November 20, 2017

The IM Saturday Brunch: Nov 4, 2017 — Fall Back Edition

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.”

It’s the weekend during which most Americans and others in countries around the Northern Hemisphere set their clocks back one hour. Why in the world would we do that? Here’s a little background from TimeandDate.com:

  • Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of setting the clocks forward 1 hour from standard time during the summer months, and back again in the fall, in order to make better use of natural daylight.
  • US inventor and politician Benjamin Franklin first proposed the concept of DST in 1784, but modern Daylight Saving Time was first suggested in 1895. At that time, George Vernon Hudson, an entomologist from New Zealand, presented a proposal for a 2-hour daylight saving shift.
  • When Germany switched to DST on April 30, 1916 for the first time, it became the first country in the world to use DST on a national level. However, the town of Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada implemented DST already in 1908.
  • Less than 40% of the countries in the world use DST. Some countries use it to make better use of the natural daylight in the evenings. The difference in light is most noticeable in the areas at a certain distance from Earth’s equator. Some studies show that DST could lead to fewer road accidents and injuries by supplying more daylight during the hours more people use the roads. Other studies claim that people’s health might suffer due to DST changes. DST is also used to reduce the amount of energy needed for artificial lighting during the evening hours. However, many studies disagree about DST’s energy savings, and while some studies show a positive outcome, others do not.
  • In the Southern Hemisphere (south of the equator) the participating countries usually start the DST period in September-November and end DST in March-April.

UPDATE: For more DST fun and information, read this lively and illuminating article in the Washington Post: “Termination of chaos”: How daylight saving solved America’s clock craziness.

• • •

CONGRATS TO THE WORLD CHAMPION ASTROS!

Now there’s a phrase that’s never been uttered before. The Houston Astros won the first World Series championship in their 56 years of existence, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to three.

George Springer was voted the Series MVP. Springer matched Reggie Jackson (1977) and Chase Utley (2009) by hitting five home runs in one World Series. Springer also had 29 total bases in the World Series, breaking the record of 25 shared by Willie Stargell (1979) and Jackson. Springer also passed Stargell for the most extra-base hits in a World Series with seven, becoming the first player to have had at least one extra-base hit in six straight World Series games.

Not only is this great because it’s Houston’s first title, but in the light of all the city has been through this year, it’s nice that they get a little bit of joy through this win.

My Chicago Cubs sent the Astros 40 pizzas as congratulations for winning the World Series. It’s become a tradition that the previous year’s champion sends the new champion pizza.

And now the long dark night of life with no baseball begins…

• • •

REFORMATION 500

Joint Statement by the Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity on the conclusion of the year of the common commemoration of the Reformation, 31st October 2017

(Click the link to read the entire statement. Here’s an excerpt:)

On 31st of October 2017, the final day of the year of the common ecumenical Commemoration of the Reformation, we are very thankful for the spiritual and theological gifts received through the Reformation, a commemoration that we have shared together and with our ecumenical partners globally. Likewise, we begged forgiveness for our failures and for the ways in which Christians have wounded the Body of the Lord and offended each other during the five hundred years since the beginning of the Reformation until today.

We, Lutherans and Catholics, are profoundly grateful for the ecumenical journey that we have travelled together during the last fifty years. This pilgrimage, sustained by our common prayer, worship and ecumenical dialogue, has resulted in the removal of prejudices, the increase of mutual understanding and the identification of decisive theological agreements. In the face of so many blessings along the way, we raise our hearts in praise of the Triune God for the mercy we receive.

…We rejoice that the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, solemnly signed by the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church in 1999, has also been signed by the World Methodist Council in 2006 and, during this Commemoration Year of the Reformation, by the World Communion of Reformed Churches. On this very day it is being welcomed and received by the Anglican Communion at a solemn ceremony in Westminster Abbey. On this basis our Christian communions can build an ever closer bond of spiritual consensus and common witness in the service of the Gospel.

…Looking forward, we commit ourselves to continue our journey together, guided by God’s Spirit, towards the greater unity according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ. With God’s help we intend to discern in a prayerful manner our understanding on Church, Eucharist and Ministry, seeking a substantial consensus so as to overcome remaining differences between us. With deep joy and gratitude we trust “that He who has begun a good work in [us] will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Ph1:6).

