November 19, 2017

Saturday Ramblings, December 5, 2015


Hello, friends, and welcome to the weekend. I offered to write a couple Saturday columns to give our over-worked Chaplain a break. Shall we Ramble?

1964 Rambler Marlin

1964 Rambler Marlin

Not much in the way of politics this week. Though the Republican Presidential hopefuls did raise some funds and eyebrows at the Republican Jewish Forum, held in a phone booth in D.C. The Donald, for his part, showed his consistency in racially stereotyping yet another group. Trump told the Jewish audience that would not vote for him because he is funding his own campaign: “I don’t want your money so therefore you’re probably not going to support me. . . You want to control your own politician.”  “Is there anyone in this room who doesn’t negotiate deals?” he asked at another point, and then answered his own question. “Probably more than any room I’ve ever spoken.” And, “I’m a negotiator, like you folks.” Ben Carson, oft criticized as a lightweight on foreign policy, read from a script [safe move!] but repeatedly pronounced “Hamas” as “hummus” [maybe not]. Carson said all options are on the table to eliminate hummus, including vegetables and pita chips.

Oh, and the Donald earlier  revealed his plan to deal with ISIS: kill their families. Because, ya know, there is no better way to show the superiority of western values than murdering people because of who they happen to be related to.

And the latest poll, offered without comment [except a whimpering sigh from the fetal position]:

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I always thought he was a little creepy. I’m talking about Elf on the Shelf, the latest trend in parental manipulation. Some are suggesting Santa’s snitch has a more sinister and serious side [say that ten times real fast].  The elf, a new paper argues, promotes acceptance of a surveillance state. This is because he  encourages children “to accept or even seek out external observation of their actions outside of their caregivers and familial structures.” Though Snopes busts the rumor that the little guy is a program secretly instituted by the NSA, he still normalizes “dangerous, uncritical acceptance of power structures.” Hmmm. That may be too far. But surely he does play to a side of Christmas at odds with the gospel: that good boys and girls are rewarded, while the bad are left out. In any case, he’s also a big, fat hypocrite. Look what compromising pictures are popping up on the internet in just the few short years of his existence:

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Fortunately, we have man’s best friend to help with the situation:

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“GOOD DOGGIES!”

Well, this happened: West Point has banned pillow fights after 30 cadets were injured in one. “While never officially sanctioned, it is now officially banned, and we will take appropriate action to ensure that all faculty, staff, leaders, the Corps of Cadets and everyone at West Point knows that it will not be tolerated,” West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen said this week in a statement. For those interested, here is a short video of this year’s pillow fight:

By the way, did you know there is a military version of The Onion? It’s called The Duffleblog, and they totally called this one 3 years ago. Other recent headlines from The Duffelblog:

  • 2016 GOP Candidates Strengthen Foreign Policy Credentials By Watching ‘American Sniper’
  • Army To Lower Divorce Rates By Training Soldiers Not To Marry Strippers
  • DARPA to Weaponize Thoughts and Prayers
  • Syrian Refugees Relieved Not To Be Sent To Detroit
  • US Not Sure Who It’s Fighting In Middle East, Bombs Israel ‘Just To Be Sure’

Something about this dream-catcher just seem off to me. Thoughts? dream catcher

Did you know archaeologists are busy uncovering the remains of the Jamestown colony? It was once assumed that the James River had long since covered over the site of the original Jamestown fort, but in the 1990s, renewed excavations revealed that the fort’s remains were still on land. In 2011, archaeologists discovered the foundations of the fort’s church, likely the first Protestant church ever built in America, which hosted the most famous wedding of the American colonial era, between John Rolfe and Pocahontas. Last month they found something else: A Catholic reliquary in the grave of Captain Gabrial Archer, one of the colony’s leaders. Because the box is too fragile to open, a CT scan was performed, which showed that the box contained bone fragments and an ampulla, or a sacred flask. These leave little doubt that the box was a Catholic devotional item. This is important, since it was previously assumed that the colony (at least the leadership) were all very protestant (which, in that context, implied very anti-Rome). 

Catholics and Protestants Together?: Capt. Gabriel Archer’s reliquary with replicas of its contents.

