December 14, 2017

The Internet Monk Saturday Brunch: 2/4/17

THE INTERNET MONK SATURDAY BRUNCH

”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”

Well, I sure am glad this was such a quiet, uneventful week, aren’t you? No wonder the guy above is grinning. Today, Internet Monk officially proclaims that this is the superhero we need for our times: Captain Chaos — “Dun dun DUNNNN!!

Oh yes, we also marked Groundhog Day this past week. The crack reporters from the Babylon Bee were there to give us the results…

Joel Osteen Sees Own Shadow, Predicts Another Year Of Taking Bible Out Of Context

And to top off this amazing week, there is a little football game coming up on Sunday. Here are a few fun facts to spice up your enjoyment of Superb Owl LI.

  • More than 100 million people will watch the game.
  • Hosting the game will cost the city of Houston 5.5 million dollars.
  • The game is expected to bring at least $350 million to Houston’s local economy.
  • On Monday, the average reseller price for a ticket to the game was over $6,000.
  • The cost of a 30-second television ad during the game exceeds $5 million.
  • Tiffany’s has been producing the Vince Lombardi Trophy since SB I in 1967. The trophy is made from scratch every year and costs $50,000.
  • Sports fans are poised to wager more than $4 billion in bets on this year’s SB, with about 97 percent being bet illegally.
  • SB Sunday is the second largest food consumption day in America, behind only Thanksgiving.
  • Americans will buy 12.5 million pizzas on SB Sunday, with an average order value of $26.45.
  • Over the weekend, Americans are set to eat 1.33 billion chicken wings.
  • Beer sales will approach $600 million, and another $110 million will be spent on liquor and spirits.

And what would this game be without the advertisements? Here is the SB ad that will unite America in these divisive early days of 2017:

• • •

With all that food on the table tomorrow, we’d better stretch our stomachs today with several extra helpings at the IM brunch buffet! Come on, who wants some more bacon?

SPURIOUS CORRELATIONS

This one is for our Canadian friend Mike Bell and for everyone who loves statistics and cogent analysis. Check out tylervigen.com for some amazing charts revealing remarkable correlations that tell incredible stories!

For example…

THIS IS ONE BAD TEACHER

And I mean that in a good way. I love teachers who help their students enjoy coming to school and learning. Barry White Jr., a fifth-grade English teacher at the Ashley Park Elementary School in Charlotte, North Carolina, is one of those inspiring teachers.

Every morning he greets each student with a unique, specially choreographed handshake, welcoming them to school in style. Watch how they do it…

These kids will remember Mr. White their whole life long.

RANK THE NEW ENGLAND INSTITUTIONS

Okay, so maybe Ted and Randy and a few other of our New England readers (Joanie, are you there?) can help us have a little fun with this one.

Bill Pennington at the New York Times has issued a challenge: rank the New England Patriots (playing in this year’s big game) among some of the other great institutions of the region.

Here’s the list:

  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Fried Clams
  • Ben Affleck and Matt Damon
  • The New England Patriots
  • The Boston Celtics (Larry Bird)
  • The Boston Marathon
  • The Old North Church and Paul Revere
  • Cheers
  • The Red Sox, Fenway and the “Green Monster”
  • L.L. Bean
  • Stephen King
  • Higher Education

Go to the article, take the quiz, and then read the results. After that you can tell us what kind of a New Englander you are.

And hey, sorry we left out the Bruins, hockey fans. And Ted, where the heck are the lobster rolls? They gotta be #1, right?

QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

Is division among Christians always a scandal?

What is the future of Christian healthcare sharing?

Where have all the skinny jeans pastors gone?

Why do many think human blood is sometimes blue?

Is this really a good idea for Valentine’s Day? And would a person really need reservations?

SCIENTISTS WILL MARCH ON WASHINGTON

Scientists are not typically known as activists, but the recent women’s marches in Washington and across the U.S. have inspired “thousands of scientists [to] leave their labs and take to the streets to rally on behalf of publicly funded, openly communicated, evidence-based research.”

The “March for Science” is scheduled for April 22, Earth Day.

Here’s the text from the march’s official site:

The March for Science is a celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community. Recent policy changes have caused heightened worry among scientists, and the incredible and immediate outpouring of support has made clear that these concerns are also shared by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Mischaracterization of science as a partisan issue, which has given policymakers permission to reject overwhelming evidence, is a critical and urgent matter. It is time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted.

ON APRIL 22, 2017, WE WALK OUT OF THE LAB AND INTO THE STREETS.

We are scientists and science enthusiasts. We come from all races, all religions, all gender identities, all sexual orientations, all abilities, all socioeconomic backgrounds, all political perspectives, and all nationalities. Our diversity is our greatest strength: a wealth of opinions, perspectives, and ideas is critical for the scientific process. What unites us is a love of science, and an insatiable curiosity. We all recognize that science is everywhere and affects everyone.

