likely to pay much attention to what he's doing, least of all the Caesar himself. How can he? His focus will rather be on maintaining his image as One Set Apart. Serve oneself and one cannot serve any ideal, least of all the ones that Obama praised in that speech. If the true strength of America is in our ideals, then the worst thing Americans can do is put them aside to elect as a leader one who cares only for how they sound as words, not for what they mean as principles.

That brings us back around to the caveat I mentioned. To wit: liberty, opportunity, and hope all have a source in virtues that Obama really doesn't talk about. They spring from the same source as life itself, a subject so dear to Obama that he says it's "above his pay grade" to decide when it begins. (Apparently it's more the pay grade of confused and terrified teenagers; it's so important that they must not discuss it with clergy or parents, but only with abortionists, who have an economic stake in shoving them toward a particular conclusion.) The source is God. The Creator made us, and thus the rights He gives are beyond the whim of men, no matter how many laws they make or what power they command.

I am thus skeptical of politics as the sole means of "change" in society, especially the politics of those who drive the mention of God from the public forum, and the politics of those who use their faiths as arguments against life, liberty, opportunity, and the fruit of one's own labor, thus undermining the very thing on which those rights rely. People nearly shrieked about President Bush's open faith, just as Chris Matthews is shrieking about Sarah Palin's faith. But those who have that faith are much more likely to correctly understand and protect the rights of the citizens. It's those whose faith is only in themselves or in their personal interest that get those things wrong, and that's the hallmark of the incoming administration.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Beware the cute

This is the Official Puppy of the Hive.

The spice must flow!

Hopefully the Spider's still on his diabetes meds and living clean, because, you know... awwwwwwww!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Golden Corral Military Appreciation Day

Free Dinner at Golden Corral on Monday, November 17 for all vets. Between 5-9pm.

Hopefully this posts okay. Blogger doing wierd things from my home computer, but not at my work computer.

Although it's been said many times, many ways

Everyone else is already all over Veteran's Day, of course... Doesn't let me off from saying thank you yet again to all the brave souls who have sacrificed for our freedom and safety.

THS and Major Dad, and Rachel's Rupert, and James Lileks' Dad and the Judge's Dad, and of course the Spider and his many siblings, Lisa's dear husband, Senator McCain and his brave fellow POWs, and so many others - no slight intended if I missed you. (update - DUH. Cullen! Sorry, bro.) Thanks again from the long-haired fast-talker from Lawn Guyland.

Now I can finally catch up on important stuff sports columns.

Like Tim Keown.

"After watching Matt Cassel and Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger, I stand by my earlier statement: A few weeks ago, when I wrote that quarterback is by far the most significant single position in professional team sports, I got a lot of flak from hockey fans who believe the goalie is more important."

My own flak can be found here. I didn't send it in to the man, and so I doubt that Keown actually saw, read, or even cared if he somehow saw or read, though I tried to be persuasive. Personally, I think my list of crappy QBs who have won titles (and Brad Johnson is on it) kind of proves my point about goalies being more key. It's easier to overcome a mediocre QB than a mediocre keeper. For that matter, let's look at the other two guys he cited:

Brooks Bollinger - came into his game with a huge defecit, couldn't rally. Both he and Johnson were beaten by the defending Super Bowl Champion Giants, who are (if anything) playing even better this season.

Matt Cassel - has the Patriots in first place in their division as of this writing.

Now, if Keown wants to argue that none of these guys is as good as the starters they've replaced, I couldn't argue. The starters are the very good Tony Romo and the world-class Tom Brady. Of course their teams will have difficulty in replacing a QB of that calibre. My assertion isn't that quarterbacks are unimportant, just that goalies are more vital.

Let's flip it over for the sake of discussion, and generate a list of mediocre goalies who have won the Stanley Cup....



OK, according to, here's the list of champions. I'll go back to 1968 and count off from there: that's the first year the league expanded from the "Original Six." (For fun, the goalies for the 1967 champs, the Toronto Maple Leafs, were Terry Sawchuk and Johnny Bower, both in the Hall of Fame. The backup guy was a Hall of Famer. There were simply too few teams to have any bad goalies for comparison's sake.)

