Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Actually, there is Hope

The guest pastor this past weekend used the phrase 'hopelessly human', which reminded me - as I'm sure it would've reminded you - of this 1977 Kansas song:

The pastor's message was that, at least since Genesis 3 (in the Bible, not the Collins/Rutherford/Banks band), we are 'hopelessly human', in that we can't be anything but.  Nonetheless, our situation - thanks to the Advent and the Redemption - is not without hope.  We may inhabit a sin-filled world, but we are not necessarily condemned to be of it, if we choose wisely.

Though the song is not overtly Christian, its composer Kerry Livgren did subsequently convert to Christianity, and has remained active in his faith, a more recent project being Cantata: The Resurrection of Lazarus.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

From the mailbag...

Sure, I swiped that from Paul Harvey.
  • Apparently my name is causing quite the stir in the former USSR, as I continue to get fan mail from lovely Russian ladies, wishing to make my acquaintance.
  • Why, just this morning, lovely Aleksandra sent the following:
Cheer, my friend. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! My name is Aleksandra. I like your profile strongly. Now I shall tell you a few details about myself. I’m 28 y.o. I am blonde girl with green eyes. I live in N.Novgorod in Russian Federation. Now, some information about my interests. I like reading, chat with my friends, walking and ect.. I adore watch TV and cook various delicious stuff. I love sports and fitness. I work as an accountant. It’s rather boring but I enjoy my job. I’m looking for a man who wishes to have meaningful relationships. I don’t need any flirt and I believe that you don’t need it, too. If you want to go on our talk, write to me. Goodbye. Aleksandra.
  • She sounds like a good catch, and I like her sense of irony "If you want to go on our talk, write to me."  Plus, how can you not be enthralled by a girl who likes walking, and adore watch TV and cook delicious stuff?
  • But alas, I already have over, like, $1000 in airfare invested (on the advice of my friend Paul, the stockbroker), to get Irena or Yenchna (wait, that was a character from Neil Simon's Fools) to the United States for happiness relationship.
  • I guess my stable's just full of gift horses - this morning I deleted an email promising me another $10.5 million.
  • Hey, with all the other millions about to roll in, I just don't think my mailbox - or the vault at my bank - is big enough to hold all those riches.
  • In addition, a geology firm, Rock Hard, has also been sending a few emails.
  • ED Solutions - What's that, continuing education?
  • And finally, Mr. Peter informs me that he has a $2.5 Visa gift card waiting for me (money that I apparently misplaced in Africa, of all places).
  • Maybe he should do some co-branded marketing with the geology firm instead...
  • Good day!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday's Surmise

