Charlie's Blog: 2018

6.16.2018

SOC 34


Only the guy who isn't rowing has time to rock the boat.
JEAN-PAUL SARTRE

It is Sunday morning. When 4 a.m. comes, I find it difficult to sleep. I am a six hour man. Eight hours is too much though I could go back for two more hours after writing this. Four hours is too little for me. I hear people like Sean Hannity claim to only sleep four hours a night, but I don't buy it. I've done the four hour thing, and I get loopy after two days. I like eight hours, but I wake up at 6 hours unable to sleep. So, I get up and write for a bit which helps me go back for the last two hours. But this is on the weekends. During the work week, I just lay there until the clock goes off. Sometimes, I get another 20 minutes.

I have a love/hate relationship with sleep. If I sleep too much, I feel awful. This would be 12 hours of sleep. I wake up, and my body hurts all over. I feel that way after eight. I am sleeping on a brand new mattress, but it doesn't change anything. I feel this way even after sleeping on those plush beds in the hotels. It isn't the surface I sleep on. It is the longevity of the sleep. Being inert makes you hurt. This becomes more apparent the older you get.

I like sleeping on the floor. That may seem weird, but I get great sleep in sub-optimal conditions. When I wake up after sleeping on the floor, I have a horrible pain between my shoulder blades. This fades after thirty minutes of being awake. The rest of me feels great. It sounds nutty, but I am not the only one to discover this. Basically, sleeping on the floor makes you roll over and change positions. When you sleep too long in one position, your body gets stiff. Too much comfort brings pain. By embracing pain, you experience comfort.


This weird counterintuitive experience is what I call the "syzygy phenomenon." Pain and pleasure are always linked. If you seek comfort, you end up with pain. If you embrace pain, you find comfort. Most people follow the conventional wisdom of aiming for comfort and can't understand why they end up in so much pain.

I like to make jokes about making a friend out of pain, but I am not a masochist. I have learned by accident the simple lesson that the body thrives under hardship and breaks down under comfort. Your body was born to suffer. If you embrace this, you will suffer less. If you fight this, you will suffer more. If you doubt this, compare a fit athlete with a sedentary person who is obese. Who suffers more?


Comfort is your enemy. It pretends to be your friend but betrays you later. Pain is your real friend. Pain puts you in the place of suffering but makes the relief sweeter when it comes. It is the relationship between the different ends of a two headed beast. They can never be separated. They are joined forever.

You should not pamper or indulge the body. You should punish it. Saints, philosophers, warriors, and athletes know this. As such, you should endeavor to create hardship for yourself. The alternative is to let God do it for you.



It's not Sunday anymore. It is Saturday now. I am frustrated with my Casio watch. This is the F-91W that I developed a fetish for some time ago. It is a simple and cheap watch but better than expected. In ordinary circumstances, I would be happy with the watch. The problem is that I was a Timex guy before I was a Casio guy. In short, I am going through Indiglo withdrawal. I miss that feature in the fiercest way. It is the only thing I don't like about my cheap watch. It is difficult to see the time in the dark. Being a deep thinker type, this has lead to existential crisis. Yes, I really am this pathetic.

There should be a word for that feeling you get when you switch products you normally use, but you miss something from the old brand. For instance, I ditched my Mr. Coffee for a Chemex some years ago. The coffee tastes much better, but it now requires more time to make. The Chemex is not an automatic coffeemaker. You actually have to do some work. I got used to it in a short time.

I went through the same thing again when I tossed my Gerber pocket knife in the drawer and switched to the Opinel. The upside is that I got a wicked sharp knife. The downside is that it doesn't have a pocket clip or thumb post or serrated edge for sawing through stuff. Those features on the Gerber were nice but couldn't make up for the fact that I have owned butter knives with sharper edges. That Gerber knife is pathetic.


I keep quoting Thomas Sowell all the time. "There are no solutions; there are only trade-offs." That line cuts to the core of my problems and frustrations. I loved my Timex Ironman watch. It told the time. It had Indiglo. But it was pricey for a plastic watch and was a gunk and crud magnet. When one of the buttons become stuck such that I had to whittle it away with a knife to make it work, I became dissatisfied with the thing, and my eye began to wander in search of horological adultery. I settled on the F-91W because it was good value relative to its price. I have no complaints about the watch until it gets dark. Then, I hate the thing.

Indiglo will ruin you. Even the Rolex doesn't have Indiglo. Casio has Illuminator watches, but the ones at Walmart are only slightly less pathetic than the F-91W. If you want the real thing, you have to go down the G-Shock path which means a $40 watch on the cheap end up to $90 on the higher end. And you better like fat, chunky watches. I don't.


The Timex Ironman is the midpoint for me. It isn't the cheapest, and it isn't the best. But it keeps good time, is fairly durable, and you can always tell the time in the dark. There is a reason I have stuck with that watch for three decades. Why did I stray? I didn't think Indiglo was that big of a deal. Now, when it gets dark, I just want to go to Walmart and get a watch with Indiglo.

I never get upset with my Chemex or with my Opinel. I don't think about their inconveniences. Likewise, I love my cheap Casio watch in the daylight. It's like my flip phone. Sure, a smartphone does way more stuff except survive a drop on the floor. But if I can call someone or text someone, I am a happy guy. I am a flip phone guy. But that may be the key to an answer to my dilemma.

Before I was a flip phone user, I used the candy bar phones like everyone else. The phones worked great except for one nagging issue--the BUTT DIAL. Whenever I put these things in my pocket, it would dial a number. I tried a holster, and it was the same thing. It was a great phone, and I would prefer a candybar phone to a smartphone. But the thing that hooked me forever was when they put a hinge on the thing. From that moment on, I was a flipper and have remained that way. That ability to flip is a primary reason I resist the smartphone.

My cheap Casio is the candybar phone of watches. It is great for a lot of reasons, but it is also annoying. And that cuts to the crux of my existential issues. I can live without features and luxuries. But I can't live with the annoyances. And that epiphany settles a lot of issues for me.

I bought a used exercise bike, but I end up hauling it off to Goodwill because it felt like I was riding a torture instrument jammed in my crotch. I switched saddles. I adjusted my position. But in the end, I felt like I was ripping something in my reproductive area. It felt liberating to haul that junk off.

My wife had a nice bath mat, but it stank of mildew and rot because it was thick and wouldn't dry. We washed it with everything until we trashed it. It just stunk. Now, we use a hand towel for a bath mat. It's not plush, but it dries quickly. We sacrificed a feature to dispose of a pain.

This same dynamic is what drove me to switch to a Chemex. Mr. Coffee makes coffee easy, but it tastes like crap. The Chemex makes it tastes good. Likewise, my Gerber had features, but it couldn't cut anything. I switched to the Opinel because I was fed up with having to hack at things instead of cutting them. I experience no dissatisfaction with either solution despite their lack of features.