This is the list of teams who won with "eh" goalies since then.

1990 - Edmonton Oilers, Bill Ranford. - Ranford came on at the tail end of the mighty Edmonton teams of the 1980's and took them to a surprise title, beating the Boston Bruins, who were backstopped by former Oiler Andy Moog.

And yes, I do notice that it took 22 years to find a guy who could possibly qualify. The guys before him? Gerry Cheevers, Ken Dryden, Bernie Parent, Billy Smith, Grant Fuhr, Mike Vernon... Maybe Vernon would be a notch below, but all the others are in the Hall of Fame, along with many of the successors, such as Patrick Roy. Martin Brodeur, Eddie Belfour, and Domenick Hasek will be joining them.

1998 - Detroit Red Wings, Chris Osgood. Ozzie is a bit of a special case on this list. There is a great deal of argument over exactly how good he is. With Detroit he has always had a great deal of success, but Detroit is an excellent team and has been for most of the past fifteen years. Vernon and Hasek also won Cups there, with Osgood backing up. People use that to argue against Ozzie, along with a couple of bad years in St. Louis. But when he went to the Islanders in 2001-2002, he led them to the playoffs for the first time since the fishstick years. It's easily their best season since 1993. Meanwhile, the Red Wings tried to get by with Curtis Joseph and Manny Legace for a few years, and were dumped. Personally I think he's fine, and guys like him and Vernon only look iffy compared to the all-time greats who have also won two titles as starters.

2004 - Tampa Bay Lightning, Nicolai Khabibulin. The "Bulin Wall" is a good keeper currently working in Chicago. Tampa's Cup was his best season. He only seems like he's kicked around a lot, but he went right to the Blackhawks after his time in Tampa. Before that, he was a Winnipeg Jet/Phoenix Coyote, and acquitted himself well behind some lousy teams - good prep for being a Blackhawk for the past few years. They've begun to turn it around now, and Khabibulin is playing very well, winning a goalie duel with import Cristobal Huet.

2006 - Carolina Hurricanes, Cam Ward. Ward was a rookie that year, so the jury is still out on him. He's lost a bunch of weight and reported this season in great shape. He may move off of this list.

The only other guy one could consider including is Anaheim's J.S. Giguere, but I think he should be on the much lengthier list of excellent keepers. Besides his Cup win he led the Ducks to the 2003 Finals and won the Conn Smyth trophy (playoff MVP) despite losing the title to Brodeur. He has a very good reputation.

In the end, the list of shaky goalies who win is much shorter than that of shaky QBs. I really hate to pick on Tim Keown, whose writing I really enjoy; if he isn't convinced then we'll just have to disagree politely. All I ask is that he stop saying stuff like "It's pretty much unquestioned" when in fact there is a lot of good questioning going on.

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's going to be a long four years

This is going to get old very quickly.
Plans are being made to promote a national holiday for Barack Obama, who will become the nation's 44th president when he takes the oath of office Jan. 20.

"Yes We Can" planning rallies will be at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. every Tuesday at the downtown McDonald's restaurant, 1100 Kansas Ave., until Jan. 13. The goals are to secure a national holiday in Obama's honor, to organize celebrations around his inauguration and to celebrate the 200th birthday of President Abraham Lincoln, who was born on Feb 12, 1809

At 7:30 a.m. on Inauguration Day, Obama Cake will be served at the downtown McDonald's, and a celebration is scheduled for 8 p.m. to midnight Jan. 20 at the Ramada Hotel and Convention Center, 420 S.E. 6th.
Sometimes I go out on jobs and interact face-to-face with customers. I would never dream of wearing any political buttons or pins in those situations. Which is why I was surprised when the drive-thru guy at the Hardees was wearing an Obama pin three days after the election.

Do what you want. Have the Obama symbol tattooed to your forehead if you are that devout. But don't expect me to buy a burger from you.

I'm sorry, Fly. My defiance is not sufficiently cheerful.