Taking a look back at the week, and preparing for the week to come.
  • As expected, Middle Son attended the opening day showing of the new Star Wars movie.  He reports that it was awesome.
  • I'll wait until it's in the dollar theatre.
  • Guess I should say 'discount theatre', as even Cinemark's Movies 8 in NRH is two or three bucks these days.
  • The mistrial of Officer Porter in the Freddie Gray case - what does it mean?
  • It's widely accepted that the prosecutor thought she could best get a conviction for Porter, and then leverage him against the other five officers.
  • Plenty of punditry going on about that issue.  Will Maryland continue with its retrial plans for Ofc. Porter?  If it does and he's acquitted, will the other officers be tried?
  • Mr. Gray died while in police custody.  If any - or all - of the officers' actions were the direct cause of his demise, then of course they should be held accountable.  But if they're simply being tried in order to placate that element of society that is demanding its pound of flesh because of other perceived injustices - then shame on the prosecution.
  • It's been reported that Mr. Gray had a history of  'crash-for-cash' lawsuits against police, though it's not clear if the ride leading to his death was one of them.
  • Watched a few minutes of the Democratic debates on ABC last night, mainly HRC's close.  Although there's no way in the world I would vote for her, her supporters could reasonably claim that she gave a nearly flawless performance.  My belief that she has not the temperament or positive history of accomplishments to become President remains unchanged.
  • To a large degree, I feel the same about Mr. Trump - his disposition does not well suit being President, although he has a slightly better résumé.
  • Last night's SNL, with Tina and Amy hosting, was pretty good.  As well, it was a treat for Darrell Hammond to reprise his Trump impersonation, and Maya Rudolph had a small bit as well.  I thought that Springsteen was booed after his first performance, until I read that it's a tradition for his audiences to respond with elongated 'Bruuuuuce' after his songs.¹
  • Full disclosure: I rarely stay up much past Weekend Update.
  • While I do agree with Mr. Trump's assertion that we should control our own borders, his comments about banning all Muslims is crazy.  
  • I assisted a hajib-wearing woman the other day at my work, with the same level of professionalism, courtesy and enthusiam as I give all of my customers.  It's the right thing to do.
  • On the news yesterday or Friday, some local Muslim leaders were taking the initiative and contradicting some of the CAIR narrative.  They called for followers to denounce the bastardization of their faith and to openly show that they wish to support assimilation into American culture.  I think that's a good thing.
  • I'm reminded that, in the late '80s or early '90s, I had a generally neutral-to-positive opinion of the Nation of Islam movement, as they seemed to be preaching a message of accountability and work ethic to a community that had - since at least LBJ's time - been indoctrinated into claiming perpetual victimhood.
  • I have known for some time that the English actor Peter Mayhew, who portrays Chewbacca in the Star Wars franchise, lives in north Texas.  I had thought I read that he lived in the Granbury or Glen Rose area, but it's reported in Wikipedia that he lives in or near Boyd.
In this photo, he looks a bit like Marty Feldman,
except 19" taller.

Who knew?

That I'd be so blessed at Christmastime?

I mean, just in the last three days, the following strangers or organizations have contacted me - unselfishly - to give me riches beyond anything that I've earned or deserved:
  • Ambassador James F. Entwistle
  • Paul Crowell (a 110kg metal box marked 'Money')
  • Reverend Favor Chinenye
  • Jim Harry ($2.5M)
  • Nancy Partner (dinner for two at McDonald's)
  • Walgreens ($150 gift card)
  • Starbucks ($100 gift card)
  • CVS ($50 gift card)
Of course, that's not to mention the $2M that Michelle Obama recently emailed me about - apparently they'd found it between and under the seat cushions of Air Force One during their many vacations.  Nice to see she's not sore at me for maybe being a bit critical of her idiot husband.

But even if a couple of those are not on the up-and-up (I sure hope I didn't waste $3700 in shipping fees for my 110 kg of  'money' - if it's boxes of quarters, I should still be about $1300 ahead), I do know - at Christmas and throughout the year - that I'm heir to the most high kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

And He hasn't even emailed me asking for an international money order.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

So much news.

  • The circus blogger frequently speaks of 'idiocracy'. 
  • I prefer the term 'idiocy'.
  • Either way, we seem to have a bunch of it going on.
  • Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth.  Not to mention Baltimore.
  • Keith over at Bag of Nothing already posted about Yale, but apparently Harvard tried to arm its wee little minds with talking points so that they could tell their backwards parents out in the hinterlands how to be more sensitive, inclusive, and diverse.  
  • In the name of social justice.
  • Fail.
  • The good news, for now, is that the BLM agitators are learning that they can't just round up a half-dozen cops and put them all away because they're mad at 'the system'.  Officer Porter may yet get convicted in a subsequent trial, but the inauspicious start of having a deadlock on all four counts does not seem to bode well for those using the courts for their political purposes.
  • The Yale exercise about repealing the 1A reminded me of a Watters' World bit.
  • Is it true this guy wants to be a District Attorney?