The most important thing is not to pursue satisfaction but to escape dissatisfaction. I became dissatisfied with my Timex Ironman only because it stopped doing what it normally does. Basically, I needed a new Ironman watch. My expectation is to keep a watch until the battery dies. But the batteries outlast the watches now. I had the thing for five years. Why did I complain?

Pain is the deciding factor in consumer purchases. For instance, I bought a pair of Wolverine work boots, but it tore up the back of my heel. Those boots were pricey, but I tossed them after I tried to surgically alter them to remedy the problem. I should have kept the receipt and returned them. Either way, I was done with those boots. I stick with Georgia Giants. They don't hurt my feet.

This really settles a frustration of mine that has bothered me for awhile now. I tend to like things that are plain with fewer features. It just has to be free of aggravation and displeasure like butt dialing phones. I even have a motto for what I like--PLAIN WITHOUT PAIN. It has a nice rhyme to it.

This plain without pain thing also explains why I nuked my Internet Apostolate blog. I was trying to make a very plain blog, but I had to stop with it because of the pain of it not loading properly. I have tinkered with it numerous times since then, but it just doesn't work the way I like. I keep coming back to the fact that my old Twitter account was simply the best way for me to share links of interest and help boost the signal for people and causes. The problem is that I don't have a Twitter account anymore. And this is another frustration of mine.

I like blogging. But it is like having a store full of things, but you don't have a sign out front. You might as well be closed. Virtually every blogger and website I follow has a social media presence. Even Matt Drudge who blasts social media has a Twitter account. It is a speck of hypocrisy on his part.

I love Twitter except for the censorship and time suck. I have no similar affinity for Facebook or Instagram. As for Gab, it is Twitter without the censorship. But I have been social media free for two months now. I don't have withdrawal pains anymore. I just have the frustration of feeling cut off from the wider world. Basically, I'm not a store but a warehouse. I am filling a blog with things that someone might read one day. But they won't be reading it today.


"There's a war on for your mind!" That is the tagline at the Infowars website. Alex Jones is a bit nutty, but he gets one thing right. It is an information war. Basically, I champion three basic things--Catholicism, conservatism, and capitalism. To a lesser extent, I encourage people to become vegan, live a simple lifestyle, and all that. But those life improvement things are not part of the information war. Nobody's going to the mattresses over tofu. But they are definitely going all out over Trump or abortion. Being off social media feels like being AWOL in this information war. On the other hand, being on social media feels like being AWOL from your life.

I think if you are wasting time posting cat pictures and Tide Pod videos on social media then you should get off of social media. But if you are posting pro-life messages then it changes things a bit. That is important stuff. Plus, it is way more convenient than camping out in front of an abortion clinic with a sign.

My internal conflict is between being an information warrior or being a digital pacifist. When I was a libertarian, I was basically a pacifist in my outlook. I believed that people would leave you alone if you left them alone. As a conservative, I am too in touch with reality to embrace a silly notion as that. Weakness is provocation, and pacifism is a form of weakness.

6.09.2018

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 65


I don’t have an agenda, but I do have a point of view, and it might change from minute to minute.
ANTHONY BOURDAIN

1. BOURDAIN

I am saddened by the news of the apparent suicide of Anthony Bourdain. I really enjoyed that man's television work. His shows are an absolute joy to watch. I never had the pleasure of meeting the man in person, but I felt that he was the type of guy you couldn't fail to like. It was that personality that made him seem to fit in with virtually any group of people he encountered in his globetrotting travels.

Bourdain's suicide reminds me of the suicide of Robin Williams. Both were celebrities. They were rich and beloved. They had it all. Yet, they chose to end their own lives. Whatever temporary problems they had, they couldn't be worse than dying. But I understand why they did it. They did not have God.

Bourdain did not strike me as a religious person. He was raised without religion, and I suspect that he was an atheist. He is listed here as a celebrity atheist. I will not presume on Bourdain's eternal fate. That is between him and the Almighty. But I can say from experience that life without God is not worth living. It doesn't matter if you have all of the other good things in life. If you don't have God, you have nothing.

Bourdain was a restless spirit in search of something. That something was God except Bourdain never got it. As someone who gets it after a similar search, I have something to say to anyone contemplating an exit like Bourdain's. God loves you. Love Him back.

2. ROSEANNE

Roseanne's Twitter account has ended her ABC show that seemed to be doing well. Now, a lot of people are going to be out of work. Thanks, Roseanne. Remember, folks, that Twitter is a Weapon of Career Destruction. I just wish it would destroy Bill Maher's career. But Maher shows that you can say and do virtually anything as long as you bash Donald Trump. Roseanne was a Trumper, so they wanted to pull the trigger on her. They just needed Roseanne to load the gun first. And she did!

I don't defend Roseanne's tweet referencing Planet of the Apes. I think it was in poor taste not so much for racial insensitivity but because it is a pet peeve of mine when people mock the looks or bodies of other people. I am not down with body shaming. You can mock a person's fashion or hairstyle. You can even cringe at their plastic surgery disasters, bad tattoos and sex change operations. These are things they chose. But everything else comes from God.

Here's an idea. Let's stop making fun of how people look. That is classy and cool. Roseanne deserves what happened to her. I just feel bad for all the people who were working on her show who didn't deserve what is happening to them.

3. DURIANRIDER

You can't watch vegan videos on YouTube without encountering clickbait vids from Harley Johnstone aka Durianrider. His advice on veganism, diet, and fitness is sound. His advice on life, women, and virtually everything else is garbage. Plus, his channel could pass for softcore pornography. Throw in the endless trolling and fighting with other YouTubers, and you are left with more soap opera than sagacity. As such, his channel has become unwatchable because of the non-vegan crap. I recommend watching Happy Healthy Vegan as the sane alternative. It has much of the same good advice but with none of the drama and pornography.

4. Q & A

Q: Why did Ireland vote to legalize abortion?

A: I am reading many articles trying to explain the defeat for the pro-life cause in Catholic Ireland, and the vast majority of them just don't get it. These are from Catholic and conservative sources. They just can't grasp it. But I can.

Ireland isn't Catholic. It used to be Catholic, but it isn't anymore. Ireland is atheist. That may be a hard pill to swallow, but there it is. Most Irish would dispute the atheism, but they are lying to themselves and to the world. The bottom line is that they no longer believe in God. If they did believe in God, they would have never damned themselves by voting to legalize baby killing.

What caused this turn to atheism? You may as well ask why the Israelites worshiped that golden calf after their miraculous escape from Egypt. People are wicked. This is their default setting, and we know it as original sin.

5. ODDS AND ENDS

--Charles Krauthammer is dying. This would be news except we are all dying. Krauthammer just has a better idea when he will meet mortality. Unfortunately, Krauthammer expresses having no regrets about life while saying nothing concerning the afterlife. That, Gentle Reader, is a stupid way to die.

--Mueller wants Manafort to be a perjurer for him to bring down Trump. This is sick on so many levels. Used to be, they investigated crimes and found people. Now, they just investigate people and try to find crimes. This is not liberty or justice.