Catholics and Protestants Together?: Capt. Gabriel Archer’s reliquary with replicas of its contents.

Spotted this week: 

Wow

Hey, even white supremacists need some victim-status, ya know?

Hopefully it goes without saying that all Christians should condemn the recent murders at Planned Parenthood. Violence against abortion providers is both morally abhorrent and counter-productive. But what are your thoughts on this exchange?

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Of course, there was also this from PP a few weeks ago: pp

Indonesia has a drug problem. But they have a sweet plan to deal with it: A prison island guarded by crocodiles.  The proposal is the pet project of anti-drugs chief Budi Waseso, who plans to visit various parts of the archipelago in his search for fierce reptiles to guard the jail. “We will place as many crocodiles as we can there. I will search for the most ferocious type of crocodile.” Why crocs, Chief Waseso? “You can’t bribe crocodiles. You can’t convince them to let inmates escape.” True, but this 1973 documentary shows one potential problem:

Our good friend Rick Joyner could really make some money on sports betting. Joyner claims that early in the NFL season last year, God “shared with me” that the New England Patriots were going to win the Superbowl. “He said, ‘The Patriots are going to win and it is going to be a message that patriotism is going to win.’ I believe you’re going to see patriotism becoming really popular again.” I wonder what the message will be if the Raiders or Buccaneers wins this year?

Israeli archaeologists have discovered a clay imprint, known as a bulla, with the seal of biblical King Hezekiah. The circular inscription, on a piece of clay less than a centimeter (0.4 inches) long, may very well have been made by the king himself, said Eilat Mazar of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University who directed the excavation where it was uncovered. The seal was found at a dig at the foot of the southern part of the wall that surrounds Jerusalem’s Old City. It had been buried in a refuse dump dated to the time of Hezekiah and was probably tossed from an adjacent royal building, Mazar said. It contains ancient Hebrew script and the symbol of a two-winged sun.

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Australia seems to be a land where God decided to see just how many things he could put on one island that would kill you. Case in point: the story of Eric Holland. Eric was working in his Australian shed on an Australian afternoon last week, when he heard some Australian-sounding noises from the front of his Australian house. He went to look, and found this:

"Do you have a minute to talk about Godzilla?"

“Pardon me, sir, but do you have a minute to talk about Godzilla?”

That thing is a five-foot goanna, native to Australia [shocker].  Eric told ABC News: “It blew the cobwebs out of me . . .He climbed up the bricks and got under the eve and his tail was twitching and hitting on the pipe… My yellow streak started to show and I jumped back in the shed.” Yeah, I don’t blame you Eric. I think my yellow streak will keep me off the whole stinkin’ island.

Finally, this last story has no humor, but may make a pretty good sermon illustration. A California man named Dan stumbled across a run-down barn with some run-down cars. One of them caught his eye. Oh sure, it was in rather rough shape. The owner of the car had stuck it in the barn when it started developing “ugly noises”. That was in 1974! 41 years in a ramshackle barn is generally less than ideal for cars, as you can see.s-l1600s-l1600 (1)s-l1600s-l1600 (2)But Dan spotted potential, and bought it (for an undisclosed sum). He did some research, and discovered it was a 1955 Porshe 356a Speedster, number 212 of 1,700 built. So, he put it up as-is on ebay, and on Wednesday he was awarded $152,700 for his troubles. Presumably the buyer will return it to its former and intended glory:

"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost"

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Comments

  1. Was Captain Gabrial Archer a Roman Catholic among Protestants at Jamestown, or a good Baptist who knew how to hide a flask? Not sure archeology can tell us.

    • Fr. Isaac (or possibly Obed, but definitely not Fr. Obed) says:

      Of course in the circles in which I run, the assumption was “he must’ve been an Anglo-Catholic!” I don’t think those were really around at that time…

      • Ah, no; as I’m sure you know, Anglo-Catholicism came into being in the 19th century. Yes, it had historical antecedents in the Caroline Divines and others, but these would have not been given to the use of relics.

        • But, who knows: Perhaps there were Anglicans who secretly kept some of the ways of their Catholic forbears, for instance, by quietly retaining a family relic that had been passed down from generation to generation.