    • Just kidding.
    • I watched some M*A*S*H episodes last night.  I much prefer the Col. Potter era to the Henry Blake/Frank Burns episodes.  Blake's character was simply uninteresting, but Burns' was outright annoying.  Wayne Rogers' Trapper John was a very good character, and he would have fit in either era, but I can understand Rogers' frustration with Trapper's role being subordinated to Alda's Hawkeye.
    • Side note: It was cool to see Alan Alda in The Last Ride.  I thought it was a good movie, even if I did have to cover daughter's eyes when Scott Eastwood bagged the hot chick.  I had the plot resolved about 30-35 minutes before the end, and even surmised the deus ex machina about a minute before it was revealed.
    • Also caught a couple of rounds of To Tell the Truth, this episode with Ralph Bellamy, Betty White, Johnny Carson, and, of course, Kitty Carlisle.  Decades before they were Randolph and Mortimer Duke on Trading Places, Bellamy and Don Ameche were panelists on the game show.
    • For about an hour this evening, the theme song from Texas Country Reporter played in my head.  I have no idea why.
    • There seems no way to avoid the Star Wars merchandising effect under the Disney regime.  Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Aldi, Kroger - everyone's in on it.  
    • Daughter and I attended a Christmas party last weekend at the home of a former colleague.  In the Chinese gift exchange, I received a super soft Star Wars throw/lap blanket.  Since I was #18 of  21, it was not stolen from me.
    • At least not until the drive home.  ;-)

    Think they'd like a do-over?

    As I've written on these pages prior, I'm not so much the fan of the presidential candidate who shares my first name.  Nonetheless, he is correct to assert that the U.S. should control its own borders.

    When you go to bed at night, you probably lock your doors first.  I lock mine, too, and it would be a generally poor idea for someone to dismiss the message of the locked door.

    Likewise, when you have a party, you likely restrict attendance to those on your e-vite list (unless you're that pool party twit from McKinney), because - hey, salmon, champagne and caviar are expensive, and besides, you don't want unwelcome visitors looting your grandmother's Sheffield flatware.

    Fueled by immigrant labor, the North American continent was linked coast-to-coast on May 10, 1869.  Subsequent waves of newcomers helped build America's factories during the industrial revolution, its skyscrapers; harvest its crops and expand highways.   But we've run out of room.  With no frontier left to tame, people no longer migrate here to contribute, but because we've become the world's night shelter.

    Here's hoping the next President can revive the American Dream, and put the nanny state in time-out.

    Wednesday, December 16, 2015

    Funky safety tip #47

    Kids, let's be safe out there.  And if that means telling Dad or Grandpappy to take safety precautions, well, you can show you're adding wisdom and maturity to your young years.

    Why, just look at this hapless fellow, preparing to operate a chainsaw:

    He's not off to a good start, as he's forgotten his gloves, eye protection, and earplugs!

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

    Somebody give the dolt a vowel

    The San Bernardino shooting victims' blood not even dried, and the perpetrators at that time not yet found, our clueless SOBIC yesterday was already issuing press releases calling for more "common sense gun safety" laws.

    Mr. President, if you weren't so damned self-absorbed with your gun control and global warmism agendas, you'd know already that the foremost gun safety organization is the National Rifle Association.  But of course, you're too busy vilifying them, and the members they represent.  And, it's not really gun safety you're after, it's gun eradication.  Your Alinsky inculcation demanded that even in the absence of facts, you not let the opportunity to advance disarmament of American citizens slip by.

    The left's heir apparent to one of the most disastrous presidencies in recent history was equally obtuse, stating: "We must take action to stop gun violence now."  Just where was her sense of urgency when U.S. diplomats in Libya were begging for protection?

    Today, with the backdrop of knowing that the murderers were fanatical Muslims killing people at a Christmas banquet, the dumb bastard will only allow that "It is possible that this is terrorist-related, but we don't know."  Interesting that he could [correctly] divine Dylann Roof's ill motives just hours after the Carolina shooting, but in the instant case can't quite connect the dots.

    Mine is not a plea for "more guns", nor an argument against preventing mental defectives or other undesirables from purchasing firearms.  We should - and do - have basic standards for lawfully acquiring guns, it's called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  Though not perfect, it works reasonably well for a program operated by the federal government, and necessarily constrained by the accuracy of its underlying database(s).

    But, we must not confuse the San Bernardino terrorists with crazed loners.  Like Fort Hood, Boston and Chattanooga, (and the foiled Garland, Texas attempt), this was radical Islam at work.  The United States cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the clear and present danger to our society.  

    The pathetic pacifist pultroons currently in leadership positions have inflicted too much damage already - it's time to change course.