I am a college graduate who earns his living working as an hourly on a factory floor. I have found that I prefer this to retail management and customer service, which I have also done though admittedly it does not pay as well. I am a Bible Believing Christian and politically I am center-right. This is just a place where I share my thoughts on anything that catches my mind.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
My Old Stomping Grounds
I used Google Earth for the first time tonight and was able to (somewhat) focus on the house I lived in from the time I was 10 until I joined the Navy, and then I was there a couple more times later (though only briefly.) It's actually part of a small hamlet of about 35 houses and a couple of other buildings.
My old house is one of the buildings the inside the pinkish circle. When I was growing up the entire triangular field was our playground (and the lot that cuts into it, along with the house on that lot, was not there so we had the entire thing.) We launched rockets and drove mini-bikes. For several years we had a regulation little league baseball field complete with backstop in that field. It also included a copse of trees at the western tip of the triangle of land my dad owned and we built forts and clubhouses there. Also in that copse of trees was a small pond complete with frogs, tadpoles and a kind of shrimp that resembled fairy shrimp, all of which we loved to catch when we were kids. It's up for sale now, a long with a lot of memories.
Why is it there are only three kinds of nuns on TV? There are saintly, good-hearted but very naive old ladies, sadistic catholic school teachers and secret lesbians.
There must be some variety in them, after all, this song which was made the Pop Top 40 when I was 16 was recorded by a Nun named Sister Janet Mead. Any nun who can producemusic like this is OK in my book. (Sorry, imbed has been disabled again.)
I am a Protestant but I have nothing but respect for a woman who would dedicate her life to God the way many nuns do. The way they are often treated on Saturday Night Live skits and movies is a disgrace. These women deserve more dignity then they are getting. It wasn't always like this.
Remember The Singing Nun?
My favorite movie involving nuns, other than The Sound of Music, is The Lilies of the Field where Sidney Poitier played a shiftless drifter who was unwittingly recruited by some Nuns to build a chapel, and while he felt that he was being taken advantage of as he was working without pay, he came to love these women of God and found direction and meaning in his life that had been missing. Doesn't sound like much of movie, but it has a lot of heart.
That was a comment posted on live stream show of a young man actually committing suicide.
I don't know what I feel more of. Disgust or Sorrow.
I have said before that there are very rare times when circumstances call for the taking of a human life, but it should never be for pleasure or entertainment (or even gain) and even when needed it should be viewed as a tragedy, and a time for introspection and soul searching. Many who were watching him considered this nothing more than a macabre form of entertainment, no better than those who cheered gladiators.
I note with some relief that ONE viewer made an effort to contact the police to save the young man's life but ONE of HOW MANY?
At least the provider that unwittingly allowed the live-stream to broadcast has taken it down. Sadly it's probably making the rounds in other forms as I write.
When I was much younger Rhodesia was called The Breadbasket of Africa. No one is denying that there were problems and racism in Rhodesia that should not have existed. Civil War and Rebellion resulted in changes in policy along with the name Zimbabwe, but Zimbabwe did pretty well for a while until Mugabe decided to redistribute the land to his cronies. Now Zimbabwe can't even feed itself, let alone be the breadbasket of Africa. Land that once produced a bounty of food now produces next to nothing. The political instability of the country does not help, but it is a symptom of the problem, not its cause.
Zava said he has seen villagers plucking undigested corn kernels from cow dung to wash and eat. A slaughtered goat is eaten down to everything but hooves, bones and teeth. Crickets, cicadas and beetles also can make a meal.
This is the inescapable consequence of socialism as is also demonstrated in North Korea, Cuba, and rapidly declining economy of Venezuela. Curiously China's economy started it's serious growth after Marx was officially abandoned. (China's current system is more properly Fascist ie state controlled capitalism, and Russia is heading in that direction as well). America is admittedly a long ways from being as bad off as Zimbabwe, but it didn't happen overnight in Zimbabwe and it is not beyond the realm of possibility.