    • There was a quietly Orthodox family in Jamestown, the Ludwells. They converted in England, and a family member would make the long trip by ship to get a year or two of reserved sacrament which they shared in a private chapel. A few friends seem to have joined them, but the practice didn’t survive more than 2 generations. They just unearthed what seems to be the ruins of their chapel.

      That didn’t stop Thomas Ludwell from being a financial pillar of the Anglican church in his public life, though.

      I think everywhere in the past had more diversity than we give it credit for.

      • +1

      • I was just at the dig site last year. Aside from finding graves, indication of the stockade walls and the like they also examined the trash. In at least one trash heap there was evidence of hard times…. the evidence of human bone with what looked like knife marks, providing some evidence that at least one family who was starving may have practiced cannibalism… which has been a rumor there for many a year…..

  2. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

    Oh, man, those elf pictures were hilarious!

  3. That sure looks like an Egyptian Ankh symbol on that Hezekiah seal. Impossible! In my youth, this symbol was popular on jewelry and other trinkets, but we told told in parochial school & church to avoid, avoid, avoid! It’s a symbol of Satan! Hmmmmm….

    • > It’s a symbol of Satan!

      What symbol wasn’t?

    • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

      Like Benjamin Franklin?

    • Not only an ankh but a depiction of Nibiru. How contemporary and relevant. I wonder what the wording says. If Hezekiah was one of the good kings, I wonder what was on the seals of the bad ones. Maybe an elf on a shelf.

    • It’s always been the symbol of Death in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman for me.

      Mmm…Death. She’s my favorite.

      • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

        I liked some of the Sandman stories, dark though they were. I also enjoyed some of the Spirit and Sin City, mostly for the artwork. But as corny as it may sound, my all time favorite comics were Star Wars, especially Tales from Tattooine. They were just good romping fun.

    • That Other Jean says:

      Actually, it’s the hieroglyph that is translated “life.” Not scary, not Satanic.

      • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

        Of course it’s Satanic. Even the Devil himself presents as an angel of life.

  4. Marcus Johnson says:

    Thanks for sharing, Rick Joyner, and hooray for patriotism!

    Fortunately, God told me that, if the Buccaneers had a crappy season, we would all be safe from piracy on the high seas. To date, they’re 5-6, so it’s close. Just to be safe, no seafaring for the next could of weeks.

    • flatrocker says:

      I wonder what patriotic words of wisdom Joyner will have if the Redskins win.

      • Or the Packers. Did anyone see the last play of their improbable victory over the Lions Thursday night?

        • Those last two plays were crazy.

        • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

          If by “improbable” you mean “the refs threw the game because some big shot in Las Vegas threatened to cut off a coveted body part if the Lions won” then, yeah.

          #vikingsforever

      • Marcus Johnson says:

        If the Packers win, then God will inspire Amazon to continue to offer free shipping at various points throughout the year.

        If the Redskins win, then we don’t need to confess our sins to seek salvation, because hell would have frozen over by then.

  5. If thousands of secret, crypto-Catholics could survive without clergy for several hundred years after the Japanese authorities believed they had stamped out the original wave of Portuguese-converted Catholic believers in the 17th century, then I suppose Archer and other secret Catholics might’ve survived in Jamestown.

  6. I’ve been suspicious of those elves for quite some time…

    Great ramble, Daniel.

    • I have it on good authority that many young elves have started a resistance movement: E.L.F: the Elf Liberation Front.

      • That Other Jean says:

        Makes sense to me. How would you like to spend your whole working life hanging out on a shelf watching kids play and being a professional tattle-tale? Elves need better job prospects.

        • A friend of mine stopped in and took a look at the Elf ramble. Here’s her comment;

          HA!! I have to say, I never even think of our elves as surveillance. We’ve never had the elves “watching” the kids. Our elves sole purpose in their little felt lives is to be naughtier than my own kids, thus bumping up the curve and making then look better by comparison! Haha.

          She and her family are from Scotland where there’s a particular Gaelic name from those elves…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Sic the Krampus in the Korner on them!

