Charlie's Blog: June 2017

6.25.2017

St. John Vianney on Salvation


Good Christians, who labor to save their souls and to work out their salvation, are always happy and contented; they enjoy beforehand the happiness of Heaven: they will be happy for all eternity.
ST. JOHN VIANNEY


THERE ARE many Christians who do not even know why they are in the world.

"Oh my God, why have You sent me into the world?" "To save your soul." "And why do You wish me to be saved?" "Because I love you." The good God has created us and sent us into the world because He loves us; He wishes to save us because He loves us. To be saved, we must know, love and serve God. Oh, what a beautiful life! How good, how great a thing it is to know, to love and serve God! We have nothing else to do in this world. All that we do besides is lost time. We must act only for God, and put our works into His hands We should say, on awaking, "I desire to do everything today for You, my God! I will submit to all that You shall send me, as coming from You. I offer myself as a sacrifice to You But, God, I can do nothing without You. Do help me!"

Oh, how bitterly shall we regret at the hour of death the time we have given to pleasures, to useless conversations, to repose, instead of having employed it in mortification, in prayer, in good works, in thinking of our poor misery, in weeping over our poor sins; then we shall see that we have done nothing for Heaven. Oh, my children, how sad it is! Three-quarters of those who are Christians labor for nothing but to satisfy this body, which will soon be buried and corrupted, while they do not give a thought to their poor soul, which must be happy or miserable for all eternity. They have neither sense nor reason: it makes one tremble.

Look at that man, who is so active and restless, who makes a noise in the world, who wants to govern everybody, who thinks himself as important, who seems as if he would like to say to the sun, "Go away, and let me enlighten the world instead of you." Some day this proud man will be reduced at the utmost to a little handful of dust, which will be swept away from river to river, and at last into the sea.


See my children, I often think that we are like those little heaps of sand that the wind raises on the road, which whirl round for a moment, and are then scattered. We have brothers and sisters who are dead. Well, they are reduced to that little handful of dust of which I was speaking. Worldly people say it is too difficult to save one's soul. Yet nothing is easier. To observe the Commandments of God and the Church, and to avoid the seven capital sins; or if you like to put it so, to do good and avoid evil: that is all. Good Christians, who labor to save their souls and to work out their salvation, are always happy and contented; they enjoy beforehand the happiness of Heaven: they will be happy for all eternity. While bad Christians, who lose their souls, are always to be pitied; they murmur, they are sad, they are as miserable as stones; and they will be so for all eternity. See what a difference!

This is a good rule of conduct to do nothing but what we can offer to the good God. Now, we cannot offer to Him slanders, calumnies, injustice, anger, blasphemy, impurity, night clubs, dancing; yet that is all that people do in the world. Speaking of dances, St. Francis of Sales used to say that "they were like mushrooms, the best were good for nothing." Mothers are apt to say indeed, "Oh, I watch over my daughters." They watch over their attire, but they cannot watch over their hearts. Those who have dances in their houses load themselves with a terrible responsibility before God; they are answerable for all the evil that is done -- for the bad thoughts, the slanders, the jealousies, the hatred, the revenge. ... Ah, if they well understood this responsibility they would never have any dances. Just like those who make bad pictures and statues, or write bad books, they will have to answer for all the harm that these things will do during all the time they last. Oh that makes one tremble!

See, my children, we must reflect that we have a soul to save, and an eternity that awaits us. The world, its riches, pleasures, and honors will pass away. Let us take care, then. The saints did not all begin well; but they all ended well. We have begun badly; let us end well, and we shall go one day and meet them in Heaven.

6.24.2017

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 48


I played a great horse yesterday; it took seven horses to beat him.
HENNY YOUNGMAN

1. TRUMP

I support Donald Trump, but I admit that Mike Pence would be a better fit for me. Trump is basically a Democrat in a Republican suit. The irony is that so many on the Left express such disdain and violent fantasies towards the man. This begs a certain question. Would Jeb Bush be suffering as Trump suffers now if the Bushies had gotten their man elected? My answer is yes.