Raindrops Keep Faling On My Head

Well, maybe not raindrops.
Jersey City councilman Steven Lipski said he "resolved not to touch alcohol again."

The New Jersey councilman who allegedly urinated on a crowd of concertgoers from the balcony of a Washington, D.C. nightclub swore off booze on Sunday -- two days after he was busted for the embarrassing stunt.

Jersey City councilman Steven Lipski has reportedly been arrested for urinating on a crowd of concertgoers from the balcony of a Washington D.C. nightclub.

"I've resolved not to touch alcohol again," two-term Jersey City councilman Steve Lipski told the Fox 5 New York.

He went on to say that the incident was "deeply humiliating, very embarrassing" and troubling," the Daily News reported.

The 44-year-old Democratic councilman refused to admit to the lewd stunt.
"I can't comment on that," he told Fox5 News. "I'm going to continue to do all the good things, and I'm not going to let this overshadow me."

Lipski was in D.C. to see a Grateful Dead tribute band and was spotted relieving himself by one of the club's staffers around 9:50 p.m., club sources told the Daily News. He was charged with simple assault.
Guys, I've done this. But I was a polite drunk. I always made sure that the landing zone was clear.

"I've resolved not to touch alcohol again." Do you know how many times I've said that? Does this guy know what needs to be done? Or, as our Lord would say, is he ready to count the cost?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sorry For Not Commenting Sooner..

... but I haven't had a whole lot of sleep lately. A few thoughts:

I saw some of these news whores wetting themselves over the prospect that an Obama election has atoned for the sins their ancestors have committed upon the black race, that Revvems Jesse and Al are out of work. If you believe that, then I can get you a good price on The Sunshine Skyway.

Nancy Pelosi is already trying to tamp down expectations. Not that Obama has promised to give sight to the blind and make the lame to walk, but there are those expecting him to put gas in their cars and pay their mortgages. The hard left is going to demand payment, the goal is to pay them off without going so crazy that the GOP has another 1994 in 2010.

The problem is that there is no jefe in the GOP. Is McCain going to lead this party? Heck, he had to pick Palin to get Repiblicans to vote for him. My guess is that after months of having to pretend to be a Republican he will be back to his old maverick ways on the Today Show moaning about how the GOP isn't co-operating with President Obama on immigration reform or cap-and-trade.

Reach across the aisle mein Po. If you are choosing former Clintonista Rahm Emanuel as your chief of staff you have no interest in reaching across the aisle.

Some people have so little principle that they would re-elect a man who called them racist as long as he kept bringing pork in the district.

I agree with the Fly, that I need to be cheerfully defiant. Here is one area where I can be accused of kookery. Some of you reading this may work in your local media, and since I don't know your media I can't comment on it specifically. But most of the national media and the local in my area went beyond bias to downright Obama fanny-kissing. The hands typing this post may never touch the St Pete Times again.

That's all I have for now. Except that I now can listen to country music in peace.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Don’t turn around…

Der kommissar’s in town…

I, for one, welcome our new Marxist overlords. At the very least, I certainly hope it turns out better than we have a right to expect. It’s not like we don’t have reasons to be wary:

Energy policy – we picked the guy who expects to bankrupt the coal industry.
Economy – we picked the guy who wants to tax the snot out of businesses and the working class.
Housing – we picked the guy who took in more than $100,000 from Fannie Mae in exchange for looking the other way while they spun the market into the side of a mountain.
Terrorism – we picked the protégé of radical domestic terrorists, and the darling of appeasers and foreign terrorists.
Life – we picked the guy who thinks babies are punishments.
Law – we picked the guy who thinks the US Constitution is an obstacle to his policy goals.
Free speech – we’ve seen what happens to people who dare raise legitimate questions of the One.

Obama won’t be able to take the oath of office without lying out of both sides of his mouth. But, you know, he’ll look and sound wonderful while doing it!