• • •

MIGHT BE AN INTERESTING READ…

CT took a look at a book that might prove interesting to iMonk readers: Lincoln A. Mullen’s The Chance of Salvation: A History of Conversion in America.

According to the review, Mullen claims “that conversion is not unique to evangelicalism. Instead, he argues, it is perhaps ‘the defining feature of what American religions had in common.’”

Furthermore,

The fact that there was such “variety of conversions” in the United States actually helped create a shared understanding of religion—that religion is something you choose, as opposed to something you inherit. This freedom to choose, however, implied an obligation. The book speaks of “obligatory religious choice” or the “burden to choose.” As Mullen states it: “…in the United States, people not only may pick their religion, they must.”

However, this led to an ironic outcome:

But here’s the irony: While forced choice may have helped create a more religious United States, it simultaneously made the country more secular. To support this argument, Mullen borrows from Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age (2007), which distinguishes between different kinds of secularity. One kind of secularity is when a society moves from having an unchallenged belief in God to regarding this belief as one option among many. The widespread attention given to conversion in the United States made it impossible for people to ignore religious options (thereby making them more religious). But it also made people more aware of the fact that options existed (thereby making them more secular).

Sounds like we ought to be exploring this here on the blog soon.

• • •

IS THE WORLD GETTING MORE DANGEROUS?

Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency thinks so. And, according to their calculations, they don’t have enough nuclear shelters to protect their population from an attack.

They only have 65,000 such shelters. That’s right: the country currently has 65,000 shelters with space for seven million people in the event of an attack.

According to a Swedish news website,

Sweden’s shelters are housed in residential buildings, office blocks, and some more unusual locations. They are designed to protect residents from “all weapons that could be used”, according to the MSB, including shock waves and shrapnel as vapor deposition, biological weapons, fire, and ionizing radiation.

The Agency’s report recommends that more bunkers with space to shelter 50,000 additional people should be built over the next twelve years. Also, many of the existing shelters need to be refurbished. These efforts are in addition to other actions by Sweden, such as reintroducing military conscription this year, and stationing a permanent military force on Gotland, a strategic location in the Baltics.

• • •

SOME STRANGE NEWS STORIES FROM THE WEEK…

On Halloween, Oskar Frankenstein was born in Florida to Kyle and Jessica Frankenstein.

Max Crocombe, goalkeeper for Salford City, was sent off the field in their match against Bradford Park Avenue. Why? He urinated on the field in the middle of the game.

In Utqiagvik, Alaska last week, workers had to figure out how to remove a 450-pound bearded seal off an airport runway.

Sam Adams released their beer Utopia that costs $199 per bottle, boasts an alcohol content of 28%, and is illegal in 12 U.S. states. (Maybe that’s what Max Crocombe was drinking.)

A kung fu master in China broke a Guinness World Record when he used his bare hands to smash 302 walnuts in 55 seconds.

• • •

ALL SAINTS, ALL SOULS, ALL SKULLS

This week the Church marked All Saints and All Souls days (some traditions will commemorate the dead this Sunday). Here’s a chapel in Portugal where you can worship among the visible remains of the “great cloud of witnesses” every day of the year.

Constructed by Franciscan monks in the 16th century, the Chapel of Bones in Evora will get one’s attention about human mortality like nothing else.

The Chapel’s story is a familiar one. By the 16th century, there were as many as 43 cemeteries in and around Évora that were taking up valuable land. Not wanting to condemn the souls of the people buried there, the monks decided to build the Chapel and relocate the bones.

However, rather than interring the bones behind closed doors, the monks, who were concerned about society’s values at the time, thought it best to put them on display. They thought this would provide Évora, a town noted for its wealth in the early 1600s, with a helpful place to meditate on the transience of material things in the undeniable presence of death. This is made clear by the thought-provoking message above the chapel door: “Nós ossos que aqui estamos, pelos vossos esperamos,” or: “We bones, are here, waiting for yours.”

About 5,000 corpses are interred in the chapel. In a small white coffin by the altar, the bones of the three Franciscan monks who founded the church in the 13th century rest. Two corpses hang by chains from the wall next to a cross, one of them a child.

