Charlie's Blog: 2018

11.11.2018

Veteran's Day Reflections 2018


Since I first joined the Marines, I have advocated aggressiveness in the field and constant offensive action. Hit quickly, hit hard and keep right on hitting. Give the enemy no rest, no opportunity to consolidate his forces and hit back at you.
LT. GEN. H.M. SMITH

I appreciate all the men and women who have served honorably in all of the branches of the US Armed Forces, but I hold a special admiration for the United States Marines Corps. Part of this comes from having three Marines in my family. The other part comes from the sensibility and traditions of the Marine Corps. The USMC is small compared to the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. The Marines don't have a large budget or the latest and greatest equipment. So, they have to get by on just sheer fierceness and toughness. Of all the branches, the USMC is the most blue collar in my book. They show up, and they get it done.

It was with much regret and disgust to read about the recent mass shooting by a USMC combat veteran. Ian David Long served with distinction as a Marine. He has now disgraced himself forever. Naturally, people put the blame on PTSD. I put the blame where it belongs. It belongs on Ian David Long.


This is where I may lose some of my readers, but I don't care. I'm tired of this PTSD crap. I know that PTSD is a real thing. It can be debilitating. I had a traumatic event in my twenties that left me shaken up for about three months. What happened to me doesn't even compare to what happens to people in war. But having a taste of it made me appreciate how hard it can be to process the trauma. But I can honestly say that I never felt the urge or desire to shoot up a bar full of people. None of the people I know with PTSD express anything like this.

The problem with PTSD is that it is psychobabble. Sigmund Freud occupies a space with Darwin and Marx as being one of the most destructive influences in the modern world. Because of Freud and all of the psychobabblers that came after him, human free will and responsibility flew out the window. Because of psychologists and psychiatrists, people suddenly feel free to indulge whatever sick impulse they may have. It's not their fault. They can't help it. This is all so much horsecrap.

Thanks to military shrinks, the popular media, and disability checks, PTSD has become indulged like gender dysphoria and homosexuality. When predator drone pilots who run their missions from behind a desk in an air conditioned office claim PTSD, you know this is a con job to get a check. I have to wonder how many military personnel actually have PTSD and how many are just faking it for the disability compensation. It's pathetic how true warriors who serve with honor are reduced to sniveling crybabies to get a welfare check.

Here's some advice. If you don't have PTSD, don't pretend that you do. If you do have PTSD, turn to God, your brothers in arms, the VFW, and a bottle of Kentucky bourbon to get over it. Don't go to counseling or get on those damn PTSD meds. The only thing psychobabblers will do is talk you into a worse situation in much the same way they talked Bruce Jenner into cutting off his penis.

War is hell. That is something everyone can agree on. I feel great sympathy for all those who have endured that hell. I salute your service and sacrifice. You are true Americans. But don't use that as an excuse for being an awful human being like Ian David Long. Perhaps you don't care to shoot up a bar but just settle on being abusive to your spouse and children or being an alcoholic drug addicted loser. All I can say is that you are 100% responsible for whatever you do. Don't blame it on PTSD.

There is never an excuse for doing the wrong thing. Going through hell will never give you a blank check to put others through hell. Being a man doesn't end when you take off that uniform. Suck it up and live the rest of your life with honor. The pain will fade, but the honor will endure. And don't think that no one cares. I care, and there are many others that care. We all have our crosses, and the memory of war is your cross. Just bear it.

Thank you, veterans, for all that you have done for this great country. And know that we know that the sacrifice doesn't end when you come home. I see the sadness in the eyes of many veterans I encounter. You never get over war. It is something you carry with you the rest of your life. I know this, and it is why I thank all veterans especially those who have served in combat. I pray that God will help you to carry the burden of those painful memories.

Why Does God Not Answer My Prayers?


And in all things whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.
MATTHEW 21:22 DOUAY-RHEIMS

If you spend any time in prayer, the first thing you will learn is that God does not answer your prayers. You pray for someone to be healed of cancer. They die. You pray that someone else overcomes financial difficulties, but the bank forecloses on their home. You pray that a married couple deliver a healthy baby, but the baby is born with spina bifida. You pray that a relative converts before he dies. He dies unconverted in his sins. You pray for a job and remain unemployed. The simple fact is that you can believe in God. You can pray. Yet, you do not receive the answer to your prayer. The result is discouragement and a test of faith. Why pray to a God who doesn't keep His promises? Why pray to a God who seems indifferent to our needs? Why does God not answer my prayers?

If you seek for satisfying answers to these questions, you will find none. There is a satisfying answer to this problem, but precious few find it. This is because the answer is hidden. It is obscured by false answers, bad theology, and teachers who are not honest. These answers come from people misinformed in their faith or lacking in faith. Yet, when you find the satisfying answer, you will see that it was there all along. You simply lacked the understanding. I pray that you will find this understanding just as I found it.

The Atheist Answer

The atheist response to our question is straightforward. God does not answer your prayers because He does not exist. When you pray, you pray to emptiness. God doesn't care because He just isn't there. If you do get an answer, it is merely a lucky coincidence like praying for rain, and it just happens to rain. But for the real things we pray for like healing from Stage 4 cancer, those answers never come. This is because a non-existent God can't cure cancer.

The deist response to our question is similar to the atheist response except it is colder. God does exist, but He doesn't care. He created the world like a watch, wound it up, and walked away from it. If the watch breaks, it is up to you to fix it. Otherwise, your prayers are a waste of time. You are either praying to a God who doesn't exist or doesn't care. The final result amounts to the same thing.

The refutation to these lies is very easy to find. You merely have to look at your own prayer life to see the many times God did act in your life and do things both ordinary and spectacular. God answers many prayers to a level that you can't dismiss His existence. I can attest that God has done many things in my life and the lives of others. As a former atheist, I am now at a point in my life that I am no longer able to return to that atheism. God has done too many things in my life and shown me so much that I can't be an atheist anymore. It would be like closing my eyes and denying the existence of the sun.

The unbeliever's response to this is that you are deluding yourself. Your life is simply a series of random events for which God gets all of the credit for the good things and none of the blame for the bad things. If you look at the life of an atheist, you will see a similar pattern except the atheist's life is often sweeter and more blessed despite not believing in God. If God really did exist, then the Christian should be living the good life while the atheist suffers.