Something has fundamentally changed in Democrats and the Left. Eight years of Obama has done something to their rabies infected brains. It is so bad that you now have Leftist vs. Leftist at Evergreen State College where white progressives are now persona non grata. Then, there was the recent fracas between an LGBT group and Black Lives Matters. This brings me to my familiar refrain tweeted endlessly by yours truly.

The Left is truly eating itself and bringing about its own self-destruction. This is why Edmund Burke said, "Our patience will achieve more than our force." Basically, you win not by fighting but by refusing to surrender. Evil turns on itself inevitably, and victory is yours.

The only thing Trump needs to be successful over the next four years is to not resign the office. Granted, he is a fighter, but you can only expend so much energy on your enemies. Trump might find some small satisfaction in his late night tweets, but they aren't what will win over those enemies. You don't have to fight these people. You just refuse to quit. Jeb Bush is a quitter, and that's why he isn't president.

2. FRANCIS

The four cardinals have requested a chat with the Holy Father, and we all know that they aren't going to get it. Pope Francis will continue to ignore them as he has done up to this point. This leaves the four cardinals no other option except a formal and public rebuke. Granted, this is coming from just four cardinals he has ignored. He will ignore this rebuke as well. Yet, I expect others will sign on to this rebuke and make their voices heard as well as they have done previously. The four cardinals will not stand alone in their opposition.

Pope Francis is a bad pope. His pontificate will come to a bad end. But while he remains, he will do as much damage as he can. Rumors are already swirling that the modernists want to take down Humanae Vitae with the Pope's blessing.

This leads us back to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He was and is a quitter. It pains me to say that, but there it is. The cost for this surrender is that he has lived to see the Church in this calamity. Perhaps he thought he was avoiding this calamity by abdicating, but he has only hastened it. You never win by quitting. That is the lesson.

3. ILLINOIS

Illinois is on the verge of bankruptcy. The state cannot pay its bills and is effectively shutting down. This disaster portends possible coming disasters in other states and perhaps the United States itself.

There are many reasons that Illinois finds itself in this mess, but the biggest one is the unfunded pension liability Illinois carries which is approximately $130 billion. This is an issue I touch on regularly here at the C-blog. I am against retirement. It is a really bad idea. Illinois is the most potent recent example of how bad this idea is.

The temptation for Illinois is to simply raise taxes to an astronomical level to pay its bills. This isn't going to happen without a revolt. As for those pensioners, I suspect many of them will move out of the state to somewhere more tax friendly like Florida but still collect those pension checks. There should be a law in every state that says you must reside in that state to collect the pension. As it stands, blue staters work in blue states and retire to red states. They get the best of both worlds.

Illinois is a failed blue state. I expect California and others to follow suit when they finally reap what they've sown. Socialism in whole or part does not work. Just say no to socialism.

4. QUOTABLE QUOTES

The most basic question is not what is best, but who shall decide what is best.
THOMAS SOWELL

Speak the truth in a million voices. It is silence that kills.
ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA

Hence it's funny to read in the New York Times that liberal Catholic activists are pushing for a change in Church teaching on issues relating to -- well, let's admit it, sex. Nobody is out there demanding the popes revisit the condemnation of Jansenism (don't ask), or settle the question of whether divine grace is or isn't resistable. No, journalists want to know what the Church thinks about whether one person should poke another and, if so, where, when, and how. What liberal Catholics and the journalists who love them are really asking for isfor the Church to admit that it was teaching a set of harsh, repressive errors for nineteen centuries and that now it is very, very sorry.
JOHN ZMIRAK

5. ODDS AND ENDS

--Johnny Depp ended any confusion over his intelligence. He has none.

--Obamacare will not be repealed because Trump doesn't really want to repeal it. He's a stealth Democrat on issues like this. It will be his greatest failure. And, no, Obamacare Lite is not a repeal.