--Google used to believe in "Don't be evil." The problem is that they don't know the difference between good and evil. But they must be getting a clue because they dropped that slogan. Google is evil. And, yes, they are the owners of this blog's platform. When they are done destroying YouTube, I expect the C-Blog to face a similar fate.

--I watch Alex Jones more for entertainment purposes than for news. Sometimes, I forget this until I was reminded of this recently as Jones tried to spin conspiracy theories about Anthony Bourdain's death. Was he murdered? I don't think so. Jones should put his tinfoil hat back on because the CIA death rays are taking their toll on his gray matter.

6. LINKS OF INTEREST

The Rules for a Long and Happy Life

IRELAND AND THE END OF CULTURAL CATHOLICISM

Why a $10 Casio Keeps Better Time Than a $10,000 Rolex

Nobody Needs a Watch Any Fancier Than a Casio Digital

Ireland Chooses Death

6.02.2018

Permanent Darkness


The truth, even when horrifically ugly, is always authentically attractive.
ANN BARNHARDT

When I was growing up in the eighties, it was a relatively prosperous time in United States history. Yet, I would encounter old people who grew up during the Great Depression which was an experience that left a perpetual scar on the psyche of these people. My grandmother was a sort of food hoarder keeping a chest freezer filled with fruits and vegetables she had grown, picked, or bought. There was enough food in there to carry her for a year or more. An elderly couple who were literally millionaires were so frugal that you would never guess that they were rich because they lived so modestly. He drove the same old pickup truck for decades until it broke down, and he bought a brand new one. People were amazed that he did that, but he would drive that new truck for another two decades. Despite being rich, the couple never lived lavishly, worked incredibly hard, and never retired. This was a consequence of those years spent enduring the Great Depression.

All of these depression survivors shared a common trait. They did not indulge in the comforts of youth and prosperity that we know as optimism. For them, the wolf was always at the door. The good times can and will end at any time. Misery and hardship are the default settings of life. Suffering and death are the only things guaranteed in this world. These Depression babies knew this, and their scars became their strength.

People upbraid me constantly for being so dark and pessimistic about life. But this darkness has been earned as a consequence of bad times in my life. I am scarred, and I cannot erase these scars. This mindset I possess I call "permanent darkness." My greatest fear in life are not the bad times that will come but that I will forget that the bad times always come. I cling to bitter truths because they console me in a world of pleasant lies.

SCHOPENHAUER: A total party pooper.
There is comfort in harsh truths. I discovered this while reading Schopenhauer as an atheist. Schop as I called him was a man who always lived in permanent darkness. His pessimistic writings are like acid dissolving away all delusions about existence. Schop was an atheist who definitely did not believe in the power of positive thinking. Reading this man is no pleasant day in the park, but you will find yourself drawn back to him again and again. Why is this? The answer is simple. The truth is always a consolation even if it is dark and unpleasant.

Schopenhauer didn't get it all right. The man was an atheist after all. But he was unflinchingly honest. I would see this same quality in the saints like St. John the Baptist and in our Lord Jesus Christ as I read the gospels with my new Catholic eyes. When Jesus tells us that the poor in spirit are truly blessed, I interpret Him to mean people who have lost hope in the false comforts and sham consolations of this empty world. Lies can never suffice. The cross is a brutal truth. Taking up that cross is a choice to embrace harsh truths that lead to life than to be satisfied with comforting lies that lead to death.

What are these harsh truths? Here is a list.



1. Everything dies including you.

Most people live under the delusion that death happens to other people. That is an amazing trick of denial, yet we have all done it at some time or another. We see people with terminal illnesses, and we feel sorry for them as if we will somehow not ever experience the same thing. But we will. At some point in your existence, your body will suffer catastrophic failure, and your immortal soul will separate itself from your mortal corpse. You should remind yourself of this reality daily in the practice known as the memento mori. Keep a skull on your desk. Contemplate your own mortality each time you pass a tomb or cemetery. Embrace with certainty that your time here will end.



2. The human race is corrupted by concupiscence and original sin.

All human beings after the Fall except two have been conceived in original sin. This means that all human beings are born inclined to evil. As children grow and mature, this evil manifests itself as the lovable child you adore becomes despicably wicked. Children and adults can be delivered from original sin through the sacrament of baptism, but the weakness of original sin remains in the form of concupiscence. The bottom line is that people are going to let you down, and you are always going to have to lock your doors at night.



3. There is no happiness in this life.

Life is misery, and all human beings are miserable. Even those who are wealthy and fortunate or those who indulge in pleasure find it all emptiness and meaningless such that even the lucky rich will choose suicide in the mistaken belief that it will end their misery. Schopenhauer nailed it when he wrote,
What disturbs and depresses young people is the hunt for happiness on the firm assumption that it must be met with in life. From this arises constantly deluded hope and so also dissatisfaction. Deceptive images of a vague happiness hover before us in our dreams, and we search in vain for their original. Much would have been gained if, through timely advice and instruction, young people could have had eradicated from their minds the erroneous notion that the world has a great deal to offer them.
What Schopenhauer failed to acknowledge was that this erroneous notion is eradicated from the minds of the young when they are catechized in church. Life is emptiness and vanity. The rich man in his splendor is little better than the poor man in his suffering. Or, as I like to put it, excrement smells no better by being placed in a golden bowl. If we are to know happiness, it must come from a place beyond this world. Don't ever think you missed out on the good things in this life because there are no good things.



4. Most people go to Hell.

This is the most bitter truth I know. If you doubt this truth, I recommend reading St. Leonard on the matter. If people actually knew what Hell was, they would do anything and everything to not go there. Yet, most people are going to end up there for eternity, and it will be by their own volition. As such, it should not ever surprise us or disturb us when people spurn the opportunity and means to avoid this terrible fate. People are damned because they refuse to love God. God loves them, but they do not love Him back. Because of this, this world resembles Hell already because of the wickedness of these people.



5. There is a Heaven, but you will go through hell to get there.

Heaven exists, and Jesus has provided the way for us to get there. But this is no easy path as we see from the lives of saints and martyrs who endured a great deal of suffering to arrive in the abode of eternal happiness. The alternative is to endure Purgatory which is no picnic either. In fact, Purgatory is worse than being fed to the lions or crucified in this life. Either way you slice it, the price of Heaven is suffering.

JAMES DEAN: He died young, but it was not a good looking corpse. It never is.

6. The good times never last.

In this world, there are times that are better than others. It may be a period of prosperity, peace, health, cultural and spiritual renewal, and on and on. They always end. When you are at the party, remember to keep some cash in reserve for the cab ride home because the party will end inevitably. Feasts are followed by famines. Drunkenness is followed by hangovers. Prosperity gives way to poverty. Birth leads to death. People want to forget that good times end because there is momentary bliss in ignorance. Conversely, wisdom makes suffering more acute such that all good times empty themselves for the wise. They build an immunity to the good times and remain sour faced at the party.