Mugabe freed the people of Zimbabwe from white oppression only to starve them. Once he is finally removed from power there could be a slow but steady improvement, provided his destructive policies are abandoned. They needed to end the white oppression but they needed to do so in a way that didn't destroy the nations economy.
I have said before that capitalism is flawed and imperfect but so far it is the most tolerable of several bad choices. Like Democracy, Capitalism would be the dumbest idea in the world if all the other options weren't so much worse. There is no truly good option. We grown ups know that.
Update: I had originally included a cartoon but after reconsideration removed it because it was a little too vulgar.
Further Update: I have the audacity to question, not the character of the individual members of the left, but the long term consequences of their misguided beliefs and I become a hateful reactionary. I guess it's hateful to express doubt and have concerns that aren't in keeping with the program. Aren't these the same people who just a couple of years ago were saying that Dissent is the highest form of patriotism?
Furthermore, calling us extremists for merely expressing skepticism is totally uncalled for. They certainly didn't call for unity when Bush clearly won in 2004, with only 1% less of the vote than Mr. Obama got.
Has anyone on the right gone to this extreme? (Pardon the obscenities)
Not that I know of. If you equate expressing doubt with the uncontrolled hatred shown above then I need to question your judgment. If you agree with the sentiments of the above pictures then the hatred is on your side of the screen, not mine.
The revolution which started in the 60s with the “me” generation is bearing its bitter fruit — though its aging proponents will never admit it. And sadly, there’s no going back: the changes which have infiltrated and infected the culture, inoculated through education, media, entertainment, scientific rationalism, and a relentless and highly successful assault on reason and tradition, are permanent, and their consequences will only grow in magnitude.
So it’s time for a counter-revolution.
There is an alternative to our current cultural narcissism with its corrosive, calloused, destructive bent. It is not a new government program, nor a political movement; no demonstrations in the street, no marches on Washington. Its core ideology is over 2000 years old, and the foot soldiers of the revolution are already widely dispersed throughout the culture.
This revolutionary force is called Christianity, and it’s long past time to raise the banner and spring into action.
The true antidote to the nihilism and corruption of the age will be found, as it has always been, in the church. It has since its inception been a revolutionary force, transforming the hopeless and purposeless anarchy of the pagan world of its infancy by bringing light, hope and joy where there was none before.
I will suggest this even though some may consider it out of line for me.
Could we ever amend the Constitution in a manner that would put further limits on Congress? There are always statesmen who will put the interest of the nation ahead of their own political considerations, but if we were to want an amendment for term limits, or a balanced budget, or let's say requiring that the states pay their own congressmen and women as they see fit rather than the federal government, would it pass? Not when 60% of both houses is needed and it restricts the power of the people who make the decision. A handful of real statesmen might do it but not anywhere near enough.
There needs to be a way to amend the Constitution that completely bypasses the politicians. It would need to meet several criteria. It would need to be possible but very difficult. It would require a super-majority of Americans from several viewpoints. In other words it would require much more than a majority decision.
I would like to see the following.
Step 1: The people collect signatures on petitions which must be collected at stations and would require, I don't know, maybe a number of signatures equal to 10 to 25% of the number of people who voted for any presidential candidate in the last election. (Requiring the signatures to be collected at stations would mean that people are putting more thought into it and would also make fraud just a little more difficult.) All who sign them must have proof of citizenship and a valid voter ID which the signature collector must see and verify. The needed number of signatures must be obtained within 180 days in 4/5 of the states. The voter must sign in the same precinct they live in or, in sparsely populated areas, the same county.
Step 2: At least one year after the signatures are collected and verified (the minimum of one year is to allow debate, reflection, and reconsideration) but no more than three years later the amendment shall be included in the general election. In order to pass the vote must meet both of the following conditions: at least 3/5 of the electorate must say yes and it must have a majority say yes in at least 3/4 of the states. (The double super-majority combined with the reflection time would make it quite difficult to pass an amendment thus keeping foolish fads from passing.) If it fails in either respect it does not become part of the Constitution. If successful it officially becomes part of the Constitution when the next New Year officially begins at the nation's capital.