      TONIGHT ON WWE!
      STEEL CAGE SMACKDOWN: ELF ON THE SHELF VS KRAMPUS IN THE KORNER!
      SPECIAL INTERVIEW WITH KRAMPUS’ MANAGER DONALD TRUMP!

  7. Not much funny happened last week, but thanks, Daniel, for making us aware of the ridiculous this Saturday.

    And while it is on my mind, how about a “Best of Saturday Ramblings” before the end of the year? There’s been so much stuff that was rich in irony, sarcasm and humor this past year that a recap should be in order.

  8. Michael Z says:

    We in America have created a culture where guns are worshiped. We put our trust in them to save us and protect us, and to give us an identity. They occupy our hearts and our imaginations in the same way that God ought to occupy our hearts and our imaginations. In our movies and television shows and other media, we communicate the idea that using a gun makes someone powerful and heroic.

    Take that sort of culture that celebrates guns and violence, and combine it with very easy access to guns – even guns specifically designed for mass killing – and it’s no wonder that practically every day some deranged individual goes and acts out the fantasies that have been taught to him by our culture.

    Why are American Christians not speaking out? Are we so caught up in worshiping the same idols that those around us worship that we cannot name that idolatry for what it is?

    • American Christians love their guns, and their violence.

      • What ridiculous over-the-top nonsense. In my part of the world, Christians take the responsibility to protect their homes and families. Their wives and children. Mock our love for our families if you like, but never doubt it.

        • Klasie Kraalogies says:

          And that is the standard gun lover’s answer….

        • I do doubt it; I think many Americans love their guns more than God, country, family and posterity. They’ve turned the Second Amendment into an absolute, and the gun into god. You sound like one of them.

          And if you don’t like my comment, here’s one you’ll like even less:

          Violence is as American as apple pie.

          • Klasie Kraalogies says:

            That is true: I have always found it weird how much easier it is to depict violence on TV and movies – but don’t you dare show a mammory gland….

        • If you want to protect your family, having a handgun in the house is a *very* bad way to do it.

          For every handgun that someone owns, the chances are a hundred times higher that that gun will be used to kill the owner or someone close to them, than that it will ever be used in self-defense. And, if you look at cases of self-defense, people who pull a gun to defend themselves are actually *more* likely to end up injured or dead than people who try to deal with the situation nonviolently.

          Beyond that, of course, is the question of whether the use of lethal force is even moral in the first place, especially for someone who claims to follow Jesus.

          • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

            Correct. A few more points:
            1) The safest place for a handgun is on your person. If it isn’t, it needs to be unloaded and locked away in a separate safe from the ammo. Which, of course, renders it useless as a defense weapon.

            2) I have over 1,000 hours of professional handgun training, including training from a former IDF instructor (which sounds cool to say, but Israelis carry condition three, so if you don’t – and I don’t – the training isn’t that useful). I can easily outshoot my brother who is in the infantry (with a sidearm, mind you – he toasts me with an assault rifle). Having said all that I would never, ever, ever trust anyone – including police! – to discharge a sidearm in public without at least 500 hours of training, including stress training.

            3) Rick Ro is right – even “liberal” hollywood has a love affair with firearms and power and taking lives. It is the ongoing fantasy that is divorced from real-life science and statistics. Ironically, guns end up as a metaphorical phallic symbol mocking those on both right and left.

          • The sister of a woman I work with had her house burglarized a couple/three weeks ago; one of the things they stole was her handgun, which had been under lock and key while she was at work (no guns in the workplace, you know). Guess she’s gonna have to buy another handgun, for self-protection or loss to theft, whichever comes first.

        • It’s not an American “Christian” problem, dudes, it’s an AMERICAN problem, which includes a vast majority of folks who aren’t Christian.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      And of course, Banning Guns Will Solve Everything.

      Activists are all the same when it comes to their Agenda:
      “Do What I Say and Everything Will be Perfect Forevermore! Unicorns Farting Rainbows and Free Ice Cream for Everyone!”

      Accompanied by the Cleansing(TM) of all those EEVIL Reactionaries who don’t Get With the Program.
      Can’t make The Perfect Utopian Omelet without cracking a few eggs, you know.
      Been that way since Paris in 1789.