My response is that the sun still exists even while it is night. You may not see the sun in the darkness, but you can see the reflection of the sun's light from the moon. The Christian points to the light. The atheist points to the darkness. The light exists, but so does the darkness. The Christian says the dawn is coming. The atheist says no dawn is coming. When the moon is dark and does not shine, that is when we think the atheist may be right. But once you've seen the moon, you know it is there as well as the sun even if they are not always visible. Prayer is the same way. You will receive enough answers to prayers to know that you are not wasting your time. God exists, and He cares.



The Prospetarian Answer

The atheist may give the wrong answer to our problem, but at least he is honest in that wrong answer. The atheist believes he is delivering us from a destructive fairy tale. But there are those who would like to have us believe in fairy tales. These would be those lying false teachers that populate the airwaves and Protestant megachurches with the Gospel of Prosperity. I call them the Prospetarians, and they are worse than the atheists in their lies.

The Prospetarian answer to our problem is simple. God does answer prayer. But this is the prayer of faith. God will answer your prayer if you believe. That's what Matthew 21:22 is telling us. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. If you don't receive your request, you did not believe sufficiently. The fault is not with God. The fault is with you and your lack of faith. This means that your daughter that suffered from leukemia died because your prayers and your faith were half-ass. With all of the same comfort that Job's friends gave him, these Prospetarians deliver the bad news that it is all your fault. You are lacking in faith. The way to amend this lack of faith is to make a very large financial donation to their television ministry.


The refutation of the Prospetarian answer is very simple. No one had more faith than Jesus Christ. Christ is the Son of God. He performed miracles. He rose from the dead. Yet, here is His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane:
Then Jesus came with them into a country place which is called Gethsemani; and he said to his disciples: Sit you here, till I go yonder and pray.
And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to grow sorrowful and to be sad.
Then he saith to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death: stay you here, and watch with me.
And going a little further, he fell upon his face, praying, and saying: My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 
MATTHEW 26:36-39 DOUAY-RHEIMS
Jesus prayed that the cup of suffering would pass from Him. Here we have the Son of God making a request to His Father. He asks for something. And He doesn't get it. Did Jesus lack faith? Should He have made a sizable financial contribution to the temple?

The Prospetarian will claim that this particular instance was an exception to the rule. Jesus had to suffer and die on the cross to atone for our sins, and it was the only way. Otherwise, God answers those prayers of faith. But St. Paul the Apostle writes this for our benefit:
And lest the greatness of the revelations should exalt me, there was given me a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satan, to buffet me.
For which thing thrice I besought the Lord, that it might depart from me.
And he said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee; for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 
2 CORINTHIANS 12:7-9 DOUAY-RHEIMS
Certainly, St. Paul was a man of profound faith. This was a guy who had seen the risen Lord and had many visions and done stupendous works. Yet, he was given a thorn in the flesh which he prayed would be removed. That request was denied. Did he lack faith? I find that hard to believe.

From these two examples, we can safely draw this conclusion. You will pray for things in faith, and God will not give them to you. In fact, I will go even further and tell you that most of the things you ask for from God will not be granted to you in this life. Like Jesus and St. Paul, you are going to have to do without. And when God does answer these prayers, He often does so in a niggardly fashion while both the atheist and the prospetarian drive by shaking their heads and laughing at how bad you have it in life.

The temptation at this point is to hang it up. Why believe in a God who doesn't answer your prayers and fails to deliver on His promises? Why not come to the conclusion that neither the atheist nor the prospetarian will never offer? Why not say what no one dares to say? I will say it. God is a liar and a trickster and a con artist. He tells you one thing and does another. He puts enough bait in the trap to get you to believe in Him and then He knocks the crap out of you for the rest of your life because of that belief. In short, God portrays Himself as good, but He is actually evil. You should follow the Devil instead.

Do I actually believe this? Of course not. This is nauseating stuff. It is blasphemy. It's like when Job is told to curse God and die. But I must write it because people think it. These troubling thoughts are in their head even if they never put them into words and speak them or write them. These thoughts are darker than those of the atheist who merely denies the existence of God. These thoughts believe that God exists, and He is evil. But these thoughts come from Hell and belong to the Devil. They spring from misunderstanding and confusion. I will now clear this confusion from your mind and give you the satisfying answer you seek.

The Persistent Widow

Jesus gives us many instructions on prayer. He even gives us a prayer in the Our Father. The part about our daily bread can really stick in your throat as you contemplate the many Christians who prayed that prayer and still starved to death such as in the Irish Potato Famine. What do we do when our prayers go unanswered? Jesus gives the answer in the Parable of the Persistent Widow:
And he spoke also a parable to them, that we ought always to pray, and not to faint,
Saying: There was a judge in a certain city, who feared not God, nor regarded man.
And there was a certain widow in that city, and she came to him, saying: Avenge me of my adversary.
 And he would not for a long time. But afterwards he said within himself: Although I fear not God, nor regard man,
Yet because this widow is troublesome to me, I will avenge her, lest continually coming she weary me.
 And the Lord said: Hear what the unjust judge saith.
 And will not God revenge his elect who cry to him day and night: and will he have patience in their regard?
I say to you, that he will quickly revenge them. But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?
LUKE 18:1-8 DOUAY-RHEIMS
This is a curious story to tell in regards to prayer. Basically, the unjust judge renders justice to the widow to get her off his back. Jesus tells a similar story in Luke 11 about the friend at night reluctant to help a neighbor but does it to also get him off his back. What is the point of these stories?

The gist of these stories is that the widow and the neighbor have more faith in their worldly and indifferent helpers than we have in the Lord who is not indifferent. The widow had no reason to believe that the judge wanted to do what was just, but she knew she could get justice if she never let up on him. Jesus tell us we should be the same way with God. But is God like the unjust judge who does the right thing to get us off his back? The obvious answer is no. A finite creature's demands are no match for an infinite God.

God answers all of our prayers. No prayer goes unanswered. The issue comes down to timing which Jesus alludes to at the end of the parable. When Jesus returns in the Second Coming, will He find faith on the earth? That question is the answer to our question. All prayers are answered in the final answer at the end of time when Jesus has His final triumph.

