November 20, 2017

Saturday Brunch, May 6, 2017

Hello, friends, and welcome to the weekend. Ready for some brunch?

Let’s start with some sporty-type-stuff. Chaplin Mike likes some game called “baseball”. Apparently it used to be popular, back when the games ran an hour and a half instead of twice that. His favorite team, of course, is the Chicago Cubs, who just won something called “The World Series” which, I hear, America has totally dominated. Like Europe isn’t even trying. Anyway, this week their trophy [along with the Boston Red Sox’s trophy from 2004] went crowd-surfing…and suffered some damage. And this is why we can’t have nice things.

Got a friend who is a huge baseball fan and a plumber? Yes? Is he dead? Yes? Then naturally you take his ashes into ballpark restrooms around the country and flush them down the toilet, right? That’s what Tom McDonald decided, anyway.  Tom and Roy Riegel were Mets fans and childhood friends in Queens, not far from — wait for it — Flushing Meadows, where the Mets play. After Roy died Tom thought up his plan. So far, Roy has gone down the tubes in 16 stadiums. Tom says he usually uses the facilities after he sends Roy on his way. “I always flush in between, though. That’s a rule of mine”.

And some baseball stadiums are now selling the Grub Box, which is a bunch of chicken fingers and frys attached to a large drink, with a straw going down into the drink. Add some guns and this might be the most American picture ever: 

An American man was arrested over the weekend after trying to smuggle 67 pounds of pot across the Mexican border. That happens often, I am told. But the man in question does get points for creativity. The pot filled up a coffin in a hearse. He also put manure in the marijuana mausoleum, hoping the smell would fool the search dogs. They were not fooled.

A group of Yale graduate students are staging a “Hunger Strike” outside the school president’s home; they want better pay and conditions. Yale provides graduate students annual stipends of between $29,000 and $34,450, plus free tuition and health care for the students and their families. Over six years the support equals nearly $375,000 per student and increases to $445,000 for those with families. The university administration said in a statement that they understood the students concerns, but “strongly [urge] that students not put their health at risk or encourage others to do so.”

Turns out they needn’t have worried. According to a pamphlet the hunger strike is “symbolic” and protesters can leave and get food when they can no longer go on. Oh. A symbolic hunger strike. Well, that’s cool, I guess. In any case, the students shouldn’t have to travel far when they do get hungry. The Yale Republicans are setting up a bbq about 50 feet away.

While we’re talking about the Ivies, I ran across an interesting tidbit from a Dartmouth survey of their students.

Surprised?

Taco Bell will begin selling triangular pieces of chicken dipped in nacho cheese sauce. It is calling this treat “Naked Chicken Strips” so that its regular customers can finally enjoy something naked. It also announced that it will be adding beer to the menu at certain restaurants in Canada. So now going to Taco Bell will lead to getting drunk and not the other way around.

President Trump will be making his first foreign trip as POTUS later this month. He is planning to visit the symbolic homes of the three Abrahamic faiths as he makes a plea for global unity. Trump will visit Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican.  An administration official said, “The purpose of this meeting is to bring together all the different countries and all the different religions in the fight against intolerance and to defeat radicalism.”

So his first stop will be in Saudi Arabia, and I’m sure the folks there can’t wait to meet this staunch critic of intolerance against Muslims. Then he will travel to Jerusalem, and meet with the leaders of both Israel and the PLO. If the weather won’t let him play golf, he may even take a shot at solving the Mideast crisis. A deal between the two sides, Trump said Wednesday, “is something that I think is frankly, maybe, not as difficult as people have thought over the years.”

Lastly he will visit the Pope in Rome, where he will presumably try to solve the Great Schism over lunch.

An Australian family managed to save the life of a lizard they found at the bottom of their pool by performing CPR on it. The family revived the lizard by performing CPR for 30 minutes. That’s right: 30 minutes. Giving CPR. To a lizard. Man, I give up looking for the TV remote after 20 seconds.

Andrew Ferguson takes on the squishy science of micro-agressions:

Sophisticated, affluent people in the United States (SAPs) have been trained through years of education to respect whatever is presented to them as “science,” even if it’s not very good science, even if it’s not science at all. Their years of education have not trained them how to tell the difference. Sophisticated and affluent Americans, as a group, are pretty gullible.

So when their leaders in journalism, academia, and business announce a new truth of human nature, SAPs around the country are likely to embrace it. The idea of microaggressions is one of these. It was first popularized a decade ago, and now the pervasiveness of microaggressions in American life is taken as settled fact.

You can read the rest here. Your take?

A video surfaced Wednesday of a fistfight that broke out between passengers on a flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles. Great . . . First the airlines stop giving you a meal, then they charge you to check a bag, and now passengers have to physically assault themselves . . .

Republicans in the House on Thursday rushed through their new healthcare bill, dubbed Trumpcare (and yes, it may be the first time Trump and care have been used in the same sentence). Then they went out an 11 day recess so they could finally have time to read what was in the bill they just voted for.

I lean heavily libertarian these days (exception: abortion) so Obamacare’s mandates were not exactly my favorite things in the world. But this bill has some significant problems. What is your take on this?

UPDATE: My brother in Mesa put up a link to a new website will allow you to send your ashes to a GOP representative of your choice if Trumpcare kills you. You can even send a nice note with it.

So, this is a thing, now. An Argentinian man has declared that he is “trans-species”. 25-year-old Luis Padron has already spent £25,000 on plastic surgery as he wants to become a real-life elf.

‘I want to be an elf, an angel and a fantasy being, my aim is to look inhuman, ethereal, graceful and delicate.

‘I have my own beauty ideal and want to achieve that no matter what.

‘I want to have my ears cut to become pointy like an elves, my jaw to look more sharp like a diamond, a face-lift and an eye-lift to give my eyes a cat-like shape.

‘There’s also a surgery to make you taller and I will remove four of my ribs too, so that I can shape my waist to make it thinner.’

‘I consider myself trans-species, in the same way transgender people feel, I need to become how I feel inside, I don’t expect people to understand but I ask they respect it.