Science is often an arduous process, but it is also thrilling. A universal human curiosity and dogged persistence is the greatest hope for the future. This movement cannot and will not end with a march. Our plans for policy change and community outreach will start with marches worldwide and a teach-in at the National Mall, but it is imperative that we continue to celebrate and defend science at all levels – from local schools to federal agencies – throughout the world.

FATHER RENE AND HIS DECLARATION OF LIFE

Here is the remarkable story of Father Rene Robert, a priest in St. John’s County, Florida who was vehemently opposed to the death penalty. His life’s work involved helping people with substance abuse problems and criminal histories. In 1995, he signed a notarized “Declaration of Life,” asking that, if he were ever to be murdered, the killer would be allowed to live.

“Should I die as a result of a violent crime, I request that the person or persons found guilty of homicide for my killing not be subject to or put in jeopardy of the death penalty under any circumstance, no matter how heinous their crime or how much I have suffered.”

Last year, at age 71, Robert was murdered. The alleged killer, Steven Murray, was a repeat offender that the priest was working with in hopes of his rehabilitation. Now, if convicted, Murray could face the death penalty.

The priest’s Declaration of Life has no legal significance in court. But his family, his fellow priests, and his alleged killer hope the dead priest’s stated commitment to life will lead to Murray being spared the ultimate punishment.

Father Robert’s fellow ministers in Florida’s Diocese of St. Augustine have taken his wishes to heart. A petition has amassed more than 7,000 signatures by people who oppose the death penalty for his alleged killer. On Jan. 31, the Florida diocese delivered the petition to the Georgia court where Steven Murray will be tried for the crime.

THIS WEEK IN MUSIC…

The first truly great singer-songwriter album of 2017 has been playing non-stop in my car for a few weeks now. Natalie Hemby’s Puxico is a wonderfully evocative tribute to a hometown, in this case her grandfather’s hometown.

Each year and for many decades now, that small town, Puxico, Missouri, has held a week-long homecoming celebration of their lives and their history. Natalie Hemby decided to do a documentary film about Puxico and its homecoming, and the songs on this album come from the film and its stories.

For a Midwest boy like me, this album hits the sweetest of spots in my heart, and Natalie Hemby’s expressive lyrics and wistful voice take me back there every time I hear them. Home.

Here is my favorite song on Puxico, a vivid, pensive picture of the mark a small town hero makes on those he leaves behind.

Comments

  1. First???

  2. Dan from Georgia says:

    Checking out the Babylon Bee…who is Paul Washer? Should I fear him? Can I ask for the few minutes of my life back after reading about him?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      That might be about as interesting as recent half-time shows. Perhaps for one guy preaching they could actually get the sound system to work correctly!

  3. Valentine’s reservations at White Castle? You’ve got to be kidding me. Maybe it’s just as well that 1) I’m single and 2) there are no White Castle restaurants anywhere near my residence. I should note, though, that I can buy White Castle frozen sliders at the local Aldi or Giant grocery stores.

    • This is a real thing, and the local White Castle up here in MN is PACKED OUT every V-Day. With old white people. But still.

    • I have NEVER understood the appeal of White Castle. Fried cardboard in cheap buns, that’s what it tastes like to me…

    • A few years ago my wife and I were having dinner at a little burger place where you place your order at one window and then your food is passed through another window about 5 minutes later; then you find a seat.

      I noticed a young couple that I knew from a local church and said hi, and they informed us that they were there celebrating their first anniversary.

      That gave me a lot to think about. Maybe we don’t need to spend the big buck$ to make an anniversary or Valentine’s Day special and memorable.

    • –> “I should note, though, that I can buy White Castle frozen sliders at the local Aldi or Giant grocery stores.”

      Found some of those in the grocery store here in Washington state. Bought them as an appetizer for a NFL playoff party I hosted. Not great, but perfect junk food.

  4. Regarding the “skinny jeans pastors” article: the timing is very interesting. My church’s senior pastor, who’s now 70, recently announced he plans to retire in a couple of years. Meanwhile, two of the assistant pastors are over 60, one is pushing 60 and only one is under 40. I’ll be 60 in a couple of years so I appreciate the wisdom that comes with maturity, but what about the younger folks who’ll still be around after folks like me are gone?

    • I attend a rather stereotypical, large, youth-oriented church (worship band, et al). When I look around any given Sunday, a large percentage of the attendees are my age or older, and I am no spring chicken (born the last year of the baby boom). For all the effort to market to youth at the expense of shunning the older community, American Evangelicalism is aging. There is irony in this observation, as well as real concern.