How? The Democrats convinced America that these were Republican-caused problems. To the Left, the war is OUR fault; they’re rather like a school principal who deals equal punishments to the bully and the child who fought back by knocking out the bully’s front teeth. They blame the economic strain on the GOP, even though it was Democratic policy to make all those risky subprime mortgages, enabled by Democratic supporters (and sizable donors), and protected by Democratic congressmen who chose to spike proposed reforming legislation – simply because it was proposed by the wrong party. And their solution is to increase taxes when people need more of their own money for savings and expenses.

(The cynicism of it just kills me. A lot of people knew all this and simply didn't care, so long as they could stick it to the man. One of the guys at the rink, a big-time Lefty, said "Boy, I bet that business owners are ticked off!" And then he laughed. I find nothing really funny in the thought of people working insanely hard in order to be their own boss, only to have it smashed to bits; nor in paying more for everything because the existing businesses have to raise their prices to cover their increased government-mandated burdens.)

Last night there was a lot of gallows humor around the rink, especially after Ohio and Pennsylvania went blue early. Kind of a drag (to mix my musical references). Unfortunately, for the unborn the gallows part is all too real. We’re stuck with Roe v. Wade for the next 15 years at least, because our President-elect is going to stick us with another Ginsberg and Kennedy, and his Senate is going to rubber-stamp it, and even reasonable restrictions to abortion are going to be struck down by federal fiat.

I also think that the world at large will be more dangerous come January 20. Joe Biden, bless his heart, accidentally told the truth with his “People are gonna test him” speech of his. They are. Last night there were as many high-fives in Gaza as there were in Grant Park. On the major issue of the day, George W Bush held fast, and led a (so-far) successful fight to keep the United States safe from terror attacks. A weak follow-up is likely to undo many of those gains. Negotiation is fine and good, but it doesn’t work unless one either has a willing partner, or the option of more drastic response towards unwilling partners. This isn’t the sort of thing where we can afford to have a diplomatic palaver come to naught – we are not dealing with people who are willing to live and let live. Barack Obama is not going to suddenly cause a radical Islamist to say, “Gee, America ain’t so bad after all, maybe I shouldn’t kill any more infidels.”

Obama is a talker – gives a pretty speech and looks good doing it – but though that can win elections, it can’t change the world. Winston Churchill can reasonably claim to be the best orator of the 20th century, but he didn’t save England with speeches; he had other excelling qualities of leadership. If talking was all that he was good at, he would have failed, and England with him. My observation is that people who are leaders work according to principles to reach a goal. If talk works, they talk. If not, they have other means. People who are talkers only usually have no goal in mind other than to avoid trouble, and if talk doesn’t work, they shrug. They tried, right? Not their fault if the other guy didn’t listen. They then give a speech about how sad it all is, and how history will judge things properly, and that we must all look forward, for the road will be hard.

But the truth is, most roads are hard, so the only question that counts is “what will we have to show for walking this road?” It’s hard to build a highway or master a musical instrument or go to medical school, but at the end, you get a highway, or a concerto, or the knowledge and skill to save lives. It’s also hard to master online video games, but at the end of that all one has is a game that bores or bankrupts you. And this highlights a fundamental difference in the two kinds of road – the first kind is hard because one is striving to achieve and excel, the other is only hard because one has been avoiding any sort of real work, causing terrible (and avoidable) troubles. The skills that could have solved those troubles went neglected. The road becomes far harder simply because one has spent most of the journey riding instead of walking; but those who were diligent find that they can now run tirelessly.

As you see, we’ve come round to philosophy. Everything has a why. In general, I’m not a fan of the “God is smiting us” theory. It’s not that I don’t think that He doesn’t chastise us, as I have the testimony of Scripture clearly saying that He does, and that it’s a sign of His care for us. It’s rather that I respect God’s choice to give us free will. (I also think that God doesn’t need to pull an ACORN and sign up a quarter million imaginary voters somewhere.) Rather, I think that the result of an election like this is a natural consequence of the trends in American society over the last century. ... and that's enough for a second post, to follow this.

Everything has a why

(part one is above)

Harry Truman once wrote that America likes to take political vacations: after vigorous presidents or great national challenges, the nation decides to take a break from the heavy lifting. So, after the Revolution and Washington and Jefferson, they treat themselves to Madison and Monroe. After the Civil War they treat themselves to Grant and Hayes. After Teddy Roosevelt they treat themselves to Woodrow Wilson and Warren Harding. It’s fitting that Harding himself coined the word “normalcy.” That’s what the country is after.