When a couple prays for their dying infant, they do not pray for eternal life for that infant. They pray that he will mature to adulthood and die at some later time. When that prayer is not answered, they are devastated. It hurts to lose a child, but all children will be lost at some time. Even Lazarus when he was raised from his tomb was only postponed the inevitability of returning to the very tomb that he escaped.


Because death is inevitable, we will all reach a point where our prayers to God for our loved ones or for ourselves will go unanswered. Then, they will be answered finally and forever in the resurrection. And this is why Jesus urges us to continue and persist in our faith until the very end. Our prayers will be answered. Our problem is that we would like them to be answered on this side of the grave while ignoring the other side of the grave. This is because our priorities and sensibilities are all messed up.

God's Economy

God's values and our values are not aligned. God wants to save us from Hell, turn us into saints, and give us eternal bless in Heaven. We want nice houses, new cars, and fancy clothes. St. James alludes to this in his epistle:
From whence are wars and contentions among you? Are they not hence, from your concupiscences, which war in your members?
You covet, and have not: you kill, and envy, and can not obtain. You contend and war, and you have not, because you ask not.
You ask, and receive not; because you ask amiss: that you may consume it on your concupiscences.
Adulterers, know you not that the friendship of this world is the enemy of God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of this world, becometh an enemy of God. 
JAMES 4:1-4 DOUAY-RHEIMS
St. James nails it when he writes, "You ask, and receive not; because you ask amiss." What does this mean? It should be obvious. People ask for the wrong things in prayer, and God in His mercy and wisdom does not answer these prayers. The entire epistle of James makes this point. Here is what James writes in the first chapter of the epistle:
My brethren, count it all joy, when you shall fall into divers temptations;
Knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
And patience hath a perfect work; that you may be perfect and entire, failing in nothing.
But if any of you want wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men abundantly, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, which is moved and carried about by the wind.
Therefore let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
A double minded man is inconstant in all his ways.
But let the brother of low condition glory in his exaltation:
And the rich, in his being low; because as the flower of the grass shall he pass away. 
For the sun rose with a burning heat, and parched the grass, and the flower thereof fell off, and the beauty of the shape thereof perished: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been proved, he shall receive a crown of life, which God hath promised to them that love him.
JAMES 1: 2-12 DOUAY-RHEIMS 
What is James saying here? It's very simple. Your life is in the toilet because God wanted it there. God does not answer your prayers because He wants you to suffer. Not only does God want you to suffer, He wants you to be grateful for this suffering. In fact, you should prefer it to the easy life of the fortunate and prosperous who are destined for Hell. Yet, we are commanded to ask for things. God gives abundantly. But we should revel in our poverty and adversity. How do we make sense of this nonsense?!

God does give abundantly. This abundance is wisdom. But do we ever ask for this? Are we like King Solomon who could have anything he desired but asked instead for the wisdom to rule his people? The sad answer is no. For God, the good things are wisdom, fortitude, temperance, justice, faith, hope, and charity. For us, the good things are Rolex, Armani, Louis Vuitton, BMW, and a vacation home in the Hamptons. As I said, God's values and our values are not aligned, and the fault is with us.

If you ask God for a spiritual good, He will almost always grant that immediately and gratuitously. If He delays in this, it is to perfect us like when He denied spiritual consolation from Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Sometimes, God allows dark nights of the soul to those who are advanced in their holiness and sanctity. These trials always produce good fruit in the life of the saint.

We want material goods from God. We don't want spiritual goods from God. What good father gives stones to his children when they ask for bread? Yet, what does a good father do when his children ask for stones instead of bread? This is what happens when we ask amiss in our prayers. We want material goodies to feed our concupiscence.

If you are poor in material goods and rich in spiritual goods, you are blessed by God. If you are rich in material goods but are poor in spiritual goods, you are on the sure path to damnation. Prosperity is bad. Adversity is good. If you can wrap your brain around this wisdom, you will flee the doublemindedness that James condemns in his epistle.

The Adversity Gospel

Bishop Richard Challoner revised the Douay-Rheims translation of the English Bible to make it more readable to a modern audience. It was the 1730s after all. In Deuteronomy 28, Challoner included these notes:
[2] "All these blessings": In the Old Testament, God promised temporal blessings to the keepers of his law, heaven not being opened as yet; and that gross and sensual people being more moved with present and sensible things. But in the New Testament the goods that are promised us are spiritual and eternal; and temporal evils are turned into blessings.
[15] "All these curses": Thus God dealt with the transgressors of his law in the Old Testament: but now he often suffers sinners to prosper in this world, rewarding them for some little good they have done, and reserving their punishment for the other world.
These notes contain the kernel of the Adversity Gospel which is in direct opposition to the Prosperity Gospel of the Prospetarians. In the Old Testament, God poured out material blessings on His people, Israel. He rescued them miraculously from their bondage in Egypt. He parted the Red Sea for them and fought their battles for them. And how did they repay God for all His goodness? They fashioned a golden calf and worshiped it in a sex orgy. This is the sort of thing that happens when you ask for material goods but not spiritual goods like wisdom. You become a complete idiot.

The affair with the golden calf would be repeated many times throughout the Old Testament. All Israel had to do was remain faithful to the Almighty who had been so good to them. They just couldn't do it. So, God punished them with calamities and trials. It was in those calamities and trials that faith would return to the Israelites and the Jews. Those Old Testament people were better off under a perpetual state of suffering and travail than under prosperity because it was in the prosperous and happy times that the nation would go whoring after idols.