Luis Padron, 25, from Buenos Ares, Argentina, became obsessed with the world of elves, angels and fantasy beings after being bullied as a child

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore…

McDonald’s is touting a new french fry-centric utensil — the “frork” — as part of a campaign to promote its new line of burgers. The chain says the utensil has an opening where people can insert some fries, which act as edible tines. You use the frork to pick up the drippings from the sandwiches. And they say America has lost its world leadership…

ME: “No way another company in 2017 will create something more utterly pointless than Taco Bell’s Naked Chicken Chips”.    MCDONALDS: “Here, hold my Frork…”

Speaking of ugly words: you’ve heard of glamping but what about champing? Church-camping, that is; spending the night in old churches that have been converted into living quarters. I’m not a fan. You?

Good old Jim Bakker is still on the air. You remember Jim, right? The gold faucets and air-conditioned doghouse? The Jessica Hahn affair? Five years in the pen for mail fraud? Well, his show these days has a very simple financial strategy: sell gullible people a lot of survivalist food and gear. But how do you convince people, even people who watch religious TV stations, to actually buy this crap? Answer: You play Chicken Little. The sky is falling, man!! How are you going to survive without $3,000 worth of “Time of Trouble Beans”?!? 

Admit it: You thought I was joking, didn’t ya?

But then your boy Trump gets elected, and you have a problem: how do you play the Chicken Little card when your guy is in charge of everything? Easy: you demonize Trump’s opponents and make them as scary as possible. Last week, Bakker hosted End Times author Joel Richardson and disgraced ex-FBI agent John Guandolo on his program to discuss recent protests against President Trump. Guandolo told the televangelist that left-wing demonstrators, including Black Lives Matter activists, are working hand-in-hand with “the jihadi movement, the terrorist movement,” and their protests “are planned and are funded by enemies of the United States.”

Richardson, not to be outdone, said that Satan himself has gotten involved in the protests. In fact he implied that to be against Trump is to be against God. He claimed that “the Lord is using this administration” and “it’s for that reason that the rage of Satan, this irrational rage of Satan, is so directed towards this man.” And: “It’s not against Donald Trump. On the outside, in the natural [world], it’s, ‘We hate Donald Trump,’ ‘We’re furious about this and we’re furious about that,’ but the scriptures say they gather and they plot ultimately against the Lord and against His anointed.”

Did Bakker rebuke Richardson for applying a Messianic prophecy (Psalm 2) to Donald Trump instead of Jesus Christ? Why, of course he did. And it you believe that, I have an air-conditioned doghouse to sell you.

By the way, just in case you’ve been missing the original Jim Bakker show, here is Tammy Faye organizing a dog wedding. Enjoy!

John Griffin of new Zealand had a problem. The 69-year-old suffers from atrial fibrillation [AF] – an irregular heartbeat which, if left untreated, could lead to a stroke. Last week, he felt his heart go out of rhythm, so he made his way to the local hospital and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Finally he had enough. He left the hospital, drove home, and placed his hands on his neighbor’s 8,000 volt electric fence. Says Griffin, “It was right as rain … It worked like a treat.” Doctors have warned against Griffin’s DIY method, labeling the practice “dangerous”.

This week’s photos are all of the same place: Devil’s Bridge in Germany’s Kromlauer Park. The bridge was was commissioned by a knight of Kromlau and completed in 1860. The rustic and natural-looking circle bridge was constructed using different types of stone with pointed rock spires that punctuate either end. It was specifically designed with the optical illusion in mind. Enjoy.

Bridge Photography

Bridge Photography

Circle Bridge

Circle Bridge

Bridge Photography

Related image

Image result for Devil's Bridge in Germany's Kromlauer Park.

Image result for Devil's Bridge in Germany's Kromlauer Park.

That’s it for this week, friends. Have a great weekend.

Comments

  1. Wow!!!n Two weeks of Daniel in a ROW! How fortunate we are.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      This week should have been subtitled:

      “It just keeps getting weirder and weirder.”
      — Johnny Bravo (baby!)

  2. Micro aggressions: If you put a name to every day irritations then they become significant. Just deal with it and quit crying!

    The Devil’s Bridge looks like something out of the Lord Of The Rings films.

    Jim Baker: Can’t we just forget him?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      And once microagressions are no more, there will be nanoaggressions.
      Then picoaggressions.
      Then femtoaggressions…

      The Perpetually Offended need to stay Perpetually Offended, so everyone else must bow and scrape to them.

      And the chattering classes still wonder how Trump got elected?

    • Oscar, I had the same thought about the Devil’s Bridge.

      I feel a microagression has been perpetuated upon me by Jim Baker…

    • Patriciamc says:

      I was thinking Rivendell.

    • Wussypillow says:

      ” If you put a name to every day irritations then they become significant. Just deal with it and quit crying!”

      Sure. So just sell the damn cake or some flowers to the gay couple getting married and get on with your lives, christians. Just deal with it and quit crying!

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        > Sure. So just sell the damn cake or some flowers to the gay couple…

        +1 Nicely done.

        It is soooo easy to tell other people to ‘just get over’ your aggression towards them.

      • Robert F says:

        Excellent response.

      • StuartB says:

        +1

      • Idiotic response. An issue that has nothing to do with micro-aggression.

        • Klasie Kraalogies says:

          You have no clue, my friend.

          • Then clue me in; what, if anything, does this particular issue have to do with micro-aggression. People have been sued into bankruptcy over this issue. You may think they should have just sold the cake or taken the pictures, but there is nothing micro about losing your livelihood.
            Micro-aggressions are more about questions and assumptions people make that are supposedly racist without them even realizing it, like asking a biracial person “What are you?” or asking an Asian person “Where do you come from?”
            I get that you feel strongly that no one should refuse to provide a service to a gay wedding. But that issue has nothing to do with micro-aggressions, so it is a dumb example to use.

    • SottoVoce says:

      One bee sting is nothing. One thousand can kill you.