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        Serious question: is worship at your church youth-oriented, or baby-boomer oriented? Youth-oriented music is a moving target. Is that worship and playing Christian hip hop, or Christian rock with a 1970s or ’80s esthetic? If our parents’ generation had invented “contemporary worship” it would consist of Benny Goodman knockoffs, and they would have spent the 1970s wondered by this didn’t bring the kids in.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > the timing is very interesting

      It is not just Churches. Many institutions are struggling to leap the generational divide. Boomer’s did not feel compelled to do much to make sure Gen-Xs followed them, so now they have a big demographic gap, and need to make the leap to recruiting from the Millennials. A wide variety of institutions are going to die with the Boomers – I can show you lots of NPOs and quite a few companies that are almost entirely gray.

      I work with a **SOFTWARE COMPANY** with not an employee under 50. Look around the office one day: “Uh oh!”.

      Interesting times.

      • And A Certain Somebody’s hiring freeze is going to do nothing to help that problem in the federal government. And it is a problem, and it doesn’t get noticed much outside of DC…

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          It is a serious problem in state government as well. Doubly so when your state’s government is located in one of the saddest cities in the state (Lansing, MI); that makes hiring/recruiting really hard[*1]. Nobody wants to move there. If it was a business it would relocate.

          Our DOT is like a retirement home.

          [*1] The commuter numbers we say for a passenger rail viability study were mind-blowing; people commute from the east and west, nobody lives there.

      • When I look for groups to hang out with one of my criteria is to find a group where I do NOT lower the average age. If I’m doing that I’m in the wrong crowd.

    • “And the church increasingly loved it too as you stood out the front prior to your trip and narrated how you were “going to make a real difference” in the world rather than proclaiming a message that was hopelessly mired in western theological assumptions…”
      I see this in my area, my church. Our church for the past 5 years or so, partners with a group called Pack Away Hunger which puts together nutritious meal packets made of dried rice, some spices, and I am not sure what else. They are distributed in our community (maybe 70%) and the rest overseas. One of the local food banks says people were skeptical at first but now ask for them. We fundraise & involve people from the community to package the meals. Each meal costs us I think $.30 and Last year, I think we did 30,000, give or take a few thousnad.
      The reaction of some of our own church members has been that we need to do more mission trips, more community outreach. What?? This is community outreach. We are feeding people! But it’s work, it’s not showy, and much of it is dull with no video you can show to friends & relatives about how your two weeks in Africa changed YOU.

      • Boom. Spot on.

      • As wicked as it was, I have this idealized version of 1800s London in my head of them doing it all right back then. I know reality is a different thing, but when I think of feeding the poor and the so called “social gospel”, I think of that time.

        • Dana Ames says:

          The Sunday School movement began in England in the 1800s, when parishes offered schooling to children who had to work every other day of the week. It was “bible-based” in that it taught kids to read using the Bible as the text, in the hope that in learning how to read they could extricate themselves from the grinding work in the factories Dickens describes so chillingly in his books. These Christians did something before the government ever took up the cause.

          Dana

          • That’s what gets me. The same people who whine about the “social gospel” are the ones who whine that the church and not the government should be involved in charity.

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        This. Very much this. The problem is not that those crazy kids nowadays want to work for social justice, when they should be doing Gospel stuff. The problem is that many churches think that “social justice” is at best a distraction from the serious business of the church. If the church thinks that social justice is incidental to the Gospel, it needs to go back to first principles and reevaluate. It probably should start by getting a better translation of the Bible.

        My church has a program somewhat akin to yours. I am pleased to report that even in our most dire budget discussions, I have not once heard anyone suggest that this would be a place to cut expenses.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        But Mission Trips Save Souls(TM)!
        Yet another corollary of a Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation.

  5. Mr. White made me miss teaching. That was the damndest, funniest, cutest thing I’ve seen in a long time. That’s individualizing if I’ve ever seen it. Every teacher has to see that video. You go Mr. White!!

  6. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    Wow! In regard to the Skinny Jeans Pastor crisis … that list of 9 items in the “State of Pastors report” is markedly self-congratulatory and not much more than curmudgeonly gas-lighting.

    “Demographic”, “Social”, and “Economic” are certainly true – but also represent real opportunities for churches that aren’t nationalistic, culturally hidebound, or tea-party enclaves; so…. not many churches.

    Vocational – professional and networking groups are multiplying in response to the gig-ing of the economy. Groups need places to meet. Churches have buildings. Churches could open their doors to the their communities… yeah, I know, commercial taint and possible liability issues. Never mind.

    Institutional / Legal – “Christian institutions are at increasing risk of running afoul of the law.” Right. Persecution complex much?

    Digital – “””“Digital Babylon” is an always-on,””” Good luck with that outreach; calling people “Babylonians”. Is that a dance group?

    Moral – Yawn. Do they realize every single generation says this? As it fades into the retirement home.

    Spiritual – “””Nominal, cultural Christianity is no longer the “default position” of Americans”””. So when nominal cultural Christianity was the default … that was awesome? Maybe the problem is your bar is so low it inspires pretty much nobody.