The Prospetarians would like to go back to the deal God had going in the Old Testament. They like the idea of being faithful to God in order to get things. They don't see the golden calves they are lusting after in their desire for material things. But God does not operate by this Old Testament economy anymore. By the time you get to the Book of Maccabees, you see the economy of the New Testament taking over. Suffering was no longer going to be the exception. It was going to be the rule. Here is 2 Maccabees 7 in its entirety:
The glorious martyrdom of the seven brethren and their mother.
[1] It came to pass also, that seven brethren, together with their mother, were apprehended, and compelled by the king to eat swine's flesh against the law, for which end they were tormented with whips and scourges. [2] But one of them, who was the eldest, said thus: What wouldst thou ask, or learn of us? we are ready to die rather than to transgress the laws of God, received from our fathers. [3] Then the king being angry commanded fryingpans, and brazen caldrons to be made hot: which forthwith being heated, [4] He commanded to cut out the tongue of him that had spoken first: and the skin of his head being drawn off, to chop off also the extremities of his hands and feet, the rest of his brethren, and his mother, looking on. [5] And when he was now maimed in all parts, he commanded him, being yet alive, to be brought to the fire, and to be fried in the fryingpan: and while he was suffering therein long torments, the rest, together with the mother, exhorted one another to die manfully,
[6] Saying: The Lord God will look upon the truth, and will take pleasure in us, as Moses declared in the profession of the canticle: And In his servants he will take pleasure. [7] So when the first was dead after this manner, they brought the next to make him a, mocking stock: and when they had pulled off the skin of his head with the hair, they asked him if he would eat, before he were punished throughout the whole body in every limb. [8] But he answered in his own language, and said: I will not do it. Wherefore he also in the next place, received the torments of the first: [9] And when he was at the last gasp, he said thus: Thou indeed, O most wicked man, destroyest us out of this present life: but the King of the world will raise us up, who die for his laws, in the resurrection of eternal life. [10] After him the third was made a mocking stock, and when he was required, he quickly put forth his tongue, and courageously stretched out his hands:
[11] And said with confidence: These I have from heaven, but for the laws of God I now despise them: because I hope to receive them again from him. [12] So that the king, and they that were with him, wondered at the young man's courage, because he esteemed the torments as nothing. [13] And after he was thus dead, they tormented the fourth in the like manner. [14] And when he was now ready to die, he spoke thus: It is better, being put to death by men, to look for hope from God, to be raised up again by him: for, as to thee thou shalt have no resurrection unto life. [15] And when they had brought the fifth, they tormented him. But he looking upon the king,
[16] Said: Whereas thou hast power among men, though thou art corruptible, thou dost what thou wilt: but think not that our nation is forsaken by God. [17] But stay patiently a while, and thou shalt see his great power, in what manner he will torment thee and thy seed. [18] After him they brought the sixth, and he being ready to die, spoke thus: Be not deceived without cause: for we suffer these things for ourselves, having sinned against our God, and things worthy of admiration are done to us: [19] But do not think that thou shalt escape unpunished, for that thou attempted to fight against God. [20] Now the mother was to be admired above measure, and worthy to be remembered by good men, who beheld seven sons slain in the space of one day, and bore it with a good courage, for the hope that she had in God:

[21] And she bravely exhorted every one of them in her own language, being filled with wisdom: and joining a man's heart to a woman's thought, [22] She said to them: I know not how you were formed in my womb: for I neither gave you breath, nor soul, nor life, neither did I frame the limbs of every one of you. [23] But the Creator of the world, that formed the nativity of man, and that found out the origin of all, he will restore to you again in his mercy, both breath and life, as now you despise yourselves for the sake of his laws. [24] Now Antiochus, thinking himself despised, and withal despising the voice of the upbraider, when the youngest was yet alive, did not only exhort him by words, but also assured him with an oath, that he would make him a rich and a happy man, and, if he would turn from the laws of his fathers, would take him for a friend, and furnish him with things necessary. [25] But when the young man was not moved with these things, the king called the mother, and counselled her to deal with the young man to save his life.
[26] And when he had exhorted her with many words, she promised that she would counsel her son. [27] So bending herself towards him, mocking the cruel tyrant, she said in her own language: My son, have pity upon me, that bore thee nine months in my womb, and gave thee suck three years, and nourished thee, and brought thee up unto this age. [28] I beseech thee, my son, look upon heaven and earth, and all that is in them: and consider that God made them out of nothing, and mankind also: [29] So thou shalt not fear this tormentor, but being made a worthy partner with thy brethren, receive death, that in that mercy I may receive thee again with thy brethren. [30] While she was yet speaking these words, the young man said: For whom do you stay? I will not obey the commandment of the king, but the commandment of the law, which was given us by Moses.
[31] But thou that hast been the author of all mischief against the Hebrews, shalt not escape the hand of God. [32] For we suffer thus for our sins. [33] And though the Lord our God is angry with us a little while for our chastisement and correction: yet he will be reconciled again to his servants. [34] But thou, O wicked and of all men most flagitious, be not lifted up without cause with vain hopes, whilst thou art raging against his servants. [35] For thou hast not yet escaped the judgment of the almighty God, who beholdeth all things.
[36] For my brethren, having now undergone a short pain, are under the covenant of eternal life: but thou by the judgment of God shalt receive just punishment for thy pride. [37] But I, like my brethren, offer up my life and my body for the laws of our fathers: calling upon God to be speedily merciful to our nation, and that thou by torments and stripes mayst confess that he alone is God. [38] But in me and in my brethren the wrath of the Almighty, which hath justly been brought upon all our nation, shall cease. [39] Then the king being incensed with anger, raged against him more cruelly than all the rest, taking it grievously that he was mocked. [40] So this man also died undefiled, wholly trusting in the Lord.
[41] And last of all after the sons the mother also was consumed. [42] But now there is enough said of the sacrifices, and of the excessive cruelties.
Because of the heretic Martin Luther, Protestants are denied knowledge of this story cut from their Bibles. This is a shame because it would put to ridicule the Gospel of Prosperity and victorious Christian living. This tale is exceptional in the Old Testament, but it would become the rule in the New Testament and for Christians who suffered torture and martyrdom under Roman emperors. This suffering continues even to the present day as Christians experience martyrdom in our times.

Victorious Christian Living

The saints and martyrs have their values straight. Their priorities are aligned with God's priorities. They operate perfectly under God's economy. They prefer death and Heaven to the emptiness of this life. As for those who enjoy the good things in this life, God allows them as a mercy because these people are certainly on the road to Hell. All of the good things they enjoy in this life will be bitter memories for them in the fires of Hell. Their prosperity is actually a curse. The adversity of the saints is a blessing.

How to Pray

God will answer all your prayers. He knows what is best for you. But His answers to those prayers will be in accord with His economy and His values. This means allowing some or even most of our prayers to go unanswered for the present time. The key is to keep praying like that persistent widow. Persistence in prayer is a trial, but you will receive in the end more than you requested.

When you pray, you should seek and ask for the spiritual goods in abundance. Ask for wisdom. Ask for charity and humility. Ask to be made a saint. Put these things first in your prayer requests because they are the gold we never seek. God always delivers on the spiritual blessings.


