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The Reverend Has Left The Building! 

My dear friend, and blog brother, after having been squelched by WordPress, returned this week to his earlier Blogger software.

But to no avail.

He advised us Friday as his numbers have dropped significantly, he would no longer be posting his blog from Alaska, Way Up North!

This is a damn shame. 

He has been an inspiration for Christians and non-Christians alike. And has been a good friend to me on and off the Internet.

And to all of us who believe in The United States and Freedom!

It has been said that blogging is dying. Between people choosing to leave, and others actually passing away, this may be true.

Paul was one of my earliest followers and cheerleaders.  Thank you!

Godspeed, Rev. Paul! 

Is THIS That To Which We’ve Come?

I truly hope not!

A dear friend (and regular reader of this humble blog) recently attended a talk presented by the President of the Arizona Republic (newspaper).

The president outlined her personal history, then presented what was countenanced as  ‘the toxic culture that is America today’.

Summarized by my friend, as follows:

She was part of the historic decision of the paper to endorse Hillary Clinton for President, the first Democrat ever endorsed for President in the paper’s 126 year history.  She was only part of that decision.  The board, heavily conservative, many of them Goldwater Republicans, considered their decision very carefully.  They discussed the options, giving no endorsement at all, endorsing a third-party candidate, or Clinton (which they eventually did).
For them, it was never a partisan  choice, they had endorsed John Kasich in the primaries. For them, it was on their consideration of fitness for office.  They knew it was weighty decision.  They knew it would cost them business.  They knew that it would be an unpopular choice for many in a Republican dominated state.  But an endorsement of Trump was never in the cards for them.  Something I didn’t know, but was interesting to learn.
What they were unprepared for, was the volcano of ugliness that followed.  Death threats came in by the hundreds.  Targeted personally toward individuals on the board.  Things like:  We know where you live.  We know where your children go to school.  We know the license plate on your car.  We know where you park.  We are going to do to you what was done to Don Bolles.  You will die.  We will kill your family.  Hundreds of these.  Every day.
Threats came by phone, by mail, in person, via email (of course).  People attempting to sell subscriptions were spat upon, had guns brandished in their faces.  It got so bad that the Republic ceased trying to make in-person subscription sales.
One extreme right-wing Catholic group spammed her email 5000 times a day.
Her response, in part:
I was horrified.  This is America?  This is what we do to people who disagree with us politically?  I’ve had my share of political arguments.  I’ve vented anger, but I never imagined anything like this.
Thankfully, nobody was actually killed, although there were several assaults.
All over an ENDORSEMENT.  A simple statement of opinion.
It is ongoing.  She said that she now “only” gets 2-3 death threats a day.  Although, every time Trump calls the press “enemies of the people” or complains about the press, there is another spike.
One man calls every day, just to say, “I hate you and think you should die.”
This is what we’ve come to.
Well, I’m not going to be a part of it any more.  I will state my opinions, exercise my freedom of speech, but I will never again engage in behavior that dehumanizes or could be perceived as threatening to people who disagree with me.
Civil discourse begins with me.  I hope it doesn’t end there.
I’m interested in this blog’s readership response, if any.  Of course, any non-civil discourse or threats will be dealt with as appropriate.
I’ve my own opinions on the matter, which I may present at a later date.
Anyone?

 

This Just In! 

My favorite blogging minister – and friend! (and hopefully yours) REV. PAUL (of Way Up North) has been disconnected by those wonderful folks at Google. (ptui!)

He so informs me he may continue to be reached (and will hopefully continue to blog) @

 mooseintheyard.blogspot.com

(His former blog address.)

Mysterious are the ways of the liberalocracies!  (He’s been posting much Biblical content of late, I wonder…?)

Surrogate Fathers

I’ve had a couple of surrogate fathers in my lifetime.  Why?  Because my own father was either on business trips, working, or wrapped up in his sports addiction.  Even the bonding time we did have was surrounding his sports (going to hockey games, where he was in charge of the off the ice officials, fishing – where he required silence so he could drink beer and fish).  When I became disabled at age 11, he was no longer able to teach me sports.  He couldn’t relate.  You get the idea.