Step 3: If an amendment fails, its supporters may not try again for at least 10 years. (This will prevent the We'll keep trying till we succeed people from making a nuisance of themselves.)
There are things that we need that Congress will never approve of.
Making it a felony to vote illegally or knowingly register an unqualified voter.
Requiring all campaign funds to be spent in the same state they are collected in and making it illegal for candidates for congress to take funds from sources outside of their district for the house, and outside of their state for the Senate.
We need these and the only way we can get them is to go over the head of Congress and directly amend the Constitution when you have a super-majority willing to do it.
I don't know what I did or what happened, but I downloaded an anti-spyware system that TUCOWS gave very good marks to and now I can't get my computer to boot up. I depend on it for so much, including job searching that everything else is on hold until I get this fixed.
My computer goes as far as bringing up my wallpaper and then it stops. So far SAFE-MODE is inacessable too. I may have to purchase a Recovery Console floppy Monday. Until then I use library computers, which are alright but I do not like them.
UPDATE: A half hour working on a public computer solved the problem. I still have the troublesome software on my computer, but it's disabled until I can figure out what it clashed with causing my boot to lock up.
No one is denying that America is in trouble except for a very few. This problem cannot be blamed (entirely) on the politicians of either party as I believe we would be just as bad off, or worse, had the 2000, 04, or for that matter the 06 election gone any differently. Greed is rampant from the Wall Street people who want massive returns on their investments, the poor who demand something for nothing in the form of welfare, or the workers who demand massive pay for very little work, to celebrities getting 8 figure incomes for no good reason, to politicians taking bribes to people of every level demanding more, more, more while doing and giving less, less, less. There is no moral difference between massive bonuses and dividends for the wealthy that are unearned and the welfare checks for the poor that are equally unearned. The day that people figured out that they could get something for nothing or for very little this country began to decline.
No adult in this country, or any other nation on earth is innocent.
Obama and the left cannot solve the problem for they are but another symptom of the problem. The right cannot solve it because it's unwilling to tackle the real issues of universal greed and absolute selfishness. It's more than selfishness but it's also drunkenness, sexual immorality, drug abuse, money squandered on pointless things and out of control arrogance. Politicians of every stripe talk about immorality during the elections and then practice it after elected. Some will go so far as to deny the significance of immorality.
Can we do anything?
If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sins, and I will heal their land. II Chronicles 7:14
Start by confessing your own sins and our collective sins. Humble yourself before God. That is the only way to turn it around. If you think you have personally done nothing to bring this about or are 100% a victim of this then you need to do some serious soul searching. We need to humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and REPENT of our sins.
And that is only the start. And it probably won't bring results overnight. Nothing will happen without God's blessings so it must start there.
Many of us have favorite songs from many artists. There are songs that we could listen to over and over again if we could. I probably have several hundred songs that I truly love and thousands that I enjoy.
I am not big on any given genre as my favorite female artist is (was?) Karen Carpenter and my favorite male artist is Ted Nugent, (Spirit of the Wild was one the best album/CDs ever made) and you don't get much difference in style than between those two. I also love classical music, "bubble-gum" pop from the late 60s early 70s, old style rock n roll, country, and choral style music (though I honestly don't care for Crooning, Rap or the Blues). I also like songs whose lyrics are either Gospel or Secular, as they both delight me. Once I made a purchase at our local record shop and the proprieter started laughing and as I looked at him he smiled and said "Look at the two CDs you just bought." I had just bought a Led Zepplin CD and The Best of Roger Miller. He told me that he couldn't remember selling two such different disks to the same person on the same day. I told him they were both very good music of two very different styles. He acknowledged that I was right but it just struck him as funny because so many of his costumers only listen to one or two kinds of music.