    From the CT article – “””Many boomer pastors and staff have strong desires to mentor the next generation,”””. What is a Boomer’s definition of “mentor”? Based on this list it doesn’t sound like much fun.

    “””Go to your local Christian bookstore and you realise that when the kingdom is everything, then nothing is the kingdom.”””

    Ok – my advice – if the Christian Church wants to actually be Relevant – STOP GOING TO THE CHRISTIAN BOOK STORE! STOP, JUST STOP! Please.

    P.S. Also stop making dumb self-congratulatory lists.

    • “So when nominal cultural Christianity was the default … that was awesome?”

      It was if you were an “evangelical”. For everybody else…

    • “if the Christian Church wants to actually be Relevant – STOP GOING TO THE CHRISTIAN BOOK STORE! STOP, JUST STOP! Please.”

      I mourned the passing of Borders. It was the ONLY bookstore in the area that consistently stocked serious theology books.

      • Randy Thompson says:

        Yes.
        I find Christian bookstores generally to be disheartening.
        Increasingly, the CBD catalog (generally) affects me the same way.

        • Dan from Georgia says:

          I second that. I visit Family Christian Bookstore about 2-4 times per year, and sometimes I feel like I have to plug my nose. Seems like they are geared towards white middle-aged stay at home moms and their kids. Only safe material is allowed in there. “Safe” as in unoffensive. God is safe after all…

          Besides that, seems like Christian bookstores in general practice racial segregation. The “gospel” music is separate from every other music collection, and their “gifts and trinkets” section sometimes have an “African-American” section also.

        • –> “I find Christian bookstores generally to be disheartening.”

          Or how about Christian publishing?! I would like to think my sci-fi novel would have a Christian audience (there’s some spiritual depth and a Christ-like figure in it), but I’m disheartened to suddenly realize that there are parts in it that a Christian publisher won’t touch with a ten-foot pole.

          Here’s my recent story: A recent acquaintance (who’s published his own novel) recommended I submit the first fifteen pages of my manuscript to a Christian publishing contest, telling me that if I were to come in the top three I’d have agents swarming at my door. He read my first fifteen pages and said (paraphrasing) “This is good. You should submit it,” but he also recommended I take out the word “Damn” that pops up in one line of dialog, saying that the contest people wouldn’t let that go through.

          What the —- ?!?! You mean, I can’t have characters use real life language?!?! And would they let all the violence in my story go through but cringe at the periodic mild profanity!?!?!

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            I have heard the same from other writers and would-be writers. :(. It is an issue of cultural conformity; not ethics, not morality, and not Theology. 🙁

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            The seminal essay on the subject, by Brit SF writer Simon Morden:
            http://www.simonmorden.com/about/essays/sex-death-and-christian-fiction/

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            And a guest editorial from the blog of one of my writing partners (the burned-out preacher):
            http://alanloewen.blogspot.com/2016/09/guest-editorial-why-is-christian.html

            Here’s the section that stands out to me:

            Their rules:
            No aliens. Because they don’t exist.
            No distant-future stories. Because Jesus is coming really soon, and there won’t be a distant future.
            No space colonization stories. Because then all the nations wouldn’t be able to be gathered on earth for the final judgement. (what?! You’re saying God can’t arrange for people to have a convention? You’re saying having a bus ticket is going to confound God? Wow.)
            No time travel. Because it’s impossible.
            No stories about genetic engineering, unless it’s portrayed as an evil.
            No stories about artificial intelligence, unless it’s portrayed as an evil.
            No stories about other religions, unless they’re portrayed as bad.
            No stories about fake made up science fiction religions, as that’ll put bad thoughts into people’s heads
            No stories about irradiated foods, or genetically engineered foods, unless it’s portrayed as evil. No, really.
            No alternate histories. Because the future is ordained, so how could there be a different past? (That’s a little too Calvinistic for me, but, whatever)
            No steampunk, because it’s trendy, and we don’t know what it is.
            Well what the heck is left after all that stuff is ruled out? I’m going on memory here, I may have erred on a point or two, but that’s the gist.

            Attendees were told that they should limit themselves – “Limit” themselves! – to stories about near-future dystopias where Christians are persecuted by an emerging Satanic world government.

            i.e. The ONLY stories Christians are permitted to write: Near-Future Persecution Dystopias with End Time Prophecy tie-in.

            “We have signed the future over to the Antichrist and only wait to be beamed up.”

          • Khazidhea says:

            Hi Rick Ro,

            I for one hope you find a publisher, I’m eager for good sci-fi from Christian authors.

            As an aside, if anyone wants recommendations, I’m currently reading through the works of a Kerry Nietz, looks like he’s taken up self publishing. I prefer his Darktrench Saga, but the first title of his that I picked up was called Amish Vampires in Space, which was surprisingly decent (I liked the Amish and the Space categories, the vampires not so much).