  3. Susan Dumbrell says:

    Fantastic photos.
    So beautiful.
    Love Saturdays with you all..

    Thank you CM.

    From the Antipodes I write.

    As you know, I so love you all. No kidding. I wait for each day’s topic.
    May I offer a few observations? Please?

    I perceive that some bloggers want to deliver a treatise each time they contribute.
    All strength to them.Sometimes preaching to the choir?

    An existential or philosophical expose is unwarranted to those who have some theological training. We are not without discretion in these matters. Give us space.

    I have had four years of theological training and further study and reading and teaching.
    I know what I read and ascertain and on which to make my own decisions and conclusions .

    Sorry if I sound superior.
    In this transitory life, everyone’s version of atonement is different.

    I said at Easter, “Lighten up” The Lords Risen, Allelulia!

    (I have more haiku waiting- watch this space, meow!!)
    Robert yours to respond.?

  4. Susan Dumbrell says:

    My beautiful, 17 year old long haired tortoiseshell cat.

    “Vanessa”

    She stretches and purrs
    Cat in sun on wicker chair
    warms my heart and soul.

  5. Klasie Kraalogies says:

    Reading the brunch after 11pm in a good pub over pint is something I can get used too….

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      That sounds lovely.

      I purchased my first pub membership ever last week.. New taproom opened up within walking distance of my home, and had an initial sale of LIFETIME memberships for $100. $1 off every beer for the rest of my life. I feel like I just added an additional room to my house. 🙂

      Then I told some of my neighbors about the sale, and they went and got memberships. Even better!

      • >> I feel like I just added an additional room to my house.

        Adam, if you drink enough beer you could save enough money to buy a lifetime membership at another tavern. As I’m sure you recognize, this could become exponential and soon you would be living in a mansion.

  6. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Richardson, not to be outdone, said that Satan himself has gotten involved in the protests. In fact he implied that to be against Trump is to be against God.

    “And they shall follow the Trump, and marvel, saying “Who is like unto The Trump? Who can stand against Him?”
    — filk of Revelation 13:4

    • Aptly, HUG.

      People who watch Baker’s program must be a micro-subcult…

      • Just for the heck of it I went to Jim Bakker’s website to see how many stations carry his program. The bottom line is not too many unless one has a satellite dish.

        Of course, there’s plenty of other Christian-themed dreck on local TV stations if one wishes to watch it. There’s programming by Todd Coontz, Mike Murdock, Joel Osteen, etc. Better yet, find something more productive to do.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Well, Bakker’s pitch for the $3000 “trouble beans” is literally for surviving The Tribulation, when “none can buy or sell unless he has The Mark (Rev 13:16)”.

        HE’S ALREADY GOT THE ANTICHRIST SHILLING FOR HIM! When you’ve got The Beast himself as your shill, having a guest on who’s striking for the position in Rev 13:15 really isn’t that much of a stretch!

        And since Eternal Subordination of the Son deposes The Son, that clears the Holy of Holies to enthrone The Trump. (The Holy Spirit was long-ago deposed and replaced with SCRIPTURE(TM)…)

        Makes the Elf-in-a-hy00man-body Otherkin taking the Michael Jackson surgery route and the guy flushing his buddy’s ashes down the crapper of stadium after stadium seem as ordinary as an IRS memo.

        DID WE GO CRAZY OR DID EVERYONE ELSE?????

        • StuartB says:

          Mark of Gilead?

          I suppose a cross or fish would be a good indicator.

        • Notice the “Donate” button when ordering the beans. Not a “Buy” button, or “Submit,” or “Proceed to Checkout.”

          “Donate” only works legally if there is are no goods or services exchanged for payment. But with Bakker it’s all a ministry.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Maybe it’s a dodge to be tax-exempt?

            • Yes, but he’s done time in the slammer for tax evasion. You’d think he’d figure it out by now.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                “The money was too good! I got stupid!”
                — Jayne Cobb, when Captain Mal was ready to blow him out the airlock

  7. Good morning.

    • Susan Dumbrell says:

      Good morning,
      and may we all survive the day and the epoch.
      Sunshine and showers bless our day.

      Christ is Risen

      • Good morning Susan.

        Already experienced the showers in my location–NE Tennessee.

        • Susan Dumbrell says:

          I thought it was warm and sunny today, I was mistaken. Cats curled up by fire prove it is not so.

          Sigh.

          Tom, I am many thousands of miles away but we sing praises together,

          Church tomorrow with friends and fellow followers. Nice to look forward to what ever the weather

          Rejoining in our Lord’s Resurrection.

          Christ is Risen

          • Susan, I visited family in the Sydney area several years ago. Spent about a month exploring the eastern coast. Beautiful.

            • Susan Dumbrell says:

              Yep, but go west, get away from the humidity, The Coast kills live fishes and humans.

              Cool and then Hot were I live, best of both worlds.

              Further west, endless plains of red dust and vivid blue skies .Muga scrub. A sight to behold, come again. See Broken Hill by train. from Sydney, a trip to remember, or , ‘The Gan’ rail trip from Adelaide to Darwin. Wow!! See Ularu, Travel through the desert.by coach tour.. Perth in Western Australia is a Gem.
              Great Barrier Reef ff Queensland is dying thanks to climate problems but is still a great holiday destination.

              I should be on the Travel Bureau advisory.

              We have great scenery wherever the tourist looks. I would not live elsewhere,

              Tom,
              so pleased you saw some of our wonderful world.
              Come again,
              All of you. Come see us Australia is magnificent.

              Blessings.

  8. Patriciamc says:

    “Add some guns…”. That made me laugh.

  9. Susan Dumbrell says:

    Can we have weapons into plough shears?

    • “Shears” or “shares”?

      • Susan Dumbrell says:

        Tom, you are a cynic??

        Pleasant pastures be ours.

        Sheep may safely graze etc.

        Waiting for Bach tomorrow CM.