That being said on to the specific songs. The first song is by the Moody Blues and it is by far my favorite song by them. In Your Wildest Dreams. It is a song of regret and wishing you had made a different decision many years ago as you wonder what could have been. I think all adults have regrets. In order to have no regrets you either never had to make a tough decision or you never made the wrong decision. It might be, as in this song, a lost love, or a career decision, or a major outlay of money or anything that cannot be easily corrected. I do have regrets and some of them are biggies. I go forward because you can't go back, but sometimesIn my Wildest Dreams. (I apologize for not embedding but the embed was disabled on this particular video.)
Sometimes the best songs are buried in albums and are never released as singles. My favorite song by Queen is a song called 39, which was included in A Night at the Opera and as far as I know was never released as a single. It's a song that sort of tells a story of a long voyage that forever separates the singer from his love. The song seems to be a story of starship moving at relativistic speeds so that 100 years pass on earth but only a little while passes for the singer and he returns to find that his love is long dead. Write your letters in the sand For the day I take your hand In the land that our grandchildren knew. The version that I am embedding seems to be a mixture of the intended story and a dedication to astronauts who perished when Columbia was destroyed during re-entry. I think of something else though. I think of my direct ancestor who led an expedition to the New World when Elizabeth I was queen and never came back, though his grandchildren later settled at Jamestown. What could he have said to my 14 or 15 x Great Grandmother if he could have sent her one last message, and what did she think when she realized he wasn't coming back. Would it have been a message similar to this song?
Another video of the same song, showing the story being enacted by LEGOs. It's kind of cute but will only be appreciated by those who like the song.
My intended third song was going to be All I Have To Do Is Dream by the Everly Brothers but as I was going through the selections at YouTube a picture from another of their songs caught my eye. One of my favorite fictional characters, the vampire Barnabas Collins from Dark Shadows was in the picture and my curiosity was piqued. It was their song Let It Be Me and it was so appropriate. In my mind Barnabas is kind of an every-man in that most of us long to be good, decent and respected people yet, like Barnabas, our own nature sometimes turns us into things we'd rather not be. Call it man's sinful nature if you will, but Barnabas being a vampire took that conflict with one's self to a whole new level. It didn't matter if Barnabas was a decent man trapped inside a vampire or if the vampire was the true self while his ideal self-image was an illusion. Regardless, Barnabas was conflicted between two powerful desires: the bloodthirsty vampire and the sophisticated, good-intentioned gentleman.
I have seen this scene before and on the show there was no dialogue but merely a musical score in the background as the two parts of his character clashed. The woman in the bed is named Victoria Winters and he enters her room intending to bite her and begin the process of changing her into a vampire to be his eternal bride, but he genuinely loves her and does not wish to harm her. His two mutually-exclusive desires silently, yet visibly conflict in this video as the man and the vampire struggle to decide what he will do.
I am curious to see what Johnny Depp will do with Barnabas when he brings him to the big screen in a couple of years.
I am quite familiar with the Mount Hope Assembly Church as I have been in the building few times, have met Dave Williams who is the pastor of the Church (though he is too much of a salesman type preacher for my tastes -- I prefer the scholar/teacher minister who simply lays out the facts.) I also know at least two dozen people who are members of this church.
Their morning worship service was interrupted this weekend. Members of a radical gay rights group created a little bit of an uproar during the service. It's on several news sites and I am trying to find out some more information that isn't in the news. The news stories are all virtually identical and I need to speak with more from people who were actually there. The Lansing State Journal's Article on it tells next to nothing.
What concerns me is that this is going to be happening more and more over the next few years as churches that don't march to the progressive drumbeat will begin to be attacked. Right now it is an isolated incident and we need to make sure it remains one.
The true haters in our modern society are those who hate Biblical Christianity.
On the upside, they are showing their masks can't hide their true face much longer. Such behavior reveals what they really are.
And Kudos to the congregants for not reacting violently. By reacting peaceably to this nonsense the Church may have completely ruined the plans of these people. They had video cameras ready to catch the violent hateful reactions and there weren't any.
I wonder what would have happened had some of the members of that Church returned the favor and one of their gatherings. My money would be on extreme violence.
H/T Carol at Carol's blog first alerted me to this though others are telling me as well.