The best view of life is the bleak one. This is because it is the honest view of life. With the sobriety that comes from pessimism, we can see more clearly that happiness and joy can only be found in God. Schopenhauer refused to acknowledge this one pleasant truth. As a former atheist, I can attest that there is a rebellion in failing to acknowledge the ugliest truth. This is the truth that things didn't have to be this way. Permanent darkness is to be committed to never being beguiled by the vanities of this life. But permanent darkness is not perpetual darkness. This would be life apart from God. As bleak as life can be, it is not hopeless. As such, we must be pessimists in the short term of this life, but we can be optimists in the long run of eternity. The darkness only becomes perpetual when we close our eyes to the light forever.

5.28.2018

Memorial Day Reflections 2018


James, earn this... earn it.
CAPTAIN MILLER, Saving Private Ryan

An American soldier was called up to duty to fight in Iraq. While he was there, his wife took up with another man and carried on an affair that was so flagrant that the man's children started to refer to the paramour as "Daddy." The soldier encountered an IED in Iraq, and he was killed in the explosion. Was his sacrifice worth it?

This story is not entirely true. I have simply put it together from the countless stories I have heard over the last decade from vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Stories like this are what beget cynicism. I believe this cynicism is what cost this country victory in the Vietnam War. Why would anyone volunteer, fight, and die for a country full of cheating spouses and immoral, cowardly, and lazy bums?

When men and women die in war, they are making the ultimate sacrifice. You can't ask anymore of someone than to lay down their lives for you. But how should we respect their sacrifice?

I love the scene in Saving Private Ryan when Ryan is confronted by the sacrifice that Capt. Miller and his men made to save him. Ryan had lost all his brothers, and these men had died to save him and return him to his mother. Ryan was someone willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, yet he was spared. Those men literally took his place. They died for him. All Miller asked of him was one thing. Earn this. Earn it.

For those of us who live and enjoy the liberty these sacrifices bought for us, we are tasked with the same thing. We need to earn this. This means living in a way that honors the sacrifice these men and women made. Unfortunately, most citizens of the United States are not earning this. We are a country of millionaire athletes who kneel during the anthem. Others can't even be bothered to vote. As for Memorial Day, it's just a picnic day like Labor Day and the Fourth of July.

I love America. I love liberty and the Constitution. I love not being under the heel of the boot of Nazism, Japanese imperialism, and Soviet communism. I love our service members who put on the uniform and serve this country with distinction. I remember those who gave all.

If you want to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, earn it. Live in a way that pays honor to the fallen. Love your country. Love your family. Love God and your fellow Americans. Be moral, good, righteous, and true. And remember. Always remember. Wherever they may be, live in a way that puts a smile on their faces. They deserve this.

5.27.2018

In Praise of the New Knighthood by St. Bernard of Clairvaux


Chivalry is not just a fancy word with a neat meaning; it's a way of life.
VAUGHN RIPLEY

In Praise of the New Knighthood (Liber ad milites Templi: De laude novae militae)
St. Bernard of Clairvaux trans. Conrad Greenia

Editors' note: The following passage is taken from a treatise written in the early 12th century by the
Cistercian abbot Bernard of Clairvaux, on behalf of the fledgling Knights Templar. It might be viewed as a combination of exhortation to the Knights, and advertisement to the population in general. Officially it is an answer to a letter written to Bernard by his friend Hugh de Payens, one of the founders of the Templars.

Prologue

TO HUGH, KNIGHT OF CHRIST AND MASTER OF CHRIST'S MILITIA: BERNARD, IN NAME ONLY, ABBOT OF CLAIRVAUS, WISHES THAT HE MIGHT FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT

IF I AM NOT MISTAKEN, MY DEAR HUGH, you have asked me not once or twice, but three times to write a few words of exhortation for you and your comrades. You say that if I am not
permitted to wield the lance, at least I might direct my pen against the tyrannical foe, and that this moral, rather than material support of mine will be of no small help to you. I have put you off now for quite some time, not that I disdain your request, but rather lest I be blamed for taking it lightly and hastily. I feared I might botch a task which could be better done by a more qualified hand, and which would perhaps remain, because of me, just as necessary and all the more difficult.

Having waited thus for quite some time to no purpose, I have now done what I could, lest my inability should be mistaken for unwillingness. It is for the reader to judge the result. If some perhaps find my work unsatisfactory or short of the mark, I shall be nonetheless content, since I have not failed to give you my best.


CHAPTER ONE
A WORD OF EXHORTATION FOR THE KNIGHTS OF THE TEMPLE

IT SEEMS THAT A NEW KNIGHTHOOD has recently appeared on the earth, and precisely in that part of it which the Orient from on high visited in the flesh. As he then troubled the princes of darkness in the strength of his mighty hand, so there he now wipes out their followers, the children of disbelief, scattering them by the hands of his mighty ones. Even now he brings about the redemption of his people raising up again a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.

This is, I say, a new kind of knighthood and one unknown to the ages gone by. It ceaselessly wages a twofold war both against flesh and blood and against a spiritual army of evil in the heavens. When someone strongly resists a foe in the flesh, relying solely on the strength of the flesh, I would hardly remark it, since this is common enough. And when war is waged by spiritual strength against vices or demons, this, too, is nothing remarkable, praiseworthy as it is, for the world is full of monks. But when the one sees a man powerfully girding himself with both swords and nobly marking his belt, who would not consider it worthy of all wonder, the more so since it has been hitherto unknown? He is truly a fearless knight and secure on every side, for his soul is protected by the armor of faith just as his body is protected by armor of steel. He is thus doubly armed and need fear neither demons nor men. Not that he fears death- -no, he desires it. Why should he fear to live or fear to die when for him to live is Christ, and to die is gain? Gladly and faithfully he stands for Christ, but he would prefer to be dissolved and to be with Christ, by far the better thing.

Go forth confidently then, you knights, and repel the foes of the cross of Christ with a stalwart heart. Know that neither death nor life can separate you from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ, and in every peril repeat, "Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's." What a glory to return in victory from such a battle! How blessed to die there as a martyr! Rejoice, brave athlete, if you live and conquer in the Lord; but glory and exult even more if you die and join your Lord. Life indeed is a fruitful thing and victory is glorious, but a holy death is more important than either. If they are blessed who die in the Lord, how much more are they who die for the Lord!

2. To be sure, precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his holy ones, whether they die in battle or in bed, but death in battle is more precious as it is the more glorious. How secure is life when the conscience is unsullied! How secure, I say, is life when death is anticipated without fear; or rather when it is desired with feeling and embraced with reverence! How holy and secure this knighthood and how entirely free of the double risk run by those men who fight not for Christ! Whenever you go forth, O worldly warrior, you must fear lest the bodily death of your foe should mean your own spiritual death, or lest perhaps your body and soul together should be slain by him.