  7. Mr. White ROCKS!

  8. Aging pastorate, poor ecclesiology? Any wonder why?

    Why do Evangelicals obsess over this stuff? After all, if they were honest they’ve been saying for centuries that “salvation is NOT found in the Church (only)”.

    Instead of bitchin go swim the Tiber or the Bosporus why don’t cha….

  9. “Is division among Christians always a scandal?”

    Sure it is. But it was there from the get-go as in Paul vs Peter and James. The church became less “unified” with expansion. The Maginot Line extended from Judea/Palestine through North Africa.

  10. 1) Am I the only one who doesn’t find Babylon Bee funny? Esp. given the author’s proximity to neo-puritanism, most of the humor falls flat for me. Osteen might take the Bible out of context, but at least he isn’t hurting people the way that Piper does when he rapes the Scripture.

    2) Spurious correlations are funny, but they hide the fact that actual statistical science uses much more complex math to weed out covariance. I’m working on a multi-factor ANOVA at work right now to try and model individual performance, and it is pretty challenging. One thing it is NOT is two-dimensional! I wish kids were more interested in STEM in general, but this may not be the way to do it.

    3) Barry White Jr. seems genuinely human. May all teachers be so.

    4) Larry Bird is NOT a New England anything. He is a hick from French Lick. Said the bitter Knicks fan.

    5) And number one is fried clams, btw.

    6) Father Rene makes me sick to my stomach. I don’t think he gets it – execution (or not) isn’t the choice of the dead. It is the choice of the living community for the purpose of establishing boundaries, punishing evil, and extinguishing behaviors that are nearly always recidivistic. That doesn’t make it right or wrong; in fact, based on the statistics I’d say that I can’t in good conscience support the death penalty. But it isn’t an individual’s choice, especially one who doesn’t have to stick around and bear the consequences of his choice. I wish we in America in general would be a little more balanced about individual and community responsibility and rights.

    • Second the motion on fried clams. #nomnomnom

    • flatrocker says:

      Dr. F,
      > “6) Father Rene makes me sick to my stomach. I don’t think he gets it…”

      A more careful reading of what he wrote is no different than many other “Last Will and Testament” bequests that are part and parcel of someone’s last wishes. When we hear “I ask my children to respect and care for their mother,” or “have all my friends throw a beer bash in my honor,” or “spread my ashes from a plane over the ocean” , etc, etc, etc., I hear the echo of Fr. Rene’s words. Albeit, maybe to a different beat, but an echo nonetheless.

      Fr. Rene’s request is just that – a request of how we should treat each other in his own words. You can take issue with whether you will abide his request or not, but we shouldn’t diminish his right to make such a request as part of his own last testament.

      For that, I think he very much “gets it.”
      Here’s to hoping you get over your sick stomach.

    • >> Am I the only one who doesn’t find Babylon Bee funny?

      Probably. Going to the Bee’s site to read the story I got engrossed and learned several new things I hadn’t known before. First I learned who both teams playing in the Super Bowl are, tho admittedly I’ve already forgotten. Then I learned that you can subscribe to get new stories by email, and in the process of doing that I learned that the Bee is published in my home state of Michigan, the first claim of the year for my home state to be proud of, and hopefully not the last but not holding my breath. Further, on looking up the town in Wikipedia to find out where it was, I discovered it was in the county I grew up in along with Detroit and is the 29th safest community in the whole country. That’s a lot of information to absorb in one morning. I’m guessing you probably don’t much care for The Onion either.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      “””Am I the only one who doesn’t find Babylon Bee funny?”””

      Nope. For me it reads mostly as Smug. And does the world really need another satire site?

      • >> And does the world really need another satire site?

        Probably, but this is extremely difficult to do well and once a niche is filled, it’s filled. I would say between the Bee and the Church Curmudgeon, the extremes of the Evangelical world are pretty much covered. I suppose “smug” would be mostly a matter of individual perspective, but I do not find either of those sites or The Onion to be mean spirited. Perhaps a gentle parody here and there might help educate folks and ease world tensions as long, of course, as you are not poking fun at me or my personal beliefs.

    • Father Rene’s declaration is a victim’s impact statement, no?

      • >> Father Rene’s declaration is a victim’s impact statement, no?

        On par with Jesus’ victim impact statement of Father, forgive them. Whether or not Jesus’ statement makes a person sick to their stomach is pretty much an individual reaction.

    • Richard Hershberger says:

      “Father Rene makes me sick to my stomach.”

      This reaction is, umm…, peculiar. Even stipulating for the sake of discussion that the philosophical basis of Father Rene’s request is flawed, nausea is an odd response to a request that mercy be granted another.

    • I actually enjoy the Babylon Bee quite a bit, though maybe now I’m afraid to admit it here. Mind you, not all of it works for me, but they’re dead-on with many of their attempts to show the absurdity of some church-related “issues.”