I’d two surrogate fathers – Wayne Taysom, who had been my seventh grade homeroom teacher, and Kenneth Wells, my high school choir teacher.

Mr. Taysom and his Mormon family happened to live on my way home from high school.  How fortuitous for me!  Wayne and his lovely wife Jeanne would welcome me in whenever I stopped by.  To talk, have a healthy snack, sometimes even dinner!  In spite of the large family running around!  (Come to think of it, Jeanne was a surrogate Mom, as well!)

Kenneth Wells was my high school choir teacher extraordinaire!  He offered me one of the few highlights in my high school life, teaching me how to sing, read music, perform in the Baroque manner and how to appreciate such diverse music as J.S. Bach and Stan Getz.  He pushed the Concert Choir into taking All State, and singing on Arizona State University’s Gammage Auditorium in 1970.  It was one of the highlights of my life.

These men gave me both discipline and direction when my own Father was unable to.

I salute them!

Cutting To The Chase On This Rights Thing

One of the neatest things about getting to know folks through this Internet thing (and sometimes, if one is lucky, meeting them in meatspace!) is finding folks who are one’s intellectual superior – from whom one may learn.

I’m a pretty bright guy.  Despite the fact I squandered my education and made some poor life choices.  Things are as they are.  I do appreciate the higher-educated, more erudite folks I’ve been fortunate to befriend on the Internet.  Sometimes (as in the cases of Tam, Borepatch, Brigid, Peter and others) I learn something!

This is from the magnificent Kevin Baker (of The Smallest Minority) (with whom I have been lucky enough to meet and shoot!), in part:

So I’ve cut way back posting here, but I’m still occasionally answering stuff over at Quora.  Seems a waste to let this one vanish in their bit-buckets, so here’s a question-n-answer with an associated comment thread I did recently.

The question was:

Why are guns a right in the US, meanwhile education and healthcare are not?
The question is not about whether or not the government will prevent you from having an education/healthcare. My question is about why education and healthcare aren’t considered in the constitution.

I stumbled onto it fairly early, so there weren’t many answers, but most of them talked about how the Constitution conferred rights on citizens, etc. Here’s my answer:

Oy vey. After reading the current answers (there are eight not downvoted enough to be hidden) it becomes blindingly obvious that our free “education” system has failed pretty dramatically. As one student stated “I Was Never Taught That Knowledge.”

The fundamental question is “What is a ‘Right’?”

Several people here state that education is a right, or that healthcare is a right.

No, they’re not.

While I’m not an Objectivist, I think Ayn Rand was correct when she stated:

A ‘right’ is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life.

As others have stated, “guns” aren’t a right, the right to self-defense – protection of one’s own life – is. The right to keep and bear arms is its corollary, for if denied the tools of that defense, the right is essentially stripped.

Education? You have the right to study anything you wish. What you don’t have is the right to make someone teach you. Health care? Same thing. You have the right to take care of yourself, but not force others to care for you.

Because forcing others violates their rights.

So why is the right to arms listed in the Bill of Rights, but education and healthcare are not? Because the Constitution is a legal document that establishes the limits of power of a governing body. If the Constitution were a document that said only what government could not do, it would be infinitely long. Instead, the body of the Constitution itself lists the powers that the Federal government has, and the mechanism under which those powers are established, maintained and exercised. The Bill of Rights is a (limited) list of things that government is warned explicitly not to trifle with, and a warning that there are other such rights not so listed.

The Tenth Amendment, too, is a limit that basically says “Only powers defined here belong to the Federal Government. Everything else is a power reserved to the States or The People. Hands off.”

So of course that’s the first one that got folded, spindled, mutilated and incinerated.

So what do we gather from this? That EDUCATION and HEALTHCARE are not in the purview of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. It’s not the job of the Federal Government to provide these things, subsidize these things, or regulate these things except as they affect interstate commerce. (A clause that has been stretched to obscene lengths ever since Wickard v. Filburn.)

It doesn’t matter if they seem to be good ideas. Those powers were not given to the Federal Government by the Constitution. They’re (as you observed) not mentioned in that document. They’re among the “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution.” And they’re not rights.

But they are most definitely powers.

You should really visit Kevin’s blog, and read the whole post (The Smallest Minority-link)

He doesn’t post often, but when he does, it’s GOLD!