        • Yes, I’m something of a cynic. I also realize that Aussies tend to pronounce “shares” as “shears”. ;o) However, plows don’t have “shears”…

      • Robert F says:

        Shear and shear alike.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says:

        In Aus there is more use for shears anyway… 🙂

        • Lyrics from Eric Bogle’s song “Bloody Well Australian Through and Through”:

          Now I’ve never been a shearer,
          Never seen a shearin’ shed,
          And I don’t suppose I’d recognize a sheep.
          I’ve never been a drover, drivin’ dusty cattle over,
          Or died of thirst beside a dried-up creek.

          I’ve never been a digger on a worked out worthless claim
          A rowdy rouse about or jackaroo
          Never cut a field of cane, never drove a bullock train
          But I’m bloody well Australian through and through,
          My oath I am! I’m bloody well Australian through and through.

          I’ve never boiled me billy by a bloody billabong…etc…
          But I’m bloody well Australian through and through!

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APesLDdVj0s

  10. Susan Dumbrell says:

    I remember “The Road Less Traveled” written years ago.
    A good read, but in my dotage, the only road I wish to travel is in the company of the weary disciples on the Road to Emmaus.

    We stop on road, cook fish, break bread and eat. “This is my Body and my Blood.”
    We recognise our Lord Jesus amoungst us.

    Again and again, He is with us, day by day, crisis by crisis, rejection by humiliation, Christ breaks bread and is with us.
    daily rescues us with his presence.

    What a Feast. What joy

    May we all participate in the Feast.

    Christ is Risen.

  11. Susan Dumbrell says:

    Tom, I love you,

  12. senecagriggs says:

    FYI
    -Abolishes the Obamacare Individual Mandate Tax which hits 8 million Americans each year.

    -Abolishes the Obamacare Employer Mandate Tax. Together with repeal of the Individual Mandate Tax repeal this is a $270 billion tax cut.

    -Abolishes Obamacare’s Medicine Cabinet Tax which hits 20 million Americans with Health Savings Accounts and 30 million Americans with Flexible Spending Accounts. This is a $6 billion tax cut.

    -Abolishes Obamacare’s Flexible Spending Account tax on 30 million Americans. This is a $20 billion tax cut.

    -Abolishes Obamacare’s Chronic Care Tax on 10 million Americans with high out of pocket medical expenses. This is a $126 billion tax cut.

    -Abolishes Obamacare’s HSA withdrawal tax. This is a $100 million tax cut.

    -Abolishes Obamacare’s 10% excise tax on small businesses with indoor tanning services. This is a $600 million tax cut.

    -Abolishes the Obamacare health insurance tax. This is a $145 billion tax cut.

    -Abolishes the Obamacare 3.8% surtax on investment income. This is a $172 billion tax cut.

    -Abolishes the Obamacare medical device tax. This is a $20 billion tax cut.

    -Abolishes the Obamacare tax on prescription medicine. This is a $28 billion tax cut.

    -Abolishes the Obamacare tax on retiree prescription drug coverage. This is a $2 billion tax cut.

    • Seneca, you forgot something:

      -Does nothing to improve the delivery of health care to millions of Americans; indeed, threatens that tens of millions will either lose access to health care or have to pay much more for it.

      Oh, and this –

      -Has not a chance in Hades of being anything more than a symbolic gesture because the Senate will ignore it and come up with a much different plan.

      • Eeyore says:

        Yep. Unlike the House, Repubs there aren’t ensconced in safe ideologically pure gerrymandered districts. They have to answer to everybody.

      • seneca griggs says:

        Oh I’m not naive as to the passage of the House version. We’ll see what comes out of it. It does seem to me that there’s a lot of naivety about a “free” Government program. Obviously, Obama care has been not doing well with the middle class; rates keep going up, insurers keep bailing out etc. and people quit buying insurance altogether because they can no longer afford it. It’s cheaper just to pay the fine.

        I think it’s pretty much a disaster and will continue to be so.
        FACT OF LIFE: you can’t have excellent medical care for free.

        [ A Cuban refugee recently commented on the “famed” Cuban, socialized medicine. “You have a bad cut? The doctor will treat you but you have to bring your own thread and needle. Don’t expect the government to provide those things”. ]

        • Your description of “it’s pretty much a disaster” is overly broad and simplistic and, in reality, not true. Here are a few more sane and balanced observations, noting both the serious problems and successes:

          http://www.npr.org/2017/03/27/521441490/fact-check-trump-says-obamacare-is-exploding-its-not

          https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/24/fact-check-gop-obamacare-obituary-premature/99554062/

        • StuartB says:

          Here’s what it boils down to, for me.

          When ACA passed, I knew a lot of middle class, relatively wealthy people who were very upset they had to pay more. I also knew a lot of lower class, very poor people who finally had access to healthcare.

          Now, with AHCA, I know a lot of middle class, relatively wealthy people who are happy they’ll pay less, and I know a lot of lower class, very poor people who are terrified at having nothing.

          How do you bridge those gaps? How has it come down to money vs life for so many? How has it come down to “you don’t deserve medicine if you can’t afford it”?

          I just don’t understand it. And especially from people who dribble the name Jesus or God out of their mouth as if it were yesterday’s food poisoning.

          • Klasie Kraalogies says:

            That last paragraph is a piece of art.

          • Robert F says:

            Don’t worry, Stuart. The churches will take up the slack, if only Uncle Sam would get off their backs. We don’t need stronger centralized government to spread out the safety net, just stronger churches set free from government rules and regs to do what comes naturally to the redeemed and sanctified people of God! (SARCASM ALERT)

            • SottoVoce says:

              With strings attached, of course. “Join the death cult or starve! Give us your money! Give us your time! Give us your children! More power mwahahahahahahaha we shall rule the world!”

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              just stronger churches set free from government rules and regs to do what comes naturally to the redeemed and sanctified people of God!

              Money swindles, millionaire pastors, Vegas casino megas, vision casters, fog machines, and pedophilia scandals?