A poem on one of the pillars addresses pilgrims and urges them to take what they see to heart. It says, in part:

Recall how many have passed from this world
Reflect on your similar end
There is good reason to reflect
If only all did the same

• • •

TONIGHT: JOHN GORKA

Tonight one of our regular folk series that we’ve enjoyed here in Indianapolis will be holding their final concert, and they’re bringing back one of our very favorite singer-songwriters, the remarkable John Gorka.

In anticipation, I present you with a taste — my all-time favorite Gorka meditation…

Comments

  1. seneca griggs says:

    Recall how many have passed from this world
    Reflect on your similar end
    There is good reason to reflect
    If only all did the same
    ________

    Someone once noted; the graveyards are littered with the corpses of irreplacable men

    • Clay Crouch says:

      I certainly don’t consider the bodies of the dead to be trash. Irreplaceable? Yes. Trash? No.

  2. Is there a limit
    to the darkness of the night —
    and what if there was?

  3. Has anyone seen any signs of an antifa revolution yet?

    I thought not.

    • Christiane says:

      I think ‘antifa’ is a Fox New-Russian fake news creation.

      some of the ‘ads’ the Russians placed into our social network include creating fear about ‘antifa’ . . . . . maybe we can someday trace all of this divisive mess as being promoted by the ‘Russia is our friend’ folks, but my goodness, are people so blind as to not check sources in this country anymore?

      first thing I learned when I was educated: CONSIDER THE SOURCE

      it has made a huge difference in the divisiveness promoted among us, and someday, I think we will figure out that it was planted and encouraged . . . . yes, I realize that the divisions were already present, but the nature of the ‘planted’ Russian ads was to ‘stir the pot’, organize demonstrations (this worked!), and create the ‘fake news’ and the ‘conspiracy theories’ that pulled people into the web and radicalized them against their fellow Americans

      Problem: our ‘norms’ in this country are being challenged . . . . yep . . . . standards of what is considered ‘American’ that we ALL agreed upon and shared,
      and if our norms ‘change’ as a result of all this Russian interference, we might see a significant portion of our population distrusting the media, wanting to end the balance of powers in our government, seeking to reinforce torture and mistreatment of prisoners, destruction of our ‘systems’ of education and of the separation of Church and State, I could go on . . . . . and on . . . .

      interesting times? well, I can only hope this is true: ‘you can fool some of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time’

      I think the common sense in our American DNA will come to the fore and return our country to the Rule of Law once more . . . . I’m counting on it

      • Yeah, the antifa revolution, and the antifa as a single, powerfully organized entity instead of a constellation of small groups with weak connections, is fake news.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          +1

          And it is a term of notably variable definition.

          • But watch: When the antifa revolution that the Alt Right/alternative facts news media has been talking about the last weeks doesn’t materialize today, they will claim that it didn’t happen because they warned Americans of the secret plots of the evil antifa, thereby thwarting them. I used to think that you can’t make this stuff up, but now I see that it’s pretty predictable.

            • john Barry says:

              Robert F, I will ask again, what is the alt right alternative media you refer to? Is it Fox News, is it talk radio, is it Drudge Report, is it CNN, MSNBC, tell me who please thank you

              • Patriciamc says:

                Unfortunately. Fox has turned into alt right. I remember the days when Fox was good, but now with Rupert Murdoch admitting that he speaks to Trump several times a week, It’s become too biased for my taste. Now, Fox employees are complaining about their network’s bias. Oh, Breitbart is alt right, and many of it’s commenters come from Russian IP addresses.

                • FOX has now become too biased for your taste? Huh? FOX has always been a Republican house organ since day one. It may have gone off the rails at this point (as has the party) but there were no good old days.

              • Heather Angus says:

                IAN Robert, but I would say FOX and Drudge qualify. (Though FOX seems to be edging toward a legit source, meaning when they make a factual error they admit it) Rush Limbaugh and his wannabe imitators. Breitbart and Alex Jones’ InfoWars. Today Infowars was totally psyched for an “antifa” revolution: NOV 4TH: ANTIFA LAUNCHES COMMUNIST REVOLUTION IN UNITED STATES. Then about five of the six stories on it said the ‘revolution” was “a big fail.’