--Why are the polls so wrong? The silent majority truly is silent. Pollsters need to reconsider their methodologies.

--Father James Martin, SJ is a despicable priest promoting the homoheresy. I am with Michael Voris in the suspicion that Martin is a closet homosexual. The wider church needs to be aware of this man's errors, and a prelate needs to discipline this priest severely. Unfortunately, many bishops are in common mind with Father Martin.

--There is no happiness in comfort.

6. LINKS OF INTEREST

You’re doing your weekend wrong

The Problem of Catholic Pretenders

The Taste of Strawberries: Tolkien’s Imagination of the Good

Eat The Crap Sandwich

Why Bishops Should Condemn Fr. Martin’s Dangerous Bridge

Only Pope Francis can end the ‘apostasy’ his words have caused


6.18.2017

SOC 18


Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
ANONYMOUS

At the end of each work week, I like to sit down in my chair and pop the top on a cold can of beer. That beer is Pabst Blue Ribbon. I get plenty of ribbing for that beverage choice, and I have tried other beers. But nothing satisfies me like that PBR.

I have not always drank PBR. The first time I ever drank the stuff was as a wee lad probably in first grade when I snuck into the refrigerator and drunk a few cans of the old man's brew. He was a PBR drinker at the time, and I am grateful that he was. Had he drank something really horrible like Coors, I would have been put off beer drinking forever. But that first beer left an indelible mark on my psyche, and I am glad that PBR tastes as good now as it did to me as a child.


Of course, I quickly learned from the old man that beer was for grown ups and not for kids. So, I never touched the stuff again until over a decade later. In the interim, I drank whatever was available. There has been Coors Light, Corona, Miller Genuine Draft, countless craft beers, Budweiser, and Bud Light which is the number one beer in America. There is something sad about that fact, but there it is.

I have drank cheap beers like Busch and Natty Light. It was during this time of exploration for a cheap beer that was easy on the wallet that I returned to Pabst Blue Ribbon. There it was in its slightly sweet flavor. I remind people that it did indeed once win a blue ribbon for taste. Basically, PBR is a good beer with a bad reputation.


This realization came to me when I drank my first and last Shiner Bock. I was on a craft beer kick, and this one was recommended to me from a coworker from Texas. Apparently, Bock is a big deal in the Lone Star State. So, I dropped eight bucks on a six pack. When I drank it, it had a familiar taste to it. I let my wife have one, and she said that it also had a familiar taste to it. We couldn't quite place until it came to us. It tasted like PBR. To confirm our suspicions, we went online to read reviews, and the reviewers concurred with the PBR conclusion that we had. Here is a direct quote from Beer Advocate:
This beer tastes like Pabst Blue Ribbon mixed with sparkling water and just a hint of rust. Not altogether awful, but not what I'd classify as good beer in any way shape or form.
Now, I'm not a beer snob. I enjoy a craft brew as much as the next guy. But I have to level with you, folks. I can't afford to drink that stuff. It is too expensive. To me, craft beer is just a high priced fad. The Shiner Bock experience also told me that a 12 pack of PBR at $7 was way smarter than a six pack of this stuff at $8. Plus, I think PBR tastes way better than Shiner Bock. So, I returned once more to the Blue Ribbon, and I remain there to this day.


Now, hipsters have had a love affair with PBR for the last decade or so which is weird because there are cheaper beers than Pabst. I hear that Miller High Life has become the new hipster beer of choice which is fine with me. I've tried High Life, and I just never liked the taste. PBR was very popular in the seventies, and it has become popular once again. But it ain't Budweiser.

You get to a point in your life when you don't care to think about what you drink. This is the problem with those craft beer nerds. They overthink it. They want their experience to be more than what it is. Sometimes, you just want to sit back after a long week of working and just sip something that is refreshing and relaxing. And maybe you don't want to break the bank to do that. Pabst Blue Ribbon does that for working guys like me.