Indeed, danger or victory for a Christian depends on the dispositions of his heart and not on the fortunes of war. If he fights for a good reason, the issue of his fight can never be evil; and likewise the results can never be considered good if the reason were evil and the intentions perverse. If you happen to be killed while you are seeking only to kill another, you die a murderer. If you succeed, and by your will to overcome and to conquer you perchance kill a man, you live a murderer. Now it will not do to be a murderer, living or dead, victorious or vanquished. What an unhappy victory--to have conquered a man while yielding to vice, and to indulge in an empty glory at his fall when wrath and pride have gotten the better of you!

But what of those who kill neither in the heat of revenge nor in the swelling of pride, but simply in order to save themselves? Even this sort of victory I would not call good, since bodily death is really a lesser evil than spiritual death. The soul need not die when the body does. No, it is the soul which sins that shall die.


CHAPTER TWO
ON WORLDLY KNIGHTHOOD

WHAT, THEN IS THE END OR FRUIT of this worldly knighthood, or rather knavery, as I should call it? What if not the mortal sin of the victor and the eternal death of the vanquished? Well then, let me borrow a word from the Apostle and exhort him who plows, to plow in hope, and him who threshes, to do so in view of some fruit.

What then, O knights, is this monstrous error and what this unbearable urge which bids you fight with such pomp and labor, and all to no purpose except death and sin? You cover your horses with silk, and plume your armor with I know not what sort of rags; you paint your shields and your saddles; you adorn your bits and spurs with gold and silver and precious stones, and then in all this glory you rush to your ruin with fearful wrath and fearless folly. Are these the trappings of a warrior or are they not rather the trinkets of a woman? Do you think the swords of your foes will be turned back by your gold, spare your jewels or be unable to pierce your silks?

As you yourselves have often certainly experienced, a warrior especially needs these three things--he must guard his person with strength, shrewdness and care; he must be free in his movements, and he must be quick to draw his sword. Then why do you blind yourselves with effeminate locks and trip yourselves up with long and full tunics, burying your tender, delicate hands in big cumbersome sleeves? Above all, there is that terrible insecurity of conscience, in spite of all your armor, since you have dared to undertake such a dangerous business on such slight and frivolous grounds. What else is the cause of wars and the root of disputes among you, except unreasonable flashes of anger, the thirst for empty glory, or the hankering after some earthly possessions? It certainly is not safe to kill or to be killed for such causes as these.


CHAPTER THREE
ON THE NEW KNIGHTHOOD

BUT THE KNIGHTS OF CHRIST may safely fight the battles of their Lord, fearing neither sin if they smite the enemy, nor danger at their own death; since to inflict death or to die for Christ is no sin, but rather, an abundant claim to glory. In the first case one gains for Christ, and in the second one gains Christ himself. The Lord freely accepts the death of the foe who has offended him, and yet more freely gives himself for the consolation of his fallen knight.

The knight of Christ, I say, may strike with confidence and die yet more confidently, for he serves Christ when he strikes, and serves himself when he falls. Neither does he bear the sword in vain, for he is God's minister, for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of the good. If he kills an evildoer, he is not a mankiller, but, if I may so put it, a killer of evil. He is evidently the avenger of Christ towards evildoers and he is rightly considered a defender of Christians. Should he be killed himself, we know that he has not perished, but has come safely into port. When he inflicts death it is to Christ's profit, and when he suffers death, it is for his own gain. The Christian glories in the death of the pagan, because Christ is glorified; while the death of the Christian gives occasion for the King to show his liberality in the rewarding of his knight. In the one case the just shall rejoice when he sees justice done, and in the other man shall say, truly there is a reward for the just; truly it is God who judges the earth.

I do not mean to say that the pagans are to be slaughtered when there is any other way to prevent them from harassing and persecuting the faithful, but only that it now seems better to destroy them than that the rod of sinners be lifted over the lot of the just, and the righteous perhaps put forth their hands unto iniquity.

5. What then? If it is never permissible for a Christian to strike with the sword, why did the Savior's precursor bid the soldiers to be content with their pay, and not rather forbid them to follow this calling? But if it is permitted to all those so destined by God, as is indeed the case provided they have not embraced a higher calling, to whom, I ask, may it be allowed more rightly than to those whose hands and hearts hold for us Sion, the city of our strength?

Thus when the transgressors of divine law have been expelled, the righteous nation that keeps the truth may enter in security. Certainly it is proper that the nations who love war should be scattered, that those who trouble us should be cut off, and that all the workers of iniquity should be dispersed from the city of the Lord. They busy themselves to carry away the incalculable riches placed in Jerusalem by the Christian peoples, to profane the holy things and to possess the sanctuary of God as their heritage. Let both swords of the faithful fall upon the necks of the foe, in order to destroy every high thing exalting itself against the knowledge of God, which is the Christian faith, lest the Gentiles should then say, "Where is their God?"

6. Once they have been cast out, he shall return to his heritage and to his house, which aroused his anger in the Gospel, "Behold," he said, "your house is left to you desolate." He had complained through the Prophet: "I have left my house, I have forsaken my heritage," and he will fulfill that other prophecy: "The Lord has ransomed his people and delivered them. They shall come and exult on Mount Sion, and rejoice in the good things of the Lord."

Rejoice Jerusalem, and recognize now the time in which you are visited! Be glad and give praise together, wastes of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people. He has ransomed Jerusalem. The Lord has bared his holy arm in the sight of all peoples. O virgin of Israel, you were fallen and there was none to raise you up. Arise now and shake off the dust, O virgin, captive daughter of Sion. Arise, I say, and stand on high. See the happiness which comes to you from your God. You will no longer be referred to as the forsaken one, nor your land any more termed a wilderness; for the Lord takes his delight in you, and your land shall be peopled. Raise your eyes, look about you and see; all these are gathered together and come to you. Here is the help sent to you from the Holy One! Through them is already fulfilled the ancient promise, "I will make you the pride of the ages, a joy from generation to generation. You will suck the milk of the nations and be nourished at the breasts of their sovereignty." And again, "As a mother consoles her children, so will I console you, and in Jerusalem you will be comforted."

Do you not see how frequently these ancient witnesses foreshadowed the new knighthood? Truly, as we have heard, so we have now seen in the city of the Lord of armies. Of course we must not let these literal fulfillments blind us to the spiritual meaning of the texts, for we must live in eternal hope in spite of such temporal realizations of prophetic utterances. Otherwise the tangible would supplant the intangible, material poverty would threaten spiritual wealth and present possessions would forestall future fulfillment. Furthermore, the temporal glory of the earthly city does not eclipse the glory of its heavenly counterpart, but rather prepares for it, at least so long as we remember that the one is the figure of the other, and that it is the heavenly one which is our mother.


CHAPTER FOUR
ON THE LIFE STYLE OF THE KNIGHTS OF THE TEMPLE

AND NOW AS A MODEL, or at least for the shame of those knights of ours who are fighting for the devil rather than for God, we will briefly set forth the life and virtues of these cavaliers of Christ. Let us see how they conduct themselves at home as well as in battle, how they appear in public, and in what way the knight of God differs from the knight of the world.