      • It’s impossible to ban guns in this country; there are just too many of them out there already. Many of them are used legitimately for hunting and sport; one in three households owns a gun. The Second Amendment will never be repealed because guns are so popular, so banning guns won’t happen.

        But the resistance to legislation against weapons that are only designed to slaughter large numbers of people in warfare, and magazine cartridges designed for the same purpose, is another thing altogether. It’s the result of the misbegotten conception of many radicals, mostly on the right, but also a few on the left, that they will one day have to be used against our own government. This idea is the cause of Second Amendment absolutism, and this is why we can expect these mass shootings, as well as other gun-violence, to occur on a regular basis, like a frequently occurring natural disaster.

        • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

          To be fair, most large metropolitan centers (and a few states) have gun restrictions which go far beyond the Federal guidelines. In the Old West it was virtually impossible to carry a firearm within city limits. I’m not sure that precedent should change.

        • The problem with your point is the wording of the 2nd amendment talks about a “militia”, not hunting. Which is many ways could be taken to mean assault rifles are OK, shotguns, not so much.

          Say he who have never owned a gun.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says:

        Nobody said ban all guns. Nobody said all gun owners worship guns.

        Only a Sith speaks in absolutes…

      • I have no idea where I heard or saw this, but in the last week I heard someone make a comment about always preferring their eggs scrambled because you have to break the eggs’ will to make them. Was something like that, all I know is that it was a clever twist and I laughed hard.

        • Lenin said something like that—to make an omelet you need to break eggs. But he wasn’t talking about eggs.

          • That wasn’t Lenin, that was Robespierre.

          • As my dad used to say, “It bears repeating.” I think Lenin borrowed it, but if not, it’s something he would have said.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            I’ve normally heard that credited to Stalin. But Stalin was a Comrade of Lenin, and if Lenin said it, Stalin put it into practice with a vengeance. And Lenin was kind of a fanboy of Robespierre (even patterning The Party after Robespierre’s Jacobins for their Zeal and Purity of Revolution), so a Robespierre –> Lenin –> Stalin path is very plausible.

    • Senecagriggs yahoo says:

      I’ve got a couple of guns, haven’t actually picked them up in a couple of years; haven’t fired them in 4 years. But I know where they are. I hope I never have to use them to defend myself or my family. But evil people reside in our world.

      To say I worship guns and violence is simply lame.

      Mike Z, if everybody has guns but you you’re S.O.L.

      • I’ll fess up to hyperbole; please forgive me for that.

        But the insidious idea that Americans need absolute Second Amendment right because one day they will need to turn their guns designed-for-warfare against their own government is a cancer on the American spirit, and we are paying its price with the atrocious level of gun-violence and death in our nation.

        • Absolutely. And they don’t recognize the irony that they created the government that they think they will have to fight.

          No no, it’s “the others” fault…

        • Not hyperbole, Robert. What you said answers the question Mike asked a couple of days ago: “Why isn’t Rachel weeping today?”

        • Andrew Zook says:

          To Robert F: +1000

      • “Mike Z, if everybody has guns but you you’re S.O.L.”

        Didn’t Jesus say something like this? Maybe it was an apostle.

      • Every discussion on guns always results in at least an implicit death threat. Its just something I’ve come to expect. Typical theism, really.

    • Day late and a two dollars short. This is your captain. We have been hijacked. Stay calm and buckle up.

      • Brianthedad says:

        +1. Surely we needn’t be always be so serious. Yes we should, and don’t call be Shirley

    • Patriciamc says:

      Amen! I’m all for the 2nd Amendment – and for strict gun laws. The real problem, though, is with the culture, the worship of guns and the worship of violence. Addressing that will go a long way with helping to prevent gun violence, but how do we do this? Switzerland has mandatory gun ownership and little gun violence. What are they getting right and we’re getting wrong?

      • Universal healthcare and legal weed? lol

      • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

        Well, Stuart is pretty close. What Switzerland has is security. There is virtually no agnst (other than recent upheavels over immigration and muslims) because people know that no matter what happens, they will never be destitute. It is a sad thing that America hasn’t evolved to this point yet.