          • As someone who has an MBA in health-sector management, I can speak with more authority on PPACA than probably everyone on this thread. I mean actual facts, not political and emotional diarrhea. According to Porter (and accepted by everyone, so it is the default metric now), the measure for health delivery effectiveness is outcomes over costs. Under PPACA, health outcomes have improved (very dramatically for the middle class and the poor). Under PPACA, costs have risen, but at a much lower rate than the trend for the previous 25 years. In fact, in aggregate costs rose at roughly half the rate. It is not an exaggeration to call PPACA the most successful healthcare reform in American history. Those are the facts. It is intellectual suicide for anyone to oppose it on any grounds other than “it doesn’t fit with my political ideology”.

            Just please don’t call it Obamacare.

    • Wussypillow says:

      Tax cut for who?

      And if tax cuts are important, how about the useless, unflyable, F-22, the unseaworthy, unbulletproof Littoral Combat Ship or nuclear weapons?

      • Eeyore says:

        And while we’re at it, let’s abolish Medicare/caid, Social Security, and WIC subsidies too. Think of how much we could cut taxes then!

        • Robert F says:

          It’s funny how often people are opposed to socialism when it comes to their neighbor, but in favor of it when they themselves are the ones who benefit. It’s also funny that taxes collected in the richer, blue states are funneled through the federal government to services provided in the poorer, red states, resulting in an overall loss to the blue states and gain for the red ones. You might say that the red states are welfare dependents on the blue ones; who exactly are the “makers”, and who the “takers”?

          • flatrocker says:

            Ya, those misguided country bumpkins…
            Sending their insurance money to Connecticut, their paultry investments to New York and their i-phone payments to California. Then D.C. takes their cut of the blue state profit and trickles some back down to the hicks in rubeland. The carpet bagging continues – just on-line this time.

            • The perfect solution to that is more taxes on corporations. Good luck getting that out of the current administration though…

            • Wussypillow says:

              Of my tax bill each year, I have to send:

              -$129 to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

              -$116 to the Jewish State of Israel

              -$108 to the Arab Republic of Egypt

              -$42 to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

              -$4400 to the Pentagon, whose budget has never been audited

              -quite a few dollars to help bomb hospitals in Yemen so that an unelected dictator can maybe move back into his palace

              You want people to keep their money, fine: Where do I sign up?

            • Robert F says:

              I wonder, flatrocker, what would happen to “country bumpkins” (as you called them) states if liberal CA and NY and a few others seceded from the Union. Third Worldism, I imagine.

              • flatrocker says:

                I thought Abe settled the whole secession thing a while ago.

                • flatrocker says:

                  And besides, Robert, that whole “United We Stand” thingy just sounds so antiquated in these modern and sophisticated times.

          • If it’s the neighbor, it’s “socialism “. If it’s them, they’re just getting back what they earned and deserved.

            One day we need to do a real deep-dive into the concept of Christianity being all about giving people what they absolutely don’t deserve. It seems to be a concept that has been almost entirely lost on modern evangelicals…

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              If it’s the neighbor, it’s “socialism “. If it’s them, they’re just getting back what they earned and deserved.

              That’s how Ayn Rand justified getting herself on Social Security and Medicare. With a thoroughly Obejctivist rationalization to do so.

            • Suzanne says:

              Eeyore, you hit the nail squarely on the head.

      • StuartB says:

        Exactly. Tax cut just means taking benefits away from people. But I suppose with all that money the wealthiest of Americans are saving it’ll somehow create jobs and generate higher wages and income for lower/middle class people so that they’ll be able to buy and provide for themselves all the things that those tax cuts are removing.

        Here’s a proposal – why doesn’t the federal government pay for everyone in America to receive free gun safety training courses? And maybe a stipend towards a firearm? Then we can cut the military budget because we’ll have a full armed and trained population?

        win/win!

    • StuartB says:

      And I now realize “tax cut” is loaded dog whistle speech.

    • Well Seneca, all that pretty much pushes me out of the health insurance market. I won’t be buying “major medical” ins. because;

      1. can’t afford it
      2. it won’t help me relative to my chronic stuff.

      I will likely be uninsured and forced to use the emergency room when my chronic stuff gets bad enough.

      • I guess I can look forward to MediCare in 3 yrs….

      • The cost (both hard $ and social) of emergency room use far, far exceeds the cost of single-payer insurance. Apparently basic math concepts like future cost of annuities are lost on many Americans. Pay now or pay more later…preventive medicine is always cheaper. It is hard to believe the anti-PPACA thing is driven by anything other than ignorance and fear.

  13. Robert F says:

    I see that chicken is served with the Saturday Brunch in two forms today, both disgusting enough to be part of the lyrics of a Frank Zappa song. Ugh, and no thanks!

    • Robert F says:

      Correction: that second item is a disgusting form of serving fries! My observation still holds: both are worthy of inclusion in the Zappa lyrical oeuvre.

      • The grub box at least looks to be practical – though the derivative I want is the one for Christmas parties so I don’t have to juggle a paper plate loaded with sausage rolls and a glass of cold red wine.

        Taco Bell you can keep (every day I wake up and thank Blind Io that I don’t live in the US), and as for the spork…

        • Robert F says:

          But I doubt you could put the grub box down and a flat surface and expect it to stay upright; it’s top heavy, at least as long as food is in it. You have to continue to hold it.

  14. Perhaps it is a microaggression to spell Jim Bakker’s name as Jim Baker.

    Perhaps people will begin to spell it as Jim Bakkker in an attempt to (a) correct the cosmic imbalance and (b) connect survivalists to the Ku Klux Klan.

    Then again, perhaps not.

  15. Robert F says:

    I think that the health care bill passed by the House is a hot potato that the Senate will not pass as is, but will modify in significant ways, and then, if they are able to pass the modified bill, will send back to the House in a form that the Freedom Caucus (the Ayn Rand purists) will not be willing to support, resulting in its non-ratification. We will continue to have Obamacare, without needed fixes, for the foreseeable future, and the longer we have it, the harder politically it will be to repeal, as it grows in popularity among the American populace. Eventually Obamacare will be kept and fixed, but only after much needless delay and suffering.

  16. Susan Dumbrell says:

    To sleep perchance to dream.