In the first place, discipline is in no way lacking and obedience is never despised. As Scripture testifies, the undisciplined son shall perish and rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, to refuse obedience is like the crime of idolatry. Therefore they come and go at the bidding of their superior. They wear what he gives them, and do not presume to wear or to eat anything from another source. Thus they shun every excess in clothing and food and content themselves with what is necessary. They live as brothers in joyful and sober company, without wives or children. So that their evangelical perfection will lack nothing, they dwell united in one family with no personal property whatever, careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. You may say that the whole multitude has but one heart and one soul to the point that nobody follows his own will, but rather seeks to follow the commander.

They never sit in idleness or wander about aimlessly, but on the rare occasions when they are not on duty, they are always careful to earn their bread by repairing their worn armor and torn clothing, or simply by setting things to order. For the rest, they are guided by the common needs and by the orders of their master.

There is no distinction of persons among them, and deference is shown to merit rather than to noble blood. They rival one another in mutual consideration, and they carry one another's burdens, thus fulfilling the law of Christ. No inappropriate word, idle deed, unrestrained laugh, not even the slightest whisper or murmur is left uncorrected once it has been detected. They foreswear dice and chess, and abhor the chase; they take no delight in the ridiculous cruelty of falconry, as is the custom. As for jesters, magicians, bards, troubadours and jousters, they despise and reject them as so many vanities and unsound deceptions. Their hair is worn short, in conformity with the Apostle's saying, that it is shameful for a man to cultivate flowing locks. Indeed, they seldom wash and never set their hair--content to appear tousled and dusty, bearing the marks of the sun and of their armor.

8. When the battle is at hand, they arm themselves interiorly with faith and exteriorly with steel rather than decorate themselves with gold, since their business is to strike fear in the enemy rather than to incite his cupidity. They seek out horses which are strong and swift, rather than those which are brilliant and well-plumed, they set their minds on fighting to win rather than on parading for show. They think not of glory and seek to be formidable rather than flamboyant. At the same time, they are not quarrelsome, rash, or unduly hasty, but soberly, prudently and providently drawn up into orderly ranks, as we read of the fathers. Indeed, the true Israelite is a man of peace, even when he goes forth to battle.

Once he finds himself in the thick of battle, this knight sets aside his previous gentleness, as if to say, "Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord; am I not disgusted with your enemies?" These men at once fall violently upon the foe, regarding them as so many sheep. No matter how outnumbered they are, they never regard these as fierce barbarians or as awe-inspiring hordes. Nor do they presume on their own strength, but trust in the Lord of armies to grant them the victory. They are mindful of the words of Maccabees, "It is simple enough for a multitude to be vanquished by a handful. It makes no difference to the God of heaven whether he grants deliverance by the hands of few or many; for victory in war is not dependent on a big army, and bravery is the gift of heaven." On numerous occasions they had seen one man pursue a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight.

Thus in a wonderous and unique manner they appear gentler than lambs, yet fiercer than lions. I do not know if it would be more appropriate to refer to them as monks or as soldiers, unless perhaps it would be better to recognize them as being both. Indeed they lack neither monastic meekness nor military might. What can we say of this, except that this has been done by the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes. These are the picked troops of God, whom he has recruited from the ends of the earth; the valiant men of Israel chosen to guard well and faithfully that tomb which is the bed of the true Solomon, each man sword in hand, and superbly trained to war.


CHAPTER FIVE
THE TEMPLE OF JERUSALEM

THEIR QUARTERS indeed are in the very temple of Jerusalem, which is not as vast as the ancient masterpiece of Solomon, but is no less glorious. Truly all the magnificence of the first temple lay in perishable gold and silver, in polished stones and precious woods; whereas all the beauty and gracious charming adornment of its present counterpart is the religious fervor of its occupants and by their well-disciplined behavior. In the former, one could contemplate all sorts of beautiful colors, while in the latter one is able to venerate all sorts of virtues and good works. Indeed holiness is the fitting ornament for God's house. One is able to delight there in splendid merits rather than in shining marble, and to be captivated by pure hearts rather than by gilded paneling.

Of course the facade of this temple is adorned, but with weapons rather than with jewels, and in place of the ancient golden crowns, its walls are hung round about with shields. In place of candlesticks, censers and ewers, this house is well furnished with saddles, bits and lances. By all these signs our knights clearly show that they are animated by the same zeal for the house of God which of old passionately inflamed their leader himself when he armed his most holy hands, not indeed with a sword, but with a whip. Having fashioned this from some lengths of cord, he entered the temple and ejected the merchants, scattered the coins of the money changers, and overturned the chairs of the pigeon venders, considering it most unfitting to defile this house of prayer by such traffic.

Moved therefore by their King's example, his devoted soldiers consider that it is even more shameful and infinitely more intolerable for a holy place to be polluted by pagans than to be crowded with merchants. Once they have installed themselves in this holy house with their horses and their weapons, cleansed it and the other holy places of every un-Christian stain, and cast out the tyrannical horde, they occupy themselves day and night in both pious exercises and practical work. They are especially careful to honor the temple of God with zealous and sincere reverence, offering by their devout service, not the flesh of animals according to the ancient rites, but true peace offerings of brotherly love, devoted obedience and voluntary poverty.

10. These events at Jerusalem have shaken the world. The islands hearken, and the people from afar give ear. They swarm forth from East and West, as a flood stream bringing glory to the nations and a rushing river gladdening the city of God. What could be more profitable and pleasant to behold than seeing such a multitude coming to reinforce the few? What, if not the twofold joy of seeing the conversion of these former impious rogues, sacrilegious thieves, murderers, perjurers and adulterers? A twofold joy and a twofold benefit, since their countrymen are as glad to be rid of them as their new comrades are to receive them. Both sides have profited from this exchange, since the latter are strengthened and the former are now left in peace. Thus Egypt rejoices in their conversion and departure while Mount Sion rejoices and the daughters of Juda are glad to acquire these new protectors. The former glory in being delivered from their hands, while the latter have every reason to expect deliverance by means of these same hands. The former gladly see their cruel despoilers depart, while the latter gladly welcome their faithful defenders; so that the one is agreeably heartened, while the other is profitably abandoned.

This is the revenge which Christ contrives against his enemies, to triumph powerfully and gloriously over them by their own means. Indeed, it is both a happy and fitting thing that those who have so long fought against him should at last fight for him. Thus he recruits his soldiers among his foes, just as he once turned Saul the persecutor into Paul the preacher. Therefore I am not surprised that, as our Savior himself has affirmed, the court of heaven takes more joy in the conversion of one sinner than in the virtues of many just men who have no need of conversion. Certainly the conversion of so many sinners and evil doers will now do as much good as their former misdeeds did harm.

11. Hail then, holy city, sanctified by the Most High for his own tabernacle in order that such a generation might be saved in and through you! Hail, city of the great King, source of so many joyous and unheard-of marvels! Hail mistress of nations and queen of provinces, heritage of patriarchs, mother of apostles and prophets, source of the faith and glory of the Christian people! If God has permitted you to be so often besieged, it has only been to furnish brave men an occasion for valor and immortality.