    • In related news, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. gave a speech at the regular convocation last night encouraging all Liberty students to acquire concealed weapons. I have copied and pasted the remarks from the ABC news story linked below.

      You’ll excuse my consternation over this, I hope, as my daughter, and many of her friends attend Liberty.

      http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/liberty-university-president-urges-students-arm-35596543

      “Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here,” President Jerry Falwell Jr. told students at a convocation Friday.

      The call-to-arms was met with rousing applause from students, but some said Falwell went too far when he appeared to be referring specifically to Muslims, the News & Advance reported (http://bit.ly/1Na9kYd).

      “I’ve always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in .,” Falwell said.

      Questioned by a student on social media, Falwell said he was referring to Islamic terrorists.

      “I was referring to ‘those Muslims’ that just carried out attacks in Paris and California,” he said in response on Twitter.

      Reached later by the newspaper, Falwell said, “There are many good Muslims, many good moderate Muslims.”

      He did not respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking additional comment.

      In his call to arms, Falwell encouraged students to take a free class offered by campus police to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

      Falwell said he’s decided to carry a gun after recent mass attacks. “If anything we need more people with concealed carry permits,” he said.

      Falwell said he had also reached out to a first responder in San Bernardino to see if the school could offer scholarships to his children.

      Unlike his late father, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the younger Falwell has been a low-key leader at Liberty. His father’s barbed statements on contemporary issues made him a reviled figure to some and a pioneering conservative crusader to others.

      “That’s not my thing,” Falwell said in an interview with the AP earlier this year at Liberty, which was founded by his father.

      • That Other Jean says:

        Jerry Falwell, Jr.? The father was delusional enough, but the son sounds on a par with Franklin Graham. God forgive us.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          You know the best way to become Lead Pastor of a megachurch, don’t you?

          Be born the son of the Lead Pastor with a name ending in “Junior”.

          (And be prepared to play the Game of Thrones against Daddy’s other sons and proteges…)

      • That’s frightening, KMD. Liberty is the largest and now the most influential Christian university, overtaking Bob Jones U as the go-to place for Republican candidates to get blessed endorsed by evangelicals.

        Liberty also has a massive on-line presence, and military training that includes drone technology. It calls itself “one of America’s top military-friendly schools.”

        Sojourners did their cover story on this a couple of years ago:
        https://sojo.net/magazine/july-2013/drones-christ

    • We in America have created a culture where guns are worshiped.

      I don’t think so. The only time I ever hear about guns is when somebody is trying to take them away. I know plenty of gun owners, many who have quite the collection. They never talk about them. You’ll hear about the dear they bag, but not the round they used.

      I don’t know anybody who loves violence. Most Americans avoid it as much as possible.

      You’re gonna have to give me some examples if I’m gonna follow those assertions. I’m with seneca: my arms haven’t seen the light of day in over 5 years, but they will be whipped out in a heartbeat before someone harms my wife and children in my house. Just because sometimes violence IS the answer, it doesn’t follow that it is an easy answer.

      • *DEER, not dear :O

      • Agree with Miguel. I know several folks who carry a sidearm. They rarely speak about it.

        • Yup. The San Bernardino killers were quiet, respectable people. Very polite, all American gun owners, 364 days a year.

          • Do you still stand by that, now that a few days’ worth of news has come out about them?
            (sigh…one of the things I miss most about Michael Spencer’s absence was his ability to moderate the comments to keep the snarkiest, most broad-brushed ones out of the conversation).

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      I don’t think we live in a country where guns are necessarily worshipped. Like most folks have already commented, we either are or know folks who are registered gun owners, and they’re not strutting about in the open like they’re Wyatt Earp.

      However, I think part of our humanity has, and always has had, an unnecessary obsession with the spirit of aggression.