  11. Regarding the science march (not whether scientists should march or not, due to its political appearance), when do numerous political marches start to lose their effectiveness, and even start to create some eye-rolling, if not resentment? I am not saying they should or should not, but I am wondering how that is starting to play in Washington and in the general public.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      Well, this president lives by optics more than any before. So protests mught be more effective on this administration than most others.

      • Yes. The man craves popularity. He needs it the way a junkie need heroin. It’s good that he can look out his window, or on his TV screen, and see that there are vast throngs of Americans that can’t stand his guts. He can deny the validity of polls, but he can’t completely ignore the evidence of his own eyes.

      • What is more effective than public whining is: Organize, register and vote for appropriate representation. That is what Republicans did after 2008 and now they have all three branches of government, 31 governorships and over 1000 more Republican representatives in state government. These protests amount to a toddler who kicks his heels and falls down on the floor when things don’t go his way. If the parent is weak willed then he MAY get his way, but the victory is only temporary. You can criticize all you want but if that is as far as it goes then it is of limited value. Symbols and symbolic actions, slogans and emotional appeals are no substitute for hard work and meaningful action.

        I’m not a supporter of the president but I don’t wish him ill, only success in leading the country in a good direction. I said the same when B.O was elected.

        • Burro (Mule) says:

          The problem is that Americans don’t want to govern themselves. They want to govern the other guy, to make mandatory for him what is a natural expression of their inner soul for themselves.

          Case in point: Congress’ ratings are even lower than Trump’s, but everybody rates their own representative highly.

          • Well, you’ve got a point there. Both of you do. We need real action – not protests, but if you have people who don’t really want to self govern, what are you left with?

            • Burro (Mule) says:

              A decision made by whoever can convince the majority of young men of military age, as in Spain eighty years ago.

            • That strategy is for the Democratic Party to pick up. It is THEY who have to convince people that they have the correct plan for the country. Instead we see people like Elizabeth Warren thundering about white supremacists and income inequality. THAT particular strategy FAILED, so why continue unless you want to cement your defeat in an even more rigid substrate?

        • The current occupant of the Oval Office did not get there by hard and disciplined political work; he whined, he media-manipulated and lied, he conspiracy-theoried his way in. Other Republicans rode his coat-tails into election and re-election, but his coat-tails were being lifted by a part of the electorate as pissed-off at establishment Republicans as at Democrats.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            ‘I want all of you to open your window, lean out, and yell as loud as you can:
            “I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!!!!!”‘
            Network

        • oscar, Gee, its sounds like you’ve had lots of experience in politics. I guess you’ve been very politically active in your life.

    • If not march, then what? Speaking in opposition runs the same risk of generating resentment and eye-rolling as peaceful street protests, which after all are a form of speech. What other options? Sit on one’s hands and wait for it to pass? It won’t. Of course, there’s always the option of joining and/or supporting the antifas. It may come to that.

      • See my post above. Once a body has contracted a disease complaining doesn’t make it go away. Treatment is necessary, and THAT is hard work and takes time.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      A question I always ask in a real-world instance of this question is: have you every attended a Protest [aka Rally]? Even been to a Black Lives Matter gathering? The answer to that correlates to the answer to the question.

      As someone who has been to several of both – interesting info – they are fun! The recent woman’s protest post-election was a blast. It was a carnival atmosphere. And it never looks that way on the news – trust me. Objecting to protests is a very odd thing for church people to do – as they do a very similar thing very regularly [only often it is less fun].

      A protest is a bunch of people united by a common conviction getting together. Why? Because we are human, and that is what humans do. That is why protesting is a sacred act. The protest is a political sacrement.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        To be honest – when I hear someone grumbling about-those-whiny-protestors – to me it sounds curmudgeonly. And it makes me sad, for them. Whatever someone’s political convictions [within the boundaries of sanity] if the manifestation of those is to mutter at people being people – THEY have chosen a posture that cuts them off from a part of their humanity.

        I try to get those people to come with me. They rarely agree. Which is good for curmudgeonliness – a survival instinct perhaps – as it has proven incapable of enduring much actual humanity. Humanity is too beautiful – the curmudgeon must flee or perish.

      • Mutual support is an important part of these political rallies. It’s very human, as you say.

      • Patrick Kyle says:

        The protests accomplish nothing other than letting the participants feel like they have ‘done something’ for the cause. They are also probably a political safety valve of sorts. The current President will ignore the protests just like Bush and Obama ignored the Tea Party marches, the Million Man March and the March for Life. This is one of the reasons that protests are getting more violent. A couple hundred thousand peaceful protesters are quietly gone the next morning and are forgotten as the news cycle turns to other things. Violence has staying power in the media and is able to provoke a reaction. Whether this reaction is constructive in helping the protesters achieve their ends is doubtful. It also lays bare the anti-freedom agenda of those committing the violence.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          Have you ever attended a Protest [aka Rally]? Been to a Black Lives Matter gathering?