                What would your definition of alt-right media be, John?

                • Yeah, I forgot about the unholy trinity of disinformation: Limbaugh, Hannity, and Ingraham.

                  And of course there was no “big fail”, because there was no revolution planned. Just total B.S.

                  You know why this pisses me off so much? The other night, my wife, who has tuned out of most of the current political goings-on, asked me, “What is antifa?” I answered, and then asked her why she had inquired. She told me that, when she checked her email, the yahoo news feed had stories about how the antifa was planning to start a civil war today, that they planned to attack and kill white people throughout the country, beheading people and whatnot. I hadn’t heard any of this before, but I immediately told her that it was fake news propagated by the far right, and probably Russian trolls, to exacerbate already existing divisions in this country, and to demonize the antifa movement in the hopes of stoking violence between different factions in our streets. The goal of the Alt Right/alternative facts media, the names listed above and many others, is to feed hate with fear, and to cause violent upheaval with disinformation and propaganda.

                  • john barry says:

                    Robert F. and others, Limbaugh , Hannity, Ingraham and all the rest of talk radio are not “news” reporters , they are commenters on the news and entertainers. One would have to tune them in on your radio to listen to their viewpoints. Fox is as slanted in their “news” reporting as CNN, MSNBC and all the three main network is in theirs. Don Lemon with his panels of CNN anointed experts, MSNBC Morning Joe and the ilk are commenters who cherry pick to make their points. How about the late night comics? who have become political venues promoting their agenda. How about the Daily Show that under Jon Stewart had a big platform. With Breitbart, Drudge and the rest mentioned their sites must be visited . Vox, Huffington, Media Matters and other are the counter balance again if they are sought out. Aol and Yahoo give a stealth like progressive view of most stories. How about SNL? New York Times, LA Times, and all the former great news mags are now not just reporters but influence peddlers. The real “news” is still available but one must search for it and as Christiane statresearch your sources. Thanks for the replies, did not catch yesterday.

                    • The stories on Breitbart, Drudge, Faux, etc, are channeled through Facebook and other social media. Many people don’t tune into the programs and networks, but get their “news” from these sources when it is passed along by “Friends”, second, third, fourth hand.

                      Limbaugh, Hannity, Ingraham and the rest may present their viewpoints in ways that are sometimes entertaining to some people, but they are political opinion shapers, not entertainers. They’ve been vilifying Hillary Clinton and the Democrats for decades, stoking as much hate and conspiracy theory as they could muster among their listeners/watchers. Then in the last years they added Obama (whom they disrespectfully call “Barry”), and most recently any members of the Republican Party that don’t tow the Trumpian line.

                      My wife read the fake story about the antifa revolution on Yahoo, so there goes your idea that it’s a stealth progressive news provider.

                    • john barry says:

                      Robert F. the facebook channeling of other people viewpoint you allude to maybe some of what Christiane is referring to when she recommends consider your source. It sure does not bode well for the electoral decisions of the future. Maybe Kim K. will be a Congresswoman if she get enough followers. I agree with you that the talk show pros are opinion shapers as well as entertainers to make money and there is nothing wrong with that. That is why the Fairness Doctrine is such a sensitive issue with freedom of speech advocates. As they use to say in East Germany , the people vote with their feet as they defected to West Germany. Radio listeners to talk radio vote with their dials and there is no liberal counter part to the conservative big 3 on a national level. There is no national audience for the progressive commenters, remember Air America, I think that was the name. I agree with you when President Obama was disrespected as it is the office you respect not the person who holds it. Bias, Remember Cindy Sheenan , Code Pink, who followed President Bush around for years as her son was killed in the stupid Iraq War. Once President Obama took office she was off the air because ?. There was no change in policy until the stupid pull out years later The terrible , incompetent President GW Bush is now getting some favorable air time due to his anti Trump agenda. Without a doubt President Trump has been the target of the most effective and brutal personal and political attacks in America with the close second probably being Andrew Jackson , in his day. When the “establishment” gets rid of Trump , which is very possible, it will signal the end of faith a large percent of voters have in the election process. I still stand by my Yahoo/Aol news page slant , objectively look at it for a week and maybe I am just blinded by my own perspective on events to be fair. Thanks for your input and for helping me get use to this site. I am to have interchange with people who differ with me on issues just in case I could be wrong . Like I tell my wife, I know I married Mrs. Right , I just did not know her first name was Always, credit that to the great Henny Youngman or Rodney Dangerfield , both great names from a simpler, funnier past.