    My brain hurts. Look after yourselves while I sleep.
    Play nice.

    Christ is still Risen.

  17. Eeyore says:

    I STILL blame the Cubs winnimg the World Series for EVERYTHING bad that has happened since. 😛

  18. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    Grub Box – If you do not yet believe that the Era Of Innovation is over, I present you with evidence #… oh, I’ve lot count. Read Robert Gordon.

    Micro-aggressions – Science? What? A micro-aggression is what someone does when they are too cowardly to insult someone straight-up. Or when they are just such a dick that they aren’t even aware they are a dick anymore.

    Champing – But these aren’t churches anymore if they have been re-purposed as residential. This just AirBNB. But it seems like a good idea. All those old churches with parish houses should put them on AirBNB! I hear many are without priests [although I have not seen that first hand]. Many of those old churches are in excellent locations. AirBNBs in the center city can get $~200/night; that is real money. Isn’t sheltering travelers something churches used to do? Back before they collectively decided to become useless.

    • Suzanne says:

      Down the road from where our son lives is a very good restaurant that was a church.mit still has the stained glass windows and hymn boards. We eat there whenever we visit. At our son’s alma Mayer is a frat house in a former church. I’ve been in a house near us that was, at one time, a church.
      If the building is there and not being used by a church, why not repurpose? It seems better than letting it fall into ruin or demolishing it.

      • Robert F says:

        Repurposing is conservation. I don’t see the problem. The alternative is sale of the property and demolition, followed by redevelopment. Is that better?

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          Depends on the building and site, but generally yes.

        • Daniel Jepsen says:

          I can’t argue the logic…still makes me sad

          • Suzanne says:

            It makes me sad, too, to see churches close, but it is reality. I can’t help but think that it’s partly due to the inability of the little local church to compete with the “big box” churches. The Walmartization of religion. I know our rural church can’t. And we do lose members to the franchise type church that has the awesome rock band and light show, even though most of them say they have nothing against our church, like the pastor, the people, the doctrine. But, ultimately, we can’t compete with all the cool stuff and that is the reality of it.

            • Adam Tauno Williams says:

              The question is if those big boxes can create any sense of loyalty, let alone community. I am skeptical. Eventually everything Big Box seems to burn out, once it has processed everyone through.

              And will there still be truly local institutions by the time that happens?

              • Robert F says:

                Looks like malls and many retail stores are going away, unable to compete with on-line shopping. Where will I try on clothing before I buy it when all the fitting rooms have gone extinct? The Big Box will die on the straight edge of on-line.

                • StuartB says:

                  This is something I wrestle with in my day job, trying to crack this. I’m seeing all our competitors eaten up by national companies and we can’t compete online except on a very local, hands on, outfitting type of service. The local store serviced by the national network of warehouses.

                • Adam Tauno Williams says:

                  > Looks like malls and many retail stores are going away,

                  Certainly true

                  > unable to compete with on-line shopping.

                  False. I know this is the common narrative, repeated non-stop. But it is not true. Online sales have been steady at ~8-10% of retail for years; it is **not** devouring over the counter sales.

                  The real issue is declining disposable income in Suburban America. The epicenter of Big Box corporatism. It is an interesting statistics: per capital retail floor space in Europe is ~40 sq/ft, Australia ~60sq/ft…. drumroll… America ~120sq/ft. Retail often is measured at revenue per sq ft. It is rather simple math – America’s retail model is ****DOOMED***. These corporations scandalously overbuilt, and were poorly managed – they operated like a kind of ponzi scheme with projected future sales as justification for continue expansion, which can generate the illusion of growth… for awhile.

                  Local retail will continue, and it will thrive. There are ~500 more bookstores in America than a year ago. More, not less.

                  Prices will go up. I am not convinced that is a bad thing. People will own less stuff – already a trend. I am not convinced that is a bad thing. Owning less is not the same as Poverty; equating owning less and Poverty is suburban thinking writ large.

                  Let’s not let the Managerial Class off the hook by letting them hand wave away the cratering of corporations that have been operating for 100+ years. They managed these companies poorly, they – the CEOs, boards, and consultants – ***FAILED***. They demonstrated a failure of execution, insight, vision, and adaptability. Simply – the Managerial Class is demonstrably also the Incompetence Club.. Let’s not let Team Accountability & Self Reliance walk away from their Failure.

                  • Robert F says:

                    Interesting. I’m learning something new here. So Main Street USA retails have not suffered the same losses as the big retailers? That really is surprising to me, because, as you say, the narrative says something very different. It says that if and when Barnes and Noble goes down (and that is only a matter of time), all the local bookstores will have gone extinct already. And all that business will have gone to the on-line markets. Very different story.

                    • StuartB says:

                      What’s really hurting e-tailers is shipping, especially the 2 days free or else model.

                    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

                      > So Main Street USA retails have not suffered the same
                      > losses as the big retailers?

                      They did; but many Main Streets that managed to weather the grossly state subsidized Big Box era are now having a renaissance. However, this also is a complicated story. The current industries that support a middle class: hi-tech manufacturing, medical, logistics, and education are different – much more concentrated – industries. The places that have captured some of that – which are mostly places with surviving main streets – are seeing a flourishing of retail. Retail is, and always has been, a follow-on sector – which is the lesson the managers of the Big Box’s forgot. Retail cannot create economic vitality.

                      > when Barnes and Noble goes down (and that is only a matter of time),
                      > all the local bookstores will have gone extinct already

                      Perhaps they did – – – but nothing really stops anyone from opening a new one. All you need is creative financing – possible on a small scale. Two new book stores have opened near me, for example. [our Barnes & Nobles remains – at one of the top ten performing malls in America, by revenue per sq/ft. But the Sears is pulling out and the Macy’s may not be far behind – we’ll see].

                      > Very different story.

                      It is a very complicated story; the result of many converging trend lines. The advantage of the “online shopping killing retail” narrative is its raw simplicity. As always: the simple narrative is not true.