          “””This is one of the reasons that protests are getting more violent.”””

          Evidence please?

  12. Andrew Zook says:

    I, my family and a few other friends will be intentionally missing the great big “game” (and all of its 13min of action, and hrs of commercials, crowd/sideline footage and footage of old white guys yammering about it)
    But the biggest reason to abstain? the new england patriots… Looking back on my worsening relationship with american egg ball, I think they, ‘america’s team’ forced me to start looking at other sports for my vicarious sport experiences and I did find others that were far more satisfying. (and usually didn’t keep me up as late nor pummel me with commercialism)

  13. Lobster rolls. Yeah, without them and L.L. Bean a lot of people wouldn’t have any reason to come to Maine.

    But if McDonald’s brings back the lobster roll, please…just say no. Wretched attempt.

    • Ha, I remember that when I was a kid! Never ate them, though. The fact that New England McDonalds served lobster rolls and hot dogs was evidence enough for me that New England is just different from the rest of the country.

  14. Mr. White meets every person as an individual and responds to them as such. No two interactions are the same. Nothing is required other than to stand in line to gain admittance. Highly talented extroverts are met with equal skill and introverts are acknowledged as equally valued human beings with different skills. No distinction is made on religious, racial, ethnic, cultural, intellectual, or gender grounds. All are welcomed in love and appreciated for who they are. This could be what it looks like at the Pearly Gate. Mr. White just might be God.

  15. Annual reminder that there is no rise in sex trafficking during the super bowl, it’s a complete myth.

    But sure sounds true and fits the narrative, doesn’t it.

  16. Randy Thompson says:

    My Ranking of Great New England Institutions

    1. The Mount Washington Cog Railroad
    2. The Mount Washington Hotel
    3. Bar Harbor, ME
    4. Acadia National Park (next door to Bar Harbor, both on Mt. Desert Island)
    5. Mystic Seaport (CT)
    6. Sturbridge Village (MA)
    7. Burlington, VT (downtown and lake front areas)
    8. Weston VT (for the Weston Priory and the Vermont Country Store)
    9. The Freedom Trail (Boston)
    10. Block Island, RI

    Eating Establishments
    1. Pepe’s Pizza, New Haven
    2. Sally’s Apizza, New Haven
    3. Modern Apizza, New Haven

    After these three places, no other pizza place can be taken seriously, anywhere. (Take THAT, New York!)

    Also:
    4. Bob’s Clam Hut (Kittery, ME)
    5. The Maine Diner (Wells, ME)
    6. The Friendly Toast (Portsmouth, ME)
    7. Durgin Park Restaurant (upstairs at Quincy Market, Boston)
    8. Sunshine Oriental Restaurant (Concord, NH)
    9. Red’s Eats, Wiscasset, ME (Best lobster roll anywhere!)
    10. Shaw’s Fish and Lobster Wharf Restaurant (New Harbor, ME). Best friend clams anywhere.

    Yes, the Red Sox and Patriots are important. (Go Pats!) But, first things first.

    • Ever been to Lenny and Joes, in Madison, CT? Spent many fine summer afternoons there with my family chowing down on fried clams and hot buttered lobster rolls (still love them so much more than the cold Maine kind). And of course, Lenny and Joe’s participates in what may be the greatest New England tradition of all: getting people to pay you for the privilege of advertising for you. They sold $5 t-shirts that my family wore all year round for any kind of event!

      • Randy Thompson says:

        Wesley,
        My last 20 years living in Connecticut we lived in places far from Madison (which also is reputed to have one of the best bookstores in the state as I recall). I do remember, from our New Haven days, loving to eat at The Place in Guilford.CT. Is it still there? If so, I’d add it to my list. (I have heard that there is also a “The Place” somewhere in Boston, but I haven’t been there.)

    • I’m keeping this list for our summer itinerary. Keep the light on, Randy, looks like we might be heading your way!

      • Randy Thompson says:

        Excellent!
        Let us know when you’ll be coming through. We’ll leave the light on for you (with apologies to Motel 6).
        If you make back to Forest Haven, you may want to try Bradford’s own Bradford Junction. Cheapest eats anywhere (and cash only).

    • Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro, Maine?
      Helen’s in Machias? (pies…)

      And there’s that little Pakistani place in old Quebec City. I swear, going to Quebec is like going to another country…

    • I would add Hampton Beach, NH and Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, ME to your list.

      Hope springs eternal. Red Sox pitchers and catchers report on February 13. For Chaplain Mike’s benefit, Cubs pitchers and catchers report the next day.

  17. Burro (Mule) says:

    Why is Noo En’land the least evangelical place in the US? Old School hard-drinkin’, hard-fightin’, hard-confessin’ Southies and their long-suffering priests may be the public face of Christianity up there

    Please don’t say it’s because they’re smarter.