                    • john barry,
                      The reason for the media “attacks” on our president is the president himself. He has behaved like a bully from day one of his campaign, and throughout every day of his presidency so far. His ascent to office signaled the end of my faith, and the faith of many, in the electoral process. You and I have grave differences, john barry.

                      The past was never simpler, or funnier, for many; they, and I, have no wish to return to it

                    • john barry says:

                      Robert F. sure we have grave differences , that is why I am here. We see events though a different filter, that I understand. Remember , when the worry was Trump and his supporters would not accept the results of the election, when it was greatly assumed H. Clinton would win. So immediately the “he,s not my President mantra started” and the effort to delegitimize Trump or make him ineffective. The past is prologue and if we do not know how we got here and what we use to be we have no yardstick. Trump has even enough power to make the media say good things about GW Bush. Remember Robert , I was simple in the past and will be even simpler in the future if the past is prologue.

                • john barry says:

                  Heather Angus, I do not really know what my definition of alt right is as it was a term coined by the vile, should be ignored Spencer describing the white nationalist people and what I will call wing nuts to the right. I think it got taken over by many who want to lump all right of center views as alt right. Now to many it means conservative Republicans, Trump voters, NRA members and even anti Obama care people. So I just would not use anyone that I would try to classify alt left or antifa as it is too encompassing and individual organizations need to be id. What is your definition, Thanks sorry I did not catch this yesterday as I am interested on specifics you may have , thanks again

              • John Barry,
                Breitbart, the Daily Caller, the Federalist, Alex Jones, Fox and their ilk; the Alt-Right cheering section and disinformation conduit set up on Twitter, the far right news echo chambers sent through Facebook by friends of friends. There are many others.

                I’ve been busy elsewhere most of the afternoon and early evening, but besides that, I don’t see that you asked me this question anywhere else in the comments.

                • Christiane says:

                  a confirmed Russia connection to alt-right: RT America

                  seems to be a ‘source’ of plenty of ‘information’ (?) on the massive existence of an ‘organized antifa movement’ . . . . . fear-mongering, conspiracy theories; fake, excuse me, ‘alternative’ facts, you name it, RT is right up there on top and it is extremely well-funded also

                  talk about ‘fake’ news, the RT people pull out all the stops and exceed even Fox News in propaganda for alt-right Trumpism and the ‘base’ eats it up

                  • Many people, perhaps most, get their alternative fact news indirectly through Facebook and other social media, from “Friends” and “Friends” of “Friends”. This is how the hate and demonization has been stoked to barn burning amplitude for years now.

      • It’s funny how many of those fake ads I actually saw last year circulating around my Facebook.

        Well played, Russia, well played.

        • john Barry says:

          StuartB. Do you personally think anyone was swayed to vote for any candidate by the Russian ad on you tube? Thanks

          • You didn’t ask me but I don’t think that’s really the issue. The Russians crossed a line by actively attempting to interfere in our election. It doesn’t matter if they convinced anybody or not. There would be hell to pay if our President wasn’t already obviously in bed with the guy. And most of his party obviously going to try to cover for him.

          • Likely very few. But it did rouse many who might have voted into the mindset of “I must vote to stop the other side”.

            So did it have an influence?

            Yes.

          • Abso 100% postively lutely.

            Next?

  4. And now the long dark night of life with no baseball begins…

    Indeed.

    Some baseball writer once said that the 3 cruelest words in the English language: “No game today.”

    Then, setting back the clock an hour adds insult to injury

    • Congrats to the Houston team but something’s not right. Houston should be blue not orange. Just sayin’.

    • Steve Scott says:

      Oh, well, at least my son’s travel ball season has one more weekend. We’ll have the hot stove league and an ever increasing number of videos on YouTube to watch.

      Yes, and congratulations to the Houston Astros. We have been following the career of Jose Altuve for several years now and couldn’t be happier for him. Plus, for us Giants fans, the dreaded Dodgers lost.