 

 

The CIA Hack – From Borepatch

My friend Borepatch is an Internet security professional.  And a fine blogger and good friend.

Here’s what he has to say about the latest Wikileaks CIA revelations:

(Here’s a hint – the media is less-than-accurate!)

CIA Hack details – beware of what you read in the media

The media has a poor track record of getting security stories right, and the CIA Wikileaks document dump is no exception.  For example, they don’t hack your TV over the network:

The CIA didn’t remotely hack a TV. The docs are clear that they can update the software running on the TV using a USB drive. There’s no evidence of them doing so remotely over the Internet. If you aren’t afraid of the CIA breaking in an installing a listening device, then you should’t be afraid of the CIA installing listening software.

So as long as you’re not worried about a CIA operative breaking into your house, this specific exploit isn’t going to be aimed at you.  Does this mean you should hook your smart TV up to the ‘net?  Ohhellsno.  Just no.

And this is pretty interesting:

There’s no false flags. In several places, the CIA talks about making sure that what they do isn’t so unique, so it can’t be attributed to them. However, Wikileaks’s press release hints that the “UMBRAGE” program is deliberately stealing techniques from Russia to use as a false-flag operation. This is nonsense. For example, the DNC hack attribution was live command-and-control servers simultaneously used against different Russian targets — not a few snippets of code. [More here]

Like I said, it’s hard to get stories like this right and mostly the Press doesn’t.  There are more examples at the link.

I’ve no expertise in this area, but I trust Borepatch.

You gotta trust someone, right?

The Best Laid Schemes Of Mice And Men

aft gang agley* (oft go awry – Robert Burns, the poet laureate of Scotland)

I’d plans to ‘improve’ and edit my blog, prior to the Sixth Blogoversary (March 5).  I definitely need to edit out of The Usual Suspects (my blogroll) those who are no longer blogging, or have left the grid.

I have not yet done that. 😦

A general observation of my blogging world – It saddens my to two of the finest bloggers out there (Brigid and Tamara) have had to change their blogging formats to by invitation only (in Brigid’s case) and no comments allowed (in Tam’s), both allowing for responses in other venues (FB and Borepatch guest blogging status (in Brigid’s case).

Because of attacks in print by certain blog readers!

I’ve had a few spammers in my six years, but considering the difference in volume and quality of Brigid and Tamara vs. Guffaw, it’s completely understandable I’ve had many fewer.

I will continue my lowly blog, until it no longer is physically possible, or I lose the need for morning discipline and structure.

We come now to one of my first Internet-blogging friends.  Rev. Paul.  Paul lives in Alaska with his family, and has been a virulent supporter of both this blog and this blogger!  His blog Way Up North is rife with tales of the weather, local crime, politics, and moose pictures(!)  And often religiously-themed (he IS a Rev., after all) messages of hope for all, whether religious or not.

He announced recently he will be cutting back from almost daily posting to occasionally.  Because reasons.

And, this too, makes me sad.

All three of these fine folks have been anchors for me, have given me much which to aspire, and have supported me to a degree they will never know.

It was said a few years back that blogging is going the way of the dinosaur, what with FB, Snapchat, Flickr, Google+, Twitter, and numerous other avenues almost daily being added to the list of social networking.

To all fellow bloggers and friends out there, please keep blogging, reading and commenting.

I’m to old to change formats!  😛

*”Tae a Moose, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough[1] (English: “To a Mouse“)(Wikipedia)

From a name-long-forgotten children’s joke book:  “Robert Burns wrote ‘To A Field Mouse’.

“I bet he didn’t get an answer!”

(The fact this was a joke book for grade school children further shows how the American public education system has failed.  Ask any grade school (or junior high, or even high school) student who Robert Burns was, or what ‘To A Field Mouse’ is.)

I’ll bet you won’t get an answer!

The Mouse On The Drain

(not to be confused with The Mouse On The Moon, or other Duchy of Grand Fenwick tales!)

“Welcome to the drain, gentlemen!”  😛

My roommate and I share both household upkeep and maintenance.  To the best of our abilities.  Between disabilities, health conditions, arthritis, age, pain and shared whining, sometimes things are not as pristine as either of us would like.