On the material side of the ledger, ask for the things that you need. God will provide, and He will do so in a niggardly way. This is because poverty is a blessing. Adversity is good for the soul. But to keep soul and body together, God will not let you starve until it is time for you to exit this vale of tears.

Be grateful to God for all the things He gives you including pain, trials, and adversity. You will find that suffering is a sweet blessing, and you will prefer that blessing. Saints thrive under harsh conditions. And like Job, you will learn to trust God in your afflictions.

When you do ask for a temporal thing, ask for the accompanying spiritual blessing. For instance, you may ask for healing from cancer, but you should also ask for strength in enduring the trial of cancer. You will find like St. Paul that God's grace truly is sufficient.

The most important thing you can request from God is to be made a saint and to make it to Heaven. If you pray for this, you will absolutely receive it. This is what God wants for you, and this is what you should want for yourself. And if God does not grant your other requests, know that it was for the sake of this ultimate aim of saving your soul. If not for his thorn in the flesh, St. Paul may have ended up in Hell. Those thorns have a way of humbling us, and St. Paul had a lot to be proud about. Proud people do not go to Heaven.

Conclusion

The atheist will scoff at this answer to this problem and declare it a cop out. You can measure a material answer to prayer. You can't measure a spiritual good. If God were real, He would cure that cancer. Strength in adversity is so much hogwash. But I have never met an atheist who was a saint. As for material goods, they have done little to alleviate the misery of these atheists who look to suicide in hope of relief and escape from this empty world. As for the Prospetarians, their invincible faith which they claim makes them rich can endure no real trial which is why you don't see televangelists and megachurch pastors being martyred for the faith. They are cursed heretics who will reap a bitter harvest on Judgment Day.

We need to be persistent in our prayers because those prayers are what will carry us through. Saints are unbreakable people in a broken world. God is going to fix the world. You can count on that. But first, He has to fix you. And this is why you suffer for the present time and sometimes do not receive the things you request. Just hold on until the end. Do not lose your faith. God will reward you heavily for your fidelity to Him. My prayer is that you will pray for the spiritual goods and seek them in preference to the temporal goods.

11.10.2018

SOC 48


I have the next thousand years planned out.
PRINCE (I think)

I remember reading this quotation many years ago, but my Google searching has been unable to turn up the source or the quotation. I think it was pre-internet in Rolling Stone magazine, and I think it was Prince who said it. It seems like something he would say. The irony is that he died at 57. He might have enough recorded music to last a thousand years.

The thousand year thing sounds ludicrous, and I don't think Prince or whoever said it actually expected to live that long. But when you don't know your death date, you have to count on living a long time. Basically, you don't want to outlive your plans.

I don't know how long I will live. Due to a tragedy involving four family members that happened when I was six years old, I have lived with the knowledge and the expectation that my life could end suddenly and abruptly at any moment. Consequently, it behooves you to prepare for death on a daily basis. The practice of memento mori is a good practice. Always contemplate your own mortality and remember it every single day. One day, you will be right.

It is wisdom to prepare for sudden death, but it is folly to not prepare for tomorrow. At the same time that I remember that I can die at any moment, I prepare to live to be 100. This is also wisdom. I doubt I will actually live that long as I am surprised that I have lived as long as I have now. But that surprise is why I make those very long range plans. I want to have full days, and I don't want to be a burden on others.

I don't believe in retirement. That is a bit of crap produced by that government program known as Social Security. Basically, this is a scheme where old people live off of young people's labor. The response is that people live a really long time and have few children which will certainly be the destruction of that ill conceived scheme. I would abolish it if I could, but I can't. So, I choose to ignore it by resolving to work until I die. My ambition is to burn out not rust out. This is why I have to plan to be 100. Without plans, you may find yourself in a state of idleness.

When I write these SOC posts, I get interrupted, and they lay unfinished in my drafts folder until I return to them. I don't know when an SOC post is finished. Some are short. Others are epic. But I get to a point of satisfaction, and I hit the publish button. I'm not sure where that point is. It varies depending upon mood and time. Sometimes, I just publish the SOC post just to get something fresh on the blog.

I haven't written in some time. I am working on another post on prayer, and it is a deep one. I also find myself spending time reading more in order to post the links on the Internet Apostolate. A part of me wants to nuke that project. I'm not happy about the time I spend on that project. It has become Twitterlike for me in terms of making me feel the need to feed the feed if you know what I mean. So, instead of writing for the C-blog, I find myself listening to a podcast from Ann Barnhardt that I will link to on IA. It can be aggravating sort of like failing at being a chef because you prefer eating to cooking.

My wife has been blogging, and she has found out what I already know. Blogging is a lot of work for little reward. Father Z put it well when he wrote recently, "Blogs are not pulling the traffic that they once did.  I think people are putting more of their time into less challenging fare, such as Twitter and, blech, Fakebook. " This is very true. The fact is that you are better off making videos for YouTube and hope they don't get demonetized and delisted. Everything else is producing content for social media for their enrichment.

I find the online world aggravating. There's no other way to put it. The irony is that I find myself mirroring the path of Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits in terms of blogging. I remember when Leo got rid of his comments sections on his blog. I thought it was dumb at the time, but it looks like a genius move to me now. Leo got rid of his comboxes because of spam. My reason was to immediately get a handle on a doxxing incident that I have never forgotten. Comboxes are not worth the headache.

I worry that people might think I am thin skinned and can't take the heat of insults and criticism. But I thrived under it when I was a libertarian/atheist. I took a certain perverse pleasure in the smack talk and was good at mixing it up with people. I am more ambivalent about it now since my turn to Catholicism. I'm totally fine with taking insults, but I wince when people blaspheme and insult God. A blog from a former atheist would be a magnet for this sort of thing.

The other thing Leo did was to scrub his site clean to a minimalist aesthetic void of virtually all images. I tend to not favor the minimalism, but it has certain virtues. When you're a writer, you just want to write. You don't care to spend time decorating. This is one of the things I like about the Internet Apostolate. It's just text. A purely text based website has the added virtue of keeping you free from copyright issues concerning the use of images.