      • Back in the early 80s my college room mate was living in the SF area. This was back in the day of Tommy Lasorda. He told me how the Giants would pass out kazoos for Dodgers games and every time TL appeared the stands would come alive with kazoos playing “Roll Out the Barrel”.

        • Steve Scott says:

          I went to a kazoo night vs the Dodgers. One problem: it was so foggy that night at Candlestick that the wax paper in everybody’s kazoo became soggy and nobody could make any noise!

  5. Likewise, we begged forgiveness for our failures and for the ways in which Christians have wounded the Body of the Lord and offended each other during the five hundred years since the beginning of the Reformation until today.

    I wonder if John Wycliffe, the Waldensians, and a host of others before the Reformation are feeling left out….

  6. Heather Angus says:

    The motto of the Chapel of Bones, ““We bones, are here, waiting for yours.”, reminds me of a sign I used to see at one entrance road to Bellville, Ohio. You came into Bellville around a rather sharp curve beside a graveyard, and the sign read, “Slow down. We’ll wait.”

    • john Barry says:

      Heather, 1964 the Dixie Cups big hit was “Going to the Chapel of Love” titled changed from “Going to Chapel of Bones ” for better marketing and it worked. Of course that is the old days when they were chapels and perhaps even love that was sung about.

      • Heather Angus says:

        The Dixie Chicks actually wrote “Going to the Chapel of Bones”?! OK, yiou’re being funny; sorry to be slow on the uptake.

  7. Heather Angus says:

    The Kung Fu master may have smashed 302 walnuts in 55 seconds, but they were just plain walnuts. Not BLACK WALNUTS! We had a black walnut tree in the yard, and getting to the actual nut meat involved letting the pulpy covering dry over a few weeks, peeling it off, and then attacking the diamond-hard nugget inside with a hammer and carefully picking out the fragments of black walnut. The Kung Fu master wouldn’t have a chance.

    • True.

      Black walnuts have fallen into the street near my house. Cars run over them with little effect except to dislodge the soft outer hull. However, my work truck tires–16″ 10 ply with 80 psi–crack ’em open just fine for the doves to feed upon.

    • My master’s kung fu is better than your master’s!!!

  8. Heather Angus says:

    The Astros were great. What a comeback in Game 7!

  9. Susan Dumbrell says:

    I will take the first new rose buds from my garden to Church tomorrow to remember my dear departed.

    May they rest in peace and light perpetual shine upon them, + Amen

    Susan

  10. First time I saw John Gorka, probably in the late 70’s, he was skinny with a lot of black hair and beard.

  11. Steve Scott says:

    The state of Indiana only recently (about 10 years ago?) adopted DST. The reason it originally balked at the idea was that tomato farmers were concerned that an extra hour of daylight would ruin their crops. True story, you could look it up.

  12. chapel of bones
    inside my troubled heart
    teach me how to pray

  13. I happily sign onto the Joint Statement. But I wonder how much difference it makes on the ground at the congregational level, outside and far away from the halls of professional religious ecumenical dialogue.

  14. For me, this time of year brings memories of first loves,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEgHnfNgFGk,

    and first loves lost,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDgaLDdOC7Q.

  15. Looks like the Swedes are trying to prepare not only for the possibility of nuclear attack, but in the not altogether unlikely event that the Russians will sooner or later try to invade.

    • Sweden’s close enough to Russia that they can’t afford to ignore Russia’s shenanigans. And Russia is psychotic enough that they probably still hold a grudge against Sweden for Charles X’s invasion in the 1700s.

      • Charles XII. Should’ve wiki’d it before posting.

      • And the Swedes can no longer look to the US of America First to have their backs in the event that the Russians are coming…

        • Could they have looked to America in during the last administration? It didn’t do Syria much good?

        • Christiane says:

          well, it’s the Baltics I’m worried about as my son’s fiancee is from Latvia and her parents are still there . . . . they remember Russian control and they hated it

          with Putin owning Trump, I fear for NATO which protects its members from Russian aggression . . . and one of Trump’s first moves was to say that NATO was no longer ‘needed’ . . . . fortunately, the generals had a word with DT and DT backed down, at least for now;
          but no one in the Baltics feels that they can trust the USA any longer to confront Russia . . . we have lost our international leadership standing in that part of the world, and I don’t think Sweden, a neutral country, ever did rely on the USA for any of its security. Russia has laid off for now, but I think they want the Baltics back as about 25% of people in the Baltic countries are of Russian descent, their ancestors having invaded the Baltics in the past century. What a mess!