Only one problem – normalcy, for the race of man, is not peace, security, and freedom. We are a fallen people. Normalcy is people exploiting each other, seeking dominion over each other, and an obsession with personal gain and status. Seek and ye shall find, and if you seek normalcy, well, you’ll get it.

Additionally, the 20th century saw the rise of socialism in practice, and America got their fair share: Woodrow Wilson, FDR, and the Great Society. Socialism is an excellent system for exploiting normalcy to the ends of a few powerful people: it’s amoral because the State supplants church, and it destroys personal responsibility because the State replaces all private organizations and personal choices. Along with material ownership, the State assumes ownership of a person’s human rights; if they can take what you earn, why not what you say and think? It is no accident that the evil power in “1984” was Ingsoc – English Socialism – nor that the book was written by an English Socialist, George Orwell. He was smart and honest enough to know what could happen.

In the last century (and especially the last fifty years), one of the main protections against tyranny of all kinds has eroded. Simply put, many have lost the faith. It’s more complicated that God simply dealing out punishments to those who’ve turned against Him – it’s a perfectly rational process, in fact. Faith is what warns us of the damaged nature of man, and provides the solution to it in the person of Jesus Christ. Lose it and it’s no surprise that people would thus lose the sense of sin, and the natural mistrust of anyone who promises Utopia on Earth. Lose the Son of Man, and you get the Son of Government.

Moreover, once the faith is emptied of meaning, one necessarily invests in whatever promises to fill the void. It can be a radicalized religion like Islam or a radicalized secular faith in all things Government; in the end both turn tyrannical, equally hostile to those who wish to live differently or believe otherwise. Statism is nothing more than Islamism without Allah.

QED. Replace virtue and personal responsibility with Statism, and it’s not really surprising that one would wind up with a Statist as one’s leader. It’s the natural result of looking to government to solve problems because the other societal means have atrophied. Instead of forming a neighborhood committee or joining the Kiwanis, we’ve grown to rely on government services. And as those services take root (both socially and economically) it becomes difficult to dismantle them. It’s hard, and people don’t like to do hard things, and especially after seven years of hard things. Many cities in America are already little cominterns with petty bureaucratic despots. People are used to it. Having a Panjandrum in Chief doesn’t seem so bad. He’ll do what one wants to see done to other people.

The difficulty, of course, is that this is never enough. Inevitably things are done to everyone else too. If we want the rich punished for their success, we hand over the tools to be punished ourselves for our own modest gains. If we fail to protect the most vulnerable, we place more and more heads on the chopping block. As the Left is fond of quoting, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere… but their solution is usually to spread the injustice.

(Speaking of Leftist tropes, I look forward to four years of indulging in their highest form of patriotism. Truth be told, the blog may not survive. We run a small outfit but that doesn’t mean that some local who’s loyal to the One wouldn’t serve the Master by flagging it as inappropriate. And Blogger could, as is their right, decide to decline to host us, and force me to start paying for private hosting, or scrap it altogether. Spider and I will be lucky in that regard, in that it would cost little to lose our outlet here. But others won’t be so lucky, and that’s the point. It’s really not about a small blog in the backwater of the internet, but about an entire generation of the unborn who will find legal protection far more scarce, and millions who will be forced to live on less than they need, and people who will pay a real toll for speaking their mind and exercising their rights.)

A few nights ago, while I was muttering darkly about all of this, I was asked if it could really get that bad. Honestly, I don’t think so… but I don’t know. “It couldn’t happen in America” is really not a conclusive argument. It could. People all around the world die every day for their faith, and for their freedom. People are driven from their homes and made refugees by servants of cruel governments; less than 100 miles from the coast of Florida, they are sent to jail for opening libraries; they are fined and removed from their jobs for preaching the gospel just over the northern border. Rome fell. England is stupidly lying down to avoid falling – but of course that leaves them prone all the same, ready for the boot to step where it wills.