(The fact we both have an over-sufficient amount of ‘stuff’ doesn’t help, either!)

Of course, this had little to do with today’s story…

Being the male in the house, many (not all) of the yuckier tasks fall to me.  And sometimes, it’s just the “luck of the draw”.

Today was one of those days.

The past couple of days while visiting the shower, I noticed what we always called when I was married (back in the 80’s) the mouse on the drain.  That is, a disc of hair jetsam on top of the drain grate, starting to inhibit shower drainage.

Back in the 80’s, it was roughly the size of a half dollar, and easily disposed of.

And, of course, not wearing my corrective lenses in the shower, it could have been something else – as in this case it was, a small round grey plastic comb.  (My roomie and I share a Jack-and-Jill bathroom.)

And she does many hair-related things in there, with a multitude of chemicals and preparations.  I have shampoo and conditioner.

Fast forward to this morning.  Having picked up the plastic comb, I thought I’d be free of the ‘mouse on the drain’.

Not so fast, there, bucko!

The real mouse on the drain – or, in this case the rat or nutria(!), had wrapped itself into the workings of the grate, and was hanging (yuch!) down into the drain proper!!  And the shower floor was beginning to fill with water!

Fortunately, my hair is in need of cutting and is maybe a third of an inch long.  So, I’m thinking I’m not the main culprit. (ignoring body hair additions here for discretion).

I was able to complete my shower and listened to the slow-but-inevitable noisy drainage, fortunately before it crested into the bathroom proper.  Then, I picked up a proper tool to remove the drain cover (a long hemostat that is left in the bath for this very purpose – what earlier functions it may have had I can only imagine!  🙂  )

And took it upon myself to remove the long, tangled, fist-sized wet hair clumps from the grate and dispose of them.

After having done that, I policed the opening of the drain pipe for any additional hair/soap remnant escapees.

And replaced the grate.

I washed my hands and exited the bath.

I’m hoping next time I will notice the impending crest a day or so sooner.  And be able leave the mouse on the drain for someone else…

😛

Bittersweet

It’s February 8th.

Regular readers might remember this is my daughter Molly’s birthday.  In this case her 34th.  Sadly, she only made it to her 12th.  😦

(The twenty-second anniversary of the accident that took her from us is in about five weeks.)

Molly 1986 2

I try to remember happier birthdays.

Last year, another element was added to this date.

Bob Hall, my dear friend whom I met when were worked as private investigators together, who before had attended junior high and high school with my then wife-to-be, and later managed the Legendary Gun gun store (where I worked part time, for a while) in 2016 passed into eternity.  Complications from cancer.

See, I told you this time of year sucked for me.

People we care about love, passing way before their time is a travesty!

Please take the opportunity today to hug those close to you, and tell them you love them.

You never know…

 

And The Hits Just Keep On Coming! 

We’re told Life is a series of events. Which we are told to frame as ‘challenges’.

And sometimes I frame these events negatively.  Because I’m neurotic.

About six weeks ago, our laundry dryer went tango uniform. And we have been air drying, and to get our laundry dried.  Difficult in a 1200 sq. ft. townhouse full of stuff and animals!  Alternately going to a fluff-and-fold place.   When we could afford it.

Frankly, it’s been a P. I. T. A.!   And, as most of you know, we live ‘paycheck to paycheck’.

And don’t have funds for replacement or even repair. So we have to live with what we get.

And sometimes, that sucks! (NO, this is NOT a bleg!)

But, sometimes fate, and friends, intervene.

I was sharing our predicament with a dear friend, and she suddenly remembered they had an ‘extra’ dryer on their back patio! And asked me if I wanted theirs.

We were (of course) floored and extremely grateful.

Saturday, Kevin (my friend’s husband who happens to be an engineer) not only delivered but installed the dryer!

And it didn’t work.  😦

Fortunately, being an engineer, he diagnosed the problem (the door switch failed), ran to the appliance parts store, obtained the replacement, installed it, and got the dryer running!

I am humbled and thankful to believe I have such wonderful people as Tomi and Kevin in my life.

And now our clothes are not crunchy when dried!   🙂

Kenmore!

Many Thanks, Tomi and Kevin!

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…