          Latvia is just across the Baltic Sea from Sweden, a ferry ride from Stockholm, Sweden’s capital.

          • I think Swedish security benefited from the penumbra of deterrence that the US projected over Western Europe, even though they were officially neutral. But I suppose that the terrorism involved in nuclear deterrent can only ever attain an ambivalent security. Things are changing in Europe, and the Europeans will either find their way together toward cooperative community, or they will break apart and fall back into the warring factionalism that was widespread and pervasive in European history. Such fractious division and the vacuum it would create, of course, would only invite the unity that is imposed by a strongman; Putin would be more than happy to fill that role.

          • john barry says:

            Hi Christiane, always good to read your comments If . Latvia is really worried about their defense perhaps they should start paying their share and catch up on the 2% of GDP that Is to go to their defense according to the NATO agreement. The USA spends 3.6 percent of its GDP on defense, only 6 NATO countries pay their agreed amount of NATO defense money(2% of GDP) agreed to. Also Europe allowed itself to become dependent on Russian energy starting way back in the early 1980’s when the pipelines were opposed by Regan. If Europe was concerned about the Crimea being annexed by Russia the economic sanctions route could have been taken by them. Russia needs high energy prices to survive. Remember in the Presidential debate with Romney when Romney stated Russia was the biggest threat to USA and Obama got a great laugh with the 1980’s call and want their foreign policy back. The past is important as in Russia WW 2 is called The Great Patriotic War and no mention of the Nazi Germany and Russia Pact to divide Poland, most Russians unaware of pact and most Americans I would assume. Always good to read your comments and the human element you cite makes events relevant to individual lives not just abstract political events. All the captive countries of eastern Europe retained their language, customs, culture and pride under harsh Russian control under the USSR. The Russians tried hard to Russianize their eastern bloc countries but did not succeed. I am not sure the EU will succeed either with their open border non nation state EU experiment. Will Latvia declare war on North Korea if USA drawn to battle?

    • They could spend their money more wisely. Based on the experience in Dresden and Tokyo in WWII, in a general conflagration those shelters quickly turn into roaster ovens. It was this realization that pretty much killed the bomb shelter effort in the US in the sixties.

  16. Palermo, Sicily – Capuchin monks catacombs…went there a few years ago. It was my pick for that particular trip.

    They’re all hanging from the walls, some in caskets, even children are there. They don’t let you take pictures. Cold down there, too.

    Totally worth it. Once was enough, it’s not like the Eiffel Tower that you can go back to again and again.

    Can look it up.

  17. Has anyone so far had to repel antifa revolutionaries from their doorstep?

    I thought not.

    • Unless they have disguised themselves as Mormon missionaries then so far no……

      • It was predicted by the tinfoil hat wearing alternative facts media that they might come in disguise! They could’ve been casing your home for defensive weaknesses!! Get out your blunderbuss, if it already isn’t too late!!

  18. Patriciamc says:

    DST is time as God intended.

    As for Oskar Frankenstein, is it pronounced Frahnk en schteen?

  19. Dana Ames says:

    The older I get, the more I dislike the time change, both ways. No need for it, causes more problems than it solves, really messes with people’s biological clocks. Wish it would go away.

    Dana

    • Ditto, Dana.

    • Since our schools are not down the street (year round anyone?) and our play areas also not next door the extra hour is great for when we have pre-teen kids. Even early teens.

      Mine are now in their 20s but the extra hour at the end of the day was nice.

      Plus I’m not so sure I like to have sundown at 4:30pm in the winter.

      • cheesehed says:

        Yeah, 4:30 sundown. Garrison Keillor has a Lake Wobegon story about winter solstice. He says ppl in LW would get up, pour coffee, read the paper and go back to bed. Life on the northern plains!

  20. Any reason why none of you members of the Imonk choir refused to answer either of ‘outsider’ John Berry’s questions? Dismiss as ‘troll’ is an easy one.