                    • Robert F says:

                      If this trend continues, won’t it make it even more difficult for poorer people in urban and some other areas to purchase retail. After all, with a dearth of retail in their own neighborhoods, malls/box stores are a go-to destination for poor urban people and those who live in working-class non-urban towns; if malls and box stores disappear or get increasingly rarer, where will these people get the things they need? Including grocery items that they now get at the box supermarkets, like Walmart? If retail follows the middle-class, what happens to the poor?

                    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

                      > won’t it make it even more difficult for poorer people in urban
                      > and some other areas to purchase retail

                      It will certainly hurt poor people in many suburban areas – where most of the America’s poor live [again – data opposes the conventional narrative].

                      But how is this a change? When the Middle Class exited urban centers [assisted largely by government subsidy] the retail followed them – leaving urban poor, mostly black, populations with immensely diminished services and little economic opportunity.

                      Today, as retail collapses in the suburbs as the new Middle Class concentrates in both urban centers and exurbs the poor in the suburbs will be left with immensely diminished services and economic opportunity.

                      This is America. That is how we roll. And this movement again hinges on public policy – the evaporation of the subsidies that made white suburban America [temporarily] viable.

                      It is going to be a very unhappy future for a lot of people; and many of those people are white, so they lack cultural experience with being the ones getting screwed. There is something darkly ‘equitable’ about modern America.

                      > those who live in working-class non-urban towns

                      My advice is simple: LEAVE! Get while the getting is good. Go, tomorrow. The numbers are clear, to me anyway – there is an oncoming storm, and the retail collapse we see today are the first drops of rain. There is thunder in the distance. Once mighty institutions are going to be swept away. The modern economy has no use for those places.

                      But this has all happened before; it is not The Apocalypse. Places die. There are ruins of abandoned towns and cities, many ancient, all across the world.

                      It is best to not be among the last people to leave.

                      There will be winners.

                      Again, in the data, if you look at the narrative of “gentrification” [another hot mess oversimplification]. In those “gentrified” places – some poor are certainly displaced, however the amount of residential mobility actually **declines**. Those who those paying attention – will both fight to get into a great place – and they will fight to stay. Those who remain benefit. They are the places you see upward economic mobility, as people find ways to ride the wave. In tumult is opportunity.

                      > If retail follows the middle-class, what happens to the poor?

                      People move. What is more American than that? We are, and have always been, a mobile migratory population. It is part of the American dynamism; for better or worse. American history is principally a story of migrations following economic opportunity.

                      We love stories of the fourth generation family farm. Largely these are stories are just that: stories – fiction. We find the very few examples of such, and we hold them up as cultural standards. Statistically, the family, or even population, persistent in one place is quite small.

                      > If retail follows the middle-class, what happens to the poor?

                      What always happens to the poor: most of them get screwed, again.

                      From one of the best BLOGs – Granola Shotgun: “Americans don’t actually care about the poor and never have. It’s important to keep this in mind. “

                    • Robert F says:

                      My wife and I, in the last quarter of our lives, are just managing to stay in the lower-middle class. We live in the kind of suburban environs that you are forecasting doom for; we rent in an area where our work is centered, and because of that and other issues, including health and decreasing mobility, it is likely impossible for us to leave for the a nearby city. We are stuck. Guess we’ll go down with the ship. Not looking forward to it.

                    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

                      > My wife and I, in the last quarter of our lives

                      Well, you might get lucky. There are always exceptions to these movements. Or the place may fail, but last long enough. 🙂

                      I often look back at history and think: Mortality might be a gift. Living in this world, with all its fits and moods, would render me crazy within 500 yeas.

                    • Robert F says:

                      Thanks for the good word, Adam, and for consistently finding the positive possibilities in things. I’ve learned much from you.

                  • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                    Let’s not let the Managerial Class off the hook by letting them hand wave away the cratering of corporations that have been operating for 100+ years. They managed these companies poorly, they – the CEOs, boards, and consultants – ***FAILED***.

                    Making themselves — and only themselves — very, very rich in the process.
                    “I’m an M.B.A. and…”

                  • Adam is right. First was over-building of malls, then the bad management set it.

                    There is one of those big malls here in Kingsport TN. It’s lost its Sears. Hardly anyone goes there. Its open hours are ridiculously truncated. Its appearance is not inviting. I’ve lived here since October and haven’t been once–absolutely no draw.

              • Robert F says:

                Apparently living, buying and existing on-line creates a sense of loyalty….to cyberspace…

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              And we do lose members to the franchise type church that has the awesome rock band and light show…

              Don’t forget the onsite amusement/theme park for the kids.
              Some of them actually designed by Disney Imagineers.

        • On occasions, yes it is.

    • Wussypillow says:

      The Japanese basically invented tourism with the Tokaido Road, which was used by Buddhist pilgrims going from Kyoto to Edo (now Tokyo). Along the way, they would stop and stay overnight at temples. The temples in time began to compete to see who could provide the best food and accommodations. Associations of pilgrims grew up, each hanging a placard outside the temples that they thought provided the best service. Call it an early form of Yelp.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Champing in the words of the prophet Steve Taylor:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyy_yiZ-3DY

  19. Maybe the elf could get a job as tour guide at that bridge.

    • flatrocker says:

      Charles,
      Sometimes you confound me, sometimes you inspire me and sometimes you cause me to bust a gut.
      This was a gut buster.

    • Wussypillow says:

      Eh. The sooner he departs for the West, the better.

  20. Wussypillow says:

    I feel for that elf guy. Me, I want to be a hobbit and with my hairy feet, aversion to shoes, and love of vests, rings, riddles and drinking, I am off to a great start!

  21. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Got a friend who is a huge baseball fan and a plumber? Yes? Is he dead? Yes? Then naturally you take his ashes into ballpark restrooms around the country and flush them down the toilet, right?
    ***
    After Roy died Tom thought up his plan. So far, Roy has gone down the tubes in 16 stadiums.

    Compared to “to be against Trump is to be against God”, this is “normal” garden-variety News of the Weird goofiness.