To stand against such things requires an equally-strong faith in freedom and virtue. Too many people have decided to go all Squishy Marshmallow about their faith in such things, because they somehow think that it makes us “just like them” to believe strongly. That we believe strongly in diametrically opposed things – that our faith cause us to love and fight for freedom rather than dominion – doesn’t seem to matter to some people. Either they prefer dominion (either exercising it or suffering it) or they don’t bother to really think much about it.

They do neither themselves nor anyone else any favors. Slouching won’t save them, and it won’t convince others to spare them. Why would anyone abandon something they believe in for the Kingdom of Nice? And especially those who adore cruelty and fear – how can they be saved from themselves and become decent people? They don’t have any respect for modern faith, because it has surrendered its principles, going along to get along. It is impossible to respect such a milquetoast pastiche of straw and tinsel. It inspires nobody and therefore transforms nobody. It is true that the cruel are only half-men, but so are many modern believers - only they got the soft half, and thus come in a poor second in any contest against the hard half. Real faith requires both halves to make us complete people. Real faith forgives from strength, loves from courage, and has both compassion and good judgment. The soft virtues, by necessity, lead us into dangerous situations that we can only stick out by practicing the hard virtues as well.

It is love that makes the strong protect the weak rather than lord over them. Love makes people marry, knowing that one will be left behind, either in lonely old age or far too soon. We love pets though they soil the carpet and scratch the furniture, and children though they break our hearts a hundred ways, and we love favorite foods and hockey teams and art and chess and race cars and beer and gardening. The one thing we have in our favor is that nobody can really love socialism in that way… because love is, of necessity, a two-way process, and socialism has no love to give. Even a mere hobby can be rewarding and repay one’s interest because it enriches the mind, body, and spirit, but doing evil coarsens and deadens one’s faculties.

Those who love can also be joyful under any circumstance. Our hope is elsewhere, and is always renewed. “In this world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) We will confound those with a low opinion of the simple faith of the commoner. That faith helped free Eastern Europe; it made the fight worthwhile. I do not plan to bitterly cling to anything. It does no good - neither to me, nor to anyone who begins to seek an alternative to “normalcy.” Cheerful defiance is the watchword now. If we must go down fighting, let it be that we fought for love and not merely for ourselves. No matter who runs the government, it can’t endure unless those in the larger society live in such a way as to renew the world. Put the heart right and the head will follow.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My pastor did it from the pulpit

Preach on the election that is.

But not the way some may think. He explained that our church is a 501c3 organization and is permitted to devote 5% of time and money to political activities.

“But we don’t do any of that,” he added.

The reason why I love my pastor is because he will preach stuff that I know is right but would rather not hear. Here are some of the things he brought up (and my two cents):

PRAY – 1 Timothy 2:1-2 “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” Was Nero ruling Rome when Paul wrote this? If he could tell believers to pray for Nero, How could I not offer prayers for whoever becomes president?

VOTE – Daniel 6:1-5 This passage is about Daniel, who excelled as a gov’t official in a godless country. We are encouraged to be involved, to be in the world and not of it. However….

HOPE IN GOD – Psalm 146:3-4 “Do not trust in princes…” I remember when W can in with a majority in Congress that many of my evangelical friends thought that it would usher in a era of America being this Christian paradise. We all know how well that worked out.

GOD IS SOVEREIGN – Daniel 2:21 “He (God) removes kings and establishes kings” God will determine who will be president. It will be to fulfill His purposes and not mine.

I am the chief offender. I claim to be a believer in Christ, to trust Him for my salvation and my care, but my thoughts and actions in the past few months is evidence that I am as full of it as a Christmas turkey.

I should be telling you of another election and my candidate for it. The office is Lord and Savior. My candidate is Jesus of Nazareth. Like a lot of candidates, He has a Book out which tells His story and His policies. The presidential election is important and will have long-term ramifications. But the decision for Lord and Savior has eternal ramifications for you personally.

The good news is that you can vote early for this particular election, and the voting process is free of fraud.