If I had a blogging wishlist, it would look like this:

1. Only have one blog.

I have three blogs. The C-blog is the bread and butter blog. The Noir blog is virtually abandoned. The Apostolate blog is becoming a time suck like Twitter. I should call it the "Methadone Blog" because it is the methadone to the heroin of Twitter. I would love to just run this blog.

2. Bring the brutalist style to the C-blog.

I like the aesthetic of the Internet Apostolate. It isn't beautiful, but what do you expect from a blog that you read? Do you expect pictures in the books you read?

3. Delete the crap.

For me, the essays on the C-blog are what matter. I would love to just delete all my SOC/RTOVS/Led Zep posts. Those things have a filler quality about them.

Should I pursue this blogging wishlist? It is tempting. I already did this kind of thing before when I nuked the old blog and went with what I call "2.0" That was a necessary thing. This would be "2.5" None of the content would disappear, but it would be a different beast.

This is when I would solicit comments from readers in the combox, but I don't have one anymore. I just know that tech people do this sort of thing all the time. They will absolutely set fire to the past to move in a new direction. Apple did this when they went from OS9 to OSX. That was a traumatic thing, but it lead to a more stable OS for them.

On the other hand, I am always heartbroken to see them tear down an old cathedral to put a modernist box in its place. The Novus Ordo has probably done more harm than good to the Roman Catholic Church. And killing the past hasn't helped the Star Wars franchise one bit. Plus, nobody goes to see Paul McCartney and not hear their favorite Beatles tunes.

I am at a weird place as a blogger. You need to lock up the shotgun and the sleeping pills because there's no telling what creative endeavor I might put out of its misery. I wonder if Leonardo ever thought of putting a match to the Mona Lisa.

I am having a sort of midlife crisis in terms of my blogging. I've put the social media crisis behind me, but this one is taking its place. I don't know what I might do. But if you come here one day to see something totally different, you will know why.

10.31.2018

SOC 47


To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the
opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
SUN TZU

Time is not on my side. I haven't been able to get anything written or done in the past week. I've spent most of that time reading and posting things on IA. That project has taken the place of social media for me, and I am pleased with it. I only post links of Catholic interest while also reading a bunch of conservative things. I used to post it all on Gab and Twitter, but I don't do that anymore. Since writing QSM, I have been free of the addiction, and I intend to stay that way. Unfortunately, other things have rushed in to fill the vacuum that social media left.

2018 has not been my year. When this year is done, it will rank as one of the worst years of my life. It is definitely in the Top 5. No one event has made it bad but a collection of events. This year seems like the anticlimax to 2016 when Trump was elected. I rode that high for at least six months. Now, I look at these midterm elections and contemplate the prospect of getting this woman back as Speaker of the House:


This will not be a good thing. Evil never dies. It never rests either. You have to get up every day and fight it and know that it will fight back.

I have many frustrations in my life right now. There is no end to them. Yet, there could be an end to them. I am tempted by something I can only call the "Quiet Life." The Quiet Life is opposed to the life I am trying to live now which I call the "Robust Life." This took the place of the life I lived before this I call the "Loud Life." The Robust Life is somewhere between the Loud Life and the Quiet Life. I will now explain them.

In my atheist/libterarian days, I lived the Loud Life. Basically, if you can't live well, you should live loud. So, I made a lot of noise in my life. Upon my marriage and conversion, I opted to quit this foolishness and redirect my energies in more positive directions. That was a good move. If you have read this blog for many years, you will have noticed the change. I think the C-blog got better, but it is way more quiet.

The Robust Life is where I have sat down and sketched out a few things I would like to accomplish in my life before I croak out. They are not overly ambitious. I would like to get some projects written. I would like to finally get into shape relative to my age. I would like to complete my Blue Collar Ph.D. program I sketched out on a napkin. I want to establish and maintain a homestead. I want to get my CWP and earn a black belt in Krav Maga. As for my spiritual life, that seems to be the only thing that I have been making progress on. God's grace works. I just need it to spill over into the other areas of my life.

The Quiet Life is where I drop ambitions to the minimum. Instead of fighting my frustrations, I let them beat me and give up. My primary frustration is time. I see a day like a large pizza, but you are trying to feed 10 people. You can have 10 hungry people, or you can have four well fed people. I do try and temper my ambitions to a reasonable level. Things that I would like to do but choose not to do go on my Not To Do list. I keep this in my notebook. Anytime I become interested in something, I sit down and count the cost of the thing. Then, I choose not to do it. You have to temper your ambitions at some point.

The Quiet Life is minimalism applied to life. If I lived that life, I would reduce my life to going to work and going to church and reading a few books in my spare time. This blog would vanish completely along with all of my other writing projects. The result would be the end of frustrations. I wouldn't accomplish anything sort of like I do now. I would just stop feeling bad about it.

Mathematically, I have the time to accomplish things. I'm just mystified about where that time goes. One of the ironies of my life is that I get more done during the week when I have less free time than I do on the weekend when I have an abundance of free time. The culprit is obvious. It is the lack of discipline in regards to my time. When I have a lot of time, I waste a lot of time. When I have less time, it becomes more precious, so I spend it more wisely.

I am still trying to hack the time management aspect of my life. The key for me seems to be not creating more free time to do things but eliminating free time. I will have to experiment on this and see if it produces positive results.

10.16.2018

SOC 46


It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them. 
CONFUCIUS

People who lose my trust don't stay in my life. I'm not a grudge guy because I want to enjoy my life and not be burdened by past wrongs and hurts. I am a forgiveness guy because I am a Christian. God has forgiven me, so I forgive others. But I am a wisdom guy, too. People who betray your trust or show the proclivity to betray your trust have to go.

The ones who find themselves out of my life seem mystified by their removal. But there is no mystery to it at all. I don't trust you. That's it. It isn't what you have done to me that matters. It is what you will do to me that concerns me. If these people would pause, reflect, and develop some self-awareness about themselves, they would see why they are not in my life anymore.

One of the big dealbreakers for me is substance abuse. People who do cocaine, heroin, or even marijuana are not people I trust. I don't waste my time preaching to these people. I just stop returning their phone calls or answering their emails. Just get the hell away from me.

With other people, the dealbreaker comes when they want something from me that I can't give them. So, they resort to force, threats, bribery, or whatever to get the thing they want from me. So many of my relationships end at this point. When I say no, respect that no. If you don't, you are gone.