    • Patriciamc says:

      Well dear, you can.

    • John Berry’s question was directed to StuartB–who is more than capable of answering if he so wishes.

      Old B, if you don’t like the “choir” then find another church–but imo you’re welcome to stay if you can overcome your passive aggressiveness..

      • Tom, thanks tossing in the ‘if’ qualifier to your warm welcome. FYI, I have been reading this blog for years and am well acquainted with the choir of which you are a loud member. I get the memo,,, either get in line or get out.

        • Point proven.

          • William H. Martin Jr says:

            Point proven

            • Yeah that was me

              • Just to be sure. I’ve seen to many leave and I really haven’t been here that long. I really don’t bother to much anymore as it seems to be the exact opposite of what I am looking for. Also for the doubt I stop in and wonder why. Last week thee and a half hours on the road a full day of physical work with no breaks and no lunch and barely time to take a drink and then bed with one meal.Oh well may God bless you all. Still barely make it to feed the cats on the mountain. My best friend Cody now gone one of the largest hearts I’ve seen in a dog. Crap I’m been ready for far to long

    • Any reason a non-regular posted is so concerned about me responding to someone I don’t know or recognize?

  21. john barry says:

    olbaldy, thanks for your question and concern. I came here to this site after someone who comments here mentioned it on another venue. I thought it was a good, fun , open minded, engaging and open to discussion site. I am not a high internet user, certainly not a troll, here to disrupt. Have my questions been rude, out of bounds or exactly what are the guidelines? Again thanks and look forward to some feedback unless my comments are just not worth commenting on, which I could at least understand and certainly my wife would concur with that observation

    • John, you certainly have not been rude or out of line. However, as the thread is constructed you were responding to StuartB and asking him the question which was not constructed as a question to the general peanut gallery. ;o)

      • john barry says:

        Tom, thanks for the info about the informal Saturday tradition. You are correct I directed my question to StuartB about why he held the opinion he had. I appreciate your input as well as olbaldy. Just for the record my comment on the Chapel of Bones was in keeping with the keep it light tradition. I am here as it seems there is a good mix of opinions and as I am of a conservative nature I want to try to get other perspectives that are evident on this site. Thanks from John Barry aka John Barry.

    • Why did you sign in under two different names? You could have just asked to be taken seriously instead of posting as “olbaldy”.

      • john barry says:

        Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist, just for the record I did not post as olbaldy as you alluded. I personally would make the assumption that you made especially when a new comer is posting on a web site that seems to be operated in a honest , open , welcoming and engaging manner including the commenters who did respond to me. To olbaldy I still say thank you as I do to Tom and others who did respond in a positive manner. I am like my hero Popeye ” I Yam What I Yam” and I am not olbaldy. It is possible I have multiple personalities but I do not think so. Thanks for posting as you learn from all in different ways. The only petty person I liked was Tom Petty .

  22. General rule of thumb at iMonk on Saturday Brunch; everything is fair game, is for entertainment purposes, and is more often than not excessively impious–on purpose and I enjoy it that way one day out of the week.

    • When things get political during the Saturday Brunch, they get serious rather than entertaining. I confess to leading the way down that path, or being led down it, on more than one occasion. It was hard, and felt impossible, for me to bypass commenting on the antifa revolution said by fake, alternative facts news to be scheduled for today, but I tried to make my initial comment(s) about it whimsical rather than serious. Then I fell down the rabbit hole of serious politics, and pulled others down with me. My apologies.

      • john barry says:

        Robert F. In keeping with the Saturday structure I thought antifa was not a long long way to go according to the alternative lyrics of the Sound of Music. I am also anti freeze (live in Fla.) and Anti Bea but pro Opie.

  23. All the above is of course my opinion. Mileage varies.

  24. Steve Scott says:

    Is it really easier to trick ourselves to believe that time is one hour off from what it really is than to change the time we do things by one hour?

    • It’s not a trick.

      What time it really is? Well that’s a mater of some debate without DST.

      Much of our modern world is run on schedules. Store openings. Factor start times. Airline schecdules. School times and traffic warnings about school zones. And on and on and on.

      Much easier to adjust what we call 1:00PM than to change all of the civilization around us twice a year.