    I think Emerson and Thoreau had something to do with it.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      Because they had too much of the crazy stuff for too long. Burnt over District and all that.

    • >> I think Emerson and Thoreau had something to do with it.

      Latecomers. It was all but over by then. Try Jonathan Edwards. He apparently had an encounter with the Holy Spirit and managed to intellectualize it the rest of his life, which was cut short by volunteering to take the new fangled small pox vaccine to encourage others to do the same and it killed him. Congregationalism was already in full swing with Unitarian/Universalism waiting in the wings, all acting as a sort of vaccine against spiritual perception. Let’s face it, these folks started out with people who purposely landed on the North Atlantic coast with no food and no shelter in the dead of winter. Did they not have seasons in England?

      What we now know as the Ivy League was getting its start as divinity schools in Jon Jon’s time. You can still get a divinity degree in some of them, which is quite prestigious. As to whether God attends, opinions differ. The Yankee mindset exported its more adventurous members westward ho, thru upstate New York and curling on up into Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota before jumping across to California and on up along the Pacific Northwest coast, all now bastions of liberalism. You might be familiar with a place called Holland, Michigan, and go thirty miles west and ask Adam for a tour of Calvin College, neither considered liberal but heirs of that same French import that gave us French gourmet, the apostrophe, and the English Civil War. We also have Ann Arbor, the Harvard of the Midwest. I am fortunate to live far enough north to have Swedes for neighbors, who seem to be far more sensible, tho looking back at Sweden I wonder.

      Highly recommend you read, if you have not already done so, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard. Opened my eyes at this late date to the reasons behind the regional differences in people I had always sensed. Helped personally sort out my New England/Upstate New York father and my Tennessee mother. Explained much of the Deep South mentality you rub elbows with. Take care.

      • Burro (Mule) says:

        The Deep South Scots-Irish among whom I live are a feisty bunch. Reading about the way they were treated on the Scots borderlands and in Ulster helped me understand their unusual and baffling relationship with African Americans.

      • Jonathan Edwards was not vaccinated, he was using the previous method of deliberately being infected with smallpox under controlled conditions to lessen the chance of death (be in good health, arrange for proper nursing while ill). Vaccination which came a bit later (1790s) was deliberate infection with cowpox (hence vaccination from Latin vaccus, cow) a much milder disease which conferred immunity to smallpox.

  18. Michael Bell says:

    Not be be confused with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_Robert

    Hockey Hockey Hockey!!!

  19. Today was a relatively nice day and I accomplished a job I had been trying to get done for months, a log jam that was holding everything else up. Wrassled ten-foot-long, 25-30 pound planks up eight foot in the air to make another loft space in my barn. Was hard word, would have been hard twenty-five years back. Wedged in a couple of 2×4’s to do what a helper would have done. Was making good progress but every time I stopped to catch my breath, this old guy who referred to himself as Reverend Father would show up and shake his head and say, “Tsk, tsk, tsk. Idle hands do the devil’s work. You’ll never become sanctified that way.”

    “Cut me some slack, RF,” I gasped. “I’m going to hit 78 in ten days, and this would go a lot easier if you were on the other end of the board.” Might as well have been talking to one of the boards. Well, he finally went away after I told him something I won’t tell you except that it involved a place where the sun don’t shine. A working man would have sized up the situation in five seconds, asked me exactly what was I trying to do, and helped me get it done in half the time and less than half the effort.

    Well, I got it done with a great sense of accomplishment and with thanks to Jesus. Turned out the lights, shut the barn, and headed back to the house. That’s when I remembered I still had to load and bring in a sled load of firewood. Thought about doing it while I was still moving and had my boots on, but ended up deciding that I fully deserved taking a real break in front of the fire complete with a beer. I can bring in firewood in the dark, I’ve got lights outside. Yeah, I know, there goes my canonicity. Oh well, life is hard.

  20. I’m looking forward to tuning-out on the Superb Owl this year, the same way as I have for the last, oh, 45 years. It’s a tradition I like to keep.

  21. the planet Venus
    brighter than I’ve ever seen
    gaining on the moon

    • Dana Ames says:

      It has been spectacular the last few days, hasn’t it! (seen between rainstorms in NoCal…)

      Dana

      • It has been. The other night when I came out my front door and looked up, just after dusk, I did a double take. For a minute I thought I must’ve stepped into a sci-fi film just a few hours before a giant meteor was due to impact Earth.

    • Brianthegrandad says:

      Just above and to the left of Venus you’ll see mars, faintly reddish. Two nights ago, the moon, mars and Venus were all in conjunction, forming an isosceles triangle in the sky. Now Luna is racing away from the pair, further and further each night.

    • Brianthegrandad says:

      And Jupiter will be almost directly above you, kinda southerly, in the predawn darkness, with Spica right next to him.

  22. No one mentioned health care sharing. Hmmp.