Of course I make regular trips to Bay City to see my parents but that takes a day or two a week. Dad's doing OK and he just got a powered wheel chair which is something he has been looking forward to.
The City of Nyx is well underway. The first chapter practically wrote itself, but since then it's been a struggle and a constant rewriting as I continue. Knowing what you want to say and actually saying it in a way that is interesting and engaging is difficult. I don't know how Robert Heinlein, CS Lewis, or Anthony Burgess cranked out so many good books.
I am also working on a portrait of my parents which is a learn as you go process, even though I have done portraits in the past (many moons ago). They were always done before in oils and I am using acrylics and it isn't the same at all. The difference in drying time alone makes a big difference and it's easier in some ways (less trouble with bleeding and smearing) and harder in others (like the paint drying out while it's still on your pallet, plus blending, highlighting, and shadowing are not as easy.) Plus the actual technique is different as oil well; it's like having to learn all over again.
Stocks have had the worst two day plunge since the Market melt down of 1987. There has been a ten percent decline in two days and it doesn't show any sign of turning around anytime soon.
Why is this?
Did something happen two days ago that sent an icy chill through the business community?
Stock markets generally look forward. They are a reasonabe indicator of what the business community expects over the foreseeable future.
I remember the 1980 election. Reagan won on Tuesday. The following Wednesday and Thursday stocks shot way up only to decline a little bit on Friday. Johnny Carson got it exactly right when he said "After Ronald Reagan won the election Tuesday we saw the stock market go up the next day and the day after. Today the investors realized that Jimmy Carter was still in the White House for two more months."
The business community is not expecting things to improve or stocks would have started to rise. They were rising until the election. I don't see that as a good sign. If the rich aren't making money you can be sure that the middle class, working class, and poor won't either.
In the mid-70s Americans were sick of Richard Nixon and anyone associated with him. The results were that a relatively honest moderate named Jerry Ford was, rightly or wrongly, tarred by the Watergate scandal that he had nothing to do with. The Democrats had a "historic opportunity" to redefine American politics forever.
They botched it.
They nominated a highly charismatic, but inept man named Jimmy Carter as president. Inflation, unemployment, and loss of national prestige (all to much greater degree than we have had recently) were rampant and it appeared to some that America was going to go down for good. Jimmy Carter's response was to tell us that America was going to need to accept a smaller role in the world and then he lectured us on malaise. Inflation and unemployment were driven by his effort to artificially raise peoples' incomes by mandating raises through minimum wage laws and letting the unions run rampant, a precursor to redistribution.
America fired him.
The next Democratic President was a competent sleaze. He was first, foremost and almost entirely a politician. America did relatively well because he recognized that corporate America paid the bills and that if they weren't making money nobody was. His Democratic Leadership Council recognized the importance of business being profitable and he governed accordingly.
A new Democrat has been elected. Is he Bill Clinton again or is he Jimmy Carter? My money is on Jimmy Carter. Economic collapse is the inescapable long-term conclusion of simple redistribution. (Any possible, but unlikely, early improvements is comparable to avoiding famine by eating your seedcorn only to starve later when there is nothing left to plant. )We should have learned that with the great society, but the lie of Socialism is so seductive that people refuse to learn that it will NEVER work. Socialism will work when men can fly by flapping their arms; it is impossible.
I hope I'm wrong but I am certain that I am right. Jimmy Carter is getting his second term in the person of Barak Obama.
Now he could prove me wrong by avoiding redistribution and governing like Clinton did but I really don't think he will. If he governs from the center, which is to the right of his voting record, he'll do OK, but I don't think he is pragmatic enough to do that.
I predict that the GOP and conservatives will do very well in 10 and 12.
From High School I went into the Navy where I served a little over two years and got discharged for medical reasons. I studied and trained for the Ministry but am temperamentally unsuited for that job so I entered retail and food management for several years. I really wanted to write fiction so I decided to get a factory job while I did it. I found that I am actually happy producing things in a factory and I have written a couple of novels, which I hope never see the light of day :-D.