The problem with so many people today is that they are given to being pretentious. According to the dictionary, to be pretentious is "attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed." PBR is a beer that isn't pretentious. It is what it is. I find that lack of pretentiousness refreshing in a culture saturated in marketing and hype.

Recently I read this article on progressive rock at the National Review website, and I found it hilarious. Over the years, I have encountered prog rock aficionados, and they were much like the beer nerds of today. Now, I've listened to a lot of this prog rock, and it has its moments of classic rock glory. If you've ever listened to "Roundabout" or "Long Distance Runaround" from Yes on the radio, you know they had some good songs. Here's the deal. You don't have to dive into the deep cuts on those Yes albums because they already play the good songs on the radio, and you have already heard them. Save yourself from wasting what remains of your finite existence and leave Tales from Topographic Oceans alone.


The problem with progressive rock is that it tries and takes the music of Chuck Berry and turn it into something on par with Beethoven, Bach. and Wagner. Progressive rock isn't alone in this idiocy. You have your guitar gods who want to show off their tricks like Eddie Van Halen. There was hair metal and glam rock. Then, you had the backlash known as punk rock except most of the music was just so much noise. So, I always come down to the same question. Who was/is the greatest band in rock, and my answer seems to always be AC/DC.


Now, for the snobby readers and staff writers at Rolling Stone, this answer is anathema. AC/DC lacks the seriousness of acts like Dylan and the Grateful Dead. But by the same token, AC/DC never dressed up in women's clothes or donned theatrical make up like KISS. The only gimmick they had was the schoolboy outfit that Angus Young wears which is more of a running gag than a gimmick.

AC/DC didn't make political statements or try to shock the parents with outrageous costumes and antics. They just plugged in those guitars and rocked. This is a band that has consistently delivered for decades, and they did it precisely by not being pretentious. Looking back on their history, there's nothing that is embarrassing or dated about them now. To give this context, here is Peter Gabriel from his prog rock glory days:


There are worse pics than this, and it makes me cringe to see a grown man in this get up. The guys from AC/DC probably still own and wear the same T-shirts and denim from the seventies and eigthies. I just don't see those guys looking back and cringing the way I imagine that Peter Gabriel does now.


I place a lot of value on living without pretension. There is humility in not pretending to be more than what you are. There is also a dignity in it as well. How often do we do things out of foolish pride that make us so ashamed later?

I see so much pretension going on these days. I feel guilty of being pretentious in my younger years. When you're young, you have a certain naive optimism about the world that reality beats out of you by the time you are 40. I see so many young people today thinking they are going to be millionaires with reality TV shows where they get paid just for being famous for nothing whatsoever.

For me, my pretensions melted away about the time I was 30 years old. I had quit the only job I had ever had that required a college degree knowing that it was the absolute worst job I had ever had in my life. I realized that I was not cut out for life in corporate management. I could not shake the blue collar mindset that had been drilled into me growing up. For instance, I couldn't understand how someone could get paid big bucks to be a consultant to companies to help them craft their mission statements. I still don't get that.

I have a low regard for people who aren't blue collar. I think the biggest crooks in this world wear white collars and ties. My working life has featured many encounters with people who got paid to not work. And I put the guilt ray on these people whenever I meet them. I don't preach at them so much as ask them questions. What exactly is it that you do? How do you create value? How do you make the world a better place? Our consultant friends working on mission statements usually look at the floor when I ask these questions, but I see much of the same behavior with other white collar types when I ask these questions.

I'm OK with people scheming their way through life. Just don't expect me to let you feel good about it because I'm not. You work your cushy job while I work my sweaty dirty job. I'll have a warm shower and a cold beer and sleep well that night. You'll have your scotch on the rocks and try to drink yourself to sleep.

This is a good place to stop. I am trying to get back to blogging on the regular again. My work ethic in the writing department has slid hard, and I need to get that back. Or maybe this writing gig is just me being pretentious.