Hail promised land, source of milk and honey for your ancient inhabitants, now become the source of healing grace and vital sustenance for the whole earth! Yes, I say, you are that good and excellent soil which received into its fruitful depths the heavenly seed from the heart of the eternal Father. What a rich harvest of martyrs you have produced from that heavenly seed! Your fertile soil has not failed to furnish splendid examples of every Christian virtue for the whole earth--some bearing fruit thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundredfold. Therefore those who have seen you are most happily filled with the great abundance of your sweetness and are well nourished on your munificent bounty. Everywhere they go they publish the fame of your great goodness and relate the splendors of your glory to those who have never seen it, proclaiming the marvels accomplished in you even to the ends of the earth.

Indeed, glorious things are told of you, city of God! Now then we will set forth something of the delights in which you abound, for the praise and glory of your name.

Copyright (C) 1996, Bernard of Clairvaux, In Praise of the New Knighthood, prologue-chapter five,
translated by Conrad Greenia ocso, from Bernard of Clairvaux: Treatises Three, Cistercian Fathers Series, Number Nineteen, © Cistercian Publications, 1977, pages 127-145 (without notes). All rights reserved.

This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents, including the header and this copyright notice, remain intact.


Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 64


I've been accused of vulgarity. I say that's bullsh*t.
MEL BROOKS


Ann Barnhardt can be dismissed as a crazy person. But if you choose to not go down the ad hominem path and listen to what she says, it will trouble you because her arguments are forceful and persuasive. In this case, she makes a compelling argument that Benedict is still the pope while Francis is an antipope. It is worth your time to read and consider her argument.

The one thing that she has convinced me on is that there can be no such thing as a "Pope Emeritus." Ratzinger has blundered mightily in this regard. Had he donned a simple black cassock and gone back to Germany to retire, this would not be a debate. But the man did not do this. In addition, people give Benedict a deference as if he is still the pope. Even Francis does this. The fact is that Pope Benedict XVI could issue a single sentence and turn the Catholic world upside down. It's as if Francis serves at the silence of his predecessor.

So, is Francis an antipope? Barnhardt certainly thinks so. For me, I think it is above my pay grade. But I absolutely agree with her that there is no such thing as a bifurcated papacy. Pope Benedict XVI erred when he thought such a thing was possible. This leaves the question of the validity of his resignation. Does a half-ass resignation count? This is the part of the Barnhardt Thesis that I find weak. She says it doesn't count.

If you were to ask Ratzinger who is the pope, he would most certainly point to Francis. The man might be mistaken about his current role, but I don't think he was mistaken in the expectation that another man would take his place once he vacated it. Ratzinger believed and intended to relinquish the papacy.

Ratzinger's obvious objective with the emeritus scheme was to establish an option for future pontiffs to relinquish the office while retaining some of the dignity of their former position. This is done for priests, bishops, and cardinals. Should it be done for popes? After watching the pitiful decline of Pope St. John Paul II from Parkinson's disease, Ratzinger clearly thought something should be changed to allow a pontiff to retire.

Assuming Ann Barnhardt is totally correct in her thesis, it doesn't change anything because it is above her pay grade as well. This mess will have to be sorted out by a future pontiff and/or council. But I would not be surprised at all if Francis turned out to be an antipope. He is certainly a disaster.

2. COBRA KAI

The 80s are being strip mined for material for new movies and television shows. One of these artifacts being revisited is the Karate Kid saga and the Cobra Kai series on YouTube Red. I haven't watched any of the episodes as I prefer to not pay for television. But you can get the entire plot on Wikipedia. I've watched the trailers and read what some critics had to say. It is an interesting series.

It is easy to see that Johnny Lawrence and the Cobra Kai dojo/creed is basically the alt-right today. In the original movie, Johnny and the Cobras were just cartoonish bad guys. In the new series, Johnny is portrayed in a sympathetic light. In a world of pansies, it is refreshing to see a display of manliness even if it is the warped and merciless manliness of the Cobra Kai dojo.


You would think that the defeat of the Cobra Kai dojo in the original movie would have spelled the end of the Cobra Kai philosophy. These guys were essentially karate Nazis replacing virtue with raw aggression. This is to be contrasted with the Daniel/Miyagi way of virtue, character, and balance.

Whether intentional or not, the Cobra Kai series reflects the cultural tensions we see today. SBPDL picked up on this and argues that the Cobra Kai were actually the good guys. And that, Gentle Reader, is a problem. There is a big difference between a knight and a barbarian. Unfortunately, we live in a time where people have forgotten this.

3. FREEMIUM

I understand that it takes money to produce and host content on the internet. But I grew up watching television and listening to the radio for free long before there was the internet. The only thing you subscribed to in the old days were newspapers, magazines, and HBO. The internet slaughtered the old media with an unbeatable advantage. It was free. Granted, you had to pay to get online either through dial up services or cable providers. But you had all that free content once you paid that initial toll. Now, they want to charge you again for content.

High traffic websites find it easy to pay the bills. They offer advertising. The Drudge Report has no problem making money. Of course, Drudge doesn't actually produce content but selects content others have produced. Naturally, he likes to puts links to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and other outlets that have paywalls. Some paywalls are harder than others. I think Drudge's days are numbered. Those paywalls will make his deeplinking an exercise in frustration.

Most outlets today are going with the model known as "freemium." Basically, they offer some content for free to bait you then try and sell you premium content. YouTube does this with its Red service. The New York Times and other outlets give you so many free articles per month.

Does the freemium model work? The New York Times currently has 2.33 million digital subscribers. That is roughly the same number of subscribers that Alex Jones has on his YouTube channel alone. Jones pays for his operation with a store offering his own products. Basically, you can watch and listen to Infowars and Alex Jones for free. You have to pay for the Times. I think the Alex Jones model is way better.

People are willing to pay for media, but they have higher expectations when they shell out cash. I think Alex Jones makes awesome money from his venture while the NYT struggles. Everything I read about the Times says it is not doing so great. Most of its revenue comes from readers now and not advertisers.

My issues with freemium are personal. I don't want to pay for this information, and I am not going to pay for it. I'll pay for products on Amazon, but I am never going to pay to watch cat videos on YouTube. I certainly wouldn't pay to read a blog and that includes my own. The simple fact is that the internet is finally rectifying its economics, and it looks almost identical to the old media. Netflix is HBO. Alex Jones is the new Rush Limbaugh. And all of the word based websites want to make money off both readers and advertisers just like the newspapers and magazines. What was the point of having the internet?

4. ABORTION IN IRELAND

The people of Ireland have voted to legalize abortion in their country. Meanwhile, Pope Francis has said and done very little to prevent this calamity. This is a sad time for Ireland and for the Roman Catholic Church.

The first thing that needs to be addressed is Francis. I just find it staggering that our bishop in white has said and done so little in regard to this referendum. Remember, this is a guy who has railed about migrants and took Trump to task over immigration and building walls instead of bridges. Yet, when it comes to the unborn, this guy caters to the left wing. This is a disgrace.