    So, this is a thing, now. An Argentinian man has declared that he is “trans-species”. 25-year-old Luis Padron has already spent £25,000 on plastic surgery as he wants to become a real-life elf.

    O… Kay…

    Look up “Otherkin” sometime. A mythic variant of “Therian” species dysphoria where people geniunely believe they are mythical creatures trapped in a hy00man form (or reincarnations of same). This just takes it to the plastic surgery “Stalking Cat” level.

  22. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    “It’s not against Donald Trump. On the outside, in the natural [world], it’s, ‘We hate Donald Trump,’ ‘We’re furious about this and we’re furious about that,’ but the scriptures say they gather and they plot ultimately against the Lord and against His anointed.” — Joel Richardson, AKA God’s Chosen Mouthpiece

    For a long time, Fundies have gotten rid of the Holy Spirit and substituted SCRIPTURE(TM).

    Now they’re deposing The Son to enthrone The Trump in His place. “Eternal Subordination of the Son” was just the necessary prep to clear the Holy of Holies for the New Throne. Or Image that comes to life and demands…

    • HUG, your reference to Eternal Subordination surprised me. That heresis is the root to many of the problems of the Neo-Puritans, especially the “Complementarians.” The lower-classes of the Evangelical Circus have absolutely no grasp of Trinitarian theology…

      • Tom, it’s a frequent topic on other blogs that HUG (and I) follow. I agree that it could be partly at the root of a lot of the stress on churches in the complementarian camp, even though the man in the pew may not ave heard of ESS.

        I’ve watched three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale and will watch the latest episode tonight. I recognize a lot of what’s in the series. The attitudes toward women represent the extreme scenario of complementarianism, complete with bible verses and religious jargon and ritual.

        Anticipating a discussion about the series here at internetmonk.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Though with the Son deposed, the Trump can now ascend to His throne.

  23. Robert F says:

    wind in the trees
    petals in the air
    gravity defied

  24. Anna A says:

    I like the Grub Box. Seems a lot easier to balance than 1 cup and 1 tray of chicken and fries.

  25. Dana Ames says:

    Christ is risen!

    We could have the best health care delivery system in the world. We could have a fairer tax rate. We don’t, because a) we are impatient, b) we don’t think in terms of the future, c) our corporate culture has become driven by greed alone – and no, it wasn’t always that way, d) most of our legislators are in the pockets of people who like things the way they are, for various reasons, and e) in general we are paralyzed by fear, on many levels.

    For health care, our models are France and Germany. For tax rates, our model is New Zealand. Will we pay attention? I’m not holding my breath.

    New book gives some interesting details about taxes: “A Fine Mess” by T.R. Reid. I haven’t read it, but his interview on “Fresh Air” is most enlightening.

    I reiterate what has been said above, and at other times at IM: for people who say “God” and “Jesus” so much, we sure do a pi$$ poor job of supporting real caring for our neighbor. I am the chiefest of sinners in this regard, especially in terms of actual face-to-face care. It’s hard and will break your heart, so we/I don’t do it.

    And HUG is right about the replacing of the Persons of the Trinity.

    Not in a very optimistic mood. Had a very bad day with eighth-graders yesterday at work; still hurting from it, and I even hurt a little for the students – mostly girls – who treated me so poorly. They must have a lot of pain in their lives; I’m sure I can’t imagine. Had a couple of nice encounters later in the evening with a two High School students, which took the edge off a little.

    Dana

    • Robert F says:

      Sorry for your bad day, Dana. I will remember you and those eighth-graders in prayer.

      • Dana Ames says:

        Thanks, Robert. I signed up for substitute teaching voluntarily and I will keep doing it, because I believe I’m called to it. Most days aren’t like yesterday 🙂

        Do pray for those students.

        D.

    • Precisely Dana.

      This goes back to the “discussion” Oscar and I had several weeks ago about American Exceptionalism and why things that are quite successful in other countries “just won’t work here.”

    • Sorry about the bad day with the 8th graders. Not a way to treat a volunteer.

      • Dana Ames says:

        Well, not strictly a volunteer – I do get paid 🙂 But yeah, I’m not compelled to take assignments at that school. Like I said, most days – and most kids – are pretty good.

        D.

  26. charlie says:

    After spending yesterday with a family member, I feel like I have been in the presence of a Pharisee. The posts Daniel posted just turn my stomach–the food ones, and the others.

    I’m with Susan: I just want to travel the road with the weary, and know Jesus is on the same road with me.

    Living so misunderstood by my self-righteous family member(s) is really pretty freeing. Was it Paul who said to live as pleasing to God and not to men? Pretty clear, that.

    I grew up with Bakkers, et al, auughh. So over all of it. And the post last week on Ken Ham…who listens to that on purpose?

    I get to this site so late (often)….us west coast Cali people, but I do like the opportunity to weigh in.

    But, off to a Kentucky Derby party with my big hat, have a few mint juleps, a few bets…hmmm, I bet (no pun intended, well, maybe)a few Pharisees would frown on that, eh? Not to mention the wine/beer tasting charity event after that–oh, and the money doesn’t go to a ‘church’ event/stuff. Nope…to the community that really is in need.

    Politically speaking….we in CA are truly crazy, I fully admit:)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      And the post last week on Ken Ham…who listens to that on purpose?

      Amazing what the threat of Eternal Hell (and its prologue at the Great White Throne) can do as a motivator.

  27. You could also use the McDonalds “frork” to keep your fingers from getting greasy with those french fries.

    Except that, to put those french fries into the frork, you’d have to use your, uh…

  28. Susan Dumbrell says:

    While you were sleeping:- a tiny infant, Ashton John, was Baptised into the Church Of God.
    A very inclusive Baptism. The congregation, parents and godparents welcoming this tiny sleeping infant.

    I am sure we all have our own ideas on Baptism, please no takers here, but this tiny child was nursed and cradled in loving arms and taken through the congregation for their blessing.
    May he be blessed until we all meet in the Heavenly Kingdom.
    A nice story on a sunny Sunday.

    The Lord bless us all