      This isn’t always physical violence or armed force. It also isn’t all that perceptible. Salespeople who won’t back down, guys at clubs who won’t take no for an answer, Christians who don’t recognize when sharing their faith becomes a very unwelcome and uneven exercise, etc. That list can go on and on, and it’s not just incidental stuff; it’s a belief system, woven into practically every part of our society, that if you don’t get what you want from someone, you can push until you get it. And if you feel threatened, aggression (and, occasionally, violence) is always an acceptable resort. I don’t think this is inherently wrong; I just think we don’t always recognize when we’ve crossed the line.

      I used to be all about banning guns, but that is an unnecessary, illogical, and impractical idea. I still think there are some reasonable measures we could take to close loopholes as far as securing responsible firearms ownership. But, in the end, we’ve got an aggression problem, and we just don’t want to fix it because it feels so good.

      • Andrew Zook says:

        I think we also have a fragmentation problem… if community or the common good actually meant something to most americans (instead of the much more idolized individualistic autonomy) I think we’d see less of this or at least if the Church was more concerned about it (common good) instead of pietistic individualism, I think you would see more concern, action or soul-searching from church people.

  9. Trump is a horror. But the more morally outrageous are the things he says, the more popularity he attains. The evils of American history have a deep purchase within the souls of Americans, and Trump plays on those evils to his own benefit, and to the shame of the nation.

    • I hate to say it, but Trump’s continued rise in the polls does not surprise me. There’s a lot of fear and resentment out there, and he’s feeding off it. People who don’t want “their hard-earned tax money” to go to the “undeserving”. People who don’t want America to change, either culturally or demographically. People who not only do not share progressive values, but find them repugnant.

      This may be American conservatives’ last hurrah. But judging by European history, conservative last hurrahs tend to be bloody.

      • Mocking people who work hard. I kind of thought “thou shalt nor steal” was a Christian principle. Guess I was wrong.

        • Klasie Kraalogies says:

          He wasn’t mocking those who work hard, he was repeating their standard lines.

          And anyone who thinks tax=theft is an anarchist.

          • flatrocker says:

            How about we just settle on tax=oppression and call it a day.

          • Klasie Kraalogies says:

            Only if you want to say that human society=oppression.

            Anti-tax ranters are so ridiculous.

          • Tax=not theft is also a bit broad. Redistribution of wealth is theft.

          • Klasie Kraalogies says:

            Nothing is quite black and white. What about the redistribution of unjustly acquired wealth ( with varying definitions of unjust). What if ( theoretical question) the massive acquisition of wealth by a small sector who manages to manouver law etc. introduces an imbalance threatening to send the whole kaboodle into the abyss? And who gets to define what?

            Platitudes just don’t help.

          • –> “Anti-tax ranters are so ridiculous.”

            So are anti-vax ranters!

          • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

            I’m going to disagree strongly with Miguel here. Redistribution of wealth is not theft, and I believe that in part because the Lord God demanded redistribution of wealth in his OT law. It is about justice, and the fact that there is no system that ever equally rewards people for their contributions to society. Some redistribution is always necessary, not just to pay for public utility and infrastructure, but to make sure that people are not downtrodden simply because they lack the IQ or ability to more than a janitor.

          • Klasie Kraalogies says:

            Agreed, Rick. And sometimes they are the same people..

          • Dr. F, the OT law has provisions for charitable aid. A social safety net is not quite the same as redistribution. PLUS, all their provisions applied equally to everyone. The rich were not charged more for being rich. In that society, there were vast differences between the rich and poor.

          • Klasie Kraalogies says:

            Miguel, we do not live in OT times – this is not the bronze age. Society is infintely more compex. But even taking the OT into account, the Jubilee year and all that severely limited the amount of debt a ,an could hold for a long time (and therefore, conversely, the amount of wealth a lender could gain). This creates a definite glass ceiling, unless you are King Solomon. In all accounts, the government (and therefore the King) excluded, it would have been highly unlikely that the top 1% of the society would get to own 50% of the wealth, or that the top 0.1% own as much as the bottom 90%.

            As to the rich being charged more – I presume you are referring to progressive tax. The principal of progressive tax is that for a poor man to pay 20% of his income, will be catastrophic, while the super wealthy would not be able to notice the difference. Therefore the system is adjusted to compensate for economic reality. A flat tax is invariably a burden on the backs of the poor. After all, a well run society is what enables the rich to gain and securely hold their wealth – therefore an added contribution is not amiss.

          • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

            Miguel – loaning without interest, forgiveness of debt during jubilee, and other provisions (including the tithe) are all redistribution of wealth. Let’s not play the no-true-scotsman game.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Remember, kiddies:
        Progressive = Marxist-Leninist.
        Ever since The Sixties.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      Trump is a rare thing: He serves as a combination EQ/IQ test. While all candidates have their less intellectual moments and followers, support for Trump is a strong indicator of an undesireable outcome on both of those measures….

      • Klasie Kraalogies says:

        Supposed to be under Clark’s comment, sorry

      • Let’s wait for actual election results in primaries instead of agonizing over media polls. If elections display the same results THEN it is time for despair. But even IF Trump wins a number of primaries the Republican delegates to their convention are not all obligated to support the leading vote getter. And if he ISN’T nominated then he will run independantly and gift the presidency to Mrs. Clinton, ion the same way that her husband won HIS first term.

        I guess I ought to resign myself to eight years of Hilary…

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Can’t remember if the link’s from this blog or another, but someone made a real good case that Trump is running with a strategy based on Pro Wrestling Angle after Pro Wrestling Angle, with all the kayfabe of a grappler setting up the match. Morning drive time compares him to the President from Idiocracy.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Tie-in with the “Spotted Last Week” billboard.

      Affirmative Action and similar programs have one negative side effect: they build resentment in those who don’t get the Affirmative Action advantage. (“If it swims like a Quota and quacks like a Quota…”) You see someone else getting special privileges or allowed to cut in front of you, you get mad. Especially if it gets justified like a Church Lady rubbing your nose in My Superior Moral High Ground. (“White Privilege(TM)… Microaggression(TM)…”)

      In the words of a KKK Grand Dragon cited in the early eighties:
      “They all keep telling us that White People are going to be a Minority in this country. If we’re a Minority, where are all our Special Minority Privileges?”

      (This is a type of White Supremacy I call “Self-Defense White Supremacy”. Never mind Master Race Theories or Darwin or Curse of Ham, it’s “Us or Them” pure and simple. Like Tutsi and Hutu, like Serb and Croat — the Zero-Sum Game, where “If we don’t stomp on them, they’re gonna stomp on us!”)

      If the resentment side effect stays at a low level, you’ll get some grumbling but not much more. But if it grows enough, you get Messiah Politics feeding on that Resentment. Enter Trump with his Pro Wrestling Manager style, giving a voice to all that Resentment.

  10. That’s not a dream-catcher; that’s a nightmare-catcher.

  11. Randy Thompson says:

    New England is gratified to hear that God has weighed in on the Super Bowl.

    Does anyone know if God has discussed the 2016 World Series with Joyner yet?

    Wait, wait! I’m getting a message:

    If the Angels or Padres win, then 7 years of fertile harvests and Bull Markets.

    If the Pirates win, we’re all in big trouble.

  12. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Something about this dream-catcher just seem off to me. Thoughts?

    Other than hanging it up in Doug Wilson’s “Kirk” in Moscow, ID?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OKdbc0DYpM

  13. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Australia seems to be a land where God decided to see just how many things he could put on one island that would kill you.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjDAiq2-xeU

    At least it was just an ordinary gowanna.
    Instead of that Aussie crytpid, the Giant Gowanna.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalania

  14. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Violence against abortion providers is both morally abhorrent and counter-productive. But what are your thoughts on this exchange?

    Actually, a pretty good comeback.
    Short and in-your-face, the kind of thing Twitter’s optimized for. (Paging Flutterhands Piper…)
    Planned Parenthood tried to take the morality high ground, leaving themselves wide open for snarky commenter and his mouth.

  15. Senecagriggs yahoo says:

    DUFFLEBLOG – an absolute hoot.

  16. –> “Something about this dream-catcher just seem off to me. Thoughts?”

    That it was priced at $12?

  17. I think the elves are kind of dumb. I’ll take Grumpus or Krankus or whatever his name is.

  18. Send lawyer, guns and money
    The shit has hit the fan

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1BxGded604