Virtually all of my relationships that ended has been for these two reasons. Since people rarely change, this end is virtually permanent. Once you're out, you're out. To win back my trust, you will have to change. No one that I know has ever done this.

Other friendships have ended due to a lack of maintenance. I've known a lot of great guys over the years, but you lose touch. Facebook used to be a good tool for keeping in touch with these people, but the negatives of that service outweigh the positives now.

Do I trust God? That is a hard one to answer. God is incapable of evil, but He does allow evil. I have a hard time with this. I think most people do. The lesson from the Book of Job is that it is easy to love a God who gives you everything. It is hard when He allows you to suffer. Choosing to love and trust God in suffering is a heroic act. So, I put my trust in the Lord. I don't understand things, but I have to believe that God has my ultimate good end in mind.



I know two things. God is looking out for me, and bad things are going to happen to me. TV preachers love to extol the Prosperity Gospel. Unfortunately, this is heresy and not true. Instead, the truth is the Adversity Gospel. You can get to Heaven, but you will suffer to get there. That's a tough sell.

I am learning about something I can only call "God's Economy." In the Old Testament, God gave material blessings to the Israelites. They merely had to be faithful to the Lord. Naturally, they couldn't do this. In the New Testament, this changes completely. God opens up the spiritual blessings, but the material blessings dry up and vanish. Catholics understand this which is why they preach the Adversity Gospel. Protestants don't like this and desire to go back to God's old economy back in the Old Testament. Basically, they remain faithful to God, and God gives them fancy cars and McMansions in return for this faithfulness.

I've never believed in the Prosperity Gospel. It was too much in conflict with my life and all that I read in the Bible. As a Protestant, I could not understand suffering. I didn't get it. But I knew that it was inescapable for the Christian. As a Catholic, I get suffering now. As a practitioner of voluntary poverty, I embrace a great deal of this suffering.


I am not into material things. My guilty pleasure would be a bag of cheap jelly beans from the grocery store. These would be the store brand generic jelly beans. I don't care for Jelly Belly jelly beans. They are decadent. If the bag is less than a dollar, I'm in. There's something awesome about cheap pleasures.

My wife likes spice drops. They tend to have a burning taste to them from the spices. I like them, too, but I only eat them because my wife has them around. I am a basic jelly bean man.

I just love cheap stuff. Not everything that is cheap is necessarily good. Conversely, not everything that is expensive is necessarily good. But when you find something good on the cheap, the cheap part is the bonus. Plus, I can enjoy cheap things without idolizing them. I've already wrote of my newfound love for cheap Casio watches. But because they are not Rolexes, I'm not going to lose my mind if they get dinged up or scratched.

I wish they had a word for things that were cheap but good. I am not alone in this wish. Someone on this forum asked the same question. I don't know if the laptop and the car are good examples. But they are on my wavelength. What would be a word for something that is cheap, durable, and good? At this point, I would have to invent it.

Stoners have a term like this--"dank." It comes from the description of a dark cellar applied to sticky marijuana. Then, it started to be used to describe anything they thought was good. I appreciate their inventiveness on this. Unfortunately, I wouldn't describe my Casio watch as "dank."

As I said, I am not into the material. I never have been. I've been living the same basic lifestyle for my entire adult life. I was minimalist before it was a thing. When it became a thing, I threw out some old socks with holes in them and a little bit of clutter. The only thing we "hoard" would be books purchased used from thrift stores. When I think of simplifying my life, I draw a blank now. I don't have anything to throw away. As for acquisitions, I do have a wishlist for things that I don't need now, but I may need later. But these are utilitarian in nature. There are no Corvettes in my future.

This SOC post feels a bit like a rerun. Sorry for that.

10.15.2018

Agnostic on Race


You don't have to teach people how to be human. You have to teach them how to stop being inhuman.
ELDRIDGE CLEAVER

Is it racist to speak the truth? That question wins a lot of debates for me. This is because the person on the other side of that question is caught in an inescapable trap. If he says no, then he is faced with unpleasant realities that he would rather not acknowledge. If he says yes, he confesses that he is ignoring these realities and wants you to ignore them, too. But in saying yes, he is inadvertently testifying to the truth. Reality is not very flattering to the black race.

Despite a civil rights movement and efforts on both the Left and the Right, the African-American population is tops in every social pathology that exists. They have the lowest test scores in school. They have the highest rates of incarceration. They have the highest rates of crime and homicide. Many of them are born illegitimate not knowing who their fathers are. Their STD transmission rate is high. We can go on and on with these statistics. These are facts that the Left chooses to ignore. I ask once again. Is it racist to speak the truth?


For the white supremacist and the bigot, these facts are cause for glee. It is justification for the belief that the black race is inherently inferior. Somehow, this makes the white race superior. The only problem is that these people exhibit none of this superiority in their own lives. Rednecks and white trash have similar rates of pathology as any that you will find in any urban black ghetto.


Speaking from personal experience, if I had to keep a scorecard on things, the black people I have known have been far better and nicer to me than the white people I have known. If I had to be a racist, it would be against my own race. So many times, it was the white people in my life that have done me wrong, and it was the black people in my life that showed me the most understanding and compassion.


If we went on a purely statistical basis, Asian-Americans would be the superior race in the USA. They have the lowest levels of crime, the highest test scores, and the strongest families today. A very close second would be Jewish-Americans. Is there something in their DNA that makes them superior?

I don't believe that a person's race or their skin color makes them good or bad. If someone asks me if I am a racist, I tell them I am an agnostic on the subject. This is because I can pick great and awful people from every race on the planet. In the case of Asian-Americans, I have had two friends who were Asian, and they were awful people.

I think the issue is not race. I think the issue is culture. Some people are raised well. Others are raised poorly. The key thing I discovered about black people who have it together is that they are very religious. The key thing I discovered about white trash is that they are devoid of religion in their lives. Essentially, you are the product of what you believe and value. A guy raised on hip-hop is going to be a bad guy even if he is white. And a guy raised on Christian music is going to be pretty good even if he is black.

But on the general level, you might not be a racist, but it behooves white people to not drive through black ghettos especially at night. Likewise, a Confederate flag should be a sign to everyone white or black that the flyer of that flag is most likely an inbred violent fool high on crystal meth. These are prejudicial judgments, but they would be correct. They may also save you from violent encounters and even save your life.