The second thing is that the people of Ireland who have voted for this evil can safely be considered to be in a state of mortal sin. It is unlikely that any of them will confess this sin and repent of it considering for themselves that this wrong is actually right. Since their repentance is unlikely, they will certainly die in this state of mortal sin and damn their souls for eternity. Unlike the USA where abortion was legalized by a handful of Supreme Court justices, the Irish people own this. This is on them. God have mercy on their souls.

The third thing is that this is a major blow for the pro-life cause. When a majority Catholic country that already outlaws abortion votes to legalize it, what reasonable hope do we have that we can get it outlawed anywhere else? In the USA, Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land for virtually my entire life. What have all of our prayers and political action amounted to?

The reality is that abortion exists in this dark world because it is a dark world indeed. The rock band U2 came out in favor of abortion which shocked many of their Christian fans who were under the delusion that the members of U2 were actually Christians. The reality is that they are hypocrites and have damned themselves along with the majority of Ireland. And the moral light from the Vatican is nowhere to be seen.

5. ODDS AND ENDS

--If you're going to make a Han Solo movie, you need to hire someone who can actually play the part of Han Solo.

--The NFL finally decided it wants to make money again by clamping down on anthem kneelers. Meanwhile, many Americans have discovered they have better things to do with their lives than watch spoiled athletes disgrace our nation.

--Leftists need to be reminded that Obama never had North Korea begging for peace talks. Trump can't mess this up because he made it happen where others didn't.

--I wonder if Morgan Freeman will be sharing a cell with Bill Cosby.

--God does not make people gay. Unfortunately, Pope Francis thinks He does.

--MS-13 gang members are human beings, but they behave like animals. They are evil. Yet, people are worried that these rapists and murderers might be offended by some truthful remarks. Somehow, Trump is more evil than these animals. The mind boggles.

6. LINKS OF INTEREST







5.20.2018

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 63


When people go through something rough in life, they say, "I'm taking it one day at a time." Yes, so is everybody. Because that's how time works.
HANNIBAL BURESS

1. DC TRIP

I spent last weekend visiting family in the DC area. There are a few things I can say about the trip. The first is that I noticed not a single car accident despite travelling through four states in heavy traffic. Yet, I thought I would get killed when I got back to SC. People in South Carolina cannot drive. It was not always this way, but it has become this way. Why is this? In those other states, I saw a lot of highway patrol on the interstate. I did not see this in the SC. We have a trooper shortage here because the state doesn't pay well. Because of this, the highways here are becoming lawless.


The lasr time I made the DC trip, I noticed a lot of Trump signs and stickers when everyone was saying that Hillary was going to win. This time I noticed the urban graffiti which had turned very political against Trump. The bottom line is that the Urban Slime Class that makes DC a cesspool of crime hates Trump with a real passion. The guy must be doing a good job. You can always tell a man by his enemies.

The third thing I noticed in the Archdiocese of Washington is the heavy presence of Cultural Catholicism. There are a lot of Catholic churches in the DC/Maryland area, but the Catholics there are faithful in name only. The result is a lot of churches that are mostly empty. We attended a special first communion service for the kids, and it was obvious that the parents did not know the words of the Mass as they did not participate. They just wanted their kids to get their sacraments while they slept in on Sunday. I am working on a post about this insipidness, but it has a long history.

Overall, it was not a pleasant trip for me, and I did not expect it to be one. City life does not appeal to me. I just want my house in the country.

2. ROYAL WEDDING

If invited, I still could not have attended the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. This is because this is the second marriage for Ms. Markle, and her first husband is still very much alive. No real Catholic can celebrate a joining in adultery even if the adulterers are Protestant/atheist types. The only way I could make an exception would be if her first husband had been married before and divorced. I have read no information on this. But I don't ever expect to be invited to a royal wedding.

I tell people that I will gladly attend a wedding if it is their first marriage to someone who is also never married or widowed. Basically, I can't celebrate people's adultery. The reason it matters is because marriage has been reduced to a mockery with the farce known as gay marriage. But Christians can't complain when they have celebrated all of the heterosexual farces leading up to this.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are now living in open adultery. I wish them the best which would mean their repentance. But I don't expect this marriage to go well. At least they diversified the royal gene pool to overcome the inbreeding.


3. Q & A

Q: Would you go to a wedding on the beach?

A: Catholics are supposed to get married in a Catholic Church. Most people are not Catholics and marriage is not reserved to Roman Catholics. It is a matter of the natural law, so if two atheists want to marry on some beach or mountain as the sun rises, I can attend this as long as they are heterosexual and entering their first marriage. As for lapsed Catholics, I consider them atheists. Perhaps they were baptized as children but this makes them no different than the children of Presbyterians who baptize their children.

All Catholics are required to have valid marriages. This means a traditional marriage between opposite sex members who are unmarried, and the wedding is done in a Catholic church by a priest. Catholics who marry outside of the Church have invalid marriages. But I can still attend these invalid marriages. Here is a helpful article on the subject.

4. QUOTABLE QUOTES (THOMAS A KEMPIS EDITION)


FROM THE IMITATION OF CHRIST:

Grant me prudently to avoid him that flatters me, and to endure patiently him that contradicts me.

Never be entirely idle; but either be reading, or writing, or praying, or meditating, or endeavoring something for the public good.

If you desire to know or learn anything to your advantage, then take delight in being unknown and unregarded. A true understanding and humble estimate of oneself is the highest and most valuable of all lessons. To take no account of oneself, but always to think well and highly of others is the highest wisdom and perfection.


Fight like a man. Habit is overcome by habit.


The Lord bestows his blessings there, where he finds the vessels empty.

5. ODDS AND ENDS

--Another school shooting. Same arguments as last time. The only real solution is good guys with guns.

--I support the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem. I am not a Zionist, but I do think Israel has the right to exist. I also think the enemies of Israel are total bad guys.

--Before it is all done, the US is going to end up beating the crap out of North Korea. This is because the communist regime in North Korea has to end. Peace talks are a desperate attempt by the regime to remain alive, but it is cynical. I expect to see Kim Jong Un's fat bloated body strung up Mussolini style by his own people.

--The mass resignation of the bishops in Chile is a good thing, and it should happen in other countries as well especially the United States. Time to clean house.

--Mueller needs to pinch it off. The Democrats should forget the last election and focus on the next election. The reality is starting to set in for them that Hillary actually lost. Meanwhile, Trump has been working hard to MAGA.

--I support Catherine Templeton over Henry McMaster for governor of SC. As always, I vote for whoever wins the Republican primary. McMaster is a decent fellow, but I like Templeton's fire. She probably won't win.

--John McCain is a disgrace. In death, he will have managed to top himself in the disgrace department. I don't see this man dying in a state of grace.

6. LINKS OF INTEREST

Jordan Peterson’s Right That You Should Become Dangerous, And Here’s How

British Hero Sentenced To Prison For Outsmarting Traffic Cameras

John McCain Has No Class