If I had to make a division in the world, it would be between the decent and the indecent, the righteous and the unrighteous. If you could draw a red line between these two groups, you would find that this line cuta across every race and class that exists in America and in the world. But this line is not visible. It is invisible. You can't know someone until you actually know them. This unknown is what makes things so difficult. People want to know people without actually knowing them. This is when you get bigotry and racism.

I don't trust people that I don't know. They might be the salt or the dung of the earth. But until I know, I give no one the benefit of the doubt. This is the application of that racial agnosticism. And this is what distinguishes me from those practicing the foolishness of political correctness. This would be the belief that you are either racist or voluntarily naive. Basically, you should put your life at risk at the hands of thug gangstas until they murder you because self-preservation might offend these people.


There have been well-dressed and charming murderers. Ted Bundy and H.H. Holmes are two fine examples of this. Likewise, people who have gruesome images can turn out to be quite innocent. I remember feeling a bit of fear growing up about the rapper Ice Cube who looked fearsome at the beginning of his career and has been rehabilitated considerably into a nice man. But, as a general rule, if the nice looking people can kill you, the mean looking people will certainly kill you.

To conclude, I must tell a story about a guy I used to work with delivering pizzas. This guy really hated black people. He hated the way they dressed, talked, and acted. He would use the N-word repeatedly in his denigration of these people. And he refused to deliver pizzas to their homes. The irony is that this racist was black. I am not making this up. It would crack us up to no end to hear this guy go on and on. He was a black guy separated from black culture being raised in the lily white Pacific Northwest. His first encounters with other black people happened as a teenager when he moved with his family to the South. Raised different culturally but divorced from any trace of white guilt, this black man had an unusual candor that was mind blowing. He wasn't religious or a black conservative. He was actually a skater punk. But knowing this guy rocked my world. Once you see a single unicorn, you can't say they don't exist. He was a unicorn.

The simple fact is that everyone has free will, and this includes the free will to defy your culture and upbringing. I was raised to be a racist, and I rejected it. Likewise, some black people were raised to become thugs, and they rejected that. And some people were raised in good Christian homes but chose to embrace evil. What I can say without qualification is that all of humanity tends towards evil, and it is the minority who chooses to pursue and embrace the good. I am going to assume your wickedness for the sake of my own safety. And if you assume I am a racist for this, I understand that, too. Trust has to be earned. I will endeavor to earn your trust. Do me a favor and endeavor to earn my trust.

10.14.2018

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 76


The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
H.L. MENCKEN


1. STATUS

I feel depressed and blue right now. 2018 is not my year. I expect it to get worse and not better. Nancy Pelosi may be House Speaker again. Let that sink in a bit.

I went to confession, and I can tell you that confessing to a priest who has no sanctity is almost a complete waste of time. I am not a Donatist, so I take the absolution even if the advice is pure garbage. It is sad when you go to confess your sins, and the priest talks you out of it.

I am working on a blog post about how to be a good priest. I am not a priest, but I feel like an authority on the topic considering that my minor sins look so good in comparison to the pure filth of so many Catholic priests and prelates. Hell, the sins and crimes of prison convicts look good in comparison to these Judas priests.

I am suffering, and I will offer it up. 


Once upon a time, the Roman Catholic Church canonized real saints. This was before Vatican II. the process for canonization was so arduous that it would be centuries before certain saints were canonized. It took 400 years for St. Thomas More to be recognized as a saint. Now, saints are  canonized within the lifetimes of people who knew them. This is not a good thing.

Prior to this time, you needed four bona fide miracles and a thorough vetting from the Devil's Advocate before a saint was canonized. Now, you just need two dubious miracles and love from a bad pope to get it. With the canonization of Paul VI and Oscar Romero, the process has been thoroughly politicized. Romero is the hero of the Marxist liberation theologians while Paul VI is the favorite of the modernists who love the Novus Ordo. Pope Francis is both a modernist and a Marxist, so this is how these two guys become saints.

The laity are now the Devil's Advocate in these matters. It is up to us to show that these men either failed to show heroic virtue in their lives or were in serious error. I believe Romero may be a real saint because of his personal sanctity and his martyrdom. Paul VI is probably not a real saint. Of course, Pope Francis may not be a real pope. But that is the subject for another blog post.

3. LUNATIC LEFT

Since Kavanaugh's confirmation, the leftwingers have become totally insane with threats of outright violence. It has already become this way in Portland, Oregon, where Antifa effectively runs the city now. I've said this before. I say it again. This country is headed for a civil war. There will be bloodshed and violence. People are going to get hurt, and people are going to die. This is because these evil leftists can't win in the realm of ideas. They have to turn to force.

It behooves all good people in the USA and all patriots to arm themselves and prepare for this civil war. It is coming. Most of the fighting will be in the cities and metropolitan areas. I expect these areas to descend into absolute chaos. If your city has a Democrat mayor, you need to leave that city. Just watch what happens in Portland. This is coming to your town.

4. Q & A

Q: Do you think Donald and Melania Trump have a good marriage?

A: Of course not. When you're Wife #3 to a guy who is well known for infidelity, you know what you're getting into. Sad to say, Trump is a trophy wife type of guy.

5. QUOTABLE QUOTES

Be kind to all and severe to thyself.
SAINT TERESA OF AVILA

A drop in the ocean has no fear of a hurricane.
ALEKSANDR SOLZHENITSYN

Preserve order, and order will preserve you.
SAINT BERNARD

External disorder and untidiness are signs of internal disorder.
SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES

When you keep your life in order, your time will multiply, and therefore you will be able to give greater glory to God, working more eagerly in his service. 
SAINT JOSEMARIA ESCRIVA

6. ODDS AND ENDS

--I am totally in favor of Hillary running again in 2020.

--National Review Online has gone to a freemium paywall model. I won't pay.

--Corporations are just concentrated stupidity.

--Breitbart is still free. This is what happens when you support Trump. NR shot itself in the foot on that one.


--I am not a Taylor Swift fan. Her move to pop lost me. Her move to the left wing has lost me forever.

--I hate slide shows and galleries on websites. They are very annoying. They are almost as annoying as paywalls.

LINKS OF INTEREST